Lumina – Walkway of Lights

Lumina is probably the first of its kind in the metro. Connecting the second level of Maxims Hotel and the Newport Mall, this illuminated tunnel like walkway is literally LIT by 100,000 colorful led bulbs. This new attraction at Resorts World Manila is perfectly instagrammable and is a good location for your next selfie and your holiday season inspired profile pic. There is no entrance fee so expect it to be crowded most of the time. Suggest you go late at night and during weekdays so you get the perfect selfie with no photobombers.

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Basilan

October 6-9 late post

“As the driver shouted in panic to warn the crowd to make way, I already knew we were speeding down to a horrific accident. Our tricycle hit the raging water hard causing the tricycle to turn counterclockwise before plunging into the murky river. Since i was riding at the back, i was the first one thrown out of the tricycle.”

It was my first time to travel to Zamboanga and I was very excited to see the famous Vintas of the province but i wasn’t as excited with the other places we were supposed to visit in the 4 days that we will be spending in this side of Mindanao. Originally, our IT is as follows:

October 6 – Basilan

October 7 – Sulu

October 8-9 Zamboanga City

I was hesitant at first to visit Basilan and adamant to visit Sulu and was planning to go somewhere else instead. I was thinking hard on what to tell my friends if i ditch the Sulu trip while reconsidering what i’ve packed so far to make my baggage even lighter. i was morbidly thinking i need a very light baggage so if I need to run, it is much easier. hahahahahaha. I had so many things running my mind even considering writing a will (seriously!) so i failed to even take a nap before my flight.

Sleepless as i was, i was travelling alone to Zamboanga via PAL while the rest of my friends are taking the Cebu Pac arriving an hour later. Originally there were 2 others who were supposed to join us. Gary cancelled a day before since his boss retracted his leave approval while Flip got sick. (premonition probably?)

I arrived in Zamboanga around 530AM and stayed inside the airport for 30 mins. i went out to grab coffee in one of the restaurants outside the airport and decided to wait for my friends there. After they arrived, we agreed with a local van owner to rent his van to take us to the port. it was my first time meeting Billy, Bert and Carlo who was joined by KO, Brye and Den. We all boarded the van and paid P300 for the trip.

From the port of zamboanga, we learned that the trip to Lamitan is not until noon so we changed our orig itinerary a bit and bought tickets to Isabela Basilan instead. The fare was P60 and it would take about an hour to reach Isabela port. We also purchased tickets to Sulu for P450 so we definitely need to be back to the same port before 8pm.

From Isabela port, we had a brief walk and took a small passenger bangka to the other side of the island.the boats does not have any outriggers so it could sometimes sway more than what i expected.Good thing it was just a quick boat ride.Habal habals are already waiting at the port so we agreed to get 4 habal-habals to take us to White Beach Resort. Fare is P50 per person or 100/habal.

White beach resort as it is aptly named is blessed with powdery white sand and pristine waters. There is a man-made concrete dock that is quite long and is perfect for your OOTD shots. This unspoiled coastline is perfect for those wanting to get away from commercialized beaches like boracay but still enjoy the same quality of white sand and clear waters.


We left white beach around noon and made our way back to Isabela port. From the port, we walked to what my friends called the most bombed and the southernmost Jollibee restaurant in the country. As expected, it was crowded and it took about an hour just to order.

After lunch, we grabbed tricycle to take us to the van terminal to the city of Lamitan. We were running out of time as the last trip back to Zamboanga is at 3:30pm so we decided to forego going to the Tourism office and go straight to the Bulingan falls.

Upon arriving at Lamitan City, we immediately tried to flag tricycle to the falls. We were rejected a few times as most of them told us it was quite a distance. There is 1 tricycle driver who agreed to stuff all 7 of us to his tricycle which we agreed at first. However, his tires gave in and had to be reinflated before we could proceed. While waiting for the tires to be reinflated, we flagged another tricycle so we could split. So Karl, Carlo, Den and myself remained in the first trike while Bert, Brye and Billy boarded the other trike.

i was riding at the back of the tricycle, and was getting a bit uncomfortable as the short trike ride that we anticipated got a bit longer. With the falls nowhere in sight, we continued our trip until we reach a downslope and our driver was driving a bit fast. I saw the other trike stopped and parked on the side while we get passed them not reducing our speed. We eventually learned that the river overflowed and a small crowd have gathered at the end of the road as it became impassable. However, because of our speed, the slope and the weight of the trike, it was impossible to break and the inevitable happened.

