I realized I was already encircling around the perimeter walls of Bangkok’s Grand Palace. I was walking under heavy rain and squeezing my way through the crowd of black-garbed Thai mourners of the recently passed King at the roadsides. Thai people adore King Bhumibol Adulyadej and it shows. As I got into the Grand Palace, I saw bus loads of tourist waiting to get in. I only have less than two hours left and paying 500 THB along with this crowd didn’t appeal to me. So I left. Then there’s Wat Pho I remember passing by earlier. I retraced my route to the back of the palace. Drenched and tired, I just wanted a nice place to sit. I was thrilled that there were less people here at Wat Pho. I paid my 50 THB entrance fee which comes with a free bottle of mineral water and went on to explore the temple grounds.
With Boracay consistently cited as one of the best islands in the world, there’s a constant wave of people coming and going the island all year round. Finding an accommodation with a peaceful environment for sound sleep yet close enough to the White Beach may seem a challenge. Believe it or not, there are still pockets of quiet near the bustling main road of Boracay. Agos Boracay Rooms and Bed is a secluded guesthouse yet only steps away from the busy streets. Centrally located and only a few minutes walk to the main beaches.
Travel has been a part of human lives for centuries. While it has not always been an economic phenomenon that employs millions of people per year, tourism has always been something we have done to relax, to learn, and ultimately to get away. As technology has evolved, so has tourism. Fortunately for modern travelers, the two growing industries work well together.
It took me three visits to Tawi-tawi before I finally set foot on the famed Panampangan Island. It’s not an easy island to reach like most of the islands in the region. Hiring boats have a hefty cost especially for independent travelers. An invitation to cover the Kamahardikaan 2017 festivity includes a visit to the island. It was an opportunity that’s hard to pass. Panampangan Island is considered the longest sandbar in the country.
From my window up 15 floors, I see the EDSA traffic but thankfully couldn’t hear it. I’ve passed through this area time and time again, mostly onboard the MRT and what I remember is the long stretch of not-so-idle land in between the intersection of Quezon Boulevard and the corner in front of SM City North EDSA, as well as the space where an MRT train makes a detour, parked quite away from motorists plying the main thoroughfare Then, Trinoma happened. Now, a newer, more prominent landmark has opened this side of Quezon City — Seda Vertis North.
“San ka galing? (Where did you come from?)”
“Sa malayo! Sa merloquet! (Somewhere far! At Merloquet)”
For Zamboangueños, ‘merloquet’ used to be a fabled place pertaining to somewhere far far away when used in colloquial conversation. Nowadays, it pertains to Merloquet Falls that has gained popularity in the recents years due to its wide pour and lovely wall of cascades. It is still far far away in Zamboanga City but I managed to visit the place as a side trip while in the region.
I turned up the volume of the Bose speaker connected via bluetooth to my smartphone. The acoustic harmony of the Hollow Cove’s “The Woods” filled my large Luxury Room. I split the curtains wide and see the Sukhumvit street below early in it’s early morning bustle. “We’re all falling and we all need a place… to hide!” I somehow echo the lyrics of the song. After a week of exploring Bangkok and Chiang Mai, I welcome a little indulgence to cap my last few days in Thailand. Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit welcomed me with their 5-star comfort and warmth. My birthday was just five days ago but it felt this was the time to celebrate.