The One With The Dog Cafe

February 23, 2017 Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines


If you're a dog lover, this cafe is definitely for you! We all know that the cafe business in the Philippines is already growing, so you have got to think of the most unique theme or setting for your cafe for it to make it out there. There are tons of different themed-cafe to choose from these days as it's highly popular especially now that most of the millennials are fueled by coffee. When I say fueled by coffee, meaning drinking coffee before you go to work because you still feel sleepy from a 5-hour sleep. Then another cup or two for a boost of energy at work. And another for that overtime work so we can meet the deadline. So yup, fueled by coffee. I'm going a bit off on a tangent here, so going back to the cafe...

This cafe had thought of it's own unique theme that will surely be loved by everybody. Barkin' Blends is a dog cafe. You read it right, a dog cafe! Brilliant, right? Who would have thought of making your own pet a business partner? This cafe is packed with 30 resident dogs of different breeds! Enjoy a very refreshing drink while you get to pet as much dogs as you can. So if ever you're feeling lonely or just want to hang out with some of the best creatures in the world, it's the place to go, whether you be with your friends, family or other half. 

It's actually my second time to visit the cafe. The first time, AJ took me out here as a surprise. I had no idea that he would take me here, as much as I hate surprises, I super loved this one! So this time, I went with the fam because they've been wanting to go since they saw my photos from the first time.

+Location
Barkin' Blends cafe is located at Quezon City, Philippines, along Katipunan Avenue. You can easily waze your way to the cafe! They're open everyday except Tuesday from 12:00nn to 9:00pm.


HUMAN ZONE

+ Food & Price
We honestly didn't come here for the food, he he he, we came for the dogs. But we went during lunch hours so I suggested we might as well have our lunch there. We ordered Carobinara (P120), Ella Pesto (P130), and Bonnie Burger (P120). Yes, their menu is named  after the dogs, witty. I have to say, the food is really tasty. I recommend everyone to dine here if possibe. The burgers, any burgers are a must try!

Buy a drink so you can enter the dog zone. Rock Salt and Cheese - Chocolate is highly recommended or any fruit teas. I don't like the hazelnut one.


+ Service & Setting
It takes them quite a while to serve the food so I suggest you bring patience with you. The cafe is small but it's neat. It's safe to say that the cafe is not designed for hours long of stay because really the dog zone is the zone for that.

DOG ZONE
Say Hi to my crazy little family

The room where the dogs are is separated from the cafe itself, but don't worry it's just across the cafe. Entrance to the dog zone costs P195 each, and it comes with a refreshing drink. You have to order the drink in the cafe first and then they'll give you your ticket for the dog zone.

+ Things you should know:
 One ticket is good for one person and is only valid for 2 hours.
 It also comes with one locker per group, where you can keep your bags safe for the time being as they are not allowed in the dog zone.
 Slippers are also provided as any kind of footwear other than the provided slippers are not allowed in the dog zone.
 You can bring your cameras and your drink inside, but not outside food/drinks
 You're not allowed to bring your own pet for the safety purposes of the dog residents.
 You cannot feed the dogs anything.
≡ No need for reservations.
≡ The dogs are well trained and very friendly!


Once you are inside, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the crazy adorable creatures! You can also ask the crew to take photos of you with the dogs. Some of the dogs don't bother and they just sleep in a corner or beside you if you're lucky, especially Psyche, the beagle! The first time I went there she just slept in my lap the whole time and when I came back, she was still sleeping at somebody else's lap, psh!

Tip: the dogs are only loyal to their masters, aka the crew. 

Here's a quick video of the situation in Barkin' Blends:

+ Meet the residents




+ Thoughts
I will definitely be coming back for these babies! But there's something about the place that's been bothering me since. It's just that I don't like to see the dogs being... an entertainer. I just keep on thinking about what they must feel about being surrounded by a different crowd every single day, asked to sit and stay so that the crowd can take photos with them. They must feel tired of it at some point. On another note, I secretly want to kidnap every one of them and keep them as my own. ;)

Review
Food: 
Budget:
Service: 
Ambiance: 
Theme: 



I don't know about what your heaven would look like, but this will definitely be mine! Okay, not exactly the cafe, but a place packed with adorable cuddly dogs will do it! To be quite honest, I thank God everyday for dogs, especially Brooke (my Labrador retriever) and wish that He would never ever take her away from me. It's such a silly request, I know, but you know... we gotta have faith! ;)


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My First Hot Air Balloon Fiesta Experience

February 16, 2017 Pampanga, Philippines

PIHABF - Souvenirs

Twice I have attempted to attend the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, and twice I have failed. Until I  read an article on Facebook that says "This year's Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark maybe the last", and it gave me a mini heart attack! So I asked AJ to book us entrance tickets immediately, that way there will be no backing out. I just cannot miss this one. Now I'm finally able to say, I made it! Lol. It's in my bucketlist to visit the hot air balloons in Turkey, so when I found out that we have one of our own here, I've been wanting to go ever since.

