Category Archives: Personal

5 TAIWANderful things to do in Taipei

I am really fascinated with the culture of East Asia, making me wanting to visit the countries of this region. I was able to book a cheap flight to Taiwan in April, read blogs and reviews then went with my parents in this beautiful country in July 2017.

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, with a population of 2.7 million. It has a really efficient subway system, making it easy for travelers to go around the city. We were able to stay in NiHao Hostel in Taipei Main Station, which is a perfect location because the hostel is 2-3 minutes walk from exit M3 of the station (Kuo Kuang Bus station to and from Taoyuan Airport is a 5-8 minutes walk from the hostel).

While there are so many good experience during our trip, let me share to you the best things to do while in Taipei.

  1. Immerse in the worship culture by visiting a Temple

A visit in East Asia will not be completed without a temple visit. We decided to go to Longshan temple, the most well known in Taiwan. It was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Entrance is free, so enjoy seeing the locals doing their worship.

How to get there: Take the MRT Bannan Line to Longshan Temple, exit 1, entrance is free.

  1. Feel so small with the massive Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

If you get to see postcards or images of Taipei, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall will be familiar. This is the most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan. It is built in honor and memory of Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China.

Entrance is also free, make sure you bring water especially when you go daytime as it gets really hot in summer.

One highlight of our visit was witnessing the Changing of Guards. This happens hourly from 9am to 5pm. Make sure you get a good spot 10 minutes before so you can enjoy the ceremony.

How to get there: Take the MRT Red Line, get off at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, entrance is free

  1. Go up the mountains via the Maokong Gondola

When I was 16 years old, I wrote in my bucket list that I wanted to try riding a cable car. It came true in Taipei! We tried the Maokong Gondola, a heart-stopping experience to be up there and see the entire Taipei landscape.

We rode the cable car from the Taipei Zoo station then stopped in Maokong station. We tried the tea houses and bought some, and also had snacks (milktea and sausage yaaay!) Going back, we were lucky to ride the crystal cabin, meaning you can see what lies down there! It was really exciting and fun experience!

Price: Taipei Zoo Station to Maokong Station is 120 NTD

How to get there: Take the MRT Wenhu Line to Taipei Zoo (last stop), turn left after the exit

  1. Shopping at Shilin Night Market, Tamsui Old Street and Ximending

Night markets are a must-try when in Taipei. We chose to go to Shilin Night Market being the biggest, and nearest to where we’re staying. It opens around 4 or 5 in the afternoon. They have a selection of goods and products, from souvenirs, to shirts and clothes, and a selection of street food. We were able to buy mochi in boxes (100 NTD) and other goodies.

How to get there: Take the MRT Red Line and get off at Jiantan (not Shilin).

I put Tamsui in our itinerary because originally I wanted to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf. We were able to go to Tamsui Old Street which is a day market, with cheaper finds. A must try is the Pineapple Cake (40 NTD) and sugarcane juice. There are a lot of stalls selling food and drinks.

How to get there: Take the MRT Red Line and get off at the last stop, Tamsui.

If you will ask young people where to shop, they would definitely lead you to Ximending. This is a shopping district in Taipei downtown that you shouldn’t miss. It actually reminded me of Myeongdong in South Korea. They have high end shops, but also some affordable ones. There are also a lot of Japanese restaurants in this area.

How to get there: Take the MRT Bannan Line to Ximen, exit 6.

  1. Be delighted in the gastronomic adventure in Taipei street food and restaurants

The best thing about Taipei – food! Enjoy a variety of street food – from bread, to milktea and cakes. Wherever you go, there are food stalls waiting for you to enjoy. Plus, it is really affordable. The pineapple cake is a must try, as well as the beef noodles and milk tea.

We were able to save a lot by eating in street food, but Din Tai Fung is a must try. The birthplace of this Michelin restaurant is in Dongmen. They do not accept reservations so give time waiting in queue. We were able to try their beef noodles, pork chop fried rice and pork Xiao long bao. It was so good! We paid around 1000 NTD (including dad’s beer) but all worth it.

How to get to Din Tai Fung: Take the MRT Red Line to Dongmen, exit 5.

I fell in love with Taipei! With kind people to efficient transportation system, this country is definitely a must-visit. I was so happy to travel with my parents, who are until now sharing beautiful stories they have experienced. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan has tentatively announce the implementation of visa-free entry by September 2017. So what are you waiting for? Buy a ticket and experience and be enticed in Taiwan. 🙂

Papa’s Girl Confessions

I have a confession to make: I am a daddy’s girl. Ganun talaga ata kapag one and only princess in the family. If my mom has imparted me her brains and independence, it has been my dad who has trained me to have protective instinct, excellence and diligence.

