Quarantine Hobby…

What are your coping mechanism with a prolonged stay at home directive? Most of us still have movement restrictions. We aren’t able to go out as much as we like. And even if we are allowed to go out, most of us are still afraid to do so with the covid-19 virus still out and about. During this pandemic we found ways to cope. I did experience cabin fever so I went out of the house and just drive around! Sometimes without leaving the car. Just go on a joyride to see the outside world and then drive-thru at the nearest McDonald’s.

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, my activity was cleaning the house. Arranging things and trying to have a Marie Kondo moment. Then after that, it was learning how to cook and actually liking it. Yes, I don’t know how to cook but was able to learn how while on quarantine. I got good feedback for my Baked Salmon, Sushi Bake, Chorizo Pasta and BBQ Ribs. I guess this pandemic is not so bad. Forced to stay at home. Boredom kicked in and boom! You find something worthwhile to do that your family will appreciate. Ha!ha!

After the kitchen stint the next one was looking at the garden. This by far is the most expensive hobby that anyone can have during this pandemic. It’s addicting but nope, I am not yet that crazy to buy an expensive Monstera Deliciosa. But, I did revamp our garden which cost a lot of money. Plus I bought plants, pots and plant racks! I am a certified “Plantita” now because not only do I go straight to my plants to water, talk and check on them but I also know how to repot and plant! Slowly, I can feel my “green thumb” sprouting as well. I never imagined myself actually doing the gardening. We have a gardener that comes every month to tend the garden. Usually, I just watch him cut the grass and repot some plants.

I am not sure if this is because I am getting older. But, I enjoy gardening now. Not only me but my circle of friends as well. We chat and video call each other to discuss our plants! No more discussions on the new fashion, bags or shoes but instead we are excited to share our new “babies”! We collect varieties of Calathea, Caladium, Monstera, Philodendron etc. And mind you, plants are getting expensive everyday. The demand is so high and supply is already low.

My kids were shaking their heads every time I arrived home with new plants. Some plants were given to me by neighbors though but some are bought at the nearby garden center. I know I should stop buying plants. But it’s so hard especially if there’s a pretty one that caught my eye. My usual defense is to say that we are helping revive the economy by buying and spending our money. Ha!ha!

Having plants at home is therapeutic though. It’s like a happy pill. A new leaf sprouting is an eye candy and can make the day a little brighter than yesterday. What about you? What are your new quarantine hobby? I hope you find one that is interesting, totally new and out of character!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Travel Fears…

I was supposed to be vacationing in Taipei, Taiwan on the last week of July 2020 with family but of course it also got cancelled due to the pandemic. It is still difficult to travel with so many restrictions and quarantine measures put in place both in my home and destination country. Like me, I guess most people are dreaming of a time we can all go gallivanting again. Those who love to travel are probably itching to pack their bags and go to places known or unknown. But unfortunately we are all stuck in our homes watching travel documentaries on cable tv, netflix or our own travel videos.

I often wonder how we will travel in the future. Of course, the mask will probably be a staple especially during airplane rides and probably while waiting in the airport. Will we still feel comfortable without a mask? This Covid-19 virus brought about fear of the unknown to the nth level. Even if we get our vaccine shot, we will probably still be paranoid that we can get another unknown virus if we don’t practice safety measures like wearing a mask, hand sanitizing and social distancing.

It is normal to have travel fears especially during this uncertain times. I just hope that we can all overcome our fears when this pandemic is over and start to travel again. We do need to revive the travel industry! So many people were affected most especially in the aviation and tourism sector. Pristine beaches with clear blue skies are waiting for us. I should really plan a trip to Boracay Island or El Nido, Palawan soon. I want to sip Piña Colada while staring at the blue sea.

Daydreaming until that time we can all have a semblance of normalcy in our lives.

