Things You Will Need Immediately After Getting Engaged

31 August 2016

Getting engaged is one of the most special and magical time in our lives. Not only are we looking forward the wedding but spending the rest of our lives with our soul mate. But it can also be a hectic time too. Once the news of your engagement hit your friends and family, there are some things that you will need straight away. Read on to find out what they are.

Engagement Ring

First things first, if your husband to be hasn't yet got you an engagement ring then it's time to head to the jewelers. Being newly engaged without a ring can be pretty annoying as everyone is going to ask to see it.

The benefit of not getting your ring at the proposal is that you get to be involved in the process, and choose it yourself. That means you can get something you know you’ll love. Which is vital as you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life.

Plenty Of Bridal Magazines

The next thing you need to do immediately is one of the most fun things. Buy yourselves some bridal magazines to check out the latest trends in dresses and reception decorations. What is more fun than looking at all the beautiful things you have on your special day?

The time just after you have got engaged is special. This is because it's soon enough after the engagement to start looking for ideas. But not far enough into it to be bogged down by boring concerns like budgets and practicalities. So you can just let your imagination and creativity fly free. Just remember than this will have to translate to your venue and budget eventually.

Wedding Stationery

The next thing that you’ll need to get sorted is to look for some personalised wedding stationery. This is because it's now the fashion to send out save the date cards well before the wedding.

Therefore if you want all your stationery to match or be on the same theme, you will need to have it picked soon as soon as possible.

Wedding organiser

Brides can benefit from buying a wedding organiser before all of the wedding planning has started in earnest. This is a folder in which to keep all your ideas, contacts details and inspirations together.

Having everything in one place can make everything so much easier. For brides that aren't employing the service of a professional wedding planning. This can be a lifesaver.

The Obligatory Spreadsheet

Of course, no wedding planning would be complete without the obligatory budget spreadsheet. Starting this as soon as possible after the engagement means that you can keep a better handle on your finances through the whole process.

This is important to do because weddings are big business these days and can come with a massive price tag if you are not very careful with the figures.

Just remember than once you have set an overall budget. The more you save on each area, the more you will have to put into other things like finishing touches.

How to Earn with TravelBook Affiliate Program?

20 August 2016

I travel a lot. Yes, I do.

And the most common statement I always hear when I say I travel a lot is: "Wow, Charlotte! You must be so rich. You can afford travelling."

...or this common question: "How do you fund your travels?"

I completely understand your curiosity. From the outside it must look like I’m just traveling the world having a blast (and I am), but there’s a lot more to it than that.

No people, I am not rich. And like most of you, I need to make a living.

I realize now that I haven’t explained that part to you very well yet. How exactly do I make money? How do I fund my travels? Am I paid to travel the world?

My answer:'s Affiliate Program.

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Chasing the sun in Boracay Island: A 3 days and 2 nights itinerary

18 August 2016 Boracay, Malay, Aklan, Philippines

Boracay Island -- located in Malay, Aklan, Western Visayas. Boracay is just seven kilometers long, and less than a kilometer wide at its narrowest point - a postcard-sized tropical paradise.

To celebrate our 5 years together (and my 24th birthday), me and Gian had a blast last month in Boracay. We planned this excursion 3 months ahead of time. This was our first getaway together because we, wanted this one to be a rather special anniversary.

Day 0: Baguio to Manila

03:00 AM - Good morning!
05:00 AM - Check in at Joy Bus Terminal
11:00 AM - ETA: NAIA Terminal 3
12:00 PM - Check in at DG Budget Hotel
03:30 PM - Salem Domestic Complex to Mall of Asia
03:35 PM - Mall of Asia
09:40 PM - Mall of Asia to Salem Domestic Complex
10:00 PM - Arrival at Salem Domestic Complex

So I was so excited! I woke up at 3:00 AM took a cold bath and made sure I didn't forget anything for this escapade with the boyfriend. I was at the bus station an hour earlier before my departure and I haven't had any breakfast yet. I bought some chips and a chocolate drink just to satisfy my grumbling stomach.

