Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Night in Shanghai

My experience of Shanghai, China is limited to Nanjing Road at night ( a shopping and entertainment area ) up to countless images of sky rise buildings _ period. Anyway, it was a one night visit only and the next evening I was on my flight back to Hongkong.

HK airport, to China

Chinese neon signs

It was a lil' glimpse of Shanghai but just enough to take an impression of the city known for _ one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.

I stayed in a hotel nestled within the vicinity of Nanjing road which is a 24/7 district fitted to a one nighter tourist like me.

Flashed by strings of neon lights shops and restaurant, the night district was crawled by locals and tourists pedestrians. It was really like being in a bigger version of Hongkong.

I refused to be limited by time thu'. With only 3 hours sleep, I woke up earliest the following morning and took a cab around. That was so brave!! hehe, I forgot to mention I was with a friend who frequented the city and spoke Mandarin and other Chinese languages. I felt safe then.. hahaha!!

It would be real pain to travel alone in this 99.9% no-speaking-English big city. For one, most of the logos and street signs were in Chinese characters. Second of all, without the presence of my Chinese speaking friend, I didn't have a single idea how on earth to talk with this cab driver.

Neither, I had the opportunity to ask him why was he encased in a plexiglass shield like that? What was the protection for? On my next visit, I'll make sure to find out why. The taxi driver photo also reminded me of the strong herbal minty odour inside the cab, which I used to smell everyday,( courtesy of the bank officers whose daily stress-related headaches were eased by wiping such Chinese oil in their foreheads ), in a bank located inside China Town here in our country, where I had experienced to work. I was tempted to ask him if he was suffering from headache too or was the smell came from his car air freshener. Well, I chose to keep silent then. Translations would be very tedious in that scenario.

xiao long bao

The highlight of my day was to taste authentic Shanghai dishes, dumplings such as the intriguing " xiao long bao" . I had it in our local China town Ongpin, but I felt I should have it where it was created. It looked like a bigger siomai but you would be surprised by the tasty broth inside. My friend taught me how to manage ( a huge one slurp was a must!) the broth before the liquid dropped found its way down to my dress. More of this in my food blog click here.

Anyway, going back to Shanghai, after getting dizzy by sky high rising buildings, old and new, many were still under constructions, as breezy as I arrived in Shanghai, I found myself back to the airport for my return to Hongkong.

Shanghai airport

Kung Hei Fat Choi to all my Chinese friends !!!_ in two weeks.

On Traveling

When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. ~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

The best thing I love about traveling is the freedom to reinvent myself. The quick change, the transformation of what I wanna be. The free ground of past, no present, no future. Just be in the moment of how I feel.

Reinventing oneself is such a tedious process that many times I ended up in my old self all over again. There are so many factors to consider and time element holds a major number.

But when I travel, there's immediate response to transformation. Suffice to say_ I am really transported physically.

When I am in another place with different culture, weather, language, food.. I embrace a chance to camouflage and for a while let myself fade in the background. I enjoy_dressing the same way people of that certain place do, eat their food, listen to their language, appreciate their culture and simply enjoy the opportunity to experience a different me.. in a haste.

Spontaneous spells a lot about my true nature. But my life in general is already attached to responsibilities which control most of my spirit emancipation.

Traveling gives that freedom to me. Such short lived escape brings instant gratification.

Apart from the destination , it is really the new me in that new place that tick me to travel.

Traveling is such a bliss.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Turista, Kalesa at Buco sa Binondo

I saw a tourist couple enjoying a ride on a horse drawn carriage while sipping fresh buco (young coconut) juice.

Sounds perfect . . . . .

. . . . . except for the fact that they were in the middle of almost immobile traffic of Binondo. To ease boredom, I looked around for something interesting and chanced upon this carriage beside our car.

The only vehicle on the road with smiling faces.. how refreshing !!! :D

ps: I intentionally hid blurred the faces of the tourists for discretion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bliss Behind Bars

This is amazing and a hair raising one. For quite some time now, Cebu Dancing Inmates have been making buzzes over YouTube. But this one, this is the best! It's like Cebu Inmates found their true calling. What comes next? A dance movie production? Anything is possible.

I found bliss in this video

I'm proud to belong to this God gifted race_ the Filipino. OMG, even our inmates are being recognized as International caliber.

Filipino, Philippines "Dancing Inmates" from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a maximum security prison, were treated to a visit by Michael Jacksons long-time choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid to learn performances from THIS IS IT.

I'm amazed by the the way dancing have turned over whatever orthodox activities they used to have behind bars and that I believe resulted to many positive things for the benefit of the inmates with human rights.

For one dancing as a form of exercise is surely hyping positivity in all aspects of their beings.

Recognizing that whatever wrongness they have committed and brought them in there , opportunity to do good deeds still knocks even behind bar doors.