As the driver shouted in panic to probably warn the crowd to make way, I already knew we were speeding down to a horrific accident. Our tricycle hit the raging water hard causing the tricycle to turn counterclockwise before plunging into the murky river. Since i was riding at the back, i was the first one thrown out of the tricycle. i vividly remember seeing the tricycle roll in the river a few times while i was being dragged by the rapids. it’s true that whenever you are caught in an accident everything slows down as if you are in a slow motion film. i seriously feared i’ll end up being crushed by the rolling trike. so i let the rapids drag me a few meters. i ended a few hundred meters from where we fell struggling to get to safer ground as the rapids are quite strong. fortunately, a local man handed me a coconut branch to hang on and before i knew it i was uttering “thank god” repeatedly. i also saw my bag floating away to the river and i almost said goodbye to seeing my bag forever.

As i made my way to higher ground and after checking that i don’t have any serious injuries despite hitting a few sharp rocks as i ride the rapids, i immediately checked where the rest of my friends were. I saw Den first who was safely sitting in a rock. Then I saw Karl being dragged by the rapids. He fortunately was dragged in a shallow area where he could already stand. However, Karl had a huge shoulder injury and his shoulder literally popped open and was bleeding profusely. He stayed in that same position until rescue came and threw a rope to drag him out of the river. Carlo then surprisingly sat atop the trike as he was the last to exit the submerged trike. i also learned after that the driver was the first to get out of the water.


Bruised, wounded and wet, we were thankful that our injuries were minor. Karl eventually got a few stiches for this wound and Den and Carlo were also examined by the doctor in a nearby hospital for their bruises and wounds. i didn’t opt to have myself examined as i considered my injuries were too minor. i ended up having a huge bruise in my right thigh, a small bruise in my left stomach and a few scratches and a sore knee.


We changed dry clothes we borrowed from our friends and spent a few hours in the hospital. We also met the wonderful and very accommodating tourism officers of Lamitan Ms Cor and Ms Jarma. After KO was discharged, we went for dinner at Lamitan Kitchenette (courtesy of Mayor) before going to the hostel where we will be spending the night. We got 2 rooms and as everyone prepared their clothes to be laundered, i had nothing! i only have the clothes i wore when we met the accident, my iphone and my coin purse left.
Before i went to sleep, i was praying hard that at least i could recover even just my wallet with all my IDs. I don’t care about the cash, my clothes and the other things on my bag. i know the hassle of losing government IDs, ATMs and credit cards and getting a replacement is equally if not even more frustrating than losing them. So i prayed really hard and despite the nightmare we gone thru and the physical and emotional trauma, i suprisingly slept quickly and quite soundly.


i was awaken by one of my friends with an unexpected good news. Apparently, my bag was found by a local coconut farmer. His mother upon knowing that his son found something of value, started searching for the tourists who they thought owns the bag. They went to the hospital and was then told to go the tourism office and they eventually found their way to the hostel.
i met Nanay Bibing Garcia accompanied by her elder daughter Janelle. they handed me my wallet intact except for a few hundred pesos missing. nanay bibing told me his son spent it to buy his family food so i did not probe anymore. i was also told that they left my bag at home as it was too heavy to carry because it was still soaked in muddy water and they can’t go around carrying it while finding its owner.
i asked Nanay Bibing to wait for us while we wait for the van we rented to take us around Lamitan again courtesy of the Tourism office. A few hours passed and we eventually made our way to Nanay Bibing’s house which was surprisingly just across the river. i got my first glimpse of my bag and quickly search if i still have my other phone (samsung S7) there but i did not find it. i did not bother to ask instead i decided to give the rest of my money to Nanay Bibing. i also had to take a pic of her family as i only had gratitude for their honesty and effort to find me.
Afterwards, we went on to visit Bulingan Falls. we spent an hour there before it started to drizzle and we decided we should move on before the river overflows again. We then stopped by a rubber tree plantation before heading to Calugusan Beach. We proceeded to visit Casa Rosita and met Vice Mayor Furigay.


