I’m back!

I posted on my Instagram stories that I’m taking an indefinite break from writing. After a few months, here I am again. I will continue our US trip blog which I will feature on a Flashback-Friday series hopefully next month. For now, I want to write about our latest trip 😁.

If you have been following me on my Instagram (@nicagerona, shameless plug there) then you’d know that my family and I went to the longest trip we had so far. A whopping 27 day trip filled with fun and a little bit of sun. A place really close to my heart and one that I will certainly cherish. So I hope y’all stay tune for this.

I also want to thank a reader who personally e-mailed me and encouraged me to write again. It really touches a writer’s/blogger’s heart to know that someone out there appreciates your work. So thank you! You know who you are, and I will personally send the first link of my first blog from our latest trip to you. See you all pretty soon!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

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My Experience: Paymaya

*DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. All that is written here are based on my experience and opinions on how I view and have used Paymaya and their services. I will provide links for the Paymaya website for more details*

I told you, I would prepare another blog post for you. Though it isn’t about the USA trip. Just giving you a break on that series, I wanted to share my Paymaya experience. First of, what is Paymaya exactly? Paymaya is basically your virtual credit card or online credit card. It is perfect for those who don’t want a full time commitment with a bank-issued credit card, the membership fees that they entail and not to mention the whopping interests rates when you miss a payment. Paymaya is like a debit card that can be used as a credit card.

Second, how does it work? You must register first on the app that they have on either IOS or the Android play store. Your personal phone number will act as your account number similar to a bank account number. They will send a text message for the confirmation of your account. You must deposit first before you can be able to use the online card. It is important that you do not share the details of your card.

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Third, how can you deposit money to use the card? I first used Paymaya to purchase an app at the Apple Store. As seen above, I deposited 100php via 7-Eleven to activate the card and start my purchase. The other ways or establishments to deposit for Paymaya are:

I personally have only tried and tested 7-Eleven as they are open for 24 hours and easier to access. You may use their Cliqq Kiosks or the app itself in paying for Paymaya. I tried the BDO but sadly they are no longer linked to Paymaya. You may try the other options if you plan to do so. They do give detailed instructions how to do so.

For the 7-Eleven payments, simply tap Add Money then 7-Eleven Create a Barcode. Enter the amount you wish to pay. It should be 100php and above then head to the nearest 7-Eleven store to pay. Wait for the text confirmation by Paymaya and refresh the app to see the deposited amount added.

Fourth, is it safe to use Paymaya? Yes, from my experience, they are. Paymaya is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. You may deposit cash with them up to 50,000php. They do offer a physical card on which you need to upgrade for FREE. But you will need to provide valid IDs and wait for the confirmation of your upgrade. When you have the physical card, you may use it like any debit/credit EMV card that you have. You may also withdraw from any Bancnet ATM machines. I haven’t tried that yet since I am contented in using Paymaya for my online purchases alone.

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So far, I have only used Paymaya for my Spotify Premium (I transferred from Globe payment to Paymaya, you may check that out too) and Netflix subscriptions. But you can certainly use it for online shopping stores that accept a Visa credit card. Paymaya will always alert you for the payments made and you can monitor it as well on the app. There are a lot more to discover with Paymaya, but so far I am enjoying what I have for now and there are no complaints. I hope this experience helps you out!

Paymaya FAQ’s

Merci beaucoup et à bientôt!

USA: Disney World Magic Kingdom

And I am back with a bang! I am terribly sorry for the super long delay of my blogpost. A major church/school event just ended and I had to throw all my attention to it. Btw, we won second place for the Mexico booth and I am glad that I did put all my attention to it. Not to mention my group mates who were dedicated to the task as well. Now that I have my free time, I am writing my delayed post of our Disney World Magic Kingdom experience. Isn’t that a mouthful? Lol. Let’s get to it!

After the double the Christmas celebration at Alabama, we prepared for a long drive going to Orlando, Florida. Short plug in, I am truly saddened by the latest news I heard of the shooting in Florida. My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones and friends in this tragedy. Praying for everyone’s comfort and continuous safety.

