The Style Mermaid by Kisty Mea

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • Travel Arsenal: Must Bring Items
Traveling light and efficiently is a skill that a lot of people, including myself, still needs to master. But I also noticed when we do travel, we tend to focus on the trivial matters, such as what are we going to wear. Between the panic and chaos, we tend to forget the little things that has utmost importance. 
So, let’s start with the basics. Here are the top five (5) items that we should always bring whenever we travel.  
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1. Passport + Government-issued IDs
You can’t go out of the country without a passport. Your passport serves as your World ID, so keep it close and safe at all times. Before you leave the house, make sure you have your passport with you (along with your travel itineraries).
If you don’t have a passport, now is the best time to get one because you need one if you want to join the Big Blog Exchange 2014! HOW TO GET A PHILIPPINE PASSPORT?
For students: it’s advisable to bring your student ID because you’ll be entitled for discounts. 
2. Money + Plastic Cards
Cash is still king, but it’s better you come prepared by bringing a bunch of your plastic cards with you. Don’t forget to call your bank before traveling!
A lot of credit cards are often partnered with a frequent-flier program. You can convert your card’s reward points to miles, which you can use for future travels.CHECK WHICH CREDIT CARD IS RIGHT FOR YOU!
3. Camera + Memory Cards
A camera provides the biggest souvenir you can bring home. Not only will you be able to take photos of the places you’ve visited, but also the memories associated to those photos. One day, you’ll look back and remember.
You don’t need a high-end camera to take spectacular photos. But I recommend getting a camera that works well in low-light, so you can still take amazing shots even at night. 

4. Phone + Powerbank
I use my iPhone to capture photos I post on Instagram. And I also use it to communicate with my family, if ever we got separated during our travel or in case of emergencies.
If you’re a heavy user, I recommend getting a high quality powerbank for your device. I’m currently using a Valore Shell 6000 mAh Powerbank, which can provide two (2) full charges.

5. Comfy Shoes
Traveling abroad means lots of walking. So invest in comfy shoes, like a pair of Converse or Toms. I don’t recommend high heels unless you’re a witch, and has found a magic spell to survive 10-12 hours of wearing them.
I also recommend that you bring flip-flops or open-toe sandals. You can use these inside the bathroom (in case, the bathroom floor is made of glass-like material… to avoid injuries), when it’s raining or going to the beach.

How about you? What are the other things you think is vital when travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts, explorers! 

Travel Arsenal: Must Bring Items

Traveling light and efficiently is a skill that a lot of people, including myself, still needs to master. But I also noticed when we do travel, we tend to focus on the trivial matters, such as what are we going to wear. Between the panic and chaos, we tend to forget the little things that has utmost importance. 

So, let’s start with the basics. Here are the top five (5) items that we should always bring whenever we travel.  

Read more

Corregidor Island

Greetings from Dubai! I’m not entirely sure if I’ve already landed to Milan/Malpensa Airport by the time this entry has been posted, but hello from wherever I am! I’m currently using my mom’s hotspot to connect (the airport’s free Internet is unstable, what a disappointment!), so let me take this opportunity to make a quick blog post about Corregidor. 

So, last April 29 (exactly a month ago, apparently!), my little sister and her classmates went on a school field trip to Corregidor, an island of historical value. Since I’ve been begging my family that we should visit Corregidor, we took this chance to chaperone the kiddos.

For those who are not familiar with Corregidor, it is an island 48 kms. west of Manila, and situated at the entrance of Manila Bay. Because of it strategic location, it served as a focal point for the naval defenses of the capital. The island played an important part during World War II, during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese forces. I wish I can tell you more but I’m not really familiar with my country’s history, except for the fact that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines and both Rizal and Gomburza died. But if you’re thinking of going to Corregidor soon and YOU SHOULD, then the tour guides there should be able to brief you a piece of history. Just visit CorregidorPhilippines.com to book your next adventure! :)

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • Pico de Loro Adventure
While most people flocked the pristine beach of Boracay on Labor Day, Cariza and I went on a spontaneous roadtrip adventure to Nasugbu, Batangas to relax at Pico De Loro. I’ve never been to Pico before, so I have no idea what to expect but I assumed it’s a great place to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life. 
As usual, let the photos do the ~talking~

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About Pico de Loro
Pico De Loro is a beach and country club developed by SM Properties, equipped with a full range of sports and recreation facilities. They have a boutique hotel and 8 residential buildings. Some units of the residential buildings are rented for vacation goers. 
   
How to get there?
From Manila, there are three routes to Pico De Loro. The shortest route is via Cavitex, while the longest is through Tagaytay via the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. I recommend you check with Google Maps for the best route from your location. 
  
What to do in Pico?
There are a bunch of sport and recreation activities in Pico de Loro, such as swimming, bowling, billiards, frisbee and horse-back riding. Ultimately, Pico de Loro is a place to relax from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila.  
Note: To access the facilities, you have to pay a membership fee of PHP1,000/person. Pico de Loro do not accept cash payments. You also have to purchase a reloadable cash card worth PHP1,000 from them.
     


