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Traveling As A Passion


Guest YUM YUM

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Guest YUM YUM

have you ever gone out of your house and encountered something interesting on the road or at the point of your destination? post it here, we might want to get there also!

 

dont forget the detailson how to get there, how much if possible, what to expect the good and the bad, what to buy, restaurant, souvenirs. people to look for!

 

POST LANG KAYO! :lol:

Edited by YUM YUM
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Guest YUM YUM

let me start....

 

my work gives me the luxury to travel around the philippines. i have literally visited almost every part of the country except a few which i am planning to visit at least before i die! he he he

 

i'm goin to start it from the tip!

 

TAWI-TAWI!

 

i've been there four or five years ago, when i reached the place, it was the time when there was no plane available. i think walang sumasakay kaya itinigil! :)

 

so from zamboanga, you have to take an overnight boat ride to jolo and then transfer to another boat bound for tawi-tawi. actually there was a boat na diretso tawi-tawi kaso lang nakaalis na when i got to zamboanga. the boat ride is, well in a scale of five, could be a one or two! :(

 

there is a stop over in siasi, a small island community ang dating parang vietnam! tapos me mga boats na nandun yung mga commodities nila ala hongkong!

 

when you get to tawi-tawi, try the bongao peak, mga 3hours trek. dont forget to bring bananas and bread, there were monkeys along the way na lumalapit for the treat. from the peak you can see the whole of the island!

 

what to buy, super mura ng tapang usa and baboy damo!

 

tapos sa palengke dried fish and fresh fish, yung fresh puede na ngayon kasi me plane na. souvenir? buy kayo nung dried na teeth ng sharks! if you're a diver! dont! patay kayo pag nakita ng ibang diving buddies nyo! he he he! :lol:

 

night life, negative, as in wala! kasi mga 6pm eh tulog na lahat!

 

restaurant, there is no decent recent restaurant around, pero kahit saang turo-turo super fresh ang food, especially fishes.

 

i was able to attend a muslim wedding when i got there! its nice the people are nice! i dont like the food, though, oily eh! anyway, i enjoy the rites! :)

 

im in a hurry now, am sure have forgotten some details, edit ko na lang bukas! :)

Edited by YUM YUM
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my work also gives me an opportunity to travel locally and internationally. but the thing that i cannot forget is when i visited Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat mga 8 years ago to check on my company's network node there.

 

i was fetched from the airport by a company representative, and we rode an army 6x6 truck, with around 10 fully armed soldiers. grabe, kakatakot. pag nagka ambushan yun, ako mamamatay dahil ako yung hindi armed eh. stayed at a co-employee's house after asking head office in manila to recall me the following day dahil sa takot.

 

another thing is when i visited Tokyo, Japan two years ago, alone. nagkaligaw ligaw ako sa loob ng Narita International Airport dahil yung mga signs nila dun is pure Japanese lahat. Walang english. spent almost 3 hours after arrival in the airport. Tapos, pag nagtatanong ka sa mga hapon, di sila masyadong nagsasalita ng English.

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nice thread. from 97-2000, i also went around the philippines. let me start with cagayan de oro. went there to do some filming for a documentary...and encountered one of the greatest thrills in my life. no, two thrills pala!

 

first we went to the town of claveria, about two hours from cagayan de oro city. went on a hike for another two hours before reaching the canopy walk. it's a series of steel platforms connected by aluminum bridges (parang ladder na nakatihaya). you are nearly 500 ft?? above the ground. not really sure how high, pero we were level with the tree tops and these are old trees. kung baga, nasa canopy na kami and the fog is thick...that should give you guys an idea. it was terrifying at first, pero ang sarap pala...so exhilirating

 

next day, we went river rafting sa cagayan de oro river that is connected to the bukidnon river. wow! parang amazon, man, complete with all the rapids (up to level 4 daw sabi ng guide namin), screeches of birds...jungle ang dating. since we were so excited, we never noticed na five hours na pala ang lumipas. by the time we finished, sunset na.

 

am planning to go back there later this year. i can give the contacts of the people to call there if you want to experience it.

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I've had the good fortune to travel internationally for my work over the years. Since I live and work inthe US (and hav for a long, long time) I have not had the opportunity to travel in the Philippines. However......

