A Travellerspoint blog

Malls of Manila and Honda bay hopping

Hello dear friends,

We have spend 3 days in the capital of the Philippines, Manila. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to out expectations. We couldn't find a lot to do, due to the very hot and humid weather. We did manage to do a short stroll in Rizal Park:

and we also went to the Chinese / Japanese garden there. (They have signs for both versions...)

We did get the chance to see Manila's very well air-conditioned malls, where we saw two movies: Hunger Games, and the new 3-D version of Titanic. Although Dana was more anxious than me to see the 3-D Titanic, I must say that I think I had more fun watching it that she did.
Manila also has a lot of poverty. Even on main roads, there are pregnant woman and young children begging for money. All this in front of monstrous bank buildings.

After 3 days in Manila we headed up for the island of Palawan. where we landed in its capital, Puerto Princesa. Palawan is much less touristic than Manila, but still, very touristic. We have checked into a small guesthouse recommended by the Lonely Planet called Casa Linda Inn. It was highly recommended. Much higher than any other guesthouse. However, it seems like the recommendation has gotten the worst of this place. Even though it looks amazing, prices have risen, and there is no hot water in the shower... Even so, it's a very nice place to stay. (Dana almost did a hot-bucket shower... almost...)
The guesthouse looks like this:

Yesterday night we went to a restaurant called Kaluhi, recommended by Dana's friend Yishay. This was ,by far, the best restaurant we have been so far. The native decoration was extremely nice, and the food was delicious (and there was a lot of it):
You are looking at a tuna steak, with mashed potato with avocado dressing, fried eggplants, papaya salad and seaweed salad. So good. As we ordered the check, we also asked to reserve a table for the following day.
There was also a complimentary fruit salad:

Today we went "island hopping" from Honda Bay. We took a van to the port, where we took a Bangka (boat) that took us to 3 islands:

We snorkeled:

And enjoyed the wonderful islands:

Dana got a one hour massage at the last island:

Tomorrow we plan to try and get tickets to the fully-booked Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Since it won the new seven wonders of the world competition, it's fully booked. (By the phone only, of course. They still don't have a website where you can order tickets). We hope that there will be a cancellation and we could go and see it.

After Puerto Princesa, we'll continue to see more of Palawan, going north. Our next destination is Port Barton, but there may be another stop on the way... We'll see.

All the best,


Posted by bugok 01:58 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Rice terrace madness

Hello all and happy holiday,

Two days ago we started a 24-hour trip from Boracay to a small two called Banaue. The trip was in land, sea and air. The transportation vehicles included a plane, a boat, a motorized tricycle, several taxis and a 9-hour night bus. Eventually, after 24 hours of travel, we got to Banaue. This town is one of the main towns in which you can view rice terraces.
After we got here yesterday at 7:00, we got settled in a hotel, rested for a few hours, and then went to see the local rice terraces:

Banaue is also very close to a village called Batad, which has even greater rice terraces. We had a hike there today which was about 6 hours long. We even got to this huge waterfall. (Dana said that after she had seen the Iguassu waterfalls, this one doesn't impress her :)).

Here are some of the photos we took today:

We have traveled with a very nice group consisted of a family from the Philippines and a very nice Australian guy:
In this photo you can also see the jeepney that took us from Banaue to Batad.

Tomorrow we might go see another rice terrace, or maybe go to Sagada, where there are graves hanging down from trees. We haven't decided yet. In any case, we will head back to Manila in a night bus. It will be the first time we spend the Sedder in a bus... :P

All the best,

Dana and Noam.

Posted by bugok 03:26 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Kick starting the honeymoon!

Hello dear friends,

On Thursday I have finally met Dana at the Hong Kong airport. It was great seeing her again after Skyping for one month...
From there, we flew to Manila (Philippines), spent the night, and started the journey to an island called Boracay. The journey consisted of a flight from Manila to Kalibo, a bus ride to Caticlan, and finally, a boat ride to Boracay. It was a very long day. After we have settled in a hotel, we finally saw the view:


It's amazing over here. The water is so clear. Sometimes it rains (especially in the afternoons and the evenings) but people are still walk around in bathing suits:


We've had a massage, we eat very well (a lot of seafood) and just having a great time relaxing. It's very different than the trip in Nepal (besides, of course, the lack of mountains... :P)

In two days we'll leave the very touristic Boracay back to Manila, and head for Banaue, for the rice terraces trek.

All the best,

Dana and Noam.

Posted by bugok 00:52 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

A Hong Kong Quickie

Hello friends,

I'm just two hours before leaving Hong Kong for the Philippines. I feel like I have done a lot in the 48 hours I've been here.
The first Impression is mind boggling. Hong Kong is big in every possible way. The are so many people on the streets, the building are enormous and the variety of food is confusing.