When I arrived in Manila the traffic was so heavy that I needed to use the bus's toilet 2 times until I finally reached my destination at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay. The bus stopped at the departure area and I need to get to Salem Domestic Guesthouse Budget Hotel near NAIA Terminal 4 (based on Google Maps) and I don't know where that is. So how do I get there? What I did was to Google how to transfer from terminal 3 to terminal 4 without taking any taxi cabs which can cost hella expensive. From the departure area, I went down to the arrival area. Outside the arrival hall I took an Airport Loop bus at the bus station bay and I paid only PhP 20.00 for fare.

Finally I reached Terminal 4. I asked a personnel where Salem Complex located is. Luckily, it was just in front of terminal 4. So I just took the footbridge connecting NAIA terminal 4 and Salem Complex (where the hotel is located).

I stayed in the hotel before going to Mall of Asia, where me and Gian will meet up and have a little date after his work.

Day 1: Arrival

04:00 AM - Good morning!
06:30 AM - Breakfast
07:15 AM - Check out at DG Budget Hotel
07:30 AM - DG Budget Hotel to NAIA Terminal 3
08:45 AM - Check in at NAIA Terminal 3
12:05 PM - ETA: Kalibo International Airport
01:00 PM - Kalibo to Caticlan
03:00 PM - Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Jetty Port
03:15 PM - Cagban Jetty Port to hotel
04:30 PM - Check in at Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay
05:30 PM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
06:30 PM - Food shopping at D'Talipapa Seafood Market
08:00 PM - Dinner
09:00 PM - Bay walk

Gian and I checked-out at DG Budget Hotel and we used Uber (because it's way cheaper than Grab) to NAIA Terminal 3. Our departure flight was scheduled at 10:55 AM. We were at the airport at 8:45 AM and we just grab some refreshments at Starbucks, hang out a little, and took selfies before heading to the pre-departure area.

Our plane got delayed for 30 minutes and at 11:15 AM we boarded the plane.

Touchdown Kalibo Airport at 12:45 PM!

Outside the airport there were rows of tour operator stalls where you can arrange your airport to hotel transfers and vice versa. As for us, I already arranged one through Azalea Boracay, two weeks before our travel. The transfers includes environmental fees and terminal fees. I called the hotel if there's someone going to pick us up, and they informed us that they made our transfer via Southwest tours. We approached the Southwest booth and I saw my name on a board. Tadah! I feel so "VIP". Haha. So I just presented my ID at the booth and the personnel gave as a bus boarding pass.

There's a 2 hour journey from Kalibo to Caticlan Jetty Port. Most passengers where catching up their sleep (and Gian too) but I would rather stay awake and enjoy the countryside view of Aklan.

We had a bus stop for 15 minutes and thank heavens because I really needed a toilet break before we continue for another hour of journey.

We arrived at Caticlan Jetty Port at 3 PM and waited for a few minutes while the guides our preparing for our boat for a 15 minute ride to Cagban Port in Boracay Island.

And here we go!

At Cagban Port, we waited while Southwest arranged our ride to the hotel. By the way, our transfer is not exclusive because private transfers are more pricey compared to shared transfers.

It's already 4:30 PM when we checked in at the Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay. We were upgraded from a deluxe suite to a 2 bedroom apartment type suite. Yep, for free! And it was so huge! We got our own kitchen, dining area, and living area, 48 inch flat screen TV, and 2 more TVs (one for each bedroom). Plus, there's a free buffet breakfast and we get to use the roof top pool for free (which is not offered for deluxe suites). Yay!

After a short swim at the hotel, we can't wait but explore Boracay. But we realized we didn't have any lunch yet and we're hella hungry. So Gian and I decided to go to D'Talipapa Seafood Market instead to shop for food for the next 3 days instead of eating outside the hotel which can cost us more. Besides we got our own kitchen and complete set of pots and utensils.

