Hong Kong: Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Space Museum and Che Kung Temple

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My original plan on our first day in Hong Kong was to visit the Musuems coz most of them are free on Wednesdays. But because we were sleepyheads like that so we woke up late in the afternoon on our first day and yes, we have to reschedule our museum visits and have to pay for the tickets. boohoo.

We started our Day 3 with a visit to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. It featured 6 Permanent Galleries- The orientation theatre, The New Territories Heritage Hall, The Cantonese Opera Heritage Hall, The T.T. Gallery of Chinese Art, the Chao Shao-An Gallery and the Children’s Discovery Gallery.

At the Orientation Theatre, The “ Walking in Dreams”  is on display until September 2015.  There are 1  Dreamy spaces created by Contemporary Artists. We were so lucky that Bruce Lee Documentary is on screening at their theater. We were able to watch it, but towards the end I dozed off. Hahaha. It was so cold and the chair was too comfortable so I gave in.  The documentary is a 75-minute movie. We were not able to finish it but anyway, I already watched Bruce Lee movie years ago. I love Bruce Lee like that.

We visited the different Galleries inside the museum. It is actually packed with students in all levels having their educational Tour.

Standard ticket for adults is 10HKD. 5HKD for Students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 and above. On Wednesday it is free. It is open 10AM-6PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays at 10Am to 7PM. Nearest MTR is Che Kung Temple Station.

From The Che Kung Station, walk the opposite Road, you can also visit the Che Kung Temple. During 2nd and 3rd day of the Lunar New Year, People Flock this temple for worship. He is considered as a God Of Protection. At the Temple, You will Find these Brass pinwheels. It is believed that when you turn them it will bring you goodluck. Knowing that, of course I turned every single pinwheel at the temple. =D hahahahah

The Temple was renovated to how it looks like now in 1993-1994 with a cost of 48 Million HKD. The Temple is Free Admission but it is encouraged for visitors to donate any amounts for the maintenance of the temple.

After our Temple visit we have to hurry back to Chungking coz we are going to transfer to another guesthouse. We chose the cheapest at Agoda. Safari Gueshouse has the cheapest room and have a lot of positive feedbacks. The room was not as big, but it was clean, fully airconditioned and with a mini Fridge, flat screen TV and Shower. When were are done with our whole transfer thing, we had our lunch thwn off we go to the nearby Museums. 

The Hong Kong Museum of Arts is nearby Chungking Mansions. You just have to cross the road at Salisbury towards the end of Nathan Road. It is beside the avenue of the Stars. Nearest MTR is tSim Sha Tsui, take Exit F.  It features more than 15,000 art objects including Calligraphy, antique Chinese treasures, artworks of historical significance and works of locals.

It is closed on Thursdays and on the first and second day of Chinese New Year. It is open at 10AM to 6PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10Am to 7PM on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Adult Admission ticket is 10HKD, 5HKD for children and is Free admission on Wednesdays.  Wifi is free. Sad to say it will be closed for 3 years for a full renovation starting August 2015.

The Hong Kong Space Museum is that Egg Shaped Dome along Salisbury Road. You can easily see it, especially at night when it turns into a colorful half disco ball.  It boast of its omnimax shows, but sad to say we were not able to watch it. Standard Admission is is from 24HKD to 32HKD for adults. It is open from 1-9PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10AM to 9PM on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays. For the Admission for the permanent exhibits is just 10HKD for adults and 5HKD for children.

Sad to say I was not able to post anymore photos of the galleries inside the museum coz recently my phone broke down and I lost all the photos of our trips. =D isn’t that amazing? hahahhaa

hopeful that my wish at Che kung Temple will come true,

Maria

Hong Kong: Stanley Plaza, Tin Hau Temple, Blake Pier, Murray House and Ocean Park

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Bus 973 going to Ocean Park, Stanley and Repulse Bay.

Bus 973 going to Ocean Park, Stanley and Repulse Bay.

On our second day, I promised myself I will wake up extra early for our Ocean Park Adventure. Normally people traveling to Hong Kong will not miss a visit to Mickey and Friends at The Disneyland. But I guess I am one of those few who will miss Disneyland instead for Ocean Park. Oh I love Mickey Mouse ever since, so do not mistake me for not being a fan of the cute Mouse, but I promised myself I will be visiting Disneyland when my daughter is old enough to appreciate things when we go there together. So yeah, I scraped off the Famous Disneyland for this trip. I hope I made sense there.

The Science of asking around for right directions are quite a challeng in Hong Kong.

The Science of asking around for right directions are quite a challeng in Hong Kong.

It was kinda funny when you get lost. I am proud with my excellent direction skills, but in our HK trip, I kinda failed here for a few times. Moral Lesson: When a driver nods does not mean he understands you. Well at least he nodded and smiled.

The Tin Hau Temple at Stanley.

The Tin Hau Temple at Stanley.

Visiting Stanley Plaza and Blake pier was nothing but an accident. From Chungking Mansion, It is a few meters walk to the Tsim Sha Tsui Bus Terminus at Modi Road. Basically it is at the back of Chungking. Walk to mody road towards the end, and you will find the Bus Terminus there. Board bus 973. The travel by bus would be quite long. About an hour or so, depending on the traffic. The route is driving along narrow road at the mountains, and you will realize how fearless the drivers are. And did I say the bus is a double decker. They are almost drifting. lolzzzz. If you are saving time and want to reach Ocean park faster, you can board the MTR towards Admiralty Station. Walk to The Admiralty Bus Terminus and Board bus 629. You can also take a cab, but believe me it will be expensive. So better slap your lazy arse and do some walking and save a bit of moolah for your next meal or for The Ocean Park Ticket which costs, $345 for adults, $173 for children ages 3-11. 3 years old and below are free admission,

The Murray House at Stanley.

The Murray House at Stanley.

To save more time, and a less risk of getting lost, Just ride the MTR than taking the Bus 973. There is a high percentage of you sleeping along the road and missing out the bus stop at the Ocean park, Just like what we have experienced. So we got off at Stanley Plaza. It was so hot that we decided to have a snack at Mcdonald’s for a while and walk around the Plaza.

The whole Bus ride was actually quite relaxing. Too relaxing in fact, that’s why we fell asleep. Hahahaha. There will be nice views of the Mountain side, The beach, the Ocean, and the Different residential buildings.

The Stanley Plaza is not the famous Stanley Market. Stanley Plaza is a few storey Mall with Beautiful concept stores, Restaurants, The Murray House, The Tin hau Temple, The Blake Pier and an outdoor amphitheater where concerts are usually held.

Tin Hau Temple( Temple of the Queen of Heaven) in Stanley was built in 1767 and is one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. Tin Hau is the Goddess of the Sea and is worshipped by the Hong Kong fishermen. During the time when Japanese attacked Hong Kong, Two bombs hit Stanley but people who stayed at the temple where unharmed, Thus From then on, People worshipped Tin Hau not only as The Protector from The dangers of the sea but also of any perils.  Besides this Temple in Stanley, There are numerous Tin Hau Temples nationwide.

Murray House is one of the oldest surviving public building in Hong Kong. It has served as officers’ quarters during the British Era and became the Japanese Command center during their Occupation here. It has been said that it has also been the Execution area of many Chinese people. Before it was situated at the Central, But due to the fast growing economy, they have to dismantle the Building and keep the old blocks that makes up the Murray House. In 1998 the Government decided to beautify Stanley and Rebuild the Murray House here. Now the Murray house has concept restaurants that are worth a visit.

Blake Pier was called the Royal Pier before because it has served as the landing Pier for British officials and dignitaries. It is a nice place to spend time just relaxing while watching waves and the do some fishing. It is still operating as a landing pier for many ferries traveling to Kowloon side.

A few walks from Stanley Plaza is the ever famous Stanley Market and the New Ma Hang Park.  Ma Hang Park boasts its beautiful view of the sea. Inside it are fitness areas, Bird watching deck, butterfly garden and a lot more. It is just behind the Murray House.

Stanley Market is known to any travelers as a part of the usual Hong Kong travel itinerary. It is known for its quaint ambiance and the unique shops selling various items like clothes, souvenirs, toys. It is also famous of their nice restaurants with good food. After Shopping here, you can stroll along the Promenade and enjoy the view of the sea.Ocean Park Hong Kong

You can spend roughly 2 hours at Stanley if you are planning to visit Ocean Park After. Since our second day is solely dedicated to Ocean Park, but because of our sleeping habits on bus rides, we have to cut short our side trip to Stanley. We should make the most out of our few hours at Ocean Park. ( because it is freaking expensive for a stingy lady like me ahahahah )

From Stanley Plaza, Take bus 6X and alight at Hong Kong country Club. Walk a few minutes to the entrance. From the outside you can see the Ocean Park’s Entrance on an elevated part. Actually there are other bus that will pass by Ocean Park. If you want to save a few bucks travel around Hong Kong through the Green mini bus. ( although I have trouble with buses here in Hong Kong, Is is not as organized as in Singapore. Something I have been used to ever since.)

It is actually better if you will spend the whole day at Ocean Park. Arrive early when the queues are not as long. People will usually flock there before lunch. When we arrived after lunch, it was a shock that the Ticketing booths are not even crowded. That is when I realized that coming early to avoid queues has been planned by not only me, but all those who came in earier than me.Yes, I am not the only one who wants to plan smart.lolzzz. At the booth they will give you a map of the Park. Make sure you will get the english Version, because the lady gave us the Chinese version.Yeah, maybe we really looked like chinese.

Do not forget to check the Show timing. The map shows the Different shows you can watch complete with the loaction, the type of show and the duration. Organize your time by picking your top choices and just watch what you really want and not waste your time on things that you are not really interested with. One full day will never be enough if you plan to cover everything at the Park. I swear.

Ocean Park is located at the southern end of the Hong Kong Island. The Half of the Park is Located at the Lower valley of the Wong Chuk Hang and is called the Waterfront, and the other is elevated on Nam Lang Shan Mountain and is called the Summit.

The Park is a mixture of an amusement park with thrilling rides, A marine Park, a Zoo and an animal laboratory. I won’t miss the cable Car ride to the summit. For me that is the best way to appreciate the whole place.

I am a acrophobic, So riding the cable car was a crazy challenge for me. From the cable car terminal at the waterfront , I was Like yeah I can do that. Coz from there the view , it was just like a short trip. And then When We are at the top of the Mountain, I saw that the Ride is quite long. We will be passing by few mountain slopes, so the Ride will Be ascending and descending for a few times. I actually enjoyed it though my palms were crazy wet and I was like holding my breath every now and then. Of course I must enjoy it. I will not queue under the heat of the sun for more than 30 minutes for nothing, hehehehe.

Experience everything if you must. We were unable to finish all the rides coz I was not in a good shape anymore. Extreme exposure to sun exhausted me and triggered my allergy so I was like mustering all the energy my body has to at least enjoy the rest of the day. There are lots of rides to choose from at the summit. There are lots of animal shows. I loved the dolphin show. I especially loved the penguins and the sharks and the rays at the aquarium. The koalas were sleeping when we arrived so I was not able to see them up close. The Panda was so Cute but it was sleeping as well.

Tip: Eat before you enter Ocen Park. The are strict in inspecting your bags when you enter. We brought with us some snacks but I was not able to hide them properly so in the end we have to finish them outside. If your bag has a secret place to hide snacks, it is ok I guess. Since snacks inside the park are quite pricey. The cheapest inside is at Mcdonalds. Maybe if you can bring small bread just hid them properly. hehehe. buy drinks inside so you will drink it cold. They have water stations where you can refill your water bottles.

To view all the attractions at the Hong Kong Ocean Park, you can plan your visit here.

Hoping to See the Jelly Fish Aquarium next Time,

Maria

Hong Kong: Things to Know on your Arrival, Chungking Mansions, Temple street Market and Avenue of the Stars

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Finally. I know. I know. less than Jon Snow. hahaha. sorry I am still having the GOT fever and I still can’t get over the fact that the people behind Game of thrones are so insecure with Jon that they killed him. nahhhh. just kidding. how long have I waited for me to write again. It took me another trip To singapore for me to be bored and grab the computer and just talk about stuff.( and oh a little pressure from my good blogger friend.)

This is where you can purchase tickets going to the city. We got our Octopus Card from here. Also Ask for MTR Brochures here. Get your Hongkong English Maps from the Airport Information kiosk.

we were too hungry and 7 Eleven is the most reliable friend we can get. Just because Mcdonald’s queue was unimaginably long.

A week ago me and love started our July in Hong Kong. It was crazy Hot, but glad we are here now in Singapore because days ago, typhoon just visited HK.Hong Kong is quite an expensive City. I find it actually more expensive than Singapore. Or maybe because I do not know where to hunt the best bargains. Maybe.

We flew in HK via Cebu Pacific. Almost all airlines have flights to HK. If you are on a tight budget, try booking early or always check the airline’s site every now and then to spot some promos. Better yet, sign up for their newsletters and be in the know of their seat sales. ( i do not do so coz i hate my mails crazy full. and I hardly check promos coz I am lazy like that. hahahaha )

Octopus Card- is a stored value card for making payments in HongKong. You can use this for transportation ( MTR/Bus) , Convenience stores, Restaurants, Car Parks, etc. Just like Singapore’s EZLink, Korea’s UPass and London’s oyster Card.

It takes approximately 2 Hours from Manila to Hongkong via plane of course. From Macau and nearby China Provinces, they have ferries, IF you are a mermaid or a fish, you can swim. If you are immortal you can walk or fly or teleport or whatever. hahahahaha.

For first time travelers, do not forget to fill up the immigration card that will be handed to you by the cabin crews while you are still on the plane. I will usually fill the card while I am still on board rather than filling it up when I am in front of the immigration queues. It saves my time. So I always have my pen with me.

