Yellow Jeep

•January 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Erol Ozan once said that we can’t understand a city without using its public transportation. Therefore here’s a yellow jeep of Olongapo City which I captured and rode today when I was there to pay for our company’s monthly obligations.
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My Lear 35 Jet Experience

•December 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Whenever I go to bed at night and recall the blessings I’ve received, I can say that I am truly blessed and couldn’t ask for more, for I’ve been endowed with extraordinary privileges that I can say only few can experience. Thus, my special thanks to those people behind this trip, for I couldn’t write anything here on my blog without the aid of them.

God is indeed good to me.

When our sister company had an International flight lately, I was the one being chosen again to do the facilitation of clearances. That experience of being commissioned was something that’s once in a lifetime opportunity, for I was paid to travel while at the same time to stay in a hotel and eat delicious foods. I can therefore openly say that this is one of the reasons why I like my job, for I could experience sometimes the feeling of being in the state of luxury of the elite travelers’ fashion.

I was ready to depart last Friday at four o’clock in the afternoon using a commercial airline going to Puerto Princesa to tend the VIP flight the following day going to Malaysia when the top management of our sister company decided to evacuate the planes from Manila to Palawan, for the course of the super typhoon named ‘Ruby’ was apparently looming on its way.

Ambrose Bierce once said that calamities are of two kinds: misfortune of ourselves, and good fortune to others. I was thankful that the good fortune had clung on my side, for without the aforementioned I wouldn’t be able to ride a Lear 35 jet in my entire whole life if I had to charter it going to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. But then again the question of chartering it is impossible, for it is very costly. It was indeed a fantastic experience. I couldn’t believe I rode that plane without paying any single centavo.

We arrived in Puerto Princesa after an hour without having any discomfort at all. It was a smooth flight. There were no thick clouds wrapping up us that cause the aircraft to stagger while traversing above the blue sky.

Every time I go to Palawan our sister company would always let me stay at Fersal Hotel. I love this hotel, for the room is clean; you can’t hear any noise from the hallways outside; the staves are friendly too.

When the other plane of our sister company departed, the plane I was tasked to do the clearances, my crew companions agreed to have a day tour just within the vicinity of Puerto Princesa. Their itineraries were Crocodile Farm and Baker’s Hill. The three crews were first timers to visit those destinations. I’ve been to those places though; however, I decided to join them, for it was boring if I had to stay at the hotel. Thus, I joined them riding a rented van going to those places.

Our first destination was the Crocodile Farm. After we registered our names at the registration area, we were directed to the lobby just behind the door where the registration area was located for the orientation given by the personnel to all tourists who would love to enter and see the crocodiles inside. The information included some facts of the crocodiles and some precautionary measures for the safety of everyone.

Inside the lobby, one could see the displayed skeleton of a huge crocodile that was framed with transparent glass. I couldn’t help to imagine myself if I were to be eaten greedily alive by such. Horrible indeed! Needless to say, I highly recommend this destination, for it’s interesting and lots of information anyone can get while listening to the tour guide inside.

After the Crocodile Farm, we went to Baker’s Hill to try their thin crust pizza. It was delicious and the customer can freely see how it was prepared. I also love the garden inside, for it was cool with fresh air and there were lots of colorful birds like Peacock inside. This place was thronged with visitors while we were there.

At night, we went to Ugong Grill for dinner. This restaurant was an open space establishment thatched its roof with Nipa hut and made of wood. It was truly relaxing while listening to the live Bossa nova music sung by a female artist inside. The foods were also flavorfully cooked. It was a lovely evening filled with beautiful music, interesting people, good food, fun and laughter. It was indeed a travel that’s so luxurious and can’t be forgotten.

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Of Creative Mind

•November 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Steve Job once said that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that were no smarter than us. We can change it. We can influence it. We can build our own things that other people can use.

If you happen to visit Mactan Cebu International Airport, there’s this tiny eatery beside the gate on the International Arrival Area that will truly catch everyone’s attention whenever you get inside.

Who can really tell that rubbish made up of worn-out boat, tin cans and used ‘Komiks’ can be used as materials to create a unique interior design?

The connection of ideas certainly doesn’t happen unless we explore a little.

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I was in Puerto Princesa

•October 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I believe in the saying that if it’s meant for you, it’s really meant for you.

