Monday, December 31, 2018

Thank You 2018

Grateful for...
  • getting my ITR stamped/verified without a hitch (I didn't have to go back and forth like I did in 2016).
  • Korea Consulate for giving me a 3-year multiple entry visa (though I applied for a single entry visa)! Woohoo!
  • friends for keeping cool when we went to Samar and it was raining cats and dogs. By noon (on the same day we arrived) we decided to catch the ferry back to Cebu.
  • JaeHwa for letting me stay in his house, taking me and JungIn around Jeju, and taking us to restaurants that served Jeju specialties.
  • JaeHwa and JungIn for coming up with an itinerary and for always feeding me.
  • Annie, the friendly Chinese girl I met, for hanging out with me while we waited for our respective flights out of Jeju.
  • finding an alternative bus (and bus stop) that could take me near Seopjikoji (by near, I mean Seopjikoji would be a 30-minute walk) when I missed bus 295 (the only bus that would go to the entrance of Seopjikoji).
  • good timing for cherry blossoms in Jeju, Jinhae, and Busan. Woohoo!
  • the kind owner of Chacharang Guesthouse for letting me check-in early (I arrived around noon) and for helping me find information for the bus for Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village.
  • the woman at the Express Bus Terminal for helping me find information for the bus for Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village.
  • the bus 206 driver for letting me know he was going near Yangdong Village and for not forgetting to drop me off at the right bus stop. (Bus 203 would go direct to the village but its 915am schedule was too late for me as I was already at the bus stop at 8am.)
  • checking reservations for Geomun Oreum too late (fully booked by then) and deciding to hike Hallasan instead. It was a very beautiful hike. Definitely the highlight of this trip!
  • Google Maps and a pocket WiFi, I could track where I was on the bus and get off at a stop that was near wherever I had to go.
  • the elderly Busanite artist in Jwasuyeong-ro who offered to draw me. Best souvenir!
  • my sister for taking care of the logistics and accommodations for our trip to Virgin Island (Bantayan).
  • finding out that I can buy and receive the JR Hokkaido Pass (not voucher) at Narita Airport (from what I had previously read, I thought I could only buy it there and then have the voucher exchanged to get the actual pass in Hokkaido only). I quickly made some changes to my itinerary so I could use the pass on my first day in Hokkaido.
  • being at the right place at the right time. At around 11am I was around the area of the ramen place I wanted to try. I did not have to go back and forth while exploring Otaru.
  • the random stranger I had asked for directions who accompanied me to the place because he could not speak English.
  • Grids Sapporo Hostel & Hostel for letting me leave my bag for free for two nights while I went to Asahikawa.
  • lockers in Asahikawa Station (and most stations in Japan).
  • Tetsu, owner of Asahikawa Ride, who noticed I booked and cancelled every time the price dropped on Booking.com (four times!), for telling me to book directly on his website for the cheapest rate.
  • small bottles of sunblock at convenience stores. I did not expect to get sunburnt in Hokkaido—it's supposed to have cooler summers than the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the time I was in Japan was also the time Japan experienced its hottest summer in 10 years!
  • finally seeing the beautiful lavender (and other flower) fields of Biei and Nakafurano.
  • my sister for letting me borrow her lightweight, water repellent jacket—it was put to good use when I went for a hike around Sugatami Pond in Asahidake. It was very foggy, cold, and drizzling (on and off).
  • clouds and fog for clearing up and showing the beautiful landscape in Asahidake even for just a few seconds at a time.
  • for catching the cable car in time to catch the bus back from Asahidake to Asahikawa. If I had missed the cable car, I would have missed the bus, and would have had to wait more than two hours for the next bus!
  • the Hakodate tram pass. Saved me time and I was able to go to Fort Goryokaku which was not in my initial plan as it was quite far from most of the places I wanted to see.
  • a bus stop 1 kilometer from the end of the hiking trail in Toya. I did not have to go back to where I started the hike in order to take the bus back to Toya Station.
  • Yumiko for picking me up from Narita and taking me to Sawara Town. I had met her through Instagram and though she could barely speak English, she drove down two hours to meet me.
  • meeting Kaori and Anju on the boat tour in Sawara Town. We ended up having lunch and exploring Sawara Town together with Yumiko.
  • Brennan, blogger of Baktin Corporation and The Weekend Dispatch, for taking care of the itinerary for the Manila trip.
