June 19, 2019

Metro Train Tour in Bangkok

Ratchadamri Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Probably one of the most visited cities in Asia, Bangkok offers a lot of things to travelers from all over the world. One thing that I admire about this city is its well planned and placed Metro stations that enables tourists like me to reach a large number of attractions and shops faster and at ease. So one late morning, I decided to not plan on anything and just see what the city has to offer.

I purchased a BTS One-Day Pass that lets me have unlimited rides on the BTS system for just 140 Baht (Php 233). I was so happy that day because I was able to see most of the city with just a little more than 200 pesos! So I did my self-guided tour by visiting spots that are within the BTS Train Stations. Click on this link to know more about BTS One-Day Pass.

Central World

One can reach and visit one of Bangkok's biggest malls, Central World, by riding all the way to the heart of the city. You can exit either by Siam Station or through Chit Lom Station to reach this area. As you can see on the photo, it is still the iPhone X posted on billboards because I was there at January 2018.

Khlong Saen Saep

Walking along the overpass along Ratchadamri Road, I passed by this beautiful river where water taxis are passing through. This river is called the Khlong Saen Saep which is a very important canal that has been used by the Thai people dating back centuries ago to transport people and goods as well.

An overpass by the Pratunam Market

Pratunam Market is also reachable by foot from the stations Chit Lom and Siam. It's not that near though but for afternoons like mine, it was a good stroll for me. Pratunam is famous for its cheap selections including clothes and cute trinkets and souvenirs. I got my Dad and my brother some pasalubong (travel gifts) from here and they were very happy.

After buying stuff at Pratunam, I made my way back to Siam Station by foot and headed back to Central World to see what's inside the mall and yes, to cool myself down from the hot and humid Bangkok afternoon. Aside from shops and restaurants, I was able to find a few interesting things inside this mall.

Art Gallery inside Central World

One of the walkways inside the mall was turned into an art gallery. I am not very sure if it is a usual place for such art exhibits or I was just very lucky that day to see these beautiful pop art posted for the public eye.

Then it was time to get back to the train and on to my next stop, Victory Monument Station. This is one of the most interesting legs of the BTS tracks which I will elaborate later. But for now, Let me give you a little history of what is the Victory Monument and why it is important for Thai People.

Victory Monument

Victory Monument is a landmark in the heart of Bangkok which features an obelisk with several statues around it. It is a remembrance of Thailand's victory over the Thai-Franco War that happened between October 1940 to May 1941. It is a reminder of the victory of the Thai people against the French forces that led the Thai Kingdom to expand to several areas in Cambodia and Laos. It is erected last 1942 and is now located at the intersection between Phaya Thai, Phahonyothin, and Ratchawithi Roads.

I would like to thank the very kind policemen who saw me struggling for a selfie. One of them offered to take a decent photo of me with the Monument at my back. Thank you so much and also for holding my two litter drinking water. (that afternoon was really hot)

Victory Monument Station

As I have mentioned above, this leg of the BTS tracks are probably one of the most interesting. You have to hold on the handrails if you are standing because it literally went around the victory monument and gives you a beautiful almost 360 degree view of the landmark. It was a very beautiful moment and goes to show how important for the Thai people this monument is that it went all around it so that it can retain it's place at its center.

Mo Chit Station

Mo Chit Station was my last stop that afternoon. It is the farthest station at the North Route of BTS (as of now because construction is on going to expand up to Khu Khot). This station is well known not just because it is the last but because it is the station to exit if you wish to visit the biggest night markets in Bangkok, the Chatuchak Weekend Market. But since it was a weekday, I have decided to just visit and stroll the beautiful park just below the station, Chatuchak Park.

Chatuchak Park

Chatuchak Park is located at an area donated by the State Railway of Thailand and was built during the late 70s. It is a beautiful place at the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok where you can take a break and press pause on your busy day. Though it was hot that day (okay I know I've said it so much but REALLY it was hot) all the trees and the lagoon gave me a fresh feeling, at least for my eyes.

