Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And again. Merry Christmas!

This weekend I will be away again for about 9 days before heading home. I will probably not have enough time at all to write so I am writing ahead now. I will be going to Nepal. This is probably the most exciting trip this year because this is a completely different place this time from where I always get to travel. No more East Asia, Southeast Asia and Indochina for me. It is time to conquer the land of, well, himalayas? Excitement pours in as I get to see pictures of snow-peaked mountains of Everest, Andalucia and the Himalayas. I have also been imagining the places to be seen like Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Patan and all their centuries old durbars. Then a bus ride to the countryside to visit the birthplace of Siddharta Gautama or widely known as the first Buddha. Nepal is a Buddhist country so it should be friendly.

Anyway, I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Make sure you celebrate it with your loved ones.


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


Sunday, December 15, 2013


Today marks the beginning of the 9-mornings mass in the Philippines. This tradition dates back to the "I'm-too-young-to-remember" ages because back home, this has been practiced yearly. This is that time of the year when you wake up even earlier than your usual alarm time when you have school. Morning mass usually begins at 5:00 AM which means you have to get up at 4:00 AM or depending on your proximity to your parochial church. I miss doing this because this only happens in the Philippines and being away from my home country for almost 6 years now, life has been quite different.

But there is a tradition I have kept always. Despite the technological advancement of almost anywhere in the world. People have forgotten the once famous way of sending greetings to your loved ones, the Christmas Card. I have been doing this since I was a kid when my parents worked abroad and I have continuously send Christmas cards to friends and families every year.

I found these cards when I was travelling in Hanoi, Vietnam. I first saw these pop-up cut-out cards in Singapore and was priced at about $5 US each. And when I found it in one of the night markets in Hanoi, it only cost me 50c each. I can not believe how big the price difference that I hoarded almost different kinds of card to bring with me.

So you can call me old school but snail mails sent to different parts of the world still do exist. And my friends and families who receives card or postcards from me gets mesmerized by it.

Merry Christmas...


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grasshopper Bike Tours Siem Reap: Review


When we planned to visit the Angkor Temples Archaeological Complex, we stumbled upon so many reviews, to dos, not to dos, when to do things and stuff and as well as reading the ever reliable Lonely Planet book. We found out that biking around the temples would be a great idea. Since me and my friend enjoy biking and were quite looking for an adventure, we decided to find a bike tour that will hopefully satisfy our swash buckling quest around this massive archaeological complex. Upon checking so many stuff online, we decided to book with Grasshopper. This company is originally based in Thailand and has different biking tours all over Asia which you can access here.

Angkor Wat

The website is well detailed and the tour that we booked is exactly what we did during that sunny biking day at Siem Reap. We took the Day Ride Tour Angkor Temples for US$39. We started the day by meeting at Grasshopper Tour Shop which is quite near the famous Psar Cha (Old Market) in Siem Reap. There were five of us in the group including the guide. The tour is strict to have a maximum of 6 riders in every tour. We biked for about 5-6 kilometers from the city towards our first destination, Angkor Wat. This UNESCO World Heritage site is awfully magical in all sense. The place is indeed a wonder. That initial bike ride from the city was rewarded with just the stunning view of the temple from afar. We parked our bikes outside the main complex and visitors must walk going in and when wondering around the temple. The bike guide also serves as your cultural guide to explain about the temples. Given that English is not the first language of the people of Cambodia, you may find it difficult sometimes to understand their accent as they tell you the story of the temples. But despite of it all, just looking the marvelous creations of the ancient people of Cambodia back in the 12th century is already enough to learn that during that time, their civilizations is arguably one of the smartest, wisest and proudest when it comes to their architectural ingenuity.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Last week, I was in Siem Reap and visited the amazing temples of Angkor. Truly indeed they were mesmerizing and lived up to its status as a heritage site. The entire complex ca not be visited in one full day and there were just so many things to do and other places to check for good views of the temples. Prior to my visit, I learned that you should not miss the sunrise and sunset views of the temples. there were many suggestions. One website even listed down more than 20 other sites to view the sunset in order to avoid the maddening crowd in certain areas. For sunrise, almost every one visits the Angkor Wat and for sunset, it is Phnom Bakheng that is most famous. I guess these two are famous because that is where you will really find the best views among the other spots in this massive complex.

I only tried the sunrise at Angkor Wat and it was indeed rewarding and spectacular. There is definitely nothing like it any where in the world that has been standing for more than thousands of years. We arrived at the complex before 530 AM and the crowd was just starting. I was guided to stand in front of the small lake on the left side facing the Angkor Wat. Of which you will need flashlights in order to determine where you are. within 5 minutes of standing there, there was already a massive crowd behind me waiting for the sun to rise and trying to get that spot where they can take their own shot of that picturesque sun rising behind the majestic Angkor Wat. It was marvelous to see from that very dark minute when I arrived until that break of down.

