Tag Archives: Yannah

JAPAN VISA FOR FILIPINOS: SCHEDULE OF STAY

HELLO THERE WANDERERS!

This is a sample of my Schedule of Stay that I submitted to the Japan Embassy  last 2013 before they became lenient

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Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Honda Bay: Tips and Infos

Honda Bay is a cluster of beautiful  islands and islets in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The islands here have fine white sand beaches, and cobalt blue waters.

I really recommend that anyone going to Puerto Princesa to visit this place at least once.  This is a serene and photogenic place! 🙂

PARADISE in Honda Bay, Palawan

To explore the islets/islands of this bay, one should rent a boat (which is usually provided by the city tourism office) for a price of 1500.00 (depends on the boat size)  So basically, this trip is an island hopping adventure 🙂

There are 3 main islands/islets in this bay, namely  Pandan Island, Starfish Island and the Snake Island. Although there are more islands in this bay, only the 3 mentioned is open to public. They are named as such because of the existence of Pandan and Starfish in those islands while the snake island is named that way because of it’s  long and winding characteristic similar to a snake.

Why is it that when I look at this picture, I feel lonely… 😦 hmmm…

In my visit last April, I was not able to visit the Snake island because it is undergoing beautification However, this would not hamper me in giving and presenting to you the other two beautiful islands of Honda Bay, but first let me tell you the process on how the entire trip came about.

WHEN TO GO HERE?

The Philippines is a sunny place throughout the year however, due to climate change, strong typhoons or heavy rains visits the country a lot more often… The Philippines has only 2 seasons, wet and dry. Dry or summer months starts from March to June or July while wet season starts by August til December. The wet season is where a lot of  low pressure areas are formed, However, I can say that it is a game of luck, or a gamble if you want to visit the Philippines during the wet season, since just because it’s called wet season it would rain the whole time… there are only days that it would rain while the rest is sunny…
However, for foreigners who will visit the Philippines (especially for those in the far most corner of earth) I think you need to plan your visit during the summer months, so you will be sure that no rain would ruin your vacation.

HOW TO GET HERE:

Honda Bay is about 20-45 minutes drive from the city center. The mode of transportation from the city center towards Honda Bay Port is by land, you can rent either a tricycle or a van. I opted to rent a tricycle for P500.00 or $11USD. The road is well paved/cemented, so going here by tricycle isn’t a problem. If you decided to rent a van, it will cost at around P1,500-2000.00 (this is the price that was given to us by the van driver we hired going to the underground river). We left the city center at round 6:45 am and arrived in the port at around 7:15.

HOW TO GET A PERMIT:

Upon arriving in the port, you will notice that people are lining up, that line is where you will pay for the boat rental, environmental fee, and where you can get your permit. Unlike the underground river, there is no need to get a prior permit before heading there, so it easier to tour than the latter.

There are 4 simple steps in getting your permit and paying for the fees and these are:

First, you need to line up for the lane stating no.1 and where you will fill up a form and state how many passengers or tourists that are coming with you, you also need to put up their names, you should also know if what type of boat you are going to use, whether it is a 6passenger boat (which is the smallest) which costs P1200.00 while there are 10-12 passenger capacity boats which costs at around P1400-1800.00…

the 2nd step is where you will get your permit and pay for the boat rental fee and in exchange, you will receive the name and number of your boat.

The 3rd step is again filling up a particular form and paying for the environmental fee. The 4th step is waiting for your name to be called and VOILA, you are good to go.

The boat we used for our island hopping adventure

OTHER TIPS:

However! before you go anywhere else, you need to buy water, food or rent a snorkeling gear. Food and Water is expensive on the island itself, and it is advisable if you bring them with you at the start of the journey, so if anytime you feel thirsty you have a water/drink with you. But, I suggest that you go grocery shopping while you are still in the metro, since it is cheaper there than buying in the port itself.

Snorkeling gears and swimming shoes

As for the snorkeling gear, Part of your itinerary is to visit a snorkeling site with lots of fishes and various corals! Moreover in Pandan and Starfish island, you can snorkel and feed the fishes which is quite interesting because the fishes swarm around you if you give bits and pieces of tasty bread.

The fish and coral sanctuary

Click here to see my other posts for puerto princesa, palawan.

HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

Best Places “not to miss” during your visit in Beijing

Places not to miss  

  1. Great Wall: They say that you are not a great man if you haven’t visited the great wall. A lot of celebrities and known personalities have visited this place. and is rumored to be seen in the moon. The Great Wall of China is one of the most awesome sights in the world, and also known in China as the Great Wall of 10,000. It is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes.
  2. Forbidden City: Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, was where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties lived. It was off-limits to ordinary citizens and is the biggest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China.
  3. Summer Palace: The Summer Palace is one of the China’s largest and best-preserved imperial gardens. It is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, integrating the natural landscape of hills and open water with man-made features into a harmonious and aesthetically exceptional whole
  4.  Temple of Heaven: Dating to the 15th century, the Temple of Heaven was where the emperor made an annual pilgrimage to pray for good harvests. Occupying an area of 273 hectares with four gates at the cardinal points, and walls to the north and east,it is China’s largest existing complex of ancient sacrificial buildings
  5. Tiananmen Square: The Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing is the biggest square in the world. It is 880 meters from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west, with total area of 440,000 square meters and can hold one million people.
  6. The Olympic Green: Here, you will find the Bird’s Nest and the watercube
  •  Bird Nest: Located in the Olympic Green, Bird Nest was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hidesupports for the retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a “Bird’s nest”.
  •  Water Cube: Beijing National Aquatics Center, nicknamed the Water Cube is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Other description above are the  submitted information given to me by my tour guide.   Please press the link to see my posts for that particular place. As for the others that I haven’t given any post, I think I will post it some other time soon…

This is the tourist trail, so visiting these places is a must! You haven’t been to Beijing if you haven’t visited these places 🙂


Xian City Wall: A wall that reminds the ingenuity of the Chinese

During the time where the city of Xian was still the capital; the 1st Ming Emperor  created a big, massive wall which will help him fight against prodigious intruders. However, that isn’t the only trivia in the creation of this wall, but it is also for the protection of the power that the Emperor holds.

The Archer's Tower

One hermit advised the Emperor to build high walls if he wants to retain power, in which the Emperor dutifully followed.

The wall served as a good military defense system especially during those times when bows and arrows are one of the weapons.

In the picture above, it was said to be the archer’s lair, where the soldiers threw speeding bows and arrows to the enemy, and where piles of bows and other weapons were stored.

As a stratagem, the outside wall is surrounded by a deep moat. It will hold the enemy in getting near the walls. Moreover, the walls are thoroughly prepared to be one of the strongest and hard-to-breach walls during those times. Leaving the intruders’ to only have one choice, which is, to break through the main gate.

My Brother, the wall and the Tower; take note, he is standing in the outer wall

Another good defense strategy made was that the wall encircles the outside, then another wall in the inside. When the enemy got through the outside wall, they will be greeted by another wall full of archers. But, sometimes, what the Emperor’s soldiers do was to let them inside and then they close the main gate. Where the unknowing enemies will be greeted by archers and a battalion of soldiers. I t is a war strategy, it is a trap!

I, having watched a lot of Chinese period movies, (Red Cliff, Red Cliff 2, Three Brothers), I was amazed on how erudite the Chinese in terms of war strategies. The Chinese people during those times do not only attack but they plan their every move. Just like as depicted in Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

This place, the Xian City Wall, is one of the ingenious war defense systems I saw in my entire life. It was carefully planned and made for the protection of the city and for the protection of their Emperor. However, not long enough after the creation of this wall, the Emperor decided to transfer the city to Beijing.

Before transferring the ancient capital, the Emperor, also from an advice from a hermit, put some dragon-sons in the moat in order for his alleged “bad luck” not to follow him. Which the Emperor dutifully followed. These ancient dragon-sons were found on the moat. Today, these dragon-sons are displayed in one of the archer’s tower. You are also allowed to touch it for good luck.

Nowadays, where the city of Xian had expanded outside these walls, it is clear that this wall doesn’t serve anymore as a great bastion for the City of Xian however, this wall will still remain as a part of the ancient past which the Chinese remembers and will always cherish. And as tourism came by, this will serve as one of the great legacies that the history had given to the Chinese people.

I definitely recommend each and everyone of you who are coming to Xian to visit this place, it may only look like a park but imagining on how great a fortress it is, will definitely serve as a good experience.

How to Get here:

  • You can always ride the taxi, especially if your hotel is in the city center, it will only be a short-ride
OR BY BUS:
  • To the South Gate: Take bus no.6, 11, 12, 23, 46, 215, 239, 302, 600, 603, 608, 713, 910, K600, K618, or Wulong Special Line…and arrive at South Gate Station.
  • To the East Gate: Take bus no.8, 22, 27, 29, 33, 37, 43, 45, 102, 203, 218, 232, 235, 252, 300, 527, 602, 604, 714, or 903…and arrive at East Gate Station
  • To the North Gate: Take bus no.6, 26, 28, 33, 37, 39, 104, 107, 117, 205, 206, 208, 214, 216, 229, 236, 238, 310, 336, 506 or 511…and arrive at North Gate Station.
  • To the West Gate: Take bus no.4, 10, 15, 23, 31, 201, 205, 206, 215, 221, 222, 223, 300, 302, 407, 504, 611, 701 or K630…and arrive at West Gate Station.