After the Immigration Points, Unless you already have your HK dollars with you, you can have the option of changing your Currencies at the airport or just when you reach the city center. We exchanged our money at the airport because it is more convenient for us. Then we purchased the Octopus Card.

The Octopus Card costs 150HKD.It has a stored value of 100HKD. The 50HKD is the deposit for the card. Once you leave HK, you can refund the 50HKD in exchange of the card. But note the fact that they will charge 9HKD when you return it within 90Days. No biggie. hehe

This is Bus A21. It will take you straight to Kowloon. I love the fact that it has the luggage compartments and the monitor that shows the Route and stops of the Bus.

To reach Kowloon, You can either take the MTR or the City Bus A21. MTR takes only less than half an hour but costs about 90HKD. The Bus A21 will normally take an hour or so, depending on the traffic but will cost you 33HKD only. The Bus terminus is just outside the Airport. Just follow the signs. and the people. hehehehe

We alighted at Tsim Sha Tsui along Nathan Road. We will be staying at the ever famous Chungking Mansion. Do not expect much. I know Mansion might sound so rich and all that, but no. It is the usual Building with mini billboards outside and lots of Men asking you and promoting their hostels. We already booked a room via Agoda. I was able to score a very affordable room for 2 days only. I was planning to look for another room for the rest of our stay in HK, thinking it will be cheaper if we just go straight to the hostels in Chungking. But my advice is just book it online. We do not even have time to look for our next room for the next 4 days because we are always outside exploring the city. In the end I have to book our new room via Agoda as well. lolzzz

The chungking Mansion is a 17 Storey Building and has Blocks A to D. This place is so popular for budget travelers and known to have the cheapest accomodation in the whole of HK. we had our room for just 160HKD at Payless Guest House. The rooms are new. The tiles are clean and the toilet is clean as well. It might be too small for some people, but for asians, the size of the room is fine. The staircases may be dirty at times and lobbies may smell bad and look filthy, but we were lucky our floor was acceptable. beggars do not have the right to complain. Anyway, If you prefer a very clean and beautiful place to stay, book rooms at big hotels. Easy as that. Chunking mansions has guesthouses, offices, restaurants, shops and foreign exchange at the first level. It is near the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, walking distance from some of the famous tourist spots in Hong Kong and the Ferry terminals going to Macau and the Hong Kong island. Yes Hong Kong island. If you do not know yet, HK is divided into regions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New territories. Chungking Mansion,Avenue of the Stars, The famous Museums, Night Markets and Big Malls are in Kowloon;  Disneyland and the Airport are in the New territories and the Ocean Park, Victoria peak and The Ding Ding tram arein Hong Kong Island. 

When we finished settling down in our room, we went out to hunt for food. I was sad with the fact that our first few meals were from McDonald’s. I do not hate junk food or fast food but I am not really a huge fan of Fast food joints since I got pregnant and when my mom got sick. I was trying to be healthy as much as possible. But whatever, we were dead hungry and we could not find anything to eat nearby. We cannot read the Chinese characters on billboards and signs. OUr stomach were raging already so there we were in Q for our meal.

We were sleepless and exhausted since our flight to HK from Manila was early in the morning. The weather was too hot that we decided to take a nap first. We woke up late in the afternoon, energized and ready to roam around the bustling city lights of kowloon. We always have our maps with us. this is the beauty of traveling first world countries, They give out tourist maps and brochures of the city sights. So our map served as our guide for our whole week in HK. Asking around may help but our experiences with asking around people were not that good. Or maybe we were not in luck of asking the right people.

we just walked around the streets nearby to search for a place to have an authentic Hong Kong Dinner. We cannot find a Restaurant that seems authentic enough. Almost all the restos we passed by were Korean, japanese, turkish and some pubs or cafes. Too hungry, we just bought some bread from a bakery and drinks from 7 Eleven. The streets nearby Nathan Road are packed with Huge shopping Malls, Small Shops and restaurants and high rise apartments.We were able to pass by St. Andrew’s Church though it was closed already. If you like shopping a lot, As Hong Kong is famous for its huge array of fashion forward shops, from local fashion brand to the luxurious Well-renowned Fashion Giants, You can check all the malls along Nathan Road and the Canton Road. i swear almost all ladies and tourists carry shopping bags here.

Nearby Jordan Station, At Temple street, we were able to find a food place were locals and tourists alike flock for meal time. It is an open type of cafe where they serve all the local foods that i have been dying to try. The Menu is quite expensive for a location like that, but I am in HK, and I am very hungry and cannot be bothered with converting peso to dollars anymore. hahaha

We had whatever seems delicious and what other customers were having. The menu is actually clear as it has the English translation and the order taker can speak and understand english. In the end we paid almost 200HKD for our dinner. pricey but delicious.

The temple street is actualy famous for its night market.You can find a lot of things here. From luggages, fashion items, souvenirs to replicas of high end fashion bags. Temple street is walking distance from the Chungking mansion. But when I say Walking distance, I do not mean a 5 minute walk. it takes around 15 minutes or so.

This is the bakery we bought our bread for our snack. deym it was delish.

This is the bakery we bought our bread for our snack. deym it was delish.

St. Andrew’s Church – It is the oldest English Protestant Church in Kowloon.

After our dinner we walked towards the Avenue of the stars at Victoria Harbour Waterfront. It is nearby Chungking Mansion and the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. From the end of Nathan Road, There stands this huge dome like structure which is the National Space museum of Hongkong. Behind it is the National Museum of Arts and the famous Victoria harbour where you can watch the Symphony of lights and walk at the Avenue of the stars.

There was a local band playing music at the avenue of the stars. There were so many people flocking at the avenue. We were late forth 8pm schedule of the Symphony of Lights show so we just went for a walk at the avenue of the stars. We looked for Jet Li’s and Jackie Chan’s Plaque and of course the ever famous Bruce Lee Bronze Statue.

Feeling Proud for my Blog entry after 9 months ,

Maria

Art Attack: Singapore Art Museum

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Singapore Arts Museum I love museums. I love history. In fact, I always scored high on my history subjects. It is just because I am fascinated about people from the past, achieved for us, the new generations, to enjoy.I love ancient civilizations, world records, evolution and the dark ages. I love renaissance and the Arts and culture of different eras. I love the fact that I am in a moment, wherein I can enjoy a part of life of the people before, and that is because of Museums. (Am i being to emotional here? sniff sniff.)

But hey, Let me tell you a secret. I never really became a fan of museums until I traveled solo few years back. When I went to Melaka, Malaysia, that was the first time I realized that I love museums. And when I came back, It seemed I was bitten the Museum Bug ( of course this is just a term I made up. do not be that gullible. haaaa).

Singapore art museumOn the serious note, When you travel solo, you can just appreciate and absorb anything you see, especially those that are not familiar or known to you. I was so appreciative of things in melaka, that I was walking happily under the rain, walking and hopping on the streets like a lost child. ( please do not judge. I love the rain. it made me feel so blissful to not to care of anything sometimes and just be a child.)

I know I can be that ironic. I love history classes, I love maps and the globe, I love  watching Nat geo and discovery channel way back when It was not that cool to be a geek. But i never appreciated museums during my childhood. One reason maybe is that I was not exposed to it. Even if my school is a private and exclusive school, they do not have a mini museum of some sort at school ( such an ambitious kid right? ) but I am proud of my alma mater ( we have all kinds of laboratories and displays of preserved animals and creepy stuff.) Singapore art museum

And in my home town, the Museum was not really like an attraction. It is a part of the seminary. Not too inviting for me as a kid though, The whole place feels so sacred. Not so touristy. and just to serious for a kid to handle. ( and again, please do not judge. I am not just an extrovert and brave kid way back then. such a late bloomer you know.)

I did not enjoy my first museum visit. period. Even the second one, or the third even. The only time that I realized my love for Museums was when I was a 20 plus adult, in a complicated relationship with myself, and working abroad ( and someone who just read eat,pray.love — ah elizabeth Gilbert era changed many women’s lives. including mine.)Singapore art museumSingapore Art museum

Singapore art museum

When I came back to Singapore after my Melaka trip, I promised myself that I will be visiting each and every museum in the country. Singapore has one of the finest museums in Asia, if not in the world. The country 5 national Museums: Asian Civilization Museum, Peranakan Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum and 8Q SAM.The country has several other museums and many heritage institutions. ( you know, Singaporeans are quite patriotic as Filipinos. Even the slightest bit of their History is meaningful to them)

So Far, I have ticked off 4 out of 5 National Museums, but I may be missing a lot on the several little museums and heritage institutions. At least there are always a lot of places I will be visiting when I get to visit my second Home. ( i see myself going back to the lion city at least once a year)Singapore Art Museum

ThFirst National Museum that I have visited is the Singapore Art Museum. I was with my bestfriend at that time, and it is seldom to find a time for both of us to bond with each other. Singapore work life may always demand 99% of your time, so being Busy in the City is nothing but normal as breathing.

The museum is open Monday-Sundays at 10:00 AM to 7:00pm. Last Admission is 6:15PM. During Fridays , you can get in for free from 6:00pPM- 9:00PM and they extend until 9PM. You can also get in for free during Open House Activities. Me and my Best friend was  able to get in for free on an afternoon on a weekday. ( You know I am such a stingy person. I saved 10 SGD. and that is a lot. )

For student with valid student Pass and senior citizens ( with valid ID) aged 60 and above, They have to pay 5SGD. You can purchase your ticket when you are at the museum or buy it from SISTIC online. ( but please don’t if you wanna save 1SGD for their processing fee. that is till equivalent to an ice cream or a bottle of water or a single journey pass going back to orchard via MRT.) Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are of course free admission, except for some ticketed exhibitions.Singapore Art MuseumThe Museum was actually a School. The school have to make way for The museum so they transferred and Thus, SAM stands mightily at the very heart of Singapore. It has a wide collection of Artifacts mostly from South East Asia and a little from the wider asia region.  It features contemporary artists from different Asian Countries, whether they are the Famed ones or a neophyte.

SAM holds different events like Film Fests, Public Programs and other special events. The have different exhibits every now and then so it is a must to visit their site before you go there if you are eyeing a certain artist’s exhibit or any special activities.Singapore ARt MuseumIf you are lucky enough to be Media Staff , like if you are a writer, journalist, reporter, editor or correspondent, just present a valid Media Pass or Name card to enter the Museum for free. Just contact the staff on their website beforehand. Guided Tours are also available. You can check their site for tour schedules in 3 Languages: English, Mandarin and Japanese. Singapore Art MuseumSingapore Art MuseumSingapore Art Museum Singapore ARt MuseumWhen your tummy started growling after all the walks and your deep analysis and appreciation of the Arts (hahaha seriously) there are cafes at the ground floor of SAM. If you are going to shop for some souvenirs and SAM Collectibles , You can visit Museum Labels. If you are into anything quirky and personalized stuff, go visit Supermama. Singapore ARt MuseumSingapore Art MuseumSAM is located nearby  major performing arts and visual arts institutions: such as the Nanyang Academy of the Arts, LaSalle College of the Arts, the Stamford Arts Centre, the Selegie Arts Centre, Singapore Calligraphy Centre, YMS Arts Centre, Dance Ensemble Singapore and Action Theatre as well as the School of the Art.

The nearest MRT station is Bras Basah. It is just a few minutes walk from the MRT Station. SAM is also a few minutes walk from Bugis, Dhoby Gaut, or the City Hall Station. Singapore Art MuseumSingapore Art Museum If you are in Singapore and have all the access to its museums,why not go? Museum visits always gets me the feeling of nostalgia and relief. So walking inside it is a form of relaxation for me. Singapore boasts of its long string of museums, some of them you can get in for free, so Go! I promise you that you will learn a lot. If you have to pay to get In, well, it is worth your every penny. i swear. Singapore Art MuseumSingapore Art MuseumOh I cannot wait to visit Singapore’s other museums. I am so excited to go back! Thing is although i have been going back and forth in Singapore since 2006, i haven’t actually finished visiting all its tourist attractions. Thing is, This little Big City continues to add more and more sites to visit every year, that my list just goes on and on.

This is one of the reason why i love this country. They preserve their culture. They maximize the space they are endowed with and makes a lot of possibilities out of whatever they have. They Create. They innovate. And they will never stop.

Looking forward to visit ArtScience Museum in 2015,

Maria

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu?

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We stayed at Bunibon Lodge. They have a cheaper rate than the famous borneo backpackers and the rest of the hostels I saw online. We stayed in an Air conditioned room with a double decker bed. There is Wifi and breakfast is for free. You just have to prepare your own toast and coffee and egg at the Pantry. The Dining Room is an elevated wooden structure where people can actually mingle with each other. There are books and a vintage Globe at a corner.

Trying our luck at Borneo Backpackers.

Trying our luck at Borneo Backpackers.

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The Dining and Socials Area at the Bunibon.

Bunibon Lodge facade, and Love.

Bunibon Lodge facade, and Love.

I totally recommend this lodge for anyone who plans to KK soon. The staff are so hospitable, not to mention they have this 24 hour reception service. They also helped us with some information regarding our next trip after KK ( something I just thought about when we are about to leave for our flight back to Manila). The Lodge has Cable Tv , Free Wifi, Free use of Washing Machine, Towels and linen are provided and are clean.  And by the way, they also have car/motorcycle rentals and tour packages.

They Charged us 65 RM (888 pesos or 20USD ) nightly for a Private Bunk with no attached Toilet. The price is very much reasonable for a Clean room, AC equipped, Fresh Mattresses, Free breakfast and Excellent quality service.

The staff are so friendly just like Pinoys, not to mention one lady staff who is actually a Filipina. They even helped us with our plans of traveling to Brunei via Bus. They printed some stuff for us without us paying them. Ah, I miss those people.

Before I could be that emotional, Just promise me you will stay at Bunibon when You find yourself in the City of Kota kinabalu. Yeah? =D

Love and his Gang in KK.

Love and his Cool Gang in KK.

