Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut

I haven’t eaten Doughnuts for awhile. So far, there’s JCO and Chewy Jr in Singapore which I find it too boring for me while Krispy Kreme is too mainstream. There’s one Dunkin’ Donut in ION Orchard but it looks wannabe. Hahaha. During my stay in Portland, they said one of their famous local delights is Voodoo Doughnut. They were known for its unusual doughnuts, eclectic decor, and iconic pink boxes featuring the company logo and illustrations of voodoo priests. They also have a VEGAN doughnut too!!

Early this morning, me and Mike decided to order our breakfast in Mother’s Bistro & Bar. I told him I’ll just pick it up so I can go to Voodoo as well. Hahaha. As usual, he only eat the Crunchy French Toast which is the only food he order in this restaurant… favorite per se… While I tried their Pork Apple Sausage & Cheddar Cheese Scramble. On my way to 3rd Ave and Ankeny St., I got excited to see their shop.

The Voodoo Doughnut Shop
Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave Portland, OR 97204

The staff told me that their ordering setup is kinda different, so I have to describe what doughnuts I want instead of pin pointing at the standee. Oh damn! English! so I just took the Fryer Flyer Dozen instead.

Voodoo Doughnut Pink Box
Voodoo Doughnut Pink Box

Their doughnuts design are creative and cool. You’ll have the feeling of 1970s old horror film setup with funky rock and roll old school styles.

Inside the Fryer Flyer Dozen
Inside the Fryer Flyer Dozen

However, it was my first time to experience eating a Bacon Maple Bar doughnut. LOL! I find it funny, interesting and weird to eat a raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top! I was telling Michael that Americans have weird tastes. Oh well… Pork, salty paired with sweets. My friends were like: “How’s the taste? Isn’t it disgusting?” Well, I think if you’re an Asian especially Filipinos, you’ll find this food unusual. It’s actually the same thing as eating in IKEA cafe for the first time trying their swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam.

Voodoo's Bacon Maple Bar doughnut
Voodoo’s Bacon Maple Bar doughnut

And their signature Voodoo Doll doughnut, is also a raised yeast doughnut, filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake! It’s funny Mike told me that the pretzel sticking on that doughnut is a dick. LOL! I told him that… that poor doughnut’s heart got pierced by the pretzel. When I was pulling out the pretzel, the raspberry jelly came out as if it’s his blood.

Voodoo Doll doughnut
Voodoo Doll doughnut

I really love their concept. It’s funky and yummy. The ambiance of their shop is laid-back, rock and roll, pinkish and cute! I would totally recommend this to everyone if ever you visit Portland!

Remember, the Magic is in the hole!

San Francisco Delights – Day 1

Departure
Before my flight to San Francisco, I went to the Apple Store at University of Washington to have my iPhone repaired. I really need my phone for communication and navigation but then the staff told me that it will take around 3-4 hours to fix my phone because there’s a lot of people on the queue. I can’t wait anymore, then I decided to buy a new one. I have no idea what I was thinking that time, so I bought iPhone 6.

Flight from Seattle to San Francisco
Flight from Seattle to San Francisco

Arrival
I arrived San Francisco last Wednesday, 22nd of April, around 6:10pm. Since I was carrying a super bulky and heavy 60L backpack plus another 35L and camera bag, I decided to take a cab although I knew the fare will be expensive. I also wanted to bring down all my stuffs in the hostel so I can explore the city at night for my first day! Approximately 14 miles from the airport to my hostel, I paid USD 55.00 + tip to the driver. I was in a total shock that I almost spent $85.00 if I convert it in Singapore Dollar.

Arriving San Francisco Airport
Arriving San Francisco Airport

I stayed in HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel. The location is really excellent! There’s a lot of cafes, hotels, bars, shops, and restaurants around. Just a few blocks and minutes of walk, you can take Powell-Hyde cable car, buses and Powell St. BART Station.