  • ADMISSION FEE: CNY40, PHP280, 7USD
  •  OPENING HOURS: 
  •  South Gate:08:00-22:00 (April 1-October 31); 08:00-19:00 (November 1-March 31)
  • East/North/West Gate, Wenchang Gate,  Heping Gate:08:00-19:00 (May 1-October 31);  08:00-18:00 (Novermber 1-April 30)
  •  Shangde Gate, Little South Gate, Hanguang Gate:08:00-18:00 (January 1-December 31)
  • PERFORMANCES:
  • The Greeting and Entering Ceremony at the South Gate (Suspension Bridge Square): 09:30
  • The warrior formation performance at the enceinte of the South Gate: 10:30, 16:30

Summer Palace: A Beautiful Rest House for a Powerful Queen

The Summer Palace was the rest house specifically restored for the powerful Empress Dowager Ci Xi — the first woman who ruled the empire. She made the last two emperors (during her reign) as her puppets that succumbed to her every desire.

In this place, Emperors and their consorts visits this place during the summer to relax and escape the heat in Beijing, hence, the name Summer Palace.

My Mom and Brother in the Summer Palace--sorry for the pics... my Mom and my brother are my models 🙂

The Summer Palace has already been there even before this dragon lady (Empress Ci Xi) came up to power, but, this was unfortunately destroyed and was burnt to ashes by foreign conquerors.

The Emperor, the Empress’ son, asked that this magnificent structure be rebuilt to its former glory. This will serve as a gift for his mother-Empress Dowager Ci Xi, who was before became very attached to this place when she was still a lowly concubine. And also this will serve as the Emperor’s political strategy to get the Empress off the main imperial palace and to get rid of her constant interference in political affairs. But, unfortunately, a lot of political issues came up…this pushed the finishing of this beautiful palace in a halt for years.

After a few years, even though the empire is still in chaos, and where the Chinese Navy just lost another war, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi ordered the restoration of this palace. She ignored the needs of her people and instead invested the big sum of money for the Summer Palace that is still standing there until today. We might say that the Empress is selfish, but without her insistence of creating this legacy, we, the people of today will not be able to see how grand and beautiful this place is.

In fact, this palace is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1998 and named as one of the beautiful palace garden ever created. It shows the unique Chinese garden landscape design and its beautiful architectural concept.

The Palace has a big man-made lake sitting down the slope of the mountain; where the main halls of this palace is located. To get to the main halls, you need to walk the long corridors that is winding, passing through the side of the lake and some palace halls. While walking in this long corridors, you have the chance to feel that you are one of the royalties… Looking at your right is the stunning lake which makes your heart flutter in happiness. It makes you feel happy and relaxed at the same time.

The truth is, that this Summer Palace had also a lot of history embedded on its walls, much more history than the Great Wall (in Badaling). This was created during the Jin Dynasty (2 dynasties earlier than the Ming) but as I said before, was destroyed, but was restored by the 3rd to the last emperor of China. Which was unlike the Badaling Great Wall, it was only made during the Ming Dynasty.

My Family and I weren’t able to climb up to the beautiful three-storey old hall, because, once again, our tour guide doesn’t want us to go. Anyway, as we traversed the long corridors, I already had a glimpse of how beautiful this place is. One which is unforgettable and the history which surrounds it makes it more wonderful.

Inside the boat that rides passengers going to the main hall. Look at the roof and its details!

You have 2 ways to go and see this beautiful site. Either you ride the ferry boat, which is also designed like an old-style Boat with colors just like the ones seen in the palace — Green, blue and red. Or you can opt to walk down the long corridors–which I suggest since you will pass by a lot of halls with history embedded on it.

My Mom and my brother in one of the halls: I think this is where the Emperor (the niece of the Empress Dowager) was put into house arrest and wasn't given food or drink until he died.

Tips and Suggestions:

  1. It is better to visit this place, not in a tour group, since they will only give you a limited time to enjoy the place.
  2. Bring water. Although there are vendors inside this Palace, it is better if you have your own, since they might just pester you
  3. Make sure to use walking shoes or slippers, don’t use high heels, you will be walking a lot
  4. wear comfortable clothing
  5. bring your camera and take a lot of pictures

We used Sinohotelguide again for our tour, it costs $28USD per person (P1204.00) but I suggest going here with a private your guide or on your own.