Missing the sheets and pillows and the cold room 53-1,

Maria

National Day List ( For Fun)

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And so I randomly saw the trending “National Day” list across the net. Months ago I really thought they were real. Well for some Days, Maybe, But really, No. hahaha

Here goes what I gathered:

JANUARY

January 1 is …First Foot Day and Z Day
January 2 is …Run Up the Flagpole and See if Anybody Salutes It Day
January 3 is …Festival of Sleep Day
January 4 is …Trivia Day and Humiliation Day
January 5 is …Bird Day
January 6 is …Bean Day
January 7 is …Old Rock Day
January 8 is …National JoyGerm Day and Man Watcher’s Day
January 9 is … Play God Day
January 10 is … Peculiar People Day
January 11 is … National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day
January 12 is … Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
January 13 is … Make Your Day Come True Day and Blame Someone Else Day
January 14 is … National Dress Up Your Pet Day
January 15 is … Hat Day
January 16 is … Hot and Spicy Food International Day and National Nothing Day
January 17 is … Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Day
January 18 is … Winnie the Pooh Day
January 19 is … National Popcorn Day
January 20 is … National Buttercrunch Day
January 21 is … National Hugging Day
January 22 is … National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day and National Blonde Brownie Day
January 23 is … National Handwriting Day, National Pie Day, and Measure Your Feet Day
January 24 is … Eskimo Pie Patent Day
January 25 is … Opposite Day
January 26 is … Australia Day
January 27 is … Punch the Clock Day and Thomas Crapper Day More Info on Thomas Crapper Day January 28 is … National Kazoo Day, Clash Day, Rattle Snake Round-Up Day
January 29 is … National Cornchip Day
January 30 is … Escape Day
January 31 is … National Popcorn Day and Child Labor Day

FEBRUARY

February 1 is … Serpent Day
February 2 is … Purification Day
February 3 is … Cordova Ice Worm Day
February 4 is … Create A Vacuum Day
February 5 is … Disaster Day
February 6 is … Lame Duck Day
February 7 is … Charles Dickens Day
February 8 is … Kite Flying Day
February 9 is … Toothache Day
February 10 is … Umbrella Day
February 11 is … White Tee-Shirt Day and Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
February 12 is … National Plum Pudding Day
February 13 is … Get A Different Name Day and Dream Your Sweet Day
February 14 is … Ferris Wheel Day and National Heart to Heart Day
February 15 is … National Gum Drop Day
February 16 is … Do A Grouch A Favor Day
February 17 is … Champion Crab Races Day
February 18 is … National Battery Day
February 19 is … National Chocolate Mint Day
February 20 is … Hoodie Hoo DayMore Info on Hoodie Hoo Day
February 21 is … Card Reading Day
February 22 is … Be Humble Day
February 23 is … International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
February 24 is … National Tortilla Chip Day
February 25 is … Pistol Patent Day (Samuel Colt)
February 26 is … National Pistachio Day
February 27 is … International Polar Bear Day
February 28 is … Public Sleeping Day
February 29 is … National Surf and Turf Day

MARCH

March 1 is … National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
March 2 is … Old Stuff Day
March 3 is … I Want You To Be Happy Day, Peach Blossom Day and National anthem day
March 4 is … Holy Experiment Day
March 5 is … Multiple Personalities Day
March 6 is … National Frozen Food Day
March 7 is … National Crown Roast Of Pork Day
March 8 is … Be Nasty Day
March 9 is … Panic Day
March 10 is … Festival Of Life In The Cracks Day
March 11 is … Johnny Appleseed Day and Worship of Tools Day
March 12 is … Alfred Hitchcock Day
March 13 is … Jewel Day
March 14 is … National Potato Chip Day
March 15 is … Buzzard’s Day and Everything You Think Is Wrong Day
March 16 is … Everything You Do Is Right Day
March 17 is … Submarine Day
March 18 is … Supreme Sacrifice Day
March 19 is … Poultry Day
March 20 is … Proposal Day and Festival Of Extraterrestrial Abductions Day
March 21 is … Fragrance Day
March 22 is … National Goof-off Day
March 23 is … National Organize Your Home Office Day and National Chip and Dip Day
March 24 is … National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
March 25 is … Pecan Day and Waffle Day
March 26 is … Make Up Your Own Holiday Day and Spinach Festival Day
March 27 is … National “Joe” Day More Info on National “Joe” Day
March 28 is … Something On A Stick Day
March 29 is … Festival Of Smoke and Mirrors Day
March 30 is … I Am In Control Day
March 31 is … Bunsen Burner Day and National Clams On The Half Shell Day

APRIL

April 1  is … One Cent Day
April 2 is … National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
April 3 is … Tweed Day and Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day
April 4 is … Tell-A-Lie Day
April 5 is … Go For Broke Day
April 6 is … Sorry Charlie Day More Info on Sorry Charlie Day
April 7 is … No Housework Day
April 8 is … All Is Ours Day
April 9 is … Winston Churchill Day and Name Yourself Day
April 10 is … Golfers Day
April 11 is … Eight-Track Tape Day
April 12 is … Look Up At The Sky Day
April 13 is … Blame Somebody Else Day
April 14 is … National Pecan Day
April 15 is … Rubber Eraser Day
April 16 is … National Stress Awareness Day and National Eggs Benedict Day
April 17 is … National Cheeseball Day
April 18 is … International Jugglers Day
April 19 is … Garlic DayMore Info On Garlic
April 20 is … Look Alike Day
April 21 is … Kindergarten Day
April 22 is … National Jelly Bean Day
April 23 is … Read Me Day and World Laboratory Animal Day
April 24 is … National Pigs In A Blanket Day
April 25 is … National Zucchini Bread Day
April 26 is … Richter Scale Day and National Pretzel Day
April 27 is … Tell A Story Day
April 28 is … Great Poetry Reading Day and Kiss-Your-Mate Day
April 29 is … National Shrimp Scampi Day
April 30 is … National Honesty Day

MAY

May 1 is … Mother Goose Day and Save The Rhino Day
May 2 is … Fire Day
May 3 is … Lumpy Rug Day
May 4 is … National Candied Orange Peel Day
May 5 is … National Hoagie Day
May 6 is … Beverage Day
May 7 is … International Tuba Day, Paste Up Day, and National Roast Leg of Lamb Day
May 8 is … No Socks Day and Have A Coke Day More Info on Coke
May 9 is … Lost Sock Memorial Day
May 10 is … Clean Up Your Room Day
May 11 is … Eat What You Want Day and Twilight Zone Day
May 12 is … Limerick Day
May 13 is … Leprechaun Day
May 14 is … National Dance Like A Chicken Day
May 15 is … National Chocolate Chip Day
May 16 is … Wear Purple For Peace Day
May 17 is … Pack Rat Day
May 18 is … International Museum Day and Visit Your Relatives Day
May 19 is … Frog Jumping Jubilee Day
May 20 is … Eliza Doolittle Day
May 21 is … National Memo Day and National Waitresses/Waiters Day
May 22 is … Buy-A-Musical-Instrument Day
May 23 is … Penny Day
May 24 is … National Escargot Day
May 25 is … National Tap Dance Day
May 26 is … Grey Day
May 27 is …Body Painting Arts Festival
May 28 is … National Hamburger Day
May 29 is … End Of The Middle Ages Day
May 30 is … My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It Day
May 31 is … National Macaroon Day

JUNE

June 1 is … Dare Day
June 2 is … National Rocky Road Day
June 3 is … Repeat Day
June 4 is … Old Maid’s Day
June 5 is … Festival Of Popular Delusions Day
June 6 is … Teacher’s Day and National Applesauce Cake Day
June 7 is … National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
June 8 is … Name Your Poison Day
June 9 is … Donald Duck Day
June 10 is … National Yo-Yo Day
June 11 is … National Hug Holiday and King Kamehameha Day
June 12 is … Machine Day
June 13 is … National Juggling Day and Kitchen Klutzes Of America Day
June 14 is … Pop Goes The Weasel Day
June 15 is … Smile Power Day
June 16 is … National Hollerin’ Contest Day
June 17 is … Watergate Day and Eat Your Vegetables Day
June 18 is … International Panic Day
June 19 is … World Sauntering Day
June 20 is … Ice Cream Soda Day
June 21 is …Cuckoo Warning Day More Info on Cuckoo Warning Day
June 22 is … National Chocolate Eclair Day
June 23 is … National Pink Day
June 24 is … Museum Comes To Life Day
June 25 is … Log Cabin Day
June 26 is … National Chocolate Pudding Day
June 27 is … National Columnists Day
June 28 is … Paul Bunyan Day
June 29 is … Camera Day
June 30 is … Meteor Day

JULY

July 1 is … Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day and Build A Scarecrow Day                     July 2 is … Visitation Of The Virgin Mary Day                                                                 July 3 is … Stay Out Of The Sun Day and Compliment Your Mirror Day                   July 4 is … National Country Music Day and Tom Sawyer Fence-Painting Day       July 5 is … Workaholics Day

July 6 is … National Fried Chicken Day
July 7 is … National Strawberry Sundae Day
July 8 is … Video Games Day
July 9 is … National Sugar Cookie Day
July 10 is … Clerihew Day
July 11 is … National Cheer Up The Lonely Day
July 12 is … National Pecan Pie Day
July 13 is … Fool’s Paradise Day
July 14 is … National Nude Day
July 15 is … National Tapioca Pudding Day and Respect Canada Day
July 16 is … International Juggling Day
July 17 is … National Peach Ice Cream Day
July 18 is … National Ice Cream Day and National Caviar Day
July 19 is … Flitch Day
July 20 is … Ugly Truck Contest Day
July 21 is … National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day
July 22 is … Ratcatcher’s Day
July 23 is … National Vanilla Ice Cream Day
July 24 is … Amelia Earhart Day
July 25 is … Threading The Needle Day
July 26 is … All Or Nothing Day
July 27 is … Take Your Pants For A Walk Day
July 28 is … National Milk Chocolate Day
July 29 is … Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day
July 30 is … National Cheesecake Day
July 31 is … Parent’s Day

AUGUST

August 1 is … Friendship Day and National Raspberry Cream Pie Day More Info on Pies
August 2 is … National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3 is … National Watermelon Day
August 4 is … Twins Day Festival
August 5 is … National Mustard Day
August 6 is … Wiggle Your Toes Day
August 7 is … Sea Serpent Day
August 8 is … Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night
August 9 is … National Polka Festival
August 10 is … Lazy Day
August 11 is … Presidential Joke Day
August 12 is … Middle Child’s Day
August 13 is … Blame Someone Else Day
August 14 is … National Creamsicle Day
August 15 is … National Relaxation Day and National Failures Day
August 16 is … Bratwurst Festival
August 17 is … National Thriftshop Day
August 18 is … Bad Poetry Day
August 19 is … Potato Day
August 20 is … National Radio Day
August 21 is … National Spumoni Day
August 22 is … Be An Angel Day
August 23 is … National Spongecake Day
August 24 is … Knife Day
August 25 is … Kiss-And-Make-Up Day
August 26 is … National Cherry Popsicle Day
August 27 is … Petroleum Day
August 28 is … World Sauntering Day
August 29 is … More Herbs, Less Salt Day
August 30 is … National Toasted Marshmallow Day
August 31 is … National Trail Mix Day

SEPTEMBER

September 1 is … Emma M. Nutt Day
September 2 is … National Beheading Day
September 3 is … Skyscraper Day
September 4 is … Newspaper Carrier Day
September 5 is … Be Late For Something Day
September 6 is … Fight Procrastination Day
September 7 is … Neither Rain Nor Snow Day
September 8 is … National Date Nut Bread Day and Pardon Day
September 9 is … Teddy Bear Day
September 10 is … Swap Ideas Day
September 11 is … No News Is Good News Day
September 12 is … National Pet Memorial Day and National Chocolate Milkshake Day
September 13 is … Defy Superstition Day
September 14 is … National Cream-filled Donut Day
September 15 is … Felt Hat Day
September 16 is … Stay Away From Seattle Day and Collect Rocks Day
September 17 is … National Apple Dumpling Day
September 18 is … National Play-doh Day
September 19 is … National Butterscotch Pudding Day
September 20 is … National Punch Day
September 21 is … World Gratitude Day and International Banana Festival
September 22 is … Hobbit Day and Dear Diary Day
September 23 is … Checkers Day and Dogs In Politics Day
September 24 is … Festival Of Latest Novelties
September 25 is … National Comic Book Day
September 26 is … National Good Neighbor Day and National Pancake Day
September 27 is … Crush A Can Day
September 28 is … Ask A Stupid Question Day More
September 29 is … Poisoned Blackberries Day
September 30 is … National Mud Pack Day

OCTOBER

October 1 is … World Vegetarian Day and Magic Circles Day
October 2 is … Name Your Car Day
October 3 is … Virus Appreciation Day
October 4 is … National Golf Day
October 5 is … National Storytelling Festival
October 6 is … German-American Day and Come and Take It Day
October 7 is … National Frappe Day
October 8 is … American Tag Day
October 9 is … Moldy Cheese Day
October 10 is … National Angel Food Cake Day
October 11 is … It’s My Party Day
October 12 is … International Moment Of Frustration Scream Day
October 13 is … National Peanut Festival
October 14 is … Be Bald and Free Day and National Dessert Day
October 15 is … White Cane Safety Day
October 16 is … Dictionary Day
October 17 is … Gaudy Day
October 18 is … No Beard Day
October 19 is … Evaluate Your Life Day
October 20 is … National Brandied Fruit Day
October 21 is … Babbling Day
October 22 is … National Nut Day
October 23 is … National Mole Day
October 24 is … National Bologna Day
October 25 is … Punk For A Day Day
October 26 is … Mule Day
October 27 is … Sylvia Plath Day
October 28 is … Plush Animal Lover’s Day and National Chocolate Day More Info On Chocolate
October 29 is … Hermit Day
October 30 is … National Candy Corn Day
October 31 is … National Magic Day and Increase Your Pyschic Powers Day