Selfie with my backpacks in the hostel
Selfie with my backpacks in the hostel

I met a few travelers in my room. Carol from Ireland and Isa from Thailand. Carol was packing up her things when I arrived because she’s going to leave tomorrow early while Isa is on his top bunk bed taking a rest. I just took 30 minutes rest and another 15 minutes to setup my things in the drawer before I leave the place. Yes, am not tired! That’s me…

Night in Frisco
As I went down to the lobby, I asked the receptionist for a help about the transportation. Luckily, one of them is Filipino so I don’t need to complicate my grammar. LOL. He gave me an advice about the transportation, where to get the clipper and what bus to take.

However, I planned to walk all the way up to Pier 39. Walking is my favorite thing to do especially when traveling! I walk hardcore! I started walking from Mason + O’Farrell St. all the way down to Powell + Market St. I was so fascinated by the architectures of the buildings so I continued walking along Market St. and turned left to Kearny St. I thought I will have a successful walking all the way up to the Pier, but then, I FAILED. WHY?!! I was wearing my heeled boots and I didn’t know Frisco’s streets/road are not flat. It’s an up and down, up and down hill! There’s no way I can walk to a very steep road. Hahaha! Well, that’s my weakness…

Did you know, I haven’t hiked in a mountain yet? As you can see, throughout all my travels are big cities, urban and metropolitan areas. LOL

I called Michael, my friend from Portland. I was talking to him that I am currently walking and planning to go to Pier 39. He was so worried and told me to go back to my hostel to take a rest and continue my journey tomorrow morning because it’s almost 9:30pm. I told him that I didn’t expect that Frisco has a lot of hills and it seems like I’m hiking in a city and I want to give up coz I am wearing my heels. Since I am so eager to reach Pier 39, I decided to take a bus from Bush + Kearny St.

The bus’ last stop was Pier 35, and as I get off from the bus, it was so f***ing cold because it’s already near by the bay! So I walked from Pier 35 to 39, and I was so hungry. I wanted to try any restaurants but it seems like it’s already closed. So I continue walking to the Fisherman’s Wharf hoping that I could eat some seafood, but damn 🙁 no more food to eat. Along Jefferson St, there are couple of food chains and clubs, but I am not so sure if I am going to the Applebee’s. I saw In-N-Out Burger at the corner and decided to try the famous fast food chain in the American Southwest.

In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger

Overall, San Francisco is a very lovely and cold-chilling city. I felt like I was in New York during winter. I called it a night after eating my dinner. I told myself that I am just gonna wear my rubber shoes during my stay in SF because the challenging part here is going up the hill.

Thousand Miles to go

The Amtrak Experience last December 2013 Winter at Penn Station, New York City.
The Amtrak Experience last December 2013 Winter at Penn Station, New York City.

As of today, I realized that I just traveled a total of 28,521.912 miles since I was 16 years old internationally.

With 13 different countries including stop-overs, almost hundreds of cities, provinces and states, 7 different airlines, approximately 21 returning flights, 54 land transfers by train, bus, cars including motors, 4 sea transfers and 2 returning sea planes. Captured thousands and thousands of photographs, and visited numerous of temples, ruins, sky scrappers, historical places landmarks, museums, beaches, lakes and mountains.

There’s still a lot of rough roads and long hours of flights to go, beautiful things to see, experience the culture and local living, and most of all, meet interesting and lovely people from different places.

I know there are many travelers out there who were able to go to more than 20 countries, but for me, I am not in a rush. It’s not about travel competition. It’s about time and opportunity. I work full-time in the office, I have limited vacation leaves and most of all, money.

I just have to be patient because I am a Philippine passport holder, and I’m required to undergo VISA appointments to numerous countries. (Please read my Amsterdam Job Offer and it all went to nothing). One of the very challenging part is providing my bank account statements. It’s quite tricky, because you don’t know exactly how much is the right amount they are looking at. The embassy wants to make sure you are capable of traveling and you are not a problem in their country. I am really jealous to some citizens who are VISA-free. They don’t need to submit lost of documents, letters and shit.

