So much has happened in my life since my last post. In November, on my birthday, a very dear friend of mine lost her life to cancer. It was a difficult time for all of us, and we all found ways to cope. I decided to leave my job so I could try new things. Since we had a trip to the Philippines planned already, I decided that be good enough of an excuse to just let my thoughts wander. I was originally hesitant about the trip, but after a while I decided to just go with the flow.
In the Philippines I did thing I didn't think I could ever do. I survived so many things I feel would have killed a previous version of myself, so I really accomplished a lot. Although it was technically a vacation, every portion of it felt more like an adventure. At no point did I ever really get any rest; we did something new every day.
Layover in Incheon Airport
Korea is probably a super interesting place. I never really got into the culture, but my short layover in Incheon Airport gave me a quick glimpse into what goes on within popular culture. Like Japan, every company seems to have a mascot, and all the people there seem to be really, really trendy. It's cool. I'm still not super sure what the giant cat was about but there were at least 3 of him in the airport.
Arriving in Manila and leaving for Boracay
From Korea to the Philippines is only a short 3 - 4 hour trip, but there's a huge difference in temperature. While in Incheon, the weather still felt properly seasonal. It was winter, so it was cold. Once I arrived in Manila it felt like a very hot summer day. Thankfully, I wore proper clothes.
Although Manila was where our home base was during this trip, we only stayed the night before the day after my arrival we took the airbus from Manila to Boracay. Well, it was actually an airbus to a land bus, then a speedboat to another bus. It was a long trip!
While in Boracay I went sailing, snorkeling, and island hopping all over the place. I took as many pictures as I could but I was concerned about dropping my smart phone into the ocean.
Traveling to La Union
A few hours after my return to Manila from Boracay, it was time to prepare for another trip. This time it was a 10 hour drive to another popular spot called La Union, where we stayed in a secluded beach house on the edge of a forest. It was a cute place and this was where we were going to spend Christmas.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Christmas, but it turned out to be a lot of fun for me. I got an adorable Jollibee bobble-head figure, a bootleg Funko Pop of "BASS LIGHTYEAR" (you guys know I love KO toys), and a real Funko Pop of Chucky. My favorite gift though was an Imperial Two-Headed Dragon! I love Imperial vinyl figures so, so much.
My last time in a Toys 'r' Us?
So in Festival Mall, in Manila, we spotted a Toys 'r' Us store and my jaw just hit the floor. I miss being able to walk into a giant toy shop, so I took advantage of this opportunity and did a bit of shopping.
Out of all the items I could have chosen, I purchased this off-brand Jollibee plush (well, "Honey Beez" I guess). I mean, I know Jollibee is super popular, but he's still a mascot for a fast-food place; is there really such a demand for Jollibee merch that manufacturers are creating their own off-model products that just vaguely resemble the character enough just to make a few bucks?
I mean it worked; I bought it without any hesitation.
So the last time I was in the Philippines my plans to visit Enchanted Kingdom were a bust. The traffic was terrible, and it was just raining too hard. This time though everything fell into place. It was roughly two hours from my home base, and it took us 3 or 4 vehicles to get there, but it was totally worth it. I had a great time.
The mascot for EK is Eldar the wizard. He's everywhere in the park; merch, statues, posters, rides, and stage shows. I love his simple design. I ended up getting a plush of Eldar and a replica of his wand!
The big new attraction at the park was Agila the EKsperience. It's a 4D movie experience and ride, and it's pretty good if I'm honest. The line was a bit much though, so it's a huge relief once you're inside with the air conditioning.
My absolute favorite part of EK though was Boulderville, which looks like it took inspiration from The Flintsones. The buildings are all shaped like the ones you'd see in Bedrock, and there are dinosaur statues here and there. I wish I could have seen it all during the daytime.
This Nativity scene was set up right next to the Boulderville entrance. Not sure if this is some sort of commentary on Creationism or if they just had no other place to put it. But off to the left of this setup is a Brontosaurus, and that makes me happy.
That's all for now. This first part of my trip was the easy stuff. Oh sure, there was a lot of driving around and traveling, but this was all mostly generic tourist stuff. With my next post things start to go pretty nuts.
Lastly, my Jollibee collection is slowly growing in power. I may have an addiction.