  • The Auza couple, Brennan's friends, for letting us stay a night at their place and for taking us to Rizal to see the Pililla windmills and Pinto Art Museum.
  • Brennan for letting me tag along on their sponsored stay at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
  • Eva of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for the fascinating guided tour.
  • Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for taking us back to the 1700s to 1900s. Great experience!
  • Claire of Traveling Light for arranging a deal with 1Bataan.
  • 1Bataan for the free rides to and from Orion (Bataan).
  • the abundant number of Grabcar drivers—it was easy to get rides in Manila.
  • free admission to the National Museums in the Philippines. I enjoyed my visit at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • on time flight and catching the 1015pm bus from the airport to Seoul. (And also for deciding to take the bus instead of the subway because, as I found out the next day, the nearest station to the hostel was quite large and a bit confusing.)
  • coming across a Dunkin Donuts shop early in the morning a few minutes' walk from my hostel. I have missed their blueberry bagels (which I had only discovered last March).
  • having a T-money card. Transfers from subway to bus (and vice versa) is free within a certain number of minutes.
  • Ley for letting me know about the coupon in Tongin Market. I got a free small Tongin mascot stuffed toy. Very cute.
  • deciding to visit Oil Tank Culture Park (because I had extra time). I enjoyed the quiet (there were very few people at the park) and the art installations inside some of the tanks. (I wasn't planning on visiting this park because it didn't seem interesting when I was researching for the trip).
  • free tour with English audio guide (and gift!) of Cheong Wa Dae, the South Korean president's residence. Which reminds me, I really should visit Malacañang next time I am in Manila.
  • not fainting of hunger in the bus to Namhansanseong Fortress. The traffic was so bad, the bus so stuffed (I had to stand all the way),  and I hadn't had lunch yet.
  • With U Guesthouse (a very nice guesthouse just across Sokcho Express Bus Terminal) for allowing me to leave my bag before check in.
  • the kind man, who I guess was the owner of the restaurant in Seoraksan, who invited me to eat inside when he saw me eating my breakfast out in the very cold morning.
  • the strength and endurance to hike to Ulsanbawi (the total length of the trail is 3.8 km, 3 kilometers of it is stairs!)
  • the patience to wait for a slot on the cable car to go to Gwongeumseong Fortress (that means I got to rest after the 5-hour hike up and down Ulsanbawi) and some spare energy for another 20-minute roundtrip hike.
  • deciding to visit Arario Museum on my free day. A very interesting art museum!
  • Ley and her mom for joining me for dinner. It's nice to have someone to eat with!
  • my sister for joining me on the second half of the trip. I finally had a travel companion after traveling out of the country solo for six consecutive times (spread over 3 years). I miss having somebody to talk, eat, explore with.
  • free admission to the palaces in Seoul on the last Wednesday of every month. My sister and I explored Gyeongbokgung for free.
  • marking Samcheong Sujebi on my map though I didn't really plan on eating there. While we were walking around Samcheongdong, I saw it on my map and decided to eat there (had I not marked it on my map, I would have passed this place without a glance), and it turns out this restaurant is on the Michelin Guide!
  • exploring alleyways with my sister, where we found many samgyupsal restaurants swarming with locals. We came back the next day to do as the Romans Koreans do.
  • Manjok Ohyang Jokbal in Klook. Eases ordering and reservation! (I ate here in 2016 with GaYeong and I have wanted to go back, but could not eat there solo—the servings are huge!)
  • GaEun for sparing a few minutes of her time from work to meet me. And she treated me to snacks too!
  • my sister for being game enough to check out the Seoul Lantern Festival (we started walking a long long way from the other end of the festival location).
  • Tosokchon Samgyetang for opening early: we arrived around 930am (the website states 10am as opening time) and were invited in. Really good brunch of ginseng chicken.
  • my sister, who usually wakes up late, for getting up early every day during our Seoul trip.
  • my legs for not giving up during the walkathon in Korea.
  • improved passport control (arrival) at MCIA. For those with Philippine e-passports, one only has to scan the passport, boarding pass, and fingerprint. Voila! Welcome back!
  • readers of this blog...thank you for your patience! :-) I know I have been really really really slow in updating this blog. Apologies.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #70