Day 2: Adventure

08:00 AM - Breakfast
10:00 AM - Backbeach - Snorkeling Site
11:00 AM - Crystal Cove
12:30 AM - Lunch
01:50 PM - Puka Shell Beach
03:00 PM - Boracay Station 1
03:30 PM - D'Mall and D'Talipapa
05:00 PM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
06:30 PM - Stroll
07:30 PM - Cooked dinner at the hotel
08:30 PM - Dinner
09:30 PM - Movie and beer at the hotel

After breakfast, we went outside to find some Boracay activities. Then we rode a tricycle for PhP 70.00 going to Back Beach (Bulabog Beach). Little did we know that, it is just across White Beach and you can reach it by walking. We're tourists. Haha. Bulabog beach is where all the action is. All the activities Boracay has to offer is here: banana boat, fly fish, parasailing. Prices for the activities are reasonable and you can agree on a package price if you book at least one activity.

Since Gian and I were both a "budgetarian" we opted to take an island hopping excursion which cost only PhP 800 pesos ($16) per pax and it includes a buffet and drinks courtesy of Shingley Helmet Diving and Tours. Gian really wanted to try the helmet diving and that would cost us PhP 1,600 ($32) each but I got kinda wussy to try it out because of an accident I heard of from my colleague. So yeah, nope and nope.

Our first stop was fish feeding and snorkeling. This is an optional activity so there's an additional charge of PhP 20.00 each. Their snorkeling gears were old and it's not clear enough to see underwater, so it is best if you just bring your own.

Then we visited Crystal Island. If you want to tour the whole of Crystal Island you have to pay PhP 200 each at the entrance. As for us and few other tourists we just opted to take a swim on its shores (because it's free) while waiting for the others.

For lunch, we went to the mainland Malay, in a food stop called "Piknikan". It is located at the old port of Caticlan. Here we feast on a buffet of rice, pork and chicken barbecues, fish, some veggies, and more. The food here is not as you expected. Just right to satisfy your hunger. The drinks you get are limited though; one drinking bottled water and one 8 ounce of soda, per stub. Gian and I were given 2 stubs each, so we got 4 bottled water and 4 sodas.

*BORACAY ISLAND HOPPING TIP: There was no communication about pick-up times. Instead, we we're advised that each stop/activity would take for an hour only and then we move to the next. So always keep track of your own time to avoid getting left behind.

After lunch, we headed to Puka Beach where we enjoyed its untainted waters, quiet surroundings, and its beautiful scenery.

Puka Beach is the second longest beach in Boracay with a total of 800 meters of land area. It is located on the northern side of the island.

Here, there are different bar shacks in the area where you can grab some drinks or fresh coconuts while immersing your self with Puka Beach's beauty. By the way, it is named Puka Beach after its abundant Puka shells which are found here.

Oh Boracay, you are truly magnificent. The crystal clear blue waters makes me want to take you home.

At 3 PM, the boat dropped us off at Boracay Station 1. We then took this opportunity to enjoy Boracay's fine shores before going back to the hotel to rest our tired feet, have dinner, and back to explore Boracay again.

Look at me cooking Pinakbet for our dinner. Yes, this is the first time in 5 years that Gian will get to taste my own cooking.

Day 3: Departure

07:00 AM - Breakfast at Kuya J Restaurant
08:00 AM - Swimming at Azalea's roof top pool
10:00 AM - Hotel check out
11:30 AM - Hotel to Cagban Jetty Port
12:10 PM - Cagban Jetty Port to Caticlan Jetty Port
12:30 PM - Caticlan to Kalibo International Airport
02:00 PM - Kalibo International Airport
02:10 PM - Lunch outside Kalibo International Airport
03:00 PM - Check-in at Kalibo International Airport
06:20 PM - ETA: Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4

Last day. After breakfast at Azalea's Kuya J Restaurant, Gian and I waded in the roof top pool and enjoy the hotel for the last time before we checked out.

The hotel informed us that our airport transfer will going to pick us up at 11:30 and we check out at 10:00. We really regretted checking out early because we got bored for an hour and a half at the lobby. We should have checked out 15 minutes early before 11:30.