But then, I make sure that one day, I’ll be able to make it. What matters to me is that: I have lots of memories to cherish than buying things and waste it.

My next travel destination will be next year. I’m looking forward to see West coast states, India, Myanmar and Australia. We’ll see how it goes haha 😀

Design for a Cause

camz-design-for-a-cause

Design for a Cause.
Though I had been working as a Senior Web Designer in an IT Solutions company, my salary doesn’t give enough justice to pay me. It’s a long story why I’m earning this kind of amount, but to sum it all, when I moved to Singapore, I actually didn’t know what is my rate and having a doubt in currency so the company decided what to offer.

I noticed that cost of living in this country is too tough and I had to propel my career as a freelance designer to survive. It’s actually really tough to work as a foreigner in Singapore especially if you’re an ordinary worker because you only depend on your working VISA category. Once you quit your job, you make sure you have another company with a slot for foreigner-quota to hire you, otherwise, you have 30 day(s) to clear your things.

With the use of my skills in web technology, I’d like to re-brand my website as a personal fundraising site which will help me support my family and at the same time, my health. I know it’s impossible for me to do all these things in one-shot, and all these costs stop me from saving for my future. I had to risk and take a lot of projects even the price they wanted to pay is unreasonable.

This “Design for Cause” will express how much the opportunity means to me and how we can help each other meet our goals = (Client and Designer).

In the future, my design for a cause site will:
* I can offer you a customized design whether you want a personal blog site, informative start up company website or a simple e-Commerce site.
* Take your time to give me your website specifications, do not forget how much you’re willing to donate.
* Once I receive your specs, I’ll have to review and make evaluation then I’ll get back to you regarding to the materials I need, timeline and target launch date.

More details coming soon! 🙂

Wandering around Malacca and Kuala Lumpur

Nothing special. It was just Me and my friend Rey, together with his cousin, Robert went for an overnight trip going to Malaysia last March 16. We took a coach from Golden Mile Complex, Singapore at 11:00pm and approximately 2.5 – 3 hours to arrive Malacca City. One-way trip costs 25$ per head and if Two-way is at 45$. However, since we just bought the ticket the day before our departure, the returning trip schedules on Sunday were fully booked already.

On our way to Tuas exit, we went to sleep since we got nothing to do and at the same time, it’s a night trip. As the bus reached Malacca City, and the bus stopped for a moment at the so-called “Melaka Sentral”, there were only 2-3 people packed up and take off the bus. We have no idea it was our dropping point but my friend insisted that there might be another bus station since the coach driver didn’t informed that those passengers going to Malacca has reached their destination already.

While observing the calm and placid surroundings, our bus went to the express-way. Since it’s 3am, we don’t know where to go and there’s no public transport available, we just continued our sleep till we reached Kuala Lumpur at 5:30am. We decided to wander around the city, took some pics at Petronas and KL Tower then ate at McDonalds for breakie while waiting for 8:00am. Then we went to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to take another coach going to Melaka. No hard feelings, costs only 15RM. It was fun tho! Unexpected trip to KL.

Finally we arrived our real destination by 12:00nn and ate our lunch before we walk to the hotel. Unfortunately, it is not advisable for us to walk since there’s no gutter lane for people and public transportation such as bus or train. Malacca is a very isolated and old-fashioned city. You would really feel the spirit of traditional Malay style. We had no choice but we took a cab (called as “teksi”), thought it’s gonna be very expensive but it costs us 15RM per ride no matter how near or far – but just within the city.

Super cheapo expenses and lots of walking if you don’t have a car or service. Just be careful 😀
We enjoyed our stay: Sort of wandering around the old streets, visited church that has been established for more than a century, eating local foods at Jonker Street, Take groupie/selfie pics, challenging motorist while crossing the road, and most of all – walk and walk till your feet covered by dusts and mud.

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I travel because I want to see how beautiful the world is

I travel

This photo was taken by me on Top of the Rock, New York City last January 7, 2014. I really had fun traveling and meeting new people from different places during my 3-weeks stay in USA. For all I thought it’s gonna be very scary but I was wrong. It was a great experience to navigate and explore the big city.