For you, who are still thinking whether to tick this off from your itinerary, please, remember what I said above. This is a beautiful place and worth every cent of your hard-earned money.

This is a 1 hour drive from Beijing City Center.

HOW TO GO HERE–DIY? (From TravelChinaGuide)

By subway Subway Line 4: get off at Beigongmen Station (Beigongmen means the North Palace Gate of the Summer Palace); or get off at Xiyuan Station, get out of the station from Exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west.
By bus Take bus 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 683, 690, 696, 718, 801, 808, or 826 and get off at Yiheyuan Station.

Take bus 469 or 539 and get off at Yiheyuan West Palace Gate Station.

Take bus 209, 319, 320, 331, 332, 333(内), 333(外), 394, 432, 438, 498, 628, 664, 718, 801, 826, 特6, Yuntong 106, Yuntong 114, or Yuntong 118 and get off at Yiheyuanlu Dongkou Station (The Eastern End of Yiheyuan Road).

Take bus 303, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 498, 634, 683, 696, 697, 718, 801, 808, 特5 or 特10 and get off at Yiheyuan North Palace Gate Station.

Take bus 74, 374, 437 or 952 and get off at Xin Jian Gong Men (Yiheyuan New Palace Gate) Station.

Ticket Fees and Prices: (Price quoted in Chinese Yuan, Philippine Peso and US Dollars)

Entrance Fees:                              Nov.1 – Mar.31, 2012                                     April 1- Oct. 31

  • Entrance Fee                      20 CNY (P140.00) ($3.25)                   30CNY (P210.00, $5)
  • Combination Ticket
  • Dehe Garden,
  • Wenchang Hall,                     50 CNY (P350.00) ($8.13)                  60CNY (P420.00,$10)
  •  Tower of Buddhist Incense,
  •  Suzhou Street and Danning Hall)
Opening Hours 7:00 am -5:00pm    6:30am- 6:00pm

note: I apologize for the photos. I don’t have photos without my mom or my brother in it, since we are traveling in a group tour so we opted to maximize our time by taking photos with a person in it for souvenir.. 🙂 I promise that for my next travels, I will always take photos of the landscapes only.

The Mighty and Great Wall of China: A Jaw Dropping Experience!

Mutianyu Great Wall

First, I want to inform each and everyone of you that I went to Mutianyu Great wall which is farther than the well-known Badaling Section. So, here is my experience and some tips from my tripadvisor account (My Stay 2009), Enjoy!

This Wall is said to have a 1400 year old history. and while I was searching for some information to put here in my blog, I learned from Wikipedia, that this part of the great wall is much older than the one in Badaling since it was made during the Northern Qi dynasty which is unlike the Badaling section, it was made only during the Ming dynasty.  Basically, the wall is made to secure the city center during the Qi and Ming Dynasty. It is definitely a BIG Wall to wade off enemies (since it was especially designed to “not be climbable”)  the imperial army also throws arrows from the wall  to defeat their enemies. It was said to be GREAT since this fortress was a success, it wade off enemies for some decades, and only until Genghis Khan became the leader of the nomads that the Great Wall failed to protect its city.

The Mutianyu section, according to BeijingTrip, is  2,500 meters (2,734 yards) long which is rimmed with mountains, which makes it forms like a snake amidst the ever-sloping mountains.

My Reaction when I saw this is that my jaw literally dropped, (It is really a dream came true) It is really long, huge, and steep. Well, I chose this wall since it is quieter and there are less people visiting this place than the Great Wall in Badaling. There is only a few pesky vendors in the wall itself. And we took pictures without any other person in it. We have parts of the wall by ourselves. Mutianyu is such a great part of the wall since hikers can do their job there, since the walls have sections that are too steep, some of its section are kind of rugged. The wall seems to be less-renovated than its counterpart in Badaling, since you can see that trees are growing in the wall itself.

Moreover, you have 2 choices to go up to this great wall, it is either through the cable car or you can hike. We have chosen the cable car, which is like the cable car used in ski escapades. It is quite scary because you are going really high. And when you go down, you also have 3 choices, either to walk down, take the cable car or ride the toboggan. Well, everything is quite fun but I suggest you try both (toboggan and cable car) for a more fun-filled experience since the toboggan ride is really scary yet it seems safe. It goes down really fast but it is all under your control

Suggestions:

I suggest going to this part of this wall because there is less people, more time for photo-ops

Tips:

1. Don’t try buying to the vendors there or even ask about the price since they will pester you by walking with you side by side until you give up and buy something from them

2. Don’t mind the vendors

3. Bring Water and wear comfortable clothes during summer months

4. Bring your camera and enjoy

5. You can either book a tourguide (sinohotelguide is one, it is cheap or you can take the train or bus going to this great wall)

How to DIY your trip to the Mutianyu Great Wall?