On exercising

I am so lazy when it comes to exercising. It is only when I travel that I get to exercise (walk a lot) and enjoy myself. Ever since my brother gave me a watch slash pedometer, when traveling, I'd get a kick at looking at the number of steps I made at the end of the day. I am amazed that I could walk up to 36000 steps [about 25 kilometers] in a day! The amazing powers of our body!


On a normal day, I'd walk just an average of 6000 steps [about 4 kilometers]—way below the recommended daily 10,000 steps [about 7 kilometers]. So, yes, 10,000 steps and above is a feat for my feet.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

Free Upgrade on GPSmyCity

The GPSmyCity team has gathered thousands of travel articles and city guides written by travelers like you and me and have put all these travel information in one app. With the GPSmyCity app installed on your smartphone, whether iOS or Android, you have the world on the palm of your hand.

The GPSmyCity app can be used offline, therefore, you can read the articles and use the guides without the need to be on roaming or renting a pocket WiFi or data SIM. You can go on a tour at your own pace. By accessing (for a minimal upgrade fee) the GPS-aided map, the places mentioned in the guide will be pinned on the map, tour routes will be displayed, and turn-by-turn directions between places will be provided. No need for paper maps!


I have been contributing articles in the GPSmyCity app and I am happy to announce I have a bunch chosen by the GPSmyCity Team for publishing:
To celebrate the release of this batch of articles on GPSmyCity, the upgrade (to access its GPS-aided map) to the following article apps will be given away for FREE from November 26 to December 2, 2018!
Please click on the link (or links) that interest you and try it out! (If you haven't already downloaded and installed the GPSmyCity app, it will prompt you to do so.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #69

On "Filipino time"
It's not funny anymore.
Be considerate of other people's time.

Whoever you had agreed to meet with at a specified time, they made an effort to be there on or before the agreed time. And you leave your house 30 minutes after the agreed time because 6am is "just the assembly time"? It's not funny. It's inconsiderate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

See Sapporo: Parks, Towers, Streets

Sapporo has an area of 1121 sq. km but I was only able to explore three parks, two towers, a street, and an alley.

大通公園

Odori Park is a 1.5-kilometer park featuring fountains, a playground, open spaces for events (Beer Gardens pop up in Odori Park during summer), green spaces with trees and flower beds, and benches to enjoy this bit of nature in the middle of the city. And on the east end of Odori Park is Sapporo TV Tower, one of Sapporo's well known landmarks.

I did not attempt to see the park from end to end, because it meant I'd have to cross 11 roads. Not that crossing roads in Sapporo is a risk—it isn't (as is the rest of Japan); I was really just too lazy as I was unlucky to be in Japan during its hottest summer in years (Hokkaido experiences mild summers, but the unrelenting heat made its way to this northernmost prefecture)!

Directions to Odori Park: Take the subway (Namboku, Toho, or Tozai Lines) to Odori Station.


9AM to 10PM
Observation Deck Admission Fee 720 yen
(If you want to visit in the morning and in the evening,
you will have to purchase a ticket for every entry.)

Sapporo TV Tower, on the east end of Odori Park, stands 150 meters tall and has an observatory at a height of 90 meters. The observatory affords a view of Odori Park cutting through the concrete jungle.

