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WanderWoman: Getting around Hanoi

Hello everyone! This is my third WanderWoman post about my Hanoi trip. I am very much excited to show you fragments of Hanoi through local transport. Vietnamese people have several ways to roam around and they’re not just about cabs and buses. Let me show you different ways to explore the country (some in three wheels or less).

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CYCLOS

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Above is a photo of cyclos famous among tourists in Hanoi. It is a three-wheeled vehicle that can carry up to two people. This kind of transportation is endemic in Asian countries like Vietnam. In China, they call this rickshaw. Unlike the typical bicycle with sidecar, the cyclos have a seat at the front for passengers and the driver at the back.

XE OM

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Xe om (say ohm) is known as motorbike taxi in Vietnam. But what I like about it more is the real translation of the word which means “motorbike hug”. Since Vietnam is filled with two-wheeled vehicles, it is expected that local transport like xe om are used by tourists for sightseeing. Even though xe om is faster and more affordable majority still prefer cabs not just for the safe option for transportation but because English speaking driver can be a great guide as well.

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CITY BUSES

Buses are currently the only means of public transportation around Hanoi. Each buses have different numbers that corresponds to different towns and bus stops. Although few travelers deal with buses to the evident language barrier, I find this convenient, safe and cheaper than xe om.

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PIG OUT: Vietnamese Street food

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Aside from the different sights to see in Hanoi, I am excited to share my first hand experience on Vietnamese street food. From food carts to food bikes to vendors rolling out in droves, the choices of yummy food seem to be endless. My friend and I tried everything we saw on the streets. We had breads, noodles and different kinds of desserts. In between our stay, we also looked out for different cafés to enjoy their classic cà phê.

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FIRST STOP. 

Bánh mì  has become one of my go-to food while strolling around Vietnam. It is a full tasty bread meal consists toasted baguette, your choice of meat or tofu, fresh cilantro, sweet pickled carrots, daikon radish, sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise spread. Customers can also request for jalapenos. Every serving of bánh mì looks like a classic order of Subway.

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SECOND STOP.

One day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my vertigo was killing me. Since I was feeling under the weather, my friend and I agreed to have noodles for brunch. In Vietnam. Phở is the most famous rice noodle soup you could ever find. Each bowl is made out of homemade rice noodles, beef stock, beef cuts, spring onions, onions and cilantro. The server will also give you limes, chili, mint and bean sprouts to add on the soup. I may not know a lot about Vietnamese noodles but this one was amazing. We savored every ounces of broth inside the bowl. The serving was very inexpensive and totally worth it.

THIRD STOP.

Vietnamese Desserts. I call the first two photos above as a foreign version of Pinoy Halo-Halo. Chè thập cẩm is a sweet dessert that contains coconut milk, beans and jello. Some may have once scoop of ice cream on top depending on the customer’s liking. Also, they put shaved ice on top to be refreshing. The preparation of this dessert can be pretty tedious but it’s delicious. On the other hand, the third photo is known as the caramen (Caramel). Similar to chè, this dessert has beans, jello and coconut milk. But instead of having shaved ice, you have some form of sticky rice below and a custard flan on top.

My overall food escapade in Vietnam was promising. It was definitely proven that Hanoi is a street food haven for tourists and it’s own people. The food are affordable and they have generous amount of servings. Each food we tried consists of intensive labor and great flavor. Everything is a must-try and you’ll definitely come back for more.

 

Until next time,

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Leaving Home.

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How do u cope when you have to leave behind everything you’ve known? How will you find the courage to call a new city or country home?

It’s often said that you can probably find a Filipino in every country in the world.
It’s no longer unusual to hear that one of your friends is going to a different country, that your neighbor will leave to settle in another town or you family will move abroad and that you can stay with them when you pay the country a visit someday.

As more and more Filipinos leave their homeland, the reasons for doing so progressively varied as well. Some migrate in search of a greener pasture, some go solo for a high – paying job, others leave to take further studies and still other go in pursuit of a global adventure.

IT IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE. Yes, it’s possible to love where you are without loving where you’re from any less.

1. DISCOVER YOUR OWN HAPPY PLACE.

As soon as you leave you’ll likely be missing a lot of things from home. These are the good old favorites that give you comfort: people, places, food and experience. It is not wrong to miss all these associations but be careful not to devote all of you time and energy into everything you’ve left behind. Try to discover new people, places, things, experiences and food every week.

