Nov 10, 2018

My travel pet-peeves

Character matters a lot, actually, in all areas that require social engagement or human interaction. I would not delve deeper on that as it will be an unending argument of different perspectives. But I'll be talking about why traveling might be a way of knowing a person's character. 

Traveling, in a way, loosens up-tight and reserved people and that makes them vulnerable. By vulnerable, it means, one can see through them, like a transparent glass void of pretense. Normally, it wouldn't show at first, it'll just unravel in succeeding travels. Some though get the hint at the onset and decide from there whether to do it again or not.

In my case, first to third try is usually enough. Truth is, I can be difficult to travel with because my sense of solitude dominates and that isolates me from a group, which is suppose to do things together. I find pleasure in doing and discovering things alone. It is the obvious reason why people who tend to decide and impose things on me irritate me (unsolicited advice from people I consider not credible is not my cup of tea). Just to clarify, I am not a hypocrite. I do know how to compromise when need be (if it is said in a nice tone lol). If not, then, it might be better for the both of us to part ways. To avoid unnecessary conflicts that might transpire in the course of my travels, I go with a few people, those that I am already comfortable with and who have known me for a while. That way I wouldn't have to orient them with how I do things cause they kinda know already what to expect when they are with me. Yet, recently, I'm getting myself used to traveling solo, and have since enjoyed doing so. Pretty selfish, I know. But it won't be forever :). At least, for now, I get to decide on things myself without getting other people's approval. 

Anyway, here's a list of annoying things I picked up along the way of traveling with different people. Some are tolerable though, but this time I'm trying to avoid getting into the hassle of dealing with them. So here's some travel pet-peeves I have compiled over the years: 

1) Slow-paced humans
Definitely not a fan of people who are slow. But that would be such a blunder if I tell them outright, so I try to deal with them gradually and then just stop traveling with them after. The thing is, I do things quite fast. I walk fast. Eat fast. Get ready fast. So for someone who can't do it 1,2,3 - I can be dragging. I get a lot of comment about leaving people behind often because of walking so fast. Tried slowing down but it is just not me. So if someone can't cope up, I guess that's the last trip we'll ever have.

2) Restroom lover
Traveled with a few people who go to the restroom often. And sometimes it is annoying because the hype is ruined by a restroom visit. I'm not saying that they don't have to pee or poop but I just hope that it happens in the right time of the day.

3) Photo whore
I usually don't like it when photo ops takes much time than knowing the details of the place. People who can't get enough of pictures here and there is okay, but I've met people who are overly into pictures. And it can be pretty annoying.

4) Too reserved/conservative
Adventure is what we are all looking for in travels but it makes me sad when I'm with people who are too conservative and afraid to try out something new. Anyway, we all have different personalities - but what I'm looking for is someone to get lost and crazy with.

5) Lax
I usually adhere to my own itinerary. The advantage of traveling solo is I can freely follow what I have listed. But, of course, for cases that are out of my control I have to be flexible and do some changes when needed. Yet, when traveling with people, I need to be considerate if things don't really go as planned. However, some are just not the time-conscious type. They tend to do things in their own freewill and spontaneously plan something while the group has already agreed on something. 
They are the ones who wake up late in the morning and the last one to show up in a meeting place. 

6) Cancels last minute
Nobody wants a person like this one. One of the reasons why I don't like group travels - except if it is a group travel with like-minded people. So far, my friends stick to the plan and inform way ahead of time if they can't make it.

7) Too impulsive
I try to balance being spontaneous  and being careful while traveling. For male travelers, they can be too impulsive. But for us girls, it's kinda risky - some places still need careful planning. You can't just plunge into something without the slightest idea of what you are getting yourself into. 

8) Makes me wait for long
Let's just say my patience for waiting is like a time bomb. I can tolerate up to a certain limit but if it goes beyond that, I might consider not traveling with that person again. 