And if you don't have a watch, just look up at the TV Tower and its enormous digital clock will tell you the time (except after midnight when it is turned off).

Directions to Sapporo TV Tower: Take the subway (Namboku, Toho, or Tozai Lines) to Odori Station.

 Sapporo TV Tower


845AM to 510PM (Last admission at 5PM)
Admission Fee 200 yen
(Closed for renovation until October 31, 2018)

Another Sapporo landmark is the Sapporo Clock Tower which was built in 1878. The clock is a weight-powered pendulum type and is the oldest clock of this type in Japan that still works.

At the time of my visit (July 2018) the Sapporo Clock Tower was undergoing renovation and entirely covered in tarp. Pffttt. (Renovation work is set to be completed on October 31, 2018.)

Directions to Sapporo Clock Tower: Take the subway (Namboku, Toho, or Tozai Lines) to Odori Station, take exit 7 and walk 5 minutes to Sapporo Clock Tower.

Sapporo Clock Tower
Photo by redlegsfan21 (Flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Clock Tower on Sapporo's manhole cover


Ganso Ramen Yokocho
元祖さっぽろラーメン横丁
Operating hours vary by shop

Sapporo is the birth place of miso ramen, and the best place to eat it is where it all started: Ganso Ramen Yokocho. This alley only had seven ramen shops in 1951. Today the alley has 17 shops.

I went to Ganso Ramen Yokocho for an early dinner and hungry diners hadn't crowded in yet. I just picked one at random and ate miso ramen (800 yen) at 天鳳 (Tenhou). Had I researched, I would have gone back to Ganso Ramen Yokocho and tried the seafood ramen Anthony Bourdain ate at 味の華龍 (Aji no Karyu).

Directions to Ganso Ramen Yokocho: Take the subway (Namboku Line) to Susukino Station. Walk 3 minutes to Ganso Ramen Yokocho.

Ganso Ramen Yokocho

Miso Ramen from 天鳳 Tenhou


Tanukikoji Shopping Street
狸小路商业街

Tanukikoji Shopping Street is a 900-meter long pedestrian-only street, spanning seven chome (blocks). The shopping area is covered (roofed), though some crossings (to get from one block to the other) are not. The shopping street has restaurants, cafes, izakayas, souvenir shops, tea shops, a huge Don Quijote store, and even accommodations—like Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel, which is where I stayed in Sapporo.

And because it is called Tanukikoji, there are tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog) figures everywhere. Even a shrine!

Directions to Tanukikoji Shopping Street: Take the subway (Namboku Line) to Susukino Station. Walk 3 minutes to Tanukikoji Shopping Street. If you're anywhere near a streetcar stop, you can take the Sapporo Streetcar to Tanukikoji stop.

Tanukikoji early in the morning.
When shops open, and especially at night, the place gets really crowded!


9AM to 6PM (Last admission at 5PM)
Admission Fee 600 yen (Free until end of March 2019)

Shiroi Koibito Park is home of the Ishiya Chocolate Factory, which, to my mind, is the Japanese counterpart of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. In the park is a rose garden and European-looking buildings which house the chocolate factory, a candy lab (see how candy is made!), a cafe, and a souvenir/sweet shop. In the chocolate factory, one can see the production line of Shiroi Koibito, their famous white chocolate cookie.

The production line was under renovation at the time of my visit (July 2018) so admission fee was waived. I just explored inside a bit where I saw a small exhibit about Ishiya and about chocolate, and a collection of tea cups. Outside, while queueing to buy their soft ice cream (really delicious), I witnessed a musical show of mechanical figures coming out of the building towers.

Grand reopening is scheduled on June 2019.

Directions to Shiroi Koibito Park: Take the subway (Tozai Line) to Miyanosawa Station. Walk 7 minutes to Shiroi Koibito Park.