The crowds will definitely ruin your moment as throngs of people were really scattered around the lake but you have no choice. That is the only to enjoy that mesmerizing sunrise as you can not really find it anywhere else. If you try and research other places on the internet which I did, people will recommend you to go to other places to avoid the crowd. But if you avoid the crowd and visit other temples to enjoy the sunrise, then you will miss the best thing ever when visiting Siem Reap. Which is the astoundingly picturesque sunrise behind the Angkor Wat temple.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bookstores in Town: Jakarta and Vientiane

A book is every teachers' twin. We are all tasked to be handling books in the most time of the day and even when we reached home. But for me, I do not just dwell on text books and work books. I also read. Mostly fictional and literary books but I am so fond of books and reading of course. In my travels, I have always wandered into different book stores, whether its a major book store or just a small and privately owned shops.

Aksara is one of my favourite bookstores in Jakarta, Indonesia. I like it because they have a nice collection of books that are with different covers unlike in what you see in major book stores. Although they only carry a few collection, the way they have carefully laid down the books on tables and shelves are just terrific. They treated books as if it is a part of decoration of the store.

You can find Aksara at Level 5, Plaza Indonesia, Jalan MH Thamrin Kav, Jakarta Indonesia. You may click the link http://www.aksara.com/index.php to access their main website.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

George Town Street Art

The existence of many artists nowadays show a challenge to them on how to be distinct and recognize among other pool of artist. I myself is a frustrated artist. Back in Primary school, I have two best friends who have really good hands in painting and drawing and I always join them in art competition. Much to my dismay, I always end up with crappy artworks. I even attended a Drafting Class in one of my elective during high school but my professor has never been attracted to any of my work. well I could not blame her, I guess even my mom would not like any of my work although I tried my best to really work on it. But before I ended that Drafting Class, I managed to pull off the best artwork I did which I considered still the best until now.

George Town, aside from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a town for artists and painters. I talked a shop lady and told me about this Lithuanian artist who lived in Penang for a while and did some street arts in and around Georgetown. Some local artists made their paintings as well filling the whole town with different arts painted on wall.

The Owl Museum at Penang Hill

Upon my quest to find places to visit in Penang for a short back packing trip, I found out that there, sitting on a heavenly place on top of a hill in the middle of that island, is a place I can definitely call Heaven. Well too much of my exaggeration, it is actually an Owl Museum. I have been fascinated with owls as always. I have a friend whom I share this fondness of collecting owl displays and crafts and I am just so glad that this museum existed in a place I was planning to visit unexpectedly.

The collection they have just made me envious as I only have about 20 owl figurines, art and crafts. I spent about almost 2 hours just to see the details of each of the displays that I terribly wish all belongs to me. Haha. But I am not that crazy so I managed to control myself. I am just so thankful taking pictures are allowed.

To get to the museum, one must travel to Ayer Itam vicinity, which is like in the middle of Penang Island and
take a funicular train (inclined train). it takes about 10 minutes to reach the top and upon reaching the main entrance, the Owl Museum is just about 5 minutes walk.

Review: The Daily Dose Cafe

I always make a list of places to go when I travel. Aside from the usual "tourist spots" that the place has to offer, I also make it a point to visit:

a. Local bookshops
b. Museums
c. Coffee Shop

In Georgetown, Penang, the town is thriving with restaurants and cafe especially those catering to local delicacy. But few really make it a point to find a good coffee shop. Penang is known for its Georgetown White Coffee although the coffee beans are not really cultivated in the town itself, the celebrate the process of making good white coffee. I have tasted and it is good but what I was looking for is a type of coffee shop that is hiding in one corner, brewing its own coffee concoctions and baking their own desserts. And so I found The Daily Dose Cafe. 

