Macau: Senado Square and St Dominic’s Church in Mono

Senado Square in Mono

Macau’s Senado Square

Our pace didn’t change as soon as we emerged from the alley walk. We were now at Senado Square. One of the most anticipated sights I wanted to see in Macau. Well, it is one of the most popular places in Macau, finding its pictures on just about every postcards, magazines and internet Google search on Macau. Judging from the throngs here, everyone wants a spot on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Backpack Photography Banaue Workshop Experience

Backpack Photograpy Workshop Baang Hapao

Backpack Photography Workshop in Banaue

My good friend Oggie of Lagalog.com and I were conceptualizing for some time on how a photography workshop would be set apart from the numerous workshops being offered right now. One, we don’t want to have the usual classroom setting. We want participants to be out there on the field where most of the photography would happen and learn on the spot. Second, we want the participants to experience the place and the culture. Getting postcard pretty pictures is one thing but getting good pictures with relevance is another. So Backpack Photography Workshop is born sharing our style of shooting.

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Ifugao: The Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Terraces Summit View

Banaue Terraces Summit View

We left Batad that morning to catch our Van going back to Banaue. With leg muscles still slightly sore from our hike to and fro the Tappia Falls, we took the easy route back to the saddle which is a moderate slope than the steep stairs we took going down. It was a good thing that the Korean group we shared the Van with waited for us. We reached Banaue before noon and found Stairway Lodge conveniently located near an internet station. Lunch and a bit rest revived our energies to explore the Banaue Rice Terraces.

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Ifugao: Trekking Batad Terraces to Tappia Waterfalls

Batad Tappia Falls

Batad’s Tappia Falls

It’s one thing to look at the Batad Rice Terraces from afar, but it’s another seeing it up close and on a different angle. After setting down our things at Simon’s Inn, we rested a few minutes to prepare our trek to Tappia Waterfalls (or Tappiyah Waterfalls). The trek to Tappia Falls is at least an hour as I remember. We didn’t hire a guide and just relied on my memory on where to go. I remember going on two routes then. Let’s just see if I recall them right.

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Ifugao: Batad Rice Terraces still a Wonder after the years

Batad Amphitheater Rice Terraces

The Batad Rice Terraces

If there is one thing in the Philippines I could say I am proud of, that would be the Rice Terraces in the Ifugao Mountains. This marvel of an architectural and cultural landscape was built by our ancestors more than 2000 years ago. Other countries have terraces as well but none can compare to the height, steepness and intricacy. Even the steps of these terraces when combined end-to-end can encircle half the globe. Truly a deserving site to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Lists.

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Malaysia: A Glimpse of Old Malacca at the streets of Jalan Tokong to Jonker

Jonker Walk Houses

A Peranakan house and antique shop at Jonker Street

We saw a mix of cultures and beliefs when we visited the temples at Jalan Tokong. Our afternoon walk continued through the stretch of Jalan Tokong towards the Jonker Street. This side of Malacca houses some of the old dwelling places dating as far back as the 17th century. It’s one of their versions of our very own Vigan which is also a UNESCO heritage site, an old town heritage site preserved.

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Malaysia: Malacca’s Kampung Kling Mosque and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple in Jalan Tokong

Kampung Kling's Mosque minaret

Kampung Kling’s Mosque minaret

The visit to the Studthuys, St Paul Church and A Formosa was just part of what Malacca has in terms of heritage sites. We had an authentic Nyonya Cuisine lunch at Seroni Restaurant to take a break from the tours. Once satisfied, we moved on for some walking tours at a couple of popular streets in Malacca, the Jalan Tokong and Jonker Walk.

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