 

Japan - contrary to Google's experience, I have many fond memories of my trips to Japan. I never had a problem navigating Narita Airport - the ARE signs in English all over the place. Why Google didn't see them, I don't know. My first trip to Japan was all by myself - and I had to not only get through Narita, but also out to Tokyo and to my hotel (via train and taxi), and in the morning, to the office I was visiting. No problems. English EVERYWHERE, including the subway and train stations. I did cheat on the taxi to the office - I asked the concierge to write up the destination in Japanese for the taxi driver, who, to my surprise, spoke English! The Japanese are very courteous and helpful, and there are many who do speak English. The key is to know how to identify them. Your best bet is to approach businessmen or teenagers. Businessmen because they are working on their English so they can do business internationally, teenagers because they are learning English in school and are eager to practice it.

 

Anyway - a few memorable places in Tokyo......

 

stand-up noodle shops under the elevated rairoad tracks in the Shinjuku area. On the east side of the (huge!) station, the traks are elevated. Under them are places to get hot noodles (udon, saimin) - and it's cheap! At least for Japan, it's cheap.

 

Asakusa Temple - great place to visit - take the subway there. Hard to get lost. Great shopping on the side streets, but the main attraction is the temple which is one of the largest in Tokyo.

 

Akihabara - for the kid and the geek in all of us. More electronic products than you can count, in more electronic stores than you can imagine, all within a 10 block area. From giant multi-story stores to sidewalk vendors with their wares spread out in front of their stores. From resistors and capacitors to giant plasma screens. Take the subway or the Yamanote JR line.

 

London - stay at the Knightsbridge Green Hotel. Relatively inexpensive, cute and charming, a block from Harrod's. Also walking distance from all the big trousist sites. There's a pub a block down the street that has the best combination of beer/ale selections and pub food I've had in recent times in London.

 

Paris - there's a small charcuterie/boulangeire (bakery/deli) a block off the main street across from the Louvre. And about 3 blocks from the Seine. Buy your bread and some sliced meat and a bottle of red wine there, walk to the Seine for an al fresco lunch or early dinner. Great view - you can see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and (sorta kinda) Notre Dame.

 

More to come......

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Japan - contrary to Google's experience, I have many fond memories of my trips to Japan. I never had a problem navigating Narita Airport - the ARE signs in English all over the place. Why Google didn't see them, I don't know. My first trip to Japan was all by myself - and I had to not only get through Narita, but also out to Tokyo and to my hotel (via train and taxi), and in the morning, to the office I was visiting. No problems. English EVERYWHERE, including the subway and train stations. I did cheat on the taxi to the office - I asked the concierge to write up the destination in Japanese for the taxi driver, who, to my surprise, spoke English! The Japanese are very courteous and helpful, and there are many who do speak English. The key is to know how to identify them. Your best bet is to approach businessmen or teenagers. Businessmen because they are working on their English so they can do business internationally, teenagers because they are learning English in school and are eager to practice it.

From Narita, there are at least 3 ways to get to Tokyo:

 

By Airport Limousine bus - as you buy a ticket at the counter you tell them where you want to get off or which hotel you'll be staying. Then they tell you which platform you'd have to go to wait for your bus. Slightly more expensive than taking JR Skyliner but more convenient as the bus drops you off straight at your hotel doorstep.

 

JR Skyliner train - Just follow the signs, buy your ticket and go to the designated platform. Fastest way to get to Tokyo. However, the train stops at Ueno station so from there, you have to walk all the way to where the subway trains are.

 

Ordinary train - Cheapest way but just like the Skyliner, I don't recommended this for first-timers who are unfamiliar with the Tokyo subway or JR train system.

 

My Favorite Places: Hibiya Park where the Imperial Palace is. I never miss going there whenever I'm in Tokyo. Very peaceful and beautiful place. I also like going to the Meiji shrine although I don't always go to the shrine itself. The Meiji-jinggumae area used to have a lot of art shops and that's where I go. Also buy my souvenirs there - not the usual "tourist" souvenir stuff but things with value.

 

Hotel: I always go there for business so I don't know of any budget accomodations. I always stay either at Keio Plaza, Ginza Tokyu, or Ginza Tobu hotels. Ok naman.

 

Favorite Eating Places: I have a favorite restaurant at the Ginza area I always go to for sushi. Very cozy. Ginza is just a stone's throw away from Tsukiji where the biggest fish market is. Tsukiji is also a good place to go to for sushi but the restaurants there are not really for foreigners so you have to be accompanied by someone who knows Nipponggo. The shops don't have displays of what they serve. For steak lovers: the best steak in the world (para sakin) is served at the Medallion restaurant at Keio Plaza hotel. If you think kobe beef is good, then matsuzakaya beef is even better! Around 200 dollars per order but you really have to taste it at least once in your life. Ilalaban ko ito sa kahit anong steak house sa America. Panis ang Melo's dito.

