Friday, September 7, 2018

Libingan ng mga Bayani

My travel buddy abandoned me in a cemetery in Taguig because I was a pain to be with. He wanted me buried in one of the plots there. Unfortunately for him, I was no hero. Just joking. He had to fly home on an emergency and I decided to visit a cemetery. But the first story would have been more interesting. I would have asked him to choose a spot next to one of the Philippine presidents.

Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig is the final resting place of tens of thousands of Filipinos who have brought honor to the country: soldiers, statesmen, national artists/scientists, presidents.



Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

It was a gloomy and quiet afternoon when I visited Libingan ng mga Bayani. I found the graves of three of four Philippine presidents: Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia, and Ferdinand Marcos. (I didn't see Diosdado Macapagal's.) Ferdinand Marcos's was being guarded by three soldiers and visitors had to write down their names on a logbook.


Memorials were erected around the cemetery. One is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with three pillars representing Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. There are memorials for the Filipino soldiers who fought in the Korean War, in the Vietnam War, and in World War II.



And around the 103-hectare cemetery were thousands of white crosses marking the graves of soldiers. The stillness of the cemetery disrupted every five minutes or so by a plane flying overhead.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #67

On unexpected situations

When you suddenly find yourself alone in an unfamiliar place with no plan because your travel buddy had to fly back home on an emergency and he was the one doing all the planning: Keep Calm and Wander On. Happened to me in Manila. I had left all the planning to Brennan of Baktin Corporation telling him I would follow him wherever he went. But on the third day of the trip, he had to cut his trip short, and I had no idea where I would go for the 1.5 days left. Thank God for data plans, Google, and Grab.

When you are stuck in a train in the middle of nowhere because they have suspended train operations due to heavy rain: Keep Calm and Weigh Your Options. Happened to a friend who was traveling in Japan. She was a third of the way to Shimosuwa from Tokyo, a 3-hour train ride, when the trains were stopped. She waited and it was eventually announced that trains wouldn't resume operation to where she was going. Luckily she had a friend living in a nearby prefecture who took her in for the night.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What's in a (Business) Name? Setenta y seis

It's nice to eat you.
Spotted by Aya of The Not-So Blank Page in
E-Park Building, A. Minoza Street, Talamban, Cebu City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Clean and Comfy Airbnb in Taguig

This Airbnb is a 23-square-meter studio apartment in a condominium building in Taguig. It is very clean and in a secure building. Clear information regarding rules and check in is provided upon booking. The owner may be reached by mobile phone and is very responsive. Self check in process is quick and easy.

The apartment is exactly as advertised. It has an excellent airconditioner (very cold!), WiFi, TV, microwave, refrigerator, stove, water heater, plates and utensils. Towels, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper are provided.




The location is also excellent—just 5 kilometers from the airport, a 3-minute walk to Venice Grand Canal Mall, a short ride to Market! Market!, Bonifacio High Street, The Mind MuseumManila American Cemetery and Memorial, and Libingan ng mga Bayani. And on the ground floor of the building next door is a small grocery store.

It is a bit pricey if only one person stays, but good value for 3 (about Php 2100 for up to 3 persons, including cleaning fee and service fee) to 4 persons (about Php 2400).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #66

On business

Buena mano, which literally translates to "good hand," is a concept wherein the first sale of the day is believed to bring good sales for the rest of the day. The money received from the day's first transaction is patted on the goods for good luck.

I have always thought this was a Filipino thing. But, wrong, this is also practiced in Myanmar! I was very surprised when after we bought some stuff, the lady started patting her goods with the money! (I just don't know what they call it there.) Have you observed this in other countries, too?

Monday, July 30, 2018

What's in a (Business) Name? Setenta y cinco

Would you like to have a role in my wedding bakeshop?
Spotted in SM Mall of Asia.

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary and Expenses

After my first visit in South Korea in 2012, I had told myself that I would visit the country every two years until I have visited all its provinces. And so I did...



Exchange rate as of March 2018 was 0.0499.

The table of expenses presented above does not include the domestic flights to and from Jeju. A domestic plane ticket to Jeju is around 67,000 won per way (including surcharge and tax).  Promo tickets could be as low as 22,000 won per way (including surcharge and tax).

The average spend for accommodations, food, land transportation, and admission fees for this trip was around 44,000 won a day. This was because the first two nights was spent at a friend's house, so I did not spend for accommodations and transportation. And my generous friends treated me to some meals and admission fees. On the average, from this (not including the first three days) and the past three trips, I have figured out my budget for South Korea: 55,000 won per day which includes accommodation, transportation, food, and admission fees.

After four visits, have I finally visited all provinces and special cities? No! I have only been to five (of nine) provinces and four (of eight) special cities. I have a long way to go!

Note: This trip was in March 2018. When Mactan International Airport Terminal 2 opened in July 2018, the international terminal fee increased to Php850.



South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus
Checking out Cafes in Jeju
Jeju: Location, Location, Location (for a Photoshoot)
Jeju Eats
History and Nature in East Jeju
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jeju
Hiking Hallasan via Yeongsil and Eorimok Trails
Daegu International Airport to Gyeongju
Gyeongju Accommodation: Chacharang Guesthouse
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Historic Areas
Walking Around Gyeongju
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village
Joining the Cherry Blossom Loving Crowds in Jinhae
Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan
Busan Museum of Art
Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary (you're here!)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Busan Museum of Art

Having no plan for the last day in Busan, I closed my eyes, and randomly pointed on my map. I wish I was that spontaneous! I am not. But, honestly, I didn't have any plan, and I just looked at my map to check if there was anything of interest near where I was at the moment. And it led me to Busan Museum of Art, just 1.5 kilometers away by foot from Jwasuyeong-ro or two stations away by subway from Millak Station.