 Shiroi Koibito Park

A collection of tea cups

Rose garden



Soft ice cream


モエレ沼公園
East Entrance 7AM to 10PM (last admission at 9PM)
Free admission

From a waste disposal site in 1977 to a beautiful green park in 2005 up to the present, this is Moerenuma Park. This wide open space is covered in a carpet of grass with man-made hills, sculptures, fountains, play areas, and a glass pyramid.

I went to Moerenuma Park and was in awe of all the green around me. I wanted to take off my shoes and walk barefoot on the park's carpet of grass! But I didn't. Instead, I climbed Play Mountain where I enjoyed the 360-degree view while the wind blew my hair hither and thither.

It is a very relaxing park, perfect for picnics, and walking barefoot on the grass. And maybe even rolling down the hills!

Directions to Moerenuma Park: Take the subway (Toho Line) to Kanjodori-Higashi Station. Then take bus 69 or 79 to Moerenuma Koen Higashi-guchi モエレ沼公園東口 (210 yen, 25 minutes).

Doesn't this make you want to take off your shoes and walk around barefoot?


The glass pyramid "Hidamari"


Music Shell (left), and Tetra Mound with a height of 13 meters (right)


The view from on top of Play Mountain, a height of 30 meters

62-meter tall man-made Mt. Moere



It was very windy up here!

Tip: If you plan to use the Sapporo subway (there are three subway lines, namely Namboku, Toho, or Tozai Lines) multiple times in one day, you might want to obtain a Subway 1-Day Pass which costs 830 yen. On weekends, holidays, and from December 29 to January 3, the cheaper Donichika Ticket (520 yen) is available.

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.


Other places I did not get a chance to see (reasons for me to go back to Sapporo):




Japanese Summer 2018
See Sapporo: Parks, Towers, Streets (you're here!)
(more soon)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Sapporo Accommodation: Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel

I flew in to New Chitose Airport and made Sapporo my base (taking the shinkansen from Tokyo with a transfer to a limited express train at Hakodate is possible, but would take a total of eight hours), staying in Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel for a total of six nights (the other two nights were spent in the city of Asahikawa, some 140 km northeast of Sapporo).

For my one week stay in Hokkaido, I opted to buy a Hokkaido Rail Pass and travel to other towns and cities daily. With the daily commute utilizing JR Lines, it would have been ideal to stay near JR Sapporo Station, but Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel, though a 20-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station, won me over for the following reasons:
  • the dorm (one floor for Mixed Dorm, one floor for Female Dorm; 3150 to 4500 yen per night) has spacious capsules (30 capsule spaces for each dorm). The capsule was like my own small room with an outlet (USB and regular power), lamp, coat hook and towel rack, shoe box, safety box, space inside the capsule for a cabin-sized luggage (for large luggage, there is a common luggage area in the dorm), and a curtain for privacy. The only downside I can think of is that when you arrive, you still have to make your own bed, which sucks if you arrive after a long flight and just want to wash up and then crash in bed. (Private single/double/triple/quad rooms are also available.)
Mixed Dorm (Photo from Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel)

  • the dorm shares a number of shower rooms (soap and shampoo provided) and toilets on the same floor. If all shower rooms are in use, there are three more in the reception area on the second floor. 
  • towel is provided and a change of towel is allowed for free for stays of more than three consecutive days (otherwise, it's a 200 yen fee per towel change)
  • breakfast is available for 500 yen (must pay and inform reception a day in advance) and served between 7am to 10am
Breakfast
  • washing machines and dryers (two each) are available for a fee (200 yen for washing machine, 100 yen for detergent, 100 yen per 30 minutes for dryer)
  • luggage storage is available (they kept my luggage for me for the two days I was out of town)
  • the hotel can be accessed by elevator up to the 7th floor (the hotel/hostel occupies floors 2 to 8)
  • the hotel is accessible by subway: 4-minute walk from Susukino Subway Station; 6-minute walk from Odori Subway Station
  • Tanukikoji Streetcar stop is just a hop and a skip away
  • bus stop for the airport is just around the corner
  • being located in Tanukikoji shopping street, food was not a problem (it was surrounded by restaurants!)
Early morning quiet at Tanukikoji Shopping Street
Odori Park and Sapporo TV Tower

