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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FUZIMIAO: Nanjing Confucius Temple Complex

Before going to Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum and Ming Tombs which are the main reasons why we went to Nanjing, we dropped by Fuzi Miao Complex ( Confucian Temple Area) first since it is only a few blocks away from our place Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel.

Nanjing Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao)
The Confucius Temple in Nanjing was originally constructed in the year of 1034 in the Song Dynasty. It was a place to worship and consecrate Confucius, the great philosopher and educator of ancient China. It is also known as Fuzimiao in Chinese.
Nanjing Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao)


Many old cities in China had city walls but only a handful of them survived time due to both natural and man-made reasons. Even Beijing's city walls didn't get spared. Thanks to China's Communist Governments disregard for cultural heritage.

Nanjing on the other hand prides itself from still having its city walls intact. While many sections also got ruined, the walls are restored to its former glory.
 Xuanwu Gate of Nanjing's Ming City Wall

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NANJING MASSACRE WAR MEMORIAL : For the 300,000 who perished in WWII

People ask me, "Why Nanjing?". The place is unheard of for many Filipinos primarily because there are no direct flights here from the Philippines. I say, why not? Nanjing holds a lot of history being considered as the Southern Capital of China. Nanjing, Beijing. Rings a bell? Beijing means Northern Capital, Nanjing means Southern Capital. That gave sense to our decision to visit the city.

Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture having been the capital of China for several period including before World War II swept Asia Pacific. It was therefore the seat of government when the Japanese invaded China. Having said that, Nanjing suffered the brunt of Japanese brutality.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

WHAT TO EAT IN NANJING: Steamed Vegetable Ball, Fried Chinese Bolt, Deep Fried Candy Style Dumpling

Remember those old Chinese Kung Fu movies where the protagonist enter a traditional restaurant and all the staff seem to move hastily just to find a table for him then everybody cheers to welcome the guest only to be attacked by the antagonist right after his/her tea is served? Less the gang fight, that was exactly the scene at the restaurant we first went to in Nanjing China which is just across the bridge from our hostel.

Inside a restaurant in Nanjing China

The place was suggested to us by the hostel staff when I asked of a good place to have lunch. True enough, it is a good place with nice interior that is very Chinese. Pardon me though if I don't know the name of the place in English because I cannot find any translation anywhere in the shop or at the menu. Good thing their food offerings have English descriptions so we were not pointing randomly at the food hoping they are pleasant enough for our palate.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#NANJING: Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel

Regardless of what time we arrive at our destination, my wife and I have the habit of going straight to our acccommodation sonas to rest and recharge and we ready for the day ahead. We arrived at Nanjing train station at around 3:30am so public buses or subway were out of the options to get to the city.

READ: Midnight Train from SHANGHAI-NANJING China and yes, the train officer screamed at us!

Nanjing Train station felt like completely different from the one in Shanghai. Here, you can see people scattered on the floors at the station lobby with their stuff scattered around them. It gives a provincial feel to the place where people are free to do what they want. We were also surprised that other than official taxi service there arr many agents inside the station who will offer ride to the city at pre-arranged value. A lady immediately approached us and offered RMB 100 to our destination. I thought that's too expensive so I bargained for 90 Yuan. Tumawad pa talaga ako.
Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel Nanjing City China

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Midnight Train from SHANGHAI-NANJING China and yes, the train officer screamed at us!

"The customer is always right" , drop that notion if you are in China. Don't expect customer service here to be the mantra especially in government owned companies like China Railways. Our experience during our midnight trip from Shanghai to Nanjing reinforced this notion when the one in charged of the couch we were at screamed at us because we almost missed our station.

More on that later.^^
Shanghai Railway Station

Monday, September 15, 2014

NUAT THAI BANAWE: Full Body Scrub + Aromatheraphy Massage Pampering

Space, it's one important element that many business establishments fail to look closely at specially among spas and massage centers. It is essential because space translates to comfort --both physical and psychological. In a spa for example, ample space means more room to breath.

That on top of good service and location is something about Nuat Thai Banawe where I tried the following services two weeks ago.

1. Full body scrub 
2. Aromatheraphy massage
3. Foot reflexology

Nuat Thai Banawe 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PH Hotels Ready for Global Market

I am giving way for another press release again, which I don't normally do, because I share the Philippine's tourism goals and efforts. Basta sa ikakaunlad ng turismo sa bansa full support tayo dyan. That is one of the reason after all why I am blogging travel. Cheers to all the efforts of DOT and all people involved. In context, DOT Sec. Jimenez said, "tourism should be everybody's business". Tama!