See, I'm now colored with life. Haha.

Oh I really want to extend our vacation. "Nakakabitin"... but it needs to come to an end. Although it pains me to leave the island, I am sure I'll be back here in this 24/7 paradise some day and maybe get to enjoy its nightlife which I didn't experience and experience all Boracay has to offer.

Picking Your Own Engagement Ring: Should You Do It?

You have had a feeling for weeks that it is going to happen. Then, one night, your other half gets down on one knee and asks if you will marry them. They produce a ring in a beautiful velvet box and you're delighted, until you get a closer look and realise that although you want to marry them, you don’t like it. It is a piece of jewellery that you’ll be wearing for a lifetime, so you want it to reflect your personality. So, should you get to pick your own engagement ring?

Choosing your own engagement ring is a personal decision, but one that will make you feel as though the whole process is less stressful. Of course, you want your partner to pick something that they like. But, if they have managed to get it completely wrong or they don’t have the best taste, then pointing them in the right direction is a start. You can show them a range of Diamond engagement rings and tell them which ones you prefer, or go one step further and choose your own.

You will obviously need to have an idea that your partner is going to propose first. Otherwise, you could leave yourself red-faced. However, a lot of people discuss marriage after being together for a while, so then is the ideal time to subtly but firmly let your views be known. You may be lucky enough to have a partner who knows your taste perfectly. Then you will know you can trust that they will pick the best ring out for you. Some of us are not that lucky. Our dream of a white gold and diamond ring could end up being yellow gold with a sapphire in. You get the idea.

One of the downsides of picking your own ring is you will know how much it cost. That could embarrass your other half who didn’t want to spend as much. It could also take away the romantic side of the proposal, as you’ll have a rough idea that they are planning to do it in the near future. It means you’ll be on high alert during every meal in a restaurant or mini-break that you go on. So just consider how you will feel if you know almost every aspect of the proposal. Would it make you feel as though you would feel as though the romance had been taken away from it?

There are no right or wrong answers, as the decision is a very personal one. As many people will say, it is the relationship that matters and not the ring (or who chose the ring). All that matters is that you are both happy with your decision and won’t regret it in the future. Just remember that you will be wearing the ring until the day you die, so make sure you are 100% happy with it!

Honoring Your Heritage On Your Wedding Day

17 August 2016

There are many things that a bride wants to do on her wedding day, and experiences she wants to give herself and others. She may wish to wear her mother’s veil, or walk down the aisle to a traditional song from her country, for example. Something else she may wish to do is honor her heritage. Perhaps she is still in her country of origin, or marrying or living abroad. Either way, inserting a piece of where she came from can be one of the most important facets of her day.

If this applies to you, then you’re in the right place! Read on for three different ways that you can honor your heritage on your special day. Plus, one more fun suggestion for all couples, no matter their heritage!

Honoring Your Heritage With… Your Outfit

A big white wedding dress or a slim fitting cream wedding dress might be what you fancy. But how about dressing in traditional wedding garb from your country of origin? Bold red and delicately embroidered, Chinese Wedding Dresses are ornate and beautiful. Pakistani wedding dresses are also red, though different in appearance of course. If you want both a traditional dress and a modern, Western dress, have both! Just get changed halfway through the day. You could wear your traditional dress for the reception, and then a traditional Western dress for the evening reception and party!

Honoring Your Heritage With… The Music

"If music be the food of love, play on," wrote Shakespeare. You can hire a DJ who specializes in this kind of music. So, an Indian bride may want some traditional Bhangra music to be played at the evening reception! This is sure to please guests, especially traditional ones, and get everyone up and dancing. Alternatively, as with many parts of a wedding, you can DIY the music! What you need to do is make a playlist that you can download. You don’t want to be worrying about the connection to the internet, or it potentially cutting out at any minute! Also, be sure to download a tool that will allow each song to blend together, without awkward gaps or pauses. Just be sure you line up enough music to last the entire event.

