[Taipei, Taiwan] ~ Finding treasures in an artist village

Seeing what was and what is  – 02.20.16

After visits to more known landmarks in the city LONGSHAN TEMPLE and CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL HALL,  my next destination during my first day in Taipei was on a lesser known historical site. Called TREASURE HILL ARTIST VILLAGE, this place caught my attention due to its story of transformation. Originally resided in by illegal settlers, this place was rebuilt as a place for residence and/or crafts for artists in 2010. This transformation is not without its controversy as certain parties felt it was not a very good decision to make people lose their homes to promote arts.

For tourists though, it was nonetheless a place for quite a stroll – with vibes of contradictions of what was and is.

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[Taiwan] ~ Taipei morning in temple and plaza

 A surprisingly good one spent on a temple and a plaza – 02.20.16

Couldn’t remember exactly why but this was a city I wanted to revisit. My revisit February from last year was a discovery on what is interesting with the city and other places accessible via trains and buses.

This is about the trip kick-off – a surprisingly calming moment at a temple despite not being a spiritual person followed by fascination at vastness in a plaza.

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[Palompon, Leyte] ~ 2,941 Steps around Kalanggaman Island

 

Where beauty, play and fragile meet – 02.06-08.16

Extra points I give to islands I can go around in n steps (others being Potipot and Mantigue) so it was a pleasant surprise when KALANGGAMAN turned out to be one even when what initially pulled me in is its promise of calm water and its interesting shape, hence its name.
Water turned out an interesting range of calm to with soft waves, not to mention amazingly clear against backdrop of skies with such play of colors during sunrise and sundown and starry black in between.
I find it cheesy to often use the word beautiful but this island is precisely that. What adds to its charm even is how it seems fragile as felt in how harsh the wind can be in that place at certain times of day. Apparently, there is so much more than its shape.

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[Dinadiawan, Aurora] ~ Beach Close to Home

 For I have been to many but none yet at home   – 12.29-30.15

I have been to quite a number of beaches in 2015 but when I had the chance for one last “hirit” (Filipino slang which connotes ‘more wanting’), I spent time on a secluded one closer to home. It was an overnight trip but most of what I did were packed during the day – from lazy people-watching, moments of wading and what to me is this crazy loooong walk from almost end-to-end of this long strip of sand.

My only time to rest was during sunset until it was dark and cloudplay was over. After that, I slept for almost 12 hours (!) which equals to about 5 regular days. Then in all my groggy in the morning was a lovely goodbye surprise.

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[Cagayan de Oro, Philippines] ~ Checking out the Ordinary

Seeing the city less in the eyes of a tourist – 11.30.15

My third day for this Camiguin trip was mainly for travel but since I managed to leave the island earlier, I squeezed in some time to explore the city of Cagayan de Oro (locally also called CDO). It was extra hours filled with experiencing as much of the place less as a tourist that I ended up doing random things in random places- like beer in a carinderia before a bus terminal, visit to a slightly leaning water tank which housed a city museum and discovery of interestingly named or themed stalls, movie cafes and store selling chili.

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Come again, Camiguin?

Experiencing the most known of Camiguin in a day  – 11.29.15

There’s a Filipino slang word called “lagari” which means hopping from one place to another. And if there’s a word to best describe my second day in Camiguin, that would have to be it – as that day I hopped to touristy places as early as sunrise in a SANDBAR to a COLD SPRINGS RESORT to more iconic landmarks such as the CHURCH RUINS and SUNKEN CEMETERY. Only pause was at sunset back at CAVES DIVE RESORT until off again to another spring, this time opposite of cold at ARDENT HOT SPRINGS RESORT.

It was a day of countless witnessed selfies, jump and wacky shots and Higher Being-knows-how-many people I have shared bodily fluids with but it was a day I had to ensure be packed and if only for that, those are all worth it.

For who knows when I will come again to Camiguin, right? (Okay, enough with the ‘joke’).

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[Camiguin, Philippines] ~ 1,322 Steps around Mantigue Island

 Where there is no getting lost in walking – 11.28.15

This trip over the long weekend kicked off with straight-from-airport visit to an island called MANTIGUE so small like Potipot I walked and counted my steps around it – 1,322 in total at pace from 1:19 in the afternoon until about 2 (and okay, I got lazy recording the actual end time). Seabed was grassy (some area even had sea urchins!) but amazingly clear that I still did wade. It was a brief day trip but managed to squeeze in about an hour of snorkeling from a spot not so far from shore, not without a guide, of course.

I wish I had more than a day – a night at least to camp there (which sadly is not allowed) but okay, still quite a day to remember.

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Plan B : Plan Brunei

This day I found a happy workaround in a misadventure – 11.19.15

Previous day’s visit to Penang’s beaches ended on a rather gloomy note as on my way back to Georgetown, I got a text message from the airline informing me that my flight back to Manila has been cancelled due to APEC .

As I needed to be back on that day in time for an event at work, I had to think of an alternative – one that gave me a window to briefly explore another country.

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[Malaysia] ~ Off to Penang’s Beaches

The day I went somewhere a little bit off-town (and off-character) -11.17.15

I am into walking but not trekking but for this day trip knew that I had to survive one for about two hours on my way to a place in Penang called MONKEY BEACH. As the name suggests, I was expecting more monkeys on the beach but to my surprise was ‘ambushed’ by two on my way there. Nothing special water- and sand-wise but seclusion was perfect that it got me teary-eyed (I am sad to say though that upon reading more recent reviews, the place is not as secluded always and when crowded, can get dirty.)

When it started to drizzle on my way back from the LIGHTHOUSE  (called MUKA HEAD) nearby, I took a boat ride back and stopped over BATU FERRINGHI for beer, bite and people- and yes, horse-watching.

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[Penang, Malaysia] ~ Some things to do when there’s nothing planned

   A destinationless afternoon and some random discoveries – 11.16.15

After Camera Museum, rest of my afternoon was free that I just walked, stopping in shops that seemed to sell interesting stuff, grabbing some beer, discovering more street art and discreetly and briefly immersing oneself in a quiet afternoon of locals from the jetty villages.

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