Saturday, December 21, 2013

Boracay x Gushcloud

If you know me, you would have already known by now how much of a beach girl I am at heart. I've made a vow myself to visit all the beach destinations I have in mind by the end of 2014 since I've been going to many beach destinations including Tioman, Redang, Montigo Resorts, Bintan, Phuket, Desaru and Bali. Before my Bali trip this year, I was intending to go Boracay with my secondary school friends but it didn't happen in the end. So, D and I made plans to go together. However, we ended up heading to Bali because there weren't any direct flights to Boracay at that point of time.

Well, I guess it's true what people say about getting something if you wish for it really hard. I think I've repeatedly told Daniel that I must make it to Boracay by 2013 so it was pretty upsetting that it's not possible at all until the unexpected happened.

Gushcloud contacted me and invited me to be their photographer for the Boracay trip in December. A big big thank you to Tigerair for sponsoring the flights and making it all possible. (:

If you haven't already known, Tigerair has bought over CebuAir and it provides direct flights straight up to Kalibo Airport in the Philippines. This also means the great reduction of travel time to Boracay for all of us!



The entire plane ride took about 3.5 hours, followed by a land transfer of 1.5 hours, 15 minutes of ferry ride and another 20 minutes of van ride before we arrived at beautiful The District, which has also kindly sponsored our 4d3n stay there. You need to know that it is also ranked #7 out of all the hotels in Boracay on TripAdvisor, and it is also probably the most posh looking hotel at Station 2.

White Beach, aka Boracay Island, is divided into three different stations- Boat Station 1, Boat Station 2 and Boat Station 3.

I cheated -inserts sheepish grin-. The photo of the hotel was taken during the next day! When we arrived, it was already about 7pm and the skies were completely dark already. Upon arriving at Boracay, I've realised that the sun sets an hour earlier here than Singapore so by 7pm here in Boracay, the skies are as dark as 8pm in Singapore.

TIP: Please bring along some tidbits or snacks in your bag with you when you are travelling there. I swear the entire approx 7 hours + journey (inclu of waiting time etc) almost killed all of us. We were so cold and famished and we just couldn't wait till dinner. Ever since we checked in at 10am and had our breakfast, we had to wait all the way till almost 8pm at night before we could eat again. Joanna and I were lamenting all the way on the land transfer.

So nice! You definitely wouldn't miss this when you walk past the shore.

How The District looks like from the main area

It was awesome how Berlin, Lydia and Joanna had the room next to the pool, making it a great place for us to chill there and meet all the time. (:

This is how my/our room looks like!

Thoughtful little brownies for each of us. I gobbled mine down instantly and it tastes so good! <:


FINALLY IT'S DINNER TIME. I felt like a ravenous monster.
Henann Resorts was where we had our first Boracay dinner! Most of them didn't really like the food cause it was really salty but I'm someone who digs strong flavours and I was probably too hungry to care but I thought the food was pretty decent. Vince ordered all the recommended dishes for everyone to share.





We spent the first night going for massage which costs 300pesos (9SGD) for a full body massage. This is of course made possible with a lot of haggling. We fully demonstrated the Singaporean spirit hehe. Then we headed to the nearby bar for some drinks before calling it a night.

DAY 2


You will never ever be able to imagine our delight and the look on our faces when we woke up the next morning to a view like this just RIGHT OUTSIDE The District Boracay! I admit all the photos here have been post processed before I put them up, buttttt the skies and sea are already in these various shades of turquoises, which you will realise the consistency in all the pictures later on.


So much blue in a picture.

White sands, blue skies.

Even though the sun was scorching hot, I couldn't help but stand and marvel at the magnificent fluffy clouds that very morning. Heaven is a place on earth.

Heaven is indeed a place on earth.