A kind lady took this photo of me at Chatuchak Park

Solo Travel Tip: I know we tend to get a little shy whenever we ask strangers for a photo, but believe me you'll get through it. And when you do, if you want better photos taken, look for students and younger people, or better yet other tourists that have cameras on their necks (that's quite usual on touristy cities) to take your photo. Promise, you'll never regret the quality of their photos. Mine above was a bit far HAHA but hey, I can still crop it if I want to, important thing is that it's clear.

Aside from the fact that it is free, another metro line, the Bnagkok MRT has a station just below the park which is named after the park as well, Chatuchak Park MRT Station. Chatuchak was amazing and I was able to experience it on another day that week so hopefully I can write about it soon. But yes, if you wish to go shopping and get lost in the middle of markets, markets, markets, Chatuchak is a must.

Map marker of Chatuchak Park

Bangkok will always have a special place in my heart. Mainly because of its people who are always willing to give you their smiles for free. With my experience of travel around South East Asia, I must say that Thai people looks so much most like us Filipinos. They would even talk to me straight in Thai and when I politely inform them that I am not Thai, they easily recognize me that I am a Filipino maybe because of the way we speak English. And yes, they would even shout Manny Paquiao's Name once they knew I am Filipino HAHA!

Clear Blue Skies on that Summer Day in Bangkok

So what now? Book that flight to Thailand! If I can make it with just a BTS One-Day Pass, then so can you! I love Thailand, sure you will!

This post is part of Skywatch Friday that features different views of the sky around the world. Visit Skywatch and go on tour around the globe seeing sunrises, sunsets and so much more than the sky that you know at http://skyley.blogspot.in/


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For more information on BTS, contact them through:

Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited
BTS Building, 1000 Phahonyothin Rd., Chomphon, Chatuchak Bangkok 10900 Thailand
Tel : 0 2617 7300
Fax : 0 2617 7133 , 0 2617 7155
Email : nuduan@bts.co.th
BTS CALL CENTER : 0 2617 6000
Daily from : 06.00-24.00 hrs.


June 14, 2019

The Empire Hotel of Brunei

Facing the South China Sea

The Kingdom of Brunei is famous for gold, oil, and luxury. One of its famous spots is the Empire Hotel & Country Club located at the Muara district just a half hour drive from the capital city of Bandar. Dubbed as a 7 star hotel, The Empire boasts of its luxury hotel suites and rooms and first class amenities. But for sightseers like me and my high school pals, a half day trip around the area is more than enough for us.

       (Left) Beautiful Glass Walls            (Right) Marble floors and stairways.

Opened at October 2000, The Empire's interiors are made of the finest grade marble and some of the furniture you will see inside the hotel are finished with pure gold, one of which is a great grand mirror at the hotel lobby which is leafed with 24 karat gold. The Major pillars are made of Marble and lined with gold which gives is somewhat an Egyptian/Middle Eastern feel.

But what struck me the most  is that big and beautiful glass wall made into some sort of a solarium that is several floors high which gives guests an amazing view of the tropical paradise just on the other side of the door. It reminded me of that final scene from beauty and the Beast when all of them were waltzing around at the transformation of the beast into a prince.

Judy, Myrcel, Dianne, Angelica, Lara, Me, Marvin, and Faith at the Empire

The whole receiving area was extravagant and spacious with a very high ceiling that spans several floors high. From the lobby, you would have to take several flights of stairs or escalators to reach the glass walled entrance to the pool and beach area.

The Empire is a member of Worldhotels which is one of the world's leading organization of independent hotels across the globe. This hotel has several amenities aside from 518 rooms (Yes, five hundred and seventeen!!!) which includes function halls, restaurants, cinema theaters, and a full golf and country club. Now how luxurious can this hotel get?

View from the outside of the glass wall.

Since Brunei is situated in the tropical jungles of Borneo, going outside the hotel premises will open your pores to humid and all-year-long summer heat. But the high temperature does not tamper the beauty that your eyes will witness as you walk along the gardens that lead to the pool and beach areas.

