Blabbermouth, Lamyerda Diaries

Lamyerda Diaries: Hola Espanya! *update: video added!*

Time and time again, my friends and I always plan on going to New York but for some reason (second time now) it just doesn’t get a green light! We didn’t want to waste our week off so we just decided to head somewhere with a beach and just chill and we found just the perfect place – Barcelona, Spain

FLIGHTS

I had this spur of the moment thing and booked a flight just because it was cheap. Although it was a really good bargain (£55 for return flights per person), we ended up spending the money we saved from flights with the B&B (booked a 20:30 flight then got delayed, landed 1am but only got out 2am) so really, it just broke even.

From London, the usual budget airlines (Easyjet and Ryanair) offer flights to Barcelona el Prat which is near the city centre. There are also 2 other Airports which I found to offer cheaper flights but at a further proximity.

From the airport, they usually have the Metro which is their main transport system. We landed at around 2 AM and there were Night buses available which we took and fyi it was really packed at that hour (cost: €4 one way to city centre); They also have Aerobus which is mainly for airport transfers. I originally booked return tickets from them (cost: €10) but our flight got delayed and they only run till 1am; Uber or MyTaxi (download the app in advance) is also available if you want less hassle from the commute and much faster journey.

ACCOMODATION

Since it was peak season, rates were expected to go higher and after some thorough research, I ended up booking a room from AirBnb. Since we anticipated a summer weather, I mainly looked for 1) Has airconditioning 2) Good location 3) Value for money. Luckily, I found Valeria’s flat which was only 7 minute walk from Plaza Espanya and 2 minute walk to Metro station- Hostafrancs. It was also surrounded with cafes/restos and 24/7 convenience stores. For our 5 day stay, we paid a reasonable amount which ticked my last requirement. Our host was really nice and we mostly just had the place to ourselves. If you do plan to visit Barcelona, I highly recommend her place. You can message me for her contact number.

ITINERARY

I usually just have a list of places I want to see but nothing too detailed. My go to app’s usually through Pinterest and Sygic Travel but I recently discovered Google Trips (App store or Google playstore) and it has everything to make your trip more systematic and efficient. You can save your booking details (flights, hotels, tickets) and make day plans through their list of places to see and you just pick what you want and it can auto create a route for your conveniece! Ultimate travel hack! There’s also this app called Tiqets where I got our passes for Sagrada.

All in all, I would say it’s best to explore the city for a good 2-3 days and 1 extra day could be spent for day tours outside Barcelona.

GETTING AROUND

I would say London’s underground system trained me well so adjusting with Barcelona’s came off effortlessly. If ever in doubt, you can always rely on Google Maps or download the TMB app which is dedicated to their metro/ transport system.

We bought a 48-hour travel card – it’s like an unlimited pass for trains, buses, airport transfers and costs €15 which you can get on the actual station or online (order online to get 10% off then pick it up on any station).

Other than the metro, we like to do a bit of walking which we more or less did like 75% of the time and with Google Trips journey planner feature, this gets easier on those curious toes.

EXPLORE

We woke up really late and managed to go out just in time for lunch. What did we choose to eat you’d ask? Of course – Paella!!!! With the help of Yelp, we found this restaurant just a few minutes away from the BnB called Portonovo Silvestre. I loved their paella (€14.50) and adored their sangria (€15 for a large jug)!

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After a really really sumptuous lunch which left me buzzed at noon, we had to head to our first stop – Parc Guell. To be honest, we were taken aback with the heat and add to that being plastered with wine. To make things worst, we had to do a bit of hike to get to the view point so my heart was really pounding! I would suggest wearing really light clothing, comfortable shoes and not to get sloshed at noon and pre-hike! The view though made our ordeal bearable.

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I usually just choose which site I’m usually dying to explore and want to spend money on and Sagrada Familia was one not to miss and probably 1 of the highlights of this trip. Sans the heat and the massive number of people in, the architecture could almost speak for itself. I was in awe with the intricacy of details and all the time spent for it’s completion which by the way is due on 2026. Also, book your tickets online (got mine thru Tiqets app). If you’re also aiming to get good pictures without the overwhelming number of tourists in the background, I would suggest visiting at around 6-7 am. It just felt like we had the who church to ourselves thus, picture worthy!