The Daily Dose Cafe

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bookstores in Town: George Town, Penang

Shu Children Bookstore

Penang, as most people who knows this place, would always be regarded as a food haven. The place is famous for its local food such as Char Kway Teow and Laksa. I enjoyed their Char Kway Teow. It’s not too oily but still very tasty. Aside from its very famous food, Penang is also known for its capital, Georgetown, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town itself is filled with shop houses dating back to early 1900s. I love old towns and Georgetown is indeed mesmerizing and filled with an old feeling that you can hardly see now. Georgetown is also famous for its street art scattered all over the cemented and brick walls all around. As most travellers would go to Penang and see all these spots in and around Georgetown, I myself tried to search for more, some parts of the town that are sort of less travelled. When I visit a place, I try to find bookshops. It can be any bookshops like a big one or those small one that sells second hand books or just any ordinary books. Lucky for me, I found a children’s bookshop just along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, Georgetown and the shop is called Shῡ. Shῡ is a Chinese word for Book. The shop is located in one of the traditional shop houses in Georgetown. The owner, Mr. Teo (if I heard and spelled it right), is a local and a retiree and converted this shop house into a small bookstore.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When We Are Silent, Our Silence Condones The Language

I have been seeing a lot of "Reality-TV" shows that talks about bullying of people or children with special needs especially when they are encountered in public places like a supermarket or other kinds of shop. It is not really a prank show but the people behind just want to observe how people would react if they see a person with disability being bullied by regular people. Of course both are actors who are just following a dialogue to catch attention from other people.

To give you a heads, people with special needs are being trained from younger age on life skills, vocational skills and activities of daily living. There are schools who also prepare them to be able to integrate in the society they live in by training them in simple tasks in order to get a job to support themselves. Not all people with special needs can do this but given early intervention, training and therapy, they may have that chance to find a job. There are companies nowadays that are willing to accept people with special needs especially if they are well-trained. Most of them get simple jobs like cleaning toilets, mopping floors, wiping windows, throwing trash and bagging grocery items. There are some who manages to make it to food industry like cleaning up tables in restaurants or packing food. But due to hygienic reasons, most people with special needs needs more training in order to get in to the food industry as it is quite delicate for them to handle food.

Among these people with special needs, those that have Down Syndrome condition are the ones who are most likely given the chance to get a job because they are only physically disabled. They can actually easily learn and easily trainable although sometimes, it still depends on their cases. As far as I know, people have become more aware now about these people with special needs like in the US, Australia, Singapore and in the Philippines and how they are integrated in the society. But not everyone around them has that tolerance towards these people and have the proper understanding to deal with them.

So these TV shows tries to capture the attention of the public and see their reaction when they see a person being bullied who is just trying to do their job. And if you were the one in that situation, what would you do? This question is actually the title of a show in the US to remind the public on what would they do if they encounter such incident.

In this video, you will see a how people in a grocery store reacted on a lady bullying an employee of the store who has Down Syndrome and is the one packing the grocery she bought.

There is a part in the video where Madeline Will from the National Down syndrome Society in the US said "When we're silent, our silence condones the language". When we are confronted in situations that we do not like and we do not have a choice, most of the time we could not let out a single word because it is true and it is very difficult to accept it. Our silence to a certain question actually means yes. But if we speak out and defend ourselves, or defend someone, it is telling them that they are wrong. Letting your voice be heard or speaking out what you think is something that is really important. Your silence can either ruin someone's life. Be not afraid to speak up and let yourself be heard. We are not just defending a person with disability, we are defending the right of every person to live normally in an accepting environment.


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Special Goal

It was in 2007 when I made a decision to take up a post graduate certificate course on teaching special education. When I took the course, I did not really know what I was putting myself into. My mom wanted me to take up nursing so that when I go the states, I can easily find a job. But then I did not want to take another course for 2 or 3 years. This special education course will only take me 9 months and I can work at the same time because classes were on weekends. So anyway, eventually, I finish the course, took my practicum at St. Coletta Special School then off I flew to Singapore. When I was looking for a job in Singapore, I was willing to take any job just to secure a permit so I can stay there for good. Luckily, I got hired as a Special Needs Teacher in a small school and that was the beginning of my journey on this field.

It was quite a tough job for me but I personally find it rewarding when I get to develop a certain skill on a child and see their progress as I help them every day in school. We all experience hardship in our job but this one is quite different. Not many people really understand how to deal with children with special needs. Luckily I was given the patience to do so and I just did not help them, these kids helped too. I became more aware of the rights of these children and their right to be included as well. And that their disabilities should not come first as they all are, like all of us, human being first before their disabilities. Singapore is a great country for having the best facilities for children with special needs and persons with disabilities (whether physical or mental). Their local government program widely considers the rights of every individual whether you are special or not. But then not everyone understands this accordingly. An example is when a school like us go for a field trip and you will see different reactions from regular people when they see you. It’s all different reactions but so most of my experiences were generally good. People were accepting and helpful but there will be just some who feels like they should not be seen next to them.

I will just give some hilarious examples from people who are just unbelievable when they react towards children with special needs. But now, my goal is to continue to help. Or if I can volunteer, then I will do so. I see myself in this field for good. Maybe there will be a time that I should give myself a little break but I believe this is where I belong, for good.

