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.
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.
We 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.
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 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.
the address we were staying for the first 10 days of our trip
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 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.
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.
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 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!
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After 6 countries, 5 different languages, 7 flights, 12 trains, numerous buses, taxis, water taxis, subways and bikes I am at the end of my month long European vacation!
I saw many amazing countries, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France. Experienced different vibes of amazing cities, London, Glasgow, Ibiza, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Florence, Venice, Nice. And indulged in many many different food and drink cultures from fish and chips, paella, pasties nada, pasta, pizza, gelato, crepes, espresso, wine, sangria, cider and champagne! I truly feel I made the most out of my European adventure! I had a great time exploring, but also am glad to be heading back home where my backpack will be tucked away in my closet, and I can understand the people I am talking with. I will absolutely miss the food, culture, sites, history and beaches!