Of sun,sea,sand and finding a hero.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Enjoy Tuscany with a glass of wine

Finding Felicity in El Nido

Pink painted skies in El Nido,Philippines

Quaint Girona

Off the beaten path in Girona

Good Morning,Vietnam

Cruise the emerald water of Hanoi

Saturday, May 28, 2011

El Nido: Taking the long road to El Nido

:: 05:00 ::   
BBrriinng...BBrriinng..the phone's alarm went off and I dragged myself out of the bed having slept only for about 3 hours. I showered, dressed and took a very light breakfast and did a final check of my measly baggage and I was off  to NAIA3

::06:30 ::  
Since most of the domestic flights have early morning flights it was totally packed inside the airport. Bleary eyed passengers (in need of a shocking jolt of caffeine), whiny & irritable childrens, excited beachbums in colorful boardshorts and havaianas and Koreans in couple shirts (kelangan terno-terno talaga) lined up in the check-in counters. I quickly scanned the information board to check what counter is for Puerto Princesa,when on of the guard approached me to inform me that  if I don't have any check in baggage there is a separate counter for no check in baggage which has a shorter queue. 15 minutes later, I was clutching my boarding pass and I was on my way to get myself a proper breakfast.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ho Chi Minh: Everything I Knew About Saigon I Learned from Manila

Leaving Tan Son Nhat airport, I was transported back to Manila and would have thought I am really in Manila if not for the signages written in Vietnamese and the moving multitudes of motorbikes.For quite a short stay in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), the place certainly reminded me so much of Manila with the exception of the motorbikes

1. Stop, Look and Just Cross the Streets
 One of the most dreaded thing that I knew I have to face in this Vietnam trip is crossing the very busy streets of Ho Chi Minh where motorbikes almost numbered the same as the city's population.I have heard all the horror stories of playing stop and go with these motorbikes and but I'm quite confident with my lifetime experience of navigating the streets of Metro Manila. I thought I can definitely handle the puny motorbikes, and boy was I wrong. From the time the taxi left the confines of the airport, I got my first look at the notorious motorbikes that snakes it way among cars and with no intention of slowing down even if there are people crossing the streets  as they just maneuver around these people. Gasp! Jaw drops! (buwis buhay tumawid sa Vietnam)
The first episodes of crossing the streets are like playing the Filipino game of patintero, of stepping one at a time and making sure no motorbikes will sped past you and making you wish that you have purchased a travel insurance.

2. Traffic rules and regulations don't exist
Just like Manila, those whites stripes on the streets are just that - white stripes and not considered as pedestrian lanes in Ho Chi Minh. Even as we try and we knew that it is a futile thing to do, we feel that it will make a difference if we take the pedestrian lanes when crossing.Maybe just maybe these motorbikes will slow down. And did I just wrote futile - there is no difference, the motorbikes just keeps on going ang going much like that Energizer bunny