NOVEMBER

November 1 is … Plan Your Epitaph Day
November 2 is … National Deviled Egg Day
November 3 is … Sandwich Day and Housewife’s Day
November 4 is … Waiting For The Barbarians Day
November 5 is … Gunpowder Day
November 6 is … Saxophone Day and Marooned Without A Compass Day
November 7 is … National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day
November 8 is … Dunce Day
November 9 is … Chaos Never Dies Day
November 10 is … Forget-Me-Not Day
November 11 is … Air Day
November 12 is … National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day
November 13 is … National Indian Pudding Day
November 14 is … Operation Room Nurse Day
November 15 is … National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
November 16 is … Button Day
November 17 is … Take A Hike Day
November 18 is … Occult Day
November 19 is … Have A Bad Day Day
November 20 is … Absurdity Day
November 21 is … World Hello Day and False Confessions Day
November 22 is … Start Your Own Country Day
November 23 is … National Cashew Day
November 24 is … Use Even If Seal Is Broken Day
November 25 is … National Parfait Day
November 26 is … Shopping Reminder Day
November 27 is … Pins And Needles Day
November 28 is … Make Your Own Head Day
November 29 is … Square Dance Day
November 30 is … Stay At Home Because You’re Well Day

DECEMBER

December 1 is … National Pie Day and Eat A Red Apple Day
December 2 is … National Fritters Day
December 3 is … National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day
December 4 is … Wear Brown Shoes Day
December 5 is … National Sacher Torte Day
December 6 is … National Gazpacho Day and Mitten Tree Day
December 7 is … National Cotton Candy Day
December 8 is … Take It In The Ear Day
December 9 is … National Pastry Day
December 10 is … Festival For The Souls Of Dead Whales
December 11 is … National Noodle Ring Day
December 12 is … National Ding-A-Ling Day
December 13 is … Ice Cream and Violins Day
December 14 is … National Bouillabaisse Day
December 15 is … National Lemon Cupcake Day
December 16 is … National Chocolate Covered Anything Day More Info on Chocolate
December 17 is … Underdog Day and National Maple Syrup Day
December 18 is … National Roast Suckling Pig Day
December 19 is … Oatmeal Muffin Day
December 20 is … Games Day
December 21 is … Look At The Bright Side Day, National Flashlight Day, National French Fried Shrimp Day, and Hamburger Day
December 22 is … National Date-Nut Bread Day
December 23 is … Roots Day
December 24 is … National Egg Nog Day
December 25 is … National Pumpkin Pie Day
December 26 is … National Whiners Day
December 27 is … National Fruitcake Day
December 28 is … Card Playing Day and National Chocolate Day
December 29 is … Pepper Pot Day
December 30 is … Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute and National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day
December 31 is … Unlucky Day

                                                  ( credits to all-funny.info)

I do not know how these people come up with these ideas. Of course, because they are too cool not to create one, too imaginative ,or maybe they were kids who needs to post something on their social networks everyday and needs some challenges everyday.( for some people posting on their social networks were like a vow to share a slice of their lives to the universe, when in fact , nobody really cares what they ate or if they just bought the latest iphone 6 ) hahahaha

Well, no matter how crazy the idea was. This thing is trending. And everyone else got hooked as well.Now if You are a foodie like me this might interest you as well.

Sheesh, you better hashtag these national day stuff when you post em on your Social media sites.hahahahhaha

Thinking of my dessert tomorrow,

(just because it is National Dessert day)

Maria

The Pregnant Backpacker: Kota Kinabalu Street Art

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We just finished our island hopping and we are off the inner city to hunt for our bed for the night.  Since I know that backpacker hostels are walking distance from the Jesselton Port, we just headed straight to where my instinct tells me to go. I swear, this is for real. I do not know which direction we have to go but I just followed my instincts. Another adventure awaits.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

So we walked towards the Big Shopping Mall. No we are not going inside just yet. We went to the other side of the mall. We passed by this concrete ruins embellished by graffiti of local artists.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they're having a piss.”  ― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

"I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."  — Robert Frost

“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
— Robert Frost

"How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?"  — Anaïs Nin

“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”
— Anaïs Nin

“Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.”  ― Haruki Murakami

“Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”
― Haruki Murakami

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”  ― Rumi

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”  ― Rumi

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”
― Rumi

“Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.”  ― Rumi

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
― Rumi

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."  — Anaïs Nin

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
— Anaïs Nin

I am a lover of the arts and I admire works like those. It connotes freedom and independence, colorful and Bold, Young but Mature. And so we went into it. Taking photos of whatever we can see. We spotted models and photographers having sessions. Looks like we stumbled upon an accidental tourist spot, both for foreigners and locals alike.

After our brief encounter with the local street artists’ works. We headed to direction of the nearby Hill. I remembered that the Inns are near the Hill, and so we followed the trail. We passed by several establishments and then we finally saw the Familiar names of Inns and Hostels ( those popular ones most especially).

"Not all those who wander are lost."  — J.R.R. Tolkien

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."  — Anaïs Nin

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
— Anaïs Nin

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”  ― Rumi

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
― Rumi

"Little by little, one travels far"  — J.R.R. Tolkien

“Little by little, one travels far”
— J.R.R. Tolkien

And so we finished our Art Tour and begun our Hunt for our bed fot tonight. We tried our luck at Borneo backpackers but it was fully booked. The available room they have is a dorm like space that is to be shared by minimum 5 persons. No. I can’t handle that now since I am pregnant, I want a nice and quiet place to rest. And so we walked another block. And we hit the jackpot. We found our home for the night. ( and for the rest of our stay at KK).

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”  ― Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Rumi

Oh in lieu of me posting about Art ( street art) I just wanted to put some of my Favorite quotes from my favorite poets as captions to share with you guys.

Hope you will love them as much as I do. Please do read Rumu, Anais Nin, Haruki Murakami, and Tolkien. ( but who doesn’t love them right? )

Sipping Coffee and munching on cakes and sweets,

Maria

PREGNANT BACKPACKER: Island Hopping at Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Kota Kinabalu

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jesselton portThe first time I have heard about Kota Kinabalu, or KK was when I was eavesdropping my supervisor while she was talking about her upcoming travel plans to my other colleagues. In Singapore, People are fond of travel. A weekend in another country or even an overnight stay in Indonesia or Malaysia is normal. Just a few bucks, a 30 minute bus ride or 45-minute ferry ride and you are in another country. Yey, cheaper food and cheaper stuff. But of course, Singapore is an expensive city. My Singaporean friends even do their groceries or even their wet market visits in nearby Johor Bahru, Malaysia or at Batam or Bintan, Indonesia. ( we did some wet market visits one time at Batam. Plus cheap massage and pedicure.)

jesselton portjesselton port

So when I overheard about KK, I immediately listed it on my Bucket List. The main reason I wanted to visit this place is because of Mt. Kinabalu. The mountain that gave the City its name. My hardcore backpacker friend, Jason Mitchell talked about his adventures in the City and that he climbed this Highest Mountain in the Malay Archipelago, and the 20th most prominent mountain in the world. And so I wanted to climb the Mountain. I booked our flight to KK for my love’s birthday. I forgot I couldn’t climb of course. I am 5 months pregnant. So instantly, I have to bid my idea of the Mountain climbing goodbye for now. But hello to the Islands and the sea.

i have to smother myself in Sunblock before anything else.

i have to smother myself in Sunblock before anything else.

We have to wait for around 30 minutes to board the jetty. They just opened. So we are in for their first trip.

We have to wait for around 30 minutes to board the jetty. They just opened. So we are in for their first trip.

me and my love. excuse our PDA. shh. he doesn't know i will post this. haaaa

Remember I told you how unfortunate our first few hours in KK was? The exhaustion after a sleepless night and delayed flight, The Closed Inn, The double crosser driver and the Fully occupied  hotels at 1 Borneo. No it did not end there. So we asked around how to go to Jesselton port. It is in our plan for the day to do the island hopping so we have to go to the port immediately so that we can catch the first trip to the islands. We are about to leave in 2 days so we have to maximize our time and visit places as much as we can. We are that hyper when we travel.

When we tried asking people on how to go to the port they told us to ride a public vehicle going there. We crossed the Overpass towards the other side of the road. Few minutes before 7 AM. Rush hour. Students and People going to work crowd the Bus Stop. We waited for almost 45 minutes. No sign of a public vehicle to take us. All are unimaginably full. No toploaders of course. Almost an hour of waiting in vain, we were able to spot a cab. Oh Good Lord, Finally. The driver charged us the minimal fare. I am glad. A sign that things will turn good now. A sign of a good hearted local. =Dfish sanctuary kota kinabalu

When we arrived the Port, We went straight for the ticketing office. There are lots of them offering island hopping packages. Since I am pregnant, I have special handling as well. The speed boat have to take a little extra care of me the whole day.  They cannot drive in full speed . You can customize your island hopping adventure. It is up to you if you want to visit the whole Marine park. For us, We just planned on visiting Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan And Pulau Mamutik. These island are famous for snorkeling. But we did not thought of snorkeling though.

Our First Island is Pulau Sapi. We stayed there for more than 6 Hours. We had our Brunch and took a nap there after the first decent meal of the day.

Pulau Sapi Kota kinabalu

Pulau Sapi is known as “Cow Island” in Malay is just off the south-western tip of Pulau Gaya.

a 15-20 minute speedboat ride can take you here at Pulau Sapi. Price range depends on the boat operators.

a 15-20 minute speedboat ride can take you here at Pulau Sapi. Price range depends on the boat operators.

It has one of the nicest beaches among the islands of the Marine Park. People flock here for snorkeling and scuba diving.

It has one of the nicest beaches among the islands of the Marine Park. People flock here for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The beach side is crystal clear.Always the best site for swimming for the kids and the whole family.

The beach side is crystal clear.Always the best site for swimming for the kids and the whole family.

There are many activities at this island and amenities as barbecue pits, jetty, picnic shelters, cafe, toilets are available.

There are many activities at this island and amenities as barbecue pits, jetty, picnic shelters, cafe, toilets are available.

excuse me and fatass and baby bump here. haaa

excuse me and fatass and baby bump here. haaa

there is this Monitor lizard near the cafe. I can't go near her though.

there is this Monitor lizard near the cafe. I can’t go near her though.

Finally, had our first meal of the day here. I missed Kuay Teow! Finally had my Malaysian Food Fix.

Finally, had our first meal of the day here. I missed Kuay Teow! Finally had my Malaysian Food Fix.

In front is the Gaya Island. When it is low tide, you can actually walk towards this island through a sand bar.

In front is the Gaya Island. When it is low tide, you can actually walk towards this island through a sand bar.

Pulau Sapi,

We slept under a tree in front of this beautiful sight after our meal. This is the life.

We slept under a tree in front of this beautiful sight after our meal. This is the life.

Camping overnight the Island is allowed as long as you ask permission from the warden. The island is fully equipped with all the amenities. Just arm yourself with Mosquito repellents and meds just in case and all the camping stuff you need. Oh and do not forget, You will have to pay Conservation Fee around 3RM for Malaysians and 10RM for Foreigners good for all the islands that you will be visiting for the day.

Around 2pm after our Siesta, we went  to our guide ( the staff is a Filipino who lives most of his adult life in KK, so he actually speaks local already). The tour operator were so attentive to my needs. I have the safest place inside the boat. perks of a preggo. hahaha

Next stop is Pulau Manukan. This is the second largest among the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Largest is Gaya, But we did not go there. Pulau Manukan has the most developed tourist amenities. It has several chalets, clubhouse, restos, even pools and sports amenities.

Manukan island

A Chalet or Villa at the Manukan Island Resort can cost around 250USD.

A Chalet or Villa at the Manukan Island Resort can cost around 250USD.

The island boasts its amazing species of  fishes and corals.Thus, Perfect for Snorkel enthusiasts.

The island boasts its amazing species of fishes and corals.Thus, Perfect for Snorkel enthusiasts.

manukan island kota kinabalu

This is one of my favorite canned drink when I stayed in Singapore.I love Jellies.

This is one of my favorite canned drink when I stayed in Singapore.I love Jellies.

You can rent Kayaks and snorkeling Gears at the Beach front.

You can rent Kayaks and snorkeling Gears at the Beach front.

When we arrived at the island,we just walked around and checked the place. We were not able to really explore the whole island because I was already quite exhausted. So we just had our cold drinks under the shade of a Coconut tree and watch the sea and the people enjoying themselves.

Manukan Island has its sole operating resort comprising 20 chalets, a restaurant, swimming pool and a Tennis Court. It is expensive of course. One stay at their Villa is tantamount to the airfares and bus fares I paid for in this whole trip ( MNL-KK, bus fare KK-BRUNEI,Bus fare BRUNEI-Miri, MIRI-KL, KL-SG ) . Seriously.

Well, the Beach itself provides Basic amenities. There are kayak rentals, Snorkeling gears and Life jackets for rent as well, a café and a huge public Toilet.

After an hour the sky changed its mood. Soon after, It started to rain. The rain was pouring quite heavily and there were gushes of winds as well. So we got stuck at the cafe. Wet. All the people at the beach went to find a shelter because the Rain got harder and harder. Good thing, after 30 minutes or so. It changed its mood again. So We went to our guide immediately for us to finish the tour.

But because of the weather, we have to cut our tour early. We went to the Mamutik Islands just to fetch a passenger and get a view of the island from the speed boat.  Pulau Mamutik is the smallest among the islands of the Marine Park. Smallest in a sense you can actually just visit the entire island in less than 30 minutes. But even if it is small, it has a resthouse, public toilet, a ranger station, picnic shelters, barbecue pits. It also has electricity and has a fresh water from a well.manukan island kota kinabalu

So that ends our Island hopping.You can go to all the islands of the Marine Park:Pulau Gaya (which is the biggest among the 5 islands) , Pulau Manukan, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug( farthest among the islands and the most undeveloped). But since I know I cannot handle all the boat rides the whole day plus the exhaustion from a sleepless night and the normal pregnancy stress, We have to just choose from among the islands.