2.  KEEP IN TOUCH AND DON’T BURN BRIDGES.

Just because you’re physically far from close friends and family doesn’t mean you have to be emotionally distant as well. Yes, they will change, and you will eventually change too. Instead of assuming that you won’t understand each other because of your different experiences and commitments, assume that at the end of the day, you can if you want to.

3. INTEGRATE.

Find groups that pique your interest or volunteer for community events. There are great ways to get to know your new home better, not to mention an excellent way to make new friends. Time flies when you’re having fun, and you’ll feel at home in no time.

Hope this helps.

 

Until next time,

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WanderWoman: Hanoi, Vietnam

 

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Okay, I have to admit. I spent most of my days in Hanoi wandering around cities to cities. Exploring sites, food-hopping from hawkers to hawkers, connecting with people and enjoying the place as it is. During my early days in Hanoi, I stayed in a place called Phúc Yên. It is a small a town in Vĩnh Phúc province that is very close to the Nội Bài airport.

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My departure from NAIA 3 was at 8:00 pm, but due to flight delay, I arrived at Nội Bài airport at half past 2:00 am. I know that Vietnam has a free-Visa pass for Filipinos for 21 days, but since I planned to stay longer, I was required to get a Visa before entering the country.

After getting a well-deserved rest the later that same day, I immediately packed my bags to meet – up with my friend Joy in Hoàn Kiếm. We planned to enjoy the rest of our stay there because it’s the heart of Hanoi and most of the places we want to visit are around the area. The trip from Phúc Yên to Hoàn Kiếm took me about 2 hours via Expressway. As soon as I reached Hanoi Rose Hotel, I settled in and rest for a bit before taking a tour outside.

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We started the day strolling at Hoàn Kiếm Lake. Since the place is in the historical part of Hanoi, why not begin in one of the most scenic spots in the city. The entrance fee cost me about 20K VN Dong or 46php. It was once said that the lake was inhabited by a big turtle bringing safety to the city and prosperity to the people. Although we planned to see different places that day, Joy and I decided to go back to the hotel because I was too tired and not fully recovered from the trips I made for the past 2 days. Here’s a glimpse of our room at Hanoi Rose Hotel.

The room has two beds, one plasma screen TV with cable, fully air-conditioned, has a clean bathroom and WiFi accessible. Also there are drawers and cabinets perfect for our clothes. The room was clean and it smelled really nice. The following morning, there was a complimentary breakfast given to us. Even though I wish there was rice, the free meal was such a delight.

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My first few days in Vietnam went well and I am excited to share more of my experiences on my next WanderWoman blog. Let us talk about streetfood, shopping and public transportation.

 

Until next time,

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PIG OUT: Peri – Peri Charcoal Chicken

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THE RESTAURANT

Peri- Peri (pronounced as piri-piri) is a casual dining restaurant serving African – Portuguese cuisines grilled to perfection. The term Peri – Peri cam from an African Bird’s Eye Chili founded by some Portuguese explorers from way back. What makes this place famous is their 8 signature sauces ranging from sweet to smoky to fiery and hot.

ATMOSPHERE

The interior is very lively and colorful. Decorative bottles brightened up the room. Big barrels with spouts are also in display. The theme of the room depicts a very warm environment similar to Africa and Portugal.

SERVICE

I wasn’t able to gauge the staff knowledge regarding the menu since we ordered in advance. However, the service was okay. They immediately offered each one of us a cold glass of water. They were very attentive especially when you need something extra like cutlery or condiments. The speed of service was pretty good.

FOOD

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  • Ribs Platter ( 1 whole Peri – Peri BBQ Backribs with side dishes at 1,200PHP) The sauce was amazing and the meat falls right of the bone. It was also presented in a very appetizing way. (side dishes: coleslaw, country fries, java rice and corn kernels).

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  • Todo (Peri – Peri Chicken at 525.00PHP) The presentation was very simple. The grilled chicke was served on a wooden chopping board. At first, I thought the chicken was dry but when we started to slice through it, the meat was juicy. It’s definitely delicious.

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  • Pizza(s) 

➡️ Ala Peri – Peri (at 350PHP) Thin crust pizza topped with shredded Peri- Peri chicken plus special sauce.

