2014 though saw a moderation of my travels due to personal and domestic troubles which had an impact on my time and finances thereby limiting my ability to go mobile---with on two domestic destinations and two international. Thinking about it though, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Bohol and twice in Puerto Princesa, it was not a bad year for my personal travel after all. I still had a lot to be thankful for in 2014.
We started the year right. International ang unang byahe. And it was Indonesia's turn this time, one of the few countries in Southeast Asia we haven't visited. Actually, we were not so excited about Jakarta but the idea of flying to Yogyakarta from there tickled m,y imagine. To see one of the greatest temples in the region (Borobudur) has always been in my wish list.
We flew from Manila to Jakarte first, then immediately to Yogyakarta then back to Jakarta for a night.
Read: Free Shuttle from SOEKARNO HATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
We stayed in a hip hostel in Yogyakarta -- EDU HOSTEL.
Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is probably the most famous Hindu Temple in all of Indonesia. The place is old. And when I say old, I mean construction dating back 9th or 10th century. This temple is hundreds of years older than Angkor Wat. Wow. Just wow!
A temple or a shrine? Well, both refer to places of holy worship and could be synanymous but there is a nuance between the two. A temple could be a shrine but a shrine is not necessarily a temple.To make the explaination short, a temple has an inner house where worshippers can gather to venerate their god (s). According to our guide, Borobudur is more of a shrine than a temple since it has no inner house or enclosed space which qualifies it for a temple. Makes sense?
This you cannot easily find in books but one that you can discover when you hire a guide when you visit Borobudur Temple.Read Full Story >>here
--Postcard Perfect PRAMBANAN TEMPLE in Yogyakarta
--#PRAMBANAN2014: Free Museum, Souvenirs, Nasi Gudeg and the Notorious Becak Ride
--WHAT TO DO IN YOGYAKARTA: Ride a #Becak
--Borobudur Golden Sunrise Tour
--#BOROBUDUR: A Temple or a Shrine?
The thing I loooooove about the hotel, other than our cozy room was the poolside and of course the restaurant.
All Jakarta related posts here:
--HOTEL INDONESIA Kempinski Jakarta
--Jakarta International Airport to KOTA STATION Central Jakarta by bus
--LITTLE YOKUZUNA at Food Louver Grand Indonesia
TRANSJAKARTA Bus Rapid Transit to BLOCK M for a little Shopping + meetup w/ Acen, a local Blogger friend
Then came the domestic tour. Last time I was in Bohol was in 2009. At that time, we visited key interests in both the mainland and Panglao Island. This 2014, we stayed only for three days so we were in Panglao and Tagbilaran most of the time.
We stayed in Ocean Suites Tagbilaran. You will not find a hotel in Bohol this affordable offering an unbeatable view.
Panglao Island Bohol is famous for its beaches and dive spots and one should not forget to include island hopping in your to-do list.
One of my favorite nearby destinations. Kung pwede taon-taon pupunta ako dito. I will never grow tired of this place which I love because it's not too far from Manila and with a budget of 2,000 php, you are already in for an awesome weekend.
in ANAWANGIN COVE Zambales
in CAPONES ISLAND Zambales
Then goes the bold move to go beyond SouthEast Asia. First time to apply for a visa as well and good thing we were easily approved. We spend a total of 9 days in China across three (3) cities --Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing and I can finally say I am in love with China. The country is amazing. Ordinary people are nice, its cities are exploding with wealth, there's a lot of culture and the food is also nice. And we only got a taste of what this amazing country could offer. Ito yung bansang gusto kong balik-balikan.
Being here is to lay witness to the Shanghai of old and new. And you can't help but marvel. Welcome to the financial capital of China!
READ FULL ARTICLE >>here
Fall in Love with The Bund at Night
Day in and day out, you will be mesmerized by the charm of the Bund and the view of colonial buildings on one side the skyscrapers of Lujiazui across the river. Early in the morning, there are only a few people so you can enjoy walking through the stretch of it without the feel to compete for space. At night, all the building light up for avery romantic setting but be ready to literally rub elbows with people as the crowd could get very thick. Either way, the Bund still is a place to love. ^^
We started Fresh at East Nanjing Road where we took the subway to People's Park.
Nanjing Road is the first commercial road in Shanghai. It is always full of people who either shop at some of the trendiest and expensive stores or those who simply people watch and have their photos taken. It is perhaps the most famous street in Shanghai. For hip fashion items at a cheaper price, head to Hong Kong Shopping Center near People's Park.
READ FULL ARTICLE >>>here
Yuyuan Market, otherwise known as Yuyuan Bazaar is a busy marketplace set in an old Chinese neighborhood with traditional architecture and shops selling all sort of items from handicraft to jewelries to clothing and accessories to souvenir items and local snacks. If you want to shop in a classic Chinese setting then Yuyuan Market is the place to go. It is a very touristy place (and we are tourists so we were here) but many who go here are local tourists so you still get that authentic Chinese feel.
