Back in my 10-week stay in Atlanta back in 2014, I was able to go around the Atlanta’s major and key tourist destinations. But in one of the memorable moments I had during my visit there was an opportunity to experience one activity not common in the Philippines.
My colleague, Niko and his wife Kim invited me to join them in checking out this group of food truckers that having a stop in one of the parks in suburban Atlanta.
Food trucks are basically moving food kiosks and is a common sight in US cities especially in their downtown areas. These trucks offer different varieties of quick to eat dishes for people on-the-go. They serve from sandwiches to rice meals and from local to international cuisines.
Last Saturday, my family and I finally got the opportunity to check out one of the latest tourist attractions here in Singapore, the Gardens By The Bay. Well it has actually been open since October of 2011 but still it is a fairly new attraction. Gardens By The Bay is located just behind the Marina Bay Sands and it is somehow a flagship attraction highlighting Singapore as a garden city.
Well, technically we have been to the Gardens By The Bay for a couple or more times but we never ventured inside it but only by its entrance. Anyway, this time we did go in and we have free tickets to go inside its two conservatories. Again just like in our trips to the Singapore Flyer and the Jurong Bird Park, our tickets provided by my wife’s employer, OCBC. She once more won the ticket lottery in their office.
And so, last Saturday we all set off to go to the Gardens but we took a short stop in Orchard to have our lunch in Jollibee Singapore.
Going there, we took the MRT and exited at Bayfront MRT station located below the Marina Bay Sands. And from there we passed through the underpass leading to the Gardens. Too bad that underpass exit did not have any escalator, but at least there was an elevator available.
After my short trip back to Manila a few weeks back, I was able to get some old pictures of my previous trips. I’ve brought these pictures back to Singapore and scan them to write up for those trips from way back. I was able to get old pictures from albums of my Hanoi and Ha Long Bay trip to update my old posts for both trips. I’m happy the digital era made me stop expensive photo printing and making those heavy albums. I also got another set of pictures from my trip in Leyte which I’ll write about later.
Anyway, this blog is about the trip I made back in 2002 with my colleagues to Bicolandia in the Bicol Peninsula on the southern end of the island of Luzon.
Bicol Peninsula is composed of four different provinces composed of the people called the Bicolanos. Bicol is best known in the Philippine for being the site of one of the most majestic natural wonders in the country, the Mayon Volcano in Legazpi City. Also since a few years ago for a place to swim with the whalesharks in Donsol and a place for the extreme sport of wakeboarding in Camarines Sur (CamSur).
In continuation to our trip to Las Vegas in 2010, with our rented Dodge Caliber we drove eastward to the Grand Canyon. Like my previous trip to Vegas, the last time I visited Grand Canyon was in 2007 at the same time of that year. There was snow there the last time. And we hoped to see snow there this time around.
And just the last time, we took the same route that we did to the canyon. But unfortunately, we were no longer able to stop at the Hoover Dam. Three years back our GPS directed us to pass on top of the dam but this time, the freeway which back then was still being constructed is already built. Sad thing is, we passed above the dam without even seeing it as our view is obstructed by the freeway bridge.
Early November this year, my family and I went out on a family picnic with my in-laws. This is the second family picnic that we did with all my wife’s sisters and their family and her parents. We made our way to Tagaytay and had a gathering at the Tagaytay Picnic Grove.
Tagaytay has been known to be among the country’s famous places to relax and enjoy with the family. Also, it is famous for having the best viewing points of one of the most scenic places in the world, the Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. Taal Volcano has a unique geography that it was dubbed as having a ‘Lake within a Lake’. This is due to the volcano sitting within the Taal Lake and having a crater lake within it.
As part of my month-long holiday vacation in the USA with my family, we have arranged a trip to the Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona. Grand Canyon as it is known for its unique landscape which was carved by the Colorado River for millions of years. This has become part of our itinerary.
Our trip to the Grand Canyon is a side-trip from our trip to Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon National Park is about 4.5 hours drive east of Las Vegas. And so with the help of our GPS, we left our hotel in Las Vegas early in the morning.
On our way, about an hour from Las Vegas strip, we came to see this great view of a big reservoir which was Lake Mead. And so we came to know that the highway (US 93) we are on is leading us to one of the most famous dams in the world, the Hoover Dam. This dam is also at the border of the states of Arizona and Nevada. Since we have crossed on this dam, we thought of making a short stop for some pictures.
My home country, the Philippines, is an archipelagic nation of 7,107 islands that is situated in the South East Asian region. It is a tropical country bounded by three bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the West Philippine Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. It is basically composed of three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The country’s population is pegged at 88 Million, 90% o which are Roman Catholics. A smaller percentage of the population is composed of Muslim Filipinos who generally reside at the southern islands. The Philippines also has a long history of Spanish colonization, 333 years in total. This is still evident with Hispanic architecture left. The Philippines was discovered by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Megallan under the Spanish flag in 1521. Then it was also under the US Commonwealth rule for 40 years.
The Philippines is also composed of a diverse group of people with hundreds of different dialects though English is a second language. And each of its 7000+ islands has a distinct characteristic on its own. And on this journal, I’ll be listing down the different places in this country of mine that I have visited and possibly my experience with Philippine culture. And I’ll be linking any blog that I’d be writing for each destination.
Christmas last year (2006), my wife, two cousins, and myself embarked on a journey to visit a land among the mountains, the land of the Ifugaos.
Through the Philippine Tourism Authority, we have procured a travel package to see two Philippine tourist destination that are found off-the-beaten track. We took a 3-day/2-night travel package to see Banaue, Bontoc, and Sagada. The package includes transport from Banaue to Sagada and back via Bontoc, breakfast and a packed lunch for the Sagada trip, tour guide, accommodation, and some souvenirs.
Banaue is situated in the mountainous province of Ifugao, around 10 hour bus ride north of Manila. This is also the site of the majestic Banaue Rice Terraces which are rice paddies terraced on the mountain sides. These have been carved by the Ifugao tribes for thousands of years, even before the Spanish colonization. These are also composed of four UNESCO world heritage sites.