Working in a Research Institute is a blessing because I can go to places within the Philippines, most of which are in Mindanao, for free. I hope to feature Mindanao the way it is seldom featured by the press--happy, peaceful, and developing.
Moreover, thanks to Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, I am able to travel to some parts of the ASEAN for about 1/8 the cost.
I hope to visit more places, so that I'd be able to fill-in the blank spaces on the map, meet new people, experience a culture, and learn things I've not learned before.
May 1st 2011
Jimenez is an old, rustic town in the Province of Misamis Occidental in Mindanao Island, the Philippines. It is home to an old Spanish Catholic church and a number of elegant old wooden ancestral homes. It is a 4th municipality with a population of 24,326 as of the census year 2007. The town is about 15-20 minutes from Ozamiz City, where the main sea-port and airport are located. The main mode of transportation to Jimenez is by a public bus, van, or a jeepney. Old ancestral homes Upon arrival, any first-time visitor will certainly notice the old wooden ancestral homes that still dot the town. Many of these great houses are well-maintained although a good number needed some urgent rehabilitation. One thing that differentiates the ancestral homes of Jimenez from other places in the Philippines is ... read more
August 26th 2010
Ho Chi Minh is more popularly known as Saigon in the Philippines. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have flights from Manila to Saigon on a daily basis. If there is anything that impress me most about HCM is that their tourism is highly developed. Knock-off clothes and bags are readily available in HCM. However, be careful with people offering you cyclo rides. More often than not these people are out to fleece you off your precious dollar. They will offer you a ride for a price of VN40,000 but as soon as the "tour" is over and it is payment time, they will change the price to VN40,000,000. Yes, that is right! 40 million Vietnamese Dong! ... read more
April 16th 2010
I have always heard of Tagaytay from my friends in Manila. From their stories, I imagined that the place must have a climate similar to Baguio, the so-called summer capital of the Philippines. Though I have been invited by my friends to visit Tagaytay, for one reason or another, I was not able visit the place. Then, finally, on 15-16 April 2010, an opportunity presented itself. After spending four gruelling days in Manila, I was able to adjust my travel itenerary and had a sidetrip to Tagataytay. Crowded Bus, Plying Heavy Traffic I checked-out from Orchid Garden Suites along Vito Cruz (where I stayed in the last few days) at about 7:30 in the evening. I was suppose to check-out earlier but was delayed because I have to wait for a friend to get the Krispy ... read more
April 6th 2009
After so much consternation over where to have our Team Building, Cagayan de Oro was finally voted 11/10 against Bethany Garden in Ozamiz City. Cagayan de Oro is about four hours away, to the east of Ozamiz (For those from Manila, it is 1 hour 15 minutes by plane). Cagayan de Oro is known for its White Water adventure (and also for the canopy walk in Malasag). For our team building, we hired a white water rafting company, The Red Rafts, to handle our white water rafting adventure. We were told over the phone that for Php900.00 per pax, the package will include snacks, lunch, transportation to and from the site. On the day of the adventure however, we were only given the lunch, although it was a sumptuous one. For starters like us, who never ... read more
April 2nd 2008
Arrival We arrived in the capital of Laos, Vientiane, after over 28 hours of land trip from Hanoi--a trip which was supposed to be just about 20 hours. When the driver of the bus cum sumuggling vehicle announced that we've reached the center of the city, we, the three Filipinos unboarded, and the seven caucasians followed suit. As soon as we unboarded the bus, a Tuktuk was there waiting ready to take us to Thong Bay for Kip20,000.00 each. It maybe overprices but all we want was a bed to lie on and so we gave it a go. It seems to be a long way to Thong Bay. And when we finally arrived, it looks as though we were passing a dark alley. The white falangs were trying to scare us saying "ohhhhh its a ... read more
March 24th 2008
In my previous post I said that we will be travelling from Hanoi to Vientiane on the 22nd of March 2008. We were picked up at the Hotel as promised at about 4:30 in the afternoon by a motorbike and were dropped-off in a corner somewhere in the middle of the city near Elizabeth Travel and Tours. About 5 minutes after we arrived, a foreigner was also dropped-off, followed by seven more. All-in-all there were 10 of us. About 30 minutes after we were dropped-off, we were picked again this time with a taxi and dropped in another corner near the new building of the Vietcom Bank. It took another two hours before the bus arrived. It was a big bus, way bigger than the 10 passengers. The bus just picked the 10 of us, and ... read more
March 19th 2008
A few hours back I wrote that Vietnamese are a friendly people. I still believe they are. I also said that although the Vietnamese appear to be friendly, one must not take for granted the safety of his/her person and property. It seems though that I was not reading what I have written. I got ripped-off by half-a million dong (thats VND500,000.00) by one enterprising Vietnamese Lady. I went by myself around Hanoi just to have a feel of the City. When I arrived near a monument (near a man-made lake) a Vietnamese lady offered to take a photograph of me balancing her baskets on my shoulder. Another one put on a typical Vietnamese hat on me. After taking my picture, they demanded that I pay them VN50,000.00. That's too much for a photograph of course, ... read more
March 19th 2008
Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi Today we arrived in Hanoi from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We left KL at about 6:30 in the morning and arrived in Hanoi at about 9:30, about three-hours' flight time. Upon arrival, we noticed that people were filling-in a sort of a form. There was no one distributing the form and asking an airport police did not help because he does not know a single English word. Eventually, we managed to find the form and helped ourselves. We were cleared from the immigration in no time and we headed to the Tourist Information Office who did furnish as a copy of tourism brochure which, was of little help. We have to change at least US$100.00 to Vietnamese Dong and ended up becoming millionaires. I managed to have VNDONG1,555,000.00 for US100.00. From Hanoi Airport ... read more
March 17th 2007
I hailed from a place where there are only a few structures made of concrete (and not one made of stone). Visiting the Angkor complex with its countless stone structures constructed at a time when the Filipinos were still "up in the trees" was therefore jaw-dropping for me. The experience also proved incorrect many of my ideas about the Angkor Wat. The trip to the Angkor complex was an extension of my second ASEAN trip. We started our trip from the former US Military Base in the Philippines, Clark Air Base, which is about 60 kilometers northwest of Manila, the capital city. The trip would not have been possible if it were not for Air Asia, Asia's budget airline based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Up in the air, Siem Reap, the town where the Angkor complex ... read more
March 13th 2007
PROLOGUE While still on the way from Kuching our party was already planning for our next trip. Dr. Burton wanted us to go to Manado in Indonesia. But I have learned enough from our trip to Kuching. I want my next trip to be planned down to the last detail. While searching for affordable means of transportation within Asia, I stumbled upon the Air Asia Website. At that time they had a promo for MLA-KL. When I computed the round-trip ticket, it only cost a little over Php4,000.00 so I grabbed the opportunity and availed of the promo. Dr. Talaroc and Melvin also availed of the promo but Dr. Burton did not due to some reasons. Melvin was not able to come with us in the actual trip, however, because he was not allowed by his ... read more