I don’t want to call us “foodies” because we don’t always eat. But, like many Filipino families, our family is anchored by food and our dining table, and food is our priority whenever we travel. Now that we have grown up, we don’t just seek out food, we also seek out makers and producers of food. We love knowing where our food come from and how other people are making a living through food. So it was no wonder our first destination on a Saturday in Bacolod was the Farmers’ Weekend Market. Advertisements
The first time we visited Bacolod City, we stayed at a hotel called Bascon Hotel. It was an old hotel, with dark wood panels, dark carpet, and a dark hallway. The “lobby” consisted of one wooden bench and a long horizontal wall mirror and was sparsely decorated. Our room, like the hallway, was dark and “well-curtained,” the bathroom tiles may have been witnessed to many a crime or passion.
Behind The Negros Museum at South Capitol Road is the city’s former zoo. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly haphazard condition when seen from the street. The former zoo has now been converted into an ecological foundation that aims to rehabilitate and breed endangered Negrense animals.
Bacolod has always been a romantic city to me, what with it’s glorious hedonistic past especially at the height of the sugar industry. I always equate Bacolod with mestizas and mestizos, of decadent pastries, of luxurious stews, and an old dilapidated train that used to carry sugar from one hacienda to another. That dilapidated train used to be the major attraction of the Negros Museum. Now, a decade after since my first visit, the museum has improved and it has unmasked the City of Smiles.
Because of the often difficult modes of transportation from the city to my hometown in Siquijor, I have always packed my bags light because I need to carry them myself. Our provincial transportation is as rough as you can get that sometimes we sit with chickens and pigs and a hundred other people. From an early age, I have carried my own bags and thus have learned to pack light and pack well that now it does not matter what mode of transportation I take. On our trip to Vietnam in August, I managed to fit 30 days worth of outfits in just one backpack weighing a mere 6 kilos!
The landscape, tranquil, brought tears to my eyes, and I was on a culinary delight sampling almost everything the hawkers aboard the train offered, including the raw meat sausage called nem nuong, without even asking what it was. I wish I could say I roughed it up and did it the way locals did, in the open air carriage with the fresh hot air blowing through my sticky face, but I was in the airconditioned cabins, sitting like the tourist that I was, no sweat in sight, and actually already writing a draft of this post.
Joel and I traveled in Vietnam for 30 days. Like our travel last year to Thailand, we brought work with us. We worked full time, and traveled part-time. How do we manage to do that? Read on.
Hanoi is a good destination for weekend warriors because Cebu Pacific flights coincide with weekends, flying to Hanoi on Thursday night and flying back to Manila on early Monday morning. While we stayed in Hanoi for more than a week (and would have stayed even longer), three days should be enough to cover all the must-see places and uncover all the gems (literally and figuratively) Hanoi has to offer. Read on for my sample Hanoi weekend itinerary.
Hanoi was not an expensive city to visit. In fact, even though we stayed there for more than a week, we spent well beneath our budget and was even able to squeeze in an expensive and indulgent (but truly enjoyable) afternoon at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel and some shopping. This is my budget guide for Hanoi and this post accompanies my Weekend in Hanoi post.
I love to read books, and I don’t just love to read books. I also love to visit small and independent bookstores because I want to collect books and I know most bookshop owners are also book lovers. They are, in fact, book experts! So, it was a good surprise to learn that Hanoi has an independent bookstore selling English books. And that was the reason why we were headed to the West Lake on a Friday afternoon.
From many guide books/blogs, I always read about the 36 Streets of Hanoi, which make up the Old Quarter. Every day, for eight days, we walked the Old Quarter, from east to west, north to south, and we almost did not walk on the same street ever. I was counting up to 36 streets, and I was ready to conclude that the guide books are lying. There are no 36 streets. The Old Quarter is a maze and there are a hundred streets!