Where to stay in Pico?
Cariza and I stayed at Brick & Mustard’s unit. It’s a cozy one-bedroom unit at the Miranda building (about 5-minutes from the beach). The place has everything — bed, TV with cable and DVD, kitchen, microwave, kitchenwares, and so on. All you need to bring is the food, drinking water and your personal toiletries. 
The rate is PHP6,000/night good for six (6) people. So, that’s like PHP1000/person/night. I’d say that’s a pretty cheap deal considering how clean and pretty the place is. 

      
But wait, let me give you a discount!
I’m giving away three (3) 20% voucher to anyone who is interested to stay at Pico De Loro. For sure bookers, all you have to do is email brickandmustard@gmail.com and let them know that you found out about their place through me (The Style Mermaid).
The discount is only valid for the first three customers who’ll book a room. Don’t be a bogus buyer, thanks.

Pico de Loro Adventure

While most people flocked the pristine beach of Boracay on Labor Day, Cariza and I went on a spontaneous roadtrip adventure to Nasugbu, Batangas to relax at Pico De Loro. I’ve never been to Pico before, so I have no idea what to expect but I assumed it’s a great place to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life. 

As usual, let the photos do the ~talking~

Pico de Loro Adventure

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The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • El Nido Travelogue
Every wanderlust has their own lifestyle and preference, so you either fall in love with El Nido or with Boracay. And in my opinion, both El Nido and Boracay offer a different kind of relaxation: Boracay is commercialized, while El Nido is more… provincial. 
Anyway, we only had two days to enjoy El Nido, so we did not waste any time and booked their two best-selling boat tours: Tour A and Tour C. Here are my thoughts about the tour:[[MORE]]
Tour A: Lagoons & Beaches
For Tour A, the hotel chose a pretty decent travel guide. There were eight of us, so they got us a big boat. The tour guide was also quite knowledgeable and considerate. 

Seven Commandos Beach is named after the 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived in the island after World War II. This is honestly my favorite from the tours because of its pristine beach and waters. Perfect place to bask under the sun. 
Shimizu Island has this stunning limestone cliffs. This is where most of the tourists each their lunch. But since our boat was big, we had the chance to eat on board, and rest. 
Secret Lagoon was our least favorite from the tour because 1) the island was surrounded by rocks and corals (Better use a kayak to avoid injuries) and 2) the lagoon was muddy… reminds me of an uncleaned toilet. :( 
Small and Big Lagoon were simply breathtaking. In case you want to know, the second and third photo were taken inside the Small Lagoon. The fourth photo was the Big Lagoon, though the awful glare from the sun made it difficult to capture it’s wonderful beauty. Trust me, the Big Lagoon looks like a scene from Jurassic Park! 

Tour C: Hidden Beaches & Shrines
I’m not entirely sure we got our money’s worth with this tour. First, the current was really strong that day. Second, we were eight people (4 tourists and 2 guides) riding a small fisherman’s boat (see 8th photo). Overall, my experience with the Tour C guide was slightly traumatizing and less enjoyable. 

Matinloc Shrine is a sacred monument that was built in 1982 in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary. 
Tapiutan Island provides a wonderful opportunity for you to snorkel or scuba dive while your guide cooks your lunch. JP said that if I went further, I could’ve seen the colorful city of corals and fishes. Since this is where tourists have lunch, somebody should enforce CLAYGO. There were so much junk on the beach, it was impossible to walk barefooted. 
Hidden Beach is a 100-m white sand beach behind a huge limestone that separates its shallow waters from the ocean. A lot of hermit crabs live here.
Now, this is where the “fun” began. When it was time to leave, the guide told us to wear a life vest because a life buoy will pull us towards the boat. Sounds easy, right? NO IT WASN’T. The other guide (who was on the boat) was literally pulling us towards the deeper parts of the sea. Even if I was wearing a life jacket and holding real tight on the life buoy (and on my iPhone), I still felt like I had to fight for my life because the currents were really strong. 
After that, all I wanted to do was go home.

We only booked the tour through the hotel. The price includes a towel and lunch. We had to pay extra if we want to use the kayak and mask. I highly recommend you request for a big boat and rent a kayak for every tour, especially if you have kids with you. 
All of these are taken with an iPhone 5, edited with the fantastic VSCO Cam app. You can view the rest of the photos on my Instagram gallery or on my photo blog.
P.S. Don’t forget to read my quick guide to El Nido, Palawan!

El Nido Travelogue

Every wanderlust has their own lifestyle and preference, so you either fall in love with El Nido or with Boracay. And in my opinion, both El Nido and Boracay offer a different kind of relaxation: Boracay is commercialized, while El Nido is more… provincial. 

Anyway, we only had two days to enjoy El Nido, so we did not waste any time and booked their two best-selling boat tours: Tour A and Tour C. Here are my thoughts about the tour:

Read more