It was on Saturday early morning this past weekend; I woke up by the chirp of my mobile phone. It was a text message coming from the manager of the Flight Dispatch Department of our sister company saying he needed a help on Tuesday because he had an international flight on that day. Further, the aforesaid told me to come to the office as soon as I received the message.

Riding my motorcycle, I arrived at the office after an hour. My mind was still a bit dizzy, for I was drinking a bottle of strong ale and a few shots of brandy in my abode as my way of diversion after a week of work a night before. My being lazy to have a soiree with others outside has been abated my interest these days. I like more to stay home whenever I am not busy.

When the Flight Dispatch Manager and I met, he told me instantly that the flight was in Palawan. Again he’d chosen me to go there, for there’s a conflict of his flight schedule according to him.

On that same day, he asked me to buy a round trip air fare ticket.  I was excited, for there’s another story which I could write on my blog again.

Therefore, I left for Manila at four o’clock past in the afternoon on Monday. It was a smooth flight and I arrived in Puerto Princesa after an hour and a half.

After disembarking the aircraft I headed straight to Fersal Hotel, along with me was our contact person in the airport that able to meet me at the run way as soon as I got off the plane, to check-in myself and to inquire if the CAAP Permit had already been sent; for that was an agreement between me and the Flight Dispatch Manager before I left. This was the hotel where the crews of the aircraft stayed too.

Because the crews were already there two days before I arrived, in stand by position, for there might be another changes on the flight, I met them instantly at the lobby of the hotel. They were about to leave to have a dinner outside. And because I had to finish my task still, I wasn’t able to join them.

It was past seven when we got the PNP Exit Clearance. The sky was pouring with heavy rains when we went out to leave the PNP Office. And because it was already dinner time, our contact and I went to one of the tourist destinations in Puerto Princesa called ‘Boulevard’. This was where we ate our dinner riding our contact’s tricycle.

This place is beautiful if the weather is fine, for the cottages are open and you could feel the fresh air that gently touches your skin at night. Moreover, it’s a perfect place to do exercise too. It’s truly relaxing.

We ordered ‘Sinigang na Isda,’ Lato’ and Grilled Pork. The ‘Sinigang’ and ‘Lato’ were so fresh and delicious. I almost devoured the ordered food except the Grilled Pork, for my companion doesn’t like to eat sea foods anymore due to the abundance of it.

Because my time was limited and the weather was not good, I simply went back to the hotel after the dinner. But before that, I took the picture of the place to have my own recollection. I could’ve taken more pictures on the surroundings but it was still raining; therefore, I refrained.

I woke up early the following day. In the hotel’s dining area, where I enjoyed the buffet breakfast, I joined with the crews eating our meals together. I also took them pictures before they took off heading to Brunei to drop the passengers at one o’clock in the afternoon.

At three o’clock in the afternoon, on that same day, I also flew back to Manila using a commercial air line. While inside the airport terminal I was busy composing this story and almost missed my flight. Our mind truly becomes unmindful if we are focused on something. Thankfully, our contact person approached me again to remind me. I was the last person to get out the boarding area.

My time in Puerto Princesa was limited to indulge an escapade; but needless to say, the fortune of going to travel for free was truly an opportunity to be thankful for. I had fun.

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I was in Aroma Beach Resort

•April 7, 2014 • 1 Comment

The engagement of having a picnic at the beach this month is fun and exciting, for the weather is on its glory in the Philippines. The cloud is painted in azure and the sun is brightly shining. Therefore, it’s truly at its best.

When my neighbor adjacent to my house was having a family bonding yesterday, they invited me to join them. It was a memorable experience, for we went to a resort in Naic, Cavite a few kilometers away from our home.

The resort was called Aroma Beach Resort. Most of the cottages here were made of Bamboo and Nipa, a modest sanctuary to spend time with our loved ones and to those who are in a tight budget.

I had fun. I enjoyed taking photos and shared with them my version of Italian Spaghetti that was generously garnished with Parmesan Cheese.
Continue reading ‘I was in Aroma Beach Resort’

Of Thai Art and Culture

•April 2, 2014 • 1 Comment

“Art is a special faculty of the mind that can be characterized as a reflection of life, expression and communication of expression or other qualities.”

Every country has its distinct identity by exploring to know more about their art and culture. Like in Thailand, however, this country has a rich history and an equally rich art, craft and cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years. There have been various external influences to Thai art and culture including Asian and Western influence and these outside influences however have simply become a part of what makes them who they are today.