I come from a “surviving daily” family. My mother is a career woman while I was growing up, but my dad, being a carpenter before (now he leads construction of major subdivisions) would be the one to oversee us. I am a witness of how my father would do everything just to provide for our needs. I cannot remember a single moment that we skipped a meal, because he has been so hardworking and loving.

When I was I think 5 years old, he had an accident while renovating our house. I could just remember that he was in PGH for his right eye being pierced by a nail. Praise to God that he was healed and did not get blind. Then when I was I think 8 or 9 years old, because he is a heavy drinker and a smoker, he acquired tuberculosis. I witnessed his struggle to drink medicines religiously, sleep at exactly 9pm then have candies instead of smoking. He survived. Now he is about to celebrate his 60th birthday next week.

papa

My father is my caregiver. When I am sick, he makes sure I get medicines or make sure Vicks is handy (haha!). I remember I was 9 and I was anemic. For one week he did not work, he became my personal chef to cook different meals of “atay”. Until now I hate the taste of liver (but not Reno haha)! I have a long story of my sickly body but my dad never left me. He didn’t give up on me.

If not for my father and mother, I will not have my accomplishments today. They have inspired me to study well because that is what we can inherit from them. I am beyond blessed that I still have my parents with me. They are so generous too, that they give to needy even with little that they have.

As Acts 16: 31 says: They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” I am grateful to God for the gift of salvation for my father, brothers and my entire family. 🙂

Happy happy Father’s Day Papa Ibo! Love you!

P.S. Papa, thank you kasi wala pa rin akong boyfriend dahil strict ka nung college ako, so ang saya ng singlehood ko up to now. 😀

Super Mama’s Day!

I wanted to honor my Mama for this Mother’s Day celebration. I couldn’t thank the heavens enough for having a super mom. While growing up, I always remember my mom waking up very early to prepare our breakfast for school, she would always wake me up (I have been difficult to wake up in the morning ever since!) feed me and send to school. Then she would prepare to go to work. She is such a career woman, also fulfilling her duties as a wife and a husband. During weekends, she would allow me to wake up late then play outside. But I will never forget how she would make sure Sunday is the day to go to church. If there’s someone who has been an influence in my walk with God, it is her. My mom is a Protestant, and we would go to church every Sunday. When I was 16 years old, I decided to join Victory, she was all out supportive for me.

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It is true that a Mother’s love is unconditional. Motherhood is the toughest job ever. Imagine my mom raising up a strong woman like me. But she has trained me to become independent, but truly dependent to God. I have always felt my mother’s love. In my dark days, she was there pulling me up. In days of celebration, she was there to cheer for me. My mom and dad never missed a recognition day at school, they always appreciate our hard work.

For so many times, she has been my protector and defender. If someone hurt me, she will be hurt and fight back. She taught me to speak my mind, to be creative, to be innovative.

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Mama, I love you forever. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you because even before I speak, you know what I need and want. I want to be like you, strong and courageous that would do anything for her family. I hope I always make you proud. Happy Mother’s Day! <3

26 Reasons of Love and Gratefulness

 

 

I am beyond grateful to God for blessing me immensely through my family, friends, work, networks and relationships. I have always desire to make a change in this world, in my own little ways.

Day 6 Ando Island

I am thankful to Big Dad for giving me 26 beautiful years in this world. I maybe halfway to real adulthood, I always want to be forever young (haha!). Let me share with you 26 Lessons/Reasons I have learned from all my experiences.

