Category: roadtrips

Paris Bound – Partie Deux

On our second in Paris we woke up a bit later than planned, thanks to the thousands of Uber drives and walking and general wondering where we were, which wasn’t all that bad considering we got so tired and sleepy early the day before. We needed the sleep.

On our last day in Paris we made sure to tick off the remaining boxes in our list and make sure that we get everything seen, bought and done before our cab came to our hotel for our 8:15pm flight back to Gatwick Airport.

Jour 2:

Day 2 of our Paris trip found us gazing lovingly at l’Arc de Triomphe, one of my favourite landmarks of the entire city.

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I actually found the Arc de Triomphe to be my favourite landmark in the whole of Paris, maybe because I was unprepared by its beauty and detail. @valombao was so excited and was raving about it even the day before, much to my confusion. All that time I thought the Arc de Triomphe was just like the Marble Arch in London. MAN, was I in for a surprise!

Maybe it was the innocence and lack of momentum that made me believe that this monument, one of most famous monuments in the Champs-Élysées and in all of Paris became my most favourite part of the entire city.

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Since we had a normal picture with the Eiffel Tower, here’s a more accurate shot of our friendship in front of the Arc de Triomphe. The weirdo, the always loading and the blasé one. Est 2011!!!

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Here’s a rainy shot of the Notre-Dame de Paris. I was expecting to see Quasimodo talking to his gargoyle friends while Esmeralda does a magic trick to entertain tourists around. But I did get to see a homeless man with two canine friends who both wore little berets while sitting on a mat, probably in hopes of luring tourists to take pictures in exchange for money.

I have to be honest, getting lost in Minérales do brasil was my preferred way of buying souvenirs from Paris, one of the few crystal shops I managed to track down in Paris. Apparently there was one inside the Louvre but because we didn’t go inside we never got the chance to see it. Turns out, after researching, the store was on the upper side of the price scale and we probably wouldn’t have eaten anything if we bought anything there!

After letting yourself in the huge gold door, you’ll find yourself in a very secluded area, which felt like a small estate area, with an open garage where a monsieur was washing his car. There were perfectly trimmed flowers and symmetrically placed windows everywhere.

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Walk deeper inside, past the tunnel and to your left is the entrance to the crystal shop. It may be a small shop, but don’t let this get to you. The shop is FULL of crystals, with clusters upon clusters of amethyst the stone of their particular preference. As I always do in crystal shops, the energy gets me so high and fizzy I forget to take pictures. But here’s a shot of the ones I did get.

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Malachite Lion and Cat carving, a Celestite tumbled (because Parisian vibes are that exact shade of blue), Green Garnet tumbled, a Zebra Jasper that looks like an actual zebra’s head, a Chrysocolla tumbled and a black tumbled stone whose name I sadly cannot remember. I might need to study more on that.

Final thoughts:

Paris never really gives you the impression that it’s a busy, cash cow city that makes you feel like you need to rush around and make sure you don’t miss your train. It’s very obvious this is where bohemianism first really originated, where you can find literary, musical, theatrical and artistic enlightenment and herds upon herds of gypsies roam the city with new techniques of scamming people under the backdrop of such famous names like the Arc de Triomphe, the Mussee du Louvre and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

All in all, Paris left me with inspiration and, most of all, love.

Shout outs to birthday girl Val for taking us to the Catacombs and all the Uber libre and to Kristine for always pointing out all of our faults because you’re so perfect and for making this all happen; you are the Bruce Wayne of this KUC Trinity! Love to my Gemini quadruplets!

– Troy

Paris Bound – Partie Un

If you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be walking around the streets of Paris while wearing breton stripes in late spring, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, turns out, in the last warm days of May, I found myself doing just that, thanks to the perseverance, spontaneity and extreme levels of energy and enthusiasm from my Gemini quadtruplets @valombao and @itskristiineee, the other two sides of the #KUCTrinity. And after the two and a half days wandering around the city, coming back to London filled my heart with a whole lot of love and a plan to return to the city of lights as soon as possible.

After landing in Paris through Charles de Gaulle Airport from London Gatwick, we taxi-ed our way to Hôtel Parisiana, near Strasbourg Saint-Denis Station, which we spent the night watching French adverts, BBC News Asia in English among others things (#Oops2016). The rest of the evening actually flew by because I slept like a baby! Paris, you were a dream from the beginning.

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Doesn’t that just remind you of the first song number from the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast? How does that one go again?