We arrived past midnight in Orlando and checked-in in our hotel at Seralago. I will post a separate review on that hotel. We were all exhausted from the long drive and definitely needed sleep for tomorrow’s adventure to Disney. I’ve heard of a lot of good things about Disney World which makes me excited and being the Disney girl that I am. Haha.

Minnie Me. #Florida #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Disney World was huge! It has four separate theme parks and we got to book to two theme parks of choice for two days. We chose the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom.

From the main entrance we rode a train that featured all the hotels of Disney World and the sections of the Magic Kingdom. We knew that we couldn’t really ride it all and so we chose the rides that we knew we’d enjoy the most. Disney offers a fast track line but they only give you four free rides to book. You have to finish one ride before you can book another one, which on my part really sucked. I remember in Universal Studios Singapore, they do offer the fast track lane but you pay a separate and more expensive ticket which is a far better option that getting to choose only four.

 

🤴🏻👸🏻 #Florida #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Maps are a necessity

We chose the “adult” rides and even with the fast track lanes, the lines were still long and at times would be an hour or two in the wait. It was the holiday season, so it was bound to happen.

Around past 3 in the afternoon, we returned back to the hotel so that my grandparents could rest. We returned since the park was going to close at around 12am. We had a few more fun rides and the night ended with a beautiful lights display at the castle.

Magical. #Florida #USA #lesVoyagesdeNica

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It was certainly a Magical experience for us all even with the huge crowd and less rides we were able to enjoy. My aunt hoped to return perhaps when there are less people visiting? Haha. I do hope so as well, but for now I am thankful for the experience.

This post it quite a short one, but I really hope to post my next blog post about this #LesVoyagesdeNica trip soon. I won’t promise, I might not be able to keep it, so just stay tune and once again…

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

USA: A Double Christmas Celebration

Hey, I’m back and I am really sorry for the one week delay of posting my next blog. I need to work on my proper time management. Really sorry guys, I won’t be promising anything but I will TRY my best. So, here it goes.

My last blog was all about our trip in Chicago. Today, I’ll be sharing to you, my first ever Christmas here in Alabama. So, we arrived here on the evening of the 23rd of December and it was freezing! Our happy greetings and joyous reunions were cut off due to the cold weather. We all had to hurry back home and enjoy the festivities. Like the usual Filipino reunions, we’re all loud, filled with stories and late night banterings.

The next day, which was the 24th. My aunt told us we were invited for my Uncle Tep’s cousin’s Christmas gathering. I was really nervous and kept asking my aunt what would it be like. I’m quite socially awkward during gatherings where I don’t know a lot of people. In order to chill my nerves and to keep my mind off it, we all decided to go out and shop. It was an effective therapy/distraction! LOL.

Boots. Boots. Boots. 😍 #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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We headed to Rack Room Shoes, where they had a buy one, get one free promo. I had a hard time picking out what boots, I wanted. Boots, aren’t that cheap back in Manila and are only out during the “ber” months, seeing that we don’t have winter season. The store offered a lot of good shoes, and I so wanted to bag them all. My mom and I partnered for the promo and so did my dad and brother. It was a good buy. After Rack Room, we headed to a few more stores and went to Bass Pro in Leeds, AL.

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Pre-Shopping faces. See my shoes here?

Holiday spirit. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Bass Pro is an outdoor store. They have all the equipment, clothing and gears for hunting, fishing, camping and whatever you deem is outdoor necessary. But aside from the camping tools, you will enjoy Bass Pro on its own. The whole place is definitely IG-worthy! Lol. I think my dad took tons of photos and would recommend this place as a tourist attraction.

Holiday spirit. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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The store also offered a few games/entertainment to enjoy while roaming around. My cousins, according to my aunt, loved to visit the place just to play around.

I got my Boo Bear for Christmas. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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My guardian wolf. 🐺❤️ #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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That’s me and my wolf addiction. Hahaha!

Right after Bass Pro, we headed home for lunch and rested for till 3:00pm. We started preparing and waited for our ride. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank Aunt Kathy and Mims for fetching us. It was quite a bit of a long drive and my I kept asking what was it like cause I couldn’t calm myself, so I dozed off to sleep on the car. Arriving at their place made my knees go weak and I find myself taking in deep breaths. I was not ready for this at all, but thank goodness, they were all so accepting and nice. Still, awkward me couldn’t seat still.