Take this Bus Route: (Source: BeijingTrip)

  • Take tourist bus No. 867 (936) from Dongzhimen to Mutianyu Great Wall.
  • Bus No. 916 from Dongzhimen to Huairou Conference Center (东直门 – 怀柔会议中心), and then take a mini bus to the Mutianyu Great Wall.
  • Take a tourist bus from the Arrow Tower of Qiamen (前门箭楼) or Xuanwumen (宣武门) to the Mutianyu Great Wall (available on weekends and Chinese legal holidays from April to October).

Entrance Fee:

  • for Children: 25 CNY  (P175.00) ($4.00USD)
  • For Adults:    45 CNY (P315.00) ($7.33 USD)
Cable Car Ride or Toboggan Fee
  • One way trip: 35 CNY  (P245.00) ($6.00USD)
  • Roundtrip :      50 CNY (P350.00) ($8.13USD)

Beijing Traditional View Hotel, a hassle free stay!

Anyway, let me cheat a little bit. I posted here my previous review from tripadvisor. But I added more commentary and PICTURES!!

We booked this 3-star hotel using Agoda and we got 45% of the usual deal. So we just paid P6,000 for our 2 nights stay in the hotel. But first, I want you to know that hotels or accommodations in Beijing are affordable… you will have no problem regarding accommodation costs once you plan to visit this vibrant city, unlike Singapore where hotel accommodations are too costly (For Filipino standards).

 
Main Door of Traditional View Hotel
My Mom in the entrance of the hotel

The hotel is quite small but is really pretty, it is clean and well decorated. We got a standard modern room instead of the more expensive traditional ones. The rooms that we got have two single beds, and clean bathrooms. There is no refrigerator but there is a mini bar (where you can buy some stuff). There is also a TV but unfortunately, they only have Chinese channels.

The Comfy Single Beds
Shower

The courtyard is very cute, it feels that you are really in China. They set up a lot of chairs and tables where the guests can sit and relax…which I think is a good way of compensating knowing that the sitting capacity of the lobby is really unequal to the number of guests of this hotel.

Courtyard

I also loved the gold fishies in the lobby. They are so cute… I’m gonna die!!!

The Cute and Fluffy "fishies" in the hotel lobby!

The staff is also very hardworking, they also helped us by being the contact person of our tour guides. The male front desk staff (I forgot his name) even went up in our room when he cannot contact us through the phone. Check-in and Check-out is a breeze, so no worries about that.

The buffet breakfast has few variety  of food but it tastes great, so no worries about it. But if the breakfast is not a complimentary one, I suggest going out and just eat somewhere else, so that you can get more value of your money. And I don’t suggest eating porridge there! It doesn’t taste like porridge or (“lugaw”) here in the Philippines. It tastes like “gawgaw” or does have a bland taste.

The only problem of this hotel is the location, though it may be said that it is in the center of Beijing, the location can be so much of a hassle especially if it is your first time going to the hotel, and  if you doesn’t speak Mandarin. The hotel is really hard to find (and you need to ask the local people about the location of this place, and most of them doesn’t know how to speak english). Good thing was we booked a transfer service going to this hotel. But, in fairness to this hotel, its location is really near the Forbidden City and of that Tiananmen Square, and some other tourists places in Beijing. The only problem is that it is hard to find at first.

The hotel is located in the center of the Hutongs (like small alleys) so you need to walk at least 7-10 minutes from the hotel to the main road.

Overall, the hotel is nice, with a friendly and hardworking staff, with a nicely decorated, clean and comfortable rooms, and very cute courtyard. I can say that this hotel is okay and I recommend it, as long as you don’t mind walking for another 10 minutes or so after a day of walking in Beijing.

If you are traveling in China, make sure you have every name and addresses of the places you are going to visit as well as the name of your hotel in Chinese, so that it will be easier for you to go home or ask the directions if ever you are lost or such.

Anyway, here is the address and contact details of this hotel. And I just found out that they have their own website! Last May when I’m looking for more information regarding this hotel, I didn’t come across their site.  So here you go…

  • Name of Hotel: Beijing Traditional View Hotel
  • Address: 33 JuEr Hutong, JiaoDaoKou south street,Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China
  • Telephone Nos: 86-10-64005656, 86-10-84032899
  • Fax Nos: 86-10-84032599
  • Email: will9696@gmail.com
  • Website: en.guyunfang.net