When we were in Grand Palace in Bangkok, we were marveled by its occasional golden and mirror inlaid sparkling temple, sprouting among the rooftops. The curved gables and carved deities were a reflection of an age old custom that was passed down from artisan to artisan. The Temples were a showcase of various forms of art from painted murals on doors and walls, to sculptured Buddha images in different poses depicting the ‘attitudes’ attributed to the Buddha. It was indeed an evocative example on how we can identify them being rich in art and culture country.

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“I Will Always Remember Thailand”

•March 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’ve never been to other foreign country before except my homeland Philippines. Therefore, I really have no idea if you were to ask me on how it feels like. Now that I’ve tried once, however, I can say then that the feeling is different. The indulgence to keep on going to explore more is unstoppable. No wonder many people love to travel, for they are aware of these potentialities.

When my sister Felisa, who works as an English teacher in Thailand, invited us to go there I didn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity, for I believe that the door of information will inevitably unfold to me as soon as I start to step out from my doorstep and embark on a most glorious and exciting adventure. Can you imagine my friends, the depth and vastness of this world which we could roam fruitfully and everlastingly through the magic key of travelling?

Thailand is certainly an interesting place to visit. Therefore, my mother, our youngest Kirk and I left for Manila using a commercial airline at past nine in the evening lately. It was a smooth flight and we arrived in Bangkok at midnight.

I like the Suvarnabhumi Airport for it has an embedded screen monitor at the meeting place where the waiting welcome party can view the status of the arriving passengers inside. Therefore, even if we were still inside the terminal building my sister had seen us ahead. The taxi drivers too are well disciplined, for the latter itself would wait at the driver’s queue section religiously until the dispatcher will endorse the passengers to them. From there the driver will bring the passengers to the parking area a few steps away from where the queue driver’s section is located. It’s indeed systematic and not chaotic.

Bangkok is a modern, exciting and sophisticated city. It offers to visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonised and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand’s gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.

Our one week tour had led us to many tourist destinations. Riding a Tuktuk (3-wheelers)we were able to visit some of the major attractions in Bangkok. One thing I like about Bangkok is that you seldom see a black smoke emission from the vehicle’s nozzle. That’s how nature friendly they were. Therefore, Tuktuk is a convenient way if one loves to take pictures for short journeys. Moreover, unlike in Manila, you can’t encounter Thai taxi drivers charging the passengers a fixed rate trip. Therefore, what you see in the meter machine is the exact fare rate which you have to pay for. There’s nothing more, nothing less.

Bangkok takes great pride in its large number of fascinating temples around the capital. The major ones can be found in the Rattanakosin area on the western side of the city. The Rattanakosin area is called an island but has been incorporated into the city. A trip there will allow visitors to see many attractions within a short distance of one another.

 The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo

(The Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

The splendid Grand Palace enclosure is home to many ornate temples and buildings with a variety of architectural styles. Gold leaf, reflective tiling and Buddha images are to be seen everywhere. The magnificent Wat Phra Kaeo, a treasure trove of Thai arts and home to the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most revered Buddha image, is at the heart of the complex.

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Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall

Located on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, this beautiful Throne Hall was built in the reign of King Rama V using marble for construction in the Italian Renaissance architectural style. The ceiling of the dome is highlighted by exquisite fresco paintings of important royal functions during the reign of King Rama I up to King Rama VI of the Royal Hours of Chakri.

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Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn)

This famous Bangkok landmark is on the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River, directly opposite the Grand Palace complex and easily accessible by boat from Bangkok side. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period. The temple was enlarged by King Rama II and King Rama III. Renovations were completed in the reign of King Rama IV.

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Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Neighboring the Grand Palace enclave, this temple is considered the largest in Bangkok. The famous Reclining Buddha, constructed in 1832, is enshrined in this temple. The 46-meter long and 15-meter high gold-plated Reclining Buddha, the eyes and feet inlaid with mother-of-pearl brings to mind the Lord Buddha’s entry into Nirvana. The sole also shows 108 auspicious characteristics of the true “Buddha”.

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Delicious Dining at Baiyoke Tower

We were booked by my sister for a dinner at this hotel. Thai cuisine, so delicious and varied in its piquant tastes, is a true gastronomic art. Creativity in cooking stems partly from the Thai’s love of good food, and partly from the wealth of ingredients available. The country possesses an abundance of vegetables and fruits, herbs and spices, succulent seafood and fresh farm produce, and all are wonderfully used in tempting recipes.