Honoring Your Heritage With… An Old Tradition

Is there an old wedding tradition from your country of origin that you love the sound of? Then find a place for it in your ceremony or reception. If you are French, then tradition dictates that you enjoy champagne and chocolates after your reception! Chinese brides could be carried from their own home to the Groom’s home in a sedan chair! Do some research into traditions applicable to you and your family, and pick your favorites!

Finally, here is a fun idea to honor the place where all of your guests have traveled from, or come from. Make a sign that points in multiple directions, with each post labeled with a different country! It also makes a great prop for pictures. You could even put the distance of each from your wedding venue on the post too!

Magical Escape in Marianas

15 August 2016

Because when every single cell of your body, every piece of hair rising up on your skin, is telling you to do something. You should always follow it. And know that the universe put this in place for a reason.

Well, you either stay in one square box, get to know all the corners, the area, it's square root, length of the sides, whether the box is a rectangle or square or a three-dimensional figure. No harm done. Or you move out of that box into various other figures - a circle, a rhombus/kite, a trapezium and explore these vast areas, the mass in them and be amazed at how much there's to know, explore and learn.

Travelling is something that opens up minds, changes opinions, and makes us look at the bigger picture. It makes us humble, and increases our knowledge many folds.

That's why I'm taking ‪#‎Blogapalooza‬ and #‎MyMarianasPH‬'s contest opportunity to win an all-expense paid trip to Mariana Islands.
Beyond the history, both wondrous and grim, the Northern Mariana Islands enjoy white beaches, azure waters and stunning flame trees. Hiking and snorkelling count as the main leisure activities here, and both are highly rewarding. The incredible sunsets are also not to be missed.
I have a lot of slogans in mind and here are the best I could think of:
  1. Magical escape in Marianas
  2. Chasing wonders in Marianas
  3. Irresistibly fascinating

And on this trip, I would like to bring three of my amazing friends, Maria Rona BeltranLeslee Rosales, and Peng Desuyo to join me in this magical escape to Northern Mariana Islands.

Here are things I want to do in the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota:

  • Scuba dive around the Chinsen shipwreck, Managaha Island, Lau Lau Beach’s coral reef, and Saipan’s Grotto’s underwater caverns
  • Try your hand at underwater photography beneath Obyan Beach’s crystal clear waters
  • Parasail 100 feet above Managaha Island and Saipan’s lagoon
  • Windsurf across Saipan’s sheltered lagoon with help from the island’s frequent trade winds
  • Cliff fish off any of the island’s towering precipices
  • Take a bumpy, yet unforgettable, inflatable banana boat ride between the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota
  • Mountain bike across the mountain and jungle-filled interior
  • Admire the As Nieves Latte Stone Quarry, the House of Taga and numerous other ancient Chamorro structures
Sure there are a lot of things to do in this beautiful paradise, but there's only one thing that I want to tick off in my bucket list and that is to take a selfie with sea turtles underwater of Mariana Islands.

More than just a hotel: Citystate Asturias Hotel Palawan

3 August 2016 Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Puerto Princesa is not just about the Underground River, this place has more to offer, trust me. Destinations don’t come much more bucketlist-worthy than this, so if you’re planning a dream trip to Puerto Princesa and want to have an easy access to the city, you want to make sure you’re staying in a hotel that's more than just a hotel. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to Citystate Asturias Hotel Palawan.


On our 3rd and 4th night in Puerto Princesa, we stayed at Citystate Asturias Hotel Palawan. The hotel is located along the South National Highway, giving guests easy access to Tiniguiban Heights and Puerto Princesa City, just a short drive from the airport and commercial district.

The hotel has a well-equipped conference room for organizing business meetings, function rooms for weddings, parties, and more. It also has its own gym complete with equipment and has its own video-oke and billiards room for a late night chill with friends.

They also offer tour arrangement to St. Paul Subterranean River National Park, Iwahig Penal Colony, and the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park.