We have to be back at the port before sundown because we are still going to search for a place to stay for the night and a nice restaurant for our Dinner. But of course, this did not end our First day adventure at KK.  Know what else we did on my next entry.

Reminiscing my baby bumps and Craving for Laksa,

Maria

P.S.

No, i am not pregnant again. haaaa

KOTA KINABALU: A Series of Unfortunate Events

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When we went to Sagada Last June 2013, I did not know I was already 1 month pregnant. We knew of my pregnancy just a month after, the day before I went into my Training for Officership in A financial Institution in Manila. It felt so unreal. But Of course, Me and my love were so happy, excited and at the same time scared. I was not taking good care of myself very well weeks before that. I was not sleeping well. I kept on traveling via land. I skip meals. I eat junk. I drunk beer one time. I was so scared that that might affect my pregnancy. Good Heavens, Baby is fine when I had my first check Up. =D

So I went for my training and all. The job is not easy. The responsibilities and the frequent travels made me so stressed and exhausted. I often catch myself sleeping at the office. So me and my partner then decided that I stop working for a while. Just for the meantime.So there goes the start of my Bum Life.

I moved to Manila to be with him. I was such a brat when i moved there. I wake up with my breakfast prepared, my lunch as well, when he comes home, he cooks for me too. All i did was just Write, eat, watch Tv, do my stuff. My exercise, Shopping and grocery. On my second trimester, I thought of traveling. I asked my OB at St. Lukes to allow me to travel at least for a few days. It was fine, since i am just 5 months pregnant. So I have this medical clearance and meds and vitamins to bring with me for our travel.

I booked a flight to Kota Kinabalu for just 2 days. Thinking that will heal my itch to travel somehow. ( i am a sucker for long and distant travels. so 2 days is too short for me.) Since I was pregnant, I had to do a special handling thingy with Cebu Pacific (And the rest of the Airlines that we will be flying with for our unplanned trips after KK ) . 

I did not tell our family, especially my mom about our travel. Of course, they will freak out. They knew of it when we already went back to our province weeks after. I am optimistic that baby is healthy and that I can do all the walking and rides along the way, So i went through it. All i care about is I am happy traveling.period. That is how a stubborn pregnant is. Believe me, you do not want to mess up with a preggo. So my love, just said yes to my plans.

Thing is, It is a plan I made for his Birthday. I want him to enjoy and do something for the first time on his special day. His first birthday with me.  hehehe. SO i just surprised him with a plane ticket to KK. Just KK.

He is also on a 15-Day leave so everything was just so timely. On the day of his Birthday, We just ate at Jco coz I was Craving for a frappe and a Donut. Then We went to the groceries to do some sausage and meat shopping. I cooked lots of food on that day. ironically, we did not ate any of those because We were running late for our flight. We ended up having dinner at the terminal gate before boarding. I had coffee once again. hahahaha. and croissants. =D

We were booked via Cebu Pacific. Damn. That was the first time that my flight got delayed. I never had a delayed flight with them, though they are quite famous for having delays and all that. So we ended up sitting at the boarding gates for hours. I was like, Shit We should have eaten a lot at home, If I only knew that the flight will be delayed.

 ol

We are supposed to arrive around 130 in the morning But because of the 3 hour delay, we arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airprt LCC Terminal 2 around 530Am. Sleepless pregnant me. Can you imagine my angst towards CebuPac? How can I enjoy the rest of the day at the islands if I am sleepless. And you know how pregnant women  gets too sleepy everytime. gahhhhh

So when we reached the airport, We immediately exchanged our USD to Ringgit. I have researched for the Inn we are supposed to stay in, And it is just walking distance from the airport. Thing is, We arrived either early or late. When we went to the place, It is closed. Everyone is pretty much sleeping soundly, While me and love are freezing cold outside, sleepless and exhausted.  We started walking. Towards, I believe is the city proper. No Sun Yet. But it is about to Rise anytime soon. It started raining. Luck. hahahaha.

We rode a cab going to the City proper. How unlucky we rode a cab who took us to a distant place and charged us 70Rm. Guys, Please do not follow us. t just sucks that we were so sleepy and desperate to find a good bed to rest. And so we just paid. The cab said his taximeter is not working. That Man is such an asshole. I hate people who fools others for money’s sake. May he rot in hell. ( sorry for the foul words. But no. I mean that. that is freaking expensive for a fare . And i know he knows where he brought us is not the place I am referring to. )

1 Borneo

1 Borneo

So yeah. Those unfortunate events started our Kota Kinabalu trip. We just had coffee and noodles at the Convenience store at that place. 1 Borneo is quite distant from the city proper where the cheap backpacker hostels and tourist spots can be found. This is the place for those high end hotels and banks and establishments. Since, We were the lucky ones, When I asked for any available rooms for the day, of course, All are occupied. How happy can lucky can a pregnant lady get? hahahhaha

I just got to share these to you guys, to always be careful and vigilant when it comes to riding public vehicles. Always know what the right fare is, and always know the specifics of the places you are going to. And, Do pray not to have a delayed flight, and not to have a sleepless night, so you that your brain will function right and your body will still be in full power to argue with a double crosser driver.

Always sleepy though not preggy,

Maria

P.S.

forgive the rhyme. hahahaha

CURRENTLY LOVING: SPOTIFY

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Music for everyone. Indeed. Loving this spotify for weeks now. It provides music streaming for free. It is easy to download, and as I said it is free. Thing is you will encounter much of ads popping out every time. encouraging you to upgrade into a premium version. But heck, this is a good app for all music junkies or those who is not as musically intelligent as I am for it provides you with easy browsing and introduces you to lots of musicians you never heard of.

This was actually launched in 2008, with over 40 million users and over 10 millions paid subbies this year. I love the fact that it is user friendly, even a kid who wants to search for twinkle twinkle little star can enjoy her music just as much as an old lady like me who uses spotify for karaoke purposes. yes, i sing over instrumental pieces i found on spotify. hahahahaha

anyway, let me just share with you few songs I came across with when I played one of over thousand of the playlists that they have. Enjoy!

I hope you love them as much as I Do. I will be creating my playlist, so If you guys have yours on spotify, comment on and I will be checking on them. Let us have a playlist swap!

Feeling so nostalgic,

Maria

SURVIVING SAGADA: As I Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death. ( Church of St. Mary The Virgin + Calvary Hill + Hanging Coffins)

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Church of st. mary the Virgin Sagada

“Knock, And He’ll open the door Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.” — Rumi

We woke up early on our second day. Well we are squeezing everything that we can do in the place for just 2 days, so we do not have the luxury of time waking up late and wasting hours of resting ( a thing we can do when we head back to Manila the following day).

Around 530 AM, we quickly changed to our sweaters. It was too cold. Well at least for me who is really not a fan of cold places coz I always get allergies and all.We started walking up the town towards the Church where old folks are heading to as well.It was a Sunday. It was so cold that I thought I am already walking on clouds. No, It was just thick fog. really thick fog.

People are flocking the church. St. Mary the Virgin Church is a granite stone church made in early 1900’s  by American Missionaries to help spread Christianity to the people of Sagada. I love seeing Churches like St. Mary, It looks so humble and beautiful. When I visit new places, I visit churches If I have a chance. Coz Travel for me is a pilgrimage as well.

Church of st. mary the Virgin Sagada

Church of st. Mary the Virgin, Mission Compound in Sagada

Sagada Episcopal BellJust a little walk from the church is the Calvary Hill. I tell you guys, this is one thing I did not research about. As much as possible I like to surprise myself when I travel. It was a Eureka moment when we stumbled upon the cemetery of the town. It was creepy in a beautiful way. The Huge Cross was situated at the Top center of the cemetery.

In Sagada, They have their traditional way of burying their dead. They have their Igorot Funeral practices. The way they dress their dead and how they bury them, their embalming procedures are seemingly famous not only in our country but around the world. Especially for writers and archaeologists who finds it amazingly interesting.

Learning about the Igorot’s ways of paying respect to their dead loved ones and preparing their exit towards life hereafter, makes me realize their strong religious belief. ( and how complicated their mourning rites are.) When someone dies at birth, young age, old age, sickness, accidents or crimes, Their rites are done differently. Unlike for Catholics like me well, You die , you are mourned at your wakes, buried in cemetery or Cremated with a priest blessing your human body. Igorots have their ways as well. ways means wayyyyssssssss.

P1040213 P1040214

According to A Sagadan Educator Dinah Elma Omengan, in northern villages of Mountain Province ( Sagada being one of its municipality),”the baby’s corpse is bathed and dressed in a white shirt and diapers.The body is placed in a box lined with a thin white cloth.

If the baby died during the day, burial immediately follows. But if the baby died at night, family and community members watch the corpse until the next morning and burial takes place as soon as the sun rises.

During the burial, a hen is butchered and an old man prays: You are gone. We pray that your destination is good and we, whom you left behind, will stay healthy.

The bereaved parents stay home for a week-long ngilin (mourning). On the eighth day, a chicken is butchered to end the mourning period, a signal for the parents to return to work on their farms and move on with their lives.”

P1040222She also stated in her book  How Sagadans cope up with loved ones death caused by sickness, accident or murder.

In Sagada’s Bangaan village, community members would stop the body of a murdered person from being transported during market days.

They perform a ritual at the public market. A dog is butchered during the pre-burial ritual where an elder prays: We offer this dog, which will seek revenge on who had destroyed you because we did not see who did it (murder). You, sun, help the victim. But if the murder happened at night, you, moon, have seen the killer. If not, maybe the stars have seen the killer. And if it was cloudy, maybe the clouds have seen the killer.?

The people then cook the meat. After they partake of the meal, the corpse is taken home for other burial rituals to be performed.

The most common post-burial rite is the “daw-es,” which seeks to cleanse all grief and pain.

For the villages of Patay (Poblacion), Dag-dag, Demang and Ambasing in central Sagada, the daw-es ritual for someone who was murdered also involves butchering a dog. An old man prays that the rite ward off the misfortune that had befallen the family and the community to allow them to live in peace.

Piluden-Omengan has documented other Sagada pre-burial rites called “sakeb” and “liplipet.”

In the sakeb, an old man takes a piece of “etag” (preserved salted pork) and prays that no one else in the community suffers the same fate as the murder victim.

In the liplipet, a day-old chick is killed and an elder prays for bad fortune to leave.

The same burial rites are performed for people who die from accidents and suicides.

Calvary Hill sagada

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.” ― Socrates

Calvary Hill sagadaNo matter how their practices are as complicated as they are, I admire them for doing all these for their loved ones. Even after their death, They are well taken care of. Bereaved families and relatives until now practices the same rituals but are no longer that strict though. Meaning, What I may have read about their rituals today may not be totally the same as what the modern Sagadans are practicing. Though, they may have still retained some. Read Murray’s first hand experience of attending Sagadan Wake here. and A local’s writing about Igorot’s Traditions here.Calvary Hill sagadaThe way they bury their dead in the cemetery at the Calvary Hill may seem like a tale for me until I knew that yes, they really bury their dead accordingly. And during  All Soul’s Day, Instead of Candles, They create bonfires as offering to their departed loved ones. When one  died because of old age they have the very right to be buried on higher grounds, on cliffs, hence the Sagada Hanging Coffins.

This is the first time I have seen a cemetery atop a hill so I am totally astounded. It feels like I am in a scene of a horror movie of some sort. Anyway enough of the creepy stories coz it is almost midnight now while I am typing this entry so I will stop the burial stuff here. =D

Echo Valley SagadaAfter my quick walk around the cemetery we decided to walk our way to a route I believe is the path towards the Echo Valley and the Hanging Coffins. By right one should get a tour guide coz there was no sign at all saying that is that way to the Coffins (or I may have missed the sign. did i? ) I am really stubborn and stingy when traveling. Prior to our bus ride going to Baguio I have read that you can actually just walk your way towards the Coffins without a guide. But the narrow and steep walkways are tricky and we somehow got a little lost. I hate to admit that I should have not tagged along to this American guy and his local guide coz I wanted to be proud of not paying a sum for something that everyone else have done without seeking a guide’s help. But towards the end of our little walkathon with the 2 new friends, 200 pesos was nothing.

Echo Valley Sagada

Some coffins we saw along the way.The size of the coffins doesn’t signify their size when they departed.

The path was steep. There are series of ups and downs and slippery mud along the way. It entails a lot of careful steps going down the hill. I was wearing just my slippers so it was a challenge for me. I was wearing my favorite one so I was also bothered not only of slipping but of destroying my slippers. hahahaha Good thing his one tough guy. He survived Sagada As well. Hanging coffins of Sagada

Hanging coffins of SagadaWhen we reached the Hanging Coffins, of course I was amazed. They are real. They are really hanging right there. But I did not really went near the coffins. I forgot why I didn’t! ( i am so sorry glitches and all with my memory because of my recent operation. hahahaha  but seriously. )

There is also this chair tied with a coffin at the rock face said to be used by the dead before they finally rest into their coffins. It is quite unimaginable how the locals actually put the coffins up there without any help of machineries . All they need are ropes, rods, ladder and few good men. Imagine the scenario? Come one be imaginative. yes. go on. good.

I do not know much of how the Igorots or the Sagadans believe on sending off their loved ones to the next life. If it is for the corpse to be nearer to their creator, to save them from being eaten by dogs or any scavengers or to save space and make more space for them to grow crops and save natural space or just to make the bereaved families always remember their dead loved ones ( forgetting the dead is second death, worse than death itself) . But one thing is for sure, We as human beings have our own belief system and we all differ in faith but we are called to respect each other. Respect begets respect. Love begets love. We will be in our deathbeds soon enough. For now, make your stay on earth worthwhile. We only live once. So live fully.