We then visited the weavers of the Yakan Tribe. We were fortunate to witness the women of the tribe weaving intricately designed fabrics. This backbreaking and labor-inducive work is the tribe’s main source of income and continues to be the source of the tribe’s pride. We also went to visit a local coffee store which was run by a local cooperative.  


Dinner was at the same restaurant again courtesy of the city of Lamitan. When we finally reached our hostel, it was finally time to have my clothes laundered. i also dried my bag using a hair dryer. This is our last night in Basilan. The supposedly day trip to this province became a 2 day 2 night adventure and became one of my most memorable trips to date.


The highlight of this trip is not just the magnificent destinations and natural wonders of Basilan but to the honest, reliable, accommodating, helpful, selfless, cheerful, generous and thoughtful people of Basilan especially the City of Lamitan. While their province may continue to be highlighted negatively due to security concerns, it should not stop tourists from exploring this wonderful province. Please make sure to properly coordinate your visit with the tourism office for a hassle free and safe visit.  You can contact Tourism Lamitan via their fb page Tourism Lamitan or their website.

http://www.lamitancity.gov.ph/html/tourism.html
https://m.facebook.com/Lamitan-City-Tourism-143562286236474/

The rest of my trip on my next article

Last Day in Negros Oriental

september 19-20
Woke up very early to catch dolphins in bais. From the hotel we rode a trike to the bus terminal. Took the bus bound to Manjuyod. We asked the driver to remind us to alight at Bais City.
Had breakfast first at Jollibee Bais City and already we were pestered by boatmen looking for tourists. After eating, we agreed with Mark a local boatmen to hire his boat to take us to see dolphin’s first and then go to Manjuyod Sandbar. We agreed to pay P1,500 which was lower than what he usually ask tourists.  You can find Mark’s contact details below.8


We took a trike and paid 100 to where Mark’s boat was docked. We immediately boarded to sail away and look for dolphins.

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​We saw numerous pods of dolphins but none of them did any tricks we were expecting to see. However it was still exciting to see the abundance of marine mammals in this region. I was just hoping that they would have performed a few tricks or swam close to our boat.
After a few hours, we then went to manjuyod. unfortunately, the tide was still very high. the sand bar was submerged to about 8 ft of sea water. According to our boatmen, low tide is expected late in the afternoon.


We had lunch at our boat and bought seafoods from the sea vendors paddling their boats as soon as tourists arrives. We bought several coconuts and a variety of fish and squid for lunch. Coconut is 35 each and the seafoods cost about 500 for 2 parrot fish a kitong and a squid which they grilled and a hefty serving of rice.


We didn’t wait for the sand bar to show and we left the island around 2PM and made our way back to Jollibee to hail a bus back to Dumaguete city.


Dinner was at Lantaw and we went there again for brunch the next day. Bought several silvanas at sans rival before heading back to our hotel to prep going to airport to catch our flight back to Manila.

Ninh Binh

June 18 – Ninh binh is one of the northern provinces in Vietnam. It is 2-3 hrs away from Hanoi. We booked our tour with the help from a good friend thru The Sinh Cafe Tour http://www.sinhtourist.vn/index.html at 34 Lan ong st. We paid 630k VND for the Ninh Binh tour and 350k VND for the room.
Since this is our last day, we checked out of our hotel Camellia 5 and brought all our things along the tour which starts at 8:30AM. it was a small crowd of diverse individuals seated comfortably in a van. After a quick stop an hour and a half after we left Hanoi, we continued on without hassle to our first stop the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.

In Hoa Lu, we visited temples built in honor of the emperors Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Lê Đại Hành, their sons, and Queen Dương Vân Nga, who was married first to Đinh Tiên Hoàng and then to Lê Đại Hành. The colorful history behind these telenovela-worthy familial story was wonderfully told by our tour guide.


After the hearing the gossip worthy story behind these ancient royals, we were treated with a buffet lunch. After lunch, we continued our nature tour of these lush greenery and amazing limestone mountains to Tam Coc.