(Left) Pool Area                             (Right) Open Lagoon where guests can use kayaks      

Truly this ambitious project that lasted for a construction time of more than 6 years produces a beautiful and over the top architectural wonder. One thing I realize during our day's visit is that there are very few hotel guests that day when we visited. Our guide told us that it really is a quiet place because of the price per stay on their hotel rooms. Truly, sticking and staying true with Brunei's title of "Abode of Peace". 

We were very blessed to have had the chance to witness the Empire's Majestic glory. Will I ever get the chance to stay a night here as a guest someday? Only God knows and time will tell, nothing is impossible. (HAHA) 

The Empire Hotel and Country Club is located at Kg Jerudong, Muara - Tutong Hwy, Brunei BG3122, Brunei. You can contact the hotel at +673 241 8888 or click on this link to visit their website. So when you visit Brunei, tell your guide to visit the Empire. It's beautiful, astonishing and a great place to cool down on Brunei's all year Summer.

Ate Judy and Me at Bander Seri Begawan, Brunei

Before I end this post, let me ask you to greet my sister Ate Judy a Happy Birthday! She is not just my cousin but she is also my best friend and classmate since kindergarten up until highschool. We love to travel together and see the world side by side.Happy Birthday Ate Judy!

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This post is part of Skywatch Friday that features different views of the sky around the world. Visit Skywatch and go on tour around the globe seeing sunrises, sunsets and so much more than the sky that you know at http://skyley.blogspot.in/


June 10, 2019

Quezon's Game

Raymond Bagatsing as President Manuel L. Quezon
(Photo from esquiremag.ph)

We feel really good whenever we watch superhero movies whenever we see them fly, fight the enemies and bring down the rivals, don't we? But have you ever wonder how it feels when we are the heroes? When the Filipinos that lived before us, people of our blood, are the ones that saved humanity?

Directed by Matthew E. Rosen, Quezon's Game was set in the late 1930s wherein the Philippines are in transitive time to full independence from the United States of America. Everything was peaceful in the islands that time but something cruel has been happening to the Jews on the other side of the world. Thousands are being contained in concentration camps or the ghettos by Nazi Germany willing to take over the world and started by cleansing humanity through their inhumane plans to massively kill the Jews.

During the time, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon (played by Raymond Bagatsing) worked together with his friends to do something and make a difference not just for his country but to humanity and hopefully save thousands of lives that are bound to be killed by the Nazis. Manuel Quezon made me so proud because he was not just being a good president nor an exemplary Filipino, but he showed how it was to be a Global Citizen even before the concept has been introduced. Through his voice and his friends' strong support, they were able to save more than 1,200 jews across Europe, letting them into the homes and the hearts of the Filipinos.

The German SS Officer talking to Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing),
Dwight Eisenhower (David Bianco), and Alex Freider (Billy Ray Gallion)
(Photo from starmometer.com)

In this very crucial times, Quezon's Game tells us the importance of knowing who we truly are as Filipinos. As per Dwight Eisenhower's words on the movie, Filipinos are "sentimental and nationalistic" and this explains all of the battles that were fought by our early heroes. We live for this nation, we live for humanity. Not really idolizing a certain person of power but fighting for the rights of every Filipino citizen. But this movie goes beyond that, it goes beyond nationalism, it's about the Filipino's stand for humanity.

This movie really made me ask, who are our true friends? And if we do have enemies, who are they? Can we group these people by the people they serve or the blood that runs through their systems? Quezon's Game also showed me the multiple kinds of Americans, no matter if they belong to the same race, but the kind that we can classify through the views that they believe in.

Eisenhower (David Bianco) and Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing)
(Photo from news.abs-cbn.com)

Bagatsing showed both power and sensitivity that were needed by the portrayal of Quezon. Alejandro's portrayal of Aurora was subtle but firm and composed yet gives a shower of emotion whenever the scene asks to. The foreign casts were applaudable and made amazing personifications of these historical figures that we know little about.

