“Where do you stay?,” the Destination Chiang Mai agent asked us. “Behind Wat Mo Kham Tuang,” along Sri Poom Road.” He scratched his head. “Is that the wat with many horses?” I said, “No. It’s the wat with glitters on its front wall.” He got more confused. Everybody in the office now joined us as we plotted where Wat Mo Kham Tuang is. “Ah, there are just too many wats here in Chiang Mai.”
Our introduction to Chiang Mai came in the form of a museum. Come to think of it, this was the only museum we visited in our Thailand trip, and we were only compelled to do this because a local, Joy, the owner of our guesthouse, recommended we make such a visit. We had time to burn while waiting for our 2PM check-in time and Joy suggested we visit the Lanna Folklike Museum, which was just one big block away from the guesthouse.
The original title of my Singaporean trip was “The Little Piggies Went to Search for the Seven Merlions” or “The Search for the Merlions” or “Finding Merlions.” The itinerary I made was supposed to revolve around the seven official merlions in the country (I learned from the Your Singapore website that the Singapore government owns the merlion trademark and no one, yes, no one, can create a merlion without the government’s approval).
I had an obsession with James Clavell books in college. I consumed all of his books one after the other not because I love stories on power, but because I loved the fictional historical accounts of old cities. Clavell is famous for setting his books in Asian cities, notably Hong Kong. King Rat, his first book, was based on his experience at the Changi Prison. So, whenever I think of Singapore, I don’t think of Universal Studios or Gardens by the Bay. I think of King Rat and the conditions of the people in the Changi Prison during World War II before Singapore became the modern city it is now. Because I loved the book, it is no wonder a trip to Singapore would not be complete without visiting The Changi Museum.
Orchard Road is another popular “tourist” attraction in Singapore. It is the place of premium brand shopping — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, and the likes. While on the red line train, I was imagining Orchard Road to be empty because I was thinking not many can afford these brands. Only to find a pandemonium when we alighted from the train.
Gardens by the Bay is a quintessential Singapore landmark. It is also an engineering and science wonder because the city garden aims to be self-sustaining. The super groves (the big Avatar-ish trees) are not just decorative structures, they are also enormous solar power absorber, which powers the flower dome and the cloud garden. It is not just a popular tourist place, it is an epitome of 21st century living — environmental sustainability.
West Gorordo Hotel is one of the many small hotels in Cebu City. It can often be overlooked because it is not situated in a prime hotel location (Business Park or Fuente Circle). The hotel is one of the three permaculture-inspired hotels in Cebu (the other two are Elicon House and Mayflower Inn) and houses the Museum of Naive Art (MoNA), which displays the art works of Paulina Constancia. We have been meaning to visit MoNa but never got the chance until Gabii sa Kabilin 2016.
Casa Gorordo is one of the most popular tourist must-sees in downtown Cebu City being the former residence of the first Cebuano bishop, Bishop Juan Garces Gorordo. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. now runs the museum, and has prohibited several popular activities in the premises, like pre-nuptial photoshoots and wedding venues. Taking pictures inside the house is, obviously, not prohibited, but flashes are not allowed.
The senior citizens’ program by the Cebu City Government is one of the reasons why I love living in this city. I am not yet a senior citizen so I don’t know what it feels like receiving the benefits of the program, but the feedback from people who are members of the program is a testament of how successful the program is. Also if you’ll check the Cebu City Government’s page on how senior citizens can get their IDs, they indicated the amount of time each step of the process takes. I don’t know if the process is really that efficient, but at least senior citizens can have a basis for their complaint if their application takes longer than what was indicated in the web site.
I’ve been living in Cebu City for around 16 years now, and I have never been to the Cebu Zoo until today. I have heard that the zoo was not kept very well, in fact it was even closed for some time. But it was re-opened and since my nephew is here in the city, I had the excuse to visit the zoo. The zoo is kind of scary. It seems the animals are not happy there. I am no pro-animal rights activist, and I don’t even like animals, but I thought the zoo, that zoo in particular, was a lonely place to be.
The Cebu Chinese cemetery interests me for two reasons: (1) I have a grand-aunt who married a Chinese (not significant, but still the grand-aunt intrigues me because I never met her), and (2) my grandmother always tells us that come All Soul’s Day, she and her friends would walk to the cemetery because the Chinese families would be giving out hopis (or mooncake) to anyone who visits.