Tam Cốc, literally “three caves”, consists of three natural caves — Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba — on the Ngô Đồng River (wikipedia). After wearing protective life vest, we boarded a small wooden boat and was greeted with a beaming smile by our local lady boat guide. Rowers can usually row with their feet as well as their hands, which was quite a sight to behold. I tried rowing the boat by hand and quickly gave up because our boat was going nowhere. i admire the rowers skill and endurance to be able to row several hours a day. At the other end of the river, we were greeted by floating vendors selling food and drinks similar to the floating market in thailand though there were only a handful of them. we bought peanuts and bought food for our guide as well. The trip took more than an hour and was definitely a must try when you have a chance to visit vietnam

After our boat tour, we regrouped and was then told we will be on a 45 minute bike tour of the province. For me this was the highlight of the tour as i get to see nihn binh upclose and at my own pace. it was indeed tiring yet my eyes were filled with magnificent views of rice fields, lime stone mountains and a few farm animals.

Our tour ended before 5pm, i was exhausted and sweaty and had to change shirt before boarding our van to take us back to Hanoi. Thankful to our energetic tour guide and occassional model Jenny who tirelessly made sure that we had a great time and got our money’s worth.


We got to Hanoi around 6 and we immediately made our way to Bun cha Hung Lien restaurant made famous when both Obama and Anthony Bourdain had a meal there together back in 2016. We went there with our new friend Patty. After a quick dinner, we went back to have our last taste of Hanoi’s egg coffee at Cafe Truong.


Our hanoi trip was filled with amazing food finds, wonderful tours and meeting amazingly friendly people. Make sure you visit ninh binh when you plan your next trip to Vietnam.

Apo Island

Day 3 – September 18

Apo Island is a volcanic island covering 74 hectares in land area, 7 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island and 30 kilometers south of the Negros Oriental capital of Dumaguete. The name “Apo” was derived from a Filipino word for “old man”. (source wikipedia)


To get to Apo island from Dumaguete:
* Start at Ceres Bus terminal  and look for buses going to Bayawan ( every 30 min). Fare is P50 for an aircon bus.

* Ask the conductor to remind you to alight at Malatapay ( about 30 min)

* Then walk to the ferry station (about 500 m)


The boat rental to the island is organized centrally with standard rates. Since there were only 3 of us, we decided to split the boat fare with another group of 3 chinese nationals. if you travel alone, no worries you could also join a group and split the boat fare per person. We hired a bigger boat upon the request of the chinese nationals so we paid 3,500 for a boat that would normally accommodate 8 instead of paying 3,000 for 6 person capacity boat.


The boat ride is for an hour with slightly rough water. Because of the strong waves, our boat anchored on the other side of the island. We had to walk to the marine reserve and pay P100 entrance fee per person. Tourists are also required to hire a guide P300 for a group of maximum 4 individuals/guide. For those who didn’t bring snorkeling gears and are not excellent swimmers, snorkles and life vest are available for rent for P100 each. We hired kuya Joel as our guide and our designated photographer as well.


The marine reserve is home to a number of turtle species. i’ve had the opportunity to see turtles swimming in Mindoro and Cebu but i have never been so close that i could almost touch them. In Apo Island you don’t have to swim far to see these charming sea creatures, you can see them feeding on marine plants not far from shore. And you’ll be surprised of how huge they are! We had encountered one which was almost my size. Incredible!


The are also other marine animals that are abundant in the island but i was more interested in swimming with the sea turtles and Apo island did not disappoint. our guide was very good in spotting them and we got plenty of pictures to document our encounter.


There are very limited options for food in the island. i suggest you bring your own food if you are a picky eater or on a strict budget. We ordered lunch from a local restaurant. we had chicken adobo and a hefty serving of rice. We looked for our guide Kuya Joel so he could join us for lunch but was told that guides are not allowed to eat with the tourists. i don’t understand what the logic behind this so we insisted but it seems to be the norm so we didn’t press too much. our guide ate after we finished eating. The food cost us P750.