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

The New Normal…

Many changes to one’s normal life happened in the last few months. And not only in my country but the whole world. Most of us were quarantined. We were afraid of an enemy that we cannot see. We became paranoid about getting sick and dying because of a virus. No one is judging anyone of their fears. Everyone were affected one way or another. I am thankful everyone in the family are currently healthy. We had a couple of scary moments thinking one of them got the virus. Luckily, it wasn’t covid although still a respiratory problem.

Metro Manila where I live will be lifting the hard lockdown and will move to what they call GCQ or General Community Quarantine on the first of June. Doing so will help our country’s economy recover by opening businesses. There are still so many restrictions but at least a lot of people can now go back to work with the availability of mass transportation. Air travel is allowed with major airports opening. However, international destinations inbound and outbound are still limited. I guess no one really wants to travel and be quarantined at their destination as well as at home upon arrival from a business or leisure trip. Two weeks ago I cancelled our Taipei trip in July. My companions and I are too scared to travel and be quarantined in our destination or when we come back from traveling. I am collecting travel funds, travel vouchers nowadays! When you buy promo fares, you’ll end up with that. Well, for the airlines that I chose to fly for the cancelled trips. Ha!ha! Anyway, I really hope that when October comes, the virus is nowhere to be seen. Otherwise, another travel cancellation and this time to Europe will happen.

I read that the new normal in traveling will entail going to the airport earlier because aside from the usual security check, there will also be a health check. Online check in is required. Lines will probably be long since we have to follow social distancing protocols. That we need to wear a mask is a given. It is mandated by the government. Failure to wear a mask in public will incur a hefty fine and you might even end up in jail. We will know more about this in the coming days when airports finally open and we get news of the flow.

I am thankful though that during the quarantine I was able to reconnect with old friends and made new friends albeit online. With nowhere to go and our busy lives suddenly slowing down, we have time to actually catch up with one another. Some people became busy harnessing their baking and cooking abilities and turning it into a small business. While I become busy drooling over the yummy food they were selling and then always end up buying them!

I think I will miss being on a total lockdown. I dread going back to the traffic and pollution. I somehow liked the stillness of the street. I enjoyed the supply run where the roads are so eerily quiet

I hope tomorrow when we start to go out from our home again we will remember that the virus is still out there. It’s not eradicated yet. There’s still no available vaccine. The “new normal” will be us making sure we protect ourselves as well as protecting others. So, don’t forget to wear your mask and to bring along a small alcohol or hand sanitizer wherever you go!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Quarantine Life…

It’s been more than a month since we were placed on community quarantine and it’s been extended twice. We are now in what they call “Season 3” of the ECQ or Enhanced Community Quarantine in our country. The government preferred to call it as quarantine instead of lockdown. Each country have different names for it. Singapore have their Circuit Breaker and Malaysia have the MCO or Movement Control Order. But basically it’s all the same. Limiting the movements of people to contain the coronavirus. It’s a drastic measure but a necessary one to avoid a surge in people getting sick that can overwhelm the health system of the country. We all saw what happened to Italy.

I wonder how people cope with their quarantine life. I am lucky because I am still able to work from home. I still have a job and a salary as the company I worked for is considered an essential industry. But I know a lot of people aren’t as lucky. There are so many companies that were impacted and one of them is the travel industry. I read of airlines suffering due to low demand and it took a toll on these companies. Some employees were requested to go on unpaid leave. Some were let go. It’s very sad but that’s just how it is. Traveling is not essential. We can always reschedule or cancel travel plans. After all, the places we want to visit will not go away. It will wait for us even if we decide to do it years after this pandemic is over.

I have travel plans in July and December that are not yet changed, rebooked or cancelled. I am still waiting for a miracle. That this pandemic will be over soon. That we can all start living normal lives. That a cure will be discovered tomorrow. That a vaccine will not take a year or more to develop but instead will be available soon. These are wishful thinking. For now, we have to deal with our “new normal”. Refraining from going to crowded places where we cannot practice physical distancing. Wearing of face mask as part of the OOTD. Hand washing and sanitizing every chance that we get. At the moment, being paranoid and overly cautious is okay. As they say, it is better to be safe and healthy than sorry.

