Sunday, 26 January 2014

A day in Teotihuacan

Another UNESCO heritage site situated in Mexico, housing the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon is also known as the city of gods, Teotihuacan is the largest Pre-Columbian city in the Americas.
Pyramid of the Sun
Don't let the sun fool you. It was pretty cooling the day we went.
I even regretted slightly i did not bring my jacket along with me. 

Really magnificent architectural that is
 Well, it’s a beautiful place if you love some fine monuments and pyramids. I love this place because despite the ever blue skies, the weather is constantly at 20+/- degC which is a very good weather for scaling all those heights. In my honest opinion, if I were warm and sweaty by the end of the trip I probably wouldn’t feel that this trip was as good as it had been. Not to be vain, but it feels all comfortable and breezy after you scale the top is really one of my nicest experience. 

The entrance
The first sight you will see when you enter the premises.
Peak of the Pyramid. (See small reflector near feet)
It's not exactly long way down.
And you can see craved steps and handrails. They are really safe.
It was not tough to scale the peaks.
This little boy is proof.

Here and there will be some locals selling souvenirs and handicrafts.
There are some stalls around the premises as well.
Vendors selling souvenirs & handicrafts
Some fun facts about these pyramids in Teotihuacan.

1. It was mysteriously abandon in 700A.D.
2. The Pyramid of the Sun is exactly half as tall as the Pyramid of Giza
3. Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl are in the same layout as Orion’s Belt

Thursday, 9 January 2014

5 ways to tell your loved ones you are travelling again

For travel addicts like me, we are often met with people who cannot understand our need to travel. Especially so in my hometown – Singapore, people are living in a fast paced life based on pragmatism. However, like an ecstasy, words cannot explain the lust to travel quite enough.

1.       Invite them
The simplest way I found out to break new travelling news to my parents was to simply invite them. However, be very careful to tell them what you are expecting to accomplish during the trip and make sure they understand what they signed up for. Emphasize on mountain climbing, skiing, diving, anything you might find overwhelming for them.

2.       We don’t live forever.
Our lives are only as long as it lasted. Be brave. Make peace with them regarding your travelling, meaning you have to be responsible with your own travelling expenses including living expenses, and make it a point to tell them.

3.       I will not travel forever.
Make plans to always come home after every trip. They miss you more than you can imagine, especially your love ones. Telling them that you are not going to travel forever helps to reassure them any insecurity they have.

4.       Tell them you will still love them, or even more, even as you travel.
Make simple gestures to tell your loved ones that you have not left them behind in your old lives. One reason why I think parents fear their child travelling more than they should is because they fear they might not be a part of your exciting and adventurous future. Write postcards. Send pictures. Send your love.

5.       Share with them the attractiveness of your destinations.
Loved ones will share the joy and excitement you truly enjoy in these simple pleasures. My mother was a very conservative woman. When I shared with her how I went skydiving, how we went road trips into roads uncharted on maps, and that I am going to swim with whale sharks, her eyes widen with horror turned joy as mine did with nothing but pure happiness. 

Skydiving in Mexico

Sunday, 5 January 2014

4 + 1 reasons why everyone should visit Philippines

1.  It has the best beaches of the world

It consists of 7,107 islands country wide. From the familiar Boracay and Palawan to Coron and Samar which takes your breath away, these beaches are often voted as the World’s Best Island. Be prepared to be swept away by the pure beauty the crystal clear water presents. 

Twin Island, Coron, Philippines

Boracay was previously votes as the Best Island on the Travel+Leisure for year 2012 and second on year 2013. Palawan was placed 1st in year 2013 ahead of world renowned places like Sicily (Italy), Maui (Maldives) and Koh Samui (Thailand). 

 Kayangan Lake, Coron islands, Palawan, Philippines

2. Best dive sites in the world

Philippines is also recognized as top 10 best places to learn diving by Lonely Planet.  It also provides more than 10 different dive sites for enthusiasts including the infamous Coron Bay voted as one of the world’s finest wreck diving destination. 

Philippines is also one of the top 5 destinations to dive with the whale sharks and you can also snorkel with these gentle giants in the open water at near Donsol.

Whale shark diving

As a vulnerable species, Dugongs are getting less common in sightings in many parts of Asia. Philippines, being one of their nesting homes, provide eco friendly Dugong watching

Dugong Dive Center, Club Paradise, Coron, Palawan

3. UNESCO heritage site
Being a country comprising of more than 7000 islands, it is no wonder that this humble country is also home to 5 designated World Heritage sites being a place of importance to cultural or natural heritage.

Being the 7th most populated country in Asia and 12th in the world, this country is influenced by their history of Hispanic colonization and the American occupation which has transformed them into a country chock-full of the mixture of eastern and western culture. One prominent feature of this amazing culture are the four UNESCO registered Baroque churches. 

Church of San Agustin, in Manila

Church of La Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion, in Santa Maria Ilocos Sur
Church of San Agustin, in Paoay, Ilocos Norte 

 Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, in Miag-ao, Iloilo  

Not only a world recognized UNESCO heritage site, the well-known Underground Subterranean River in Palawan is also voted as the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World by Lonely Planet.
4. Bucket list favorites
The world is filled with wonders and everyone scribbles their own bucket lists. Sure, the above mentioned places are already holidays worth dying for. While one can come up with a never ending list over some simple researches, such as the Bohol Chocolate Hills, or Rice Terraces in Banaue, there are many other hidden treasures in this beautiful country. 
 Chocolate Hills in Bohol

 Some notable bucket list destination in Philippines should include the less known Waterfall restaurant, also known as the Villa Escudero Waterfall Restaurant
Villa Escudero Waterfall Restaurant, Quezon Province, Philippines 
Munch away the delicious local delicacies while the clear spring water from the waterfall runs through the feet makes its unique experience a worthy mention on the bucket list.
 Another unique adventure in the Philippines would be the Cave church in Manilla or known as Callao Cave. Immerse in the fullness in the culture of this one of a kind cathedral turned chapel in a cave. Comprises of a original 9 chambers, now 7, each of these chambers consist of natural crevices to allow natural lightings into these otherwise dark places. 

Cathedral turned Chapel, 1st Chamber, Cagayan, Philippines
Although not exactly a conventional tourists spot, some might find the Hanging Coffins in Sagada a trip worth mentioning. Despite a long hike situated at the north of Manila, this traditional way of burial can only be found in a handful of places around the globe. 

Hanging Coffins, Sagada

5. Affordable travel

Update on this when I am back from my trip in March 2014 with my detailed itinerary. Things are looking good on my pockets currently. Wish me all the best!

Some tips for visiting Philippines

Tons of information can be found over the internet. So I will only post some relevant information that requires a little bit more researching.

Currency: Philippines Pesos (PHP) – kind of obvious

Note: Not to be confused with Mexican Pesos. I had difficulty getting the Mexican Pesos the last time round and I had to search for days to realize it’s almost impossible to get these Mexican Pesos in Singapore. Better luck in United States! 

The best time to visit would be from March to May if intended to travel Around Philippines. This is because the wet season for most parts of the country is usually from July to December. However, on islands such as the Eastern Mindanao, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar and Southeast Luzon (note: Mt Mayon resides in this area) is rainy from December to March. As for the central Visayas such as Bohol, Negros and Cebu are less affected by the monsoons unless there are any typhoons coming up on the east.

More information will come in after my own trip to this amazing country in March. Feel free to comment or pm me!