Having read some comments saying that some didn't believe these were real inmates from Cebu, I took time to scrutinize the faces of the inmates. Well, they looked real to me. They looked very Cebuanos , very Filipinos.

This is so beautiful !!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sto. Nino Festivals

Here in the Philippines, January is a month long celebration of Sto. Nino (Holy Child) festivals. The most colorful ones can be experienced in the South (Visayas) where history revealed is the place where it all was rooted.

Sinulog Festival
Cebu City
3rd Sunday of January

Kalibo, Aklan
3rd Sunday of January

Iloilo City
4th Sunday of January

The festival is actually a country wide celebration and being observed by almost all Catholic churches/ communities in this country .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Road Trip- Bondoc Peninsula

I'm the girl from Quezon prov who thought after gazillion times of passing the Quezon highways could already sleep the whole trip because I thought I've seen all the roads and towns of my coconut province.

Coming from our recent visit to the farthest town in Quezon from Manila my hometown, we decided to reroute again to Bondoc Peninsula going back to Manila. Take note that from my countless vice-versa trips of Manila-Quezon , this was only a second time. This time, I decided to get on with the trip fully awake and enjoyed the sceneries through the window of our moving vehicle.

Expensive big bikes of hobbyist gentlemen that I was sure not residents of the local town.

Manong surely felt happy, he smiled while I took this photo as we entered the first town of B. Peninsula from Gumaca.

Beautiful century houses turned commercial shops in the town of Agdangan.

We passed by the place of Cong. Suarez, does the name ring a bell? He was attached to the controversial =million pesos dinner treat of Phil. delegation in New York last year with Pres. Macapagal.

The Luminous Cross Sanctuary at Agdangan. We visited it last year. See more of it here

Locals having fun at the road side beach.

With the beautiful Borawan within sight. See more of Borawan here.

Those locals in the beach were so happy to look at, we decided to take a break and took some fresh air.

Random art work took our fancy.....

Must be owned by this resto by the beach, which in itself looked like another work of art.

This was the other resort in Padre Burgos which we didn't see last year. Maybe, we'll try it this year if we could make another visit to Borawan this summer.

To compare this Bondoc Peninsula route to Manila and the Quezon Zigzag-Atimonan route, we figured the latter was a faster way. Yet Bondoc P. way was traffic free. It was like we were the only car in the highway. We felt, we like the zigzag road more still and would take this BP route only during holidays when Quezon highways are loaded with home coming vehicles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cultural Show at Soloma, Kuala Lumpur

After a sumptuous buffet dinner at Soloma , see food details here , guests were treated to an exquisite cultural show.

The performers were the same people who welcomed the guests at the entrance of the restaurants.

These twin dancers looked so familiar to me. I wonder if they were the same ladies in one of my belly dancing dvds. gotta check it out later.

This dance is tinikling or singkil to us Filipinos. There were so much similarities in many ways, truly one Asia.

Followed was audience participation. My friend Jay was pushing me to join, you know for photo ops, but I saw how the western guests were so excited so I gave way.

At this point, the host was encouraging the guests to come up on the stage for photo ops. Hey, look at this table of - spot the common denominator bishop baldness. Again the western guests hopped first on the stage. Very enthusiastic audience, so nice!

Can you spot my friend  here? She's beside the man with big white hair. I had my spot, but I looked so darn awful, so I'd rather not post it. It was a great night!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Carpets of Koi at Nuvali

Yesterday was another Tagaytay weekend for us and for thousands of people who were consuming the end of the Christmas Holidays in this mountain. On Monday, it would be back to work and to school.

As expected, the not so wide road of  Tagaytay was loaded with cars. The traffic was uberly busy and cars were bumper to bumper.

We cut our trip short and took the Sta. Rosa exit to Manila. The traffic hadn't shaken a bit and remained heavy.

Too long on the road, our hunger pangs pushed us to make a full stop at Nuvali, a metropolis being developed by Ayala Land, in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Already, food establishments were making their waves in there. There were lots of people enjoying the place and looked like business is flourishing.

There was a long man-made (I guess..) lake which seemed to be the craze there. Everyone was standing around the pond. Why, why, why??

Because of them ...!!!!!

Carpets of koi fish occupied the lake.

Feeding the koi was encouraged.

Young and adult_ both found it an enjoyable task. Husband was happy to feed the koi.

The koi showed awesome enthusiasm about the feeding activity. I definitely had glorious time.

Aside from the kois, there was another activity which had a long queue of kids.

The boat ride around the stretch of the lake. Well, you know kids, they always love to ride. No matter what and where... they simply love riding.

Grandparents of my girls had a grand time too..

Only younger daughter was not fully satisfied with our stop over at Nuvali. She missed the boat ride. I had to drag her back to the car as the queue was too long for a passersby like us. I just made her a promise that we will comeback on a not too busy weekend.