Sunday, August 25, 2013

H&M Shopping Guide in Europe and Asia

H&M  Rotterdam


H&M Milan

H&M Bangkok
H&M Hongkong

H&M Antwerp

Hungry Shopper

My whole outfit by H&M 

Whenever you’re  traveling abroad, shopping will definitely be a part of one’s itinerary. Especially for the Filipino culture, everyone wants to buy a piece of remembrance at a place they have visited. They also want to buy gifts or in Filipino term “pasalubong” for their love ones that they have left at home.  A traveler wants to buy things that cannot be found in one’s homeland.

 One clothing brand that is very close to my heart is H&M. Since H&M store is not available here in the Philippines I always have to stop to shop, whenever I go to any city which has an H&M Store Location. I believe that H&M is the favorite clothing brand of all Filipinos whenever they are shopping abroad.

My first encounter shopping at H&M is when I was in Hongkong. I went there during the great Hongkong Sale which happens every Last week of July till the last week of August.   I found cheap finds like shorts, pants, shoes and accessories. Prices ranged from 50 HKD to 300 HKD. I went to Hongkong during winter season and did not find any great finds because most of the clothes were for winter and since I lived in a tropical Country, I did not need any of that stuff so I did not shop at all.  I have been to  the H&M stores in Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai and Hongkong.   While H&M sale prices in Shanghai range from 30 RMB, 50 RMB, 70 RMB, 100 RMB to 150 RMB. I found out that the H&M store located in Bangkok is cheaper than the ones found in Singapore and Seoul.  My friend who works in Tokyo, told me that  when H&M goes on sale clothes are usually priced from 300 Yen to 700 Yen and that their H&M stores are usually  composed of 6 floors. Out of all the H&M stores located in Asia, that I have shopped in,  I found out the e cheapest one where you can buy good deals which are on sale  is the one in Hongkong because it's tax free. 

I have researched that H&M motherland is found in Sweden. When I went to Europe I was so excited to shop at the H&M Stores there.    The prices of H&M stores may vary across Europe because of Exchange rates of countries which are not part the Schengen Area. Prices differed in countries like Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, France and Belgium.  I must advice you that if you want to shop at the H&M stores here the perfect time would be during the summer months which is from July to August. Since most of the locals are out travelling outside Europe, most of the students are out travelling outside Europe with their families. I found good deals in which ranged from 1 Euro to 15 Euros.

My goal was to shop at every H&M store in a every city in Europe I went through. My budget was 15 Euros per store. My first encounter was the H&M in Milan; I found the H&M store here very nice and looked for great finds. My next stop was the H&M store located in Geneva; I found that this is one of the cheapest H&M stores because of the conversion rate. I bought shorts for 3 CHF, when I went to Paris the price was 5 Euros. Because of the cheaper conversion rate of CHF, I found out that one of the cheapest H&M stores was located in Paris. My next stop was in Paris.  There H&M is quite big and I found Nice dresses which has costs me 5 to 7 Euros Each. After Paris, I went to shop at Oslo, Norway.  The cheapest H&M in all over Europe is located in Oslo, Norway.  I shopped for blouses for 10 Norwegian Krone. I thought that the cheapest would be in Sweden.  But I was wrong; this may be because of the conversion rate.  Then I went to the H&M store in Rotterdam which prices were the same. I found some bikinis worth 2 Euros.  The H&M in Antwerpen, Belgium is also one of the cheapest inside the Schengen Area, since I went to look for summer clothes which ranged from 5 to 10 Euros.  After shopping in all of the H&M stores in the cities I have been to, my luggage gained an extra 10 kilos of H&M clothing.  I have only spent 180 Euros for all of it.

I had fun in quest in finding the cheapest H&M store in the Eurozone. To conclude, I found out that the Cheapest H&M store is located in Oslo, Norway.   Prices may vary due to different conversion rates of different countries. The best time to shop is during the summer months. Sale Prices may vary from 2 to 15 Euros.   You can find bikinis which are worth 2 Euros a single piece, shorts may vary from 3 to 7 Euros, and Dresses can be worth 5 to 15 Euros.  You can find flats from 5 to 10 Euros, tops from 4 to 10 Euros, Blazers from 7 to 15 Euros, and denim Pants ranges from 8 to 15 Euros.

