GZ to SZ

It was one of those amazing trips that proved I just like challenges : spending your time in a city that almost cannot understand you (well, I’m used to that in PH too), going to the next one – 150 km apart – just with Google Translate in the palm of your hands, rushing through efficient trains  just to be able to make time for a lot of different things and places, and a lot more.

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It was just a year after my first GZ trip and while there’s still so much to culturally explore – traditional temples, preserved museums, etc in this old city which I’l prolly visit next year – my friend Michelle got transferred to Shenzen, which is just a 27-year old city in China . It was not my first time in the latter as I remembered being treated there for traditional medicine when I was like 10 years old. There’s just so much development now in that city that’s referred now as a “tech center” in China, and one of the fastest-growing cities.

The first few days were spent in Guangzhou. We didn’t live in Beijing Lu ( a famous shopping destination), but the sight of the Pearl River which I got to really see this time was enough for quite some time.

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The Pearl River

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Haizhu Square

Few snaps of my fav places in Guangzhou that i revisited..

Aside from shopping, most of the time really was spent on commuting and learning the system and I wanna talk about this more in this blog post because I think that’s important when you travel in this city. GZ is big and there’s so much to explore (and buy too!) so if you’re up for those experiences but with a tight budget and time, one must really learn the metro. I personally think that while the GZ metro map can help you, it’s much easier to learn it by experience  (call a friend who is living there and who can speak your language too and let him or her walk you through), especially when you’re coming from a country that doesn’t have 4-5 exits per station or more than 3 lines. It was just my second time to take the train but i still had a difficult time especially because of the language barrier, despite how high-tech already their trains and ticket machines are. Those will be positively charged to experience.

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I was really scared when i decided to leave my mom and commute by myself from GZ to Shenzen at night to meet my friend Michelle. I don’t know how to speak their language and the signs and environment seemed overwhelming but I guess I just had to overcome it (just a feeling! haha) especially when you have a very loving and overprotective mother LOL

I arrived at Shenzhen at night (see picture below), thanks to Michelle and her boyfriend Anton for fetching me (because really, I had a bad experience with cab drivers not understanding any of my languages, signs and even the internet’s). I must say that despite all these being lost in translation, they’re very nice and friendly to travellers!

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Michelle lives at Shenzhen East (near Tianji station) and it’s 14 stations from CRH station but the trip is really fast. The train system in the city is also efficient as GZ’s so exploring this one is recommendable via this way.

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Not a fan of this green burger!

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Tunnels

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They have yummy seafood here!

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Fire trees!!

We went to the Happiness Tree Cafe which had amazing instagrammable interiors, and good food as well.

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It was so nice catching up with Michelle. So much has happened since my trip last year. We were just discussing my plans then for Digify then months after, we got to work with each other and now we’re here! She also got promoted in Baidu and I’m so proud of her!!

We then went to a temple and museum called Chiwan Tianhou Temple, located in Nanshan District (near Sea World!0, which can be accessed via train or bus. Entrance is just 15 RMB and it’s worth the commute because of the history of the palace temple.

It is said that the first temple was completed on this site in 1410 when the famois admiral-eunuch Zheng commissioned by emperor Zhu Di to “sail west.” “Reaching the Pearl River Delta near Chiwan, the fleet encountered a storm and was enabled to carry on. Tian Hou appeared to the emperor, saying it was she that saved the fleet, and that the emperor was to built a temple near the site to show his thanks. Thus the temple was built, and the Wish-Giving Tree in the courtyard (or perhaps its ancestor?) was planted by Zhang He and his staff.
The temple has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times, most recently by the Shenzhen Municipal Government in the 1990’s.” (http://mi-le-fo.thetempleguy.com/temples/SZ0002.html)

I haven’t been to a lot of temples but this is one of the oldest and biggest in the city (and Hong Kong) and I found it beautiful and well taken care of. See all parts of the temple here.

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After our visit here, I travelled back to GZ just for a few hours (already got the hang of it yey!) and I thought I was so ready for more adventures in the next trips! I must say I really felt accomplished and happy doing this!

