UAE Travel Blog

Soooo. I’m back to blogging, yaay! I guess that has been my intro statement for all of the blog posts I have. Haha! Well, the reason for my “come back” is because I wanted to share my latest travel in *drum roll, please* – UAE! I’ll share everything, including the processing and getting of my visa, to the culture and of course to the few places that I went to. So please expect a length-y post. :) (Note the FEW places as the main reason I went to UAE is to spend time with my family and celebrate my niece’s 1st birthday.)

The things that I consider the most when visiting another country was first, their culture, their way of living (if there are do’s and dont’s) and the most important thing is, the weather. Why? Because you depend your OOTD’s in it!

Before anything else, I’ll share first some general information about Dubai/Abu Dhabi. 1.) Time Check: UAE is 4 hours behind Philippine’s time, 2.) Currency exchange rate: 13.6 PHP for 1 AED and 3.) the time of my visit coincides with Ramadan. So I think that’s it. :)

On how to get your Visa, having someone you know from UAE will make your life easier. Entering UAE needs you to have a “sponsor” from there. So a good friend of mine took the responsibility of booking my flight and processing my Visa (thank you, Lorvy!). Since I booked my flight just 2 weeks before my planned date, it was a bit expensive – 1,880 AED for my fare and 500 AED for my Visa and the courier fee. And luckily, my Visa arrived a day before my flight, haha! Mine was a direct flight from PH to DXB and to tell you honestly, immigration here in PH is more strict than to that of Dubai.

I was so amazed when I took this sunset photo at about past 8pm in PH time. And I don’t know where on Earth I am that time. Haha! This is my first long haul flight as the travel time was about 8 hours. But I came prepared, haha, I brought a book, my planner and Korean Drama to watch to.

My friend fetched me from Dubai’s airport and had a car lift from Dubai to Abu Dhabi since my cousin resides there. Car lift is so expensive but we really have no option left as the bus only operates until 9:30 (if I’m not mistaken).

As you will see in the next pictures, I am fully covered up. Haha! As what I have said earlier, know the country’s culture. Since it’s Ramadan there, girls are expected to dress up in a conservative way. So imagine me just staring at my closet when planning my outfits cause I only have tank tops and short shorts! This was really a challenge for me. But then, my choice was to have a shaul with me everytime since the weather is so freaking hot that you can’t last long in longsleeves.

One interesting part during Ramadan is the Muslim’s fasting. I love how EVERY one respects their religion/culture/tradition. During this time of the year, you are not allowed to eat, to drink, or even to chew a gum in public. This would offend our Muslim brothers and sisters as they are fasting from sunrise to sunset. And if you are being caught doing these acts, you will either be warned by the police or be fined with a big amount of money. Given the fact, there are tourists who needs to eat during the day. So the foodie area of the hotel where we stayed at have their heavy curtains on their doors and windows so that Muslims won’t see us eating.

And of course, squeezed a time for swimming. As what I have researched before going here, bikinis are allowed only within the beach or pool premises. Beyond that, you have to cover yourself up. Take note, that see-through wet look you want to achieve is a big no no there during the time of Ramadan.

Aandd, we are off to the first of the few tourist spots I have visited here.

The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi. This is the largest mosque in the Middle East.

Women are required to wear an abaya dress when entering the mosque as this place is sacred to them.

Talk about the details! Large chandeliers and gold everywhere! Those are true golds by the way.

Of course, I have to try their meals. Their cuisines are from different nations. Most of these are specialties from Pakistan and Palestine.

My personal favorite is the Lamb Chop, ughhhh, it’s making me drool! Never thought lamb is so good! They also have Biryani (I guess this is their kind of rice), chicken and Prata – a bread with a special sauce.

As I have mentioned, Muslims are fasting during the Ramadan season and are not allowed to eat. All restaurants are either closed during the day or have a wall or divider for those restaurants who have foods on display. But after sunset, they have what they call IftarExpect that all restaurants are fully booked on dinner and some of them give food to others.

We have also visited the Emirates Palace but there is really nothing to do there. The Ferrari World is also located in Abu Dhabi. Apparently, it will cost us 300 AED so I decided not to go there since the taxis there are enough to make me experience drifting cars. Haha!

Aaaand, we are off to my favorite day in UAE! Touring Dubai!

One of the main tourist attractions here in Dubai is the Desert Safari. But one tip you should take from me – DON’T. GO. ON. A. SUMMER. DAY. It’s really hot and it’s not even humid. So better bring your sunblock with you and hydrate yourself.