READ FULL ARTICLE >>>here
#Qibao OLD TOWN Shanghai: A Good Alternative to Zhujiajiao Water Village
One can easily remember Shanghai for its modern and towering skyscraper indicating its economic rise to power as well as the International Settlement giving it a European city feel but we should not also forget that this is an old Chinese city before all the modern additions were introduced.
For those who would like to be transported back in time and get a sense of how it feels like living during the period of Chinese dynasties, you can try to visit the old towns of Zhujiajiao or Qibao.
Guyi Garden is a classical Chinese garden designed in the typical style of a Jaingnan classical garden. Guyi Garden is considered as one of the five most important classical gardens of Shanghai.
The skyscrapers of Lujiazui Pudong are overwhelming. Some of the best I have seen---modern, towering, iconic. The Jin Mao Tower, which until 2007 was the tallest building in the PRC. Then came Shanghai World Financial Center used to be the tallest building in China, and contains the highest observation deck in the world.
>>CHINA VISA REQUIREMENTS for Filipino Tourists First Timers
>>SHANGHAI PUDONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT to Downtown by taxi
>>Exchanging US Dollars to CHINESE YUAN (Renminbi) + Using your BPI International ATM in China
>>CAPTAIN YOUTH HOSTEL Shanghai: A Pretty Decent Place that Lacks Warmth
>> Early Morning Walk at THE BUND (Wai Tan) + Shanghai's Skyscrapers in Technicolor at Night
>> Aimless Wandering in Shanghai in Search of HONG KONG SHOPPING CENTER
>> SHANGHAI METRO DAY PASS: Maximize your tour around Shanghai without ripping off your wallet
>> YUYUAN MARKET + Yu Garden Shanghai At Night
>> #Qibao OLD TOWN Shanghai: A Good Alternative to Zhujiajiao Water Village
>> The Most Authentic XIAOLONGBAO (小笼包) Originated in #Nanxiang Shanghai
>> GUYI GARRDEN 古猗园 Nanxiang: One of the 5 Most Important Classical Gardens of Shanghai
>> Marveling at the Skyscrapers of #Lujiazui Pudong + dinner at WishDoing Restaurant
Ah, the capital of China on several periods of Chinese history until recently before WWII and before the communist revolution. Nanjing actually means South Capital as opposed to Beijing which means North Capital.
BNanjing therefore holds a lot of contemporary history to including the notorious Nanking Massacre by japanese forces in World War II. Not to mention the heritage of this city. Nanjing was our favorite among the three cities we visited. yes, not even Beijing matched it in our experience.
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.
Only a handful personalities are respected on both sides of Taiwan Straight, the most popular of which is Sun Yat Sen, the Father of Modern China. He is also considered the father of democratic China being the forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution which eventually led to the fall of Qing Dynasty, the last dynasty of China.
This also meant the end of 2,000 years of feudal system in the country. Born in Guandong and died in Beijing in 1925, his remains were transferred to Nanjing in 1929 where he was buried. A majestic mausoleum was erected in his honor at Zhong Mountain Scenic Area.
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: Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel
-WHAT TO EAT IN NANJING: Steamed Vegetable Ball, Fried Chinese Bolt, Deep Fried Candy Style Dumpling.
-NANJING MASSACRE WAR MEMORIAL : For the 300,000 who perished
-FUZIMIAO: Nanjing Confucius Temple Complex
-NANJING MING CITY WALL and Xuanwu Lake
-LINGGU TEMPLE 灵谷寺 at Zhong Mountain Scenic Area Nanjing
The last leg of our 9-day China trip. Finally got to see The Great Wall of China and ate the famous Peking duck.And Panda too! Beijing pale in comparison with Shanghai as it is not a city of skysrapers but it is livable city. I like Beijing, it is an economic dynamo and at the same time it holds a lot of history. A lot of open spaces too which makes it a breathable place.
I am yet to write about my Beijing Series so I have nothing to link and I don't wanna spoil the "element of surprise" so I am just posting a few pics here so as to give you an idea and will continuously update this post as each entries are published.
PUERTO PRINCESA Palawan
Nth time in PPS and I was supposed to just pass by on the way to San Vicente Palawa coz I wanted to see the longest beach in the Philippines. But I chickened out because I was off for only three days and I learned that bus schedule to and from Port Barton and even San Vicente itself is very sketchy and as rare as rain is during El Nino.
I stayed in PPS for three days instead. i thought I am gonna die of boredom but I figured out there is a lot to discover in the city than meets the eye. I got to explore interesting restaurants including Gypsy's Lair and Banwa Cafe. I also fell in love with the place where I stayed ---Banwa Pension House ---which unfortunately was destroyed by a fire on the 7th October 2014. The photos below are my tribute to this place very close to my heart.
Just when I thought I have had enough of PPS for this year, an invitation came. And when I checked that it was from Palo Alto I immediately gave in. Who can resist two nights in a place like Palo Alto? More than that, we got to tour the Underground River again. I know, personally, nasusuya nako sa underground river, but I was still very excited because there was a twist to the tour. Instead of the usual lunch at Sabang, we were taken to a private beach. We had lunch set up only for ourselves and the beach at our disposal. Really was a memorable one.
On a personal note,
31 December 2014
Binangonan Rizal Philippines