This is a card written by a parent of my student. This simple note is the kind of simple thought that will make you feel that you did something right. This note is better than receiving a degree or diploma.


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Top Ten Indonesian Food

So as of today, here is my Top Ten Favourite Indonesian Food (and a drink)

1. Beef Rendang - is a spicy meet dish that originated from Minangkabau, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Also known as caramelized beef curry. So far, I have best tasted this dish in Garuda Padang Cuisine.

Special Children Are Born To Special People

Wow. Is all I can say to a note left by a couple of stranger for paying the dinner of a family with special child. This is what's nice about the world that despite all the ugly things happening around us, there are still some people who do good deeds without even being asked for it.

I admire you for what you did and I do not know who you are or where you came from or what job you do but that simple action you did has touched not only the family you helped but everyone who has seen that serviette.

I know living in Singapore and I have experienced the "Cold Hard Singapore" treatment as well but despite that branding people have over Singapore, act of random kindness can still be seen.

Here is the link to the article:



J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


My Crowning Glory

Over the years, I have done different kind of collections that I do not know why I even collect. Because sometimes, it messes up my room and all my stuff with some things that I want to keep. But don't think I am sort of a hoarder because I am not. Hehe. I am not yet mentally ill to hoard many things. But this small collection of crowns which I started about a couple of years ago while I was living in Singapore. And then, every time I travel, I buy their local beer and keep the crown with me. And now here is the first batch of crowns that I framed by myself.

1. Beck's
2. Tiger Beer
3. Anchor
4. Anker
5. Tanduay Ice
6. Asahi
7. Coca Cola
8. Stella Artois
9. San Miguel Super Dry
10. San Miguel Strong Ice
11. Savana Dry
12. Tasmania's Finest JB
13. Redrock
14. Amstel
15. Hanoi Beer
16. Corona Extra
17. San Miguel Beer
18. Bintang
19. BOCQ
20. Grolsch
21. Hoagarden
22. Plus+
23. Kronenbourg
24. Bitburger
25. Singha
26. San Miguel Cerveza Negra
27. Victoria Bitter
28. Hoagarden
29. Frestea
30. Carlsberg
31. Guinness
32. Asahi Dry
33. San Mig Strong Ice
34. Pure Blonde
35. Budweiser
36. Crystal
37. Kingfisher
38. Erdinger
39. Miller
40. Heineken
41. Moscato
42. Aqua

I still have some crowns from other beers and drinks and still looking forward to collect more.


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Travel and Learn

Traveling. Who doesn’t want to travel? I guess everyone wants to travel but not all are given the means to do so. But if you have the means to do so then why not, it is an experience you will always treasure. I came upon an article by Atom Araullo on SMILES, the Cebu Pacific In-flight Magazine, and he shared some thoughts on backpacking, keeping a record of important things you have seen, take a lot of pictures and learn and experience the culture of the places you are going to. When I first started traveling in the Philippines, I was mainly a tourist. I tasted the local fare, pictures on specific destinations, seeing the places but not exactly learning the culture. And I mainly travelled with friends. I have been to Baguio, Benguet, Cordillera, Sagada, Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud, Pangasinan, Subic, Zambales, Batangas, Bataan, Puerto Galera, Tagaytay, Quezon, Laguna, Cebu, Bantayan Island, Boracay and Davao. And during all these trips, I never actually visited museums except for the Ilocos Trip. I guess as you grow old, you learn to travel than just being merely a regular tourist. Even in my first travel overseas which was in October 2004, I went to Hong Kong and Shenzen, China but mostly for theme parks and shopping. My first attempt to an actual travel was in October 2009 when I went to Bangkok alone. I think Bangkok is a good start for a solo traveller wanting to experience the culture without the hassle of rushing your time. But since then, even though I travelled with a friend or two, I or we have made plans on experiencing the culture rather than just being a regular tourist. So you simply have to choose the right people to travel with in order to experience what you want to do. Aside from Bangkok, here are the list of places I have been to:

1.       Hong Kong and Shenzen, China, October 2004
2.       Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, May 2008 – June 2013
3.       Bangkok, Thailand, October 2009
4.       Medan, Tangkahan and Lake Toba, North Sumatra Indonesia, February 2012
5.       Bali, Indonesia, March 2011
6.       Jakarta, Indonesia, July 2011
7.       Bali, Indonesia, March 2012
8.       Yogyakarta, Indonesia, May 2012
9.       Bohol, Philippines, June 2012
10.   Phuket, Thailand, December 2012
11.   Seoul, South Korea, December 2012
12.   Padang, Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra, December 2012
13.   Bali, Indonesia, March 2013
14.   Hanoi, Vietnam, April 2013
15.   Bangkok, Thailand, August 2013
16.   Vientiane, Laos, August 2013
17, Penang and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, October 2013
18. Bali, Indonesia, October 2013
19. Siem Reap, Cambodia, November 2013
20. Bangkok, Thailand, November 2013
21. Kathmandu and Lumbini, Nepal, December 2013
22. Baguio City (again), Philippines, January 2014
23. Singapore, February - March - April 2014
24. Bali, Indonesia, May 2014
25. Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia July 2014
26. Singapore, September 2014
27. Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, January 2015