I am getting quite dramatic here. Just to match with the filter of my photos. hahahaha. I hope we all learn from the Igorots of Sagada. And I hope you guys also learned from my lengthy entry of which I doubt. hahaha.

Imagining how it feels to die,

Maria

Calvary Hill sagada

“Wherever you travel to, there is your home.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

SURVIVING SAGADA: Foodporn

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Whenever I do my research on the place that I will be traveling to, I make sure I include not only the activities and the spots to visit. I also take time in listing the food picks that I will be trying as well. I will always try those that I haven’t tried yet and their specialties. But as weird as I am, I always miss the list. I always fail to try several on my checklist. hahaha Reason: unidentified.

When we went to Sagada, There are only three things I want my palate to meet: Yoghurt from the famous Yoghurt House, Lemon Pie from the Lemon Pie House and Pinikpikan ( preferably the most authentic one there is.) from any local’s house ( hahaha) . Guess what I missed to eat the Last one. See I have a habit of not completing my own checklist. Even if there are only 3 on the list. hahahaha

Below are the places to eat that are I recommend when you are in Sagada. Disclaimer: I haven’t tried everything on the list of course. hahahhaa But according to forums, research and eavesdropping, here goes. hahahaha

1. YOGHURT HOUSE

This one is my favorite place to dine in Sagada. I ate here like three times within 2 days. That is why I missed some other restos in town. I kept on coming back for their food and the boho feel of the whole place. Yoghurt house in Sagada

yoghurt house interiorthe famous yoghurt of the yoghurt housePrice wise, Theirs are not that cheap but it is all worth it because of the super delicious meals and the serving is quite overwhelming. I did not try all their offerings though but of course never leave Sagada without having a taste of their famed yogurt. yoghurt house overlooking grandma's house

2. SALT and PEPPER DINER

All the walking that we have been doing , I deserve a Rice Meal for my afternoon snack. Yes you read it right. I am not a fan of rice ever since but I just can’t leave the town without having to taste their freshly picked veggies paired with my meal staple which is chicken. And, The Facade of this diner is quite inviting. And so I gave in. plus they give free extra rice. rawr.

salt and pepper diner sagadasalt and pepper diner sagada salt and pepper sagada menu

3. LEMON PIE HOUSE

This is farther than the rest of the popular cafes in town but walking few minutes more just to have a taste of their superstar in  the menu , the lemon pie, is worth it. We had this for breakfast on our second day. Good thing they still have 2 slices left for us. You can have a slice for 25 pesos each. And boy it is delish.

Lemon pie house sagadasagada lemon pie housesagada lemon pie housesagada lemon pie house

4. BANA’S RESTO

Have you heard of the most expensive coffee? If not yet, let me tell you something about it. Kopi Luwak, is coffee from animal poo. Simple as that. Quite disgusting when you actually imagine the cup of coffee you are drinking is a animal feces. I haven’t tried this. Even If I stayed in Singapore for 3 years, and this is quite popular there. I just did not tried it. Just because I want to get a hold of the authentic one. I will drink kopi luwak when I travel to Indonesia where it originated. pride.lol. hahaha. anyway, we just had our brekkie at the lemon pie house but we only have few hours more in Sagada, so we have to dine in many restos as we can. hahaha. So we just had coffee and I couldn’t take it, so I ordered sandwich as well. bana's resto sagadabana's resto sagadabana's resto sagada

5. STRAWBERRY CAFE

We had our lunch at this cafe on our second day. Good thing my eyes always always wander off to different directions that I was able to spot this cafe. They are not located along the road so finding them was not that pretty easy. though they have this small signage pointing to them.  we actually went there quite late, so when we arrived. They already ran out of the food that we chose to have. we just ended up with what they have left. Nothing special. Wish we tried their yogurt though.strawberry cage sagadastrawberry cage sagadastrawberry cafe sagadastrawberry cafe sagadastrawberry cafe sagada

Below are some food stops that you should try as well. I haven’t tried them yet because we cannot eat like 5 to 8 times a day just to dine in every restos in the town.  But we will be trying them as soon as we have our ass back to Sagada. ( which i am planning to do so, soon )

6. GAIA CAFE & CRAFTS

I swear when I get back, my first meal will be from Gaia. I was not aware they even existed when I went there! BUt this is a must visit in Sagada, as far as my research goes, They have a Vegan Menu. I am a sucker for anything organic. They have this nice fresh ambiance and the design of the whole cafe is so beautiful.

7. LOG CABIN

They have their Saturday Night Buffet for 390 per person. I love buffets but not on an evening. Just so you know, it is not good to eat a lot at night.hahaha. I am not really a diet fan but i just find it hard to sleep at night when I eat a lot at night.  But if you really love eating and having heavy dinner, go for this. They have their fine collection of hard to find wines and spirits. These are just so good for a cold weather as Sagada’s.

8. MASFERRE INN & RESTAURANT

This is the nearest resto from the Town Hall. It sounds expensive yes? When I went there to inquire. Yes they are. haaaaa. For budget conscious travelers, this may not be for you.  But you can always try their food offerings. According to my research they have nice sandwiches and fries. Okay, next time i will try them out. =D

9. PINIKPIKAN HOUSE

What is Pinikpikan? You may find me funny but I never heard of it as a food. I have learned of Pinikpikan because a certain band is named Pinikpikan. And I am a music lover and researcher or whatever. So I was actually surprised to know that it is actually a name of a Food. Pinikipikan is a dish from Cordillera region ( which Sagada is a part of). It is prepared by beating chicken with a stick before it is cooked. The blood from the chicken’s bruises said to make the chicken tastier when cooked. ( i find it quite disturbing though. I love killing and torturing ants and roaches, but other animals? nahhhh. )

We were about to dine here, but our tour guide told us the best way to eat pinikpikan is to dine in a local’s house. But sadly, we were not able to do so because we lack time. So another checklist on my next Sagada visit.

10. MISTY LODGE & CAFE

They have the best food pictures on web. Mouthwatering photos of burgers, pasta and fries. OMG. The place may not be as near to the town hall where all else are walking distance. But if you happen to stay in their lodge you are lucky to always eat in their cafe. You won’t have to go far. But for those who stays in other inns, Misty deserves to serve a meal for your hungry soul.

11. ROCK INN and CAFE

This place is quite far from the town center. But if you can ride any wheeled vehicle going there why not. They have a very nice ambiance as it was an orange orchard before and It is a fully equipped Inn with amenities as Massage services and shuttle services and all that. Food wise, their price may be higher than the other restos in town. For price conscious like me, this may not be a good choice. heee. not unless someone will take me there for free. go. hahahaha

So pretty much that’s it. I know I have missed some restos but please do comment down your picks so I may try them when I get my fat ass back to Sagada hopefully this year or next year. Hope this somehow helps you on your food adventure in the beatiful Sagada province.

Craving for Yogurt and lemon Pie,

Maria

CURRENTLY LOVING: Jess Greenberg

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So, 99% of people who came across her youtube video may have been drawn by her boobs. I was one of the 99%. I was just sooooo curious if she can really nail ACDC. I am so amazed and hands down to this woman. Jess is not only the typical woman who just poses selfies and shows off her boobs and all that ( like almost all the selfie divas in the universe who loves to flaunt their womanity and faces and all that) . I love woman of talent. I love how they are a ball of beauty and talent. i love how they can attract the world because of their abilities…and their boobs. (okay okay)

Watch all her videos guys. =D

Watching her videos again and again and staring at her boobs ( just kidding people) ,

Maria

SURVIVING SAGADA: Bus Rides and Cold Nights ( travel time + Bus fares + Accomodation )

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We left Manila on a Friday Night. We took a bus going to Baguio around 11 pm. There are lots of buses bound to Baguio in many terminals in Manila  so going there is easy. There are trips every hour too. The time travel is approximately 6 hours and bus fares range from 350-450 pesos. If you want a non-stop trip you can take delxe buses of Victory Liner or the Genesis’ Joy Bus that will take you to Baguio in 4-5 hours. Their buses are equipped with Toilet, wifi, TV and comfy seats. Of course Fare will be higher, around 650 to 750 pesos.

Oh i wish We rode the Joy bus instead coz I have heard they also offer free snacks ,blankets and they have stewardess on board. But because we never planned our trip we just rode whatever bus is going to leave at the time we reached the terminal. Yes, that is how random and impulsive I am.

Reaching Baguio City around 5-6Am is the most ideal time because there is at least some establishments open and the bus going to Sagada will not leave until 6:00 for their first trip. ( we are on a 2 day trip only so time is of the essence.)  It is the best time to travel up since the views along the way are so picturesque during the first lights of the morning.

Check this for Victory Liner buses schedule here. Or you can try booking your bus trips here.

Baguio Dangwa Terminal

From Manila, The bus stopped at a certain terminal where stores are lined up. It was freaking cold for people like us who is not accustomed to a freezing weather.We arrived Baguio around 5am so imagine how cold it was. And we were just wearing a sweatshirt. No beanie, no gloves at least. hahaha. We bought beanies and gloves for 50 pesos each from a store along the terminal. We had hot chocolate from a vending machine before we walked around and looked for a taxi that will take us to Dangwa Terminal. Taxi Fare will not be more than 80 pesos.

Gl trans have trips to Sagad from 6AM until 1PM.

Gl trans have trips to Sagada from 6AM until 1PM.

Moma is said to strengthen teeth and make your lips red. It also has medicinal aids. Want to try this one day. =D

Moma is said to strengthen teeth and make your lips red. It also has medicinal aids. Want to try this one day. =D

The stopover has lots of this plastered In all places. I guess moma chewers spit a lot here. hehehe. Well I guess it just stains and is quite a disgusting thing to look at lying around.

The trip was smooth. And the bus was clean. The fare is around 200-250 pesos for a 6-7 hours trip.

The trip was smooth. And the bus was clean. The fare is around 200-250 pesos for a 6-7 hours trip.

Right now, there is no bus going straight to Sagada. So you really have to take a bus Via Baguio or Bontoc to reach Sagada. But right now the GV Florida bus which is the only bus catering to travelers going to Sagada via Bontoc is suspended because of the grim accident that happened early this year where lots of people died including a famous actor and advocacy artist, Tado.

you have to pay a minimal environmental fee when you reach the Municipal Hall of Sagada.

you have to pay a minimal environmental fee when you reach the Municipal Hall of Sagada.

We arrived Sagada before lunch. First stop is at the municipal hall where you have to pay 35 pesos each person for environmental fee and we also booked our tour guide here for 800 pesos for our cave connection in the afternoon. The 800 pesos is good for 2-3 persons.

me to the girl at the Inn: Dear, does the room have aircon or Fan? Girl: (smiled) me: ( after 8 hours inside the room all set for sleeping) shit, no wonder she just smiles. It is freaking cold although I am wrapped in a thick comforter.

me to the girl at the Inn: Dear, does the room have aircon or Fan?
Girl: (smiled)
me: ( after 8 hours inside the room all set for sleeping) shit, no wonder she just smiled. It is freaking cold although I am wrapped in a thick comforter.

After booking our activity for the rest of the day, what we must do is look for a place for the night. You can actually book beforehand via online and all that stuff. But because I am stubborn and I am not fond of booking my hotels and hostels prior to my travel, we just went into the first Inn we saw. ( I prefer lodges, Inns, hostels and home stays because it is cheaper. Prices does not necessarily equal good service and great experience just so you know.)

The mini receiving area at the second level of the house. The place is so antic looking, beautiful but creepy. There are 3 rooms at the Inn. The toilet is for sharing.

The mini receiving area at the second level of the house. The place is so antic looking, beautiful but creepy. There are 3 rooms at the Inn. The toilet is for sharing.

The grandma’s Yellow house is located the same street and side as the Municipal Hall. Across the street is the Famous Yoghurt House. At the back is a spectacular view from our window. The rooms are at the second level, and the ground floor is mainly for their souvenir shop. The price is very affordable I think it would not be more than 500 for a spacious room good for 2.

How beautiful it is to wake up in the morning and when you open the window this will be the one to greet you. You are bound to have a beautiful day. =D

How beautiful it is to wake up in the morning and when you open the window this will be the one to greet you. You are bound to have a beautiful day. =D

The toilet. Old school. But at least it was clean.

The toilet. Old school. But at least it was clean.

So after checking in and washing up, we ate lunch across the street, at the Yoghurt house. I have to load some carbs for few good hours of caving. And so we did. We have to do our meals fast as we are scheduled for a 1pm start. Mal-Ek fetched us and off we went to search for batman. ( we went to the wrong cave. haaaa )

On the way home after our cave connection we passed by at Indegenous Inn.We stayed there for our second day. I highly recommend this place to stay because I do love the room! The bedding is pretty soft, the rooms have a big table, chair, a vanity mirror and a balcony of your own plus an amazing view. We were able to hang our wet clothes at the balcony too. There are 2 toilets at the 3rd level of the Inn. The whole 4 story building is clean. The price is cheap too, 500 pesos for a room good for 2 people. such a steal. And this time, I did not ask if the room is AC equipped or a fan room. hahahaha

When you happen to stay here at the Indegenous Inn, look for Wan-Ay if she still works there. She is a very hospitable and cheerful person. She took care of us during our stay with them.

So basically, in choosing rooms to stay during your travels, see to it it that it is very accessible, Cheap, clean, and for lightpackers— they must at least provide towels ,besides a good blanket (something that I cannot sleep without). Indegenous Inn is just a few walks from Grandma’s Yellow house.

 hehehe sorry for the unclear pics and the messy room. =D That is how we roll. Messy room is artistically abstract. haaaaaaaaa. So pretty much that is about it. 2 different rooms in 2 days. Just because If I found something better than what I am currently having, I switch. ( This applies in all things in my life I guess. )

Sagada is my most favorite among all the places i have been to. If there is a place that I will go back to, it is this place. 2 days is definitely not enough. Wish we could have extended but because my love has things to attend to back in Manila, we have to cut our stay for just 2 days.

