18 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - Miss Saigon's Final Broadway Performance

Of all broadway shows, why Miss Saigon? Well it started about 3 years ago on a trip to Cambodia. On our flight home, an American beside me started some small talk which after a few minutes ended up with him wondering why I haven't seen Miss Saigon yet or at least know the story. I'm also wondering why people find it easy to talk to me randomly. First of all it's a Vietnamese story and I'm Filipino and the only link we have back then to Miss Saigon was Lea Salonga. The guy insisted that I watch the show and now I'm glad I did.
Miss Saigon at The Broadway Theater

17 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - From Waldorf to Winnie the Pooh

Just a month before our US trip, I went to Davao for an event. I was sitting next to a guy who can't seem to keep himself from noticing what I was watching on my mobile. I was being entertained by the cast of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia at that time and he said that his son watches the same show back home. A couple more small talk topics and next thing you know we were talking about New York and the Waldorf Astoria.
The Waldorf Astoria

16 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - Midtown Manhattan

Start spreading the news... I want to be a part of it, New York, New York! I hear that song and I can already imagine the skyscrapers all around me. Most of the famous New York buildings and landmarks are mostly found in Midtown Manhattan and we felt it would be best to book a free walking tour again in the afternoon.

From the confirmation email we received, the tour starts 2PM. This time we won't be late! The email has everything you need to know on how to get to the meeting point complete with maps and a picture of the place and a picture of your guide. We took the F train and got off at 42 St. - Bryant Park station.

15 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - The NYC Subway

From Canal Street we were en route to Union Square to meet my uncle for lunch. Again we used the subway which is the most efficient transport system in NYC! Some people might be overwhelmed by the complicated lines labeled with numbers and letters but fortunately, technology saves the day!

Screenshot from Google Play
I highly recommend downloading the MyTransit NYC Subway app. I consider myself good with maps and subway lines but this app was a lifesaver. Unlike other subway systems in Asia, the NYC subway have trains that have overlapping routes. Being aware of the train numbers/letters is important! But with this app, navigating New York was a breeze thanks to its built-in trip planner where you just plot start and end points and the app will tell you which train to catch.

If you check the reviews on Google Play, if you see some negative comments, it's almost always from locals complaining of the supposed not so accurate updates such as service disruptions. But for first time visitors and tourists this is definitely a must download.

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown

For the days ahead, since we will be using the subway a lot, we purchased an MTA MetroCard with unlimited rides for 7 days. Metrocard machines are available in all stations where you just pick the card type, pay, and you'll have a Metrocard in an instant. The 7-day unlimited MetroCard costs $33 or Php1,750 (as reflected in my credit card bill).

NYC subway
While touring New York City on your own is good, it is definitely better with some information on what you're looking at. For this reason, plus the great tripadvisor reviews, we decided to join a FREE walking tour of NYC. This service is a great choice as you only pay what you want or what you can. If you're not happy with the guide or don't have plans of paying at all, it's ok! One guy left the group midway and did not pay for his tour! We booked the 9:45AM walking tour of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown.

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - Touchdown

After all the preparations, it's time to BE in New York City! Arriving past 5PM at JFK, we booked a Lyft to our AirBnB. Now I usually book Uber in the US but Lyft was having a 5 dollar off promo for my first 3 rides so Lyft it is!

at JFK Airport
But even with the promo, the ride cost us USD72.19 or roughly Php3,700 for a more than an hour trip to West 37th Street.

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget

Show of hands who doesn't want to go to New York?! Yeah, I thought so. An opportunity to see the sights and sounds of the city that you only see in movies and tv shows does not come very often, if at all. So when the company I work with rewarded us with a trip to LA and San Francisco, my wife and I didn't hesitate to fly to New York for an extended trip!
The City That Never Sleeps (view from Top of the Rock)
Travelling to the US is very expensive by Philippine standards! Like a Big Mac meal which is less than Php200 here is around Php500 in the US! Planning would be crucial to cut on costs. First on the list is the flight from San Francisco to New York.

There are a lot of flights from SFO to NY to choose from. But thanks to the ThankYou Rewards website of Citibank, we were able to check which flights we can get using my credit card miles. We got the Delta 412 flight leaving SFO 8:40AM and arriving at JFK 5:15PM. While we got this flight for free using miles, checking the Delta App on my phone shows a USD214.20 per person receipt. That's Php21,000 savings! There are cheaper flights but these are the flights that are scheduled in the wee hours of the night.

10 July 2012

HTC One V: One Very bad experience Part III

Just when I thought that all my troubles about my HTC One V are over, my phone died again. It died on me just 26 days after it was "fixed" by the service center.

I didn't have the time to visit the "service" center so I asked someone to drop off my phone for me. This time I wasn't issued a service phone which infuriated me since I have to look for another phone while they try to revive my dead phone. Instead of enjoying the low price of the HTC One V, I actually spent more, transportation to and from the service center plus another phone.

05 June 2012

HTC One V: One Very bad experience Part II

Outside the HTC Service Center
After dropping off my dead HTC One V at the HTC service center, I was informed that I would receive a text message telling me if my phone is fixed and ready for pick-up. I waited a week and called them only to be told their still fixing the phone. A week after I called them again expecting another line from the call center agent telling me my phone's not yet fixed but to my surprise, he told me my phone is fixed and is ready to be picked-up. Wait, where's my notification?

It took them 12 days to fix my phone and they had to replace the mainboard of the phone. Which means what now? I'm just relieved that I got my phone back, the one I paid for brand new just to die in less than a week.