After lunch we had another go at snorkeling and then around 2PM we decided to leave the island. However, dude accidentally hit a coral and had a huge wound on his leg. Our guide had to administer first aid and fortunately they had betadine and gauze but no medical tape so we had to use gauze to tie that gauze with betadine to Dude’s leg.
The boat ride back to Malatapay was really rough and i got drenched from water splash. Good thing we decided not to take a shower on the island otherwise i might have gone back to Dumaguete wet. As soon as we arrived back at the ferry, we took a shower. After a quick shower and paying P10/each, we walked back to the main road to wait for the bus. We bought some ref magnets when we passed by a souvenir shop and had a quick merienda of banacue and iced tea. We waited a few minutes before an SRO (standing room only) bus arrived. We stood on the bus half our trip back to Dumaguete and paid P50 up to the terminal.

We took a trike from the terminal back to Harold’s mansion and had a quick nap. Dinner was at Lab-as restaurant around 8PM where we ordered sinigang, kinilaw and steamed fish. We had dessert at Sans Rival and i had my favorite salted caramel cheesecake.


The next day we agreed to go to Manjuyod and Bais so we have another early start so we decided to doze off early. besides, we are not getting any younger so we need enough time to rest and recharge. hehehehehe

Siquijor

Day 2 – September 17

We were up as early as 4:30am to catch what we thought was the earliest ferry trip to our next destination, the mystical province of Siquijor. Trike fare to the port from Harold’s was 10/person. When we arrived at the port, we learned that the earliest trip was at 7AM and tickets were not sold until 6AM every Sunday. We had ample time to grab breakfast before buying tickets.

Ticket to Siquijor from Dumaguete is P130 and you have to pay P15/person for terminal fee. Travel time is 1 1/2hrs. The ferry is the usual RoRo ferry and there are ample seats that you could actually lie down the entire row if you want to catch some sleep.

We arrived at Siquijor before 8AM. Upon exiting the port, you’ll be greeted by tricycle drivers lined up to take tourists and locals to their next destination. Fees have been standardized and is visibly posted in the trike terminal for passenger’s reference.  


The island is one of the smallest provinces in the country. You could literary go around the island in 1-day.(http://www.siquijorislandphilippines.com)The tour to the entire island is for 1K that will take you to the province’s famous spots. 


We agreed to get RR’s services for the day as well as to take us back to the port the next day. We agreed to pay additional P250 for the fare from Casa Miranda to the port for the next day. We also had to quickly stop by Casa Miranda where we will be spending the night.  The rate was P550 for the fan room including extra bed.  
Our first destination was the Old Balete tree. This 400+ year old balete tree reminds you why the island is called the mystic island. We had to pay P10 environmental fee that would also allow you to enjoy soaking your feet to the clear water while having a Fish Spa treatment. You could also order fresh buko to enjoy while you are having a foot spa.


We then went to the town of Lazi to visit the old church and convent. The chuch was built on 1857 with San Isidro Labrador as the patron saint. The convent was build 30 years after in 1887. We said our prayers inside the church before taking some OoTD shots on the side of the church as well as on the newly renovated convent.


After a quick lunch break at a local restaurant near the church, we visited the enchanting Cambugahay falls. The falls was not difficult to reach. A quick trek down the paved stairs, would already bring you to this curtain like waterfall. This waterfall is for the adventurous and the nature lovers. They’ve set up several rope swing stations for the adrenaline junkies to enjoy. For those who are not as adventurous, you could just marvel on the beauty of the waterfall or take a dip at the ice cold water.


Our next stop is the wildly popular Salagdoon beach. Arguably the most instagramable place in Siquijor, this is the place for those who want to just chill on a beach or dare to jump their famous dive platforms of dizzying heights. Because it was already low tide, diving was no longer allowed for safety reasons. So we decided to just order halo halo from the restaurant and take pictures from the diving platforms.


Last stop was suggested by RR. He took us to the Paliton beach. This privately owned beach, while open to the public, is not swarmed by tourists. other than the 3 of us, there was 1 foreign tourist sunbathing. We decided to wait for the sun to set here and i set up my hammock so i could lay down while waiting for the sunset. it was cloudy so the sunset was not as gorgeous as what we hoped for.


Around 6PM, we called our driver so he could pick us up and bring us to Casa Miranda. We ordered dinner from their small restaurant. It was nice to dine by the beach while the waves serenely seranades us while eating. we shut our eyes a little early as we need to catch the earliest trip back to Dumaguete at 5:30am.