  1. It is true, love God, advance His Kingdom and all things will be added to you. Keeping our number 1 priority to fulfill the will of God in our lives, will make our journey with Him worthy of a lifetime.
  2. The best things happen outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be scared to sail away, the wind will bring you to places you deserve.
  3. Every sunset means that no matter how beautiful your day is, it needs to end, to give way for a new beginning.
  4. I have been a coffee lover. My favorite drink? Cappuccino. What I learned throughout these years… Love is sharing the same cup of coffee no matter how hot or cold it is. (Though I have never shared a cup of coffee to anyone “special”. :D)
  5. The world may forsake you, but your family will never leave you no matter what.
  6. A mom’s love is unconditional; a father’s love is limitless. I am grateful for my parents.
  7. Boys will always be boys. You can’t change them; you just have to complement with them. I learned this being the only girl having 3 brothers as frenemies.
  8. Real friends will stick with you through your success and failures. Cherish them, keep them in your world and forget those who leave you.
  9. “And I am falling in Your waves of love, it’s too wonderful for me.” God’s love is as eternal as the ocean.
  10. Love can move mountains. Hate can break relationships.
  11. “God has prepared something better for us, that only together with us would it be made perfect.”
  12. Travel the world, while your young. Save money, buy a ticket, and get lost in a city you’ve never been to.
  13. Your country of birth will never be forgotten, no matter how far you’ve been to. You will always go back home. I have always loved the Philippines.
  14. Invest on internal beauty, not just on physical attributes.
  15. Understand that God works through seasons. Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, God has time for everything.
  16. Read, read and read.
  17. Know your worth. If someone tried to put you down, choose to know that you don’t belong in that sphere.
  18. Love your job. Then you will never have to work for the rest of your life.
  19. Passion and Calling – that should be your motivation at work. Don’t let your salary define who you are.
  20. I have been a graduate of public and state universities – P. Burgos, V. Mapa, UP Diliman and Seoul National University. These are great institutions that have molded me. Education is the gift our parents can give us that no one can take from us.
  21. Sushi and ramen can make me quiet! And coffee? The greatest invention.
  22. Love yourself. You are given just one body, take care of it.
  23. Live a courageous life. If you’re living in fear, you’ll miss the wonders this life has to offer.
  24. Age doesn’t matter. Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in every area of life.
  25. Live life to the fullest.
  26. “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.”

 

Can you also share some of your treasured life learnings?

 

 

Love and sunshine,

Mitch

Gracey Reyes: Creatively beautiful with a Heart

I have known Gracey Reyes when she was still a high school student and I was one of the volunteers for the High School ministry of Victory U-belt. Ever since, I have seen how passionate she is, especially in serving the Lord. Now I am happy to see her fulfilling her dreams – be a creative artist for the glory of God.

10443540_1013598575321772_2633960400962571437_nSome say that being an artist is having a vow to poverty; many would say that it is not a lucrative career to pursue. It take courage and motivation to excel, and I am very happy that Gracey is enjoying her season in this field. In daytime, she is working as a graphic artist of KFC Philippines. She is also a creative volunteer for Production Design Ministry in Victory – they normally make the “experience” in Victory U-belt fun and engaging for the church attendees. She is a runner, an event stylist, she climbs mountain as a hobby, and as she said “an advocate of love”. 🙂

Describing herself as “an artist with a heart”, Gracey sets apart from other artists because she make passion as her ultimate motivation. She is very versatile and makes sure that every artwork she makes is a product of love. One of her most favorite practice so far is doing a Live Art Painting (within 5 minutes)! Imagine the pressure and excitement, but she perfectly executed it.

Lettering is one of the hobbies of many young people today. But Gracey uses it to inspire to design, and design to inspire. Her creative senses are energized when she travels and go to different places. She loves observing people and just talk to strangers.

Gracey

My greatest challenge: is fear to do the impossible, to make a mistake”.  Gracey has produced several inspiring artworks, and she will continue to flourish in this field. I see her as a great steward of God’s gift – fulfilling God’s purpose by using the talents God has given her. As she says “the most important is… giving the glory to God who created you and give you the talent to Honor Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.”IMG_9571-741x1024

When asked about her advice to the community, especially emerging artists, she shared that “other artists are far better than you. But you have nothing to prove, no one to impress. Do your art and Honor the Lord. You are designed to inspire. Heal the world, make it a better place through your art.”

For me, she is an Inspiring Letterer. It’s one thing to get to know and understand your purpose, but it’s really something when you live to fulfill your purpose. Understanding your craft and working to improve from what you are yesterday will surely bring you to greater heights. I can sense that Gracey will continue to be an inspiring gifted person known in her field.

Gracey will have a Hand Lettering Workshop on April 9 at 10:00 a.m. at Gourmet Gypsy Art Cafe, Don Roces Ave, Quezon City. For more info, you can contact her at 09063418991 or email her at MaryGraceSReyes@gmail.com. She is supporting the welfare of children, so 5o pesos for each registration will benefit the children supported by Save the Children Philippines.

You can see more of her works at her IG account @pinayheartist.

Poster Print

 

P.S. Gracey designed my blog header! Isn’t it amazing? 🙂