On the road
Gates open at 5:30 in the morning, while the first flight of the hot air balloons for the day will be at 6:30AM. We woke up at 2:00AM and by 3:00AM we were already on the road backpacker style. It was really early, I thought we had enough travel time to make it to the first balloon flight. But of course, at 4:30AM, it was already traffic in the express way. How can there be no traffic at 4 in the morning, right? To our luck, the bus we we're riding on got held up by a traffic enforcer just as we we're about to exit a toll. Our driver really sucked at negotiations, he just stayed there in his seat cursing the officer outside, unwilling to surrender his license. Big thanks to that one passenger that helped and convinced the driver talk to the officer to let us go and out bus driver got a ticket instead.

Arrival
8:00AM. We arrived at a very very bad time. Despite the fact that we were not able to witness the first flight of the hot air balloons, we entered the Freeport while everyone who came only for the damn balloons were already exiting the grounds. Imagine the hassle, the heat of the sun and the crowd of people. The organizers did a really crappy job at the gates. I saw two gates, and people are coming in and out on only one gate. It made a very long line, huge traffic of people, and a very angry crowd to that too. At 9:30AM we finally got inside and set our camp.



What's inside
The said event's theme is "A Weekend of Everything That Flies". Most people came to take photos of the hot air balloons, and since we missed it, our only chance to see them again is to wait until the next balloon flight which is at 5:30PM. So we camped and waited.

But worry not, you're not going to die of boredom inside while you wait for the balloons to fly. There were plenty of activities for us to enjoy. There's paragliding, aircraft flights, and skydiving! But I have to tell you, it is not cheap. We didn't try any of those, it was way out of our budget! Haha. But I definitely enjoyed myself watching people do the activities themselves.


There are also booths inside where you can play games and win prizes! That we participated in. I won a shirt from the Manila Bulletin booth. There are also lot of food stalls there so don't you worry about your hunger fam, food is everywhere. There's also fast food chain stalls inside, like Jollibee, KFC, Bon Chon, Shakeys, and many more. So you have a wide selection of food. I packed ourselves something for lunch, but we ate/bought a lot of food inside as well. Especially cold drinks, because it was scorching in there!


We mostly stayed in the tent because of the heat. Eventually we got bored and obviously we had nothing better to do, so we bought a kite and flew one along with everybody else. The kite costs P80 and up depending on the design. There are various designs to choose from! From a plain old kites, cartoon characters, birds, and planes.


As soon as it got cloudy, we started to watch the event shows. It inlcudes Aerobatic Exhibitions, Balloon Bursting, Formation Flyung, Gliding and Microlight & Ultralight Flying. Balloon Bursting was my favorite! Criteria is, someone from the ground will release a balloon and the one's riding an aircraft needs to pop it with the tip of it's phalange* . And there was an event where a helicopter is racing an SUV, which is always won by the SUV btw. What I was excited about was the Drift event. I'm a huge Fast & Furious fan so watching live drifting excites me! Too bad they had to perform on a runway only, it would have been so cool if they had like a track or something! They chose about 10 lucky winners to ride shotgun with the drifters, they we're so lucky! :)


At 5:30PM, the winds were still strong. We had to wait until the wind rate is low before they blow up the balloons. The hot air balloon show started at 7:30 in the evening and it was fantastic, I am just out of words. I don't know if it was the same with the morning flight, but I prefer the one at night. Though I didn't think so because it kinda looked like a light show in the evening! Although they did not actually flew them up in the air, they just blew them up. It was amazing all the same, it was quite the sight!