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Some of my friends will be back to visit a beach in Shenzen, and cross to Hong Kong. That sounds fun and challenging, right? =)

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PAL 75 + Boutique

Few weeks ago, I learned about PAL Boutique, a new concept in travel retail feat. Pinoy #entreps and their craftmanships. I was so happy to see my ADMU JGSOM batchmate’s work since college – Jacinto & Lirio, which combines indigenous material water hyacinth with eco-ethical plant leatherette to create sustainable goods  which ia now in collaboration with PAL for a special travel wallet.

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The launch of the Philippine Airlines Online Boutique features PAL’s 75th commemorative merchandise co-branded with the country’s finest brands. Mabuhay Miles members are given the opportunity to earn miles through their purchases in the site.

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https://boutique.philippineairlines.com

There are several products from collaborations and I specifically like those with PINO, Chef Tony’s (best popcorn ever is the Icy Butter PAL-exclusive flavor), Team Manila and Jacinto & Lirio. Most of these are available online, in PAL Boutique PNB Financial Center and onboard selected PAL Domestic Flights. 

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The entrepreneur behind Jacinto & Lirio. JACINTO & LIRIO (meaning “Hyacinth” and “Lily”), is a social enterprise that transforms a “pest” into eco-iconic and multi-functional leathergoods sustainably made from water hyacinth, with a mission to empower affected families by the water hyacinth infestation problem through livelihood generation.

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Speaking of its75 years, I also attended an event to celebrate its greatest milestone. From its initial take off to the City of Pines with 5 passengers in 1941 to its daily flights, carrying 12 million passengers annually to four continents across the globe today, the country’s official flag carrier continues to shine through. Over the past 75 years, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been instrumental in bridging distances among friends and families, witnessing many exciting journeys, reuniting Filipinos and foreigners alike, and enabling many to create lasting memories with their loved ones.

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Indeed, the country’s official flag carrier has not only allowed Filipinos to experience the joys of flying and traveling to destinations thousands of miles away, but has also been instrumental in showcasing to the rest of the world what the country and the Filipinos have to offer. Such that they have created the below outstanding CSR program.

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Philippine Airlines, in its more than seven decades of operations, has remained steadfast in pursuing that premium brand of service, aimed at satisfying the needs and fancies of its passengers. And as it celebrates its 75 years in the airline industry, PAL is again set to make history with the launch of its new anniversary campaign dubbed “The Heart of the Filipino”.

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Three new TV commercials are set to showcase PAL’s latest song entitled, “The Heart of the Filipino,” which was sung by three of the country’s top voices – Bamboo, Sarah Geronimo and Lea Salonga. Through this distinct branding, the airline company has brandished the genuine Filipino hospitality that allowed PAL to stand out for more than seven decades, the beauty of the Philippine islands, as well as the Filipinos’ persevering spirit and happy disposition.

As PAL expands its routes both domestically and internationally, more people all over the world will discover the warmth that shines through from the Heart of the Filipino. Congratulations, PAL!

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#TakeMeThere

The hottest and most exciting season is finally here and everyone is getting ready to top last year’s summer trips with new adventures! I already booked few trips this summer and of course, that includes #Laboracay.

Bringing you the best events from all over the Philippines, Globe gears up with an awesome line-up – from the biggest music festivals, coolest movie premieres, to the finest beach parties and gaming festivals of the year, it will definitely be a wonderful summer ahead. Let Globe take you to your next summer adventure! Choose your destination among the list of events below. Just follow @enjoyGlobe on Twitter and Instagram, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GlobePH and visit www. globe.com.ph/summer-promos to get first dibs on how to get free passes to these events!

I will constantly update this entry for events at #Laboracay so stay tuned and see you there! I’m so excited for Kaskade

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After 15 years in the business, Asia’s definitive annual music festival, ZoukOut, is finally crossing borders. This year, ZoukOut breaks new ground on the fine, white sands of Boracay, Philippines. Together with co-presenter, the country’s #1 mobile brand, Globe Telecom, ZoukOut is out to redefine and amplify the LaBoracay experience. The much-awaited event is set to happen this summer on April 30 and May 1 at Epic and Uptown Beachfront, Boracay.

Adding to the excitement of the music fest, Globe rolled out a poll that allowed Filipinos to pick which home grown talents they want to represent the country at ZoukOut. Four big names in the Philippine electronic dance music industry, namely Mars Miranda, Deuce, Kat DJ, and Carlo Atendido, were cast as the official candidates.

