Archiv für den Monat: Februar 2010

Katipunan Avenue

Soon to go

This week was awesome and unfortunately the last week with all those nice people together. There were great parties, especially the Worst Taste Party in Martin and Tobi’s flat, some nice activities on the weekend, poker and the Backstreet Boys live in Manila.
It is sad, because the first ones are leaving for travelling cos their classes have already ended. I realized that this time here in Manila is coming to an end and I can tell this time has been one of the best in my life. It was a very, very exciting experience to be here and there are a lot of things I will miss when I am back home to reality in Germany.
Saying goodbye is always not easy and today there was the first time to say goodbye – the Bask are leaving tomorrow for travel reasons. I hope to see at least some of them again.

Here there is a list of things I am going to miss about this life here in Manila:

the exchange students
travelling almost every weekend
random people smiling at you on the street
cheap prices for everything that is fun
24h stores
having a bunch of friends just some floors away
sushi at Teriyaki Boy
the crowded markets, where you can get everything
Cebu Pacific Air
the ripe mangoes
wifi everywhere
soap like stories written by life
the freedom
the street kids infront of Burgundy
‘Nobody, nobody but you’
‘I’ve gotta feeling’
the view of my apartment
Tuesdays and Thursdays

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Chinese New Year Hongkong

Hongkong and Lunar New Year

The other day we went to a beautiful Chinese garden, which also included typical ancient Chinese architecture. Close to that garden was as well the Chin Lin Nunnery – a beautiful buddhist neunnery. By coincidence we met our German friends Tobi and Martin from Manila there. And after that we spend a lot of time with them in Hongkong.

After our visit at the nunnery we walked to another temple, supposedly the busiest one in Hongkong. It was a quite big temple area and there actually were a lot of people around – believers, but also tourists.

Wherever one is going in Hongkong to find a nice place like a temple or a garden or a park. It is always visibly surrounded by skyscrapers. In fact one can call Hongkong definetly the city of skyscrapers. I liked those big differences within the city, on the one hand those old temples and on the other hand those tall and often very modern buildings. The rest of that day was kind of lazy, we were hanging around in the malls a lot, because the weather was so bad. We tried to check out some musuems, but unfortunately most of them were closed, because it was either too late or closed because of Lunar New Year.

In the evening I went to the longest ‘Travelator’ in the world. A travelator means, that there are lots of escalators going up that one hill on Hongkong Island, but in between one can also find some short tracks to walk from escalator to escalator.

Those escalators also led through the mid-levels, where Soho is located. Soho is especially at night a very nice area to go. They have a lot of nice restos, bars and pubs there and one can also find a lot of clubs.

The next day we decided to go to a place in the New Territories called the ’10.000 Buddhas Monastery’. I can only highly recommend that place, it is just so impressive. There really are thousands of Buddhas that are siding the way up the hill to the temple. Every Buddha looks different and they are life-sized. When you are looking up the way everything is golden, it is amazing.

After you made your way through the Buddhas you will stop by a beautiful temple and a pagoda. The place was very crowded that day, I think because it was around New Years and people were saying their prayers.

Again inside the temple there were thousands of Buddhas, all the walls were packed with them until under the ceiling. Outside there was a dragon dancing to collect some of those Red New Years Envelops.

From the temple one could continue walking up the hill, this time the way was aligned by colourful Buddahs. Up that hill one could find more golden Buddhas and some GRABSTÄTTEN; as well as a huge marbled Buddha statue.

After that we went to supposedly one of the oldest streets in Hongkong, the Queens Road. I was expecting some very very old buildings. But actually on the left side of the street there were the old skyscrapers and on the other side there were the new and modern ones. Unfortunatley all the shops selling ancient goods and handicrafts were closed again.

That day we also passed by the Western market and the business district of Hongkong.

And finally it was evening and the International Parade ANLÄSSLICH DES Chinses New Year was about to start. The streets were very crowded and there were people from all over the world to see the parade. The parade was awsome – just have a look at the pictures:

The last day in Hongkong I spend most of the on my own. It was nice to explore the city in my own speed and just follwoing my own interests for a day. First I went to Hongkong park, where I passed by the impressive Bank of China Tower. I found a nice viewpoint in Hongkong Park, where I could overlook the city, alothough it was very foggy again. I stopped by some sights of the colonial era, like the St. John’s church and then sadly the Hongkong visit was almost over.

Back to Manila, back to the warmth.

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1st day in Hongkong

Those laste days we – Shieg, Yvonne, Judith and Nina – have been in Hongkong.

We arrived last Friday evening in the notorious Chung King Mansion. From the outide this building looks stunningly ugly and dirty. But inside it offered a lot of hostels and actually ours was nice, but the room was ‘Hongkong-tiny-tiny’.

