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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pusangkalye in 2014: Travels

It has been a tradition for me to come up with a travel summary each year since

2011: http://www.pusangkalye.net/2012/01/travel-memorable-year-2011-for.html
2013:http://www.pusangkalye.net/2014/01/pusangkalye-in-2013-travels.html

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.


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JAKARTA and YOGYAKARTA
January

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
 terminal 2 to terminal 1

We stayed in a hip hostel in Yogyakarta -- EDU HOSTEL.
http://www.pusangkalye.net/2014/02/edu-hostel-yogyakarta-is-about-comfort.html

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YOGYAKARTA

Prambanan Temple
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!

I got a few feedback from some travel bloggers that they visited Borobudor first before going to Prambanan Temple and they got bored with the latter. I always want to make sure that we save the best for last in our tours so we headed straight Prambanan Temple from Yogjakarta Airport. despite the lack of sleep. Imagine, 4 hours flight from Manila, 6 hours waiting at the airport, 1 hour flight to Yogyakarta, 30 minutes bus to Prambanan and barely 40 minutes of sleep along the way.

Read Full Story >>here

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Burubodor Temple
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
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JAKARTA
We were back in Jakarta after spending two nights in Yogya. The capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta is very similar to Metro Manila in many ways especially the chaos on the streets. I noticed that they have very wide avenues in the city but there is a shortage of flyovers thus traffic conditions also get worse especially during rush hours. Construction for skyscrapers is also obvious everywhere.

How to get to downtown Jakarta from the airport? 



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I didn't research much on this part of the trip because we intended to stay only for a night and that we spent in one of the most famous and celebrated hotel in the city ---HOTEL INDONESIA KEMPINSKI which has a very historical significance to Jakarta and a strategic located, near the financial district and key (high end) shopping district.

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The thing I loooooove about the hotel, other than our cozy room was the poolside and of course the restaurant.

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SIGNATURES RESTAURANT 
at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta
Full review >> here

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We spend hours window shopping at the nearby Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall which I would say is huuuuuge! Tried some dishes there too as they have this food court section they call Food Louver.

We got to wander around a bit at night at the fountain area next to the hotel where locals gather when the fountains are turned off.

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Also visited the famous old district of Batavia which reflects the colonial past of Indonesia under the Dutch.
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We also shopped in Block M which is famous for bargain hunts. Also got the chance to meet a local blogger. That was also our chance to use Transjakarta which is a bus rapid transit Jakarta is well known for.
All Indonesia Related Posts >>here

BOHOL (Panglao)
March
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.

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One this I missed the first time I was here was Island hopping.
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.

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>>>Island Hopping BALICASAG and VIRGIN ISLAND Bohol #BoholSummer2014
Nothing beats a sunny day in the Philippines!
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CAPONES, NAGSASA, ANAWANGIN
April
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.

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#foreversummer 


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#foreversummer 
in CAPONES ISLAND Zambales
>> http://www.pusangkalye.net/2014/05/foreversummer-in-capones-island-zambales.html


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CHINA 
May-June
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.


Shanghai

Early Morning Walk at THE BUND (Wai Tan)
The Bund (Wan Tan) is the most famous attraction and the symbol of Shanghai. Not seeing it is to deny yourself of the Shanghai experience. This is a waterfront area in central Shanghai with the main concentration near Zhongshan Road (East-1 Zhongshan Road). It runs on the west bank of Huangpu River.Bund means embankment or embanked quay.

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
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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. ^^

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SHOP AT EAST NANJING ROAD 
or HONG KONG SHOPPING CENTER

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

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YUYUAN MARKET + Yu Garden Shanghai
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

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#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.
READ FULL ARTICLE >>>here
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GUYI GARRDEN 古猗园 Nanxiang: One of the 5 Most Important Classical Gardens of 
Shanghai
Other than the Most Authentic XIAOLONGBAO (小笼包) Experience, there is another reason why you should go to Nanxiang which is a suburb of Shanghai. Naxiang is a town in Jiading District and is around 21 kilometers away from downtown.

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.
READ FULL ARTICLE >>>here
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Marvel at the Skyscrapers of #Lujiazui Pudong 
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.

Currently, the title for the tallest building in Shanghai is Shanghai Tower which has already surpassed Shanghai World Financial Center and is expected to open in 2015.
READ FULL ARTICLE >>>here
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Here's all that I wrote about Shanghai
>>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

Nanjing

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.

The attractions that you should not miss are:

NANJING MING CITY WALL 
and Xuanwu Lake
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.
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THE MING TOMBS: 
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum 明孝陵 at Zhong Mountain Scenic Area Nanjing

The Ming Tomb is a site of world cultural heritage, and the Scenic Spot of the Ming Tomb is an important part of the Scenic Area of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum. Located at the foot of Wanzhu Peak of Dulong Mound on the southern slope of Zhongshan Mountain, the Ming Tomb is the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang,the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and his wife Mrs. Ma. The Ming Tomb in the Ming Dynasty covered a vast piece of land, with the circumference of its enclosure being 22.5 kilometers, approximately 2/3 of the total length of the city wall of Nanjing at that time. Source
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at Zhong Mountain Scenic Area Nanjing

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.
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at Zhong Mountain Scenic Area Nanjing

As an important part of the Scenic Area of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, the Scenic Spot of Linggu Temple has many places of interests, including Kaishan Temple (an ancient temple of the Six Dynasties), the tomb tower of Bao Zhi (a famous monk in the Liang Dynasty), Wangong Pond (built in the Ming Dynasty) , the largest beamless hall existing in China, Linggu Tower (built in the period of the Republic of China) , and the tombs of celebrities in the period of the Republic of China, such as Tan Yankai and Deng Yanda.
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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.
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FUZIMIAO:
Nanjing Confucius Temple Complex
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.
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All Nanjing posts here:

-Mingwalang Food Street #Nanjing

Beijing
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.

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PUERTO PRINCESA Palawan
June

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.

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PUERTO PRINCESA 
Palawan
November
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.

YOU MIGHT ALSO WANNA READ:


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And with my blog 2014 ending with 3.3 Million hits, it was still a blessed year.
On a personal note,
DEAR 2014, 
you have been bitchy to me I know but I thank you for the wisdom that goes with the experience. In a short span of time starting March 1, I have felt more emotions than what I experienced in the past 5 years. I have hit rock bottom but I am still alive. More so, with my heart still healthy and my soul perfectly in tact. Only a few have known my battles. I kept it to myself. It is not about faking it but because that's just how life is, if you make a mistake, man up and deal with it. It is amazing that in my loneliness, in my solitude, I picked many important life lessons. This learning is still work in progress but I am looking forward to next year 2015 with a lot of optimism. Life is  still beautiful and exciting. Thank you to all those people who have been part of my life this 2014 --old faces, new friends, even mere acquaintances, you all made my life more colorful. Cheers to the new friendships forged, new relationships that gives hope to the fearful heart....

So to you 2015, if you are gonna be bitchy to me too, bring it on!!!!


___________________________
Posted by Pusangkalye
31 December 2014
Binangonan Rizal Philippines


3 comments:

  1. happy new year sa inyo :D

    Oks lang kung hindi uber oks ang 2014, isipins mo na lungs sulits mo ang byahe-byahe mo kasi mahaba-haba ang araws ng pagbisita mo sa ibang bansa. :D

    Hope ay more travel sa iyo for 2015 :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pucha anhaba naman nito... teka nga masabihan ko nga si 2015 na maging super 8ITCHY sayo hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  3. More Beijing posts, please! :) My friends and I are visiting Shanghai & Beijing this June. Excited!

    ReplyDelete

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