The one thing that this pandemic brought to us though is the chance to let mother earth heal. Because we stopped moving around, we saw reports of reduced pollution in cosmopolitan cities around the world. Clear blue skies, clean rivers and sea. Most of all, families get to spend time together. For some a rare occurrence. We have a lot of time so we communicate more with each other. Out of boredom for some but for others it’s a chance to reconnect with friends and families you don’t get to talk to due to a busy life.

Wherever you are. No matter the condition you are in. Remember that this too shall pass.

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Travel Woes…

Travel plans changed in a blink of an eye. We were supposed to go to Hanoi this weekend to watch the Vietnam Formula 1 Grand Prix inaugural race. We were excited and booked our tickets late last year. We also planned to visit Ho Chi Minh while in the country. Hitting two cities with this trip. However, all that changed in the last month or so. Due to an unseen enemy called corona virus, a lockdown to contain the spread of the virus was issued in most countries including my own.

It’s no joke to cancel a trip! It’s a good thing that the airline sent a notice that we have an option to put the value of our tickets from the Philippines to Vietnam and back to a travel fund which we can use in the future. It’s one less thing to worry and I appreciate at http://www.cebupacificair.com with this initiative. Hotel booking cancellation was also a breeze because it was done via http://www.booking.com and all were with free cancellation. Now the hardest part was the domestic flight cancellation or rebooking for our Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh flight via Vietnam Airlines. It took a long time for their customer service to reply and attend to my email inquiry. I can understand though as the volume of rebooking, flight cancellations must be gigantic. Add in the language barrier and you have another problem. Anyway, the feedback was that the value of our air ticket cannot be refunded but we can rebook once for a fee of about $25. However, since we cannot think of another travel date due to the unknown F1 schedule the airline tickets are gone and we will lost money. I’ll charge it to the Covid-19 experience!

As for the F1 tickets, it is currently on hold as we still plan to watch it in the future. The organizer was quick to respond to the ticket inquiry and options were also given. Hopefully, we can survive this pandemic and lives will return to normal the soonest possible time. For now, we live in our new “normal”. Social distancing, working from home, home cooked meals, limited movements and spending quality time with our immediate family. This pandemic has made us view the world in another way. Made us realize the importance of the essentials and non-essentials things in life.

Do take care, readers! Life is short. Let’s still enjoy it while on quarantine or isolation.

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

2020…

It’s a New Year. A Leap Year. Year of the Rat.

January is almost over and what an eventful month it was. From the Australian bush fire to the Taal Volcano eruption with matching earthquakes, to conflicts and disaster in the Middle East, we can say that the year entered with a big bang! And now the most scary thing that happened in January is the on going NCoV epidemic in China which spread to other countries including my own.

Traveling nowadays is a challenge. I wonder if this NCoV scare will go on for months. Hopefully it won’t and the virus will die a natural death. I’m concerned because I do have upcoming trips in April, July and December. Air tickets were paid for already. Events tickets were bought and paid for. It would be a major hassle if this epidemic will go on.

I’m a bit sorry for being lazy. I did not update this blog for quite sometime. And I traveled a lot in the last few months of 2019 so I should have been sharing more. Had a few footprints left in Tokyo, Japan in September. Followed by a lot of footprints left in Madrid, Seville, Granada and Barcelona, Spain last October. Went for a day trip in Tangier, Morocco. Enjoyed an overnight stay in Singapore in November to watch a U2 concert. And had a super fun time in Cebu, Philippines after Christmas with family!

I hope to write about my escapades soon. In the meantime, I wish all my readers a happy leap year. Stay safe and be healthy!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Happy New Year, Happy 2018…

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!🥂🎉

May all your dreams and aspirations in 2018 come true. My wish is that I could be more active in updating my travel blog. That I could write and share my travels and some other interesting things in cyberspace.