Their respective crews and fan bases went all out in campaigning for their idols, and the race was definitely a close one. On March 29, ZoukOut PH and Globe identified the top 2 DJs who led the polls, namely Deuce, with 1,800 votes and Carlo Atendido, with 1,600 votes. Both officially bagged the opportunity to showcase their talent on the first ever Philippine ZoukOut stage. These Filipino talents will have the honour of playing their music alongside international DJs such as Kaskade, DVBBS and DubVision, among others.

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The first 250 Globe customers will be able to avail of the exclusive ZoukOut ticket discount. One just has to text ZoukOut to 2363 and they will receive a unique code which they can present to SM TicketNet to get the special discounted rate for the 2-day General Admission ticket bundle. From the original price of P4500, qualified Globe customers will be able to avail P900 off.

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Laid-Back in San Juan

I am no surfer. The cover photo is the closest that I got to that sport last week, but there’s something about their beach culture that drew me in when I attended the #SoulSurf festival 3 years ago. Music aside, I just would like to really experience that kind of lifestyle since I wasn’t able to really chill and rest well when RAC and CLASSIX came here before.

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So, when my friend asked me where to go for the Holy Week, I told her I want to visit La Union. And thanks to NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX, this surf central is accessible for 4-5 hour drive.

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It was a random trip so we didn’t have hotel reservations when we arrived. We were lucky to get the last few available rooms at 2 hotels: Costa Villa and San Juan Surf Resort. The former is Ok and more expensive than the latter but the major difference is the waves and accessibility to the restaurants and events. San Juan Surf Resort has a beach front where surfing and swimming are more safe and allowed, and is near a lot of the beachfront events and new establishments.

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Some surfing history displayed at the rooms

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View from the San Juan Surf Resort room

The weather condition last week was very unpredictable. We came at night, but even at day, it was really cold and the waves were really enormous. I can taste the salt from the sea, from afar and that feeling was really good. I really wanted to learn how to surf (I bought some gears!!) but it was only in our last day that a lot of the surfers appeared and played that sport. It made me appreciate how professional and passionate these people are when some things are dependent on Mother Nature.

So,  just more photos of being a beach bum below =)

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Surf area in front of Costa Villa Resort

A lot has definitely changed since my first visit to this surf central. There are lots of restaurants, bars, and new hotels near the central featuring local talent. My best food experience was at Gefseis Greek Grill which was so instagrammable, great in taste, price and service with an amazing beach view. I also visited Surf Shack where most of the surfer cutires go =) and Planet G, which has an exquisite club in the second-level called Clique.

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At Gefseis Grill, an authentic Greek taste

It’s always a fun and memorable experience in  La Union. I made a short Instagram video to express this and I think I’ll be doing more of this =)

First attempt to create a video for blog. ??? Check out my newest blog post (link in bio) for my visual diary! #launion

A video posted by M I K K I G A L A N G (@mikkigalangdotcom) on

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Instagrammable Places in Tagaytay

View my visual diary and check out the top things or places to visit when in Tagaytay, especially the artsy and instagrammable ones hihi

1. Sky Ranch – It’s always a fun experience here with family and relatives. Whether riding some double-decker carousel or just viewing the amazing sunset as it touches the Taal Volcano, it definitely feels and looks like adventure, with different food establishment where you guys can hang out! It is just beside the Taal Vista Hotel along Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay.

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2. Museo Orlina – I was thrilled that I was able to convince my cousins to visit a museum! hehe thanks to my other cousin who told us about this hidden (glass) gem – 5 floors of art by Ramon Orlina and other featured artists with the Taal lake in the background (at that time we saw #anggulo2016 at #museoorlina: a riot of different multimedia arts “of creators that seek to ease the troubled and trouble the at ease “). Imagine how you can see different things with the glass sculpture and amazing view. The entrance is PhP 100 (PhP 80 for students and seniors), located at Hollywood St. Tagaytay. Glass, light and magic indeed!

Below and outside it: an amphitheater and the “Sabel sa Beetle”, Orlina’s Volkswagen painted by the famous Pinoy artist, BenCab.