 

If you're on a budget: Look for a Yoshinoya shop. Or go to the basement of most big department stores and buy a bento box. Better yet, go to AM/PM or any convenience store and buy your bento box there - they will even microwave it for you free of charge! Fastfood: try Mos Burger or Love Burger - Japanese style hamburgers mas masarap kesa McDonalds.

 

Entertainment: Nothing beats Roppongi. Although there are other places near the Ueno area. Beware of hustlers who will lure you to get into their shops and tell you you only need to pay X-yen to see a show. There are a lot of hidden charges there! When you enter the bars at Roppongi for the first time, there's a good chance you'd be telling yourself: "Kaya pala nawawala ang mga magaganda sa Pinas, nadito sila lahat". You'll be surprised some of our actresses work there as hostesses. Prepare to spend at least 200,000 yen.

 

Shopping: What do you want to buy? I usually go to Ueno. There are number of golf stores there selling second hand equipment. Very cheap. Akihabara for electronic items. If you're buying entertainement systems, take note that the channels there are different so you have to look for shops that sell "For Export" products. Laox is a good place. They have a Filipina lady (Grace yata pangalan nya) who can help you.

 

Other places of interest: Sinabi mo na. Asakusa temple. Recommended for first-timers. I don't go there anymore. Their version of Quiapo. But do check out Hibiya park and Meiji shrine too. Maganda. Tokyo Tower in Roppongi is also supposed to be a tourist attraction but for me, no big deal. Shinjuku park is a nice place to go to during sakura (cherry blossoms) season.

 

Other notes: I agree with almost all your statements. However please take note that although the Japanese look polite because the bow all the time, once you start learning their language, you will realize kung gaano kababa ang tingin nila sa mga Pilipino. Baka iniinsulto ka na hindi mo pa alam. Some of my Japanese friends also think we stink of garlic.

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Other notes: I agree with almost all your statements. However please take note that although the Japanese look polite because the bow all the time, once you start learning their language, you will realize kung gaano kababa ang tingin nila sa mga Pilipino. Baka iniinsulto ka na hindi mo pa alam. Some of my Japanese friends also think we stink of garlic.

Magaling - great comments and suggestions. I do agree with your last comment, however, I said they were polite. I DIDN'T say they were all nice people. Big difference. But on the surface they're okay. Just don't look below the surface......I did get to know some of the people I worked with well enough to get invited to visit their homes (unusual) and even to stay with them at their parents' home when we had a free weekend (VERY unusual). that's when you know you've broken through the barrier.

 

There used to be (is it still running?) the Narita Express from Narita to Tokyo station to Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. The other line went from Narita to Tokyo station to Shin-Yokohama. Faster than any of the other trains, but more expensive.

 

First I stayed at the Tokyo Hyatt in Shinjuku but then I started staying at the Okura, right across from the US Embassy and a short walk from Roppongi.

 

So, more Tokyo favorites -

 

Meiji Shrine - an oasis of calm in the middle of a very busy shopping area, at the end of Omote-sando street, in Harajuku. Beautiful temple, a garden you have to see to believe.

 

the street between Harajuku and Shibuya - on Sundays they (still, I hope!) close off the street to traffic and let the rocker bands set up to play their music. They seem to think that if they crank their amps up to the max you won't notice how bad some of the are! :lol: :lol: But an enjoyable time nonethelss - lots of '50s style clothes with leather jackets and the like for the guys and poodle skirts for the girls. Lots of Harleys and other bikes as well. Last time I went, a Mustang and a Corvette, too! Parked, of course.

 

Omote-sando street from Harajuku up a few blocks - a main shopping district but with much smaller crowds. At the Harajuku end is a place where the teenagers buy a lot of their trendy clothes. As a result, the street teems with Japanese teeny-boppers in their short skirts and tight shirts. Great "sight"-seeing.

 

More next time......