We went there in June last year and the weather was just right in the morning. Sunny but cold, just the way I like it. My windbreaker was not that thick at all but it was fine. Lightweight clothes are fine during the day but be sure to wear thicker ones at night.

i sucked at this entry.

Anyway, If you happened to stay at better Inns in Sagada, share your experiences with me. I would love to try that on my next visit soon. Make sure it is cheap huh? hahahaha ( i am such a cheapskate you know.)

down with allergy but still pretty,

Maria

P.S.

just kidding.

Wat Pho – The Temple of the Reclining Buddha ( Bangkok, Thailand)

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Famous for being the Home of The Grand Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also the Largest ( 20 Acres) and oldest Wat in Bangkok.

It is also the birthplace of Thai Massage.  Long before the founding of the Temple, It has been a venue of  Traditional Thai Massage Education. Until now, You can actually enroll here to study or book an appointment for a nice and relaxing Thai Massage.

The Wat is divided into two Compounds. The Northern Walled compound is where the Reclining Buddha is Housed and the Massage School was Found. The Southern Walled Compound is a  Buddhist monastery.

The Image of The Reclining Buddha at the Northern Compound represents the dying moment of Buddha , moment entering into Nirvana.The Golden Buddha is 46 metres long and 15 metres high.

The Sole of The Reclining Buddha is 5 meters long and 1.5 meters high and inlaid with mother of pearl in 108 segments, showing in great detail the 108 lakshanas or auspicious characteristics of the Buddha.

Towards the Exit of the Temple, there is a long line of 108 bronze wishing bowls on the right side matching the 108 lakshanas on the Soles of the Reclining Buddha.  One should drop coin onto each bowl as you walk along the line to give you good fortune. You can drop any amount of coin you want.

Wat Pho Houses more than a thousand of Buddha Images and is known to have the most collection of such Buddha Images in Bangkok. The temple is officially named Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram and is one of the six temples in Thailand that are of the highest grade of the first class Royal temples.

The Wat Pho is Open from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM and admission is  100 Baht. You get your Free bottle of drinking water at the temple. The Dress code at the temples is very strict. Before you can enter, You have to be barefoot so you will be given a bag to put your shoes or slippers in. If you are wearing shorts or sleeveless, you will be given a cloth to cover you up.  The Wat is located near the Grand Palace, you can go there after your Temple visit.

Happy First of January 2014!

Hopeful and Joyful,

Maria

Wat Arun ( Temple of Dawn) – Bangkok, Thailand

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And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."  — Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
— Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)

Bangkok has over 400  temples for tourists to visit. It may become too daunting though to visit all of them so We just decided to drop by the famous Wat Pho and Wat Arun,two of the few most frequented Wats in Bangkok. 

Wat  Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or simply Wat Arun is best seen or visited in the early morning, as the first light of the morning  shines on the temple, It radiates because of the intricately encrusted seashells and porcelain on the Pagodas, Thus it is popularly known as the Temple of the Dawn. It is locally called Wat Chaeng and was formerly the home of the Emerald Buddha before the capital and Palace was moved to the other side of the river.

Considered as one of the most beautiful Temple In the whole of Thailand,Wat Arun is one of the most Visited of course. Best time to go here is early morning to avoid the crowd and enjoy your own sweet time just looking around without queue going up and down the Prangs or Spire, but the view during sunset is also spectacular.  Mind you, the going up and going down the Spires is not easy. The steps are steep and narrow, so It takes a lot of effort for a small girl like me climbing them, though after sweating up, the view from the top is all worthwhile. From the 260-feet tower, one can see the Chao Phraya River and the rest of Bangkok.

Wat Arun is Open from 6 Am until 5:30 Pm and admission fee applies. I am not sure how much they cost now. It is located on Wat Arun Amarin Road on the West bank of the Chao Phraya river, opposite the Wat Pho temple and the Grand Palace. In order to get there, take a Chao Phraya express boat to Tha Tien pier at the Grand Palace on the East bank of the river. From there, cross the river with the Tha Tien express boat. However, we rented out a Cab to take us around Bangkok’s attractions so we no longer took the boat going to the temple.

The Temple is more than 300 Tears old already and Just last September, The reconstruction of the temple started. There will be major repairs on the cracks of the temples, repair tiles and remove molds. This will be done for the next three years, so If you are planning to visit Wat Arun, you might want to reconsider. =D

But Please,Visit Wat Arun If you found yourself lost in Bangkok, and traverse the steep Spires like I did!

Sleepy as always,

Maria

Merry Christmas – Phuket, Thailand 2011

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390031_10150488895799378_761614377_8558503_700913811_n Two Years ago, me and my good friends celebrated our Christmas in Phuket. I had to work until December 24th morning, had to miss my flight and book another flight in the afternoon to meet them for our mini noche buena , Thai style. We stayed at Jiraporn Hotel, a nice view will greet you when you have your breakfast since it is situated at a hill in the heart of Phuket. DSC_1595 DSC_1596 DSC_1598 DSC_1599

In the Philippines, when you order a bucket of Beer, they will give you a bucket with 5 bottles of beer. In Phuket, You ask for a bucket of beer, they will give you a small bucket filled with ice and beer ready to be gulped. Yes, we were shocked of course.

408613_10150488893504378_761614377_8558475_1334603473_n 406730_10150488895259378_761614377_8558497_66146748_n 403086_10150488893814378_761614377_8558479_642614628_n 397933_10150488892569378_761614377_8558464_373587094_n 404244_10150488894419378_761614377_8558487_1709471594_nPhuket is known for its nightlife. Crazy Nightlife. People just walks along Bangla road like they know each other. And yes, They are mostly drunk. The long road is transformed into a dance floor at night. And you will see different pubs and restaurants along the way. I can walk that same road for how many times and I won’t get sick of it since there are just plenty of things to see. You will  be mesmerized by people of different races just enjoying their lives, Transvestites showing off their fake tits and dancing on poles in a wide glass window to attract customers, strangers asking you to go to their clubs to watch a PingPong Show for a cheap price. DSC_1631 DSC_1632 DSC_1634 DSC_1638 DSC_1673 DSC_1674 DSC_1678 DSC_1619

Phuket is a great place to stay for the holidays, but for a Filipino, It is still different to be at home with your loved ones on a special day like this. Thailand is the third country that I celebrated my Christmas, besides of course my motherland, Philippines and my second home, Singapore.

We stayed there for three days, so we went to a lot of cool places around Phuket. Watch for my other blog post about this Christmas Trip.

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Wishing you all A Merry Christmas,

Maria

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – Ratchaburi, Thailand

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 One of the Famous Tourist Attractions in Bangkok is the Floating Market. I am truly joyful seeing the locals still do their trade here at the Damnoen Saduak Canal. Most of the vendors here are the occupants of the village itself. Since the land here is fertile , their main source of livelihood is agriculture. So most of them sell crops, vegetables and fruits. So whatever they sell there are guaranteed fresh.

The Floating Market is located  in Ratchaburi about 109 kilometres south of Bangkok or approximately 2 hours drive. When we went there, we just hired a cab to take us from our Hostel to Ratchaburi. We also commissioned him to take us to the other tourist attractions nearby. Just learn how to haggle and charm the cab driver. Usually hotels offer tour packages, so you can check the best deals with them and compare it to other travel packages like those found at Khao San Road, or If you are not lazy enough, then do your own itinerary, like us.

To enjoy the Market experience , hiring a boat to take you around the canal is the best way. It is not cheap, so again, learn the art of haggling. When we went there, they were pricing us too high that we almost decided not to take it. Good thing, our cab driver was the one doing the negotiation with the people at the port. He kept on bargaining until we agreed. We had the boat for ourselves. Canals like this is not a new thing for a Filipina like me. Thailand reminds me so much of Philippines. From Nature to the city Traffic and even Thais, they seem to look more like Filipinos. The Floating Market is one of the original floating market in Asia and the most famous in Thailand. But please, If you are planning to buy something for souvenirs, do not do your shopping here. Everything is overpriced. You can buy more in Bangkok. So do not Bother.

I appreciate the experience but it is not a place I would want to go back again. Again, just for the sake of experiencing it.  To add to the floating market experience, we went down to the Coconut farm where they sell not only coconuts, but other stuff for souvenirs. (not necessarily made out of coconut. haha ) You can use a 10 Minute walk around, but there is nothing much to see. IMG_1439The Best time to visit the Market is Before noon. If you are into buying freshies then yes, please go early. It is not as crowded in the morning. People will start to crowd there around noon onwards.  The best thing about my Trip there was the Mango Sticky Rice and The baby Coconut Ice cream. They are just so delicious, perfect for the hot weather.  Actually you can find a lot of food items being sold at the Canal, but do not miss Mango Sticky rice and the Ice Cream. =D

Along the Canal, You can also have a photo Op with A Snake. I would want to try that But I have already experienced playing with a huge snake in Singapore a year Ago. But this is a thrilling activity, so If you are fearless enough, do so. They are pretty much harmless and kind ( so as what their owners say)

You see, most of the things being sold here are also available at Bangkok at lower price.  So word of advice, just take photos when you are there, not unless you are not on a budget or you do not have time anymore to do your last minute shopping, go on and enjoy. =D

Craving for Mango Sticky Rice and Baby Coconut Ice Cream,

Maria

Siam Center – Bangkok, Thailand

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I am afraid that if You look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning. - Andy Warhol

I am afraid that if You look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning. – Andy Warhol

When Andy Warhol Exhibition happened in Singapore a Year ago, I wasn’t able to make it due to time constraints. They had it at Singapore arts and Science Museum and I know I missed one big event of my life. When I went to Bangkok last February I wasn’t expecting Siam Center can give me a taste of what a Warhol exhibit could have been. I know it is a far cry from the real deal but heck I loved the gallery!

Excuse me for looking like a dork, But it is just so nice to wear wigs. =D

I am not a fan of malling, But being in Siam Center and just looking at each concept stores makes me just want to stay there forever. Store Owners invested millions to create unique and eye candy stores. The Four-story structure is divided by floors and each floors have its own concept.  Ground Floor has the globally famous brands  like Forever 21. Second floor   constitutes mainly of International Brands of apparels, cosmetics and accessories. Third Level has all the Thai or their local brands. Their stores will be usually made of wood, copper and steel. Fourth level will be the Food Factory where you can tickle your palate with both their local cuisine and International Menu. They have Their Food court and scattered restaurants.

Browsing at Forever 21. No Folks, I am not a fan. I am just plain curious.

Browsing at Forever 21. No Folks, I am not a fan. I am just plain curious.

For a 40 year old shopping arena, Siam Center undergone a lot of renovations until now. They have created this Ideaopolis as they say it and made a perfect collection of their finest local brands and Internationally acclaimed brands to cater their shoppers’ diverse tastes. The Lifestyle center mixed ideas, art, fashion and technology to better enhance shopping experience.

Via BTS, alight at Siam Station. Actually this is the epicenter of Bangkok Lifestyle, so when you go down Siam Station you will be greeted by shopping mall strips and other places of interest. When you are done with your shopping spree at Siam Center or any other Malls, you might want to visit Siam Ocean world or the Madame Tussauds Museum.

Siam Center boasts its exquisitely designed concept stores, from apparel-selling shops to even its cafe and restaurants. So, even if you are not a shopping fan like me, You will enjoy strolling the center and just looking around. They Have more food choices and cheaper prices than Paragon and not as packed as well. The fourth level has the Food Factory which offers a lot of choices for everyone. If you would want to go out the Mall, surely you will find lots of places to eat round Siam.

Shopping is the best thing to do while you are in Bangkok. The City is filled with lots of malls, not just in Siam. You can find malls carrying the luxury brands down to the cheap finds and even thrifted items around the city.

I wish I was a fan of KPop, coz If I was I know i would be crazy seeing Super Junior perform just infront of Siam station. Why are they so damn popular?

I wish I was a fan of KPop, coz If I was I know i would be crazy seeing Super Junior perform just infront of Siam station. Why are they so damn popular?

Why is Magnum that popular and expensive? please explain in not more than 3 letters.

Why is Magnum that popular and expensive? please explain in not more than 3 letters.

This is the only mall we went to when we were in Siam. Good thing coz by far this is the best mall I went to in Asia.

Craving for Pad Thai ,

Maria

CURRENTLY LOVING: MUSE

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If there is this one band that will always make me feel sad and happy at the same time, this will be no other than Muse. I love how  their music made me feel when I first heard them years ago. I was battling with a heartache ( yes , I do have one, actually, and at some point of my life, it kinda ached. ), then I stumbled upon their music somewhere on the net, and poof it became coco crunch. No, seriously, I felt their soul through their music. As if they wrote the song based on my feelings that time. Well, I guess when humans get their hearts broken, we all feel like every song playing is actually based on how we are feeling at the moment. I felt like Muse made this song for me. lols.

I hope one day I could get the chance to see them perform live, but whatever. I can always listen to them on my ipod whenever I feel like it.

I know you guys have your why-the-hell-he-left-me playlist somewhere on your files there.  I did have one before. lol. Maybe it is time to delete that playlist and create another one, what you think?

Once in a while You will get your heart broken. It is fine. You will get over in time. Trust me.

I hope you like Muse, as much as I do.

Nursing my aching tummy,

Maria

Khao San Road, Bangkok

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Khao San Road, Bangkok
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”

In every country that I went to recently, Vietnam, Cambodia and now Thailand, they have this common denominator that makes it a top backpacking destination for wanderers like me, a backpackers strip. I don’t know, but knowing that there is a place like this for a traveler like me, It makes me feel that there are lots of earthlings who are just blessed or cursed with an itchy sole like me. Not to mention, knowing that there is this sacred place for us to just mingle with other people, have the cheapest places to stay and the best local cuisine to tickle our palate with.