First of all, I've spent most of my time in Hong Kong with an Israeli couple I met in the Annapourna trek in Nepal. Niso and Noa who came to Hong Kong to check up the university - they want to study their second degrees here. Niso studied east-Asia (and law), so he speaks Chinese, and he has been here a few times before. It was like having a private tour guide.


The first night we just walked around the city, including the promenade. Later on, Niso and I continued to a local market to eat something weird... On Wednesdays, as I read in the Lonely Planet, there is free entrance to museums (!). I went to the Art museum (didn't like), the Space museum (disappointing) and to the Science museum (totally awesome!).


After touring the Science museum for three hours I got tired and went back to the guesthouse. At night, all three of us went to see a 3D movie at the Grand Cinema as part of the ongoing Hong Kong Film Festival. We saw a Japanese film called Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai. It was quite good. We were the only people who got into the cinema with food. Also, as the movie ended, no one left their seat until all the credits ended. Weird.

Today I just walked around in the Kowloon park, before heading to an internet place and then - to the airport.


One other thing worth mentioning is the guesthouse. It's amazing how small rooms can be. I stayed in a room which was 3 meters over 1.5 meters, including a bed and a bathroom. (When you take a shower, you stand over the toilet :)) It was managed by very nice (but lazy) people from Ghana. This whole complex, Chungking Mansions, is like the Tel Aviv central station. A lot of immigrants (especially Indian and Arab) who live here. All in all, it was a nice experience to stay here.

Something a bit different: I think I have reached a point in my trip where I have sort of an insight about it. In a long trip like this, I have learnt to let go. I think most of my life I have been very worried of making mistakes, calculating every move and trying to predict every outcome of every action. In this trip, things are much more relaxed. I don't have to be so efficient all the time. I can take the longer way to a place, because I have time, and also, I will probably see interesting things along the way. It's OK to get lost sometimes. It's OK no to know how or even where you are going.
I hope I can take this with me when I come back.

Till the next time in the Philippines (with Dana!!),


Posted by bugok 19:57 Archived in China Tagged hong kong Comments (0)

יום מקדשים בקטמנדו

שלום חברים יקרים,

היומיים האחרונים עברו בניחותא למדי בקטמנדו, כמנוחה לאחר הטרק. היום עמית, אחותו ליטל ואני עשינו סיבוב מקדשים בקטמנדו. הלכנו לפני המלצה של סוכנות "שי", ואכן, היה די מוצלח. הרגשתי שהיה חסר לי קצת רקע כדי להבין מה אני רואה, אבל בכל זאת, היה מהנה.
הביקור במקדשים הוא משונה במובן מסוים. אם לא הייתי הולך, הייתי מרגיש פספוס. אחרי שהלכתי, אני יכול לומר שזה היה נחמד, אבל לא מטורף.
הפאשלה שלי הייתה שנגמרה לי הסוללה במצלמה איך שהגענו למקדש הראשון. הרגשתי עירום בלעדיה. עמית, שלא היה לו כוח לצלם, הציע שאני אצלם במצלמה שלו. אנחת רווחה, אפשר להמשיך את הסיור במקדשים.

התחלנו את היום בסווימבינאת הידוע גם כ"מקדש הקופים":

כמו בכל מקדש אחר, הולכים ורואים הרבה מאוד "סטופות", (סטופה = מקדש קטן). בנוסף, יש המון קופים שמתרוצצים שם חופשי.
משם המשכנו לכיכר דורבאר, שמכילה גם כן, המון מקדשים של כמה וכמה אלים בודהיסטים והינדואים.

המקדש השלישי היה פאטאן. מסתבר ששם יש איזו ציפור אבן משיר של גלי עטרי... יש צילום של הציפור הזו איפהשהו במצלמה.

המקדש הרביעי שבו ביקרנו היה פאשופאטינאת, שזהו מקדש שבו מתבצעות שריפת גופות:

הריח כמובן היה נורא ואיום, והעשן פוגע במלוא עוצמתו. היה מעניין לראות את הטקסיות שבאירוע, ולא יכולתי שלא להקביל את הצפייה לטקס הקבורה היהודית. אני לא יודע למה, אבל זה נראה לי דומה. אולי תחושת האבל ממסכת את הממשיות של הטקס, שהופך לפחות רלוונטי. אולי...

משם המשכנו למקדש החמישי והאחרון, בודההבאת. זהו מקדש עם פסל עצום של בודהה, ומסביבו (כרגיל) הרבה מקדשים קטנים. בין המקדשים הללו היו גלגלי תפילה עצומים:

ראיתי כאלו בעבר בכל מיני מקומות. גם בקטמנדו עצמה וגם בטרקים, אבל אף פעם לא ראיתי גלגל תפילה כל כך גדול.

זהו. הערב יהיה הערב הלפני אחרון בקטמנדו. מחר יום סידורים, ומחרתיים על הבוקר טיסה להונג קונג.

שיהיה אחלה שבוע,


Posted by bugok 05:29 Archived in Nepal Tagged temples kathmandu Comments (0)

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