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i have lived in bangkok for nearly a decade. besides the shopping, most tourists, especially the males, make it a point to visit the girlie bars. the three most popular areas in the city are:

 

patpong (between silom and suriwongse streets) - dozens of bars, night market...this is where the tourists go. touts tug your arm and say "sex show", before flashing a list of "acts" (pussy slicing banana, pussy smoking, pussy cutting paper with blade, among others). every girl in the bar can be taken out. just pay the bar fine plus the fee for the girl. in all about, 2,500 baht ($65). but beware of entering some of the bars because there are hidden charges. even if the tout says no cover charge, there are other charges. i can make recommendations. minsan, may toro sa iilang bars. there is also one bar known by all as the "no hands bar" where you can get a bj while being fed...

 

soi cowboy (between sukhumvit 21 & 23) - an alley of girlie bars frequented by both tourists and expats. not as wild as patpong and the atmosphere is a bit tamer. there used to be a bar here where all the girls were pinays, pero wala na. there is one bar with a glass ceiling that enables you to see the dancers from below...

 

soi nana (on sukhumvit 4) - expats prefer this place. wild dito. girls in some bars are completely naked. the atmosphere is raunchier at mas maganda ang mga girls...siguraduhin lang na girl nga if you're planning to pick up someone!

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Here's a few more favorite or unusual places -

 

Rome - the Hotel Eden has a top floor restaurant that is absolutely top-notch. And it has a panoramic view that's hard to best! Best enjoyed at night - you can see the whole city from the "wedding cake" (Emperoro somebody or another's memorial) to the dome of St. Peter's.

 

There's a small restaurant just off the Trevi fountain on a small side street (unmarked so no street name but it's heading north from the fountain......) that serves teh best pizza in the city. Try the prosciutto pizza.

 

Helstinki - Helsinki pala......the Pizza Hut serves a truly cross-cultural pizza. Southwestern barbeque chicken, blue cheese, and pineapple pizza.

 

Hongkong - a German beer house with the best German food outside of Germany. On Prat Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui. Their pork knuckle is just like our crispy pata. With a nice German draft beer. Yum!

 

London - some background for this next one. My wife LOVES anchovies (and tuyo.....). We went and had afternoon tea (it's a girl thing. She and my daughter insisted.) at Fornum and Mason. They had "anchovy toast". My wife ordered it, and the waitress (Filipina that she was) went away chuckling. Bad sign. The anchovy toast came. Two slices of toast with anchovy paste slathered all over - at least an eighth of and inch thick. A LOT of anchovy paste. My wife could not eat anchovies for a few months after that. Otherwise, it was fine for afternoon tea. They do have an amazing selection of teas there, if you're into that.

 

Champillon in France - just north of Epernay in the champagne region. Stay at the Royal Champagne Hotel. Supposedly, Napoleon stayed there when he was in the area. (Slumming I guess?) Nice big rooms, and a restaurant the serves some of the best food I have ever had. It was the best meal of a 3 week trip driving around the French countryside.

 

Some US cities next time......

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For those who like driving around RP, check out Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

 

Vigan was the first pit stop during my recent journey to the Ilocos region. But I wasn't on some cultural or soul-searching trip; the main objective was to spend a whole day at the beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, which I have heard a lot about but had seen only once before, and quite fleetingly at that, during a field trip in my Humanities class in the early 80's. The other objective was to enjoy the drive first and the sights second. Why? Well, because I find long-distance driving therapeutic. Also, because I did not have too much time anyway. At the same time, I deemed it proper to focus on the sights during another trip when there's more time; maybe a week will suffice because one would really want to visit each and every church in the two Ilocos provinces. Finally, I wanted to test my 1992 Nissan if it was still in top running condition.

 

The distance from Manila to Vigan is slightly more than 400 kilometers and this translates to about seven hours of driving. Laoag City, capital of Ilocos Norte, is another 80 plus kilometers. If you plan to drive all the way to Pagudpud, roughly another 60 kilometers and the last town of Ilocos Norte before one enters Sta. Praxedes, the first town of Cagayan Valley, and back to Manila, but not before a side trip to Baguio City via Naguilian, your car will probably consume about three full tanks of unleaded gasoline. On the odometer, that translates to about a thousand plus kilometers.

 

In all, travel time to and from Pagudpud will take a day. But there's a consolation here because the roads are well paved and maintained. For you speed freaks dreaming of imitating rally champion Carlos Sainz' achievements, it is possible to go up to 180 kph on some stretches, like the ones from Pozzorubio to Sison, Pangasinan; from Narvacan to Santa, Ilocos Sur; and from Pasuquin to Burgos, Ilocos Norte, where a visit to the Cape Bojeador lighthouse is a must. Don't forget to bring something for the old man who stays there. Watch out also for the curves in Burgos and Bangui, the two towns before Pagudpud.