The tour by the way is 150AED and it’s a hotel rate. My friends said you can get it at 75AED. :)

And I wouldn’t want to miss this trip without having a picture with a live Camel! Didn’t have the chance to ride them though. :(

The most exciting part… 4×4 Dubai dune bashing! Unlike in Ilocos – which you will end up from where you have started; here, you will really cross the desert! So before going, make sure that you are decided cause there is no going back! :P

Since our heart rates are already racing up during the ride, we have asked comforting questions to our driver. Haha! We asked if they have special training to qualify as a driver and he calmly answers that they have 2 licenses, one is the normal license and the other is for this specific activity. And out of curiosity, we also asked if they memorize their paths going to the other end of the desert and this shookt (yes, I’m still a millenial, haha) me. As we all know, sand storms are frequent here, hence, the path also change frequently. Sooo, his answer was, they just know how! Haha! As much as we wanted to step out of the vehicle, we don’t have anyone to trust but the driver. Haha!

And here’s my niece, calmed down and sleepy! Hahaha, imagine us screaming our hearts out and she’s just checking out on us. Anyway, isn’t she the cutest? No regrets that I’ve flown to UAE for her!

Tour includes Dinner and performances too! :)

After all these activities, I went straight to Dubai Mall to meet my college friends.

Can you imagine having a large aquarium inside a mall? The mall is so big that you can’t go through all the stores within the day.

Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. :) You can also go “At The Top” of the building for 125AED.

Thank you Mikee and Joyce for being my personal tourist guide here in Dubai! :)

And more instagrammable places all over the mall!

One place that I really wanted to visit is the Miracle Garden. Unfortunately, it only opens every Winter :(

Most of the tourist spots here are man made that will make you appreciate more the wonders of nature here in the Philippines but on the other hand, you’ll realize how we are left behind when it comes to infrastructures and advancement as a whole.

And lastly, the main reason why I’m here, our Sophia’s 1st birthday celebration!

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Can’t wait to visit this place again with the whole family. :)

For now, goodbye, Dubai!

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Day 1: Ilocos Norte (City Tour)

Okay. So how do I start?

First of all, just for you to be informed, this would be a very long post since this also serves as a photo diary. So I hope you enjoy this post as much as we enjoyed our trip :)

Our travel to the North happened last August 21-24 (yes, another late post!). This was my birthday gift to myself and to my mum as well. I really prepared for this trip since I’m really excited travelling especially with the people I love. And I really prayed that the weather will be good for those days cause it was raining few days before our trip!

So we arrived in Laoag at around 3 am and went straight to Hotel Tiffany while waiting for our city tour to start. The first place we visited was President Marcos’ parents ancestral house.

*Just a reminder, most of the places especially museums have entrance fees.

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The place where President Marcos was born.

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Here’s my brother, Kirby having a pose with the little Ferdinand Marcos.

After our short tour in the ancestral house, we went to Iglesia de Sta. Monica de Sarrat. One of my favorite place!

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Most of the churches here are really huge and have long aisles plus they all have bell towers! So Amazing.

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The convent of Sta. Monica Church.

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Before entering the Sarrat Ruins.

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The beautiful Sarrat Ruins. This is where Irene Marcos (the youngest of President Marcos) had their pre nuptial photoshoot. So beautiful! I’m thinking of having my pre nup photoshoot here too! Haha!

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My mum, obviously, is a fan of Ryzza Mae who loves “walling”. Haha! See the post behind them? They have another one inside. They said this is where they execute men before. Execute the Samson way, with two hands tied up in both posts!

Everywhere in this place is photogenic.

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Next stop, Paoay Church.

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I promised myself to visit 3 churches every time I travel. Not forgetting the 3 wishes whenever you visit a church the first time.

We also visited the Marcos Museum and learned a lot about the former president. So nice to see a part of our history.

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They said Marcos’ favorite number is 8 and has brought a lot of luck in his political career.

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His nameplates during his senatorial days.

We also visited the Marcos Mausoleum where the remains of President Marcos is preserved. It’s really amazing when you can see in person the one who implemented Martial Law and has a big impact to our country’s history. No photos cause it’s not allowed to take pictures inside.

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Our next stop: The White House of the North.

They said that the President mostly lived here instead of living in the Malacañang palace.

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The receiving area.

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President’s office, with my mum on the side. Haha!

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The master’s bedroom and their children’s bedroom.

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Receiving area part 2! Haha, they must have many visitors for them to have many receiving areas. Can you spot my mum? Haha!

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They also have this room where they showcase the travels of Marcos, this particularly to Hawaii.

Our tourist guide said that when the President is dying, he said to his pilot to bring him to Paoay. Unfortunately, the pilot misheard him and brought him to Hawaii. I don’t know how true is this, but it’s really interesting.

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The mansion overlooking the Paoay Lake. So beautiful!!

And now, enough for the sight seeing, the next pictures are the most exciting ones!!

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When you’re in Laoag, NEVER ever miss this one! Experience the Sand dunes by having a 30-40mins 4×4 ride and unlimited sandboarding.

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It is definitely tiring but it’s all worth it. Don’t worry, you don’t get to ride 30-40 mins straight, I think there are at least 3 stops in between for us to take pictures of the scenery. It was really really good!

After the 4×4 ride, here goes the unlimited sand boarding!

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And there it is, our first day in the North! Two thumbs up for the experience!

kat