Useful tips
  • Go as early as you can. We left at 3AM but it was still not enough. It may be faster if you're not commuting. Still, the earlier the better.
  • Do not wear white anything. It's like a dessert in there, so expect to get a bit dirty. I wore a white sneakers and a white shirt. My shoes were almost brown when I got home.
  • It is super hot out there, so bring or be ready for any kind of refreshments. Bring sunblock and an umbrella!
  • Manila Water's booth was free drinking water for everyone. Plus it's cold too!
  • Bring a face mask. It's sandy, so expect a lot of dust around. 
  • Ladies, there are only portable comfort rooms. Ya'll need to bring lot of tissues and wipes if you'll ever need to pee. Be brave, haha.
Most of the people said that it was not worth it to go to the said event but if you love like aircrafts and flying, it's going to be worth it. We truly enjoyed ourselves. If you have enough money, you can try their activities and I'm sure you're going to love it. It's not going to be the last for the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF), they announced that we'll definitely see them again next year! I will probably go back, but just to take photos of the first balloon flights because revenge.
Thank you all for reading! How about you, are you planning to go on the next PIHABF? Or we're you able to experience the fun already? Tell me about it on the comment box below :)

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Discover Weekly: Stoked To Travel

February 9, 2017

Philippines' tourism is something I'm actually proud of as a Filipino, but it's probably the only thing too, hahahaha kidding. Although I haven't  delved on even a quarter of the Philippine provinces, I know how beautiful this country is, thanks heaps to the internet! It's not called a tropical paradise for nothing.  That is why I plan on stepping foot on all the 81 provinces of the Philippines, yay!. I have a long way to go, but it's this year's goal.

So, as I was busying myself on Facebook one night, jumping across one travel bloggers group to another, I came across a thread where people share their facebook blog pages for likes! Then a certain page caught my eyes, it was Stoked To Travel. Upon checking out the page, I saw that she's been posting photos from her latest travel destination which was the Philippines. I felt happy and proud, of course.

I contacted the blogger, and asked her for a Q+A collaboration. Meet Claire Stokes - currently residing in London and plans to travel all over the world. She loves the Philippines as she mentioned in her blog. She's already been around Manila, Cebu, Bohol, & Palawan, It was really nice of her to do this with me, So here's the chika, my chikas! :)



Q: 50 countries and counting - how long have you been travelling and how has it been like to travel so many countries?
A: I’ve had the travel bug for as long as I can remember but didn’t start going abroad regularly until I was about 13. So for the past 12 years, the countries have been racking up. I’m lucky that my parents love to travel as well! I’d say it’s pretty awesome to have been to so many places, I would almost say it’s become an addiction! My bank account isn’t always too happy but the people I’ve met and the places I’ve seen are worth every last penny!
Q: Do you prefer to travel solo or with a travel buddy? 
A: I normally prefer to go with others. It’s either friends, my boyfriend or my Dad! We’ve been on two trips now, the first through Vietnam and the second trip to China for 2 weeks! I’ve done a few solo adventures though such as exploring the Northern Territory in Australia or Dubai, both were awesome!

Q: How and when did you decide to travel to the Philippines. (The first and second time)
A: The first time was when I was living in Australia and it was the only country in SE Asia that I hadn’t visited. I also didn’t know anyone else who had been at that time, so I wanted to get there first! The second time was because I loved it so much and felt this urge to get back and see more!
Q: Was it hard for you to get around the Philippines? Tell us your favorite part of the trip. :)
A: Air Asia and Cebu Pacific make flying around pretty easy, but sometimes it can take a full day to go between islands since it’s never just a flight. It’s always like a tricycle, a bus, a boat, a flight, a bus, a tricycle. Sometimes you have to go back to Manila to fly to another island, so the time can add up! My favourite part of my most recent trip was probably a sunset swim in Boracay on New Year’s Eve – there was a live band playing the steel drums on the beach, we were floating in the sea and the sun was setting – it was perfect!

Q: Did you have any bad experiences travelling abroad?
A: Not really, I’ve been incredibly lucky through all my travels and never been mugged, attacked, hassled or had any major injuries! That’s even with living in West Africa for 6 months! Fingers crossed I never do! 


