Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Travel Packing List!

I am 5 days away *panic* before my 10-week long trip and anyone one who is ever going anywhere asks the same question:  What do I pack?

I have been mentally packing for the past month on what I should or should not bring with me?  Am I bringing too much?  Am I not bringing enough?  Is there anything I forgot?

One of the most sensible advice I've heard is from Wanderlass who said to: pack everything you need and remove anything that you think you MIGHT need.  Buy everything else in your destination.

So without further ado, I show you my packing list:

I have been using this guide to build my wardrobe.  I think it's pretty useful, I should put up on #ootd shot while I'm in New York! haha

3 pants (black and blue denim skinny jeans, a khaki or printed pants)
5 pairs of shoes (rubber shoes, boots, ballet flats, black pumps, slippers)
4 jackets (jersey sport jacket, fleece, reversible jersey/rain jacket, leather)
2 L/S shirts (chambray, checkered)
5 L/S tshirts
2 scarves
5 pairs of socks
12 miscellaneous underwears
1 Aquazorb towel

1 Chromebook
1 iPhone 4
1 Samsung Note2
1 Samsung Camera
1 12000 mAh Power Pond
1 1800 mAh Power Pack
1 camwhore stick (at least that's what I call it)
1 Philip Stein dual time zone watch
1 numeral padlock for hostels
1 cord lock for traveling

Antibiotic (because you cant buy them OTC in the USA)
Immodium (for Mexico, lol)
Panadol (because of my killer Dysmenorrhea)
Nu Skin Enchancer (for all type of skin problems, I swear by this product)
Ping On (my ever reliable ointment)

Make Up
CC Cream
Face powder
Eyebrow Cream
Blush on
Lip Balm
Lip Crayon

Toiletries + Make Up
Shampoo, travel size
Conditioner, travel size
bar of soap
face wash, fem wash
nail cutter
sun screen for face

Air tickets (printed and e-copies)
Driver’s License
Bank Card
Credit Cards

All of these things will be put into my sister's lugguage, the same one Wanderlass used for her round-the-world travel!

Do you have any packing tips to share with me?  Is there anything I forgot?  Help me out.  Safe travels!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I am Samsung Crazy! WB280f Camera Review


I have been using my camera for exactly 2 weeks now and I am definitely getting to know it better.  I think I'm loving it more than I did when I wrote the initial review.  I learned some of the features that definitely made this camera worth my while.

photo from http://www.lovegrowswild.com

S Camera:

When in doubt which setting to use, always set it on Smart Camera setting, the camera logo with an S.  This option takes multiple photos and combines all the photos to make 1 perfect photo.  This option is perfect for a cloudy day, bright but not enough light; the kind of setting where in regular setting you will need to have a steady hand to get a perfect shot, well this option perfects it for you.  Downside is, it processes it kind of slow so you really can't take "kodak moments."  (e.g. UN photos)

P Prorgram:

This works perfectly with perfect sunlight, fast and perfect shots in day time and sunlight.  Force flash can be enforced too.  (e.g. my Washington Capitol Photos)

Crop on the spot:

When you've taken the perfect shot and want to crop out that big tummy or arms, just zoom in and adjust with the touch screen, then click crop.  It automatically saves a new file of the cropped (thinner) version! (e.g. I will not show you an unflattering photo of me, lol)

Wifi Direct:

Initially, I like the "Shoot Now, Share Wow" option because it automatically sends photos you take into your smart phone.  I realized that I do not want this feature because it might use up battery both of my phone and camera.  So I use the Wifi Direct option on my camera and Samsung smart phone (Note 2) to quickly transfer selected file (1 by 1 only) for further editing and posting on facebook.

My verdict:  I am very happy with this camera.  It could be a bit frustrating during night time when I need to check the setting all the time (e.g. my Time Square photos took a lot of tries to get it right); but I am sure that it only gets easier once I am used to it.


The expenditures of my trip so far does not only include my airfares and lodging, I will also have to include gadgets that I have been purchasing FOR this trip, lol.  A few months back, I bought a Google Chromebook and recently have just bought a new Samsung WB280f Smart Camera!

During my short travels, I really do not even bother bringing a real camera with me since I got my Samsung Note 2.  This phablet takes decent to moderately awesome pictures in day time and crappy flash night photography; but for me to be able to share it online is just very convenient for me.

So far, I have been very impressed (and satisfied) with the Samsung products I own, namely my tv, phone, and Chromebook (not to mention our family fridge and washing machine).  I feel very spoiled by Samsung.  Call me Samsung crazy, but I feel that they do not skimp on any features and just gives you all the options and alternatives that you may want and more.

The Samsung Smart Camera WB280f series, you really do not need to compromise, this camera has built in WiFi and a whole lot more.  This is not a sponsored post from Samsung (how I wish it were!) but I am just a big fan of Samsung!

So, what got me sold to this camera?  Let me show you.

Amazing isn't it?  I have been playing with the camera for the past few days and here are my top 5 things I love about it.

1. Mobile Link.  The camera connects with my mobile phone (Samsung Note2) via WiFi, no internet required.  It works like bluetooth but I guess connection is stronger.  Whenever I take a photo with my camera, it automatically transfers it to my mobile phone.  Not only does that duplicate a copy of my photo, I can show it to people in a bigger screen.

2. Easy to use.  The menus are easy to navigate.  Directions are straight forward, information almost spoon fed.  I like that it is touch screen (very accurate too) so I wouldn't wear the buttons out, which are ergonomically positioned and easy to press.

3. Remote Viewfinder.  This feature is AWESOME!  You can prop your camera up on a stand and see the view of the camera FROM YOUR PHONE!  Hiyeah!  You can control zoom and capture at the palm of your hands, wow.