Even before I reached the entrance of the museum, I was already greeted by large pieces of art: sculptures by local and foreign artists.



Inside the Busan Museum of Art were two floors of exhibit halls, not including the children's gallery in the basement. All the exhibits at that time were admission-free.

Admiring the work of Cho BuGyeong, an artist based in Busan

"Sea2016 Standing Sea1" by Chun MiKyung, another artist from Busan

"Blue Moss" by Cho EunPil

There was a gallery of artworks by Japanese artists who came to Korea during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). There was also an exhibit called "Busan as the Wartime Capital" with artworks by Busan artists created in the years after the liberation of Korea (1945). And a gallery of black and white photographs of Busan taken from the 1950s to 1980s (the exhibit is entitled "The Warmth of a Moment") by three local photographers: Jung InSung, Choi MinSik, and Kim BokMan.





A short film

On the left is "Walking in Shoreditch" by Julian Opie, a British artist

The Warmth of a Moment Exhibit


In the Children's Gallery in the basement were whimsical paintings and an installation called "Welcome Home", which was an all white room with colorful art projected on the walls, chair, cabinet, shelf, sofa, TV, etc.


"Welcome Home"


Busan Museum of Art had plenty of paintings, photographs, mixed media, sculptures, and short films of landscapes, people, still life, and abstract. It kept me occupied for two hours! By the time I went out there was no more time to explore other places. I had to go back to the guesthouse to retrieve my bag and head on to the airport.

Busan Museum of Art
부산시립미술관
58 APEC-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 6PM (Closes at 9PM on Saturday)
Admission is free for the Permanent Exhibition and Children's Gallery. Special Exhibition may require a fee.

Directions to Busan Museum of Art: Take subway line 2 to BEXCO/Busan Museum of Art Station, exit 5.


South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus
Checking out Cafes in Jeju
Jeju: Location, Location, Location (for a Photoshoot)
Jeju Eats
History and Nature in East Jeju
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jeju
Hiking Hallasan via Yeongsil and Eorimok Trails
Daegu International Airport to Gyeongju
Gyeongju Accommodation: Chacharang Guesthouse
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Historic Areas
Walking Around Gyeongju
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village
Joining the Cherry Blossom Loving Crowds in Jinhae
Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan
Busan Museum of Art (you're here!)
Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary and Expenses

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan

Fresh off the bus from Jinhae, I continue my cherry blossom binge in Busan.

Samnak Ecological Park

Just 800 meters from Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal is Samnak Ecological Park, where earlier on the bus I had seen a long pathway lined with cherry blossom trees. At Samnak Ecological Park families, friends, and couples are enjoying walking under the cherry blossoms or having a picnic on the grassy areas.

Directions to Samnak Ecological Park: Take subway line 2 to Sasang Station, exit 3, and walk 800 meters west to Samnak Ecological Park. Or at Sasang Station, transfer to Busan Gimhae Light Rail and get off at Gwaebeop Renecite Station.






Oncheoncheon Park

It was still early afternoon and I had time for one more stop: Oncheoncheon Park. From Dongnae Station, through a dark underpass, and out into the sunlight with artsy walls leading to Oncheoncheon Park. Oncheon Stream runs through the middle and throughout the length of the park (about 3 kilometers). There are stepping stones crossing the stream in some sections. Running parallel on both sides of the stream are cherry blossom trees. The park is filled with color not only from the cherry blossoms but also from the patches of different types of flowers—canola flowers, pansies, daffodils, roses, etc. There are picnickers on the grassy areas, runners on the path, and cyclists on the bicycle lane. Busanites gather on the bleachers when there's a performance to watch.

Directions to Oncheoncheon Park: Take subway line 1 or line 4 to Dongnae Station, exit 2. Or take subway line 1 to Busan National University of Education, exit 6.

Go through a dark underpass to get to Oncheoncheon Park

Art on the wall


Go on a picnic

Smell the flowers


Roses and cherry blossoms

Daffodils and pansies


Couples going for a stroll



Busanites watching a performance


Jwasuyeong-ro

As if yesterday's cherry blossom stops in Jinhae and Busan were not enough, I began my last day in South Korea with another visit to a cherry blossom lined area in Busan: Jwasuyeong-ro. Jwasuyeong-ro is a road parallel to a river (Oncheon Stream actually spills into this river) and right across Centum City. It is significantly less crowded than the parks I had visited yesterday. There are many condominiums in the area and it seems the people out and about in Jwasuyeong-ro were locals living nearby, just getting some exercise or walking their pets or relaxing by the river with their family or pursuing a hobby—like the elderly Busanite who was painting. When he saw me watching him, he offered to sketch me! I obliged and, because I wasn't sure what to do, I just stood as still as I could so he could properly draw my face. Haha! He gave me his sketch—the best souvenir I got this trip! Thank you Mister Busan Artist!

Directions to Jwasuyeong-ro: Take subway line 2 to Millak Station, exit 2.

Walking path by the water



Cycling lane


Walking her dogs...or are the dogs walking her?


Walking/Jogging path




Centum City across the river

Mr. Busan Artist


A family chilling by the river





South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus
Checking out Cafes in Jeju
Jeju: Location, Location, Location (for a Photoshoot)
Jeju Eats
History and Nature in East Jeju
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jeju
Hiking Hallasan via Yeongsil and Eorimok Trails
Daegu International Airport to Gyeongju
Gyeongju Accommodation: Chacharang Guesthouse
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Historic Areas
Walking Around Gyeongju
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village
Joining the Cherry Blossom Loving Crowds in Jinhae
Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan (you're here!)
Busan Museum of Art
Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary and Expenses