Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 1 - Manila & Boracay

My Worst flight experience

First Time Seeing a Captain apologizing to passengers
Despite being a good speaker and seemingly sincere, he was a liar as there was no bus arranged to bring us from Clark Airport to Manila Airport.

SM still looking happy

First time arriving in a country and just walked past the Customs

First time seeing advertisement on the arrival card
While it was novel, I felt that it was cheap as well.
Shall we have advertisement on the passports or ID cards?

First time seeing so many delayed flights

Taken in the manila airport while waiting impatiently to check-in.
I was learning to accept inefficiency as part of life

I always say that Singapore should be thankful towards our neighbouring countries for being corrupted, inefficient, lazy etc... That's why Singapore has a place in this world. Let's hope they continue with their current mindset.

On the other hand, even though having a relax & take-it-easy attitude towards life makes the general Filipino rather inefficient, it probably brings them more happiness as they might have less pressure to perform and hit certain benchmark/standard.

First blackout in Plane (hopefully it is my last one)

Beautiful Sunset
Every cloud has a silver lining.

Comfort Room???
I needed a rest, but not at this comfort room

Day 2 - Boracay

Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel

The Sea is around 20-30m away from the hotel
It was so convenient to go back to the comfort of the hotel room after a tiring day at the beach. Love the location... with restaurants, hotels, pubs, shops along the beach.
This is THE best beach I have ever visited.

Happiness is taking a few steps from my hotel to reach the white sandy beach.

Taken around sunset time and the visibility of the water was still really good.
I love the crystal clear water.

Yes, I was cam-whoring in the Sea.
Yes, it was taken in the Sea, not lake or swimming pool.
The water was extremely calm and I have never seen any sea like this.

Happiness is dipping in the warm crystal-clear water and enjoy the sunset.

A Catholic Cable Channel
Discouraging people to use contraception
There are alot of religious channel, and I had been watching them.

I could not agree with the discouragement of using contraception. The world is grossly over-populated now. Resources are scarce and limited. And the recent technology advancement (ie. better utilization of natural resources) is lacking behind the growth rate of the world population.

Having more people = more resources required = competition = more pollution = more damages to our beautiful earth.

Unfortunately, Philippines is a classic example. The GDP growth is lacking behind the population growth. Implication? limited resources for each individual. Hence, the potential of each individual being is not maximized. More suffering. More pain. More unhappiness. 

The irony is that those who are rich and educated, have less children as they would like to provide the best for them. On the other hand, the poor and uneducated are producing children like factory.

 Seeing the street kids in Manila, I felt that they were brought to this earth to endure unnecessary sufferings. Not sure how many of them would have quality life in the future? 

Some old beliefs should be challenged. 
I strongly felt that contraception is GOOD! 

Walking on the sandy street by the beach

No traffic long the beach
=> No Air & Noise pollution
=> Wonderful experience.

Candle-light dinner infront of the hotel & by the beach.
The food was cheap and good.

Day 3 - Boracay

Blue Sky, Wind, Turquoise Sea, Sun...
The World is just Awesome!

On the way to diving @ Yapak

The previous day, I did my first Wreck Diving. Unfortunately, the underwater camera was not working. The experience of going into the engine compartment of the ship and saw a school of stationary fishes was unforgettable and amazing. I was satisfied with my buoyancy control.

Yapak was meant for experienced and advance divers only. After assessing our diving abilities during the wreck dive, the dive-master felt that we were able to do the deep dive @ Yapak. I was naturally excited and feeling abit apprehensive to do my First deep dive.

Flying like Superman 
(just a bit slower than Superman)

Under a hanging wall... around 43m deep. My deepest dive ever - more than 10 storeys deep.
In terms of fishes, Yapak was not very good, but in terms of underwater terrain, it is really beautiful to see huge wall and cliff. Most of the time we were diving around the fringe of the cliff (35m deep) and the maximum depth of Yapak is around 70m. I felt so small and insignificant - always in awe of Mother Nature.

First time seeing a Shark (White-tip - around 1m long)

The World is just Awesome!

Storm at a distant
We were extremely lucky to have good sunny weather for the 3 days we spent in Boracay. It was the low season as it was the start of the monsoon season, and the weather forecast was stormy for the 3 days. It was good paying for low season hotel rates and enjoying the peak season weather. I was mentally prepared to be stuck in the hotel reading my books - luckily, it did not happen.

Long Stretch of White Sandy Beach

SM's jumping shot is Perfect!

Yogo Tree

(Taken by SM)

We spent the later afternoon having a message (S$10 per hour) along the beach. 
Happiness is having a good massage by the beach, enjoying the warm sea breeze, listening to the waves, and doozing off to sleep during the massage. Shiok Ah!!!