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➡️ Todo Carne (at 375PHP) Instead of grilled chicken, the pizza was topped with ground beef and ham with bell peppers and onions.

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GENERAL IMPRESSION

Pros

  • Delicious Food
  • Accessible (Many Branches across Metro Manila)
  • Friendly staff
  • Clean place
  • Affordable
  • Generous amt of serving

Cons

  • Decorative bottles (not glued)
  • Place looks crowded
  • *since we ordered in advance* some of the food were already at room temp.

RATE 8/10 (👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽)

 

xo,

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WanderWoman: Taal Volcano Day Hike Experience

Known as the lake within a lake, Taal Volcano is one of the most favorite tourist spots in Luzon. Approximately 60km. south of Metro Manila, this wonderfully structured volcano is famous as the smallest active volcano in the world. I’ve seen the volcano’s unique charm from afar. But to be on the island is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m excited.

HOW TO GET THERE:

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▪️ via BUS

(from Manila to Tagaytay)

  • Take a bus from Buendia/ Pasay to Nasugbu.
  • From Nasugbu, ride a jeep going to People’s Park
  • Take another jeepney ride from People’s Park to Ligaya Drive.
  • Ride a tricycle from Ligaya Dr. going to Talisay Batangas. (Talisay is where you can rent boats going to the island).

 (from Manila to Batangas)

  • Take a bus from Buendia/ Pasay to Lemery, Lipa or Batangas City. (Tell the driver or conductor to drop you at Tanauan).
  • From Tanauan, take a jeep to Talisay. (30minutes for 20php)

▪️ via CAR

(from Manila to SLEX)

Route #1

  • From SLEX. take the Carmona Exit.
  • Drive down to Governor’s Drive passing through Silang up to Tagaytay Rotonda

Route #2

  • From SLEX, take the Sta. Rosa Exit going straight to Tagaytay

(from Manila to Coastal Road)

  • Drive south towards Aguinaldo Highway
  • Pass through Bacoor, Imus, Dasmarinas then Silang.
Our crazy boat ride to the island.

 

TIPS AND REMINDERS:

  • Bring water (drinks are expensive when you buy it from the stalls)
  • Best time to visit is during early in the morning or before noon.
  • Wear loose comfy clothes or appropriate hiking clothes.
  • Bring extra shirts and towels
  • Put sunblock.
  • Wear a hat, arm sleeves and sunglasses for heat protection.
  • Wear a face mask.
Check out the view from the top.

 

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EXPENSES:

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  • Boat Ride ➖₱2,000.00 (40 USD)
  • Entrance Fee (Resort) ➖₱100.00 each (2 USD)
  • Tourist Guide (for the Entire Group) ➖₱ 500.00 (10 USD)
  • Horse with Jockey ➖₱ 500.00 each (10 USD)
  • Environmental Fee ➖₱ 50.00 (1USD Adults) ₱30.00 (0.60USD Kids)

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Going up to the crater – 30 minutes via Horse compared to 1 1/2 hrs of trekking
  • Don’t miss the red lava area.
Here’s a snippet of our trail going back to the shore.

 

FOR OTHER INQUIRIES:

Contact Ton Jovi Resort at 0929 659 0324 or visit them on Facebook

 

xo,

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GOALS for 2017

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  • Lose weight – I am done living a life finding it hard to even tie my shoes. I want to run without tiring myself to death. And sometimes, I want to look good wearing a fitted shirt. There are lots of things I know I can do more when I reached my body’s full potential. Yes, it feels great to eat once in a while and I won’t deprive myself of that happiness.
  • Career Growth – I want to step up my A game in this corporate world. I want to grow, to learn more and to expose myself to the learning outside my comfort zone. Being exposed to a more challenging role or position sounds fun.
  • Be Healthy – One of the steps in losing weight is not just to eat right but to live right as well. It’s about time that I should be mindful about the things I eat or drink. All of my efforts will be put to waste if I compromise my workout because of the things I eat.
  • Save – I want to achieve financial stability this year. Having the freedom from any debts and stress will create a new door for me to save more for my dreams. Also, I am looking forward in owning a business before I reach 30 and invest a part of what I have on insurance.
  • Travel – Bucketlist in the making. To be honest, I am looking forward to go to different places this year. It has been a while since I’m out and about. Planning to tour the country first before heading abroad again. I am overly excited about this.

xo,

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