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Bayoke Tower is also the tallest building in Bangkok. One can witness the plethora of lights of the whole city by simply gazing the view at the revolving roof deck on the 84th floor.

Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise

Bangkok offers some of the capital’s most superb sights, particularly at night when the weather is cooler and reflections from the water bestow upon Bangkok a magical effect of flickering lights and shadows. An ideal way of combining dining with river enchantments is to enjoy a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya.

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Express Boat Service

To connect Bangkok with the neighbouring province of Nonthaburi, the express boat service, with fares depending on the color of the flag on the boat, is provided from the terminal pier near Krung Thep (Bangkok) Bridge. It stops at various piers on both sides of the Chao Phraya River to collect many Bangkokians who take the boat for commuting to and from their places of work.

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We’ve got the chance to rent a car for two days while in Bangkok. My sister arranged this service with the help of a friend who also works there. Therefore, we were able to spend and visit the other tourist attractions outside the capital city.

Hua Hin

Located an easy three-hour drive away from Bangkok, Hua Hin is distinguished as Thailand’s oldest beach resort, coming into vogue in the 1920’s as the retreat for the elite of Bangkok society, a status that was enhanced when the King Rama VII chose the site for a summer palace, which he named Klai Kangwon, meaning “Far from Worries”. A fine hotel and Thailand’s first 18-hole golf course, both still existences, further established Hua Hin’s reputation. In spite of moving with the times to offer all modern amenities, Hua Hin has retained their enduring Thai identity, and thus offers an appealing sense of place. Ideal for families, the main attraction of the resort is a peaceful time lazing on the beach soaking up the tropical sunshine.

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The Venezia

The Venezia Hua Hin is a shopping mall with an attraction. The inspiration of this project came from the world’s famous canal of Venice, Italy.

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Hua Hin Railway Station

The Hua Hin Railway Station is one of the most famous sightseeing attractions in Hua Hin with a long cultural heritage and royal connections.

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Huay Mongkol Temple

Huay Mongkol Temple was home to the immensely popular monk Luang Phor Thuad. The statue is set within a park-like setting that attracts many visitors each weekend. Luang Phor Thuad is a legendary Thai monk revered for his enlightenment and ability to perform miracles. Many believe that the amulets created in his image guarantee safety in times of distress.

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The following day at seven in the morning we left Hua Hin and drove again for six hours going to Pattaya. It took us this long to travel for this is the opposite side of the Gulf, but it is only two-hour drive from Bangkok. This once tiny fishing village has developed into renowned international playground. Colorful and alive with activity, it is unrivalled beach resort offering attractions in greater profusion than any other single destination in Southeast Asia.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

Nong Nooch is world renowned for its impressive Elephant and Thai Cultural Shows, along with what is largely considered the biggest and most beautiful botanical garden in Southeast Asia. Nong Nooch is also dedicated to education, preservation and research as well as the conservation of the world’s largest palm collection, the largest variety of Orchids in Thailand and other tropical flora and fauna.

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Silverlake Farm and Laser Buddha

The first and only vineyard located in the hills within the district of the very popular beach getaway of Pattaya.

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Night Life at Bangkok

At night, when most of the city’s attractions are closed and visitors feel like the day has not yet been completed, feel free to spend the night time in various exquisite bars in Khao San Road. The Khao San Road is very lively at night. This is also the favourite place for backpackers and budget travellers who have found a home away from home. Although the street is not very long, Khao San Road is extremely interesting with people from all over the world examining the market stalls, looking for accommodation, eating in cheap restaurants and using cyber cafes.

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Shopping

Smart people arrive in Bangkok with empty suitcases and go back with full ones. The reason is that Bangkok is one of the world’s best shopping centres. It has many advantages: quality, cheap prices, skilled artisans and friendly-natured bargaining. Bo be Market, Sampeng Market, Pratunam and Khao San Road are the few places we’ve been to.

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Variety is indeed the spice of life in Thailand. From the golden-inspired temples of Bangkok to the majestic ruins of ancient capitals, from the tranquil charm of rural towns to the excitement of tropical beach resorts, there is no shortage of choice. Our week travel was not enough. Thailand is a magic place where possibilities are limited only by imagination. You’ll marvel at the glories of the past, and delight in the golden opportunities of the present.

Certainly I will never forget Thailand.