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Archive for April, 2010

Conquer Mount Pinatubo

April 30th, 2010 by

I never thought that I could actually brave conquering a mountain.  That’s just not me.  My adventurous side can ride a speedboat in the middle of the sea even under heavy rains or eat exotic local food in the different countries that I visit.  Yes, I can also cross a rickety dilapidated wooden bridge hundreds of feet above ground to get to another mountains and ride the zipline on my way back.  But mountain climbing was something that I thought I will never get to try.  For one, I did not think that I was physically fit enough for the trek up plus how could I ever learn to pack light and compress everything including a tent in my handy dandy backpack???

Photo by:  Mr. Digz Agulo

That was what I thought until I got to try to conquer my very first mountain, Mt Daguldol in Batangas City (Philippines).  I got a natural high from the experience that I definitely promised myself that Mt Daguldol will not be my last mountain.  It did not matter that my chest practically exploded from my heavy panting, that my feet were suddenly swollen from tripping on so many branches, that it took us four hours to reach the summit with only about fifteen minutes to enjoy the breathtaking view, or that it rained on our way down and I had to slide on my buttocks to prevent myself from falling into the dark ravine.  Just like what I said, it was a different kind of “high.”

When an opportunity to climb Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines presented itself less a month later, I said yes in a heartbeat!

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Top Summer Retreats In China

April 29th, 2010 by

For centuries, the people of China have found refuge from the summer heat in a variety of places. Whether they are royal palaces or sacred mountains, these vacation spots offer cool weather, scenic views and natural wonders to bring relief from the heat and stress of urban life.

Here are four summer retreats located in China:

Mt. Emei

Photo courtesy of Mckaysavage:

Mt. Emei - located in Sichuan Province, this mountain is one of the four most sacred Buddhist mountains in China. There is a remarkable  temperature difference at different points of Emei, with a 14 degree centigrade change from the base to the peak. Thus, even on sultry July/August weather, the higher parts remain a blissfully cool 11 degree centigrade. Ancient woods, majestic waterfalls and a multitude of Buddhists temples all make Mt. Emei a  place to leave worldly concerns and focus on spiritual health. Baoguo Temple, Wannian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion and Gold Summit are some of the attractions to be found along the slopes of the mountain.

Mt. Emei is also a natural “Oxygen Bar”, where negative Oxygen ion concentration reach 0.1 to 1 million parts per cubic meter, some 500 to 1,000 times more than urban areas. Scientists agree that sufficient negative Oxygen ions can encourage metabolization in the human body to prolong life, improve sleep and decrease fatigue. Mt. Emei is 130 kilometers from Shuangliu International Airport, with regular overnight trains between Emei Shan and Kunming as well as bus routes between Chengdu and Le Shan.

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Hungry? How about a Midnight Snack in Taipei?

April 28th, 2010 by

After a long day of touring the sites in and around Taipei, you may be tempted to simply rush back to your hotel room, grab a quick bite at a local convenience store, and crawl under the covers for a few hours of rest.

Night market seafood at keelung taipei night market

If you’re really hungry, and adventurous, you’ll want to stay out a little while longer to explore one of the most interesting parts of the city – the midnight snack markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Behold The Rafflesia

April 23rd, 2010 by

Travelers who find themselves in Asia tend to choose the popular cities to include in their itineraries like Bangkok, Singapore City, Manila, Siem Reap or Kuala Lumpur.  Of course, it is advisable to recommend to tourists not limit to themselves to the popular spots.  It would be great to visit other cities as well for a much deeper understanding of the people and cultures.

Welcome to the Rafflesia Conservation Garden Photo by: theshutterbugs

My partner and I planned a trip to Malaysia but decided to head to Kota Kinabalu instead of Kuala Lumpur.  Thanks to promo fare offered by Budget Airline Air Asia, we were able to secure US$ 70 tickets to Sabah.  We were hesitant at first as we did not know anything about Kota Kinabalu or Sabah so we did our own research.

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Top 10 Indian Bread

April 22nd, 2010 by

Unleavened flat breads are a mainstay in the diet of the peoples of South India. These are customarily made from whole wheat flour (atta) and baked on a hot iron griddle called tava. Other forms of bread are ideal for snacks and appetizers, while others are specially prepared for festivals.

Here are 10 Indian breads you can indulge in the sub-continent:

Photo by scaredy_kat:

  1. Samosa - a popular vegetarian street food, made from spicy boiled potato stuffing inside a crispy flour dough and served with some flavorful chutney. The patty shell takes a triangular, semilunar or tetrahedral shape. A non-vegetarian variation is stuffed with spicy ground meat (usually lamb), while the sweet version is filled with sweetened reduced milk. Samosas are a perfect companion to a cup of tea.
  2. Roti - an unleavened flatbread made from atta flour. This staple of Indian tables has a thinner version known as chapati. Commonly served with curry or cooked vegetables and spread with ghee (clarified butter), roti is an accompaniment for many dishes.
  3. Papadum - Spicy, cracker-like tidbits usually served as appetizers in Indian restaurants. Raw papadum are prepared from black gram bean flour or rice flour with salt and peanut oil added, and resembles semi-transparent plastic, falling to pieces at the slightest touch. But when placed briefly in an oven, it turns opaque, become sturdier and form little bubbles on the surface.
  4. Paratha - one of the most popular unleavened flat-bread in the county, made by frying whole-wheat flour on a tava. This flat-bread is commonly stuffed with vegetables like boiled potatoes, radishes or paneer, a kind of South Indian cheese. Toppings for paratha include butter spread, chutney, yoghurt, pickles, and thick spicy curry.
  5. Naan - a thick, leavened flatbread that is baked in a tandoor, or clay oven. It is usually served hot and used to scoop other food.
  6. Puri - made of atta dough and salt, puri is fried in oil until it puffs up with a light golden color. Frequently served during breakfast, this puffy bread is also a mainstay during special ocassions and religious holidays.