All of us can't help but buy a big floppy hat to feed the vanity in us. Say hi to my new friend, Lydia Izzati, who is one hell of a gorgeous actress. She is really really funny and not to mention, young. The Filippinos thought that she is a local too and it certainly cracked all of us up when she speaks in the Filippino accent. She does it soooo well. (:

This is Vince, the boss of Gushcloud and his lovely wife Jasmine. (:

Soaking up some vitamin D on the sunny coast! I know I'm really tanned, urgh. I hate it.

Thank you Lydia for the pictures!

My two other new friends, Berlin and Nicole! (: Both of them are really pretty girls. I feel so old beside all of them. ):

What's a MUST to do at a beautiful beach? JUMP SHOTS!

I love how spontaneous everyone is. (:

We grabbed our beach towels and headed off to the first activity in Boracay- Island Hopping! Island hopping costs about 1500pesos per pax, which is about 40 odd SGD and it includes snorkelling and lunch.

There are almost 30 of us, so we had to separate into 2 boats.

With me, I have Serene and Tricia who are also my roomies for 3 nights! (: I'm thankful because I've already known them both prior to the trip.



Bloggers doing what they do best- snapping pictures! Everywhere is so beautiful, it's hard not to snap pictures everywhere we go.

You might not be able to tell, but this is the Crocodile Island, which is also where we prepared to jump off the boat to go for snorkelling! From afar, it indeed looks like a humongous crocodile that surfaced above the water.

ALL PREPARED!

Vince and Fai, who were the first few to jump right in!

Thank you Lydia once again for snapping this photo for me (: I was already in the waters by then, too excited to resist jumping in. The waters were soooo cold though. However, snorkelling was a bit of a disappointment. I had so many wonderful experiences in Tioman and Redang, even Phuket wasn't worth mentioning but over here… it was pretty bleak. There weren't much corals, and the fishes were pretty dull and little as well. At times like this, it's the company that counts. We just had fun swimming around and feeding the fishes with biscuits and it was real funny watching some of them who are afraid of fishes panic when I throw the biscuits in their direction and watch the fishes head over to them. Teehee.

Then, we all got back on the boat and headed to Puka Island, which is where we had our lunch! Here're some mandatory camwhoring shots before lunch begins.

The very gorgeous ladies- Jeneen, Kaykay and Melody! Despite Jeneen and Kaykay's age, they are ravishing. I really ought to pick up some anti ageing tips from them.

Jeneen and Joanna! I love Joanna, and I'm so thankful for this trip cause it has enabled us to know each other better and we had so much to talk about. I love her for being so real, and that we had a lot to talk about throughout the trip.

Jeneen and Audrey Lange! (: I didn't know that Aud was joined the GC family, and it was a real pleasure seeing her again after so long. We were both from Temasek Polytechnic, and I've also shot her previously for an online store last year.

The Ohvola sisters- Lucinda and Jolene with Melody! (:

I loveeee this shot of Freda! (: Love the accidental (purple!) flare and how focused Freda looks here. She is also an amazingly kind hearted girl whom I've finally had the chance to meet after hearing so much about her for so long.

Thank you Freda for this shot of us! The bunch of girls whom I hung out with the most- ValerieSzes and Nicole. <3 Much love to y'all!

Caught sight of a very rare flock of birds flying towards the direction of the sun. Glad to have captured this shot!

This is the little hut where we had our lunch together.

The long "banquet" table. The servings of everything were HUGE… to the extent it can almost be revolting. We found it funny how everything is gigantic there. The pork, prawns, fishes etc were soooo big. The prawns were really yummy though! I just hate it that there are flies everywhere, and the houseflies were like giant houseflies too. We had to keep squirming and the people there had to be behind us to help us rid the flies so we can eat in peace.

Though it was pretty much to no avail.

Food in Boracay tend to be saltier, it's probably pretty much like China where the food tends to be stronger in flavours. I would strongly recommend their mango drinks. We've had a couple of fresh mango juices and it's always good. The mangoes there are really sweet!



The girl whom I spent the majority of the time with, and I love her to bits. Time flies, really. We can't believe it's been way more than a year since we've known each other. She's also my companion throughout most part of the trip and I'm glad we could share so much with one another, and I could really bare my soul out to her.