 

Try to leave in the early hours, say before 4am. Pack your stuff the day before and make sure to have a good night's sleep. Bring plenty of food to munch so you don't waste time stopping. By daybreak you should be in Tarlac. By noon, you should be in Vigan in time for lunch. Don't forget to try the bagnet, the Ilocano version of the common lechon kawali.

 

After a refreshing nap at the ancestral house of Becky de los Reyes, I woke up and decided to take a leisurely walking on Crisologo street, the same street you have probably seen in brochures and television advertisements. Yes, the one where antiques abound

 

The air is different on Crisologo street. At about the time when the sun begins to fade, the dark shadows of structures that have stood silently since the 1800's begin to stimulate a sense of historical passion surpassed only, at most, by the joy of discovering a shop that sells collectibles! A moment later, it dawns on the senses. The truth, mysteriously true, is fascinating. These ancestral homes, and there are many of them that stand proudly, their splendor still radiant despite the passing of nearly two centuries; and even those left to the elements that now lay in ruins, all produce a whiff of imperious heritage. Of times long gone but sometimes longed for. But they are more than that…in the distance, I heard a horse trotting, with the sound of its hooves resonating clearly on the cobblestones. Fact is I even half expected a Spanish foot soldier to appear.

 

Next day, after a breakfast of sinangag and the famous longganisang Vigan, I drove to Laoag and discovered just how developed and vibrant it was. But since it was quite hot, I did not linger and just contented myself to driving around. Soon after, I headed for the golden sands of Pagudpud, which I discovered to be soft and refreshingly kind to the feet. I walked on the shores fronting the Villa del Mar Ivory Resort toward the east and waited for the sunset to arrive. A quiet storm brewed in my mind. The waves of Bangui Bay splashed relentlessly, breaking into foamy sprays that spilled the sea's contents. For a few hours, I felt the surprisingly invigorating heat of an angry mid-afternoon sun, which made the waters warm. Soon after, the weather turned balmy, suddenly devoid of the sun's punishing rays. Nothing could be more relaxing.

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Guest YUM YUM
i have lived in bangkok for nearly a decade. besides the shopping, most tourists, especially the males, make it a point to visit the girlie bars. the three most popular areas in the city are:

 

patpong (between silom and suriwongse streets) - dozens of bars, night market...this is where the tourists go. touts tug your arm and say "sex show", before flashing a list of "acts" (pussy slicing banana, pussy smoking, pussy cutting paper with blade, among others). every girl in the bar can be taken out. just pay the bar fine plus the fee for the girl. in all about, 2,500 baht ($65). but beware of entering some of the bars because there are hidden charges. even if the tout says no cover charge, there are other charges. i can make recommendations. minsan, may toro sa iilang bars. there is also one bar known by all as the "no hands bar" where you can get a bj while being fed...

 

soi cowboy (between sukhumvit 21 & 23) - an alley of girlie bars frequented by both tourists and expats. not as wild as patpong and the atmosphere is a bit tamer. there used to be a bar here where all the girls were pinays, pero wala na. there is one bar with a glass ceiling that enables you to see the dancers from below...

 

soi nana (on sukhumvit 4) - expats prefer this place. wild dito. girls in some bars are completely naked. the atmosphere is raunchier at mas maganda ang mga girls...siguraduhin lang na girl nga if you're planning to pick up someone!

pare when i was in bangkok a tuktuk driver brought me to a ktv ala pegasus, i think the name is cupid or something that sounds like that? :lol: the girls are classified in three, the regulars, the special and there's a freelance group na sabi nila are students who are goin there whenever they need money for tuition. the rate is 3,000baht to 5,000baht. i dont have the expertise to deliver an FR eh, pero the massage and everything that goes with it was really superb!!!

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Guest YUM YUM

JOLO, SULU

 

i have been there time ad again, 99% of people there are moslems. ingatz ang mukhang konyo kasi kahit P10,000.00 lang kikidnapin ka dun! he he he!!! :lol: anywayz, whats good about the place is the food!!! grabe!!! fresh lahat ng fish and it is actually not bought in kilos but in bigkis and in lata-lata!!! grabe!!!

 

they also have a small restaurant, i think its the only decent one in the place, its called the plaza restaurant. the best is the crab omelet, panay crabs sya mixed with fruit cocktail, you can taste the fresh crab meat with the sweetness of the fruitcocktail. they are fond also with chicken barbecue which they call "sate" eaten together with rice na parang suman that is being poured with a spicy soup!