Oct 17, 2018

Little things I noticed in Yangon, Myanmar

Though it may seem overrated for western travelers, I still consider Myanmar as an underrated country for the reason that it doesn't receive much recognition from an Asian like me. Over the years, much of the tourists flock to its neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Not much is heard about this country. But Myanmar is a country worth a visit if you want to deviate from the flock. Less tourists means less hassle and you can have some of the tourist attractions for yourself. One has to be patient with this country though as it is still a rising star in the tourism industry. You won't find everything as organized but that's just the kind of deal an adventurous type of person would want. 

Never did I expect that this country will be my first solo trip abroad, which has been one of the things I am so itchy to do. But when you find zero-fare flights waiting to be booked right away, you will never have second thoughts for deciding so. I did not regret booking that ticket. After that trip, I felt the urge of going back to explore more parts of the country to legitimately experience the heart of its culture and tradition. But I will have to wait more years to plan a trip again. hehehe

Little things I noticed in Yangon, Myanmar

1) It smelled of tea leaf and mint. And from that you'll know they love tea and mint. The first day I set foot in my hotel in Yangon, I was served with mint juice. It was my first time to have such a drink (lol).

Parked cars is such a sight from the rooftop of my hotel.

2) They have really good, tasty, and freshly brewed milkteas, either served hot or cold, you choose. Especially if you order it at Rangoon Tea House. And this country has more tea shops than coffee shops. So for a tea lover like me, this place suits me so well.

A known cafe in Yangon.
3) Men and women wear longyi, their traditional costume, like an everyday wear. Uniform longyis are worn in offices and schools too! Bought my own longyi as a remembrance hehehe

Captured my driver's get-up. Men and women's longyi differ in patterns.
Men's are simpler than the latter.
4) They have this Burmese cosmetic called Thanaka, a powder made from grinding the bark of a Thanaka tree which grows in most arid parts of Myanmar. Locals say it prevents acne and refreshes the skin with its cooling effect.

In Myanmar, men and women smear their faces with Thanaka.
Locals with Thanaka is a natural sight in the busy streets of Yangon.
5) Its famous local food is called Mohinga. It tasted like a tuna sardine with noodles for me hehehe

I regret putting too much greens, it didn't taste that good lol

So here it is after all that mixing and adding of flavours!

6) Most of the Burmese people can't express well in English. I had a difficulty communicating with the locals all throughout my trip. But locals who work in the service industry, like in hotels and restos, speak good English though. Tip: A translation app on your phone will come in handy.

I'm glad to meet these two receptionist at the hotel I stayed in who speak good English. They helped with my itinerary around the city too!
7) Eighty-seven percent (87%) of the population are Bhuddist. My tour guide told me.

8) Golds and gems are displayed in Pagodas.

The base the Shwedagon Pagoda is made of gold, while its crown is of gems and rare stones.
10) Parks, zoo, train station, and stadium are too old (like a century old) but their National Museum looks relatively new. All the precious heirloom gems and golds are there, by the way.
Yangon Central Railway Station is one of the British colonial buildings built in the late 1800s.

11) You can find Indians everywhere ... and Indian locals are one of those who speak good English - you can ask them for directions lol

12) Some cafes offer unlimited free hot teas like the one we went to near Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda called Lucky Seven Tea Shop.

13) The country is rich but they don't know that yet hehehe

14) Teak woods are precious (and expensive?). They use it to build and restore Pagodas. And their government owns plantations of teaks.

Structures made of teak wood found at Shwedagon Pagoda
15) You are relatively rich when in Yangon, your 100 dollars is worth 146, 000 kyat (but that depends on the foreign exchange rate)

16) Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes are famous among locals hahahaha  

17) Lots of moreno fair-looking guys hahahaha

I hope this photo of men justifies it! hahaha
18) I look like them lol

Jul 16, 2018

Going solo in Ilonggo land

In my desperate attempt to go solo in most of my trips, I booked myself a ticket to IloIlo. Why IloIlo?

1) I have never been to Iloilo before. So, I thought that it would be nice to have a first impression of it based on personal experience.
2) A good friend, who happen to be based there at the moment, has been inviting me over.
3) I just really want to travel to places I'm not familiar with.
4) It was the best time of the year to unwind.

I want to come up with a better meaning to ILOILO, but nothing comes out of my brain as of the moment so ... let me just proceed with the details of how my trip went.