Everything in Europe is expensive except for H&M. This is my favourite brand whenever I go out of the country. One of the reasons why I travel abroad, is to shop at H&M. The clothes here are quite nice, wearable and very affordable.

For More information:
Price Range in Europe: 2 Euros to 50 Euros
Price in Asia: 3 USD to 50 USD

Shopping Tips:
-          Shop during the summer months July to August (advice for people who live in Tropical countries)
-          Look for Items which are on Sale
- You can get the best bargains during the end of the season sale.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dumaguete + Siquijor = Surprisingly Amazing

Virgin Beach Beside The Port 

Road to the Secret Beach

Jumping off Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls

Pool at Coco Grove Beach Resort
Century Old Balete Tree

7 Kilometer Beach of Coco Grove Beach Resort

Volleyball Area at Coco Grove Beach Resort

The Secret Beach 

Siliman University 

Chimichanga @ Moon Cafe
Potato Sausage Pizza at Pasta King Cafe Di Roma

Dessert at Sans Rival 

Groceries from Why Not?

My Friends at the Siliman University. 

Fish Spa beside the Century Old Balete Tree

Lazi Church 

Lazi Convent 

Secret Beach 

St. Francis De Asisi Church 

I did not research about the places to see or eat in Dumaguete since I have already been here, 9 years ago. What made this trip so much fun was the feeling of uncertainty of   not knowing where to go, what to eat or even what path will lead us?  What we were just sure of is that we were hungry and that we also wanted adventure. My Friends and I just trusted our instinct on where to eat and ended up having one of the best culinary adventures of our lifetime.  We just lived at the moment during our stay at Dumaguete.

We arrived in Dumaguete at past 5 in the afternoon and it was raining. We checked in our hotel and rested for an hour. We decided to take a tricycle to the downtown.  My friend told me that Dumaguete had the best silvanas. So we first tried Silvanas at Sans Rival and my god it was truly the best silvanas l I’ve ever tasted.
After having dessert, we wanted to explore the city and roam around the streets to find the best restaurant to have dinner. We looked at the store where most of the locals were eating. We decided to eat at Moon Café since it was jam packed with all locals. We really enjoyed dining at this Mexican restaurant.  We tried their best sellers which include chimichangasbaby back ribs and sun coolers. This only cost us 250 per person. After that we tried eating tempuraby the bay. It actually tasted like kikiam shaped in tempura. It was nothing special but it was definitely cheap. It only costs 4 pesos per shrimp. After eating there we walked at the Park near the Church and then found this Authentic Italian Restaurant called Pasta King Cafe di Roma. Their pizza was to die for it was even better than the ones I've tasted in Italy. The pizza tasted well in a different way since they did not put any tomato sauce and just placed cheese, potato and sausages. It was only 300php good for 3 persons. The pizza tasted good since it was cooked from a brick oven. After our culinary adventure we then decided to go back to our hotel and rest for the next day.

Come morning we ate breakfast at Why not. We enjoyed an authentic European breakfast and ate bread, cheese yoghurt; bacon and cheese omelets; and bread and Jam. We even bought some groceries  for our trip to Siquijor. We then decided to go to the famous Siliman University and roamed around the campus. This is a must see tourist destination especially for first timers. 

Dumaguete is a perfect for food lovers I would definitely want to go here again and again and again

We went to Siquijor late in the afternoon and waited for our friend because her flight was delayed. We then decided to ride a ferry boat. All of my friends even got sea sick. It was the longest 45 minute boat ride of my life. I assured myself to never ride the boat again. After getting sea sick we decided to wait for our friend at the Siquijor Port.