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Walking around, I just noticed just how the vibe feels so alive and I love that there are trees everywhere! If you go to La Rambla- it’s a whole tree lined street stretch where tourists mostly flock. There are shopping stores, restaurants, souvenir vendors and benches where you can just sit, relax and people watch.

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Some of Gaudi’s famous designs: Casa Mila & Casa Batllo which is a walking distance from each end

Gothic quarter – this is basically their old town and has narrow streets and old school spanish balconaje.

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La Barceloneta – This was the other highlight of our trip and enjoyed the most. Rest and relaxation achieved!

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Fuente Magica – They normally have scheduled fountain shows on certain days and it’s just a lovely sight to see.

Day Trip: Montserrat

On our extra day, we decided to visit Montserrat, a gorgeous mountain range which offers spectacular views. Also within those range lies an actual monastery and a basilica where you will find the Black Madonna (The image of the Virgin Mary).

From Plaza Espanya, you can take the R5 train straight to Montserrat. We bought tickets from a tourist centre in Plaza Catalunya which costs 35 euros and that would include return tickets via the R5 + Metro train, Aeri (cable car), funiculars and lastly their audio visual room. They also have museum but we opted to just explore and hike.

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The hike going up would probably take around 2 hours for noobs like me. There were some trails you could follow although there were also rough areas but the view from top is amazing. I would suggest to bring some water and snacks to munch especially once you reach the top. Also, wear comfy clothes (I wasn’t prepared for the hike and was wearing a skirt and chucks)!

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Overall, going to Barcelona is a one stop holiday shop if you ask me. If you like the city and rich architecture, the beach to just relax, flavourful food/ drinks and if you’d like to go nature tripping or hiking, it’s all within arms reach! Adeu!

 

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Blabbermouth

Bridechilla Diaries: LDR wedding planning (Part 2 of 2)

5. Paper work Essentials

This was the tricky bit for us. Only because we’re overseas and some of these papers require personal appearance and may validity na iba iba nakakaloka! Bilang we’re trying to be wise in spending, we thought it’s not worth it to go home for the purpose of just filing these papers and then go back. Diba magkano na agad yun pamasahe palang? So, we found a loop hole.

We’ve learned na when you’re already civilly married, they tend to relax on the requirements. So it made more sense for us cause we didn’t have to spend at least 800 quid just for the flights plus yung pagod, stress and fees to spend once were there. Sayang din yung days of annual leave namin cause travel palang ubos agad 2 days. So ayun nga, we decided to have a secret civil wedding to make life easier- total, dun narin naman kame papunta.

We had 2 options, get married in the UK Council or Philippine Embassy. Honestly, we found the requirements more feasible sa Embassy so yun na.

-Certificate of No Marriage (Cenomar) – which we easily acquired online and had it delivered within a week at our doorsteps. (Ecensus.com.ph)

– Authenticated (red ribbon) Birth certificate PSA certified which we also ordered online (Ecensus.com.ph)

-Application form- available at the embassy or you can also download it online

-Fee (I can’t remember the exact amount but all in all it was around £100-£120)

So ang ganap dito is submit all the requirements, pay the fee then choose a schedule. Ganun kabilis, ganun kadali! Parang instant kasalan! Then once this is done, they will forward your report for marriage file to the Philippines which would normally take 3-6 months to process to get your marriage certificate which you will need when you apply for your church wedding. Para din dere-derecho na, right after the civil wedding, apply nako agad ng new passport bearing my new name. Oh dba, 2 birds with one stone!

