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Showing posts with label Travels and Leisures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travels and Leisures. Show all posts

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Bonding with Friends at Bowling Town Najran

 

A night out with friends would be so much fun with cool activities that are challenging and fun at the side time. This was the first time we had bowling on a night out. Hitting the target pins. The more pins, the better or should we say, all pins. Bowling town is an amusement center located in Al-Faysaliyah Najran. They also offer other activities aside from bowling with a bar inside for having drinks and relaxation. I highly recommend trying this activity with your group of friends, the more the merrier. First, you need to pay out like 15 SAR each to register then form a group of four players for one lane. Then your names will be on a screen showing your records of strikes. Play your heart out and cheer for your friends. A must try for everyone.





Monday, October 05, 2020

Buddha Head in Growing Banyan Tree Roots - Wat Mahathat

buddha
The Head of the Buddha Statue Sitting inside the Banyan Tree Roots.

All destinations have these unforgettable sites tourists wish to have a glimpse of when they travel. Exploring Thailand would not be complete without visiting the famous Buddha Head statue sitting on a growing Banyan Tree Roots. It is found in Ayutthaya in an ancient temple called Wat Mahathat. From Bangkok, we traveled North by 80 Kilometers, almost 30 minutes by a bus provided by our tour agent.



Seeing the Buddha gave us to awe, different from just looking on photographs. The Buddha’s head encapsulated in the tree gives a sense of mystery of how it happened to be there. There were countless versions on the internet. Looking directly at the Buddha felt like it has some live aura in it that I can’t explain.

Security Guards were very strict in watching over the Banyan Tree with the head statue. They asked us to pay respect by wearing clothes not showing the knees and shoulders for women and long pants for men. The area is very sacred that as a tourist, we must show respect in every way we could. For taking pictures, our tour guide courteously asked us to be in a praying position.

One of the highlights of the tour was when our guide, through microphone gave us an account of the ancient city. Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam (the former name of Thailand). Back then, it was a very prosperous city famous in all Southeast Asia and to the world. The city was rich in agriculture, trade, and culture. Gold items were found everywhere from temples to jewelries of its citizens that in stories, gold were found inside the head of each Buddha statues that the Burmese took advantage of them when the war took place during the 1700s. The invading Burmese army burned and stole everything they saw. The Buddha head in the Banyan Tree Roots of Wat Mahathat was said to have been stolen by a thief but because of its weight, he decided to abandon it and take it back after some time. Over time, the Banyan Tree beside the head statue grew to encapsulate it. The mystery of how the face of the Buddha was kept intact by the growing roots is still a mystery to some but believers attributed it as one great phenomenon relating to their faith that we need to respect and treasure. I could say that my visit to Thailand gave me fulfillment seeing this as one of my favorites sites in the country.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Karting Race at Happy Land Najran

 


Happy Land is an amusement center in Najran, which offers a variety of activities from child friendly games to Kart Racing. It was our first time to try their Kart Racing session and it did not disappoint to enjoy the activity.



First, you will have to register your e-mail address, name and take a photo for reference. Your name will show up in your pass that you will present at the start of the race, also for reference at the screen after completing the activity. You will then proceed to cashier to pay. We paid SAR 49 for each person for a 15 minutes race. Then the friendly staff members will guide you to the Changing Room where they will lend you helmets and gloves you will use in racing. After preparing, you will then present your pass as you enter the circuit area. The staff will orient you on how to drive your Kart, the colors and functions of the pedals as well as adjust your seats for your safety and comfort in driving then the rest will follow.





For a first time Kart Racer, I found the session amusing and very enjoyable having done the activity with friends. The staff were accommodating our needs especially whenever I bumped and trapped into the circuit lanes, they were always present to assist your needs and supportive in taking your photos and videos also! Perfect for group of friends wanting to unwind and break free from stress.





Photo 2 and 5 Credits to Angel Bon Gumban


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Five Things About Al Ukhdud Historical Site in Najran

 


1.     Situated in the Southern part of Najran City. A fence and an entrance gate surround the place for the visitors. The visitor must submit a valid ID to one the guards before entering the site.


2.    The name “Al Ukhdud” translates to “ditch” or “groove.” In year 523 B.C.E, it was told in history that thousand of Christians were burned because they refused to renounce their faith to Judaism ordered by a Jewish king.