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Right after a few minutes of arriving and introductions were made, the hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Isley said a word of prayer and the dinner began. Eventually, awkward me started dissolving and is being replaced by talkative me. The celebration was a bit different from how we do it in the Philippines but I’m just probably just used to the noisy kind of celebration or because I am just new here. Overall, the food was good, the people are warm and wonderful. Not to mention the gifts! I didn’t expect any, but we came prepared with our gifts to give as well. Once again, I wanted to thank the Fields-Isley family for their warm welcome and invitation.

We went home that night, filled with food and fun.

The next day was the 25th and we were told that we are going to another Christmas celebration. This time it was on my Uncle’s brother’s place. Unlike the first, I wasn’t that nervous to attend here. I happen to have met them already, which makes my nerves calmer. Again, using this opportunity, I want to say thank you to Mims and Pops for fetching us.

We arrived a bit late, but it was alright. It was also good to see the Phillips family once again. The night was filled with fun and food too. They made us join the Dirty Santa game, which was my first time. I actually I thought it was something…ehem…let’s just say, when I heard dirty, I thought it was bad. Lol. In the end, we got lots of gifts and had tons of fun with the whole family. I also had an inspiring conversation with Mrs. Phillips and her advocacy on kids. Thank you again to the Phillips family for the wonderful gifts and for welcoming us to your home!

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Christmas celebrations are different in every part of the world and in every family. But one thing is common, the spirit of giving that reminds us of that night when Christ was born to save men. I had two different experiences on what it is to celebrate Christmas in the United States, and although it was a bit quieter than the usual Filipino celebrations, the love for the family is there. I hope this won’t be my last to celebrate a holiday in the US. Hoping and praying to have more!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. Next blog post would be about our Disney World Experience. Stay tune!

USA: Chicago

Hello there! Just two days ago, I came back from a 17 day trip/holiday vacation from the USA. It was one of the most exciting trips of our family as we spent Christmas and New Year’s away from home. This travel blog will be divided in 8 posts, where one blog is posted per week. I do hope you’ll enjoy another #LesVoyagesdeNica series!

Let us start then with our trip to Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago nights. #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Illinois

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We arrived in Chicago past 4:30pm from Shanghai Pudong via United Airlines. It was dark when we got out of the airport and traveled from O’Hare International Airport to Downtown through their Metro train. The station we got down was Washington station and it was quite a long ride, to tell you everyone was exhausted was an understatement. Kudos to my brother and dad for carrying all our seven luggages! Traveling through Chicago’s subway was a breeze in comparison with our experience in New York, or just maybe because we have already been to NYC that it made the process easier. Anyhoots, our hotel was located just across a mall that is connected to two subway lines which is a big plus for us. Not to mention, the number of food chains and grocery stores near it.

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We stayed at the Cambria Hotel at 33 W. Randolph Street, which I will be blogging about separately. For that first night, we roamed around and bought our first Chicago dinner aka McDonalds! LOL. Our initial plan was to stay from December 20 to the 23rd in Chicago, however we decided to stay only up to the 22nd so that we can spend more time with our relatives in Alabama.

The following day we headed to the Greyhound Bus station (I’ll be posting another separate blog about this) which is near the blue line of Clinton Station, if you took the subway. We purchased our tickets and off we went to a day’s adventure in Chicago.

Chill. #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Our first stop was the Chicago Cultural Center. We got to enjoy the arts and architectures featured in the museum. We were wary at first in entering, thinking that there was an entrance fee, thank goodness, there wasn’t.

 

After the museum and a few minutes of walking we reached the famous Millennium Park to see The Bean. I was particularly excited to see this as it was commonly featured on Instagram posts.

The Bean was filled with tourists and it seemed impossible to take a solo picture. I did have to improvise. After a few shots, we crossed the bridge heading to the Art Institute of Chicago, which sadly we weren’t able to see much as it did require payment. We instead opted to checkout their gift shop.

