My journey to Southwest and Mainland China a few years ago made my fascination for this country grow. Everything seems to be a large spectacle from ancient to modern as seen through their engineering feats. When I learned I’ll be visiting Macau (or Macao), a Special Administrative Region of China, I got curious on the extent of how the lavish world of mainland China would spill over into this small region not much larger than the city of Makati Philippines. It’s also a region with a perfect blend of the east and west and goes through my quest to visit Asia’s Heritage Trails.
El Nido Palawan seems so far away. An elusive paradise tucked at the north western side of Palawan. It’s one of my local dream destinations so when I was given the chance to go there I didn’t pass the opportunity. South East Asian Airlines (Seair) is one of the two airlines (the other being Island Transvoyager Inc’s (ITI) using their 19-seater Dornier 228) who operate the Manila to El Nido route. Last week 24th of February, we flew Seair’s 19-seater LET-410 plane en route to El Nido Palawan.
Among the South East Asian countries, Singapore seems to be one of the countries Filipinos frequent most. Probably because it’s a Pinoy friendly place since a lot of Filipinos live and work there. Another thing is its accessibility from the Philippines. It’s just at least 3 hours direct flight from Manila. I’ve only been to Singapore several times but it’s always a pleasure to breeze through the borders when entering the country. For first timers to Singapore, here’s what you can expect once you landed at Changi Airport.
Aside from Batanes, the other island usually battered by the storms is Catanduanes. Found in the south-eastern part of Luzon, it is usually the first path typhoons go through during the Philippines’ wet seasons. For that reason, the island earned the moniker as the “Land of the Howling Winds.” While it seemed illogical to visit the island during the typhoon season, it didn’t stop me from discovering the island shaped by the storms.
Among the ASEAN Countries outside the Philippines, I think Malaysia is the one I have frequented most. I remember it being my first passport stamp out of the country when we climbed Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, and since then Kuala Lumpur has become a gateway for my travels in Asia but have never really gone out to explore the city except for climbing one of the nearby mountain peaks of Bukit Tabur before. So when Tourism Malaysia sent an invite for a Familiarization Tour in conjunction to their Merdeka (Independence) Celebration and suddenly my schedule got free on the said dates, I didn’t think twice of course. It’s an opportunity to get to know the country more.
It was officially my last day of my two weeks trip around Laos. I can’t help but feel sentimental while I’m having my tea, toasted bread, jam and fruit breakfast at Lao Heritage Hotel. I was already awake by 5:30am just to get ready to go to the airport. Wattay International Airport is just less than half an hour away so I wasn’t in a hurry.
Transit: Manila to Pakse, Laos
Laos has been under my radar for quite a while as I continue my quest to visit some of the UNESCO heritage sites in Asia. So it’s just a matter of time until I finally get to step on this land, popularly known for its “Laid back Lao Life”. Originally I had planned on visiting sights both on Thailand and Laos since it’s so close together. Coming in from Bangkok up to Sukhothai then Chang Mai then Chang Rai. Border crossing to Huay Xai taking the Slow Boat there to Luang Prabang, Laos. That’s the usual route going there, but after thorough planning there is just so much to see in Laos that I decided to drop Thailand altogether and focus on Laos itself. Thailand is just a flight away from Manila but Laos is a different story so I decided to take a different route.