The unforgettable moment is the New Year’s Eve 2014 countdown in Time Square. It’s really my first time to wait for almost 8-hours standing in a very cold and chilling weather sacrificing myself not to eat and drink because there’s no way of getting back your spot. There’s no bathroom to take a leak. It’s your-own-risk challenge how long can you stand waiting for the sake of 10-seconds countdown and witness the ball drop. I know some people say it’s stupid but why don’t we try how stupid it is? LOL.

At that time, I’ve been thinking crazy and trying to imagine things of what will happen to me if I freeze to death? Hahaha. To experience it one-time is enough. I won’t do it again, and I am proud that I’ve created something priceless event in my life.

I also met some of the couchsurfers before and after the countdown. We hang out, go to different attractions together, walk around and share our laughters. We also hop on to different PUBs and get along with the locals. They are very friendly and amazing. They will make you feel you are welcome and never treat you as a stranger.

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I also visited my friends from Maryland, Washington, Virginia and Boston. They toured me around and they can’t believe that I am brave enough to go alone in different states. I just believe to myself that I can do it because your life has no meaning if you can’t do things on your own.

I’m still young, I will travel the world, because I want to see how beautiful the world is.  It’s not yet too late. There’s a lot of things will happen to us in the next 10 years. Why waste time if we can still meet new people from different places, then we’ll realize that we have one thing in common.

New York Countdown (Story 3)

December 4: Me and my friend decided that I am the only one going to New York since our ticket is non-refundable, so there is no point of cancelling it. Based on our understanding from a call center in Emirates, there is a “eRefund Voucher” feature on “My Dashboard” account from their website. This will cancel the flight and will make it as a voucher where we can use it for future bookings. But it’s not the function. It will refund your whole ticket automatically without any levels of confirmation.

I filled up all the necessary fields on their web form and submitted it. I received a copy to my email stating an acknowledgement that they received our request and will take an action as soon as possible. For me, I had been waiting for an email confirmation or any sort of call from the airlines, but I didn’t get any.

So, by December 6: I called their hotline to make a clarification that I only want to cancel my friend’s flight and use it for future bookings. We also discussed and agreed that there would be a cancellation fee of 100$ + if we want to make it as an open ticket, it’s gonna be another +100$ which is valid for 1 year. Once, we’re ready for booking, a rebooking fee of $200 will be charged. We really agreed with the penalty fees instead of losing the ticket for nothing.

The Emirates customer care asked me also many times if I will only do this for my friend.. I said YES many times. “Yes, I want to cancel my <friend’s name>’s flight and I am the only one traveling.”, “Yes, we agree to pay the penalty fee.”

After all the 35-minutes talk, I feel relieved because my concern was addressed properly and resolved immediately. So it is confirmed that I am the only one traveling.

December 9: I was talking to my housemate about what happened to my friend, and then that night, I was trying to show off the ticket online… Unfortunately, BOTH OF OUR TICKETS were gone. I am on panic mode and I really want to cry. I called the hotline and it really crushed my heart of what I heard from the agent. He said that my booking is no longer active and they can’t do anything about it. The flight has been cancelled and processed the refunds.

I had been yelling and explaining to him about what happen but they insist of “I suggest that you should just buy a new ticket. We can’t do anything from your old booking.” – Really!!?! Oh my fucking gawd! It’s really stressful and at the same time, very heart breaking. The Emirates agent said that I made a refunds from December 4 and they processed it. I been insisting him about what happened to my December 6 call? It has been ignored? How come that their system didn’t know my logs and previous transactions? When it comes to money sucking – they are very alert… but when it comes to customer’s complaint or flight problems, – they don’t just give a fuck to help you!

I even lodge a police report in Clementi Singapore wherein it’s near my place. Police told me that they are sorry of what happened but they cannot do anything about it. But then, they referred me to Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE). It is the local consumer watchdog aiming to inform, educate and protect consumers. I also lodge a complaint, and they said they can’t guarantee to process it within a week especially that my intended flight is coming soon, so I must be patient about the complaint procedures.