Church Requirements:

-Birth certificate with the purpose to marry should be valid within 6 months before the wedding

-Baptismal certificate with the purpose to marry should be valid within 6 months before the wedding (we needed the powers of our parents here cause sa church siya narerequest)

-Marriage bans which requires to be posted for 3 Sundays (sa local parish mo din ito)

-Precana certificate- which we’ve done here in the UK. Ask your local parish or check online cause they normally have schedules for the whole year. We paid £100 for the seminar- medyo ginto for that whole day pero keri narin walang choice lol

-Marriage License: I honestly can’t remember if we needed to do this cause as far as I’m aware, may naskip kameng process because of the civil wedding. Ito ata yun.

-Authenticated marriage certificate- eto yung finorward ni embassy sa Pinas. Took us 6 months to get it so we just furnished the church with the report of marriage from the embassy which is technically the marriage certificate kaso lang it’s not on an official PSA paper

-Cenomar should be valid within 6 months before the wedding (we used the same cenomar we requested online)

-Canonical Interview: pwede na to pagdating ng pinas

6. Who wins the crown? – Title  holder

From your established likes and priorities, come up with your top 3 choices. I am aware how difficult it is to choose sometimes kasi the tendency is pag may makita kang ibang ideas, gusto mo nanaman palitan lahat. I recommend writing your top 3 choices cause your 1 and 2 would always compete for the top spot depending on your mood that day and the last is your back up and if worst comes to worst, your plan b.

Once you’ve settled for your number 1, it would be best to stray away from looking at pegs and groups cause that will just derail your mindset. From my experience, I already settled with a decision pero itong si bakla tingin parin ng tingin ng kung anik2 so every now and then, I kept changing my decision and sometimes, question my choices. So to avoid confusion, lay off a bit on those sites para less stress and confusion.

I found it easy on my part kasi the location we chose na may chapel narin on the same place had their list of accredited suppliers so basically, I just had to choose from them (although pwede parin naman to source outside). Di na ako honestly naghanap pa ng iba just to make things easier for me kasi the account executive na assigned to us also liaises with the suppliers. Thanks also to technology, we’ve done all our transactions online. Email, facebook, skype, viber lahat nautilise.

7. Nitty Gritty

If earlier more on brain storming, ito may pisikalan na. We made our own very simple invites. Tapos the souvenirs, we just bought them here and took advantage of the end of season and boxing day sale. As for the suit, we bought it in one of the outlet shops and believe it or not, I just got my wedding gown online lol.

Before finally going home 3 weeks before the wedding, I made a book which had all the list of suppliers, contact numbers, pegs, checklists and things to do which I found very helpful talaga kasi when anyone asks, lalabas lang yung mahiwagang binder ko.

Once we got home, we got busy meeting all our suppliers in person and made sure that everything is set and good to go. So far, happy naman kame re everything we initially talked about.

As for the guest list, so far we didn’t go over our limit. Medyo naging advantage din yung Friday kasi of course yung mga close talaga samin would go out of their way to ditch work for us.

8. Reality check

With all the stress and preps, baka nakalimutan mo na si jowabelles. Gusto ka parin ba niyang pakasalan after everything? This will be the perfect time to bond and reconnect and just spend time together without thinking of anong flower yung ikakabit sa stage or ano yung kulay ng tie ng mga ninong.

9. Final preps

The only downside of DIYs is that we had to do everything which meant like yung souvenirs for everyone, we were still packing some of it the day before para di masira. And then checking that everything is ready etc.

Night before should be mostly for rest and relaxtion, savouring the moment or tawagan ang ex at humingi ng closure charooot!

10. I DO!

Finally! Thiz iz it! I swear, the on the day coordinators are like the unsung heroes of this event. They kept everything organised and made sure na everything is running smoothly. Pati nga pag ihi ko nakaalalay sila ate. They helped in easing out the stress and worries na baka di nakaupo sa ganito or baka nakalimutan bigyan ng souvenir si ganyan.

And for the last step, don’t forget to enjoy this moment with your husband. Kebs na muna sa iba, this is about us! Savour this moment kasi after the wedding, maghuhugas ka nanaman ng pwet sa char! at lalagari nanaman sa trabaho hahaha!

