Admittedly, it was hard to pack my stuff on the day of my leaving the country. I thought that the time I stayed there was too short but really memorable. I had my breakfast at Motherland Inn 2 and rode their free shuttle to Yangon International Airport. Checking-in, passing through the immigration was a breeze and gave me enough time at the pre-departure area. And there were no exit 10,000 kyat exit fee as I read on some old text. All that kyat I was saving went to some souvenir ref magnets for home. Sitting at the chair looking at the runway, looking at my notes. I spent 11 days in Myanmar spending a little over P23000 during the trip.
So, after a few months since the new airbus landed in Clark last year 2011, AirAsia Philippines finally took to the sky and painted it red last March 28, 2012. Another milestone for AirAsia as the Philippines-branded airbus A320s with an all-Filipino Crew inaugurated its Kalibo and Davao flights. At Clark International Airport, ceremonies were held to mark the occasion with the presence of key persons like Ms Maan Hontiveros and the AirAsia guy himself, Mr Tony Fernandes. Ironwulf.net was there to witness the occasion and join in on their inaugural flight to Davao.
There are no direct flights to Yangon, Myanmar from the Philippines so I had to make a couple of flights to get there. First step was to get Bangkok, the closest possible airport to Yangon. I was lucky to get a cheap flight there through an introductory promo fare from Seair/Tiger Airways from Clark. On the rainy morning of November 2, 2011, I made my way to Megamall which is only 15 minutes from home. The Philtranco Bus (P400) headed to Clark was ready for its 7am departure. It’s been a while since I travelled by my lonesome and that familiar feeling of fear and excitement crept in. I don’t know what to expect of Myanmar except that I would be cut-off from the rest of the world for two weeks.
“We Plan to have AirAsia in every ASEAN country” says Zaman Ahmad,the Regional Head of Customer Experience of AirAsia in Malaysia during a short talk in their office. I was sitting on a bean bag surrounded by a few stuffed angry bird dolls and some tall stools for sitting. The meeting room was definitely a ground where playful imagination and ideas can run around. Must be why AirAsia had been successful as a low-cost carrier when it started – they were having fun doing it.
“AirPhil Express operates a cruise ship now?” I asked when I got invited to experience their new Fly and Sail AdvenTour Package. It turns out that AirPhil Express partnered with Star Cruises to create a unique travel package making a cruise escape more affordable to everyone. The idea of having a cruise seems too luxurious and exclusive for the can-afford or post retirement crowd but it turns out it can be for everyone. Since I haven’t tried a cruise before I was happy to join in. So here’s the start of a 4-day adventure with a bunch of media peeps.
It’s my first trip to Hong Kong. And it’s funny because I’ve been to other parts of Asia but not in Hong Kong. It’s one of those countries visited by Filipinos when they first go out of country much like Singapore and the Filipino community is strong there. Probably because I’m not much enamored with a city full of sky scrapers that’s why it’s not on top of my list. But I was given a chance to visit the place so I kept an open mind as always when visiting a place for the first time. I didn’t have any specific itinerary for our free time but just allowed myself to see where my feet would take me this time.
“Batanes in June!? You gotta be kidding? You might get stranded when a storm comes.” Was some of the common reactions I get when I say we’ll be holding a Travel and Outdoor Workshop at the end of June. I couldn’t blame them since Batanes do have a reputation as a stormy region but that was true a few years ago. These last couple of years we noticed the change in weather patterns. Even Ivatan locals there say “Official storm season now starts sometime October” So early morning 24th of June, 2010. I along with 16 other people flew from Manila, braving whatever weather yet eager to set foot on the northern-most region of the Philippines – Batanes.