The Email:

Hi Anton,
Hope this finds you well. My name is Lynda and I’m from OCI Group, a marketing communications company and we are currently working with the Department of Tourism for the Philippines Improving Competitiveness project. As a background, the project was signed in agreement in April 2013 by the Department of Tourism, the Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Canada to increase employment in the tourism sector, which is critical in achieving inclusive growth.

The Philippine government has identified that the shortage of skilled labor and quality of service standards affects the international competitiveness of the tourism sector. In line with the country’s National Tourism Development Plan, which aims to bring in 10 million international visitors and 56 million domestic travellers by 2016, the demand for skilled labor in the tourism sector will continue to rise with new hotel developments requiring skilled labor.

Under the project, four pilot priority tourism destinations were identified — Bohol, Cebu, Davao and Palawan. The project is set to run for 38 months, and is expected to be completed in 2016. Part of the focus of the project is on the Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation System.

In light of this, we would like to share with you the recent article that gives an update on this particular output. According to the initial findings of a team of International Accommodation Assessors (IAAs) who joined the Department of Tourism (DOT) in conducting a national review of accommodation standards in July, Philippine hotels and resorts in key island destinations are ready to compete in the global marketplace.

Hotel in Bohol Philippines


It was June, the onset of rainy season in the Philippines which also marks the starts of lean season for both international and domestic tourists. For those who who still seek a quick fix away from the Metro as I did, flying to popular tourists spots like Puerto Princesa is more about convenience rather than the attraction. These places have better tourism infrastructure in place so you don't have to worry so much should the weather really gets rough.

Yes, it was June and while in Puerto Princesa, I heard of this Festival they call BARAGATAN.

So I though, okay, why have a festival during this time of the year when people would prefer staying home than flying here? What the hell is Baragatan Festival?

Baragatan Festival Puerto Princesa City

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuyo Flakes, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake and Tiramisu Coffee at HEAVENLY DESSERTS By Dorothy

Another good restaurant find in Puerto Princesa City Palawan via Tripadvisor, this time, one famous for deserts ---Heavenly Desserts by Dorothy.

This was a break from my Art Cafe exploits in the city.
>>GYPSY'S LAIR ART CAFE Puerto Princesa: #PinThai (Pinoy Pad Thai) and Green Curry.
>>BANWA ART CAFE: the Best Eggplant Salad, the Creamiest Viggie Omelet and more!

And when I got here I remember we have tried the place before except that I failed to write about it so here goes my short review.
Tuyo Flakes at HEAVENLY DESSERTS By Dorothy

The place is fairly small so expect minimalist interior. I thought it lacks character though to the point that the interior is boring and doesn't keep up with the popularity of the place and quality of food they offer.

Operating Hours: Mon - Sun: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Specialties: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Coffee
Payment Options: Cash Only

Heavenly Desserts by Dorothy is famous for their, you guessed it, desserts. hahaha. Specifically, they are known for their grilled pasta, pizza, and cakes. 

They serve meals too. I was surprised to see Korean honey wings on their menu along with their bestsellers Country Style Pork Chop, Thai Grilled Chicken, Lechon Kawali, Thai Red Curry, Grilled Porkchop among others. They have combo meals narin.

So this place is not just about desserts after all.

But I was here in the afternoon so I was not in the mood for a heavy meal. I ordered pasta instead, a slice of cake and iced coffee.

Flaked salted dried fish sauteed in olive oil, garlic, capers and black olives.

I find tuyo flakes a welcome deviation from the usual pasta. Very local recipe with a taste that could rival other pasta offerings. Right kick of salty taste brought about by flakes of tuyo with the pasta perfectly cooked. Also giving it an A for plating. Noticed that the serving is a bit small though.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BANWA ART CAFE: the Best Eggplant Salad, the Creamiest Viggie Omelet and more!

From one art cafe to another. Looked like my latest trip in Puerto Princesa was bound to be a gastronomic discovery and at the same time an appreciation for the arts.

Sure, I have already wrote a detailed blog on BANWA PENSION HOUSE Puerto Princesa and the place is really homey you wouldn't feel like leaving. But another reason why I really like this place is because of the food.

BANWA ART CAFE --at Banwa Pension House definitely deserves a separate post.