3.     Al Ukhdud is mentioned in the Holy Book of Qu’ran Chapter 85:1-10: “By the sky containing great stars, and by the promised day and by the witness and what is witnessed, cursed were the companions of the trench, containing the fire full of fuel. When they were sitting near it and they, to what they were doing against the believers, were witnesses. And they resented them not because they believed in Allah, the Exalted in might, the Praiseworthy. To whom belongs the dominion of heavens and earth. And Allah, over all things is witness. Indeed, those who have tortured the burning men and burning women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire.



4.    The place was once a part of Yemen then in 1934 it became a part of the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


5.    Home to artifacts and important historical and archaeological discoveries not just for the whole kingdom but for all Arabian Peninsula as well. On the walls were old carvings of manuscripts and drawings of animals and symbols dating back from Byzantine, Umayyad and Abbasid periods. There were relics of ancient houses and a mosque as evidenced by blocks and pebbles in the area.









Friday, August 17, 2018

[Travel]: A stay in Cabana Republic - Puerto Princesa

A leisure travel to Puerto Princesa, one of the most peaceful and largest cities in the Philippines will surely give travelers an awesome experience from backpackers to those who are just wanting a peaceful stay. From museums, beautiful beaches and savory food escapades, the city have so much to offer.


The view alone is relaxing.



Cabanas.


Take a dip.

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Staying in the capital city of Palawan would not be complete without choosing a good place to stay. Foreign backpackers always search for affordability with quality while local tourist want a stay to maximize relaxation experience within the amenities a place could provide the guests.




Good morning!



Jacuzzi is also a good option.

Cabana Republic offers a peaceful ambiance perfect for those travelers who wants to take a rest after doing an island hopping or city tour. The place does have a well lit, super clean and classically designed rooms, one with a Jacuzzi so the night is yours. There were large swimming area along with a garden. Cabanas were ample with cashew trees and lush green plans.




With the accommodating co-owner and admin. 


Wines and spirits.





Here are more information about Cabana Republic:

1. It is situated Brgy. San Jose, Puerto Princesa City (20 minutes from the airport, 2.2 km from Honda Bay, Palawan Museum is 6 kms. from the area).

2. Rooms are non-smoking.

3. There is a free Wi-Fi connection.

4. Shuttle service is available. Just contact the property prior.

5. They have an Instagram-worthy restaurant and a mini bar.

6. Cabana Republic is accessible on major booking/travel sites like Agoda, Booking and Tripadvisor.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

[Travel and History] Appreciating Escolta




Part of the Zooper Cruise in Pasig River is a tour around the country's former central business district, Escolta. Through the Pasig River Ferry system, the Escolta station is next to Plaza Mexico. We made a stop from Polland Hopia Store which is one of the most iconic bean cake brands in the Philippines to Sta. Cruz church. The buildings in the district are the reflection of how rich and flourished it was since the Spanish Colonial Era until 1960s. Escolta came from the word “escoltar” which means “to escort”. It is surrounded by Binondo and Sta. Cruz which are also famous streets in history.

Escolta on 1899. Photo Credits to ViVamManila Facebook Page.

Long time ago the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade attracted traders from China and other countries to sell their goods and products that is why the streets were lined with different specialty stores or various products. Seeing a lot of black and white throwback pictures we inherited from our ancestors, we will see how Escolta looked like back then, busy, influx of people, cars, horses and markets.




Bank of the Philippine Islands former Prudential Bank, a Neo-classical style.
Long ago, it is where the tallest buildings could be found being the central business district of the 
country in 19th century. Among the popular buildings are the Prudential Bank that is now a branch of Bank of the Philippine Islands, the Natividad and Burke Buildings. Buildings in Escolta exhibits Neo-Classical, Renaissance and Beaux Art styles of architecture that not only architecture students would appreciate but those history geeks like me as well. Walking along the district gave me a feeling of wonder of what was life like during those times and how it was crowded with so much people back then. The feels were like of that when I went to visit Calle Crisologo in Vigan City. I recommend this place to visit for those who want to appreciate Philippine History more in line with Intramuros and Vigan City.




