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Visiting the Borobudur Temple Compounds

Considered a must when visiting the region of Yogyakarta is Borobudur temple. Built in the 8-9th century AD, this Buddhist temple in Magelang City is a glorious structure, made up of 3 tiers surrounded by stupas. Its base has 5 square terraces, topped by 3 circular platforms and then 1 huge stupa at the top, a total of 9 floors, covering an area of 2,500 sqm.
Going around, you will find detailed stone carvings  on the walls, a depiction of Javanese culture and Buddhist doctrine (Source: Lonely Planet), but what I found most fascinating is how it was built by hands and kept intact by interlocking stones! To a playful mind, it's like walking inside a giant lego structure.  A volcanic eruption has kept it buried under volcanic ash, until it was rediscovered in 1815. With the efforts of the government together with UNESCO, it was restored to its grandiose state.  Along with two other smaller temples, Mendut and Pawon, it's collectively known as Borobudur Temple Compounds and inscrib…
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A Beautiful Afternoon Hike at Jinmianshan (Taipei)

It had been raining for the past 3 days since we arrived in Taipei but on our last day, we were granted a short window of dry skies. I took advantage of the good weather by going to the Jinmianshan Trail in Neihu District. As I was staying near Taipei Main station, it was easy to reach by subway (I strongly recommend downloading Google maps and following directions from there).

There are three ways up its peak (this blog served as my primary guide). One takes you to the back of the mountain by car, one is a short, steep ascent, 900 meter long and my preferred option - a long, easy hike on a forest covered trail, the longest of the route at 4.1KM. I wasn't after mileage really, I just enjoy long, easy walks.  Unfortunately, my navigation skills had failed me and so I ended up walking by the road and entering the trail from a small parking lot. There are no fees to be paid and guides required, which is a nice change from hiking in the Philippines where you need to pay for entry fees a…

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving on your Travels

For Americans, Thanksgiving is a really important time of the year. It's a chance to reflect on the year that has passed, all the reasons to be cheerful and to be grateful for our good luck. It's a time to come together and celebrate. Perhaps most importantly, it's a time to eat loads of delicious food.  If you happen to be travelling around New York during Thanksgiving, then it might be a good idea to get yourself a slice of the action, here's how! 
Watch the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade 
The Macy's Day Parade is quite a New York institution. This spectacular kicks off at 9am sharp and carries on for a staggering three hours! Expect to see famous faces performing, dance troops, no less than thirty four floats and a plethora of gigantic balloons! Ones to watch out for this year include the Giant Snoopy Astronaut, which honours the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. This balloon behemoth is as tall as a four-storey building and will be the 40th time Snoopy ha…

How to Spend a Weekend in Siargao

If you just have a weekend in Siargao, well, you're indeed not doing justice with yourself or the trip! :) After all, it's simply impossible to enjoy the natural beauty and splendor of this beautiful island of the Philippines in two days.  Given unlimited time, one can easily spend a whole month here and still not get tired of the vacation. If you were able to book flights to Siargao online and only have a weekend to spare, what you can do is plan your itinerary well to make the most of your trip. The right time to come to Siargao will depend on what you're looking for. While many go during the peak season, others prefer it when it's less crowded. July to November is the best time for surfing in Siargao but outside the peak season, there are also plenty of things to do out here.
Here's how to cover the most on those two days you have in Siargao.
Start the day with a trip to Sugba Lagoon, and the busty of it sure to make your jaw drop…

Food Trip : Pacing's House of Barbeque (Navotas)

I rarely venture far from home because of the traffic - unless it’s for a travel or hiking trip, but JZ, an old friend, outdoorsman turned entrepreneur had started a food business in Navotas, roughly 25 KM away from my comfort zone and I wanted to show my support.

Opened in May 2016, Pacing's House of Barbeque features an heirloom recipe from JZ's late grandma, wine-marinated barbeque that she used to serve during family gatherings.
Its interiors are simple, giving it an atmosphere that's pretty chill, a place where you can bring your family and friends for good food without having to bother about what you're going to wear. It's a go to place when you want to skip cooking or if you're craving for something tasty after a tough day. 
Aside from the savory chunks of pork barbeque, it also offers a variety of sizzling dishes - pork, seafood (shrimp, fish) and tofu; other Filipino favorites, calamares, SILOG (Sinangag and Itlog) paired with meat like barbeque, tapa (ma…

SOCCSKSARGEN Region : A Morning at GenSan's Fish Port Complex

Initially, I wasn't keen on joining my friends for an early morning trip to the fish port, a popular attraction in the country's tuna capital, GenSan. Due to lack of information, I had misjudged the place to  be a big tourist trap, chaotic, wet and smelly. Admittedly, I was wrong and I'm thankful I was swayed to join them. 

General Santos Fish Port in Barangay Tambler covers 32 hectares and is the Philippines' second largest fish port, next to the one in Navotas.(See traveller reviews on Trip Advisor here.)

That morning, we were up before the sun lit up the sky. Fortunately, our hotel, Square Suites, was willing to serve breakfast earlier than usual (Book here). By 5:00 AM, we were out trying to hail a tricycle to the fish port complex (if I remember correctly, we paid around 200 Pesos for 4 people). It's about 25 KM away from the hotel and by  6:00 AM, we were at the gate. We registered and left one  ID for the entire group. Then we hitched a ride to the office to r…

Experiencing PT KA's Priority Train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta

The region of Yogyakarta is the jump-off to popular attractions, Borobudur and Prambanan temples. One of the most convenient though lengthy way to get there is by taking the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. The  8-hour journey maybe long but once you get to the countryside, you can enjoy an enlivening scenery of vast farmlands and mountains. 

Related Post : Visiting the Borobudur Temple Compounds

The PT Kereta Api Wisata's (KA) Priority train are private carriages attached towards the back of the train. It's open to tour groups who reserve the entire cart and is similar to the one taken by the president and his staff  when traveling to other provinces.

From Hotel Aryaduta, where we spent the night,  we headed to Gambir station, one of the major stations in Central Jakarta. Since the hotel's only 1.1 KM away, we got to the station  quite early for the 8:30 AM trip.  While waiting for the train, we stayed at the VIP lounge where there's free flowing coffee and water.