Ganso Ramen Yokocho

Sapporo Clock Tower (Photo from Hokkaido Guide)

Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel
Chuo-ku, Minami 3jo Nishi 5 chome 32, Sapporo
+81 11 252 7415
Book Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel through booking.com




Japanese Summer 2018
Hokkaido: Sapporo Accommodation: Grids Sapporo Hotel + Hostel (you're here!)
See Sapporo: Parks, Towers, Streets
(more soon)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #68

On transportation #2
When in Manila, thank heavens for GrabCar
(and Uber, when it was still alive).

I have always dreaded going to Manila because of taxi drivers who take advantage of people who are clearly not from there by overcharging them. On my most recent trip to Manila, when my buddy had to abandon me post-haste, it was either lock myself in the airbnb or brave the jungles of Manila by myself. Thanks to GrabCar and being able to easily book one (I have always had a difficult time booking one in Cebu), I did not have to worry about opportunistic taxi drivers. I could breathe easy knowing how much I would have to pay for the ride (the amount is shown on the app before booking the ride), and knowing that I will be taken to my destination in one piece (what with all the horrors involving taxis that have popped up on my fb feed).

PS I am clearly not from Manila because of my accent when I speak Tagalog. Hehehe. So if you're Tagalog and you speak to me, don't be offended if I answer you in English or take a long time to answer you in Tagalog—my brain is still trying to convert words to Tagalog.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

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

Dirty Harry's pet's salon.
Spotted in Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

National Museum of Natural History

The Philippines' National Museum of Natural History opened on May 18, 2018. At the time of my visit (August 2018), only seven of the twelve galleries have opened, the other five were still works in progress.


There are exhibits about the Philippines' UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites; species of plants and animals that have been discovered in the country; mangroves, beaches, wetlands, and forests in the Philippines; and marine, plant, and animal life of our country.

Plants and animals discovered in the Philippines

There are replicas (such as Rafflesia, the world's largest flower, which I learned we had 13 species of! But, sadly, endangered.), miniature models (such as the lakes in the Philippines), life-size models (making you feel like you were walking through a forest or a mangrove), taxidermied animals, pressed plants, interactive zones, and activity areas.

Explore the mangrove

Check out the flora and fauna of a mossy forest

The mangroves and forests (pine forests, mossy forests, rainforests, etc) exhibits I thought were pretty awesome. It was like walking through a mangrove/forest and observing the creatures that inhabit it. It was also interesting to learn about the animals endemic to the country. Some creatures I had only heard and seen for the first time: such as the weird looking bird called Philippine Frogmouth.

Take a closer look at these plants

Two extinct birds in the Philippines: spot-billed pelican (left) and sarus crane (right).

Marbled water monitor, endemic to the Philippines

Of all the exhibits, my favorite would have to be about the underwater life in the Philippines. I love the sea but can only dream of scuba diving. In this exhibit, I learned about some corals that I have seen while snorkeling, poisonous corals and creatures, and which areas in the Philippines we can find whales, dolphins and sea cows.




Check out this corner to know where to spot whales, dolphins, and sea cows in the Philippines.

The titan triggerfish (center, back row) attacked me in Gilutungan!

It makes me proud that we have these museums—National Museum of Natural History, National Art GalleryMuseum of the Filipino People—in the country! And then it makes me sad to learn how we have taken our natural resources for granted. We have many animals endemic to our country, but are a threatened species (Philippine eagle, tamaraw, rufous hornbill, Visayan warty pig, etc) because of hunting and loss of habitat. In 1900, we had 70% of forest cover. It is now 2018; the chart shows just data from 1999 and the projection for 2010! I shudder to think how little is left—if any at all!


National Museum of Natural History
Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Ermita, Manila
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 5PM
Free admission

Directions: Take the LRT to United Nations Station. Walk 300 meters to the National Museum of Natural History.

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.