Negros Oriental: Dumaguete – Valencia (Day 1 – September 16)

Arrived in Dumaguete via PAL. Took a tricycle to Harold’s mansion hostel (http://haroldsmansion.com) and paid 100 for the ride. Harold’s mansion was our home for 5 days.  
After checking in, finalizing our itinerary and fixing our things, we went to the town of Valencia. Trike from Harolds to the jeepney terminal normally costs 10/person and the jeepney ride is just 12/person. The ride took about 20 minutes.
Upon arriving at Valencia, we had a quick lunch in a carinderia within the public market. We then agreed with some local habal habal drivers the fees for our escapade. We have agreed to explore Casaroro falls and Pulang bato falls which happens to be on the opposite directions from the market. The drivers are charging per trip so all in all we have 4 trips: to and from Casaroro for 100/trip and to and from Pulang bato for 150/trip for a total of P450 per person. We also haggled to have a short side trip to the sulphur vents.


We went first to Casaroro falls (https://www.dumagueteinfo.com/dumaguete-city/sightseeing-dumaguete-suburbs/casaroro-falls-dumaguete/). Casaroro Falls is lodged deep into the rock crevices of the rugged Valencia mountains. With an astounding height of 100 feet, the water plunges into a deep cold basin before it flows down to a stream. The waterfall is considerably narrow, instead of the usual wide cascade, but this is precisely what makes Casaroro unique. Though despite its narrowness, the volume of water that drops is heavy and causes a roar as it touches the pool. Around the basin are natural boulders huge enough to rest any traveler’s weary feet.


We paid P10/person for entrance fee and decided to hire a local guide Vicente. The trek to the narrow falls would normally take about 30 minutes but it took us more than an hour to get to the falls. we had numerous stops to take a breather and to take numerous photos. The trek was not as difficult but for unfit people like me it was quite an effort.


Upon reaching the waterfalls, i was in awe of how majestic this falls was. it was quite a sight to behold. After a number of photos, we decided to head back without taking a dip at the cold water. The climb back up was more difficult that i really had to catch my breath a few times.


After Casaroro, we made our way to Pulang Bato falls but with a quick stop at the Sulphur Vents. Pulangbato Falls is located in the Ocoy Valley in the town of Valencia Negros Oriental. It is aptly named so because of the waterfall’s seemingly red river water which is caused by the presence of natural reddish rocks found in the area. Pula is the native word for red while bato, for rock. Thus, if interpreted, the name would be red rock (https://www.dumagueteinfo.com/dumaguete-city/sightseeing-dumaguete-suburbs/pulangbato-falls-dumaguete/)


Pulang bato falls does not require to much effort to reach unlike Casaroro. After paying the P50 entrance fee per person and eating a quick merienda of banana cue and coke, we went down to the falls. The falls was definitely aptly named as red rocks are quite abundant. There are actually 2 falls and a swimming pool for the tourists to enjoy.


We made our way back to Dumaguete City around 5pm and went straight to our hostel. We had a quick rest before heading to Gabby’s diner for dinner.

Negros Oriental – Siquijor 5 day sample itinerary

Spent 5 days in Central Visayas covering a few municipalities and cities in Negros Oriental and the province of Siquijor from September 16-20.  Flew via PAL and sample itinerary as follows:
Day 1 Dumaguete and Valencia

check in at Harold’s mansion

Valencia to visit:

Casaroro falls

Sulphur Vents

Pulang Bato falls

Dinner at Gabby’s Diner


Day 2 Siquijor

check in at Casa Miranda

Siquijor to Visit:

Balete Tree

Lazi Church and Convent

Cambugahay falls

Salagdoong beach

Paliton Beach

Dinner at Casa Miranda


Day 3 – Dauin and Dumaguete

Apo Island

Dinner at Lab-as


Day 4 – Bais, Manjuyod and Dumaguete

Bais dolphin watching

Manjuyod sand bar

Dinner at Lantaw

Dessert at Sans Rival


Day 5 – Dumaguete City

Dumaguete Boulevard

pick up Silvanas Pasalubong at Sans Rival

off to the airport

Details and contact numbers on my next blog.