After that afternoon walking, my grandparents decided to stay at the hotel due to the freezing weather. We again had our lunch, courtesy of McDonald’s of course. Haha! Then headed off to see the Moody Bible Institute. We took the Red line in Lake Station and went down to Clark/Division. We got a bit lost as to where we’re supposed to head out of the station. There were four exits and thank goodness for offline maps!

To enroll or not to enroll? 😂😅😁 #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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It was also a good thing that despite the holiday break, we were able to tour around their D.L. Moody museum and shop on their book store as well.

It was wonderful to see in real life the fruits of Moody’s works. After reading countless of his biographies and studying about his life on our subject, Lives of Great Christians, it was a wonderful blessing to see how God has used one man to touch so many lives for His glory.

Right after our Moody tour, we headed to the Loop and rode another train going to see the Willis Tower (formerly Sears). They do have a paid entrance fee, so I would suggest that you bring your ID as they would ask for it.

This was another check on my bucket list. I actually thought there was one whole floor of glass, which I was stand corrected by.

#Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Bucket list ✔️ #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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The lines for having this photo is quite a long one. But I had to remind myself to be patient for the picture perfect IG shot! It was worth the wait. By the time we exited the building, my dad wanted one last tour (seeing that we cut short our trip) going to the Navy Pier. This time, we took the bus. It was either the 29 or number 2 bus.

We headed home quite late that day with aching feet and freezing hands. We also had to pack up our belongings for that long bus ride to Alabama. The following morning, my dad decided that since our bus leaves at 7:30pm and we should bring my grandparents to see the Navy Pier.

When you try to nail the dreamy look. #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Navy Pier is a whole lot better during the day. You get to appreciate the view, albeit it was cold. We just took a few pictures and headed back to the hotel to check out and head over to the bus station. Overall, our stay in Chicago was quite short and I wish I had seen more and tasted more especially the famous deep-dish pizza. I hope to come back to this beautiful city and see more of it.

Btw, my dear cousin made this video of our trip to Chicago. Isn’t she a sweet thing? Love you Raicelle!

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. Next post would be about our “American” Christmas experience in Alabama. 

 

Thankful for 2017

Salut et bienvenue mes chers lecteurs! Today is my final blogpost for the year of 2017. Like the previous years, I always listed things I am grateful for this year. It has always been a good thing to list down your blessings. Also, I am writing this from Trussville, Alabama. This is my first time to celebrate New Year outside the country (I suppose that is my first thing to be thankful for). 🙌🏼😁

Let us get on with this list:

1. Final year in school

Yes, this year is my final year in Theology. Three years in Bible school has not only gain me wonderful experiences but good lifetime friends as well. I am truly grateful for my dad in pushing me to enroll and learn.

2. USA trip (Summer, Christmas & New Year)

Spending my first summer, Christmas and New Year in the US of A is a truly one of a kind experience. I get to see my aunt and her family after 5 years and so did my grandparents. We went to tourist sites and did all sorts of fun things.

3. Friends

Meeting new people and getting to form a bond with them is one of the greatest things about friendships. Some are meant to last, some come and some go. But amidst this, we enjoy the company of others whether they leave us or be with us. I personally and always say that I cherish friendships. I always strive to make maintain my friendship with other people. But of course not all are a happy ending. Still, this year has been good and has been filled with new friends that I hope would last me a lifetime.

4. God

Most of all these things, God. For all the blessings bestowed to all of us and how He has been faithful to me despite all my failures and mistakes.

2017 is definitely a colorful one. One that I will never forget. So many forged friendships happened and memorable events. Praying that 2018 will be a great year for us all.

Merci beaucoup et á bientot!

Three

Hey! The self-proclaimed “kween” is back and I am truly sorry for months of not updating my blog. I am truly busy and caught up with school and its activities. Yesterday, the half of the first part of our Comprehensive Exams just ended and I am exhausted and drained in all sorts. But, let us just keep pushing through, after in just a few months time (prayerfully) we get to march down in that black toga. 🙌🏼

Now, onto our agenda. It’s my blog’s THIRD ANNIVERSARY!!! I am so glad to be able to push this through despite the hectic schedules and what nots in my life. This year is full of ups and downs, but no complaining. I truly enjoyed every bit of it and although it seems like I am running out of topics to write about, something quite exciting is coming up due next year. 😁😁😁

I do hope you get to read that upcoming post. I also wanted to thank my readers for inspiring me to strive better in my writing and blogging. I promise to post more this coming year and hopefully (cross those fingers 🤞🏼) be able to give some give aways.