We stayed in a deluxe room with 1 queen size bed and 2 extra beds. It's published rate is PhP 6,800 a night but you can avail it at a 50% discounted price of PhP 3,400 per night.

The room itself was not overly spacious but it was beautifully minimal. It is an air conditioned unit, equipped with complimentary drinking bottled water, flat screen television with cable channels, telephone, minibar fridge, built-in cabinet and an electronic door lock system.

The best part of the room was that there's a bath tub in the bathroom. Awesome! The bathroom was well stocked with toiletries and fluffy towels.


Oh I absolutely love the hotel's swimming pool. Our room was just beside the pool so every time we got nothing to do we always dip and have a swim at the pool for hours. Yes, a stay at City State Asturias Hotel is not complete without trying out the swimming pool.


When it comes to hotels, a good breakfast buffet is always on top of my list. The hotel has an on-site cafe, The Lobby Cafe, where guests can have light meals, breakfast, coffee variety and desserts. It is open from 6 AM until 12 midnight.

An expansive breakfast buffet, their cafe had it spot on. The breakfast buffet includes cereals, milk, team fruits, eggs, bacon, hot soup, and so much more, all of which are inclusive in the price of your stay.

For reservations, you may contact their Manila sales office at (632) 708 9624 and/or Palawan sales office at (63)(48) 434 3852 or email them at

What did you think of Citystate Asturias Hotel Palawan? Are you planning a getaway to Puerto Princesa too and thinking of booking this hotel? Let me know your thoughts below.

Why Mooloolaba Has Become The Destination Of Choice For Australia

2 August 2016

If you’re hoping to travel a little further this year, then Australia could certainly offer you a few vacation delights. This huge island has more to offer than you think. Compared to other destinations, Australia is relatively sparsely populated. This means there are a lot of incredible sites of natural beauty in this unspoiled country.

Australia experiences a range of different weathers and seasons. In the North, closest to the equator is where you’ll find it is hottest year round. In the South, you may get your fair share of rainy weather, and even a little bit of chill in the coldest months. But along the East coast is where many holidaymakers are heading. Here you have all the tourist favorites. You also have kilometers of gorgeous beaches. Best of all, you have some of nature’s most spectacular destinations.

Mooloolaba is situated just 97 kilometers from Brisbane, making it the perfect place for a day trip from the city. Of course, Mooloolaba has so much to offer that many tourists come here for their entire vacation. This Sunshine Coast favorite is ideal for families, couples, and singles of all ages. But it’s those that love the beachfront and water that will get the most from this gorgeous little town.

The Australia Zoo was made world-famous by the late Steve Irwin. You can find out more about him at There is a lot of conservation work to see. Many of Australia’s wildlife exhibits can be found here. The zoo offers a great day out as well as a lot of educational value for the whole family. It is also ideally located for those who are staying in the Mooloolaba area. Underwater world offers a unique experience for vacationers looking to gain an insight into marine life. It provides a perspective you wouldn’t ordinarily achieve when diving. Best of all, it’s safe and accessible for all.

If you vacation to enjoy the beach life, then Mooloolaba is perhaps the best destination you could choose. There are always fitness challenges like triathlons to get involved with. There are also surfing schools for all levels. Some guarantee success, no matter what! Body boarding is a fun and easy alternative if you want to enjoy the thrill of surfing without the spills. The beaches are clean and family friendly, and you’ll always find plenty of events to enjoy too.

You can explore websites like to get a better idea of the kind of accommodation you can expect in Mooloolaba. If you’re looking to ride Jet Boats, or you want to experience swimming with whales, this could be a good place to start. This pretty destination won’t disappoint those that like to have plenty of choice for activity. Do you prefer the freedom of self-catering vacations? You can find some incredible food choices at the Hinterland markets.

With easygoing bars and cafes, and plenty of other eateries to enjoy, Mooloolaba doesn’t disappoint. Backpackers, honeymooners, and families can all enjoy this sunny destination. Mooloolaba is perfect for the day, and just enough for an entire vacation. When will you try it?

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