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Archive for January, 2009

Test Your Luck In The Alluring Casinos Of Macau

January 30th, 2009 by

Have you ever heard of “beginner’s luck”?  It is a common belief that those who gamble for the first time would always be extra lucky on their first bet.  I have no idea if this is true but I guess there is no harm in believing.  This is why I have made a conscious effort to save my “beginner’s luck” and use it when I get to visit the casinos of Las Vegas.  I have been successful in resisting the urge to gamble as I seldom visit casinos in my country.  I had no problem resisting temptation until I got to visit the casinos of Macau.

Casino Grand Lisboa

I had the chance to casino-hop during my recent trip to Macau.  I was so awestruck the moment I saw the fascades of the casinos but nothing prepared me for their lovely dazzling lights at night.  I felt as if I was glued to that position and hypnotized by all those colourful dancing neon signs.

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A Feeding Frenzy Of Filipino Food

January 29th, 2009 by

You may have caught the viral internet commercial where actors portraying the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and US President Barack Obama are having a Filipino dinner. Not only is the commercial a witty endorsement for an anti-dyspepsia drug, it is also a reflection on the Filipino culture of food, particularly as a way to show hospitality by serving the best of the country’s cuisine. If there’s anything that Filipinos gained from its centuries of occupation from foreigners, is in its rich variety of food. From crunchy appetizers to tasty desserts, from filling street snacks to multiple main courses, Philippine cuisine takes its cues from Spanish, American, Malay, and Chinese influences and adds a little island flavor to each dish, such as the use of coconut, tamarind, native lime, and purple yam. Its popular dishes stem from the peasantry, which will maximize the sustenance from each livestock by eating the entire animal, from cooking all the organs to boiling the bones into soup stock. (watch video below)

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7 Reasons to Visit Kobe, Japan

January 28th, 2009 by

KobeFor thousands of years the seaport at Kobe has been a major epicenter, regulating trade between Japan and China, Okinawa, and several other countries. Kobe, at one point over 8 centuries ago, once even served as the capital of Japan.

Because of the major port, Kobe was usually amongst the first areas in Japan to be exposed to western technology and culture. As time went on, Kobe evolved into the spectacular city that it is today. Back in 1995 a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake stunned the area, killing over 6,000 people and injuring tens of thousands more. Despite having lost over 100,000 homes and suffering structural road damage that made relief efforts nearly impossible, Kobe has revitalized itself. Visitors who aren’t familiar with the area would never guess that such a devastating event had occurred only a little over 10 years prior.

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Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: Big Things Come In Small Packages

January 27th, 2009 by

It was one slow Sunday afternoon and I was seated comfortably in my room at the Aston Rasuna Residence Jakarta switching movie channels on cable TV.  I was taking advantage of my free coffee sachets and nibbling on my favorite crunchy Kuzuka cassava chips.  I just came from my short walk on the hotel grounds and decided to go back to my room to rest for a bit.  But as always, I couldn’t stay long in one place and the day was just too beautiful to spend indoors.  I grabbed my Indonesia map and tried to look for an interesting place to explore for the rest of the afternoon.  I chanced upon a short yet informative feature on Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and my curiosity immediately got the best of me.  I grabbed my purse and immediately left my hotel to catch a cab.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) or Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park is an extraordinary park that is located in Southeast part of the city.  From the city center of Jakarta, TMII is located about twenty five (25) kilometers away and travel time can last anywhere from thirty minutes to almost an hour depending on traffic conditions.  But if you’ll be coming from the Perdana Kusuma airport, it is a mere five (5) kilometers away.  You can reach the park by taking various means of transportation like a private rented car, the public bus, metro mini or the ever dependable Blue Bird taxi cabs.

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Get To Know Okinawa

January 26th, 2009 by

Taketomi Island, OkinawaOkinawa Prefecture is Japan’s southernmost prefecture and is comprised of hundreds of islands that stretch beyond 1,000 kilometers from the main island Kyushu to Taiwan. The islands are divided into three main groups: Yaeyama, Miyako, and Okinawa. What most people know about Okinawa is that it is the site of the terrible battle during World War II, the birthplace of Karate, and the hometown of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. But there is so much more to know and enjoy these warm weather islands, from its terrific beaches to its heritage spots.

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Conquer Your Fears At The Macau Tower

January 23rd, 2009 by

Have you ever watched the Amazing Race?  Well, I’ve watched the show a couple of times and chanced upon the show’s stopover in dazzling Macau.  Interestingly, the challenge usually revolves around the impressive Macau Tower, one of the observation decks in Asia. While watching those episodes on the television, I’ve always wondered when I’ll get the chance to visit Macau and test my limits at the Macau Tower.

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself riding the big black Macau taxi together with my travel buddy and travelling on the wide highways.  From the moment we rode the taxi from the airport, I could already feel the slowly thumping of my heart in excitement.  Then there it was… the Macau Tower standing in all its glory.