 

and did you know that the joluanos are the number one coffee drinker of the country? well, when you get there, the first thing you will notice are the string of coffee shops along the road. they serve kapeng barako which is very much cheaper than the instant coffee which they consider as the special! backward!!! he he he tapos, when you go inside the coffee shop, a tray full of breads and other kakanins are served to you. dont worry you're not goin to pay for it all, yun lang kakainin mo ang i chacharge sayo! kaso lang, you're goin to notice that some customers are already touching the food!!! hayufff!!! he he he!!! so the best thing to eat are those native stuffs like suman na nakabalot! :lol:

Edited by YUM YUM
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most of my travels before this one have been for work.

 

in the philippines, ive been to cebu, davao, cotabato and the usual luzon areas...

 

tapos internationally, ive lived in bkk and hk for 4 mos apiece, been to indonesia, malaysia and the US... each trip was fun and interesting but also tiring because i had to split it between work and sight seeing. i never had pics taken because at times id be alone...

 

in the future i would like to travel for pleasure. in fact first on my list when i have saved up enough funds is a cooking tour of italy. :)

 

then id like to see venice and spain...

 

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pareng yum, yum, i know the place...don't forget the fr!

 

secrets of zamboanga

 

the best pan de coco in rp - is found here, pero sorry, can't recall the name of the bakery, but everyone zamboangueno knows where it is...within walking distance from plaza pershing and city hall...open nearly 24 hours a day, the pan de coco is always freshly made and hot

 

isla sta cruz minor - is actually a sandbar about 25 ft long and 10 ft wide...sand is pink, blue, beige...the colors are tiny fragments of coral and shells...you are in the middle of the sea...nearby is the isla sta cruz mayor where there is a naval outpost

 

fort pilar - is where the thickest walls made of coral in rp stand out...inside is a museum housing probably the best collection of ethnic wear, ancient boats, tools and equipment, weapons, tribal art, esotherica...

 

lantaka bar - is the best place to have a drink while facing the sea and feeling the breeze...isla sta cruz is but a mere speck from here

 

the market - is where blue marlin and lobster are so cheap, nobody buys tilapia or hasa-hasa, or alumahan...and the wall of yellow latundan greets you as you enter

 

alavar - is where they serve the best curacha together with lato, onions and tomatoes...

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most of my travels before this one have been for work.

 

in the philippines, ive been to cebu, davao, cotabato and the usual luzon areas...

 

tapos internationally, ive lived in bkk and hk for 4 mos apiece, been to indonesia, malaysia and the US... each trip was fun and interesting but also tiring because i had to split it between work and sight seeing. i never had pics taken because at times id be alone...

 

in the future i would like to travel for pleasure. in fact first on my list when i have saved up enough funds is a cooking tour of italy. :)

 

then id like to see venice and spain...

 

hmmm....Italy. Sounds familiar :P

Don't forget to visit Rome to throw coins at the Fountain of Trevi and also Milano to see the grandeur of the third largest church in the world - in pink marblestone at that :)

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Guest YUM YUM
most of my travels before this one have been for work.

 

in the philippines, ive been to cebu, davao, cotabato and the usual luzon areas...

 

tapos internationally, ive lived in bkk and hk for 4 mos apiece, been to indonesia, malaysia and the US... each trip was fun and interesting but also tiring because i had to split it between work and sight seeing. i never had pics taken because at times id be alone...

 

in the future i would like to travel for pleasure. in fact first on my list when i have saved up enough funds is a cooking tour of italy. :)

 

then id like to see venice and spain...

 

sister share mo naman in details your experiences on the countries you've mentioned. im very much interested on the culture, do's and dont's, what to eat and not, what to buy for souvenirs and etc! ang tipid mo naman sa words wala namang bayad!!! he he he :lol:

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Guest YUM YUM
pareng yum, yum, i know the place...don't forget the fr!

ha ha ha! mahina nga ako bro sa FR eh!!! he he he!!! baka malagay itong room natin sa south!!! har har har!!! basta wild!!! he he he

 

and one thing i noticed in thailand parang ang daming magaganda dun noh??? he he he!!!

