Tag Archive | "tour"

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Black Eyed Peas: The Beginning Tour 2011

Posted on 24 October 2011 by Dreidel Regala

The funky quartet is on the last few stops for their 2011 tour. So if you happen to be in Asia, head on to their only stop in Manila on October 25 (tomorrow already!) at the SM MOA grounds.

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Cyber Traveling

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Dreidel Regala

How glorious it is to be able to travel afar inside the confines of my four-cornered room. Yes, I don’t have weeks to go off or resources to venture out but it has been wonderful that I can see what others see, laugh at what others laugh at, or taste what others ate with me just sitting in front of a square LCD screen. Depressing it may sound but I tell you it’s not all that. For someone like me who is limited by my corporate job, I have to minimize vacation times. Spread it out over the calendar. And find my way to destinations I eagerly desire.

So when my feet are held aback… oh no, I do not despair on what I maybe missing out for everyday I find myself traveling with the author of what I’m reading online. One day it’s about Beijing, last time went on India, yesterday Indonesia, and then last week Tawi-Tawi. It’s fantastic what everyone’s doing and even more what they’re writing. You find out new stuff that once upon a time never crossed your mind. Travel is not just about luxury, not even for pleasure only. It enlightens and inspires us to do greater things like those who volunteer or like those who brave the world and break out of their comfort zones.

I was born in the city and raised in the city. I spent my whole life in the city and thought that was all there is. But when you discover new things, even those outside of your own capacity, you suddenly realize there is beauty out there to see.

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Is Taiwan a Go?

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Dreidel Regala

As I impulsively booked a round trip ticket for my early 2012 destination, I was quickly drawn to Taiwan. I remember a friend recently mentioned about it being mostly an affordable destination so the name is so fresh in my head that I quickly hit the book button without any further plans in mind. I know of Taipei 101 but that was it. And since I’m doing it alone, I have to make it extra interesting (or try). Check out the tourist spots, take the local commute, meet some locals, figure how to communicate and get lost. So is Taiwan really worth a stopover? Let’s find out.

Formerly known as Formosa, the island is found on the east of Asia somewhere between Shanghai, China – Batanes, Philippines – Hong Kong. Upon searching for budget flights I found a couple: AirAsia from Kota Kinabalu & Kuala Lumpur, Cebu Pacific & Philippine Airlines from Manila, Zest Airways from Kalibo(PHL), Dragonair from Hong Kong, Jetstar from Osaka & Singapore, and Tiger from Singapore. Great! Finding a budget line is a good plus already. Now let’s see visas. As per TECO’s website, entry to Taiwan as a tourist requires a visa but you must be aware that some countries are exempted (30 or 90 days) like most European countries, Canada, S. Korea, Malaysia, US and many more. Better check this website for further details so you can start getting your visa requirements too.

What about weather? Well I found that Taiwan’s got 4 seasons – spring happens March to May, summer on June to August, autumn from September to November and winter during December to February with typhoons coming between summer and autumn. This should be perfect since I’m set for late February so it will be nice to experience winter a little for someone coming from a tropical country.

Taipei streets during winter

For sights these are the ones I particularly grew interest in then included some that might interest others, check them out. The National Palace Museum, dubbed as the holder of some fine Chinese art though some say it’s particularly focused on China rather than Taiwan. And for a free tour (10am & 3pm) I’ll definitely take my chance to see some cool caligraphies or jades. The Maokong Gondola, a good way to get a good view of Taipei from aboard a gondola (cable car) then make a stop to grab a cup of tea. Better plan this on a weekend though as I heard queues are quite long and could get horridly hot especially inside the gondola. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, if you heard of the name then this is a great place to know more about the man and the history of China and Taiwan. Yangmingshan National Park, this is a must for some relaxing down time and picture taking with nature. It is a bit of a travel though but commute seems to be easy from what I heard. And oh yeah, end of february is supposedly the start of cherry blossoms!

Cherry blossom in Yangmingshan park

Long Shan Temple, Taiwan has got a lot of temple but this is one of the favorites because of the interiors and craftmanships of the place. And of course Taipei 101, hi-speed elevators can take you up the observation deck for a good panoramic view of Taipei but I heard that it could get expensive, you can check the mall in the building though.

Well judging by the list of sights above (and many more I am undecided of), Taiwan does look worthy of checking out. Add the culture and authentic food, this could very well be an interesting destination. But can I afford it? How much do I need for the essentials?

First of, let’s check the currency. Taiwan uses New Taiwanese (NT) dollar nationwide which means we have to exchange any other we have on our pockets to be able to use them. As of this writing (8/29/11) the fx rates are NT$1 = US$0.034, and for me it’s NT$1 = Php1.45. For a place to stay, I checked hostelworld.com and found that there are several good & cheap hostels in Taipei. Judging from online reviews these are some of the favorites: Flip Flop, Star, Homey and Eight Elephants with prices averaging to NT$400-550/night. Not bad I say but let’s see when we actually get to stay there.  As for food based on LonelyPlanet’s estimates food costs should be around NT$200-300/day. And lastly transportation, taking the public transport (ie. bus, mrt) should be the most convenient & cheapest way according to someone from Taipei that I met before. Fares look relatively cheap so my estimate if just going around Taipei would probably be around NT$50-100/day. Other miscellaneous costs to keep in mind are entrance fees, shopping expense and maybe a mobile service provider.