I would like to thank Zooper Cruise and Zoomanity Group for the chance to tour the city. For more information please e-mail  grace@tagmedia.asia or text 09166299381.

-FAF


Credits to Mr. Nikko Madrilejo for taking my photos included in this article and Viva Manila Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/vivamanila.org/.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

[Travel] What to Expect in Baguio City for First Time Travelers

City of Pines.

In the mountainous ranges of Central Cordillera enclosed by the province of Benguet lies a city of rich history, culture and tourism – Baguio City. The Philippines is a tropical country so it means that at times, the weather is mostly hot in the summer season that tourists, local and foreign seek relaxation, leisure as well as learning in this gem city in the central north of the country. Its subtropical highland climate attracts visitors providing relief from the heat of the lowlands having officially named as the Summer Capital of the Philippines since the American Colonial Era. The city got its name from native Ibaloy’s word “bagyiw” means moss because the area has a lot of the kind of plant in the area. When the American came, they changed the face of the city to what we are enjoying today constructing bridges, buildings and landmarks reflecting history. Then came World War II to the earthquake in 1990, Baguio City is indeed a truly gifted precious land.


Mines View Park.

Mines View.


You may have a hard time finding a place to stay during peak season but booking sites like Traveloka.com allow you to compare prices and check out deals in advance. Also, if you are a shopper who wants to find product sales much cheaper than those in the lowlands, you can buy many products from fresh vegetables, fruits, jams to bargain items like those in the night market in Burnham Park. Food lovers also visit Baguio City to find the numerous specialty restaurants, mouth-watering street foods and sweets. I personally liked the organic strawberry ice cream and taho which is very uncommon in the lowlands. Even those who want a break from the city would find it the perfect place to be, with the many hotels, inns, and guesthouses in Baguio that cater to various kinds of travelers.





Baguio City boasts flower industry like no other city or province in the country.



How to get into Baguio City from Metro Manila?

The average travel time to Baguio City from Manila is 4 hours and 6 minutes with the distance of 247 Kilometers. There are two ways of travel.

With your own vehicle: You can through NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) then take exit 85 into SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) to take the lane and to Baguio via Tarlac. Just follow the road signs until you reach MacArthur Highway. Drive straight to Pangasinan, La Union then when you reached Rosario junction, turn right Kennon Road. There is also an alternate road in Marcos Highway, just drive into Rosario to the right entrance.

On Public Transport: The two main bus company that offer trip to Baguio City are Victory Liner and Genesis Transport. Victory Liner usually offers express trips. Their buses were equipped with free Wi-Fi connection and comfort rooms. Genesis Liner on the other hand provides travel time for 6-8 hours depending on the hour of your trip.


Check out their sites for more information:



Where to stay in Baguio City?

Exploring Baguio City would not be complete without planning where to stay. I suggest that you do a research about the types of accommodations based on your preference in consideration to your budget and comfort. In our last visit to Baguio City, we stayed in a friend’s house near the Burnham Park making us have easy access to the places we want to visit to taxi cabs. Transportation rates in the city are slightly cheaper than in Manila. For the budget conscious, you can look for cheap decent inns and rooms with breakfast included. Pension houses accommodate guests in house type rentals, they serve full day meals. Hotels were in various kinds ranging from those simple and neat to deluxe for those who prepared ample amount in their budget.


A view from the balcony of SM Baguio.


What are the most popular sites and tourist spots in Baguio City that you should explore?

The city of Pines is a land where history, nature and art meet. There are historical sites like The Mansion and Camp John Hay that could bring us back in time and learn about the important events in the Philippines the time they were built. Leisure parks like the very famous Burnham Park where you could ride the large swan boats in the lake, sit down in grass to have a picnic and indulge in street foods. There is also the equally precious Mines View Park overlooking the majestic mining town of Itogon in the northern part of the city. Last time we visited, there were influx of tourists but I could say that the view is very worth the visit. I love the colors of the variety of flowers being sold everywhere. The Baguio Botanical Garden exhibits charming flowering plants good for those who want to have ample of OOTD pictures the nature way. Not so far in the area is the Wright Park. This park in just in front of The Mansion with a rectangular pool sided by pine trees in the sides is seen in the area. It is where we bought the very unique strawberry taho (soft tofu) being sold by street vendors. For shoppers, the Session Road comprises of restaurants, boutiques, bookstores, department stores and bazaars. If planning to visit Baguio City through Kennon Road, you will see beautiful mountainous scenic views of trees for a good sightseeing. The premier military institution in the country, the Philippine Military Academy is one of the most visited and photographed sites with all its Pine trees, glorious statues, old military structures and vehicles plus the smile of handsome soldiers and military students roving around.


