Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bohol Island,Philippine (30th Jan. - 4th Feb.2014)



Mabuhay! Its Philippine again for my family holiday in 2014. Well, Philippine has a lot to offer for a holiday, from beautiful beaches to awesome volcanoes.But then, I have to admit that the real reason to holiday again in the Philippine is because I wanted to visit my son who is studying aviation in Subic Bay.
Ok, my standard holiday procedure: to take a photo with the tour guide, Chino who is friendly and accommodating to our requests.

Our first visit, the Bayclayon Church which is the oldest in Bohol with its front tower being destroyed during the Oct. 2013 earthquake.

Another church , which is near the Loboc river being destroyed during the earthquake.

I am sure there are many of you who do not know what is a tarsier and how it looks like. Well, if you are interested in this world's smallest primate, which is about the size as the adult's palm, then do visit the Tarsier Conservation Area which gives a good insight into this cute little animal's habitat, how it is bred and conserved.
 Isn't it cute?

It sleeps a lot during the daytime and when it is wide awake at night, the eyes are bigger than the brain!

The main attraction of Bohol: the beautiful Chocolate Hills.There are 1260 or more of these hills which are spread over an area of more than 50 sq.km. During the dry season, the hills are brownish in color and hence its name. Just to let you know that the views are taken form the old deck. Although the deck has been destroyed, it still command a panoramic view. We were at the new deck initially which gives a less commanding view.

Some parts of the hills were destroyed during the earthquake. Noticed the white patches caused by the landslides?

Those parts of the hills which were destroyed are located at the far end from the deck. As such, Chocolate Hills still look beautiful nearby.

This is Alona Beach in Bohol island. With its white sandy beach, Alona beach looks quite beautiful. However, it is less of a happening place as compared with Boracay island. The sand in Station 1 of Boracay island is much more powdery and whitish than Alona beach.

Going out to Bohol's best island for snorkeling, Balicasag. We swam with the turtles and view some nice corals. Oh yes, my wife and children were lucky enough to see a whale swimming beside the boat.

On the way back to Bohol island from Balicasag island, we stopped by at Virgin Island which is basically a long strip of  island surrounded by the sea on both sides of the beach. Except for strolling along the beach, there is nothing much to do or see.

St.Augustin church which is beside the Manila Cathedral is also listed a World Heritage Site inside Intramuros

Fort Santiago which is within the Intramuros area is a former military headquarters of the Spanish colonial government. 

A CNY reunion dinner at Manila's Chinatown Yes, the pinoys do celebrate CNY too! . 

My son piloted us up in the sky!

A nice view of Subic International Airport from the air where my son's aviation school is located.

My son with his instructor and family.Go and achieve your dream son. We are proud of you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boracay Island, Philippine (8th Feb. - 14th Feb. 2013)

We have decided to have a fun and relaxing holiday at Boracay Island for this year family CNY holdiay. Unlike our holiday to Sri Lanka last year, we would like to minimize as little travelling as possible. Hence, it is Boracy Island where one can literally relax by the  beautiful White Beach all day long. 
However, to get there on the first day is an adventure by itself.
We took an Air Asia flight at 6.45am and reached Clark Airport at 10.45am. Having waited for about 2 hours, we took a connecting flight thru Air Phil to Kalibo which took 45 mins. and then a 1 hour 45mins. bus ride to Cactilan ferry. From here, it is another 10 to 15mins, boat ride to Boracay Island and another 15mins taxi ride to the hotel. We finally checked-in at Red Coconut Hotel at about 6.30 pm! 
This is the night view of the hotel from our balcony which is facing the sea.
It is fun time with my family at the White Beach which is right in front of the hotel!
Boracay Island is famous for its white beaches and hench its name White Beach which is 7km long and is divided into Station1, 2 and 3.The beach at Station 1 is the widest and the sand is powdery white.This is the beach view of our hotel which is located at Station 2 and the beach is just as white and beautiful.
A visit to Mount Luho where it commands a panoramic view of the island. You most probably need to spend about an hour here if you are not going for the ATV motor ride or Zipline activity which are nearby.
A nice sand castle built by the local kids at Station 1 to earn extra money. They used to build much bigger sand castles but it now requires a permit from the authority to do so.
Watching a beautiful sunset by the beach.


Station 2 is the most happening place in Boracy Island. There are numerous restaurants and pubs along the beach and one can literally dine and wine all night long. D' Mall shopping place is located near the hotel.
We have a great experience in helmet diving! The helmet weighs about 25 kg and once underwater it weighs only 2kg. There is a tube that is connected to the helmet for oxygen supply form the boat. You see some corals and do some fish feeding for about 20 mins. This activity is great for some 'diving' experience but do not expect much to see underwater.
This is a must do activity in Boracay- paraw sailing! This boat or paraw is made of wood and is without an engine. It moves by the ability of the crew to manoeuvre the sails according to the direction of the wind and it can be pretty fast. There is a captain who will control the direction and we will sit on both sides of the outrigger on the netting. We arranged this paraw sailing thru Captaing Joey of the Red Pirates which is located at Station 3. We sailed out from Station 3 and have a great BBQ lunch at another beach. However, due to rough weather, we could not snorkel near Crocodile Island.
We visited the most iconic landmark of White Beach, Willy's Rock at Station 1.Well, it is basically just a rock with a statute of Virgin Mary for those who are interested in prayers.It makes a nice backdrop during sunset.
While it is fun and exciting to do para sailing, I would not like to recommend to those who are prone to motion sickness. With the movement of the boat and the constant swaying of the parachute caused by the wind, my wife puke up in the air!
We stayed one night at Angeles City which is near Clark Airport before departing for home the next day. Having checked in at Tune Hotel , we took a jeepney ride and strolled down Walking Street, the red light area of Angeles City. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Siem Reap, Cambodia Holiday (23rd Dec. to 26th Dec.2011)