Quezon's Game won several awards across the globe including Best Actor (Raymond Bagatsing), Best Actress (Rachel Alejandro), Best Supporting Actor (Billy Ray Gallion, and Best Director (Matthew Rosen) on the 2018 Cinema World Fest Awards at Ottawa, Canada and Best Foreign Movie at the 2019 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival at Houston, Texas. The cast were amazing, probably added so much more meaning to the characters and situations that they are in. 

So I ask you, we spend hundreds or thousands of pesos on movie tickets to watch our favorite Marvel Superheroes save the world, should you spend a few hundred to watch how yourself, a Filipino, were ones a hero not just for this country but for humanity? It felt really awesome for me, I'm sure it will for you as well.



Catch Quezon's Game, still showing on theaters, NOW! Suportahan po natin ang pelikulang Pilipino, lalo na ang ganitong klaseng makabayan at makabansa. Take my word for it, your few hundred bucks will be so much worth it with the fire that it can give you and the pride and hope that you can get amongst ourselves as Filipinos.
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My prayer goes to all the departed Jews in the war and concentration camps and their families who survived and are continually saddened by how their loved ones ended.


June 7, 2019

Dōtonbori

Dōtonbori, Osaka, Japan 2018

Probably Osaka's most visited and most famous tourist destination, Dōtonbori, is located at the heart of the city.it is colorful during the day but so much brighter and livelier when the sun starts to set as the vibrant electronic billboards flash their hues. The Dōtonbori canal runs through this area which starts from Dōtonboribashi Bridge all the way to Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba district of Osaka.

One of the most famous landmarks of Dōtonbori is the Glico Man billboard which features a running man crossing the finish line, is also an icon not just of Osaka but the whole of Japan.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday that features different views of the sky around the world. Visit Skywatch and go on tour around the globe seeing sunrises, sunsets and so much more than the sky that you know at http://skyley.blogspot.in/

June 5, 2019

Gising!, Bertdey Mo Na.

06.04.2019

A Birthday Gift from: bagwissinagtala


Dumating na naman ang bagong umaga.
Gigisingin ba kita (Siyempre! Kasi bertdey mo na!).
O hahayaang managinip?

Ihehele ba kita sa matatamis na salita.
O sasampalin ng mga talinghaga sa mukha? (Bakit hindi, e bertdey mo nga!)

Nangapit-bahay ka habang kalam ang sikmura ng mga kapatid.
Binusog ang mga mata, ilong, tainga, panlasa at pandama.
Lumipas ang maghapong may galak sa dibdib.
Uuwi kang salat ang bulsa.
Sinabi sa sarili na sulit ang karanasan.
Katwiran mo’y dugo at pawis mo naman.
Lahat ng ginasta sa layaw ng mata at laman.

Kakain, kakanta, matutulog, magpipinta.
Titipa ng keyboard, manonood, magkukuwento ng masaya.
Uuwi, mag-iisa, iisip ng magagawa.
Mabuburyo, mag-e-FB, magla-like, pupusuan pa nga.
Malulungkot, iiyak, magagalit, magmumura.
Hihikab, magpapaypay, ipipikit ang mga mata.
Hihilik, maglalakbay, hanggang mailigaw ng nasa mong aba.

Sa muling pag-gising. Hindi pa rin mulat.
Magtatanong (O baka hindi na).
Saan nga ba papunta.
Bakit nandito (Ewan).
Nalimot, O baka wala ng pakialam.

Sa pagkapilas ng dahon.
May Kalendaryong itatapon.
At mga bagong retratong ikakahon.
Mga bagong dilang kaututan.
Sa mga dating tagpuan.
Mga bagong palad na kaapir-an.
Sa mga okasyong ‘di mabilang-bilang.

Sa susunod na taon ulit.
Baka sakaling gising ka na.
Sana magising ka na.
Inaantay ka na nila.