Sunday, December 11, 2011

Home in Rome (Boy Bawang Saves The Day)

Most of my roommates are traveling Europe in a counter clockwise direction, while I was traveling clockwise. They’ve all been to Paris and Rome so I got loads of tips for these cities. In my itinerary, I put these cities at the last leg to “save the best for last”. I’ve heard oooh and aaah stories about the magnificence of Rome but it always ended with a word of caution: “Beware of pickpockets in Rome”. I’ve read a fair share of warning about this ancient city crowded with pickpockets.

Leaving Santa Maria Novella of Florence
The train ride from Santa Maria Novella of Florence to Termini Station of Rome took around two hours.

Upon landing in Rome, I felt like I traveled back to Manila. It was hot, crowded and I heard people conversing in Filipino. After more than a week of not having a full conversation in Tagalog, it felt good to hear your own language.

I’ve been away from home for two weeks already. My dad sent me an email to meet his former colleague who now works in Rome who can help me with my needs (Of course, somebody has to check up on me. Hahahaha). I traveled to Rome with a heavy luggage and some occasional phlegm in my throat. Note ha, phlegm lang, walang coughs and colds. 

My hostel was a 15-minute walk from the station. I didn’t really have a difficult time finding the street because there was a Filipino in every corner. I am not kidding. Parang naglalakad lang ako sa Pilipinas. I guess it was Sunday too so it is the day-off of most of the workers.

I just had a  couple of hours of daylight so I just threw my luggage in the locker and headed off to explore the city. I was itching to see the Colosseum. I went back to Termini station and bought the 24-hour integrated metro-bus ticket which costs €4 . It is valid 24 hours on any means of transport. Warning: this ticket is valid until the midnight of the day it was validated. So it isn’t really “24 hours”.

I found the public transportation system of Rome quite disorienting. Its buses cover more ground than the metro. I was more comfortable with riding trains instead of buses so I wasn’t really planning on studying the bus network at all. However, most of the metro stops are quite far from the tourist spots so there’s major walking involved. I found walking along the cobblestone streets quite enjoyable anyway.

The metro reminded me of the MRT which I ride everyday to get to work. Their metro had this funny smell too - Hmmmm, I guess I was just expecting too much civilization from this first world city. I got of the Colosseo stop and this wonderful sight greeted me.

The Colosseum

Another dream came true.

There were all these hawkers around this ancient structure selling a bunch of souvenirs for tourists. There are police cars around the place - I guess this is a hot spot for pickpockets.

The purple camera case makes it to Rome

Ongoing pictorials here.

The Colosseum has a lot angles to share. You have to take multiple shots. 

I lost track of time and my grumbling tummy reminded me that I haven’t eaten anything since I left Florence. I explored the convenience stores around my hostel and found these nice surprises.

I gladly paid for €1 for a large pack of Boy Bawang. I got two packs actually. 

The guy at the cashier: "Filipino?"
Me: "Yes"
Guy: "Good good."

I guess he has a lot of Filipino patrons  - based on the goods he sell. 


My authentic Filipino dinner in Rome. The perfect combo to combat homesickness.  

When I was studying my itinerary for Rome, I realized I just have TWO WHOLE DAYS in this city. Since one day is allotted for Vatican City, I have to explore Rome in ONE DAY. 

Day 1 - arrived in Rome around 3pm.
Day 2- Rome
Day 3 -Rome, explore Vatican City
Day 4 - depart for Paris at 3 pm

I went to bed early and I didn't get to meet all my roommates until the next day. I needed my energy to do everything I intended to do for this city.


  1. I really love reading through your Europe-related posts. I started hours ago and I'm still reading up to this point. :)Your trip gave me hope to continue living the dream.

    Natuwa naman ako dun sa Pinoy food sa Rome, winner!

  2. Wow! Thanks for reading my posts Karen. Glad to share them and the dream to others.
    Yay to pinoy instant noodles! Panglaban sa homesickness. :)

  3. Haha! You're the living proof that it's possible to dream and make it happen. :) Clap, clap!

    Anyway, do you have plans of going back soon? I plan on going by end of 2014 or early 2015.

  4. I plan to go back sooner actually. Next year sana! I want to take advantage of the low USD (for plane fare) and EUR exchange rates. The budget will be around 60-70% lang of my 2011 budget since I have less time to save.

    Go for it! Even though 2014 pa, it is actually good to start researching it now. I started dreaming in 2008 and it came true in 2011. :)

  5. Wow, lucky you! :) We'll be waiting for your new adventures then. Heading to Spain by then?

    And yep, I've been planning since 2011 but since I just graduated some time last yr, ipon-ipon muna for now. It's a good thing I saw your post, nabuhay ulit ang wanderlust ko. :)

  6. Yes! Majority of my time will be spent in Spain. Greece is also included.

    Hey! You are still quite young. That's good. Most of the museums have discounted tickets for those 26 and below - some even half the price. You just have to show your passport.

    Yes, ipon ipon muna. I've done more belt tightening this year for all my travels. You will have a blast in Europe. :D

  7. hi what train company did you use to get to rome?i really have a problem kasi ang mahal pala ng train from paris to amsterdam,isisingit ko kasi ang amsterdam,dapat sana france and italy lang ako.may alam ka kaya na mura?

    1. Hello! For my Florence to Rome ride, I used Trenitalia and booked in their website before flying to EU.
      For my Paris to Amsterdam ride, I bought the ticket in Amsterdam because Thalys (the train company) does not accept non-EU cards. If you buy in Amsterdam, make sure your credit card has a chip. I don't know if there are PH-based travel agencies who can buy it for you.

      My post on that:

    2. thanks, just an update for the sake of you other readers.i was able to book thru thalys website na using my local card.I dont know if theyve changed some rules.

  8. hi,pahabol naman. for tickets purchased online do i need to get them validated once i get there?naririnig ko kasi yang mga validation ng ticket sa europe?

  9. In my experience, it is the transportation city passes that is validated. Those tickets na intra-city, you just show the ticket printout which contains the barcode.

  10. yung bang nabili mo na ticket high speed trains or local lang.ang mahal kasi ng tickets sa trenetalis like from venice to rome $49.di ba pwedeng dun na ako bumili pagdating.

  11. My Venice to Florence train ride was 34 euros, and the Florence to Rome ride was 36 euros. Those were high-speed train tickets. Hindi local. I bought the ticket before I flew, mga 2 weeks before the train ride. You can also buy there. Kapag hindi naman peak season, I think di ka mauubusan ng ticket.

  12. Thanks for being patient and in taking time answering my questions

  13. Hi, can you please suggest a Rome itinerary for me? hehehe. :) I will arrive at the Rome airport Saturday lunch time and leave Monday afternoon. I wanted to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican museum but I understand closed ito during Sundays. Kakayanin kaya ng 9-12 ng Monday? Not sure kasi what time ako makakarating ng Vatican kung Saturday ko man balakin. Thanks a lot in advance. :)

    1. Hello! If you can only spend 9-12 on a Monday for Vatican city, that super kulang yun sa oras, I think. If ipipilit , you'll have to buy tix online and get the early time, do a quick tour of the Vatican museum and head to the Sistine Chapel na. You can spend your Sunday wandering around the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain area.
      Here's my post about the Vatican City


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