Chill Sunday it is. Careerin muna natin ang day off and lets loosen up a bit. With that, I thought of sharing on my blog, some ganaps and personal faves and experiences from my travels so far. Nakaka tuwa ito, promise. Dami pictures.
First foreign city visited: Bangkok, Thailand(2010). Well, di un backpacking talaga. It was more of a touristic vacation. Sobrang takot pa ako nun mag travel. Dikit ng dikit lang ako sa kaklase ko. Tsaka first time ko mag immigration noon, sobrang praning lang baka mapag trippan. As expected, dami tanong ung immigration ng Manila. But in Bangkok, super swift. We stayed in Pratunam, near Platinum Mall, so alam na ang purpose. haha. We booked our room at Tango Vibrant Living Place, a boutique hotel costing around 1,100/pax/night with buffet breakfast. We also joined an arranged tour to Ayutthaya, which is very nice. And the best part of the trip for me is experiencing Chatuchak weekend market for the first time, and watching the SIAM NIRAMIT show/Cultural stage play. Though mahal ang ticket but it was really entertaining.
I feel na Bangkok is always a good option to go to for first timers. It is inexpensive. It is near, yet there is so much uniqueness in Thai food, culture and architecture, that is totally different from ours.
Most recent foreign city visited: If based on the most recent stamp I got, then it is Singapore for Transit. But for backpacking, it’s Oslo Norway(2016), just this month, actually; and I fell in love with the City’s Beautiful mix of Classic and Modern Contemporary Architecture. Sobrang instagram-worthy at every corner. Will post a separate entry on Oslo soon.
Most Expensive city/town visited based on personal spending: Within the backpacking standards, definitely Reykjavik,Iceland(2016). It’s kinda expected actually. No secret naman na almost everything in Iceland are either imported, or grown from a greenhouse. Will post a separate entry on Reykjavik soon. But just an Idea, Iceland has the most expensive Airport transfer I experienced so far, at 1250 Pesos per way, for a 45 minute bus ride. Dine in and take away meals fall at an average of 600 to 800 pesos. Cheaper if you buy at the grocery and cook at the Hostel. In addition, visiting tourist spots around the island would be impossible with public transportation. Either you join the tour or rent a vehicle.
Cheapest City/town visited based on personal spending: Vang Vieng, Laos (2013), definitely!!! A guesthouse room (not shared) with a good view costs only around 450 Pesos. A whole day Kayaking, Caving and Tubing down the Mekong costs only around 500 Pesos with lunch. Food may not be the cheapest there but still, the average daily cost is super low. Kathmandu, Nepal(2014) came close din. My dorm bed there cost only 180 Pesos. I swear, and it is actually OK!
Most Beautiful City: Venice (2015) definitely, with its rustic Baroque-Renaissance Architecture and incomparable old world charm. Going around rustic, stone paved streets of Venice is like conquering a maze city; Definitely you’ll experience getting lost, which adds more to the enchantment. And given so much things to experience, Venice is actually not that expensive. Some Euro cities are far more demanding.
Most Beautiful Classical Building I’ve Visited: In terms of grandness, and proportion in relation to the setting, The Parliamentary Building, Budapest (2015)
Most Beautiful Modern Building I’ve Visited : For the Exterior, Astrup Fernley Museum (2016) by Architect Renzo Piano. For the interior, the Oslo Opera House (2016)
Most Beautiful Church I’ve visited: Florence Cathedral (2015) in Renaissance Style and Saint Mark’s Cathedral,Venice (2015) in ‘Baroque-Ottoman/Middle East influence’ Style.
Most Romantic City Visited: None. I did not feel anything.
Favorite City na masarap balikan. Seoul (2012,2015) Pretty in Spring, pretty in Autumn. Relatively cheap. Relatively near. Amazing Food. Beautiful and highly fashionable people sitting beside you on the train. Streets are bursting with vibrant color. Fun and quirky cafe interiors. A lot of cute abubots and butingtings for sale that you might find useless, but are just to lovely not to buy. I rest my case.
Pinaka malayong napuntahan so far: Reyjavik, Iceland (2016) . 8 hours time difference from the Philippines.Fave Street Food Session: New Delhi, India (2014). Bias because I love Indian Food. The taste and smell of curry and other spices excite me. When I went there, I tried my best to find the pagkain na featured ni Migrationology.com (one of my travel idols). There’s this Curry Lamb Stew in Baphe da Hotel, Delhi na hinanap ko tlga. Well, its a sit down type of street food, and it was amazing!!! Plus the Samosa, Biryani, the lamb kebabs, the masala omelette, the Gulab Jamun you find sa street… amazing!!!!
Fave Authentic Food worth Craving: Andami Syet! hmmm ok, after a bit of contemplation just now.. I’d say, Beef Rendang paired with Nasi Lemak. Malaysia (2013,2014,2015,2016) Syet, every year pala ako nakaka tungtong ng Malaysia, mostly for transit. Gustong gusto ko mga pagkain sa Malaysia kasi aside sa traditional Malay food which is either coconut based o spicy (Sambal), wide din ang choices dun ng Indian and Arab food, as well as Chinese food. Saya lang diba?
