Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Taiwan in Three Days, A First-Timer's Reportage


Exploring new territories and creating new memories are some of my reasons why I keep on traveling. It is somewhat weird on my part that I started to travel around Asia but haven’t been to one of the closest ones from the Philippines. Taiwan (Republic of China) is geographically near the country but the strict visa policies on entering it made it a major hindrance for Filipinos. With Taiwan’s renewed policies on visa exemption for Philippine passport holders, it paved way for me and my buddies to visit our closest neighbor and enjoy our short weekend jaunt around key destinations in Taipei.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Grand Hyatt Taipei – Taiwan


My first and last impression of Taiwan was that of Grand Hyatt Taipei. The moment we stepped out of Taoyuan International Airport, we were warmly greeted by our chauffer and were brought to our home for four days in Taipei on board our spanking limousine. And as we entered our lovely suite overlooking the majestic Taipei 101, it felt like going back home after a day’s work, or maybe better.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How to Apply Taiwan Tourist Visa in the Philippines


My passport is filled with stamps from visa-free countries except on that of Nepal’s which is technically easy to acquire as they have visa-on-arrival policies. My Sri Lankan visa was also effortless to obtain as we applied online and got it within the day. As with Taiwan, there’s a new visa-free policy to enter the country for Philippine passport holders.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Four-day Chill Sesh in Phuket, Thailand


As templed out as I got during our last year’s ASEAN Summer Loop, I got beached out halfway our Beach Hop Asia 2016 summer backpacking trip this year. The island life had caught me up early on that all I wanted was to keep still and enjoy the inland life. And that’s what we did in Phuket, that famous holiday place in the southern part of Thailand.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Novotel Phuket Vintage Park Resort – Phuket, Thailand


It was one of those days when you’re not in the mood to do anything. Me and my buddy were on our second day in Phuket and we did nothing but lazed around on the enormous pool for hours. Not minding the afternoon sun piercing towards my skin, I started to float on the water and drifted away. I didn’t realize that my buddy went up to our room and captured that moment from our private veranda. It was beautiful, that moment, just floating away and not worrying about anything. And that’s just how I summarize our four-day stay in Phuket, we did no tours or whatsoever, just a worry-free staycation at Novotel Phuket Vintage Park Resort.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thailand: That Famous 'Beach' of Leonardo DiCaprio


Can you hear the soundtrack of ‘The Beach’?, my buddy quirked as we jumped off our speed boat. Our feet touched the powdery white sand of Maya Bay as we scouted a place for our base camp but found none. The famous bay was literally packed with tourists and boats that no trace of the movie scene can be found. And then the British couple we were with at the boat shouted at us, It is beautiful right here!, in which I replied, Philippines is more beautiful, and then smiled back.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thailand: Joining the Koh Phi Phi Tourist Crowd


Coming from the laidback island of Koh Lanta, I was surprised on the chaotic Tonsai Pier as we docked at Koh Phi Phi Don. A hundred or so tourists rambled towards the narrow entryway tugging their huge luggage with them. Lost and dazed, I stood on one corner and waited for my buddy to wake me up from this dream, but no, it was real. The pandemonium was real that I could almost feel warm bodies surrounding me, and then someone instructed me to pay THB20 (US$0.57) for the entrance fee to the island.