Hoping to visit more countries soon such as:

1.       Nepal - done
2.       India
3.       Brazil
4.       Argentina
5.       San Francisco
6.       New York
7.       Spain
8.       Italy
9.       France
10.   Turkey
11.   Portugal
12.   Japan
13.   Taiwan
14.   Cambodia - done
15.   New Zealand

There are just so many places to go so just keep on travelling to many places as long as you can.

Here is a link to SMILES CEBU PACIFIC MAGAZINE where you can find Atom Araullo's article.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Losers Like Their Own

Shame on you. Those were my words upon seeing this photoshopped attempt to steal my thunder after I walked to the Rizal Park, just to take a photo of The Little Prince along with the statue of Jose Rizal, whose photo that was posted on The Little Prince Official Facebook Page garnering about less than 3000 Likes and heart-warming comments. Then another supposed to be fan photoshpoped The Little Prince and his Fox posing along the KKK Monument not too far from the Rizal Park.

Again shame on you. Not only nobody liked your post, you were the only one who liked it. Deymmmmm..


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On The Job : Movie Review

On The Job is a Filipino movie directed by Erik Matti and stars Joel Torre, Gerald Anderson, Piolo Pascual and many others. The movie talks about the harsh reality of the corrupt system in the country. It talks about the life of people in the prison and those powerful people outside who abuse them for their own corrupt gain. The story is based on real events where powerful people with money connives with prison guards, policemen and even high ranking investigators to illegally bring out prisoners and hire them as conmen. After doing their job, the conmen returns to prison thus resulting to a difficulty to trace the whereabouts of the hired killers. What I admire about the movie is on how they managed to do it waaaaaaaay good. I actually thought that the way they made the film, the way the presented killing people was so real. It was not your typical Filipino action movie where the hero never gets shot. Here, the powerful prevailed and the truth, no matter how elusive, remained uncovered. 

The scenes were unexpectedly unpredictable which made the story telling believable and does not fabricate the truth. It may not be a perfect and still share some flaws to others who have seen it. For me, the only awkward part was when Daniel Benitez (Anderson) screamed TANGINA as he shows off the tattooed letters of the curse word in each of his fingers. Atty Francis Coronel (Pascual) and Tatang (Torre) delivered a powerful and truthful performance of their characters. Joaquin Acosta (Joey Marquez) actually performed his role without any doubt as if he was a real policeman in real life.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anchor What?

I know summer is over when nautical prints will be replaced by Fall-related items but anyway, I am just happy to show you a collection of anchor print items I have collected so far. Well this is not entirely a collection but just a sort of admiration to this anchor logo that represents hope.

From top left clockwise: Grey and blue socks from H&M, handkerchief from Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, White polo with blue anchor print from Uniqlo and Rectangular tin case from Scoop.

Phuket, Thailand

Well this time I got really nothing to say and let the pictures speak for itself. Although I must say it was a wonderful trip with Calice and Jen before we all parted ways. I'm definitely hoping we can all meet up soon. Maybe not in Singapore but who knows we can all meet up in the States.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Game Of Thrones Books

I finally finished reading this series and it's just an incredibly long story. Entertaining and just mesmerizing with how George R.R. Martin can think of all these stories tied up altogether. My goodness is all I can say. I was actually on the verge of giving up when reading the last part of 5th book as I was already dragging myself to read the book but then I told myself that I have to. I need to know what happens to the rest of the characters. Yes so many characters perished as I read through the 3rd and 4th books. So many that I would not tell you who are they. But of course to reward myself for painstakingly reading through these books, I am just gonna list down some clues on what happened at King's Landing, Winterfell, Storm's End, Casterly Rock, Dorne, the 9 Free cities across the narrow sea, The Wall, The Others Behind The Wall and so many other things. Many parts of the book may not be presented in the tv series but I think the show is doing good in presenting the story. So here it goes. Do not read if you are not willing to find out who are left. But I'm not going to mention names.