The next morning we went up early to see a lot of the city. We found a nice brochure (you can get it at the Airport) with a lot of walking tours inside. Our first walk took us through Kowloon, a District that is set on the Mainland. We first started at the Avenue of Stars, which is like the Chinese walk of fame. There one also had this beautiful skyline view over probably one of the most stunning harbours in the world. We continued our walk to the Cultural Centre, the Heritage and this one street with all the designer shops (but in between an H&M as well!), then to the Kowloon Park and then straight to The Terraces, Jade Market and Jade Street.

After that we went to the Temple close to Jade Market and then to Ladies and Goldfish Market.

Inside this one temple I was a witness of some kind of ritual dance. Some Chinese in traditional costumes were playing traditional instruments and were singing in the temple. And suddenly that one random girl just joined this group to do some kind of dance. Fantastic!

When we went through Shanghai street, which is actually supposed to be one of the oldest streets in Hongkong, there was unfortuneatly not much to see. But back on Nathan Road I felt like in Real Asia. It was so crowded and everywhere I looked, there were just black heads.

The Ladies market, which is also worth seeing for men, because it supplies also men’s stuff, was very crowded, too.

Not far away from Ladies Market one can find the Goldfish, Flower and Bird Market. But we were so cold (12°C outside…brrr) that we stopped our walk after the Goldfish Market.

In the evening then we went to the Symphony of lights in Hongkong’s beautiful Victoria Harbour. It is basically a laser show and also the various skyscrapers are turning on and off their colourful lights to the music.

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Hiking in Sagada and Banaue

I spent some great days with my friends from Berlin. First of all when they arrived in Manila I was showing them round in the City of Manila and they did some one day trips round Manila.

After that we decided to visit Sagada and Banaue, where one can see the 2000 year old rice terraces -actually a world wonder! [googlemaps,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&aq=0&oq=sagada&sll=22.395793,114.109497&sspn=2.000977,4.22699&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sagada,+Mountain+Province,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&t=m&ll=17.083369,120.900078&spn=0.098452,0.102997&z=12&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=300&h=300]

We took a bus from Manila to go to Banaue and then changed there into a van to Bontoc. From there we made our way by jeepney to our first stop: Sagada. In fact already the journey to Sagada was exciting. Basti and me were riding on top of the jeepney and enjoyed the beautiful view over the rice terraces and the beautiful nature in the Cordilleras of Luzon.

In Sagada we first made a trip to some caves. It was very adventurous, we had to climb through the smallest wholes and up the rocks inside the cave to make our way. In the second cave there were a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites. This cave was actually called the pron cave and the guide was telling us stories about this cave and why it has this name. After 3h of caving we took a cold cold bath in a natural pool inside the cave.

The next day we were so lucky to see the Town Fiesta. The parade of the Fiesta actually started right infront of our hostel. There we got to see a lot of people in the traditional costumes and they were dancing there native dances.

We also enjoyed a special coffee in Sagada. This kind of coffee is eaten by wild cats and they shit out the beans and those beans are then roasted for the coffee. Sounds disgusting, but it is actually tasty. But since this coffee is a delicacy it is highly expensive!

After that we went on a guided tour to the Hanging Coffins, the Echo Valley, the Underground River and some small Waterfalls.

The Hanging Coffins are the main attraction in Sagada, because it is a special way of burying the dead, which one can only find in Sagada. The coffins are hanging high on the rocks you can find around Sagada. People believe, if they are buried that way, they are closer to God.

The Underground River was also very interesting, but unfortunately we could not go the whole way along the river, because we had no flashlights.

After the this hike in the sun, the bath in the waterfalls was very refreshing. In the evenig we went to a restaurant called Log Cabin. And I can tell the food was soooo great. Maybe the best food I got so far in the Philippines. It is not typical Filipino food, but sometimes it is okay to have a break from Filipino food. There we also sat together with some very nice Swiss people, who were taking a break from work to travel around the world.

The next day we got up very early to go to Banaue. Again we were sitting on top of the jeepney to enjoy the beautiful view. And then our two days hike through the rice terraces started.

Fro me this trip was one of the best I made in the Phillies so far. We had a guide for two days.

First of all we went by jeep over a very rocky road in the hills and hiked then down into a small village called Batad.

Batad is located in the middle of a valley full of rice terraces and from our pension we could overlook the whole valley! From there we went on hiking through the terraces and through this nice village to u huge waterfall of more than 40 meters height in another valley. The hiking there is tough because the mountains are high and steep.

We spent the night in Batad and continued our trip the next day to a village called Banga’an. It was a four hours hike, again through the mountains and the rice terraces. The view you have there is so amazing. And every effort you have to take, like hiking in the midday sun, is it worth.

 After we arrived in Banga’an a tricycle took us back to Banaue. This was very adventurous again, cos the roads are very rocks. Sometimes it is even ridiculous to calls those paths roads. It’s really back to nature, but it also feels like complete freedom.

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