My favorite Strawberry Taho.


Wright Park.


With the natives.

Baguio Botanical Garden.

The Mansion.


Philippine Military Academy.

There are still so much to visit in Baguio City that I haven’t visited yet and mentioned in this article. For sure, they are worthy to be explored soon.


-Flordeliz Fullo


Useful and Related Article Links:



Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Travel] Sagada's Bomod-Ok Falls: Beauty Beyond Challenge



Waterfalls are one of Mother Nature’s priceless wonders and the Philippines have the pride to possess abundance that many wanderlusts aim to explore. One of them is Sagada, Mountain Province’s wonder, the endearing big 200 meters Bomod-Ok Falls. Also known as Fidelisan Falls named after the Barangay’s name where it is located. It has been famous as one of the important scenic geographical landmark you should visit when you explore the province.

Before our adventure, some of my friends who already went there told me to be prepared for the journey because going down trekking from the jump point will require extra physical strength plus determination for walking in approximately one hour along the narrow roads, rocks, man-made stairs, rice fields and the small village. The Falls is estimated 5 Kilometers away from the Tourism Registration Center.


To Bomod-Ok Falls.


Posing with our walking sticks.

HOW TO GO TO BOMOD-OK FALLS?

From the town center where the Sagada Municipal Hall is situated, we rented a van that would take us to Barangay Banga-An. We just paid 200PhP as a whole for a group of five, I think the prices depend on the driver because I have read in some blog articles that sometimes they are higher or lower. We then registered at their Tourist Information Center. After the process, they endorsed a friendly reliable female guide. Before heading, they provided us sturdy sticks to be used as canes to aid us in walking for hours. Our tour guide prepared us with some information of the number of steps or the time estimated to reach the falls.


The start of our walk.

There is a small village in between the jump-off to the Falls.

A selfie with the terraced rice fields.

Us having a short Photo Session in the red bridge.


Resting on the rocks.


A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

As a newbie in walking through irregular rocky elevated land platforms, I will say that the journey made me really exhausted due to aching feet and trembling knees. My advice is that you go on with a group of friends. Having a great company will boost each other up on the journey. The hike was somehow exhausting but as they say, good things come to those who wait. In the heart of the area, there you will you will find a small peaceful village with smiling people. I admire their lifestyle amidst being very far from technology, pollutions and noises of the urban areas, they look so happy. I almost gave up when we stopped by to rest and find a comfort room. My friends suggested me to just rest in the village and wait until they come back. Thinking of what great things would I miss if I do, I bravely hold up my head high and continue walking. We then reached the red bridge, took some photos with smiles in our faces because of excitement that we are near the Bomod-Ok Falls.


My friends Rio and Denise in front of the Falls and the clear water.





NATURE’S BEAUTY

As we reached our goal, we finally saw the treasure we patiently struggled to reach and it never failed our eyes so as our feels. That beautiful sight of crystal clear waters of the big falls surrounded with rocks, lush green trees and plants truly exhibit the beauty only nature can give us. All the steps going down were all worth it. If planning to swim, be careful of the rocks surrounding the falls as they are slippery, you could get injured.  The water from the falls is cold so make sure to be physically healthy before swimming.


GOING BACK

More than hiking down to the falls, going back up is more excruciating for a first timer like me; you will require more effort due to gravity. Just enjoy every step while the sun is setting, appreciate the beauty of the land formations in the valley. We finished at 7PM. Ate Tour Guide said that in all the travellers she assisted, we are the ones who travelled that long time and we know why.

Overall, the Bomod-Ok Falls is one of the most amazing landmarks I visited in the Philippines, also one of the most challenging so far. If you are that kind of an adventurer who loves hiking and challenges, the Bomod-Ok Falls of Sagada, Mountain Province should be on your list.