City where I splurged on food the most: Barcelona (2015) Cheap food! A lot of buffet options(lunch buffet for only 45o Pesos, sobrang dami na. free flowing pa beverages and beer also. And food scene is not super far from ours. They also have adobo and other ma-sarsa cuisines, super different from neighboring gourmet France o Germany. Also, it was my second to the last stop last year during my first Eurotrip… so maluwag na ako sa budget.
Best Pastries: Paris (2015) Pastries and breads there are of the highest quality. Pero di ako expert with pastries, actually madami din masarap sa Seoul, and are very pretty.
Best Beer: Tyskie of Poland (2015) Have I ever got sick during travel? Sickness from food, yes, in Siem Reap, Cambodia (2013). I went to a public market with a local whom I met there. He introduced me to a certain local cold noodle dish. His Treat! I was a bit hesitant because it is a cold dish but I was just too shy to refuse, kasi her was very accommodating. The food, I think it is called Khmer Noodles; Though it was good and peanut-ish, turned out,na I was right. My tummy wasn’t able to handle the rawness of the dish. I had recurring stomach pain that lasted for 3 days, pero tolerable naman. Moral lesson, never trust dishes that are not cooked on fire.
Worst Airport : Tinatanong pa ba yan?! Duh.. Broken walkalator, busted bulbs, no bidet spray, scammers, abusive custom officers, noisy, and worst of all, difficult terminal transfers. Madami fill up. may health card pa which I find useless. My custom declaration paper pa. ewan! samok. too much drama everywhere.
Best Airport: I lost track of my count but among them, Changi, Singapore is still the best. Yung pagpasok mo pa lang sa tube, amoy mo na ang linis at bangong kaakit akit. Seoul’s International Airport came close. Kasi may indoor pool, sauna and spa/lounge where you can stay overnight. Dubai International Airport is also OK for providing inclined chairs and functional shower rooms, not just toilets.
Minsan na ba akong na Scam? None so far. The worse na siguro is my tripod got stolen sa Agra, India. So far di pa din ako nawalan ng money o things sa dorm. Careful ako. Dito sa Philippines, yes minsan na ako na hold up ng badjao, and nawalan na din ng cellphone.
Minsan naba ako naiwan ng plane o train? Muntik na. sa flight to from Kota Kinabalu pauwi ng Manila. haha. Pero usually I prepare tlga some hours before departure. In cases na early morning flight, I sleep na sa airport. Ilang beses ko na yan nagawa sa Europe nung 2015. para maka tipid ng Hostel expense. Dinamay ko pa si Annilou Bravo nun sa Paris. haha.
Worst night in a Hostel: Yes Boss Hostel, Pajar Ganj,New Delhi (2014) There was tae in the bowl pa of my room. Owner didn’t like Filipino guests because sabi ng staff nya, his ex girlfriend was a Filipina and apparently, the girl took a lot of money daw from him. Cost of a night/250 Pesos.
Best Night in a Hostel: Buntang Guesthouse, Vangvieng, Laos (2013) I got a room all to myself with a balcony and an amazing view of the foggy valley. Cost of room, 450 Pesos.
Souvenir things that I collect: Ceramic, porcelain or resin type 3D-Ref magnets of significant architectural masterpieces that I have personally visited. Items should be of the best quality that I can find, and should be personally bought by me.
Most Memorable Moments: Dami eh. Medyo mahilig ako sa History channel so basically, dream come true tlga sa akin makatungtong sa mga historic UNESCO protected places na minsan ko lang napapanood; Lalo na’t enjoy ako mag drawing noon ng ancient buildings for our history of architecture subject. Ask me now, first thing naisip ko was ung moment I set foot on the grounds of Angkor Wat (2013) and I was just in time for sunrise. Grabe. Surreal. Same feeling din nung nahawakan ko na ang marble walls and minarets ng Taj Majal (2014), at ung una ko nasilayan from afar ang Parthenon sa Athens (2015),oa, pero naging emotional ako nun ng light.
Memorable din sa akin nung free day ko sa Venice (2015), and I just walked around the city endlessly, hanggang sa naabutan ako ng ulan so nakisilong ako sa isang waterfront building na inaayos that time. 1 hour din ako nag antay. walang gawa. observe2x lang ng palibot, pero masaya ung feeling, kasi yung thought na minsan ko lang pinangarap mag Venice, and there I was, actually feeling the cool breeze and the rain in a historic city I once just dreamed of visiting.
Current Dream Destination: Istanbul, Cairo, Alexandria, Petra, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Colombo, Bhutan, Rio de Janeiro, Sau Paolo, Lima, Mexico City.
Luang Prabang, Yogyakarta, Tokyo and Osaka are nearby dream destinations that I purposely reserve, on the hopes na baka meron ako pwede kasama dun na someone special. Pero atik lang =)