 

pahtpong - grabe!!! i remember the pussy eating banana and the pussy that actually shoots ping pong balls and opens a bottle of beer!!! har har har :lol:

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Guest bubblegum

I've also been to Japan. One thing I could say is that the cost of living there is more than 7 times compared to our country. Imagine a bottle of mineral water (which usually costs around P15.00 here in our country) costs P110.00.

 

Our plane landed in Osaka then we travelled everyday.. city to city either by Bullet Train or Express Train. From Osaka, went to Yokohama and visited several temples there. Then off to Takayama and witnessed their festival (pagoda floats).

 

If you eat in an authentic Japanese Restaurant, most of their specialties were not cooked (raw fish, lobsters, etc).

 

BTW, I also noticed that most people there doesn't know how to speak in English... so, if you don't know how to speak their language, you will definitely get lost since most of their signs were in Japanese characters.

 

If you wanna buy any electronic gadget.. the place to go to is at Akihabra (in Tokyo). Just bring along your passport so that all your purchases will be tax-free.

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Koh Kood island in Trat Province, Easternmost province of Thailand bordering Cambodia

 

ganda mga islands dito and linaw ang tubig....

 

i've never seen "split" coconut trees that are joined sa roots pero they curve to form parang heart-shape...ganda

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More favorite and unusual places -

 

Willy's Bar and Grill - in Santa Rosa,CA on Old Redwood Highway (just off Hwy 101). Contrary to the name, Willy's does not serve barbeque or grilled cheese sandwiches, Rather, it serves small dished (tapas style) that are very inventive, and very tasty. Along with a great local (Sonoma County) wine list, it's a favorite dinign experience.

 

sunrise in Sedona, Arizona is best viewed from the parking area just outside the airport. You get a view of the red rock hills and the whole city laid out in front of you. Worth getting up an hour before sunrise togo find your spot (it's alwys crowded there!).

 

the Roadkill Cafe on old Route 66 in California just before the Arizona border. Lots of bikers with their Harleys.

 

Bowling Ball Beach off Hwy 1 in northern CA (just south of Fort Bragg) is called that because the beach is covered with almost perfectly round rocks the size of bowling balls. You can only get to the beach at low tide.

 

Avenue of the Giants aka Old Hwy 101 through the redwoods in northern CA. What a sight! BIIIIIG trees, This is where they filmed parts of one of the Star Wars movies - Return of the Jedi, I think.

 

In Baguio - the little restaurant right next to the slaughterhouse serves the BEST pork chops. Fresh, tender and perfectly done. Not red and chewy, not hard and dry. Dip in sukang puti with siling labuyo and garlic. Put Vicks in your nose before you go to help cut the smell a bit. :D

 

Markleeville, CA has a bar where ladies can ge a free drink by giving up their bras to hang from the ceiling. :blink:

 

La Cabana Taqueria #1 on Old Warm Springs Blvd. in Fremont, CA, for burritos al pastor. (No beans, no rice! just the meat and salsa, please!)

 

More tomorrow.......

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CROWS AND CURRY: THE VISA RUN TO PENANG, MALAYSIA

 

 

They are perched on almost every post, ledge, leave and wall in Penang, Malaysia. Black from beak to claw with bead-like eyes that stare back without expression, they sometimes flutter about and emit a toneless squawk that can be construed as a mixture of surprise, suspicion and sensitivity.

 

The crow is more popularly known as a scavenger and an active forager for a good meal rather than as a harbinger of good fortune. But then there’s hardly anyone who detests their presence on this island that lies on the Strait of Malacca, south of Bangkok and northwest of Kuala Lumpur. Least of all, those who travel to Penang for purposes other than to enjoy its historical and other tourist attractions.

 

For foreigners who hold jobs in Thailand but do not possess a work permit that would legalize their employment in the kingdom, the quarterly trip to Penang is a fact of life. These constant travelers include a lot of those working on a contractual or part time basis, like musicians, language instructors and get this, even a piano tuner.

 

This trip is more commonly known as a “visa run” and the objective, to secure from, or renew at, the Thai consulate in Penang a non-immigrant visa. This is just one of many requirements before anyone can even apply for that all-important, thin and passport-sized blue book: the actual work permit.

 

Many were successful during their first foray, while some experienced the hassle of being turned back several times. There are those who have been doing the visa run for several years, with just a few minor hitches encountered along the way. From someone who did it only twice, there’s that sense of apprehension and the fear of being rejected entry right at the border.

