The Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand was a colorful (mostly red) and festive event. It was a hodgepodge of traditions like face readings (horoscopes), prayer, food, dragons, emperors and empresses and protest of course.

Face threading, face readings, chestnuts roastings and prayer
Tradition

Prayer, face readings (horoscopes), face threading, chestnuts roasting, and oranges (I didn’t grab a picture but I think you’ve seen them before, they’re round orange fruit) all seem to be parts of the tradition of Chinese New Year here in Bangkok.

Emperors and Empresses
Emperors and Empresses

The emperors and empresses were the most fun of all. Each and every one of them were photo ready and looked liked they could have saved the day with their swords or laughter at a moments notice. With the exception of the guy with the leopard loin cloth – I think he might have been the nemesis.

Bangkok Shutdown
Bangkok Shutdown

Today was the first time that I walked within the Bangkok Shutdown & Restart protest. From my understanding as of now (the intent of the protest is in constant change) the people are protesting the upcoming election- they want to stop people from being able to vote for the a new parliament so that the old parliament that they want to replace won’t be voted back in. The protesters in Bangkok  are shutting down the streets by setting shopping markets, concerts, food stalls, marches and tents to prevent access to major roadways. There was a fair share of protest t-shirts, jewelry, flags, hats and noise makers at the Chinese New Year celebration. There was also a parade on the street leading to the Chinese New Year celebration. The top right and bottom right photos are from outside of the Silom MRT station which was on my route to Chinatown.

Dragons
Dragons

I was at the celebration for about 2 hours and was surprised to only see the dragons in the pictures above.

Food
Food

There were a ton of food options available, although there wasn’t that much Chinese food. I enjoyed a gyro, pork ribs, a little bit of stuffed crab (mostly bread), coconut ice-cream, and a fried coconut dessert.

Noodle Throwing
Noodle Throwing

Unfortunately I ate all of that junk food before finding the fresh noodles. Oh well, the line was super long anyways.

White dolls only
Doll Study

OK, so is it just me or does a doll study need to be done here? Out of all the things being sold I did not see one single Thai or Chinese doll for sale. At least this singing boy had one Asian puppet doll.

Random
Random

The feel of the day: crowded, fun and energetic

 

How did you celebrate Chinese New Year?

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Let them eat brunch!


Tabasco on oysters, caviar on pancakes, lamb chops and prawns seared on the grill, these are a few of my favorite things! #BRUNCH!

brunch

If you’re looking for a sparkling wine flowing brunch in Bangkok, check out the “Sparkling Sunday Brunch” at the Grand Millennium hotel on Asok and Sukhumvit.  The selection was not huge, but what they had was really good. Check out their raw bar, fresh grilled meats, and of course the desert room. I loved the chocolate fountain, which had banana cake as an option to dip in it! Yum!!

My only qualm, if you come as a group of four people everyone gets half off (making it 800 BHT/pp+ vat and service), but if a fifth person comes that person pays full price (1600 BHT) or you have to bring 8 people; Grand Millennium you’re missing out on money.

Overall, brunch was wonderful!  Grab three or seven (lol) good friends and make it a sparkling day!

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#HELP!! 4 Day Vacation Poll


I’m trying to decide where to go for a 4 day trip. Take a moment to share your opinion below.

 

Amphawa fieldtrip


I went on a great field trip with my class So Fun! to Amphawa. The field trip was organized by my co-teacher, Nok. We went to five different places: a place to learn about Amphawa, a place that is believed to have one of Buddha‘s footprint, to meet a woman that used to make Thai masks for plays, to meet a man that made crafts out of coconut shells, and a to meet a woman who taught us how to make crafts out of palm leaves.  The one thing that was quirkily in common with these people that we met is that they all had some type of strange or old pet.

Wrapped in love


Wrapped in love

This is one of my favorite first photos with our new camera. It is of a tree in the park near our apartment. It is wrapped in fabric because it is believed by Thai’s to be a Spirit House. The fabric is a way to honor the Spirit House.  (I will find out more later- just wanted to share the picture with you

 

 

Philippines, Pilippines, or Filippines: Part 3 Boracay and Tibiao


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Continuation from https://gettingtoknowtheworld.com/2013/01/10/philippines-pilippines-or-filippines-part-2-manila

Boracay

Boracay at night
Boracay at night

Mix together a 1/2 cup of Miami, 2/3 cup of Cancun (without the teenagers), and about a 1/3 cup of Jamaica and you have Boracay. Boracay is a beautiful and fun island in the Philippines with long stretches of beach with sand at the door steps of the hotels, mini clubs, restaurants, stores and bars; bamboo structures and farm animals (roosters and goats) sprinkled throughout the island just behind the beach; crystal clear water with tropical fish and boats floating about.