I ditched planning for an itinerary in this trip because I intended to stay in my friend's place for the whole duration. Yet it did not turn out as it was supposed to be. I was left alone in the boarding house as she goes to the hospital for her daily duty. It was but necessary to console myself, so I went around the City and identified places to visit. I went to the usual traveler's iti - the museums, churches, old houses, and parks. My favorite was the esplanade. If only there's a park that clean in Manila, I'd probably jog around it often. But that's just wishful-thinking. LOL

The Jaro Cathedral.

Nelly's Garden (Vicente Lopez Heritage House)

A selfie with a good Samaritan who helped me out with the direction on my to the museum.

What else did I do? uhmmm I also ate pancit molo under a plum tree which ended up giving me free black plums, as they fall on my table one by one. It did not hit my soup though, so it was fine, LOL. I also went to the famous Mad'z Cafe which I had no idea was famous, my friend just told me that it is. And after drinking their pure hot cocoa (which reminded me of home), I headed to Netong's for their La Paz batchoy. So they say, you have never had the best batchoy until you eat it in La Paz Market, well, obviously. hahaha

Pancit molo which I'm glad was not hit by the falling black plums. LOL
Ate it beside the famous Molo Mansion.
La Paz Batchoy!
I was walking around most of the time burning some fats. But, do you know what I enjoyed the most? It is figuring out how to get to those places. 

The next day, I went to Guimaras. The boat fare is only Php28 back and forth.Really cheap. My friend's landlord convinced me to go to the Island because the port is just near and it would be such a waste if I wouldn't. 

Upon arrival at Jordan Port in Guimaras, a tourism desk awaits tourists who are looking for vehicles for rent. Various types of vehicles are available depending on the number people. Since I'm alone, it was practical for me to rent a tricycle. 

My tricycle driver for the tour was Kuya Jay, who was also from Bohol. I think Kuya being a good photographer was a bonus to me. He took such good photos and took me to places not even in the itinerary. 

Kuya Jay posing in the middle of the trees. He said that this place is not included in the usual itinerary.

This kinda reminds of the trees in Man-made Forest in Bohol.

Mango trees in Guimaras National Crop Research, Development & Production Support Center are also in demand for pre-wedding photo shoot according to Kuya Jay. And I guess Kuya made me sit on the branch where brides usually sit. LOL
Guisi Lighthouse

Mango pizza!
I've got lots of pictures to share but that would mean flooding this post with photos. So, I'll end here.

Iloilo was such a nice place and I don't want it to be tainted with silly memories again. Roaming around alone in Ilonggo land is one of the best things I've ever done. There's nothing more euphoric than impulsively going from one place to another, and of course, meeting a friend - and fixing her relationship hahaha
My time spent in Ilolilo had its purpose and meaning, afterall. Hehehe

Mar 5, 2018

Kindness of strangers

At most times, I am a lone traveler and have enjoyed the company of myself the past years. I set my eyes into a place of my choice, schedule, save, then I get the ball rolling. Three months ago, I scheduled a trip to explore the northern part of the Philippines. It was a travel with my sister supposedly but I found myself alone on a bus on the date itself. Nevertheless, I tried to make that trip worthwhile.

My frustration with my sister not coming resulted to me not providing myself with an itinerary. But a friend texted after seeing my Facebook post, asked if I am going north and offered himself to be my virtual tour guide. It was a help I never expected but that was a relief for me. He would wake me up in the morning with a lengthy text of my itinerary for the day. He would assure I negotiate okay and and made sure he is updated of where I am at.

Though the pleasure of being alone provides much more convenience, the struggle of taking a picture of yourself is real. On my way to the northern tip of the country, I’ve had plenty of sites visited. Those solo photos would’ve not been possible without a help of a stranger. None of them declined my simple request. With every solo picture, I repay that with a courtesy of taking their shot for them.

I remember that young man in Cape Bojeador lighthouse, who happily took the shot upon my request. He asked me if I was alone and then took off with a smile on his face and told me “to take care”. And so I thought, just like the old buildings in Ilocos, kindness from strangers remains.

And so, here's that picture taken by a stranger.