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3. Dreamland Arts & Crafts Cafe – Good cofffee, green tea and arts & crafts would never fail me. I really love the vintage and artsy feel of the place, with dream catchers in all shapes and sizes. There’s a second floor where intimate and comfy conversations can happen, and the whole place where you can just leave notes and letters. My favorite drink is the Kitkat matcha Green tea latte, though it really took time before it arrived on my table. Worth it tho!

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4. We also got time to visit some new malls in Tagaytay which is becoming more developed in that aspect. In this new Megaworld establishment, I like the pastries and the lovely Starbucks with an amazing view.

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How did you spend your weekend girls?

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Playland

Parks remind me to take a breather, and to just play like a kid – whether through the rides or just through photos. I remember back when I was really little, I get the feelinf of being accomplished whenever I finish a ride or win an arcade game in that famous park in Laguna, or just the nearby mall.  No worries, just fun. Remind me to have that always.

Below is my OOTD and visual diary on a fleeting yet fun trip to Sky Ranch, Tagaytay. Enjoy!

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All photos taken by Krisha Quizon

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Photo 28-02-2016, 1 30 00 PM

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A #TravelPAL Night

Few weeks ago, Philippine Airlines invited us, bloggers, for a night of love for wanderlust, music (ugh, Bamboo!!) and knowledge. I sucked at geography (so for sure, I lost at the raffles and games LOL) but I’m so happy that on its 74th year, PAL, the country’s flag carrier, is set to launch new flights from Manila to more parts of the world!

I am a fan of PAL. If I’ll be given enough budget for travels, I would definitely choose this airline with its excellent service and the Pinoy touch to its clients. I remembered my mom who’s a biyahera, would always choose this for her trips, and ours too (my first PAL experience was a trip to Sydney when i was a kid). So when PAL announced that there will be new flights such as below, this will definitely be good news for travellers, business people (like my mom who always go to Guangzhou!) and OFW’s as well! Congratulations, PAL!!

Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) this October 2015
Auckland (New Zealand) via Cairns (Australia) on December 2015
Additionally, PAL has also launched its services earlier this year to New York (USA), Guangzhou (China), Tablas (Romblon) and opened new inter-island flights in Visayas and Mindanao. PAL also reintroduced its Business class service to Cebu and Davao.

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Our (bam) boo! Hehe Beauty Bloggers join Camp kawayan! #highlight #travelPAL #PhilippineAirlines

A photo posted by M I K K I M I N A J (@mikkigalang) on

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Fellow beauty blogger Phoebe, who won the trip to Auckland!

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The ever competitive Martha of the Beauty Junkee who also won a trip to Cairns!! #GoBeautyBloggers

Elesiiiiiii #bamboo #ugh #TheVoiceee A video posted by M I K K I M I N A J (@mikkigalang) on

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This close to Bamboo, I die!! #suchAfan

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Si @thebeautyjunkee ‘di napigilan! Wahaha #babe #bamboo A video posted by M I K K I M I N A J (@mikkigalang) on

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Flashing GZ China

Known as the economic, trading and cultural center of Guangdong province of Southern China, Guangzhou is a very prosperous city which amazed me with its strengths and opportunities. It was not my first time to go to Guangzhou. When I was a kid, my mom took me to Hong Kong and I remembered our short trip to the busy city of Schenzen, Guangzhou, China, which was just a few hours away from the former. A few weeks ago, nonetheless, I was able to explore it more and its key destinations even if I was just riding on my mom’s trip hehe. See my photo diary below:

Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River which is in sight almost everywhere (I took the picture above in our hotel in Beijing Lu which I’ll tell more about later on). The colorful bridges at night can also be seen. At day, nonetheless, the yellowish river is very prominent in contrast with the bluish-gray colors of the condo’s and buildings.

View of the Canton Tower

During my first day, I remembered that one fellow blogger, co-worker and former batch mate in Ateneo, Michelle, has been working as an expat in the country. She told me that she would tour me to the Zhujiang New Town, which is definitely the most beautiful part of the city. It has the combination of the tallest and busiest buildings, cultural centers, fancy clubs, bars and restaurants, and tourist attractions.