Largo Da Torre De Macau

The Macau Tower, which was designed by Gordon Moller, measures 338 meters at its highest point while the observation deck is 223 meters above ground.  At the top of the tower, you will see a breathtaking view of Macau up to 55kilometers away.  A proud member of the World Federation of Great Towers, the Macau Tower is considered the 10th tallest free standing tower in the whole world and ranks number 8 in the list of tallest buildings in Asia.

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Have An Asian Valentine’s Day

January 22nd, 2009 by

Asian ValentineValentines Day is celebrated in Western countries as a time when lovers give sweets, cards, and other gifts to each other, spend a romantic dinner together, and enjoy each others’ company. Originally devoted to Saint Valentine’s, it has become an annual bonanza for commercial establishments, and prices for heart-tugging frivolities double in the days leading to this romantic event.

For Asian countries, however, whose non-Christian population do not recognize Saint Valentines, February 14 has become an exercise of cultural mitosis, as different countries have different ways in assimilating a new tradition. From social curiosity to odd adaptation to outright resistance to saying “I Love You“, take time to find out how different eastern nations take on this day of romance.

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Spectacular Places to Party in Isan

January 21st, 2009 by

IsanThailand is a country full of culture and diversity, but what most people don’t realize is that pride in one’s culture often means celebration – and that’s exactly what the residents of Isan in Thailand love to do. Not only do they have a hopping night life, but they throw festivals celebrating various events almost every single month.

If only one thing could be said about the province of Isan, it would be that its residents throw their hearts and souls into honoring their Buddhist traditions. So much so, in fact, citizens from major cities and small villages all over Thailand often flock to Isan to join in on the fun. So what are they celebrating?

Annual Festivals in Isan

In Buddhist tradition there are a series of celebrations known as Heet Sib Song (otherwise known as the 12 customs). Each celebration represents a different symbolic ceremony or merit.

Boon Bong FaiBoon Khao Jee is held in Roi Et during the third month of the Chinese calendar and is well known for the multitude of roasted egg and rice feasts and religious offerings. During the sixth month you’ll enjoy celebrating both Boon Bung Fai and Boon Khao Pansa.  Boon Bung Fai, held in Yasathon, is an annual rocket festival, while the start of the Buddhist Lent period is marked by the Boon Khao Pansa festival. Boon Khao Pansa is marked in Ubon Ratchathani by a stunning candle festival. Read the rest of this entry »

Take A Walk At The Hong Kong Park

January 20th, 2009 by

If you are a first time visitor of Hong Kong, I’m sure that you would have the usual tourist spots included in your travel itinerary.  Friends would recommend that you visit amusement parks like Hong Kong Disneyland or Ocean Park.  For your shopping sprees, you can visit any of Hong Kong’s huge malls like Harbour City, Times Square, Pacific Place, etc.  For adventures, you would definitely want to visit the Ngong Ping 360 adventure or the Peak Tram.

During my recent trip to Hong Kong while touring some friends, we decided to pass through the Pacific Place on our way to the Peak Tram Terminus to reach Victoria Peak.  It was the first time for me to go through that route as I would usually commute to the Star Ferry Terminal and catch a ride in one of the open top buses that travel from the Star Ferry Terminal until the Peak Tram Terminus.

Hong Kong Park

So we asked for directions and we were told that we had to go up the long elevators of Pacific Place and look for signs that will lead us to the base of the Peak Tram.  When we went out the door of Pacific Place, we were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of a lovely park that is simply called Hong Kong Park.

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Osaka, Japan: Commercial Capital

January 19th, 2009 by

Osaka CastleOsaka once served as Japan’s capital back in the 9th century when it was called Naniwa. If Edo was the military center of the country and Kyoto was home to the imperial court, then Osaka became “The Nation’s Kitchen”, serving as the distribution point for rice, Japan’s most important commodity and the primary measurement of wealth. Today, Osaka is the “anti-capital” of Japan, with a culture of food and commerce that is truly distinct yet parallel to Tokyo.

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Season Greetings!

Japanese TempleFrom castles to shopping malls and business districts, Sendai is vibrant and fast paced but this bustling city also boasts the name of “City of Trees” for its tranquil parks, the Hirose-gawa River and the beautiful zelkova trees that border the city’s streets. Bellhop Picks: Read more about other attractions in our Japan guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Japan tales section.
  • Polls

    Top 5 Romantic Spots in Asia

    • Palawan, Philippines (39%, 182 Votes)
    • Boracay, Philippines (36%, 168 Votes)
    • Bali, Indonesia (31%, 143 Votes)
    • Agra, India (18%, 84 Votes)
    • Batangas, Philippines (17%, 79 Votes)
    • Male, Maldives (16%, 77 Votes)
    • Jeju Island, South Korea (16%, 75 Votes)
    • Sentosa Island, Singapore (15%, 72 Votes)
    • Krabi, Thailand (13%, 60 Votes)
    • Macau, China (10%, 49 Votes)
    • Halong Bay, Vietnam (7%, 34 Votes)

    Total Voters: 467

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