That’s it. All in all I believe Taiwan is doable based on my budget and there are plenty of interesting places to visit. My verdict – yeah it’s worth a stop so I’m going for it in february! Now I just need to figure out how to brave the language gap as Taiwan generally doesn’t speak English. Thinking of taking some Mandarin classes or maybe not haha.

Taiwan here we come!

[Updated: I took on the trip and this is what happened – Taking Formosa]

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Bohol Escape

Posted on 26 August 2011 by Dreidel Regala

Pack the bags. Go to sleep (or at least try). Wake up early. Then head to the airport. Atlast! We are off to Bohol. After a few days of worrying because of the rains, praise God for granting us a sunny sky. And not only that.. kudos to the new plane of zest air for giving us a safe ride. It’s an almost 1 hour fly to Bohol but that’s okay it’ll be more than an hour of fun there naman.

When we landed, our guide Mang Fidel was already waiting outside holding the name plate high. He was a bit quiet (almost only talking to deah who was sitting in front) but was kind naman.

Our first Bohol stop – Loboc River. Not just an ordinary river but a cool one with floating restaurant and entertainment on board. This was perfect since we are hungry and para dramatic ang umpisa ng tour.

Bohol's Loboc River

Bohol’s Loboc River

Singing with the Loboc River choir

Singing with the Loboc River choir

As we went on, the boat suddenly approached a floating raft where a group of local children sung. It was nice to see “bibo” kids dancing to the tune as visitors join in on the tinikling dance (mommy Fe was a natural on that one). The ride was long enough for you to enjoy the food and scenery.

Our first day was really packed. We immediately head on to the rest of the tour even before we got to the resort where we were staying. Thanks to kuya Boy and mang Fidel for making it a comfortable one. Mang Fidel was our tour guide slash driver for the day, after Loboc River he drove us to see the Chocolate Hills. Yah climax kagad ang mga napuntahan namin kaya bukas na bukas ang mga mata. It wasn’t color chocolate then but green (on dry season it turns brown thus the chocolate in its name). Funny I thought we could go up the hill but it was high pala, and far from where we were but we got a good view of it naman. By this time it was mid afternoon already and I noticed that the places were a bit far from each other. I remember my friend said that someone advised her to have a rented van when touring, and he was right it’s too much hassle when you commute. The next destination is the Tarsier sanctuary. The tarsiers look stressed from the perks of being an animal celebrity. But they look really cute.. scary but cute. Just note that flash photography is not allowed and please don’t bug them.

Tarsier

Tarsier

After this we went to the Hanging bridge. Nothing special just a bridge that crosses a river and on the other side you will find some souvenir stores. There are some items that are cheap there such as peanut kisses (you should take home some of these) and shirts etc. We also visited Baclayon church (I think this was where Ceasar Montano got married), the python named “Prony” which by the way has a celebrated tagapagbantay, the Blood Compact site, and passed by the man made forest (nakakaaliw nung dumaan kami dito bigla kasi dumilim dahil ang taas ng trees).

Manmade forest

It was just about dinner time when we got to the resort. The name – Dumaluan Beach Resort. The room is big and I think it could fit up to 9 people in there. It has 2 queen sized beds which could accommodate at most 3 people each. Its an ordinary room but I would recommend it if you are tight on the budget. We had our dinner at the resort’s restaurant. The food was affordable but it was not amazing. But it’s good enough to fill your hungry stomach (at busog talaga).

 

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Intramuros

Posted on 25 June 2011 by Dreidel Regala

Last Monday I went on a different kind of trip in Manila. I am no tourist on this city but I went to some of the tourist spots, along with some CouchSurfers, on what is called a Rizal Discovery tour. We spent walking along the walled city of Intramuros. I have been to Intramuros a couple of times already but I haven’t really seen the whole of it. And now I can really say it is one of the best sights in Manila, and could probably be the only one that preserved a real sense of history in this city. It witnessed the plight of Jose Rizal and the many colonizers of the country. But now the whole place is open for the public with several schools, churches, and offices residing inside. Guwardiya Sibil still roam the area (well sort of) and are friendlier now.

Monday was a really rainy day but everyone in the group was more than willing to get wet to have those tour stamps from the designated sites. We walked passed Manila Cathedral, Collegio de San Juan de Letran, Casa Manila, then on to Fort Santiago. Fort Santiago is a must when in Intramuros. The place is amazing and it gave me the feeling of Royalty with my own palace. Stone walls, prison cells, baluartes and guard posts. And if you got change to spare you can also ride a kalesa around Fort Santiago or the whole Intramuros itself. There is an entrance fee in Fort Santiago (P75) but walking inside the walled city is for free. Other must see stops are Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church which is the oldest church in The Philippines, Casa Manila, and Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum.

So why should Intramuros be on your next itinerary? To witness the remains of a fortress that experienced the hard hitting battles and colonizers of The Philippines.

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