 

Stories abound on the creativity and resourcefulness of some individuals who react decisively when faced with the possibility of being sent back to the point of origin. My favorite is that on the lead female vocalist of a top band in the Asian hotel circuit who, when border immigration officials expressed doubt on the profession stated on her passport, broke into an almost too-familiar rendition of a song whose title is the same as that of the movie that touches on the life of a charismatic heavyweight boxer, bringing everyone to their feet and pressuring the hapless officials to allow her entry.

 

Of course, it’s possible to do the visa run somewhere else. Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Hanoi or even Manila are other options but every farang (Thai for foreigner) who does the visa run regularly knows it’s easier, cheaper and faster to do it in this ten-mile wide and twenty-mile long island despite the uncertainties.

 

Then again, the cross-border journey can actually be fun for those doing it for the first time because there’s also a fair amount of adventure to compensate for the boredom that accompanies traveling to Penang by rail from Thailand.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

 

A sleeper leaves Hua Lam Pong train station in Bangkok every Wednesday at 3pm for the town of Butterworth, Malaysia. It’s a 22-hour trip that passes through most of southern Thailand, with few stops along the way. Before noon the next day, every passenger will get off the train just before it enters the Malaysian town of Padang Besar and literally walk to Malaysia once going past the immigration offices of both countries that straddle the border. After the customary passport scrutiny, it’s on to Butterworth for the last leg of the journey.

 

From there, it’s a five-minute ferry to George Town, the capital of Penang. Next up is a walk right up to the queue of black and yellow taxis for the ride to the Thai consulate where the necessary documents are submitted. All applicants are then asked to return the following afternoon for the release of the visa. One then hurries to Butterworth to catch the return train to Bangkok.

 

There are other tranport options. You can take the plane at Don Muang airport in Bangkok for the short flight to Penang, although the fare will be about three times the cost of a train ticket. There’s the road trip by bus and/or van that’s a bit inconvenient because it may include several transfers. Wouldn’t recommend driving by yourself either, especially if you’re used to driving on the wrong side of the road, as the English say.

 

At Padang Besar, immigration authorities could demand that every passenger with an existing tourist or non-immigrant visa show enough cash to justify his/her status. If one is unable to do so, that person can be turned back.

 

 

 

Penang was founded in 1786 by Englishman Francis Light. Soon after, it became one of the most important trading posts in the Far East. Dozens of colonial structures remain standing, with some having mellowed nicely with the times despite the onslaught of dust and pollution. Fact is, Penang was recently included in the World Heritage shortlist.

 

At the very minimum, the visa run takes four days, particularly if one leaves on a Wednesday and plans to be back in Bangkok by Saturday. This means there’s hardly any time left to go around the island to explore the sights. The same is true also for those traveling on a limited budget. Gallivanting time runs from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning.

 

Upon arrival during my first trip, I chanced upon an old but well-preserved relic; a 1972 gas-powered Mercedes Benz 200. I hired it immediately and told the driver to take me to the consulate, wait a little while, and then drop me off at a hotel before picking me up the next day at noon for the trip back to the consulate and the quay. As for the fare – I won’t say so that you’ll be able to practice your bargaining skills!

 

So what’s there to do during an overnight stay in Penang? Not much really. What I did after being given the claim stub for visa was head off right away to one of the local food shops where the smell of curry prevailed. I sampled several curry dishes and had a fill of lassi to cool my tongue. Obviously, the influence of Chinese, Indian and Malay culture has made its mark on Malaysian cuisine, which I will simply describe as something to die for.

 

The liberal use of spices, which I can’t do without now, made me a habitual consumer of sate and anything else that has curry in it during my six-year sojourn in Thailand.

 

Thanks to the visa run, I was able to expedite the process for facilitating the granting of a work permit. I was also able to discover the joy of eating sate pork with peanut sauce, cucumber, honey and chili salad, and rice. At the same time, I discovered that crows do not squawk at night. You can’t even see them.

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Guest ginny

Hanggang Bicol pa lang ang nararating kong malayo eh.. :P Mura ang native bags sa palengke ng Tabaco, Albay.. tipong ang benta rito eh P175.00.. mabibili mo dun ng 3 for P100.00 ;)

 

Yun lang mashe-share ko.. hehehe :P

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Guest YUM YUM
CROWS AND CURRY: THE VISA RUN TO PENANG, MALAYSIA

our team on rowing are goin back to thailand again this september to compete, hanap ako ng mga adventure buddies and consider crossing to penang!!! can you still recall what places can we look forward to and the expenses we're goin to incur if ever! thanks! :)

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