Boracay is a vibrant, energetic, island. There are tons of water sports to do there – we didn’t do any of them but they did look like fun. At night there are tons of restaurants to choose from and there are amazing fire shows given by lady boys and boy dancers all over the place. They really do provide a spectacular show. There are tents set up in front of the main buildings with food, drinks, and music as well. On Friday nights most of the restaurants will have buffets on the beach with a dinner show. The cover band at the restaurant we ate at had an amazing cover band. The lead singer even sang a Whitney Houston song pretty good and the crew (chefs and waiters) danced to Gangman Style.

Pump Boat in Boracay

Getting to Boracay via Kalibo

Getting to Boracay from Kalibo Airport is something that you can do on your own. A lot of tour companies and airlines sell tickets for the service of someone walking you through this process this is completely unnecessary. When you land at Kalibo Airport you will be greeted by a host of van, bus, and car companies that will offer you transportation to Catlican to take a ferry to Boracay. You then take about a 2 hour ride (unless the bus company you choose stops for 20 minutes at their rest stop store) to the Catlican ferry terminal. When you arrive there you will have to pay a terminal fee and an environmental fee although you purchased your ferry ticket through the land transportation provider that you just used. The ferry that everyone calls a ferry is actually a pump boat (there is one ferry there but I’ve never seen or heard of anyone using it). You get on the next available pump-boat and take a 15 minute ride to Boracay. Once you arrive you hire a tricycle to take you to your hotel and that’s it. It sounds like a lot of steps but it is honestly a very simple herd following process.

Tibiao

Tibiao Waterfall
Tibiao Waterfall

While looking for activities in Boracay I found out about Tibiao, a place that most people including Filipinos have never heard of. Tibiao is full of options for those with adventure in their hearts. I booked a local guide in advance with Katahum Tours a locally owned and operated company. Using them I had to book my own transportation from Boracay but that provided a huge savings. The options we chose to do were: Waterfalls, Butong River swimming and diving, Kawa Hot Bath, Pottery and Brick Making, and Kayaking.

Bugtong-BatoWaterfall
Bugtong-Bato Waterfall

Once we got to Tibiao Fish Spa we were picked up on motorcycles and headed to Bugtong-Bato a small village where you will pick up a local guide to trek the waterfalls (we did stop to pick up lunch once we arrived but there were just a few options so pack a lunch). So we were riding on the street and then there’s a turn and we are riding a motorcycle up a mountain on an unpaved road WHOA. Nothing happened we are ok but WHOA. After that we went kayaking and had an amazing time – keep rowing! After kayaking we were cooked in the Kawa Hot Bath, which pretty much is just a photo shot; it takes a long time to heat up and you’re sitting in smoke, once it heats up and the tub is cooled down it’s a cool 5-10 minute experience. Since it rained the previous day we were only able to climb the waterfalls, take a Kawa Hot Bath, and go Kayaking. The extra water did make the white water kayaking a bit more fun!

Getting to Tibiao

  1. Take first (5 am) Ferry to Catlican
  2. Take Ceres bus (5:30 am) going to Iloilo via San Jose, Antique (3 hours)
  3. Ask driver to let us off at Tibiao Fish Spa

Getting to Know the People 1.1- Margaux Sue Cortez, The Philippines


Margaux

Margaux is a Filipino that grew up in America, a good friend of my friend Cynthia, an artist, and one of the fabulous diva’s of The Powder Room. She helped me out by sending me an amazing list of to sees and dos while in Manila.

Balut- YUMMY (I didn't try this) via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_%28egg%29
Balut- YUMMY (I didn’t try this) via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_%28egg%29

Where is your hometown, what is it like? I grew up in California but I’m proud to say I have found home here. I stay in south Metro-Manila. A city called Paranaque. The same city the airport is in. Just like almost every other city, it has its dodgy areas as well as some real nice spots as well. The area where I live has a lot of restaurants and shops near by so it’s real convenient. Plus, you can hear a guy yelling “Taho!” every morning, and guys selling balut (fertilized duck embryo– YUMM) every once in a while in the afternoon – no mistaking I’m in the motherland.

Boracay
Boracay

Where is your favorite place in the Philippines?I actually haven’t been to too many places, but I do have quite a beautiful romance with Boracay. Somehow every time I go, I manage to sit on the shore, look up and stare at the stars and realize what paradise feels like.

What is your favorite traditional Filipino food? I have so many! I’ll say Kare Kare because I just ate it last night and it’s not as well-known as some others (Adobo or Sinigang and of course, Lumpia). But it’s a peanut based stew sort of dish. Original recipe calls for tripe but I don’t eat that. Haha.