Q: What's the best foreign food you have ever tasted?
A: I love Middle Eastern food and Italian food! Also, Australia does the best desserts ever – nowhere I’ve been has ever compared. Oh and Cuban coffee in Miami – wow!
Q: What do you do on your spare time when you're not travelling?
A: Unfortunately, just going to a normal job but I’m trying to do more and more travel writing to follow my dreams. I also spend a lot of time exploring London – there’s endless fun and adventures to be had here too!
Q: Now, where do you plan on going next?
A: I’m off for a weekend break to Venice in March which I’m really excited about as I love Italy and their food so much! Also, 2.5 weeks backpacking through Morocco in April. Who knows with the rest of the year! :)


Hope you guys enjoyed our little Q & A as much as I did! Hit me up if you want a collaboration. You know where you can reach me! :)

Disclaimer: All photos are from and taken by Claire Stokes. Here's how you can reach her:
Blog: stokedtotravel.com
Facebook: Stoked To Travel 
Twitter: @stokedtotravel
Instagram: @stokedtotravel

7 Reasons To Visit Baguio City, Philippines

February 4, 2017


The first time I went there was two years ago but I still remember my trip like it was just yesterday. Baguio City was where the travel bug bit me. It was our first ever backpack adventure, AJ and I. My very first DIY backpacking trip. We never actually planned on going to Baguio. The idea kicked in when we got invited to a wedding that will be held in Pampanga. So I suggested that we go to Baguio afterwards thinking Baguio is already nearby. But I was wrong of course, it was still hours away hahaha. The moment we stepped out of the bus, I fell in love with Baguio immediately, like I didn't want to go home anytime soon, I wanted to stay. Here's 7 good reasons why you should visit Baguio, ASAP!

1. It's sweater-weather all year round!

We didn't expect to arrive at Baguio City at 4:30 in the morning, we thought we'll reach the city by at least 6AM. But it was still dark and cold, I was shivering as soon I stepped out off the bus. I can actually see my breath for the first time and it amazed me, of course! Haha. The climate is on the top of the list because it's the perfect weather for layers! And layering clothes is the style goal, because we can never wear to much clothes in the Philippines, being a tropical country and all.


2. Strawberry everything!
The Benguet province has the largest strawberry farms in the country so it's safe to say that they make anything they can from their strawberries. There are Strawberry wines, jam, ice creams, even taho! You can also pick some fresh strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet. 

3. Panagbenga Festival



We were quite lucky to have witnessed the Panagbenga Festival os the "Baguio Flower Festival" which they celebrate during the last day of February. It's a parade of floats decorated with flowers of different kinds and colors. You'll be awestruck indeed! 

Book a hotel for the Pangbenga Festival




4. Haunted Mansions

Haunted houses and buildings are on the Baguio tourist map. They have a number them in the map but we opted to go on only one that was nearer. It's the Laperal White House. It's very old and historical and that's all I gotta say. I wasn't quite creeped out as I have expected. One thing I regret is we didn't go to the Diplomat Hotel, it's probably the scariest building in the province.
5. Parks of Every Kind
There's the Treetop Adventure Park which offers cool extreme activities, you can check their website here. There's also Camp John Hay, which is my favorite, but the place is quite pricey. Burnham Park which is in the heart of the city, Mines View Park, Wright Park, where you can meet the most famous  St. Bernard in the Philippines.
6. Mountain Views
Mines View Park has the best view in town. But apparently due to civilization almost half of the mountain view is now full of structures and houses.

7. Night Market + Super Nice People

Night market in Baguio is insane! It stretches out to most of the Session Road. It's like no other, Manila is a no match I must say. Hahaha. Especially their ukay-ukays (thriftshops). They sell food, clothes, accessories, and anything you can think of! Sort of. Also, people there are probably used to having tourists all the time, so they are extra nice and friendly! It will be easy to get around, you can just ask the locals for directions. It's perfectly safe for solo travelers!

How about you, have you been to Baguio City? Tell us about your trip on the comment box below.
And if not, what are you waiting for? Come visit Baguio, now!

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Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist

January 26, 2017

Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist


Whenever I go on a trip, there will always be one thing that I will forget to bring, like from my last trip in Zambales. It will be the first time that I'm actually going to use my brand new Hero 5 in action when... *insert dramatic drumroll* I forgot to bring it's connector!!! Can you imagine the excitement and the disappointment I felt? That I finally have a Hero 5 but can only use it for a limited time, I was so bummed it was such a disaster!

And then there was my trip before that when I forgot my camera because I had so much in my hands that I forgot to bring my stupid camera. Yeah, pretty stupid, alright. (Yes, cameras are my priorities! And yet I forget them haha)

So I decided to make a master checklist for all my travel essentials. Everything you're going to need for hiking, beaching, or just for an out of town trip. You won't need to bring everything in the list, just tick off the one's you need and make sure to check it out during packing and not after it. 


Let me know on the comments below if the link helps and tell me what you think :)




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