[Belle:] Little town
It’s a quiet village
Ev’ry day
Like the one before
Little town
Full of little people
Waking up to say:

[Townsfolk:] Bonjour!
Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour!

Mornings in Paris were something to behold. As I looked over the window I could see empty streets being coloured by rays of sunshine like spilled liquid gold and a lone person walking about. The rest of the street may have become busier but it’s still pretty easy to fall for the mystical lore of Parisian romance that seeps through the corners of Rue Chabrol. And waking up to that seemingly boring view of the old windows and cement walls was actually an added bonus; I looked forward to absorbing the vibes of their architecture and history.

Jour 1:

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In the morning, which greeted us with gleeful blue skies in an already busy street with cafés, market stalls and used electronic stores that reminded me of Kilburn High Road and North End Road Market, we met our first monument: the Porte Saint-Denis. Like the arch we see in Marble Arch: presence powerful, detailed and for some reason totally fits in with the contrasting surrounding of marketplace and leaking sewage water.

We made the Eiffel Tower our top priority that morning. After taking the Metro for nine stops, we realised how much we take the London Underground for granted. Maybe because it was early in the work day, but the Metro was packed. We thought to wait for another one after realising we couldn’t get in due to the amount of people already squeezing themselves in (“dapat kasi hindi pinagsisiksikan ang sarili kung hindi naman talaga nakalaan para sa iyo”), but after three more trains we decided to give up and get on one at last.

If you want to visualise this scene, think of Westfield Stratford days before Christmas. On a Sunday afternoon.

But despite this, the people on the carriage with us were never loud or irritated by the compactness and the sweatiness; they actually made us look like spoiled cavemen during rush hour on a Tuesday morning with their ease and politeness, save for one woman who chose to lean onto one of my friends and give all of her body weight to her.

The Eiffel Tower, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with.

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I actually had the deluded idea that people who talked about The Eiffel Tower with such googly eyes were just being tourists recounting a dazed dream, romanticising the life out of the 1887 French monument. But I was wrong.

Upon arriving at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, we were taken aback by its sheer size, first of all. Just by trying to look at the very top you felt dizzy and like you weren’t on the ground already! Even at ten in the morning, the Eiffel Tower was astonishing. It amuses me how people actually hated it when it was first built, calling it ugly and “not fitting in with the rest of the city”.

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Photo by @valombao and her trusty sidekick slash “travel buddy”, her selfie stick!

BTW: If you’re going to go to the Eiffel Tower, be ready to ward off people who ask you to sign and donate money to “help the blind and the deaf”; it’s a well-known scam in Paris to get money off of you so don’t fall for it. Just ignore them completely, or if this is something you find too rude to do, simply say no firmly and move on to whatever it is you’re doing. There’s usually policemen and signs around the tower saying that these people are gypsies and should not be entertained, but always be wary of your things being stolen.

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After taking another Uber to the Louvre (and passing the River Seine), we decided not to go inside because of the long line and just chose to take pictures around the terraces and with the huge glass pyramids. Who knew French orbs were a cool, suave sky blue?

After The Louvre, we found ourselves eating really delicious Japanese food in Sanukiya, which was just a few minutes walk from The Louvre. I had the Kamotéri-Don, rice and caramelised duck.

Walking around + heat + chill Parisian vibes = tired Troy

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Pour tous les Lions

Le Lion de Belfort was like the four lions that patrol and reign over Trafalgar Square, but this one had more soul and movement to it. It had a strong, enormous presence on the roundabout and I was both disappointed and relieved people couldn’t come close to it to the point of riding and taking close shots of it because it had no pavement around it. That meant people couldn’t tarnish it or even vandalise it even if they tried because they’d be run over. It is a smaller version of a bigger statue in the French city of Belfort.

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Through out the day walking around the city and taking Uber cab on top of Uber cab, it quickly dawned to me: Paris doesn’t feel like a capital city. Or at least the kind of capital city that I grew up knowing. It didn’t feel as condensed and stressful as Manila or as work-oriented and corporate as London.

Instead, every inch of the city, garbed with colourful street art, highly maintained landmarks, street performers and even random book stalls all around the city, painted the city with artistic satisfaction and a breath of fresh air from men suffocated in suits and women trying to function under pencil skirts on their way to the office.

Le Grande Livre des Gémeaux par Paul Colombet et Le Grande Livre du Le Lion par Jean-Pierre Vezien

How kismet is it that we would find a book stall selling huge books on individual star signs? Each for just 3€! Time to brush up my French, I guess!