1. Somebody choke to death but actually was poisoned then died.
2. Two characters were accused of poisoning this somebody.
3. One of them was held but managed to escape.
4. The other one escaped without knowing how the poisoning happened
5. There's a new protector of the realm.
6. Somebody became blind but it was just sorcery so later on, that somebody got the eyesight back.
7. Somebody learned how fly its animals.
8. The hand of the king was murdered and found a whore next to the hand of king murdered. (But take note that there will be changes in the hand of the king)
9. This maid was sent to another quest. Then this maid almost died but at the end of Book 5, the maid is alive.
10. This character famous for his dick still survives even at the end of Book 5

Well so many things happened. I heard Season 4 of GOT will focus on the 2nd hald of Book 3 and bits of Book 4. I imagine that there rest of the stories until the end of Book 5 will reach until Season 6 or 7. Then George R.R. Martin is still writing 2 more books. the Book 6 aptly titled "Winds Of Winter". Well after 5 books of saying "Winter is Coming", winter finally arrived.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Bangkok Shopping: In Search For Your Not So Typical Souvenirs

So during my trip to Bangkok this month, I kind of found some different souvenirs that people do not usually buy when they travel. Well for me, I found these two new things really classy but cheap. Just right across the Siam BTS Skytrain station, you will find a lot of cheap stuff to buy especially at night. As you walk under the train station, you will find lots of clothes, cellphone cases, fake watches and shoes. Then I stumbled upon a stall that sells leather goods, not shoes, but some kind of organizers stuff that I am certain teachers like me will definitely like. I bought two items. One is a sort of laptop case/portfolio or file holder and another one is a smaller version of it that I can use for passport or some other small stuff.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bali: Island of Gods

Balangan Beach, Bali, Indonesia,
They say, travel makes a man wiser. We travel to new places to see, learn and experience new things or something different. I read that it is called the Island of Gods while some says it is a Surfer’s Paradise. When we arrived at Denpasar, the main entry to Bali Island, we went straight to Balangan beach, one of the surfing beaches in the island. Indeed, the waves were strong and surfers from different parts of the world were all gathered there.

We went around to a lot of different beaches and all we saw were surfers crashing the waves like there is no tomorrow. We even saw an 8 year old looking Caucasian who was really good. Well I actually don’t know the level of goodness that a surfer does since I myself has never done surfing. Except for one time when I tried a surfing game in an amusement park where I didn’t even get wet. Not even a single sweat. But from where we were seated, while eating my big bowl of Chap Cai, Chicken Satay and a cup of white rice, I can tell that the boy was really good.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quotes from The Little Prince

So here are some of the quotes I personally liked from The Little Prince book.

1. "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
2. "The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart."
3. "All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it."
4. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- tame?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."
5. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world...."
6."People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed. You're responsible for your rose."
7. "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them"
8. "It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom."
9. "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
10. "You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You - only you - will have stars that can laugh."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Time Hotel, Hanoi Vietnam

The facade of Time Hotel
The Time Hotel is located in the Old Quarter area of Hanoi City. It's distance from the airport is about 40 - 50 minutes and we used the hotel airport service. We availed this groupon promo to stay in this hotel. we paid $52 (SGD) for a stay of 3D/2N. The price for the airport transfer is about $18 (USD). Hiring a taxi in Hanoi can be tricky so you better arrange it with your hotel as locals may take advantage of you. Hanoi does not have a proper shuttle buses or transportation to the city and the easiest and safest way to get in to the city is by taxi or hotel transport.

The location of the time hotel gave us an easy access to the night market. there was a minimart and Lotteria restaurant just outside the hotel. Hoan Kiem Lake is just 10-15 minutes walk. You just have to walk straight in the same road where the hotel is towards the inner part of the city. At night, that same road you will be walking will closed for a night market which was pretty convenient for us when we walked from Hoan Kiem Lake back to the hotel.

The hotel was quite decent. Wifi is free and accessible anywhere. The elevator was bit scary and the room was also a bit old style which made it creepy for me because I was alone in the room.

Notes on Ha Long Bay and Hanoi, Vietnam

Old cities that have withstood time always draw my attention. Especially if the city hides behind the shadow of a bigger and more famous one, Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. Yet Ho Chi Minh City seems to be the destination favoured by many tourists. Although I have never been to HCMC, I was told that it is more developed than the city capital. But then I still chose to go to Hanoi with two of my friends because of Ha Long Bay. The bay is famous for its limestone islands and rock cliffs scattered along that north eastern coast of Vietnam and almost close to the border of China. Everything you need to know about getting there and going around can be found in several internet sites but I would like to share is how enigmatic Ha Long Bay is which is quite the same thing I felt with Hanoi City. If you are the type who enjoys laid back atmosphere and to be in a city that still possess the magic of olden days. Head to Hanoi and visit the Old Quarter and the French Quarter. Although luxury shops and boutique hotels are scattered in the French Quarter area, many of these establishments are housed in French-inspired buildings in the olden days. The tallest buildings probably reaches only up to 5th and 6th storeys in these area (you can correct me if I am wrong and I am only referring to that area in the French and Old Quarters). The absence of western capitalism is very evident considering this is the capital city of the country. In the Old Quarter you can visit shop houses anywhere in the streets. At night, they also have night markets which sells cheaper than the shop houses that are open anytime of the day.