Photo by suchitra_prints

7. Kulcha - made from maida flour, mashed potatoes and lots of spices, which are rolled into a flat round shape and baked in an oven until it is golden-brown.

8. Malpua – fritters or pancakes served as desserts or snacks. The batter is made from crushed ripe bananas, coconut, flour and milk, and seasoned with cardamoms. The batter is there deep-fried in oil, and the result is dipped in syrup.

9. Puranpoli – a traditional sweet served during auspicious occasions and important festivals. The cover is made from atta or maida while the stuffing is a combination of jaggery and cardamoms. Puranpolis are often dipped in milk that flavored with almonds or pistachio.

10. Gujiyas – a pastry composed of a flour-based cover stuffed with khoa or mawa mixed with assorted dried fruits. Khoa is a milk product made by heating milk until it turns solid. This delicacy is prepared during the festival of Holi.

In India, it is acceptable to use break off pieces of flat bread to gather food and sop-up sauces and curries. While it is important to eat with the right hand only, the left hand may be used to hold the bread while the right tears into it. Use the fingers to tear enough of the bread, fold it and scoop an adequate amount of side dish with it. The best time to eat bread in India are during festivals such as Deepavali and Holi, when delicacies such as malpua, puranpoli and gujiyas are served.

Itaewon: Seoul’s Bustling Shopping District

April 21st, 2010 by

Let’s be realistic. A vacation isn’t a real vacation if you can’t spend at least one day exploring the area’s locals shops, restaurants, and vendors.

Itaewon <??? ,???>

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Mochi For Your Sweet Tooth

April 16th, 2010 by

Whenever I travel to different countries, I always make it a point not only to visit the different attractions but also to sample wide assortment of delicacies that are available.  I try the local food items to understand more about a particular country’s culture, to tickle my own taste buds, and to know which ones I would like to fill my suitcases with for my friends to enjoy when I return home.  One way to decide is to ask for help from your dependable concierge in hotels like the Langham Place Hotel if you are vacationing in Hong Kong.

A Box of Mochi Photo by: kitci

During one of my trips to Hong Kong, I asked one of my local friends to bring me to a souvenir food shop where I can do a bit of shopping.  While browsing the goods that were on sale in the shop, I spotted an interesting looking box with pictures of something round-shaped on its cover.  My friend’s eyes lit up and with an excited voice told me that that I was holding a box of Mochi.

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6 Sacred Sites and Objects In Japan

April 15th, 2010 by

Japan’s state religion is Shinto, and among its set of beliefs is the worship the spirits residing in nature, such as in trees, rocks, rivers and mountains. In ancient times, the Japanese directly worship these objects, but in time they built temples and shrines as formal places of ceremony, and a few become the epitome of several architectural styles. Nevertheless, some objects still retain its sacredness, and other religions such as Buddhism has its share of places that are considered holy by their followers.

Here are six places and objects in Japan that are deemed sacred:

Todaiji – The Eastern Great Temple possesses the biggest wooden structure in the world, built to accommodate the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. This temple in Nara is home to several treasures, including the Great Buddha Hall (daibutsu), the rear support pillars whose holes at the bottom are said to give anyone who fits in them a guaranteed place in Heaven, and the bronze Octagonal Lantern, which dates back to the original 8th-century structure. Located at the northern part of Nara Park, Todaiji is a 45-minute walk from JR Nara Station.
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Nothing as Fresh: The Noryangjin Fish Market

April 14th, 2010 by

Seoul has a reputation for being one of the best places in South Korea to visit for fresh seafood. The problem is that most of us, average restaurant diners and grocery store shoppers, have no idea what process really happens behind the scenes when it comes to getting fish from the ocean to the table.

Noryangjin Fish Market

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Summer Is Amusement Park Season In The Philippines Part 2

April 9th, 2010 by

In my previous article, I talked about Star City and mentioned that it is considered the longest running amusement park in the Philippines.  But those who do not mind traveling a bit farther, another amusement park is worth mentioning.  I am referring to none other than Enchanted Kingdom.

Welcome to Enchanted Kingdom Photo by: theshutterbugs

Enchanted Kingdom is an amusement park in the Philippines that can specifically be found in Sta Rosa City in Laguna.  It is roughly about thirty kilometers from the capital city of Manila.  It is a huge stand alone park that covers a total land area of seventeen hectares.

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About Travel Blog Travel Blog is your central source of news bits, amusing experiences, funny observations, and helpful tips and guides to travelling around Asia. For easier browsing, check the Categories section for topics you are interested in. Every month, we also highlight an Asian destination with quick links to the travel guide and best hotels in […]

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An Exotic Experience

exotic plantsSample rural bliss in one of the most beautiful lakes in Southeast Asia. Myanmar’s Inle Lake is lush, pristine with its charming paddy fields and floating villages. Bellhop Picks Read more about other attractions in our Myanmar guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Myanmar 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)

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