Bottomless Coke?
=> Free Flow

We were not impressed by the service provided at Shakey's Pizza. The service was slow, wet paper was placed on SM's tray and I had to remind the waitresses constantly to refill my "bottomless" glass. 10% service charge was included in our bill. We felt that the service was not up to standard. Hence, I decided not to tip and took everything including the coins. A waitress was waiting patiently, then she flipped open at the bill holder , saw no tip, and her remark was an arrogant "Okay". She left the bill holder on the table and turned away. I am seriously not impressed by the service standard in Philippines. 

Instead of listening to a live-band by the beach (what we did the previous night), we just chilled out by the beach and saw this:

A display of Nature's Power.
There was a non-stop lightning display for more than 1 hour. I have never seen anything like this before. It should be quite far away as we did not hear any thunder. What a great experience to listen to the live rock music and watching the lightning display. The good experiences are always unexpected. 

Day 4 - Boracay & Manila

The high-fence structure was constructed in anticipation of the monsoon storm.

Spongebod SquarePants Slippers

Dick Slippers. Anyone?

Colourful & very Mexican

I wanna visit all these countries

Demographic of the international tourists in Boracay

Playboy on the rack
Is Philippines the only country in Southeast Asia where pornography is legalized?

 Interesting looking Buddha Wall painting
(abit morbid)
Lucky for the Artist, Buddhists' threshold of tolerance is higher than most of the other faiths' adherents. 

A typical boat in Philippines

The check-in counter with runway at the back. Cool. Our weights were taken as well.
We were really happy that the flight was on time and there was no further delay. Really unexpected, I guess after spending a few days in Philippines, I had definitely lowered my expectation for its efficiency.

(Taken by SM)

On the propeller plane. 
Philippines is 12th most populous country in the world  and it is the world's 2nd largest archipelago in the world (after Indonesia). Looking at the number of islands, commuting between these 7000 islands would be challenging. The upside: lotsa diversity and unexplored jewels. The downside: commuting challenges & dispersed country. I have not seen any economically rich archipelago yet, hence, I was wondering if the archipelago was bad for country as internal infrastructure is a big issue.

Example: China and USA could be linked up easily via train network or road network. Hence, transportation of goods is cheaper and faster => big economic output.

Just a thought to be substantiated and validated.

Beautiful Sunset from the Plane

I missed those time when I was really excited about taking a flight. I would always marvel at the ingenuity of the engineers who built the aircraft. Now, I have just taken some things for granted, which is not a good sign.

1 stone kills 2 birds
Co-marketing between Starbucks and HSBC
Win-win Situation

One of the Best Vocalists (Guy on the right) I ever heard.
We stayed in the bar from 10pm to 2am as the music was awesome. The female sang well, but I was more impressed by the male singer. His tone of voice is a gift. He sang really well and effortlessly. Apparently, this band only sings on every tuesday.

I would highly recommend anybody to visit this place.
Food and Beers are cheap too!!!

Day 5 - Manila

American Flag on 100 Pesos Note

Love taking it, just jump on & off anywhere anytime.
It's only 7 Pesos (S$0.20)

Met some friendly & nice Filipinos who gave us direction and kind advices to be careful of our valuables. It is this small gesture of kindness that makes the trip more memorable.

One of the buildings inside Intramuros

Before the WW2, Manila was touted as one of the great cities in the world, comparable to Paris and other great cities. I could not believe it until I visited Intramuros built by the Spanish in 16th Century.

Manila is often described as the only capital city in Asia that resembles a Latin American city. Many visitors have described it as polluted and crowded, but there is much to discover in Manila that makes it a must-visit for the tourist. Next to Warsaw, Polandit was one of the most destroyed cities during World War II, but before this, Manila was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, having been compared with London, Paris and other European cities. 

Philippines is the only country in Asia that is predominantly Christian. May be it is due to the fact that it has been colonized for a long time by the Spanish. What happened to the Indigenous culture & religion?

Cobbled Street in Intramuros

San Agustin Church

Chinese Lion infront of Church


The Main Hall

Holy Mary and Baby Christ
Lotsa Latin American Feel... may be it is due to the Spanish Influence

Taken in the Cemetery during Blackout

Huge Storm outside & stuck in the Church
Time for Yoga to kill time.

Water leaking in the old church due to the Storm

Taken during the blackout & the Hall was really dark.
Shutter speed was more than 10s for it to take in all the light.

Boy Statue in the Main Hall

Boy lighting up candle in the main hall

Manila Church

Waterfront living in Manila, anybody?
This is supposed to be one of the expensive places with waterfront view.

Yes, the beach was filled with Trash.
It was such a waste.

Cooking along the beach among the trash.
I exchanged smile with this gentleman and could not help but to feel a tinge of sadness for him. Saw lotsa street kids and family sleeping along the roadside. That's the reality of life for many in Manila.