If someone were visiting the Philippines what are a few of the places they must go to? A walking tour of Intramurous is good – so they can learn the history! Perhaps a comedy bar where gay men harass the crowd and sing – it’s funny sometimes Lol

If you could visit any place in the world where would you go? Jamaica! I want to go, learn Patois, listen to reggae and feel “irie”

DJ Jazzy Jeff in Manila via http://stylerpa.com/home/truly-magnificent-jazz-jeff-
DJ Jazzy Jeff in Manila via http://stylerpa.com/home/truly-magnificent-jazz-jeff-in-manila/

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen in the Philippines? It’s not Filipino but seeing DJ Jazzy Jeff spin at a club here was amazing. Just because I never thought someone I had been listening to and watching on TV since I was a kid would be out here.
What should people know about Filipinos? We’re a very hospitable and friendly group of people for the most part And just because there were tough times in a country’s history (we aren’t the only ones) where they had to resort to a certain way of living, doesn’t mean we eat dog.

Haha, that’s all!

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Margaux’s Manila To Do List

Resorts Worldhttp://www.rwmanila.com/
– You can gamble
– Eat at some nice restos
– Go to Republiq (bigger club) or Opus (smaller club/lounge
– Watch a move
– Check a show – I believe The King & I is running.. and there is a live magician show as well?
– Shop? Lol

Intramuros
Intramuros

If you want to do something more “tourist-y”:
– Walking tour of Intramuros with Carlos Celdranhttp://celdrantours.blogspot.com/ I believe right now, he’s doing it accompanied with Gabe Mercado who is an improv comedian – should be good!
Ayala Museum – they usually have good talks there, especially their design talks but I don’t think one would be scheduled. Their exhibits have been nice as well.

If you are into more urban apparel/life:
– Ronac Art Center – http://ronacartcenter.com.ph/
Lots of local shops and boutiques, as well as an art gallery at Secret Fresh (not sure if there is anything up there at the moment though). There little restos there too.
– The Collective: https://www.facebook.com/thecollectivemanila
Off the top of my head they have…
– B-Side, where there is Boom Bap Fridays for the hip-hop heads and Irie Sundays for the reggae folks.
– Comic book shop
– Organic/Natural material place called Ritual – they sell bath salts, natural cotton robes, organic shampoo, etc.
– Vinyl on Vinyl – art, toys and music – they are a gallery as well.
– Wingman – if they like buffalo/hot wings

Salcedo MarketMarkets:
Saturday morning – Salcedo Market https://www.facebook.com/SalcedoMarket?fref=ts
Sunday morning – Legazpi Market http://legazpisundaymarket.com/
Saturday and Sunday morning – Mercato Centrale https://www.facebook.com/mercatocentrale

Bonifacio Global City:
There are new restos/lounges there.. as well as shops
– Aracama is a nice spot where Embassy used to be and Prive is right next to it.

And of course, malls which are sprinkled everywhere.

Getting to Know the People 1.0- Rico Ruiz, The Philippines


I’m starting a new series simply titled “Getting to Know the People,” where I will ask a few questions to some of the friends I gain while traveling about their country.

 

Kage and Rico on the Jeepny in Sagada
Kage and Rico on the Jeepny in Sagada

I met Rico and his group of friends while traveling to Sagada in the The Philippines.  They  took Matthew and I in as part of their crew.  He’s a funny guy that loves to travel.

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Where is your hometown, what is it like?

Pasig City, we have a river running through it..

Where is your favorite place in the Philippines?
HEHE, home is still where it’s at.

Beef oxtail in peanut sauce.
Beef oxtail in peanut sauce. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your favorite traditional Filipino food?
Kare Kare: Ox tripe and tail in peanut sauce mixed with shrimp paste.. Yum

Where is your favorite place to visit to escape the city?

Anilao, Batangas.. Dive spot.. It’s near the city but not crowded..

What do you like to do for fun?
TRAVEL..

What is your favorite Filipino holiday and what do you do to celebrate it?
Noche Buena: The midnight dinner to welcome in Christmas day.. Families gather to celebrate this

Palawan Pumpboat
Palawan Pumpboat (Photo credit: Joseph A Ferris III)

If someone were visiting the Philippines what are a few of the places they must go to?

Boracay, Sagada, Palawan (im here now.. Hehe)

I’m super jealous he’s in Palawan that is another place I wanted to check out while I was there.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?
Would like to see the glaciers before they melt

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen in the Philippines?
Wow, this is a hard one..

What should people know about Filipinos?
LAUGH.. LAUGH.. LAUGH..

HEHE THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE!!! MORE POWER TO YOUR BLOG!!!! And tell Matt to steer clear of Monkey Brains.. Hehehe.. SEE YAH!!!!