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Here’s another shot of the Eiffel Tower at night. I think this was about 9-10pm. We went back after taking a few hours rest back in our hotel room with our friends KFC, M&S and the very very cool aircon.

Every turn of the hour the Eiffel Tower has lights dancing around it for about a few minutes. If you lived in the city, you’d think you would have grown tired of this dancing lights extravaganza, but at around 11pm and the third dancing lights session, every Parisian drinking and lounging around the park cheered and sent the love back to the Eiffel Tower, which cemented my idea that French people were officially the chiller group of people.

– Troy


Isle of Wight Bound

One of my life long dreams is to live under the same roof with my closest friends like they do in How I Met Your Mother and FRIENDS, where we would have to cook for ourselves, take turns cleaning the toilet (except me), stay up all night and along the way have laughtrips and arguments that would later tighten our friendship up from something young into something much more infinite.

Our roadtrip holiday to the Isle of Wight did just that, I’d like to think.

PS. Even though we went to a lot of tourist attractions, I couldn’t take a lot of pictures because I was too busy being inhaling it all. Here, instead, are a few hundred shots of us in some of the spots we went to!

Roll Call:

Group shot courtesy of Jelyn’s GoPro and selfies by Ate Precious!


Ate Precious – Bachelor of Itinerary Arts

Barry “Bamboo” – Best in Driving

Madam Judylyn – MasterChef/Baon Queen

Bisaya Jelyn – Videographer Extraodinaire

Troyski – Comedy Gold/Part-Time Nurse

I’m on a roadtrip:

From Roehampton to Portsmouth, the drive took around two hours, and within those couple of hours we managed to properly wake ourselves up, get something to drink and amp ourselves up for the rest of the day as we, unsurprisingly, had little sleep due to the excitement. Kudos to our driver Barry for keeping his eyes glued on the road!

We also had tons of songs to listen to, which I think helped make our drive more music video-like, especially since the sky was so blue and clear and our path was filled with nature scenery.

Our playlist consisted of:

  • Cool Kids by Echosmith
  • Ayo by Chris Brown x Tyga
  • Sugar by Maroon 5
  • I Don’t Mind by Usher
  • All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  • Roadtrip by Karylle (of course!)
  • Want It That Way by BackStreet Boys
  • Wannabe by The Spice Girls
  • So Young by The Corrs
  • Jenny From The Block (which I dubbed as Jelyn From The Block) by J.Lo

And a lot of other songs predominantly from the 90s because we repped the 90s.

The ferry from Portsmouth took around 45 minutes and was also fun. It was my first time ever being on a boat! I finally understood people when they say they get seasick as the boat kept swerving from left to right.

Thorness Bay bound:

We stayed at a caravan by the very clean and very polite Thorness Bay, a very homey mobile house fit for five very happy and always hungry young adults. Before we could book, however, we did some exploring and found the playground, a pool table and the seaside aka Jelyn’s pond.

If you’re looking for a caravan with good hygiene and customer service that is both quick and easy to contact, consider Thorness Bay!

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We found a sixth member!

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#OOTD! Thank you to the Philippines for my Js, my #ProudlyPinoy shirt and my fading tan.

This was the scene from outside our caravan! I’m so happy we had few neighbours because we could laugh as loud as we could and I had the privacy to disappear in the morning and just wander around and inhale the fresh air in the mornings.

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The Shanklin Chine:

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Obligatory Filipino picture by the attraction. Very happy with my shirt from CafePress.

The Shanklin Chine is one of the island’s oldest tourist attractions, with its very serene ambiance perfect for writing, picture taking and group shots. A lot of beautiful trees, birds of different colours and water bodies that tell hundreds of stories.

The forest’s backdrop is what got us all, though: the overlooking view of the seaside stretched from the very end of what your eye could see. Priceless.

Note: Be sure to bring cash to the entrance as they don’t accept card payments. We learnt that the hard way and ended up getting lost in the pier, where we also got to buy some of our pasalubongs!

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The Needles:

My favourite part about The Needles is definitely the beach. Not so much the chairlift, as I realised I’m still not okay with my fear of heights. Lesson of the day: I do much better in fast rides than I do in slow rides.

The mountains showed a variety of warm colours that contrasted the very clear blue sky, which was a sight to remember.

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Check out this YouTube video thanks to my creative friend slash Leo sibling Jelyn!

Onto our next roadtrip!

– Troy