4.  Charger.  One of the things I love about Samsung (and definitely hate about Apple) is how they use the micro USB charger for everything.  This is the dream that one day, the whole world will use the same charger for ALL gadgets!  This will save so much resources onto making adapters and new chargers.  So far my phone, my camera, and my power pack all uses micro USB charger except for my stupid iphone4.

Please allow me to indulge and bash Apple some more.  After most of the gadgets have shifted to micro USB, Apple still maintained their 1" wide charger; and so being the market leader, a lot of the cars manufacturers, hotels, cruise ships etc have incorporated the ipod 1" wide charger into their products or establishments; and then now!  they came out with iPhone 5 / iPad mini and changed it into a different charger!  Not only requiring people who have old Apple charger to buy flash charger adapter (which costs USD29 each) but automatically making all the other products obsolete!  Not just the charger per se but also music docks, both originals and fakes!  Imagine that impact world wide.  I think what they did was utterly ignorant and selfish.  I know Apple is all about being elite and shit but I think this was a little bit irresponsible.  :P

5. Lightweight.  I love how light the whole camera is even with the battery in it.  I was expecting for the weight to be noticeable if I put it in my bag because I am very particular about keeping my bag light (because I am lazy), but no, it was so light that I forgot that it was in my bag the whole afternoon I was walking around.

Things I am a bit iffy about:

Well, among the top 5 list above, I have not mentioned once about photo quality.  Honestly, I am a bit disappointed (NOT impressed) with the quality of the photos.  Although it has 14 megapixel quality photo and FULL HD video,  I have yet to take a satisfactory indoor photo.  It takes a little better photo than my Samsung Note2. I haven't fully explored the settings of the camera yet, but I am banking on taking mostly day time outdoor photos during my travel anyway, and will rely on flash photos and photoshopping for the night time.  

OH! and on another note, the programs of this camera DOES NOT work with my Google Chromebook because it is such a new OS, so they still do not have the program like Intelli Stuido for it yet.  But then I can still upload my files into Windows Sky Drive (I don't know why they didn't partner with Dropbox instead, like their mobile phones) for back up which is pretty neat.

Anyway, all in all, if you aren't a professional photographer and you want to take good (read: semi-awesome) photos and camera LOADED with features, this is a good camera for its price.  I cannot wait to travel and capture memories in it already!

Here are sample shots:

split screen
i controlled the camera with my phone!
3 part split screen (thanks Yords haha!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


There is no more appropriate title to announce my trip to Mexico than to say I AM GOING TO ...

When I was planning my trip, I was deciding whether I would go up North and see Canada or go to the South to see Mexico, but finally decided TO GO TO MEXICO!!!

Mexico is such an elusive place for me and it's like a dream that I am actually going!  I am going to Mexico!!!

Last August 15, I did it and bought my ticket to Mexico!!!  As I have mentioned in my previous post, I will be spending a month there flying in from Austin, Texas!

Trying to plot my route around Mexico wasn't as easy as planning my USA trip because I have been staring at the USA map for 5 years now (since I started planning on going); it was only recently that I started to read travel guides, blogs, travel forum posts, and watching YouTube travel videos just to get an idea on what to do and how to go around.

Finally my friend Zara gave me a great link that helped me alot!  It was an itinerary for a package tour around Mexico.  It was a gold mine of information on where to go and what to see.  I combined all the information I got from forums and blogs and finally concluded my itinerary as follows:

Fly in to Cancun from Austin.  Stay here for a week to learn Spanish before heading to Playa del Carmen.  On the way to stay 3 nights in Palenque, I will stop over at Campeche; and then head to Santo Cristo de Casas for 3 more nights and then Oaxaca for 3 days before I head to spend a week in Mexico to go to Lake Patzcuaro for Dia delos Muertos!  For those who has been, what do you think of my itinerary?

I am so excited that I'm actually a little scared! haha I have so much to do, so much to prepare!  I have to start figuring out what to pack! afdhkjldhfklhfajdhf *faint*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Skipping August

A few months back, whenever I thought about my trip to the Americas, I would always look at my calendar in terms of important events like my cousin's wedding, my nephew coming to see us or friends visiting and other short term trips. From the day I bought my MNL - SFO ticket in February, my itinerary so far looks like this:

March is mom's birthday - April is Jin coming to see us in Manila - May my cousin gets married and my girlfriends and I go to Boracay! - June is the month I turn 30 and I go to Cambodia for travel - July I go to Hong Kong and 2 friends from Korea come to see me!  Then after that, it's September! haha

I always skip the month of August since nothing important happens this month anyway.  Nothing important I say... it is THE most IMPORTANT month (of PLANNING my trip)!!!  I am so glad that I am not doing anything or going anywhere. Since the month started, I have been reading nothing but travel blogs, travel books and just everything about my trip!  I’ve been clicking my mouse away, buying interstate flights, and keeping in touch with friends I am going to meet! (and of course, doing some real work in between, haha)

I also decided to stop writing and updating my blog because I realized my itinerary kept changing. It wasn’t until I started booking my flights that my schedule was carved in stone.  Initially, I was planning to do it Wanderlass style and just wing it, play it by ear, or improv! haha I realized I couldn't and shouldn't do that because I needed a fixed schedule in order to meet-up with friends who have regular jobs.

So in exactly 26 days, I am flying out of Manila and heading to my first long adventure!  Here my travel itinerary as follows:  New York --> NJ --> DC --> Boston --> Rhode Island --> Wisconsin --> Chicago --> Louisiana --> Austin --> MEXICO --> San Francisco --> Manila :(

I am going to meet up alot of old friends and also will meet new friends while couchsurfing.  If I'm gonna be near your city, please holler! :D

Safe travels!