“Perhaps I am stronger than I think,” said Thomas Merton. This is a statement I found true after participating in TNF 100 2013 in Baguio last April 21, 2013.

Training Phase

I wasn’t 100% prepared to face the 11km trail run. Below is the training program I found for a 10km trail run in Runner’s World website.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE

10KM Trail Running Training program

Of all the training programs I saw, I thought this was the simplest of all. Two months before the race, I started to learn the training program and planned to seriously follow it a month before the race.  So I had my learning month (Feb-March) and training month (March-April).

WHAT I HAD DONE

Confession: I was doing better training during my learning month than my training month. Business of construction was peaking and I had more tasks to do.

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This is it! This coming Saturday, I will face my first trail run. Do or die, I’ll finish this one.

The North Face Trail run 2013 11km (2)

As of end of March, I have participated running events with 10km (3x) and 5km (4x) distances excluding my treks. But never have I experienced trail running with such details!

Though I wasn’t able to prepare 100% for this run, I’m ready to take on this challenge. GRAAAAAR!

God bless me and my friend Juric Cancio that we may finish this run with stronger hearts and minds.

T

ime to catch up! After my Cambodia trip, our family lost another dear family member and felt the need to help out and alleviate sadness. I may not be able to share more experiences with my dad and auntie (may they rest in peace), but new memories need to be made as a celebration of life.

There are a total of nine updates including my adventures and learnings.

There are a total of nine updates including my adventures and learnings.

After my UK and Cambodia trip, I thought that it was time to focus on my country and myself. So much has happened so let me just run down the things I did and give a you short tips or description on each event.

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y trip to Cambodia was a fortunate unplanned trip. I wasn’t intending to go there this year because I have focused all of my abroad travel savings on London 2012. But if you’re a dedicated wanderer and a good friend catches a Php5,400 all in roundtrip airfare to Siem Reap, can you say no? I couldn’t, because a regular fare would cost around Php17,000.

Zero regrets after the trip. Every soul should experience Cambodia’s young and thriving tourism efforts even through after their civil war ravaged country.  CNN even included it in their Top 10 Value Destinations for 2013. Read on to see why everyone should put Cambodia in their must visit list.

Immerse in ancient history

No amount of picture or video can equally share the feeling of going back in ancient times. Though the Angkor temples (9th to 11th century) is way younger than Stonehenge (3000 to 2000 BC), this trip made me feel more connected to ancient history.

Imagine gigantic trees still growing on top of temples, the feel of archaic stone carvings, and the pleasant unfamiliar scent from olden trees. You will even notice the crumbling of the ceiling while walking the halls of Angkor Wat. Most of the temple structures in Angkor are so old that it needs immediate restoration before it becomes unsound to visit.

Sunrise charm. Don’t miss the chance to get enchanted by the silhouette of Angkor Wat when the sky transitions from pitch black to an orange and blue mixture.

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I

knew very little of English cuisine. Aside from fish and chips, I just assume that they don’t eat rice and feed on meat just like the Americans. A few weeks before my UK trip, I started to trim down on rice so I wouldn’t have rice-withdrawal-syndrome there. Nonetheless, I did enjoyed mouthwatering dishes! Read on and see what my favorites are and other dishes I recommend.

BEST FISH AND CHIPS (F&C)

I came to UK thinking about eating the best F&C. Found it! I just hope I’ll also find that quality in the country.

  1. F&C at a pub near Trafalgar Square. I and Couchsurfing fellows ate in a pub after our free hugs event. It was good enough to fill my hungry worms but I’ve tasted better.
  2. F&C at The Bell. This was included English countryside bus tour. It was also my first F&C in UK. The F&C was a bit dry but the peas were good.
  3. F&C at Horse Guards Parades. We were in the volleyball game while eating this. It was bleh because the fish was not warm anymore and the peas was too mushy for me.
  4. F&C at Fresh Thinking. THE BEST!The cod fish had a thin and crispy breading and its meat was soft and warm inside. You can really taste its freshness. I love the garlic dip served with the chips. It was fine that the mashed peas was in a small serving since I did get to focus on the fish. The restaurant had their aquariums where you can see what you want to eat.

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s much as I adored the quirky city of London, English countryside was a breathtaking experience. Imagine being able to walk in a village which has existed for a thousand years, sleep in an 18th century manor, and walk in the of one of the world’s greatest poet & writer, Shakespeare. I get to see two more castles (which had their own special features) and further wondered why the heck did they build Stonehenge.