For the past few weeks, Melody and I have been trying to coordinate an opportunity for a photoshoot for her and Brad aka Ladyironchef but our schedules kept clashing. What better way than to spend the additional time we had after lunch to capture some photos of the lovebirds by the shoreline? (:

Awwww (,:


That's Mel and I!

The Zhou sistaaaas! :D

That's Fai and the GC team engrossed in a game of Frisbee after lunch. Great way to burn some fats huh. I was really upset when I knew Eunice couldn't join on the trip with us. It's also really nice to finally meet Fai and speak to him on many things over dinner on the 3rd day of the trip.

This was basically my Boracay diet. I mean it, we went to drink every single night and I chugged quite a number of San Mig bottles especially on the 3rd day of the trip. Beer is always so readily available and this is so refreshing and light for a lousy drinker like me.










That's Kife and Lydia! I love Kife to bits, he is soooo freaking adorable and funny. While waiting for our food, he had insisted that we camwhore with the free time.




For dinner, we went over to the famous D' Talipapa wet market in Boracay where live seafood are available for purchase at the stalls and you can take your pick and head to the restaurants just beside the market to have them prepare your dishes for you in your desired styles. The wide array of seafood available was really interesting, and not to mention, you will get to see all the giant versions of the usual seafood we have in Singapore.

After we had dinner at D' Talipapa night market, the girls headed for our second night of massage at another hotel which was more costly but oh-so-good. (: We are such massage addicts and we pounced at every chance to get pampered. The night didn't end without us going for drinks before we called it a day.

DAY THREE

The breakfast area of the hotel.

I love how they provide a specialty dish every morning for us. This is the Huevos Rancheros. It is basically poached egg served on a corn tortilla, beans, chopped bacon and tomato salsa.

And a cuppa cappucino made with lots of love! <3

When we first arrived in Boracay and learnt of the different activities available for us in Boracay, Valerie and I pounced on the chance and registered for Cliff Jumping, which is pretty much a MUST-DO because its a top attraction in Boracay and it's not readily available at other beach destinations. Then, in the morning, we chickened out and tried to back out of it but the amount of cancellation fees they charged was ridiculous. I can't remember the exact pricing, but it was about 1600pesos, about 50SGD and the cancellation fee was almost half of it. I refused to pay 20sgd for nothing.

Thus, the dare devils split up with the rest of the group and went ahead with the cliff jumping. That's probably one of the most impromptu and brave decisions I've ever made without even thinking for one second.
I was chugging so much beer down my throat because I was all jittery on the 45 mins boat ride there. It definitely didn't help that we had to sign the indemnity form before we hopped on the boat ride.

I loveeee these people- Hellven, Juliette, Sheena, Xeun and Valerie! :D Thankful for them, for making it a real memorable one, for being so adventurous and fun-loving and it was a good bonding session together.

…….and we have arrived.

We found a shady spot to put all of our things down, applied our sunblocks and carefully made our way down to where the planks are. Lo and behold the view that awaits.

THAT is the 15m plank!!!!!!!!! I know right. It's CRAZY. There are different heights for you to choose from- 3m, 5m, 8m and 15m.

With wobbly hands and legs, we all insisted on having a photo on the 15m plank before the jumping starts. You know.. just in case we all chickened out, we still have a photo to commemorate it. Haha.

Here's how it looks like basically. That's the 5m jump. Doesn't it look scary already?!

I am so so proud of Xeun, she is the real daredevil. She jumped so many times off all the heights (except the 3m) and I caught the entire action of both Sheena and Xeun who braved the 15m jump. How cool it is capturing them in midair!

And yes, the 15m is really high. -shudders-

Happy Sheena with a do-or-die mindset! (:

Okay, so I'm the chicken. I only did the 5m jump twice. The first jump was with much lesser hesitation because of the adrenaline rush. We played o-ya-beh-ya-som and jumped accordingly hahaha. And damn, it hurts like MAD.