I was amazed because it was the cleanest port I have ever seen. Beside the port you can find a virgin beach, which has fine white sand . Out of all the beaches that I have ever been to, this is the only beach that can be comparable to Boracay. The best part of it was there was no one around and felt like we own the place. The only bad thing about this beach is the weird smell. We spent 4 hours just sun bathing. We met our friend at around five in the afternoon. The locals told us to not roam around at night because it was dangerous because there were no street lights. We just decided to stay at our hotel. We did not know where to stay so we asked the local to bring us to a nice and affordable resort. The tricycle driver brought us to Coco Grove Beach Resort. It was one of the best resorts I have ever stayed at. It was very cheap. The villa was really nice it can even accommodate 5 persons that only costs P4100 per night Not bad for such a nice resort. I felt like we were the only ones in the resort since their beach is 7 kilometers wide. We just ate our groceries that we bought from Why Not Restaurant. We had a night swim and late dinner at the Resort and decided to rest.

Come Morning we decided to tour around Siquijor via tricycle. We first went see a century old Balete Tree which has a fish spa below it. After that we went to Lazi Church. The church and convent was really nice. I was amazed that it was preserved up until the Spanish era. After that we went to Cambugahay Falls near by the road. We then decided to jump off the falls. The feeling was so exciting after jumping off felt so revitalizing. This is better than Ariel’s point in Boracay since you will jump into a fresh clean river.

After the trip to the  Cambugahay falls, we went into the secret beach. The road to the secret beach was really nice. We then decided to spend our final hours in Siquijor at our beach resort. We swam by the pool and enjoyed sun bathing by the beach.  We ate our lunch then hurried back to the pier so that we would not miss our flight. We rode a different boat. The boat ride was fine and we did not even get sea sick. We just got wet because the current was very strong. We then decided to eat our late lunch again at Moon Café and bought our Pasalubong at Sans Rival.

I will definitely go back to the small island province of Siquijor. It was surprisingly amazing and not that scary at all. First time I went to beach which is like the virgin Boracay. Stayed at one of the best resorts I have ever been to and also the cheapest. I crossed so many things out of my bucket list. 

Dumaguete and Siquijor will be a perfect combination for adventure seekers and food lovers. These two provinces will give you an element of surprise because you will be amazed at the things that you will discover. I recommend that you should go to these provinces just even once in your life. This trip was definitely one for the books.

Dumaguete Travel Tips 
Where to stay in Dumaguete City? Plaza Maria Luisa Suites Inn; Hotel Florentina                               
Where to eat in Dumaguete City? Dessert at Sans Rival;  Mexican Cuisine at Moon Café;  European Breakfast at Why Not Restaurant;  Authentic Italian Pizza at  Pasta King Café Di roma                       
Where to go in Dumaguete City?  Siliman University Campus ; Rizal Boulevard; Dumaguete Belfry Tower;
Manjuyod Sandbars; Bais Dolphin Watching; Apo Island Marine Sanctuary                                       
Tips: Dumaguete is a very small city. You can finish a walking tour of the city with half a day.

3 Days & 2 Nights Dumaguete+ Siquijor  Detailed Tour Cost per Person
*Prices are in Philippine Peso
Day 1

One way   Airplane Ticket Manila to Dumaguete ( Promo Fare)
Tricycle from Airport to Hotel  (P100/ 3)
Hotel One Day  (P1200/3)
Tricycle to City Center
Moon Café  Dinner (P750/3)
Tempura Street Food
Italian Food at Pasta King Café Di Roma( P300/3)
Dessert at Sans Rival
Tricycle Back to Hotel
Day 2

Tricycle to City Center
European Breakfast and Grocery Items at Why Not?
Ferry Boat Ride From Dumaguete to Siquijor
Hotel Stay @ Coco Grove Beach Resort (P4100/4)
Late Dinner at Coco Grove Beach Resort
Tricycle Rent for 2 Days (P1500/4) with tour guide
Day 3

Boat Ride From Siquijor to Dumaguete
Late Lunch at Moon Café  (P1000/4)
Pasalubong at Sans Rival
Tricycle From Dumaguete City Center to Dumaguete Airport P150/4
Airport Terminal Fee
One Way Airplane Ticket  from Dumaguete to Manila (promo fare)
Total Cost with Airfare, Accommodation, Tour,  Presents