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Manic Manila

Yesterday we arrived in Manila for the first of eighteen days for our Honeymoon.

Manila, by far is the busiest city I have ever been to. With cars, scooters, motorcycles and the city’s bus system called “jeepneys” wizzing past you. Manila is a place to sure find a way to keep you on your toes at all points.

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If you thought you could walk down the street with your phone in your face, your wrong. That is a quick death waiting to happen as you are sure to get run into or over by a driver that has people to see and places to go.

One of the most fascinating things I have found so far is the stares from other people. It’s easy to think we blend in until we have small school children pointing, giggling and asking to take photos with us. You almost would think we were mistaken for celebrities, but it is just their innocent curiosity of seeing someone different in their crowded metropolis that it literally stops them in their tracks.

There is lots of history in Manila, a lot surrounds the devastation that World War 2 left upon the city and the unconscious minds of the Filipino people.

It had been quite refreshing to see groups of pre-teen and teenage kids together enjoying their days dancing in park, taking photos, playing games and enjoying one another company. When I think about it, I truly can’t remember the last time I saw a group of teens interacting together without technology by their side and as a distraction to real human connection.

The food thus far has been decent. We’ve had rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even tried a local favourite called Bagnet Kare Kare which was pork belly with zucchini, and bok Choi in a peanut sauce.

We have chosen to stay in the business district of the city called Makati, where the skyscrapers are literally scraping the sky at 33 stories and the haze that covers the city gives it an intimate feel in the crowded, business of the city.


On Sunday we walked around Makati and it was surprisingly a ghost town. Since it is known as the business district with lots of financial institutions and HQ of major corporations, it seems people only travel to this area on weekdays. It was a nice surprise from the previous days chaos.

82F88386-AE0A-4510-A2BC-82D7DF21FA98E04BCDAD-D2CD-427A-8163-B94DC66EBAF4B45CA4C7-540F-41D1-A292-EF115D07474AWe walked around the market where many locals had set up vendors of local fruits, vegetables, seafood and protein.
We were really excited to try some local BBQd street food. We tried chicken legs, prawns, vegetable samosas, and pork crackling.

We walked back to our hotel and spent the day catching some rays by the roof top pool.

Today we are off to Coron and ready to explore more of a laid pack pace of life by the ocean.

Fall 2021 Travel to the UK from Canada during the Covid 19 Pandemic

We have arrived safely from Canada to the UK

After 3 long years, we finally booked a trip to visit our family in the UK! Previously, we were not able to come here due to corona virus pandemic lockdowns that started in March 2020.

We previously tried to book flights to come home last Christmas 2020, but we had to cancel it as Canada had implemented a mandatory hotel quarantine stay that would have cost us an extra $2000.

At the end of August 2021, it was finally announced that Canada had moved to the amber list to the UKs green travel list and we did not need to quarantine anymore or take Day 8 test. This also meant, since we both have been double vaccinated this summer, we were able to now travel.

After we booked out flights with WestJet from Toronto to London, Gatwick. We then had to research what other requirement we had to fulfil to get safely into England

If you are fully vaccinated

After you arrive in England you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2.

This applies if you’re fully vaccinated under either:

  • the UK vaccination programme
  • the UK vaccine programme overseas
  • an approved vaccination programme in Europe or the USA – not all are recognized in England

If you are not fully vaccinated

If you do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, on arrival in England you must:

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

Before travel to England

Before you travel to England you must:

To travel to England right now (Sept 2021) you need to book a COVID test no longer than 48 hours before your flight. The COVID test we booked needed to be a specific travel test. The specific test we needed was called RT-PCR Testing.  Not the Asymptomatic Rapid Antigen Screening that costs only $40 one from Shoppers Drug Mart. We did some research and found out that Shopper Drug Mart did have the proper test we needed, but it cost $199 + tax. We continued our research and found a Covid 19 Travel test in Missassauga at Britlin Medical Pharmacy You get your results in 24-48 hours. It was $120 + HST, and came to a total of $135 each. We received our test results the next morning, less than 24 hours after we did our test. The results came through email and we printed these out.

After we did our pre-travel covid tests, we then had to order or book a Day 2 covid test to do at home or in person when we arrived in the UK. These tests we found here (to know they are government approved) and had them shipped to my husbands mothers house. We shopped around the site to find the best price. Prices ranged from £69 – £80. The company we chose was 001 Expert Covid Testing. UK, and we paid £55 each. For two is was £139.98. With tax this was approximately £69.99, about $122.50 each or $245 CAD for two Day 2 Covid Tests.

48 hours before our flight, we had to fill out a passenger locator form.

What important information did we have to submit in the passenger locator form?

  • the address we were staying for the first 10 days of our trip
  • passport informaton
  • flight information & seat number
  • a phone number you can be contacted in the UK (you have the choice of being called, texted or both)
  • the reference number from our Day 2 test. (I highly recommend completing this form before you get to the airport as we noticed many people who had to get out of line and not be able to check in to their flights until this was done.)

We were not able to fully check in online with WestJet prior to our flight as we needed to check in directly with an agent from WestJet as they needed to verify all of our information.

What did the WestJet agents at the airport need to verify when we checked in?

  • our passports
  • our negative covid 19 test results
  • our passenger locator form

We also found out that many people did not do the COVID test prior , didn’t book the right test or they didn’t book the day 2 and were not able to come on our flight. Right before take off they let us know that they were removing baggage from our flight of those people who couldn’t make it.