Taiwan – sample itinerary

Spent 4 full days in Taiwan.  Arrived very early in the morning of August 31 catching a red eye flight of Cebu Pacific.  Stayed at the Space Inn Xinyi until September 3.  Red eye flight again to Manila on September 4 with a slight delay.

1st DAY 

📍Yehliu Geopark 

One of the premier destinations in northern Taiwan, Yehliu Geopark is home to a number of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head” (女王頭), and is located along a cape stretching out from the town of Wanli. Entrance fee is 80NT.


📍Shifen Old Street

Both Pingxi (平溪) and Shifen (十分) are both towns rich in culture and history and provide a nice glimpse at Taiwan’s beautiful natural scenery. Events such as the Sky Lantern Festival draw visitors year round to create a Chinese Lantern (天燈) with a wish written on it to set into the sky, all for a modest NT$100-200.


📍Shifen Water fall

Shifen is well known for the Shifen Waterfall (十分大瀑布), a 20 meter tall waterfall that creates a rainbow as it splashes into the lake, widely regarded as the most scenic in all of Taiwan. 


📍Jiufen 

Feel spirited away in this decommissioned gold mining mountain town, originally built by the Japanese and now a maze of lanes and alleyways with rich history and culture.

Founded during the Qing Dynasty, this small town was a relatively isolated village until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893, quickly developing the town due to a gold rush. Many buildings in the town remain unchanged to this day, reflecting the Japanese influence on both architecture and culture on the island. During World War II, the town housed a Japanese prisoner of war camp where captured Allied Force soldiers (mainly British) were forced to work in the gold mines. After the war, gold mining activities declined, and the town today exists mainly as a tourist destination remembering and celebrating Taiwanese history and culture.


📍Shilin Night Market/dinner at Modern Toilet

The Shilin Night Market in Taipei is one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan with regard to food, and also one of the most popular points of Taipei’s night life among visitors. Located in Taipei’s Shilin District, a mere 70 metres from MRT Jiantan Station between Dadong Rd, Danan Rd, Wenlin Rd, and Jihe Rd. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise that attract locals and foreigners alike.



2nd DAY

📍Taichung Rainbow Village

The Rainbow Village (Chinese: 彩虹眷村; pinyin: Cǎihóng Juàncūn) is a street art in Nantun District, Taichung, Taiwan. It was created by former soldier, Huang Yung-Fu, who was born in Taishan county, Guangdong province in 1924. The eldest of four brothers and two sisters Huang’s artistic talents were revealed early on.[1] He began painting houses in his settlement, now known as Rainbow village, to save them from demolition. Over the years his colourful artwork, which includes birds, animals and people, has spread over the remaining houses in the village, which once contained 1,200 homes (wikipedia)


📍Taichung Houli Flower farm

houli flower farm in Taichung. Be amazed by a wide variety of flowers from lavender, sunflowers, daisies, etc. the musical instruments strategically placed in the middle of fields makes this site truly instagram worthy.


📍dinner at Taipei City Mall

3rd DAY

📍Taipei National Palace Museum

Originally founded within the walls of the Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, the present-day National Palace Museum moved to Taipei’s Shilin District following the Republic of China government relocation in 1949 with an official opening for the public in 1965. Over 600,000 of the most precious artefacts within the collection were moved to Taiwan to prevent their desecration during and after the Chinese Civil War. The museum is currently celebrating its 90TH Anniversary.


📍Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the CKS Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China, and was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area.


📍Longshan Temple of Manka

The most well known temple in Taiwan, the Mengjia Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Located in the old village part of Taipei, Wanhua District, this temple has stood the test of time and lasted through several natural disasters and wars.


📍National Taiwan University (Ying De University)

national taiwan university made famous by Meteor Garden as Ying De University. Walk on the same school where Dao Ming ze, Hua ze lei, Xi Men, Mei Zuo and San Chai met.


📍Taipei 101 Observatory

The tallest green building in the world! Isn’t that enough of a reason?

Taipei 101 is an engineering marvel and the first building of its kind in the world. Spanning 101 stories above the ground at 508 metres, the building was designed as a symbol of technology’s evolution fused with Asian tradition. The building features many pan-Chinese and Asian elements mixed with a postmodern style, and is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes common in Taiwan.
Want to take a trip to the top of Taipei 101? The Taipei 101 Observatory is open every day from 9AM to 10PM.   it only takes 37 seconds to reach the 89th floor of this building.