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So sa dadalawang avid reader ko na nagrequest nito, ayan na! Hahahah! Pero seriously, I would be ever so happy to help out especially yung mga nagbabasa nito ngayon na planning to get married in Pinas. Message or comment down below (wow meganun). Di na ako magclosing statement guyz pagod nako magtype. Basta the end na okay. Babush!

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Blabbermouth, Married Life

Bridechilla Diaries: LDR wedding planning (Part 1 of 2)

In all honesty, I underestimated the whole process of getting married. Akala ko pwede na yung puchu-puchu lang na preparation. I never in my whole existence (wow, ang OA ko don) realised how elaborate the planning and preparation would take and how it can suck the pasensya out of you lol. That is why, I thought of writing this guide or list or however you may like to call it about how I came up everything. Who knows, may makarelate and find it helpful and I’m also doing this for my 2 avid blog followers na nagrerequest nito (akalain mo may nagbabasa pala ng mga churna ko dito!?)

1. Jumowa ka muna besh.

Find a jowa | Establish a good relationship | Level-up

Siyempre, let’s start this list right. Before you even go into overdrive, yung pinaka importante muna- dapat may jowa ka muna at alam niyang jowa ka niya at willing kang iharap sa altar. One thing I learned all these years is that you can’t ever force yourself into someone na hindi pa ready. Mahirap yan and if you do, you’re only setting yourself and the relationship to fail. Marriage is a lifetime commitment so it’s important na when you commit, pareho kayong ready and all in. Bear in mind na once you’re in, wala nang kawala hahahaha!

2. Rated K (Kasal): Handa na ba kayo?

Assess yourself | Assess your partner | Evaluate the relationship

As I mentioned earlier, marriage is a lifetime commitment and believe me, wedding planning is also hard work. Sino ba naman yung may gusto na in the middle of planning and organising everything, biglang may nag back out kasi narealise na di pa pala ready and nakita kung pano ka nag beast mode sa stress mo pumili kung carnation or blush pink yung shade na gusto mo. I guess, to make my hanash short, I established that first: (1) Nasa stage nako ng buhay ko na I enjoyed my own company, I had my fair share of singlehood fun, I know who I am and what I want and I have loved myself enough to want to share it with other people. (2) I am sure that I love and am in love with the person and I accept what he is, what he was and what he will be in the future and that this love and devotion and respect is equally reciprocated (3) Quality vs. Quantity. In that period that we’ve been together, has it been fruitful and worth it? Are we happy? Have we learned our lessons on those trialing times? Have we made each other a better person? Have you agreed to disagree and learned to compromise on certain things?

Pucha ang cheesy ko jan pero in fairness seryoso ako. I came from a broken family so I know and I’ve seen things na wit ko bet maexperience in the future so it just makes sense na maging sigurista din di ba?

3. Talk-show: Planning Phase 01

What do you want | Set expectations | How much are we willing to spend | When and where | Who should get involved

What do you want?

This is a very crucial question because this will be one of the backbones of your wedding planning. The talk shouldn’t be a one-off thing; counted yung mga random conversations/ chismisan nyo especially yung mga spontaneous comments ni jowa on random occasions na may connect sa wedding. Also, be patient especially with guys. Unlike girls, their planning isn’t as structured as we want it to be. Often times, they will say ikaw na bahala; kung ano gusto mo okay nako and that could be frustrating at times pero hinga lang girl, ganyan talaga sila. This celebration is about you two and 2 heads are always better than one so pag may chance, ask for their opinion. I-pattern mo ke tito boy yung questioning baka umepek.

Set expectations. How much are we willing to spend?

I based mine on these criteria: Bongga, Sulit or Simple. In this day and age, we can get easily swayed with all these wedding videos on Youtube or all these editorial-ish pictures and really extravagant settings. Oh tukso, layuan mo ko. Part of the talk would mean you have to be realistic and practical in choosing what you want especially on the financial side of things. Ang gastos pala magpakasal.

We settled for a SULIT wedding. If we’re gonna do it in the UK, computing the expenses of visa and air fare palang, talo na kame. Plus the actual wedding expenses which quite frankly, mahal nga talaga dito. Since all the family’s back home, might as well di ba? In terms of spend, we shouldered everything equally and paid on a staggard basis so di sing bigat sa bulsa at di rin sing mahal.