Hanoi Opera House, one of the best preserved French-Colonial Building in Hanoi

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Little Prince Book Collection

My collection of The Little Prince book in different language is not that big yet but I am very proud of what I have collected ever since I started collecting in 2012.

My very first book is of course in English edition that I got at the Powerbooks Bookstore in the Philippines last 2005. Working abroad and traveling overseas got me the chance to collect more books. Meeting fellow collectors who follow the Little Prince Official Facebook page got me more friends from other parts of the world to do book exchanges.

So here are the The Little Prince books in different languages I have so far.

English Edition - My very first Copy

Review: iHouse Hotel, Vientiane, Laos

So from today I am going to make reviews of the hotels I have stayed in during my trips and some other things related like coffee shops, restaurants, programs attended, transportations and so on. But I am only gonna make review if I feel like it will contribute to the readers especially those who travel on a budget yet seeking a good result from researching online with regards to their travel needs. My first review will be on iHouse hotel, a budget hotel located in Vientiane City, Laos.

Let us talk about the "goods" first.

1. It is located at Pangkham Road which is in the city centre and most establishments and tourist spots are just within walking distance. The Lao National Museum, Wat Sisaket, Ho Pra Keo and Mekong River are within quite a walking distance. Even the Talat Sao Mall and the bus station about less than a kilometer walk.
2. The hotel rents out bike for guests for 20000 kip for a full day use. But the receptionists actually recommends to walk towards Mekong River front and find some bike rental shops there where you can rent a bike for 10000 kip for 24 hours. If you borrow today, you can return it on the 24th hour the following day. They both provide locks for the bikes for your own safety.
3. Rooms are clean and decent. It is actually good enough for what you paid for either online or as a walk in guest.
4. Free flow of coffee and tea. Their coffee is really good.
5. Unlimited wifi connection in your room and in the hotel lobby and cafe.

And then here comes the "bads". We all know travelling on a budget has its own repercussions. You get what you paid for and complaining about the services won't get you anywhere.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Small Tips For Backpacking In Vientiane

Just some small tips for backpacking in the city of Vientiane, Laos
Mekong Riverfront

1. Vientiane is an old city and has everything in it cheap. From food to transportation to beer and to almost everything but the laid back atmosphere of this city is what makes it charming. The absence of commercialized establishments like McDonalds and Starbucks made me feel that the city is still untouched and should stay the way it is. There is only one mall and it is filled with local jewellery shops, banks, bargain stores and local coffee shops.
Lao National Museum. One of the oldest buildings in Vientiane.

Monday, August 19, 2013

From Bangkok to Vientiane via Sleeper Train

 I always liked flags since when I was a kid. I remember browsing through our Collier’s Encyclopaedias series and going through all the flags in the world. And with that interest, I have known many names of different countries even though I have no idea where they are. Countries like Nepal, Qatar, Mongolia, Pakistan, Uruguay, Paraguay and the list goes on. Laos is one of those countries I only know by name and have no knowledge of its culture and it is my luck to get the chance to visit this country even for only 2 days. Laos’ flag is made of three stripes, red on top and bottom and blue in the middle with a white circle in the centre of the flag. Well I’m not going to discuss what does the flag stands for as it may bore you about history. So when I went to Bangkok a week long break I decided to make a research on the neighbouring country. I thought of Siem Reap, Cambodia and Vientiane, Laos but decided to go the latter instead because of the challenge to take a sleeper train from Bangkok to Vientiane. I have never been on a long train ride.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

West Sumatra, Indonesia

Sumatra was an adventure I could not forget. This was my first trip to Indonesia back in 2010. I was in a midst of losing my work permit in Singapore so I gave myself a 5 day trip to the western part of one of the biggest islands in Indonesia. I tagged along with my very good Indonesian friend Naga and met two other friends and locals of the city of Medan. The city is a bustling area of cars, pollution, trains and markets alive with throngs of people getting their own business day by day which makes me think of Manila in the early 90s except with the tons of motorbikes streaming around the main roads and pedestrians like they are the kings of traffic. But it is not the city we came for, we were gearing for meeting up with the elephants that lies within the deep forest in the rural town of Tangkahan. It was my first to see, touch, ride and watch as they poop their way out in the river as part of their morning rituals. The elephants in this town are well taken care of. Well it was my first time seeing them in their natural habitat so I guess this is what normal looks like. The best thing about the place is that very few people come to see this place and the presence of Caucasians is very minimal. The odd thing on this trip is that I never thought I will meet fellow Filipinos who are also on their vacation from working in Medan.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Singapore Sling