When we arrived in England

When we landed in the UK, it was the easiest entry into the UK that I have ever experienced. I was able to go through the same area that citizens of the UK could go through. (Usually I would be sent to a different area because I am Canadian but they now have them lumped in.

We did not have to speak with an immigration agent and we didn’t even have to do an immigration card upon landing. All we did was stand in an area where we had our passport and face scanned and then we were clear to grab our luggage and leave.

In conclusion, pre-travel was a pretty stressful experience. Since we previously did not know anyone else who had travelled internationally or who had been to the UK recently, we had to do a lot of research on our own. WestJet as well as pharmacies did not have the answers to a lot of our questions. We relied heavily on information from the Government of UK website.

It also was a lot of extra money on top of our flights we had to pay. Our flights were $720.02 each. Our tests in total were $260 CAD each. All in, we spent approximately $980.02 each to travel from Canada to the UK.

Upcoming Travel Changes

As of now, it was announced that on October 4th, 2021 that there will be a new system for International Travellers coming into the UK. They will be implementing “simpler, cheaper rules for fully vaccinated travellers coming from non-red list countries – fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests – from the end of October – and no longer need to take pre-departure tests (PDTs)”.

This is a frustrating change as we just spent so much money on tests to get here. However, the past few years have been extremely hard not being able to leave the country to see our family and friends in England. At the end of the day, nothing truly can compare to finally be lucky enough to safely travel during the pandemic from Canada to the UK.

Safe travels!

Why Reversible Bathing Suits Make The Best Travel Companion

I recently got married in Jamaica and had a lot to pack. After many months of searching for the perfect bathing suit to accompany me on our ten day tropical vacation, I found such joy and convenience in having a reversible bathing suit.

swimwear canada
On the beach in Jamaica

Instead of packing one for each day, I cut down four of those days into two bathing suits. Everyone loves to have a new bathing suit look every day, and it made everything so much easier and fashionable by having four different looks with only 2 suits. If you got really creative and wanted to mix and match, you actually could make 16 different looks with two reversible bathing suits.

The suits I got were the Gold Feather Reversible bikini from Arrow & Eve and the Seamless Wave Reversible Bikini from PilyQ. Both incredibly flattering and the colours are so easy to mix and match. Gold Feather Reversible Bikini | Arrow & Eve

The Gold Feather reversible bikini is such an easy suit to mix and match since it is black and we all know black matches with everything. Even the gold feathers and black on the reversible side makes it elegant and easy to match with many different looks. You can look effortlessly chic in the all black, or glam it up with the gold feather. I absolutely love the ruffled bottoms, they make any shape look cute and sexy at the same time, and cheeky too! 😉 Gold Feather Reversible Bikini Bottoms | Arrow & Eve

A new favourite to my collection is the Wave Reversible Bikini. I got so many compliments on this one as it is fun and shimmery, and the seamless material is really different and not something you usually see in bathing suit material. I found this suit to be really easy to wear under other clothing, and since it was seamless, you didn’t get those bulky string lines under your shorts or dress. It was perfect. Seamless Wave Reversible Bikini | PilyQ

In a few weeks we are headed away again to escape the cold and off to Antigua. This time we are super strapped with luggage, so I again will have to hold back on packing seven different bathing suits, and I will definitely be putting my theory to the test and only bringing these two bathing suits with me to stand the test of mixing and matching. See you on the beach! xo

For more reversible bathing suit inspiration and other luxury bathing suits ideas check out Canadian owned Sunvixen Swimwear.

About SunVixen Swimwear: We are obsessed with designer swimwear. Our Vancouver headquarters is home, the breathtaking beaches of the British Columbian coastline, our inspiration. We pride ourselves on bringing you the most alluring fashion, crafted with the highest quality materials that immediately take you on an escape as soon as you step into a suit. 

We know swimwear. The team at Sun Vixen Swimwear is a beach loving, pool party planning, getaway going, day to night swimsuit wearing fashionista brigade. We believe in function and form. When you choose a Sun Vixen Swimwear product you step into the sun, glowing inside and out, confidently diving into any situation.

We love our clients; you drive us to exceed expectations in luxury swimwear and we listen. Reach out, share, comment and let us know – if there is a killer brand you want to see at our shop, we’re experts at getting it for you. 

Step into a suit and let your inner Sun Vixen shine through!

The Sun Vixen Swimwear Team☀️

This post was originally posted on Sunvixen Swimwear on March 4th, 2019.

About Me

Love the life you are live, live the life you love.

— Anonymous

I am Lindsay. Welcome to my travel blog. I started this blog in 2011 when I left Canada for 10 months to travel Australia on my own after graduating university.

Writing a blog was the best way for me to update my friends and family about my adventures and to share what I was up to and what I was experiencing.

Writing has always been therapeutic to me and I found true therapy through travel.

I hope my adventures and experiences bring you as much inspiration and motivation to get out there and see this beautiful world that we are so lucky to call home.

I have travelled to 13 countries and counting and hope to continue to rack up my travels and never cure myself from this travel bug that I have been lucky enough to treat every so often.

Want to stay connected? Subscribe to my blog below to stay up to date on my travels or follow me on Instagram @justagirladventures for past, present and future travel inspiration and tips.

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