Cheng Ho Museum and the Seven Voyage to the Western Ocean

Diorama of Cheng Ho's great fleet of hundreds
Diorama of Cheng Ho’s great fleet of hundreds

When in Melaka, it’s not enough to admire the many shophouses lining up in Jonker Walk. There are several shophouses turned museums in Melaka that it’s worth walking inside one of them to get a deeper insight on Melaka’s history and culture. One that I would highly recommend visiting is the Cheng Ho Museum found near the tail end of Lorong Hang Jebat before the bridge. With a floor area spanning 55,000 square feet, occupying about 8 units of old shophouses dating back to 1786 and three floors of artefacts, it is considered as the largest museum in Melaka.

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Gallivanting in Melaka Dutch Square at Dusk

The Christ Church at dusk
The Christ Church at dusk

After our 2-day program in Melaka, we bid goodbye to our faithful eating companions. Some of us, like me, decided to stay longer in Melaka to explore. It was afternoon and I decided to walk. Walking gives me better grasp of a place’s layout and it is only now that I realised most of the attractions in Melaka are walkable. From the Jonker Walk, I crossed the east bridge and dodged the flow of traffic to reach the famous Melaka’s Dutch Square.

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Squirming Through the Jonker Walk Night Market in Melaka

The thick crowd at the Jonker Walk Night Market
The thick crowd at the Jonker Walk Night Market

Oh I was ready to rub shoulders alright! But it was more than shoulders as at times I had to squirm my whole body way out of the crowd, moving and flowing in different directions at Jalan Hang  Jebat Street in Melaka popularly known as the Jonker Walk. Last I was here, we only ventured this famed street boasting of well preserved Peranakan Houses dating back to 1800s during daylight. This was I was looking forward to my re-visit in this vibrant city, to experience the Jonker Walk Night Market.

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Batanes: Postcards from Sabtang Island

The Nakabuang Natural Arc
The Nakabuang Natural Arc, one of the distinct landmarks in Sabtang

It was the peak season alright for Holy Week in Batanes and our trip almost  didn’t push through but thank God (and Seair) for helping us secure our flights. Albeit shortened, we made do with our time, maximizing moments to take photos and enjoy the scenery. I’ve written about Batanes so many times already in this blog so I’ll just share some memorable takes during our recent Backpack Photography 3-Island Photo Tour. These ones from the small but charming Sabtang Island.

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Cotabato City: Tamontaka Church and Kutang Bato Cave Connection

Kutang Bato, the cave where the city was named
Kutang Bato, the cave where the city was named

Wandering around the streets of Cotabato City, It’s easy to assume that the city is predominantly a Muslim country with many minarets and crescent moons from Mosques jutting out from the city skyline. In fact, if it weren’t for the Hijab (women’s headscarf), it’s hard to tell whether one is Muslim or Christian. Both religions have been deeply intermingled since the birth of Muslim and Christianity in Mindanao.  The Tamontaka Church, the oldest church in the city, stands in testimony on the harmonious co-existence of both religions.

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Zamboanga del Norte: Tracing Rizal in Dapitan

A replica of Rizal's Clinic at the Dapitan Shrine
A replica of Rizal's Clinic at the Dapitan Shrine

“This is one of the cities I could probably live in” were my first thoughts exploring the streets of Dapitan City. A city found in Zamboanga del Norte, declared a city not because of its population nor its economic stature but because of its rich heritage. The country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal, lived in this region after his exile in 1892. The mark he left with the place and the people was like an eternal echo surviving through the times. I was in Zamboanga del Norte initially for work teaching a group about photography, but I had time to retrace Rizal’s footsteps and discovered some wonderful places in the process.

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Bagan: Templed-Out from Myinkaba to Old Bagan

bupaya-stupa
The Bupaya Stupa near Ayeyarwady River

These were the last few temples I visited in Bagan before leaving in the evening for Mandalay. Even if I enjoyed the sunrise and visited a few sites in Myinkaba, I already felt templed-out come mid-morning that I just wanted to head back to the inn to pack my things and get ready for the evening bus ride. But Mime insists we do a few more stops on temples on our way. I guess he wants to get my money worth so I obliged and it did pay off. I get to meet another interesting character in one of the temples in Old Bagan.

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