My tour guide for Siem Reap, Sun Same who speaks good command of English. He is well versed with the history of Angkor Wat and all the other temples. Although we have a planned itinerary, he was flexible to suite our changes.
Pub Street on Christmas eve. This street is line with many restaurants and pubs and is just across Steung Hotel where we stayed.
Ta Prom with the many gigantic roots all around the temple. Angelina Jolie was here during the filming of Tomb Raider.

Beng Melea:My love ones seemed happy and so am I. Angelina Jolie was also happily here to film Tomb Raider.
Bakheng Hill:This is the first major temple to be constructed in the Angkor area. The walk up the hill takes about half an hour or you have a choice of taking an elephant ride and pay USD 15.00 going up and USD 10.00 coming down. The tourists flock here to admire the beauty of the sunset rather than the historical aspects of the temple. Oh yes, Angela Jolie was here too holding the binocular in the film Tomb Raider.
Inside the vast compound of Angkor Wat.
This is the main temple of Angkor Wat. We could not climb up as it was closed for cleaning during our visit
The awesome roots of Ta Prom.

Terrace of the Elephants: You can see the many stone sculptured elephant trunks. During major sporting events, the King would sit on the terrace to watch the events.
Admiring the beauty of Banteay Samre.
Banteay Srey (Citadel of Women): This is so called because the carvings are so intricate and beautiful, the locals believed that only the women could do it. One has to really admire the carvings to appreciate this temple site.
Bayon: This is the must see temple beside Angkor Wat if you are in Siem Reap. It is truly magnificent and is my all time favorite among all the temples.
This Buddha statue in Bayon has the biggest smile and we are all smiling too!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sri Lanka Adventure Holiday (21st Jan -26th Jan 2012)

A warm welcome by Mr.Kumar,our driver and guide for the next six days.
An evening out for the elephant ride next to our hotel, Cinnamon Lodge which has a beautiful natural surrounding.
Dabbulla Cave: The history of the caves dates back to the 1st and 2nd century and is listed under the Unesco World Heritage Site. It has some 48 statues of Lord Buddha and some Hindu gods.
Polonnaruwa, The Ancient Kingdom of Reservoirs: It was the former capital of Sri Lanka and is listed under the Unesco World Heritage Site. There are many well preserved ruins of palaces and temples, like the Nissanta Laka Mandaya with the pavilion used for chanting Buddha's teaching and Gal Vihare RockTemple, a group of colossal Buddha statues carved out of a granite boulder.
Sirigiya Rock Fortress: We climbed about 1200 steps from the entrance to reach the top and about 920 steps down. Not recommended for those who are suffering from acrophobia.

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress had been listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. From afar, the rock looks spectacular. Legend has it that King Kassapa (AD 477 – 495, almost 1600 years old) sought a place where he can fortify himself after overthrowing and murdering his own father to become the rightful heir. It also served as a monastery during the period 3rd century BC and 10th century AD.

The Lion Paws Terrace which is half way to the top.
Kandy: Temple of the Tooth which is believed to house the left upper tooth of the Lord Buddha. Another Unesco World Heritage site. We checked-out from Cinnamon Lodge at 5.30am for Kandy and along the way visited one of the many spice gardens. We almost got coerced into buying the many unnecessary ayuverdic herbs which are highly priced. You got to be careful of what to buy.

From Kandy we traveled to Nuwara Eliya to visit the tea plantations and stopped for lunch at the Rambada Waterfall restaurant with a beautiful scenery. Having bought some tea leaves for souvenir at Labookelle Tea Centre and some free cups of tea, we moved on to Yala. On the way we stopped for rest at the Ramana Water Fall which is equally beautiful. We finally reached Yala and checked in at the hotel at 6.00pm.And that is almost 13 hours of traveling, making it the longest car journey in my life!
Nuwara Eliya: Something like Cameron Highlands but there are some beautiful waterfalls along the way, like this Rawana Ella Waterfall.

Yala Safari Park: We saw many peacocks, some elephants, deers and others but just do not have the luck to see the leopards which the park is famous for.
We came and we saw; dolphins and blue whales swimming right before our eyes! It was sheer joy and ecstasy when the whale dipped its tail in the water. This whale and dolphin watching tour is organized by Mirissa Water Sports. The boat used is bigger as compared with other operators and the staff are professional in guiding the tourists during the tour.