In Saigon, We stayed at Pham Ngu Lao Road, where every travel and tours offices are just about 10 inches away from each other. Where hotels are as narrow and tall as bamboos and can stretch up to a 4th or fifth level without a lift with a saloon and tattoo shop at the ground floor. (yes, we stayed in that particular hotel. They have the nicest staff there. )

In Siem Reap, We spent few days along National Road, a walking distance from lots of souvenir shops, Spas , local restaurants and the Night Market. From there, one can rent a bike then just pedal your way to the temples, not unless you want to of course experience TukTuk. ( i love tuktuks!)

In Bangkok, It could have been nicer if we stayed along Khao San Road, But at that time, It was peak season, and Khao San was bit stacked and the cheapest we had was one near  the airport. Bad idea. It was quite distant from the tourist spots. To get to places, We must take a cab to the airport and from there take the BTS, go down to whatever station and take another ride to wherever. 

Bangkok is just like Manila. Period.

So what about Khao San Road? Backpacker’s ghetto where people just get to forget everything else behind. It reminds me of Bangla Road in Phuket, where the streets are transformed into roofless Bars and people just drink and dance like crazy. party!party! ( oh, except here in Khao San there are no transvestites who will frequently flash their silicon tits to passers by. )

The bigger the darkness, the easier it is to spot your little light.

The bigger the darkness, the easier it is to spot your little light.

You can find lots of souvenir items here, you know those usual Thailand thingies: I love Bangkok magnets, cup, tees, cap, and whatever I-love- Bangkok words can be printed on. ( well , actually you can find those kind of things in every country, especially in South East Asia. I think they better change their style. Funny, how I can find I love Thailand tees in Divisoria, Manila. Yes, imitated. haha. as if it is rocket science to mimic t-shirt designs.hahaha )

Your daughters will love them. And they aren't bulky to bring home. And they don't have the I love Bangkok thingy. lol

Your daughters will love them. And they aren’t bulky to bring home. And they don’t have the I love Bangkok thingy. lol

This 1Km stretch will surprise you in every way. It is packed with cheap places to stay, so If you are planning to get lost in Bangkok one day, book a place near or along Khao San Road itself. They have everything a backpacker needs. From Internet shops, Cafes, Bars, budget Hotels and even 3 star hotels to street foods and exotic bites. I know I said tickle your palate, but eating fried multi-legged creatures is not my thing at all. Oh not unless People will pay me for that.I only managed to eat a Tiny worm. And I can still remember the taste of it. It is so wormish. yeah. To people who can actually eat spiders, roaches and scorpions, Hands down to you guys. Even if Gordon Ramsay will be the one to cook them for me, I will not eat them. Thanks.

But please do eat Pad Thai. It is s delish. 

If you are planning to do some clothes shopping, do not do it here. There are other places in BKK where you can score cheaper stuff than in Khao San. ( And they have far more and better prints as well. hehe)

Ids and Licenses, anyone?

Ids and Licenses, anyone?

So Manila right? If you have been to Recto in Manila, Philippines. Then you know what I mean. Well, difference is just there in Khao San, they do more Id’s and licenses.Here in the Philippines, The creation of fake certificates and diplomas and passports are as rampant as the sale of Pirated DVDs . hell yeah.

Now this is heaven.

Now this is heaven.

They have a lot of Bookshops there. Brand new and preloved books. Oh, the smell of old books excites me. In Saigon, They also have lots of book shops around. They even sell those photocopied books for around12USD. I bought 2 not knowing they are just photocopies coz theye were sealed. Oh well, Sorry Elizabeth Gilbert, I did not know. =D

You wouldn't want to miss having Thai Massage.

You wouldn’t want to miss having Thai Massage.

The First time I had an authentic Thai Massage was when we went to Phuket in 2011 and Man, since then, I can still remember that feeling. As if you are in a Muai Thai Fight, but on the contrary It relaxes you the more the masseur twists your body. ( bummer, i did not have Thai massage in this trip. estúpida right? )

Now you know, why youngsters whether a tourist or a local, loves Khao San? haha

Now you know, why youngsters whether a tourist or a local, loves Khao San? haha

Please do not tell me you haven’t watched the move, “The Beach”. Coz If you did watch it, I won’t say much now about Bangkok and Thailand as a place to go and lose yourself ( In a Good way, ok? )

Indeed, Khao San Road is the “center of the Backpacking Universe “. And Do I still Have to explain again why?

 Trust me, it's paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it. - The Beach

Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it. – The Beach

Wondering about The Secret Islands in Thailand ,

Maria

Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia

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I have to admit this, when we went backpacking Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand last February, I did not do much research. I did not make much plans. I just want to always surprise myself with things. Less knowledge ,less expectations, no frustrations. hahaha. For others this might not work, but for me a little bit of ignorance about certain things works pretty well.

Me at a our Tuktuk Service roaming around the temples of Angkor. I bought the hat and the harem pants at the stalls near the terrace of the elephants. =D

Me at a our Tuktuk Service roaming around the temples of Angkor. I bought the hat and the harem pants at the stalls near the terrace of the elephants. =D

tip: be friendly. They will give you discounts. =D

tip: be friendly. They will give you discounts. =D

When we went to Siem Reap, all I can think about is just Angkor Wat. I thought to myself, I will be staying in the temple for one whole day just walking around and touching the details of the greatest religious megastructure in the face of this planet. (tears slowly rolling down on my cheeks.ahahaha ) I did not thought of what should I be doing there, where else should I go besides the Angkor Wat, coz for me, just being in that place is enough to make my Cambodia trip worth the travel.

We did not just went to Angkor Wat, We went to several temples in the Angkor. To kill time, we walked around the city area. Had Massage, ate at local restaurants and thought of going to their so-called “night market” just to kill time. It was pretty much walking distance from our guesthouse. After having footspa and massage, we dusted our foot again and wandered through the clean streets of Siem Reap.

me and my babies!

me and my babies!

To my surprise, we found flea market heaven. this Night market is one hell of a stringed cheap shops selling everything else. They Have Massage, Fish spa, Manicure and Pedicure Galore, souvenirs, artworks, Food and Booze.

opi manicure for just $4 ! =D

opi manicure for just $4 ! =D

They offer cheap services and souvenire items at the market. Surely you can haggle anything! even manicure. lol. Oh and as you can see, USD is widely accepted here, so no need to worry about the exchange rates and all. ATMs are everywhere too. 

There is more to Siem Reap than just the Temples. When I was there, I actually thought of looking for a job there. The place is nice to live in. The people are very nice and down to earth. It is safe. They have the temples. =D when you are stressed out isn’t it nice to just run to the temples and meditate? Massage and food are cheap as well. Oh they have nice beaches too but we weren’t able to go there.

Oh, I have read that there are many English teaching jobs in the country. If you are interested, then you can try it! Volunteer If you have time to spare!

Oh how I adore their souvenir items here, especially their workmanship on their fridge magnets. We bought quite a lot of these actually. They are nice souvenirs for myself haha.

Aside from the temples, when you are around Siem Reap, you can enjoy the flea markets and the night life at Pub Market. If you don’t mind getting sweaty, Rent a bicycle and roam around the streets of the city. Try eating their local street foods and those fried Bugs.

dreaming of going back to Cambodia,

Maria

Temple Run – Siem Reap, Cambodia II

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Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat Sunrise

It was a cold early morning especially riding a tuktuk where the winds just crash on your skin. Our driver really drove fast because we have to be there just in time before the sun rises and that we can have a good place for ourselves. I thought It will be just a few people around, then we entered the West Gopura towards the mini lake in front of the Angkor Wat, then we saw countless numbers of tourists carrying cameras and flashlights awaiting for Mr. Sun to lighten the skies up.

Sunrise is always the best time to visit the Majestic Angkor Wat.

Sunrise is always the best time to visit the Majestic Angkor Wat.

me and my muddy feet.

me and my muddy feet.

Tourists sunrise watching. Godd thing we were able to get a good view.

Tourists sunrise watching. Good thing we were able to get a good view.

caught in the act. o come on, a day before were exhausted and we have to wake up early the next day and sit for more than an hour to wait for the sunrise. =D

caught in the act. o come on, a day before were exhausted and we have to wake up early the next day and sit for more than an hour to wait for the sunrise. =D

After watching the sunrise, we have to get back to our guesthouse to have our breakfast first then on to our temple tours after. I do not have time to get a power nap anymore. If I do, we might get late for our scheduled tour. This will be a long and hot day. Bring it on!

I am ready!

I am ready!

The temples of the Angkor numbers over  thousand, from small piles of bricks to majestic Priority temples as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm and Angkor Thom. We only bought a day pass for the temples since we are going to leave the next day for Bangkok. So we we were only able to visit the priority temples on our Day 2.Cambodia celebrates their Water Festival – Bon Om Touk on November 11-13. For Over Three days, People goes to the banks of the Tonle Sap Lake or the Mekong to see bright coloured boats and some races. Fireworks display will be organized in front of Angkor Wat.

During April 13-15, They celebrate the Khmer New Year -Chaul Chnam Thmey. It marks the end of the harvesting season, a relax period before the rainy season.Locals usually decorate their homes and they go to streets with small bags filled up with water to pour it to people they meet along.

AT the center of the Angkor Thom is the temple of the smiling Gods, The Bayon.

At the center of the Angkor Thom is the temple of the smiling Gods, The Bayon.

Bayon have 54 Towers with Smiling faces carved on it.

touching the Bas-reliefs at the outer gallery of the Bayon. These reliefs depicts the usual everyday lives of the Khmer People.

touching the Bas-reliefs at the outer gallery of the Bayon. These reliefs depicts the usual everyday lives of the Khmer People.

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The inner galleries of the second level of Bayon comprises its bas-reliefs  depicting traditional ceremony in the royal palaces, the excursion of pilgrims, Khmer legends, the practice in daily life of  hermits, Hindu and Buddhist mythologies.

Bayon is basically a Mahayana Buddhist Temple. In many ways, relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism can be seen in the Bayon. The Bas-reliefs at the Outside and Inside Gallery are far different from each other.

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The top level of the Bayon  where over four dozen towers hold giant faces or six feet in height.

The top level of the Bayon where over four dozen towers hold giant faces or six feet in height.

Many Speculations of scholars debate on the true meaning of the faces of the Bayon. According to my readings, and what I consider most likely to be the truth is that the primary deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, also known as Lokesvara, or the “lord who gazes down on the world” or “he who hears the cries of people who need help”.

Avalokiteshvara is a bodhisattva or Buddha-to-be who listens to the prayers of people in need and has postponed his own enlightenment until he has assisted all people in achieving nirvana. To help all of these people and hear all their prayers, he would need many eyes and ears, which may explain the multiple faces.

Anyway, whatever the reason may be, Let us just enjoy the picturesque Bayon Temple and its mysteries. This is our first stop of the day and we have more temples to visit and wander around.

The Baphuon Temple

The Baphuon Temple

The Terrace of the Elephants was used by the King as a platform to watch hi victorious returning army.

The Terrace of the Elephants was used by the King as a platform to watch hi victorious returning army.

Exit Gate of Angkor Thom.

Exit Gate of Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom is the Capital City.  The main  temples located within the city are the Bayon, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King . It is ideal to have a tour guide with you so you can be enlightened with all the structures and the reliefs carved on the walls of these temples and you won’t get lost while doing your walk around the Angkor Thom. On the other hand, DIY tour is also nice for those on tight budget and just want to wander around the place in their own sweet time. Just make sure you have a map or a book with you as your guide.

We have watched Tomb Raider right? For those who doesn’t know, It was filmed here in Siem Reap, at Ta Prohm to be exact. It is a Buddhist Temple with a record breaking of 80,000 people who handcrafted the said monastery.

Feeling Lara Croft?

Feeling Lara Croft?

Ta Prohm is however extensively ruined but you can still visit some towers, courtyards and corridors. Well most of the temples in the Angkor are being reconstructed as it all undergone damage on an on by receiving multitudes of tourists every year. So photography wise, It was hard to get nice photos when there are construction materials around the temples. Thanks to the massive  Trees coz they give the temple that amazing atmosphere.

It was a trunk of great treasures holding thousands of pearls, precious stones and golden dishes weighing more than 500kg. Ta Prohm is still a trunk of great treasures- memories kept beneath those dark and narrow corridors, of carvings on the walls telling numerous stories of the wealthy ancient Khmer culture and life.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor wat was a state temple and a capital city for the Kings. It is the most impressive and the most perfectly constructed Khmer temple, it represents the Khmer architecture refinement, and a symbol of Cambodian nation.

 It is the prime cultural attraction for visitors in Asia. Since December 1992, Angkor Wat has been classed as UNESCO “World Heritage”. About 50 000 people worked hard to build Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building. This temple first was dedicated to worship kings and Vishnu, a Hindu god, before becoming a Buddhist worship place in the 16th century.

Intricately embellished roof of the Angkor Wat.

Intricately embellished roof of the Angkor Wat.

I won’t be talking much about the history and whereabouts of the temple since I might get bored myself. Just read this if you want to learn more of the Angkor Wat. My post doesn’t give any justice to the Beauty of the Angkor. The best thing to do is book a flight to Siem Reap and lose yourself to the beauty that is, Angkor.

A mother bathing her children with a bottle of mineral water scavenged from the temple,Probably left by a tourist.

A mother bathing her children with a bottle of mineral water scavenged from the temple,Probably left by a tourist.

Dreams do come true ey!

Dreams do come true ey!

Always the best way to end your day at the Ankor, Sunset of course.

This concludes my brief temple run in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend the place and please do stay longer, you will enjoy the place. I actually think this is my favorite City, besides my hometown of course. The hospitable locals, the good food, cheap stuff, the perfect mixture of tradition, culture and modernity of a city. I will surely go back!

Dreaming of Borobudur temples,

Maria