It was a very cloudy night. The sunset at Guangzhou is quite delayed and the day is quite longer, which makes one feel very productive. I arrived the Zhujiang via train at around 8pm together with my cousin to meet Mich and Anton, who took time after work to tour us. Thanks both!!!

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Cantonese library and musuem

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Their theatre which really looks good!

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A view of the Canton tower and my dramatic self haha

I really liked the fact that there is that modern feel – structures and the flashing lights – but the identity and remains housed in the cultural centers present there contrasted the tall corporate buildings. But then I am reminded that most condominiums there are not owned by the people.

After the tour, we walked to the nearest bar in Zhujiang New Town which is called The Tavern Sports Bar. The interiors and feels are really nice and vintage, with amazing food and drinks that are quite costly but the servings are really big! This is where most expats go to unwind and chill.

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Playing a sport I used to master when I was a kid! haha

This was one of the nights where I left without my mom and her interpreter but it’s quite hard to communicate in English with people in the city. I was supposed to have a date (thanks to Tinder haha) but ever since day 1, we were having hard time talking to cab drivers/ people around and even showing them pictures with English text (like places in google maps) so I was really not sure about going out by myself. A friend told me that it’s helpful to have a translator app on your device =)

As we roamed around the city, the most convenient and efficient (and effective also for those who can’t read and speak the language) way is through the Guangzhou Metro train which would let you access lots of major urban areas in the city through lines 1-8. My friend told me that their transportation system is really good and effective which she had considered before working there. Same as the airport, their public places are well-organized, clean and not so populated (I hope we have this in the Philippines!!)

Supposedly a candid photo (well it as haha) taken by my cousin. People look at me differently here. hmmm…

The other days were spent accompanying my mom and her partner canvassing some materials and goods. China, especially Guangzhou, has almost everything that can be made and bought such that they’re called cities: Bags City, Cosmetics City, Wedding City, etc. I tried buying some for myself but unlike Bangkok, here, they focus on wholesalers who search for volume and lower prices. I had the chance to check on some raw materials and suppliers for cosmetics like lashes, skin care, bottles, etc and gosh, if I’m not considering the competitive beauty industry locally, I would definitely build a business right there on.

We went also to suburban areas in Guangdong where trading and goods are cheaper.

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I saw these lychees which are really good and in season!

While going to the province, we saw this nuclear power plant at Yangjiang! Guangdong has lots of major nuclear and renewable power plants that operate the busy city.

Last few days I spent touring Beijing Lu, known as the shopping center of Guangzhou, which is where we were staying. “It has absolutely everything; cheap clothes, good food and even a little history. There is a display of the original road from the song dynasty (960 – 1279 A.D).

And it was really heaven for people who want to shop! I could compare it to Divisoria and Platinum Mall of Thailand but this  covers almost the whole urban area with street markets, malls, shopping/export centers, etc. We went to Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street which is the most prosperous business center in Guanzhou. I was able to buy clothes, makeup (lashes!!!), and some shoes – they would require MOQ of around 2-5 so I had advanced gifts for the holidays hehe. To bargain prices, it would be nice if you can speak Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin). Below would show sample of items I bought!

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#OOTD of items I bought at the centers. Taken at the Beijing Lu Walking Street

The nearest I could go to just by walking is the Beijing Lu Walking Street which is a more modern and international shopping center or area (couldn’t call it a mall, because there big malls located also here) . It’s flocked by Chinese people who would go to restaurants and stores, tourists and expats.

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We liked walking around because the lights are cool and feel is lively. There are different food options (including international ones) and lots of stores (even global brands on sale!!)

We ate twice at this local Vietnamese restaurant that’s really famous and jampacked always! i really liked their food and for it’s price which is Ok, I’m contented!

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Lastly, I visited a “department store”  with around 5 floors, in Beijing Lu Walking Street. For me, this is already a mall haha. The first level houses famous dept store brands mixed with luxury labels – that’s how complete it is!!! Of course that visit took me 1-2 hours haha.

Overall, I liked Guangzhou for all the good things I mentioned. I just hoped I could speak a bit of Mandarin so i could ride cabs and talk to sales ladies and bargain. When i go back for some serious shopping or potentially, a business, I should be able to at least say a few phrases or words! =)

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