LOWER SLAUGHTER

My youngest sister, Erika, was the reason I placed this in my itinerary. She linked me to this article saying it’s one of the most secret villages in Europe. I got really curious and made a point that I should go there. Lucky me, my foster family #2 (The Antonio’s) drove me around English countryside. This was my favorite among all my rural trips. Click this play button Old Fashioned Love
and hear what the cafe was playing as an additional ambience to you reading experience.

 

Lower Slaughter. Remember the feeling when you saw the village of the Hobbits in the The Lord of the Rings movie? It’s the same feeling I had in here. Old, small, intimate, and happy.

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Olympics in London 2012

September 17th, 2012 | Posted by carmela in Trotting Territories - (0 Comments)

O

lympics and Paralympics in London is over! But the feeling of experiencing the whole thing is still alive in me. This biggest sporting event in the world was the origin of my interest going to UK. From that, it just expanded from just seeing London to visiting Scotland and Wales. Though I was only able to watch one sport and the rest in television, it gave me an unforgettable sporting experience that I may only get once in my lifetime.

OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY

There were a lot of parks with big screens showing the opening ceremony. I, Brian, and his friends originally planned to watch in Hyde Park. However, we didn’t know that it was not one of the free viewing places and it’s also possible that we’re on the wrong side of the park. Before we decided on anything, we painted our faces first to show support for Philippines.

Though Brian did good painting on RT’s face, our country’s flag in my face was painted backwards! He said it’s the wind.

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ourist mode, ON! My first three days in London was dedicated to see famous tourist sites. I intentionally wanted a walking and biking tour so I’ll know my way around the city since I’m going to spend almost a month in the place. The plan was to see the metro from a worm’s and bird’s eye view then fill out the missing details in my itinerary.

I could have done my own tour but good thing a family friend, Bryan, was willing to take me around the city. Hooray! I didn’t have to pay for any tour fees. Moreover, he runs therefore walking long distances wasn’t a problem. Plus, he loves history and culture so he was able to answer most of my questions.

Biking in London

Biking has been an integral part of the English culture that their government fully initiated a bicycle sharing scheme known as Barclays Cycle Hire. For just GBP 1, you can use their bikes for 24 hours using a valide debit or credit card. What’s even better is that it will not charge if you’ll only use it under 30 minutes. Check this link to know the costs.

I tell you, the bikes were very comfortable given its wide seat. The bikes were made with quality as well, helping you enjoy the biking experience. However, it was so heavy that I wasn’t able to carry 3 flights of stairs when the roads were closed for the Olympics. Good thing an English gentleman helped me out.

Pardon if the photos are not SLR quality. I only brought my mom’s point and shoot camera. Nonetheless, enjoy seeing London through my experience.

 LONDON’S FAMOUS SITES

Most famous. This Ferris wheel is the biggest in Europe and the most paid tourist attraction in London. You have to pay GBP 28.80 or Php1,800 for a ride so you can see the beautiful skyline of the city. It’s free because my foster family #3 has a friend who’s supervising the security department. Though the experience was nice, I still prefer walk tours.

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C

armela, Carmela, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit the Queen. Carmela, Carmela, what did you do there? I traveled and left a smile with a beam. Yes, I’m back home to Tarlac and can’t wait to share with you everything!

As a start, I used to be confused about the usage of United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain (GB), England, and London. When I went there, I got even more disoriented because people were telling me different definitions of the said labels. I did my own research once I arrived home. Lo and behold! Below is our little geography lesson.

The United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland

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xecute. This is hardest part of the process of realizing a self-funded UK trip as mentioned in my previous post. I had a mission to save Php 2,000 per week for at least 50 weeks. I had little idea if Php100,000 was enough or I needed more. All I knew was I’m determined to go there.

MISSION 100K

I came up with Php100,000 as my target budget by researching cost of living in London and some items that I wanted to do. My primary concern was just food, transportation, and minor entertainment. Having a fabulous and glamorous vacation wasn’t in my plan, just a simple visit of a lady traveler who wants to be immersed in a new culture and environment. I referred to this site to determine what costs I should consider. My initial budget plan looked like this:

London 2012 budget plan. No tours but only a very simple agenda, go there and experience London Olympics 2012. 

Why only these items? Fortunately, accommodation wasn’t an issue because my aunt (who I was supposed to go with) assured me of a place to stay for free because she used to live there. Moreover, I really looked out for an Air Asia promo since June and immediately booked it without thinking twice! That’s why it’s that cheap. If you’ll book it now, it will cost 40% more. I didn’t allot for touring allowance because I was focusing on trying to experience the free stuff that London has to offer.

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