We purchased our tickets ahead of time via Klook.  


📍Xiangshan Elephant Mountain

For the best view of Taipei City, make a hike to the top of Elephant Mountain!

Also known as the Nangang District Hiking Trail and Xiangshan (象山), the hiking trail is located close to the Xinyi Shopping District and Taipei 101.

The best time to hike the mountain is during late afternoon, this way you can catch the sunset as well as a daytime view and stunning nighttime view of the city, however the trail can get relatively crowded during the weekend.

4th DAY

📍Taipei Zoo

The largest zoo in Asia and home to Yuan Zai the panda, for animal lovers this is a must visit, easily accessible by public transit at the end of the MRT Brown Line.

The zoo was originally founded in 1914 by a Japanese citizen as a private zoological garden, and after the ROC relocation to Taiwan became a public zoo under the Taipei City government. Entrance is 60NT


Other info:

– stayed at Space Inn Xinyi. very clean and affordable accommodation in Taiwan. about 5 minutes walk to Xinyi Anhe Metro station.  You can get a good view of Taipei 101 on your way to the Metro station


– Don’t forget to purchase easy card at the airport. Card alone costs 100 and is reloadable. You could use it to ride Metro, bus and purchase food at selected stores. You can even use it to ride the Maokong gondola (cable car). You can top it up/reload it at 711 or the nearest Metro station.


– Taiwan has a very efficient and convenient public transportation. Every tourist site could be reached by train or bus. just don’t forget your easy card. outside of taipei, you could use the High Speed Rail (HSR) or TRA (taiwan railways administration).

– Metro taipei lines are color coded and are interconnected. it could be quite confusing for some to figure it out at first. have a picture of the Metro map so you won’t get lost and to determine which platform to go to. Metro closes at midnight and opens around 6am.you could also purchase all day passes.(http://m.metro.taipei/en/roadmap.asp). 1 day all-day pass would cost you 150NT


– We booked the first day tour via KKDay (https://m.kkday.com/en/product/2287) while the rest is DIY. The tour starts at 8:30am and takes about 8 hrs. excludes entrance fees so you have to pay it separately. Lunch also not included.

– Taichung could be reached via HSR (high speed rail) or TRA (taiwan railways administration) or by bus. TRA would take about an hour from Taipei main station while TRA would take about 2 1/2 hrs. HSR is travelling at a speed of approx 300 km per hr.


– free WIFi everywhere. just need to select which one works as there are many to choose from. suggest you create an iTaiwan account before going to Taiwan. (https://itaiwan.taiwan.net.tw/HowTo.aspx).

– official currency is New Taiwan dollar (NT). Make sure you exchange your Peso or USD at the airport or withdraw from the ATM.

– locals don’t speak english well.make sure you download a translator app or have the local translation of the places you want to visit handy in case you get lost and want to ask for directions or if you want to take a cab/taxi

– food is relatively cheap and transpo via bus and metro is very affordable. taxi could be a bit pricey.  

– Don’t forget to try the famous bubble tea (milk tea). bubble tea shops are everywhere and price ranges from 40-60NT.


There are other scenic places to visit. You can check Guide to Taipei (https://guidetotaipei.com) for additional information. I got most of the information above here.  

i didn’t expect much when i booked my ticket to taiwan but was pleasantly surprised by what the country has to offer. Will definitely go back to Taiwan soon. Xie Xie

fantasy world

Located in lemery batangas, this theme park is no longer in operation yet still accepts guests to roam around this massive property and take pictures.  With so many instagrammable places and non-operational rides, no wonder this park is an unconventional tourist spot flocked by tourists wanting to get a taste of what was supposed to be the Philippines’ disneyland.  with just 1,000 pesos as entrance fee for groups with maximum 10 persons, you get to enjoy the park and take unlimited number of pictures.  Please be reminded though that you are not allowed to wear costumes as we were warned by the guards when they saw one of my friends wearing a red cape. You may need a special permit for professional shoots and pay additional fees if you plan to have a real photoshoot.