The day was Saturday, 31st of May 2008, I was getting ready to catch the last flight of Cebu Pacific to Singapore. The flight was 8:50 PM and arrived in Singapore at approximately 12:20 AM the following day. And from that day on, my venture outside of my home country began. I left Manila quietly with the knowledge of my family and some friends. I wanted to tell my other friends too but then I decided not to. I wanted to wait for the time I settled in Singapore before telling everyone that I moved. Yes I was full of surprises but there were many things that surprised me too during that time. Who would have thought that I would bump into a good friend, well the husband of my good friend, in one of the most awkward places in Singapore? And that friend happened to be unaware of my whereabouts since I left my first job in Christmas of 2006. So then I have to tell everyone on my current diaspora and thank God for social media that reaching out to them made it quite a smooth transition.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today is July 10, Wednesday which means tomorrow is my birthday. It is my first time talking about my birthday which I happen to celebrate with people I know like Kathryn Sabalza, Jimson Uranza, Zyra Sotto and of course one of my favourite and a revered author Mr. Bo Sanchez. Who would have thought I will know a lot of people who celebrates the same day we were all born. Anyway, so I do not really celebrate my birthday except for going out of a small dinner or lunch or whatever with the special people I carefully chose. I do not really like to be the centre of everyone's attention but there is nothing you can do. People know its my birthday and I can't do anything about it. But on this day of my birthday I only have one terrible wish. I know it is a long shot but I have always been a big fan of "The Little Prince" and I want to be the first Filipino to establish something that has relevance to this book. I am sure many has read the book and are aware of the morals presented. But I dream of something else. 

In Brazil, there is a hospital named Hospital Pequeno Principe which translates to Little Prince Hospital. In Taiwan, they have City Cafe which is decorated with everything about the Little Prince. There is The Little Prince Museum in Hakone, Japan while Korea has Petit France which proudly honours St. Exupery's works and the Little Prince. And In Europe, there are so many I do not know what else to mention. The book has been published and printed in 270 languages world wide and still counting. It has been printed in Tagalog as well although the translation and book is somewhat a dismay to me compared to the books from other countries that I have seen. For a start, I wish I can publish the book in an English and Tagalog version side by side and I want the book to to look presentable. After the book, I will put up a cafe aptly named The Little Cafe. And then maybe after the cafe hits off then I will put up a foundation and this one I am sure to name it Ang Munting Prinsipe Foundation. The main aim of the soon to be founded foundation is to help less fortunate children to learn how read and write properly. Let us just start small. Humble beginnings have great rewards in the end. 

Anyway, Happy Birthday and I wish me many more years to come to accomplish these dreams someday. Someday.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bangkok Jam

“My first trip to Bangkok and it was great. The places I've seen are awesome. The food is gastronomically delectable. And the people are nice and will always give you a smile. Bangkok has preserved its richness in culture as they have maintained most of their temples and palaces which is the cradle of their religion, which is Buddhism. You will be impressed with the grandiose of all these temples located far from the other side of Bangkok's central business district. You will also be amazed to see a lot of flashy neon coloured taxis (like pink, green, blue and orange) that it would be so hard for you to hail the taxi as you will not be able to see whether it is available or not because they are just too bright to look at.

Monday, July 8, 2013

And So I'm Back.

It has been 3 years since I last had an entry on my blog. I am wondering what kept me busy. Well as you may know I am a teacher. I teach children with special needs and have been in this profession for 5 years. I am not blaming my job that I didn’t get to write. I wanted to write but was quite lazy to do so. Then Facebook came so I kind of lost my interest to blogging and just ventured to writing notes and stories on my photo albums about the things I have done. But now I have a lot of time to spare to update this blog. I have left Singapore and moved to Jakarta about a month ago. (Well the Singapore story will come to you in a later time) I am quite not busy these days so I decided to rekindle my forgone affair with blogger.com. I want to focus on my writing about travels and life experiences since I left the Philippines last May 2008. That decision to leave the country gave me a different perspective of how I should see life. The last five years was a whirlwind of sort. I have had many experiences, surprises, made a lot friends and saw many places. But as what all Filipinos would say, “There is no place like home”, it is quite true unless you find a better place to start a new life.