Taichung City | Houfeng Bikeway: An Old Tunnel, Steel Bridge and Scenic Bike Trail

The Houfeng Bikeway
The Houfeng Bikeway

One thing I really like about Taiwan is how bike-friendly the country is. Bikeways are some of the main attractions in Taichung. Still at Houli district coming from the Chungse Tourist Flower Market, we found ourselves near a horse ranch and city park where there are several bike rental services in the area. The area is part of the Houfeng Bikeway (also called Hou-feng Bikeway). An extensive 4.5 km bike path running along an old mountain railway. It offers a unique experience of varying sceneries from the country side, the longest railway tunnel and a steel bridge.

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Taichung City | Chungshe Tourism Flower Market Sea of Blooms

A windmill display at Chungshe Toursit Flower Market
A windmill display at Chungshe Toursit Flower Market

Taichung is not short of IG-worthy places to visit. Coming from Liphao Land, we had a short ride to Chungse Tourism Flower Market also found at Houli District. Also known as the Zhong Se Guang Guang Flower Market, the flower market is famous for successfully growing tulips in low altitude areas in central Taiwan. There’s a variety of blooms all year round that it has become a favorite place for pre-nuptial or post-wedding shoots or simply having wonderful portrait with a European-like back drop.

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Taichung City | 6 Exciting Reasons to Visit Liphao Land Theme Park

Liphao Land mural
Liphao Land mural

Since Taiwan opened up to Filipinos with VISA-free entry, it became one of the hottest destinations from Manila. I have always wondered what Taiwan looks like having seen the large island country on a clear day from Batanes. It is so close from our farthest island at only 218km distance. That’s why I got so excited when I got a chance to experience Taiwan for a week courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Board. And our first stop upon landing at Taoyuan International Airport is Liphao Land in Taichung. The biggest theme park in the country. Let’s get started. It’s time for Taiwan!

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Oriental Mindoro | The Hanunuo at Panaytayan Mangyan Settlement

Bugkos Dagay holding a carved Hanunuo writing
Bugkos Dagay holding a carved Hanunuo writing

The island of Mindoro is also home to the indigenous people of Mangyan. There are eight tribes scattered around the island, from Oriental to Occidental Mindoro. I’ve encountered several tribes already from my past visits and wrote extensively on the Buhid and Iraya Mangyans. Won’t be repeating the same general information from them but rather focus on our visit with the Panaytayan Mangyan Settlement at Manansalay. This time we take a glimpse on the life and culture of the Hanunuo Mangyans.

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Oriental Mindoro | Island Hopping in Bulalacao

Sandbar at Aslom Island, Bulalacao
Sandbar at Aslom Island, Bulalacao

There’s more to Oriental Mindoro than the famed white beach of Puerto Galera. At the southern tip of the province is the municipality of Bulalacao. A place locals used to fondly call “Bula-layo” (layo means far) due to its remoteness from the rest of the towns in the province. It was a time when the roads were rough and people had to bear almost a day’s travel to get to Bulalacao. Now with paved roads, sea ports and nearby airport, Bulalacao opened up a set of islands and beaches sans the tourist crowd. A place still with provincial feel, less commercial and genuinely laid back good time.

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Banaue | Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage

A visit to the Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage
A visit to the Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage

“Did someone turn this wooden staff around?” I asked. There were only three of us in the museum. I can clearly remember when I first passed by this wooden staff with a carved bulul (wooden carved sculptures from Cordilleras) on top with a lock of hair that it was facing out towards the window. Going back to take a photos this time with my camera after going around, I was surprised it was looking towards the room this time. Ate Fe, our guide and care taker for the Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage said she did not as she was busy talking to my good friend Lagalog. I tried to move the base, it was heavy and not easy to budge. Reading the small description at the base, this wooden mahogany staff was carved by a tribal shaman in the 1970s. The bulul image inspired by the image of his wife and actual lock of hair used on the top. Gave me a little goosebumps. Was it watching over us?

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#SailEast Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park: Basey’s Natural Gem

Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge
Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge

This was stuff I only read on textbooks when I was still studying. I remember reading about Sohoton Coves and Natural Bridge Park before and has always been fascinated by this place in Basey, Samar. But it was only in our last day of #SailEast tour that I had the chance to visit this nature wonder of a lush jungle, dramatic limestone formations and a meandering river snaking through the vast 840-hectare park. It is only an hour away from Tacloban city proper, a worthy day tour when in Eastern Visayas.

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