Mango pancake at Banwa Art Cafe

I stayed at Banwa Pension House for two nights. I came too early on the 1st day (for check-in) so I decided to eat breakfast somewhere. Read: GYPSY'S LAIR ART CAFE Puerto Princesa: #PinThai (Pinoy Pad Thai) and Green Curry. I remember telling the lady at the front desk I will just return in time for check in because there is this restaurant I want to try. Noticed a slight change in her facial expression. On my return, I stayed at the Cafe for a few minutes while they were fixing my ed. That was when I noticed the menu on the big green board. Sa menu palang nanakam nako. I thought I wanna try a lot of those listed there. Learned later on that Banwa Art Cafe is famous for its food. Kaya pala. That explains the lady's facial expression earlier that day. Perhaps she was wondering why I had to go somewhere else when there is a lot to try here. ^^

MY FAVORITES: (Must-try's)

Spaghetti-mango Eggplant Pasta -150php
I had this for dinner and I was very satisfied. I never imagined eggplant to compliment a creamy pasta this good. And the mango was a good compliment.

Mango pancake - 130php
This is one large pancake. If you include it as an addition to your meal then you might have difficulty finishing it as I did. Nakakabusok subra. Ang laki kasi.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

GYPSY'S LAIR ART CAFE Puerto Princesa: #PinThai (Pinoy Pad Thai) and Green Curry

So the original plan of flying to Puerto Princesa as a set-off point for Port Barton and San Vicente ended with me not going to my main destination and just stay in the city. It was a last-minute decision while on board my AirAsiaPh flight that day because I realized I have only the weekend plus Monday to explore the central wilderness of Palawan and I was worried I might miss my flight back to Manila.
Green Curry at GYPSY'S LAIR Puerto Princesa

Turns out that transportation to San Vicente Palawan (with the longest beach in the Philippines) is quite a challenge. Port Barton, the town where I reserved a room has only one bus trip from Puerto Princesa. How is that? The tour guide who I talked to said it is easier to go to El Nido than Port Barton when in fact the latter is in between PPS and el Nido. Geographically at least, but not in access.

And so I was taken aback, what to do in Puerto Princesa? I have been there couple of time and I felt that the city doesn't have something new of significance to enjoy.

Gladly, I booked in a nice Pension House they call Banwa. The place itself is nice I could just stick around just sipping beer and drinking my blues away the whole weekend at their Cafe.

The place inspired me to discover new places in PPS especially restaurants and Tripadvisor was also there to help me out.One the top searches was Gypsy's Lair so I thought of checking it out.

BANWA PENSION HOUSE Puerto Princesa: a place where you wouldn't feel like leaving

this from their website:

Banwa Art House was destroyed by a fire on the 7th October 2014.
As a consequence we are unable to accommodate any backpackers.
If you had pre-booked, please contact banwa.fireupdate@banwa.com

I wouldn't say I am picky with accommodations but I still prefer a soft bed at the end of the day. Also, always think of the possible scenario of being stuck due to bad weather and other unavoidable circumstances and it is better to get stuck in a place where you wouldn't attempt to kill yourself out of boredom.

It would be great if you chose an accommodation close to the sights you want to see. I recently read an article that I found in Lamudi, and it talked about living close to landmarks. (Here is what I read.) I was quite taken by the idea, and back in Puerto Princesa Palawan, I finally found a place where I could stay and not ever think of going somewhere else.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Be MAD FOR PIZZA! Topings All You Want. #MadforPizzaPh

People love pizza and even associate it as their comfort food. I mean, who doesn't love pizza? I have never met anyone who hates pizza. The perfect combination of your favourite cheese, meats, tomato sauce and the chewy crust was one of the greatest discovery in food history.

I’ve discovered tons of new pizzerias in the metro and was luckily invited to have a taste of what’s Mad for Pizza has to offer. Just hearing the name made me excited!

Find Them on Social Media:
Facebook: facebook.com/MadForPizzaPh
Instagram: instagram.com/MadForPizza
Twitter: twitter.com/MadForPizza

Topings All You Want
With nothing to worry about the pizza flavour you’d be having, may it be a sudden craving for seafood, meat, or just cheese, or catching up with your friends over lunch, or you have just decided that today is simply a pizza party, fighting over the menu won’t be your problem anymore because you can now make your own pizza.

From choosing your own dough, sauce, cheese and unlimited toppings! With a price of PHP280 per person, your toppings-all-you-want pizza is super worth it.


Too hyped to put everything, we've carefully chosen toppings that go along with each other. Undecided, you can always ask them if the ingredients you've been dying to try is suitable with your usual pizza topping in mind. Kuya, in our case gladly advised us what’s best for our DIY pizza.
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