Before ending this short post, I just want to thank certain people for inspiring me and making my year all wonderful. To my parents, of course, for supporting my blogging hobby. To Sunny, my dear boyfriend who always has nice things to say in my every post. To my Theology friends, who made my schooling fun and fulfilling. Lastly, to my new friend Jash, I know you might be surprised you’re mentioned here but thank you for encouraging me in my writing 😘. It is truly heartwarming for a blogger like me to know that my posts are somewhat interesting.

Once again, thank you supporting and reading my posts! All constructive criticisms are welcomed and comments are much appreciated. I hope to see you all on my 4th anniversary as a blogger. Cheers!!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Pasta al Pomodoro

Hello there! It’s September now and I can’t help but feel excited for “ber” months to come. It’s one of the most awaited months of the year, at least for me. But this post isn’t about “ber” months and such, I will be sharing a recipe I learned and made a few weeks ago. I do hope you would all enjoy!

As you all may have noticed, I have a great love for pasta recipes. So one day, my dad requested that I make a tomato-based pasta sauce from scratch. I honestly felt intimidated and thank goodness for Google and Youtube for making this girl’s life a lot easier. Lol. Here is how I did mine:

Pasta al Pomodoro

1/2-1 kg of tomato cut in quarters
1 whole carrot diced (optional)
1 whole white onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2-5 cloves of garlic diced
500g spaghetti pasta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Blend your tomatoes on the food processor. You may opt to leave them chunkier depending on your taste. On a wok pan, or a any pot heat your oil and cook your garlic until golden. Do not burn your garlic. Then add the onions until translucent, add carrots and red bell pepper until cooked. Add the blended tomato and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover it slight with a lid.

On a separate pot, cook the pasta according to instructions. Drain and add the pasta sauce. Add the fresh basil until wilted. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Pasta al Pomodoro from scratch. Soon on nicacanwrite.wordpress.com

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I am glad that my family enjoyed the meal and I think this would be my favorite from all the pasta recipes I made. I hope you also enjoy this recipe and you might want use the sauce for a ciabatta dip instead of the pasta. Here is the video where I followed the recipe and added some twist:

 

Give this a try and lemme know on the IG account! Love love love!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Squash-Basil Pasta

Hello! I’m back again and will be posting another food recipe I learned. The original recipe is none other from Liv B’s Youtube Channel. She’s a vegan and if you wanna give vegan a try, I highly suggest her channel and blog for more scrumptious recipes. She features both healthy and delectable delights in the vegan cuisine. I am on the brink of becoming one too, but is still on the process. Being vegan after all is a lifestyle. But, enough of the ramblings, let’s go ahead to the recipe:

* I did my own version and hence this is not a vegan recipe as I added parmesan cheese to the pasta. I will add Liv B.’s link below for the vegan version.*

Squash-Basil Pasta

1 small size squash or half or a quarter of a large one.
1 whole carrot diced
1 whole white onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2-5 cloves of garlic diced
500g penne pasta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Paprika
Handful of fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

 

 

Chop your squash to cubes and boil them under cooked. Take them out of the pot and save some of the broth. In a food processor, blend the squash, add a little of the broth for a thinner texture. On a separate pot, sautè your garlic and onion with olive oil until translucent. Then add your bell pepper and carrot. Stir until cooked. Pour in the blended squash. You may opt to add a cornstarch mixture or cream to thicken the mixture or the squash broth to thin out. Let it simmer then add the basil. You may choose to leave a few for garnish. Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

On a separate pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Mix the sauce and pasta, add parmesan and remaining basil for garnish. Serve while hot.

 

Another thing you can do with this recipe is to leave out the pasta and serve it as a soup or ciabatta dip.

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I hope you enjoy making this or making your own version. As promised, here is Liv B.’s version of the recipe.

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!