The tricks to cliff jumping are:

1) Don't look down. Look far ahead cause the height will scare you.
2) Don't hesitate or think. The plank is shaky and when you are standing there all alone, thats when fear grips you the most. It doesn't help that there's a queue behind you and everyone would be cheering you on to jump.
3) Keep your knees locked and your body straight so that when you land in the water, your body is streamlined and it wouldn't hurt. Problem is, most people would curl midair because of fear and when you land in the water on your sides/butt it hurts like a bitch. Sheena's thighs were entirely bruised from the 5m jump, and my thighs were stinging from the impact.
4) Hold your nose because chances are, the water will rush into your nose.
5) When you are submerged into the water, spread your legs apart to break the fall and stop yourself from going in deeper.

After I did the first jump, my nose and thighs hurt so bad. I got freaked out. We all decided to take a little time out and head to snorkel before jumping again. Here's a video taken by Hellven for my second jump. You have no idea how longgggg I took before I jumped. Making my way up the cliff got me trembling and wobbling so badly, I swear I've never once knew how jelly legs felt like. This was too intense. I could barrely stand, and my teeth were chattering. I hadn't expected that coming from someone who isn't really afraid of heights and roller coasters. I made Sheena feel scared too cause we were supposed to do the 5m and 8m jump together. ):

It's a mere 12 seconds video, thank God Hellven didn't capture my entire walking-to-the-plank-and-chickening-out x10 process. It's really unglam because my legs started parting before I hit the waters but once I did, I was soooo happy I was literally screaming something like, "I did it!"

LOL.



We returned back to Station 2 in the evening, feeling all shagged but proud of ourselves for having strike something off our bucket list. We truly deserve a pat on our backs. (,:  Happy to have Valerie throughout this with me, thankful for Hellven otherwise there would never be video documentation of our iconic moments.

The sun sets just right in front of our hotel. It's so so beautiful.

DINNER AT THE CYMA kindly sponsored by Gushcloud




Kakavia (Greek Fisherman's Stew) 205pesos for a solo treat. I love it! Seafood is fresh and it actually has rice in it, so it is seemingly like a bowl of porridge.

This was my Filet Mignon 560pesos and it was really really really good! Pan roasted filet mignon with rosemary, peppered Feta Cheese and lemon au jus served with Greek potatoes and Feta cheese. The beef is so tender and juicy, and the sauce that came with it was orgasmic, for the lack of better vocabulary. Fai and I had the same dish and we agreed that it was fantastic. The prawns were really really nice as well. We were so stuffed at the end of the meal.

I would strongly recommend you to try Cyma Greek Taverna Boracay when you visit Boracay! Apparently, greek cuisine is pretty famous here. You can google more about them or simply email them at cymagreektavernaboracay@gmail.com. -thumbs up for this-


After dinner, Valerie and I spent a large amount of time by the beach just star gazing and having HTHTs about everything in life before we joined the rest for massage (yes, again!) and then strolled the coast with Audrey for a place to get shisha and drinks. Ironically, we kinda did nothing like that. We walked past a local store that sells handmade bracelets and necklaces which is quite a common sight in Boracay but this man was extremely hospitable and nice and we decided to each do a little handmade item with him. Val and I ended up doing a bracelet and necklace each and it only costs me about 6SGD for both. He even bought Val, Audrey and I beer while we waited for our handmade goodies. Girly talks and stuffs got us through the night till 3am.

In the middle of the night, Val and I also signed up for Parasailing on the last morning before we head back to Singapore. With less than 4 hours to sleep because we needed to be up by 7am, Audrey still very kindly offered to come along with us and help us to take some photos.

Thank you Audrey, for being so kind. Love you babe! <3

DAY FOUR



We took a boat ride out to the middle of the sea, and hopped on another atas looking boat which reminds me of a small private yacht. Well, a really small one. Haha.
Straddled on and posing for some pictures. (:


And in 3…2….1, off we go!