For the past three years, I welcomed the new year in a place I don’t call my home. The first two was in Japan and now I’m in the neighboring country, South Korea. They had an amazing fireworks and LED show in Lotte World Tower that we watched ftom the sidewalk. It was freezing but we braved the cold just to witness how the Koreans welcome the new year.

My tips if you are planning to experience seeing their fireworks display:

1. Bundled up especially if you aren’t used to the cold weather. Temperature drop is common in the middle of the night.

2. Eat your dinner on or before 8 p.m. Most restaurants in the area closed early.

3. Stay inside the mall while waiting to escape the cold. Lotte Mart is open and you can do some shopping if you like.

4. If you’re saving money and taking the train, buy the return ticket before you go out of the train station.

5. After the fireworks, rush to the nearest train station. The crowd is huge with all the Koreans and foreigners catching the late night train. Train will run until 1:35 a.m.

It was an experience to board the Seoul Metro earlier today with the mob of people trying to get in. It was wild but had fun even if we were squeezed silly. If you don’t want that kind of thing, you can probably take the bus or taxi back to your accommodations. If you have young children with you, I advise you take a taxi!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Travelogue…

I literally broke a promise to myself about writing at least once a month in my blog. It’s been four long months since my last post. 😰 I’ve been so busy with my ordinary (work) and not so ordinary life (traveling). While I was away hibernating from writing in my blog, I was able to go out and explore. Yes, that means I traveled to near and far away places. My “itchy feet” was tired but very happy exploring new destinations this year. However, my wallet wasn’t very happy! 🤣

In June 2017, I went to my dream destination in Europe. It was literally a “dream come true”! What used to be a favorite daydreaming habit of exploring Rome, Florence and Venice in my mind became a reality! Italy is I guess in everyone’s bucket list. I am not an exception. What can I say? I fell in love with the country! Ten days is not enough to explore all the beautiful Italian places. I will write about my visit there soon. 😊

July 2017 made me do some traveling within the country (Cebu City, Philippines) and region (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). The first one is for pleasure. Visiting the city where I grew up and hanging out with friends. The second one was for work which is boring if you’re all alone.

August 2017 had me packing for a trip with the family to Taipei, Taiwan. It was a very quick weekend getaway. The country is practically our neighbor but was never in our destination list until they decided to let us travel visa free! 😂 Surprisingly, I liked the place and will definitely go back someday because two days was too short. I can’t get enough of the delicious street food. The price is value for money!

I can’t wait to write about my travel escapades. So dear readers, just hang in there! New content coming up… 😊

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

The Love Month…

Time really flies so fast! We just celebrated Christmas and New Year not so long ago and here we are now in the month of love and romance. ❤️ 

February is probably the most “costly or expensive” month after December. Most especially for the men. 😄 This is the month when flowers have sky rocket high prices!😂 When restaurants are fully booked as well as the hotels and motels! 🤣 

Some say that Valentine’s Day is overrated. I don’t agree. Because we do need to celebrate love. It could be grand or simple but dating and spending time with your loved one on Valentine’s Day and rekindling the feelings you have for each other amid the chaos of one’s busy life is priceless. It’s a good time to remember why you fell in love in the first place. 💖 Kudos to those men who still spend so much money on flowers, chocolates and gifts. Even hardened and jaded women will probably turn soft as marshmallows to receive a flower or bouquet of flowers. Flowers and chocolates after all, never goes out of style!😍 

So, let me greet you dear readers a Happy Valentine’s Day! 💐💖 May your day be extra special with your loved one… If you don’t have one yet, don’t despair. He or she is probably searching for you and haven’t found you yet! 😄 So open your eyes and heart to endless possibilities.

To the single ladies out there, here’s something for you!😜 

Who needs a Valentine when you’re wearing a Valentino? 😄😂😜

Enjoy your celebration of love. ❤️ Til next time…


xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo