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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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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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Art Fair Philippines 2017

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Art Fair Philippines is the main ground of exhibiting the best of the best commissioned Philippine masterpieces. Founded in 2013, Art Fair PH took over the fifth to roof deck floor of the The Link Parking in Makati to showcase modern and contemporary visual arts. The fair was founded to lift the pedestal of our local art scene and to encourage more support for our very own Filipino artists. Since Makati is known for being an urban art haven, Art Fair PH made the event more accessible to every art enthusiasts, drawing more and more people every year.

This year’s event is bigger having an increased of  gallery roster to 46. Cathy Bengzon of Ayala Land wasn’t kidding after all. If you are a first-timer to this event, I have here some of the must-see installations from the country’s veterans to the new blood of the industry. Consider this as a quick trip around the event.

BENCH EXHIBIT

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Don Papa Rum

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“New Fold Heroes” by Mark Valenzuela

 

“Hall of Sound” by WSK

 

Art verite’

 

 

“Metamorphosis” – Light installations by Liliana Manahan, Gabriel Lichauco, Stanley Ruiz and Jiri Pacinek

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Salcedo Private View

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“Ohlala” by Reen Barrera

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Silverlens

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Secret Fresh

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“The Secret Room” by Secret Fresh

 

Garapata

 

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Jewelry by Micheline Syjuco

 

“Project Pleiades” by Agnes Arellano

 

“Sampaghija” by Max Balatbat

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Other art installations

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Art Fair Philippines will run from February 16-19 from 10:00am to 09:00p, at the Link Parking, Ayala Center, Makati City.

Ticket Prices:

PhP 250.00 Entrance Fee
PhP 50.00 Students with valid IDs
FREE Makati Students with valid IDs

For more information on Art Fair Philippines 2017, please visit:

http://www.facebook.com/artfairph
@artfairph on Instagram and Twitter

WanderWoman: Lily Pond

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Formerly known as Moon Garden, Lily Pond is a Bali-like escape hidden in the heart of Tagaytay City. Seated between Calamba road and Silang exit, this amazing place is not a hotel nor a bed and breakfast. It is a place where you can freely rent vacation cottages to spend the night or to flee from the busy city.

Everywhere you look is a complete delight. The villas are surrounded by lilies. The casa is wide and the place is filled with different kinds of greenery. Also, different sculptures serve as ornaments to enhance the beauty of this paradise.

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Every room is a uniquely made concrete stand-alone that is very warm and spacious. From the floor to the walls, it is a perfect break from the usual hotel room layout. The furniture is well curated. There is no air-con available since Tagaytay is a cold place to start with. But you can request for an electric fan if you want. The bathroom is oddly impressive as well. There’s no door, only curtains. It has his and hers sink and a hot and cold shower.

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The breakfast is included on the room package. However, you can still order additional food from their limited menu at a very reasonable price. Their menu consists of traditional Filipino food but with a classy twist. They have tocino, longganisa, scrambled eggs and bread to name a few. Their food also includes marmalade and fresh fruits depending on the season.

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Since Lily Pond is not your typical place to stay, please expect that there will be no staff to welcome you upon your arrival. They do not have a front desk as well. Your point of contact will be the man named Tony and he will be the assisting you to your room. The booking process will be done online and you must deposit the full-payment first for confirmation. Also expect that the employees will not be of contact to maintain the privacy of the vacationers. They will not greet you unless you greet them. That is part of their training.

I highly recommend this place for couples, solo travelers and for those who just want to escape the busy metropolis. Although, I am not certain that this place will be suited for kids and elders since there are a lot of stairs going around the whole area.

Location: SVD Road, Tagaytay, Cavite (just off Calamba Road opposite Country Suites and Starbucks)

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For reservations, you can call Bhong at 0939-913-9097. You can also check them through their Facebook.

Email: moongardentag@gmail.com
Approximate Room Rate: PHP 2,990 for 2 pax, inclusive of breakfast
Check-in: Starts at 1PM