When and where

We’ve set one specific criteria for this. We wanted it to be in Manila, and the church and reception should be in just one area para no hassle for the visitors. As for the date, I know some people prefer a certain special date and all; yung iba nagpaconsult pa kay Tita Zenaida Seva or pina feng shui pa pero on this bit, we went for something more practical hahaha. What we originally wanted was January 2018 (which was our anniversary, my birth month, and swerti sa Chinese yung mga ocho ocho). The catch was, we already found a venue that had everything and they were basically on sale so hinabol lang talaga naming yung sale wherein nakatipid kame ng malaking halaga. Ang pinaka kinonsider namin is 80% practicality, 15% swerti and 5% audience impact char! We chose November kasi it’s off-peak and may pa-discount si Mayor, Friday kasi para may pasok lol so meaning mas tipid sa headcount kasi di na aatend yung iba and 17 kasi wala lang bet lang naming hahahah.

Who should get involved

You will need all the support and help you can get from people around you especially if you’re doing this overseas planning thingy. Family, friends, can help you organise things for you so you just need to delegate certain responsibilities like taga lakad ng papeles, taga follow up ng supplier, taga tikim ng food etc. If you have extra in the budget, you can hire a wedding organiser to help you run things smoothly. If you’re more like me na gusto hands on sa lahat, what I did was just get an on the day coordinator pero the rest, inayos ko na lahat. May internent naman.

4. Call Center Agent/ Researcher: Planning Phase 02

So meron ka nang initial talk with the Fiance and you’ve set your expectations, wants, budget and date. Eto na yung madugong process: looking for the perfect suppliers. What we did was after getting engaged, we flew home to get the ball rolling. Namanhikan na, and went supplier hunting. I think it’s much easier now cause you can find everything online plus there’s these webistes/ blogs and even facebook groups (Wawies) that is a good resource for all your needs. Anjan pa si pinterest where you can create your pegs/ inspiration looks so you’ll know what you’re working with and in a way visualise your plans.

From my own list, these are the major suppliers we booked for our wedding. What we did was list our top 3 for each, contact them and then compare their packages and see kung saan mas susulit without compromising our vision.

a. Church Venue – We didn’t want a big church kasi we wanted something a bit more intimate and parang di ko bet yung may bungi bungi sa upuan. We just wanted a small chapel. And like a said, yung malapit or at least walking distance lang sa venue para no hassle for everyone.

b. Reception Venue- Close to the chapel and yung maganda na siya as it is para minimal ayos nalang yung kelangan and no need to book Gideon Hermosa char!

c. Photo & Video: Siyempre, this is something na ayokong tipirin and doing a bit of photography myself I know how these pictures will live on. Although we’ve decided na we won’t go ahead sa pre-nup pictorial and save the date shoot and mag DIY nalang kame and recycle our travel photos and videos. Plus we have friends who takes good photos so avail na, nakatipid pa!

d. Caterer: of course, we wanted to get someone with excellent food and sulit packages especially with the styling since we agreed not to get a venue stylist.

e. On the day Coordination: Was not too picky on this although importante na yung may good feedback AND affordable

f. Lights and Sounds: Same, not to picky on this one. Actually this was one of our bahala na supplier

g. Music/ Band: this was actually just an option cause and plano is to let our friends do the singing/ entertaining instead.

h. Mobile bar: not a priority but a high option. Para walwal lang and ebribadi happy

i. Flowers: mahusay dapat pero di sing mahal. Malaki din kasi yung impact ng flowers so dapat oay din yung package offers daba

j. Event Host: di ko akalain ang mamahal narin pala ng rates ng mga hosts. Although I understand din naman na basically skanila nakasalalay yung flow ng programme and make sure na enjoy din yung mga guests.

As for the other essentials like invites, souvenirs, outfits etc, we decided to just outsource everything from where we are.

…. uy umay kna ba mag basa? Putulin ko na dito; part 2 on next entry!

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