Someone please laugh at our epic faces and the silly underwater casing hanging off my neck.

Oh by the way, we purchased our underwater casing in Boracay for about 3SGD! CHEAP THRILL woohoo. It's really pretty safe, though I would say it's better if you take precautions. I've seen those sold in Singapore which is exactly the same for over 10-20SGD. Go get yours in Boracay, you can even bargain. <:


It's hard to describe the feeling up there.. but it was so tranquil and peaceful. Not until a strong gust of wind or a sharp turn made by the boat cause us to jerk above, which can be a littttttttle terrifying. That's all. Otherwise, it really is safe and just, peaceful.

I snapped quite a bit when I was up there but the photos were a little chapalang cause I was afraid of losing my phone, and it was a little challenging fiddling with the underwater casing.

They caught us camwhoring!

Awesome experience it was. I had my first parasailing in Phuket last year, and hell it wasn't even half as good as this. The ride was less than 2 mins, it was equally expensive (I think) and the parasailing was done at the shore of Patong Beach. This is so different, you see nothing but the endless turquoise sea and sky. Pretty romantic actually.

A beautiful girl in and out- Audrey Lange. Thank you so much once again, for being so selfless and obliging even when you really didn't have to. (:

Eggs benny for breakfast! It is nothing like the good ones we've all had of course, but well, I give thanks for even having eggs benny when I totally didn't expect it.

One last look at the beautiful place that has been a perfect home for us for 3 days. (:

See how sweet The District is! Every single day, they would prepare little tea time snacks and place them in the room for us and each day, the snacks are different. AND they are so yummy omg, perfect for killing midnight hunger pangs. On the last night, they gifted each of us a personal red leather luggage tag. How prettyyyyyy and thoughtful! This luggage tag is definitely going to come in handy. :D I love the red and how it's just meant for me and me alone.

A group photo at The District before we depart. ^_^
One photo of the ferry terminal so you can have a better idea how it looks like. It's actually fine in the day time, but when we arrived at night it was pitch black because the Haiyan had disrupted the electricity there so there were no lights and it was pretty scary. We were joking about being kidnapped and smuggled.

Boarding the plane at around 4pm. One last look at Philippines.

Thank you Vince for the group photo shot which I was actually taking but he kindly took over as the photographer.

Having read the rest of the members' blog posts makes me miss Boracay so much, and although it took me literally 12 hours to put this blog post up, it brings back so much fond memories and brought me closer to a lot of nice girls and I am truly blessed and grateful to be able to go on this trip with all of them. Like I've mentioned in my previous post, it was like an early Christmas gift. Just when I thought I wouldn't be taking the airplane anymore in 2013. Happy to have made it to this place after having dreamt about it for so long.

I didn't put up the photos from my phone because it was already a chore uploading photos from the DSLR and the X100S. I have to say I'm really really impressed with the photos taken by the X100S, which I used for the night shots. The photos are so ridiculously sharp and despite the high ISO, the noise level is still acceptable. If you've followed me on Dayre, you might have seen the photos taken with the iPhone throughout the entire trip. I deserve a pat for having juggled with 3 gadgets for photo-taking despite the weight. But if you are keen, you may always check out www.dayre.me/smittenpixels for more of my Boracay shots.

***

Anyway I had just discovered a new place called Yangon in Myanmar and I really like visiting places that are less urbanised yet boasts its vibrant street life. Tigerair is now flying to Yangon and hopefully I'll get to visit it really soon!

Once again, thank you Gushcloud x Tigerair x The District Boracay for having made the entire trip a reality for us. (,:


xx

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! May i know what lens were you using for this trip? The pictures are all so amazing and beautiful! :-)

Wenhui said...

Love the skies and beach!!! They look so beautiful.

cheryl chan said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I must say all the photos that you have taken are wonderful!
May I know what lens are you using for the extra bokehness? Or perhaps it was post-editing? Of course I wouldn't credit your beautiful photos on the gears alone, the mind behind it that makes the difference. :)