I cannot take it. I can’t help it. By December 11, I bought another ticket to Emirates and my flight was moved and the stay is prolonged. Emirates made such an injustice action that really made me upset. Even my friend too. We both lose money. It’s not what we intend to happen. They fucked us up.

After all the things happened to me and my friend…. I don’t know if my vacation would be alright. I don’t know.

New York Countdown (Story 2)

It has been a week since the last time I post about our unexpected trip to USA. Unfortunately, my friend won’t be able to come with me. It’s freaking long story. I feel sad and at the same time, my excitement fades away. He’ll be going back to Philippines instead.

I am on my own now. I really thank to the people who will accompany during my stay in USA thought almost all the time, I’ll be traveling alone like – touring around, take photographs and shit. I am also a bit scared for the New Year’s Eve countdown. I really want to go to Time Square so bad to witness the big city welcoming year 2014. Different people, different opinions: some say it’s not a good idea to go there and wait for almost 8-9hours just for a 10 seconds event. I know it’s gonna be very cold and tiring, and if you leave your spot in Time Square, it will be taken by groups. I do not know what will happen to be there, but I hope I would enjoy it.

Going back to my last blog. There’s actually a lot of miserable things happened to me and my friend – especially the cancellation of our ticket due to some wrong understanding of usage in Emirate’s website and not-synchronized transaction from their customer care hotline.

November 29: Me and my friend had our own appointment. I went to Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA Singapore) to apply for Permanent Residency.  Even-though I know it’s very tough to get a PR status here in Singapore, I just don’t care. Who knows? While my friend went to USA Embassy for his B1/B2 VISA application. Same day, he got the result and it’s approved. We’re both fucking excited and our face were glowing and started to plan about our Christmas and NYE vacation.  We even bought winter wears and a boots.

My friend bought a ticket from Emirates Airlines and we’re soooooo damn excited! At last! – Our vacation will be great this year. Different country, different place and another experience.

December 2: Monday afternoon, the USA Embassy suddenly called my friend to his office. He told me that he is very nervous and scared because the Embassy wants him to go back for an appointment this coming Wednesday. I, too, scared and get worried.

December 4: Wednesday, my friend said that his VISA is already printed and ready for delivery, but there’s something wrong with his application and the consulate decided to cancel it. It is actually really depressing because of what they did to my friend’s passport. They tapped a blank stamp with a capslock word: “CANCELLED” many times as if he is a criminal or an ex-convict. His other friends too were shocked of what they did. It’s not good to see. What if he goes to another country, the immigration will see “US VISA – CANCELLED”. It looks awful and they will have a bad impression to my friend.

However, I will not disclose the reason why his VISA got cancelled. It’s way too confidential.

Moving on..

Our plans shattered into pieces and we’re both brokenhearted due to what happen.

Am I still going? or what?

New York Countdown (Story 1)

I am so much excited to celebrate my Christmas and New Year in New York. Me and my friend will be leaving Singapore on 22nd of December, then connect our flight via United Arab Emirates, and we’re arriving to JFK afternoon on 23rd of December. Though it’s not my first time to be away from my family during this holiday, but I feel like it’s my first time because everything is different. The place, – people, – weather and most of all, it’s approximately 9,537.74 miles away from my place.

I also live in a tropical country, so I am not really used to a negative degree temperature. So far, the coldest place that I had been was last November 2012. We went to Hong Kong and Macau and I already got chilled to the bone in 12 degree – Celsius. Yeah right I am too weak.

It’s really fun to travel: getting to know the places, meet new set of friends, and take memorable photographs in popular landmarks. Me and my friend’s dream is the New York’s New Year countdown. I think it’s amazing especially for a tourist and for me – I grew up from an economically disadvantaged country. I feel so lucky because I have a chance to go back and forth to USA – thanks to Intel Computer Clubhouse, you are the reason why  🙂