Showing posts from August, 2012

The French Way: The Pilgrims' Way to Santiago De Compostela in Galicia

When asked what my motivation was for doing the Camino, I jokingly answered, “to check off my list of things to do before I die.” But deep inside, I had a very personal reason for walking the Camino. Four months after recovering from cancer, I joined the San Francisco Bay to Breaker marathon and surprisingly surpassed my goal. So I decided to take on a more challenging physical activity. Walking the Camino seemed to be a natural choice since it combined both spiritual and physical activities. Also, I had always wanted to go to Northern Spain to experience the culture and cuisine that's instinctively Northern Spain. I thought it would be overly ambitious for me to walk 800 kilometers from the French/Spanish Pyrenees border all the way to Santiago de Compostela, or carry a heavy load on my back, so I signed up for the +100k walking tour. Meeting in Madrid  I met my fellow walking travelers in Madrid. My fellow travelers, ages ranging from 19-70 came from different parts

SINGAPORE: More Than An Amusement Park

I usually load up on chewing gum before a flight because it helps equalize ‘airplane ear,' fights boredom on a long flight while freshening my breath. But on a flight from Manila to Singapore, I was ‘chewing gum’ free. You see, before I left Manila my friend reminded me not to chew gum in Singapore. They also reminded me of the caning of an American boy, and the ‘Contemplacion Story’ (a story about a Filipino domestic worker who was executed in Singapore). Ancient history I thought! The reason I went to Singapore was to take advantage of the United Airlines Mileage Plus multi-city booking that I only paid with 80,000 mileage points. Without the mileage point, this booking would have cost me around $14,000.00. It was a multi-city flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, Tokyo to Manila, Manila to Korea, and Korea to San Francisco with a connecting flight and 10-hour layover at Singapore Changi Airport. Not wanting to wait at an airport for 10 hours, I decided to book a

The Beauty of the Philippines Part 3: Postcard from the Bicol Region

The Bicol Region was one my best kept travel secrets that I didn't want to share.  But the discovery of the whale-shark in Donsol, Sorsogon, made the Bicol Region one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.       As our plane touched down in Legaspi City, we were greeted by the beauty of Mayon Volcano - an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon.  It is renowned as the “perfect cone” As we drove to Barcelona, Sorsogon (our home-base), the clouds started to hide the tip of the volcano. The following day, a lengthy jeepney ride from Barcelona, Sorsogon took us along the length of the Pacific Ocean and deserted coastline to the town of Bulusan.  Our vehicle was the only  one on the road as we climbed over the mountains with thick vegetation.  The occasional jeepney revving noise was drowned out by the buzzing crickets and birdsong.   Bulusan Lake is a scenic crater lake at the foot of Mt. Bulusan.  It is surrounded