Monday, August 24, 2009

Brunei Trip - Day 2

On my next day on this country, I woke up at 7am and had shower then went to their restaurant for the complimentary breakfast. The cook was a Filipino and the foods weren't bad. You have to select from the 6 sets of breakfast goodies and you can have drink all you can coffee or tea. Anyway, after that meal, I started to walk again for 20 minutes towards the Kampong Ayer. The station for the boat going to Temburong area is on that place. Then the so called "residence jetty" arrived and it took me to Temburong. The almost one hour ride going to Temburong from Bandar Seri Begawan was really refreshing. The water was so cool and the air was so calm. During the trip, it seemed like we were in the middle of forest as I saw some forest-like scenes and we are on the river.

At almost 10 in the morning, I arrived at the Temburong area. I was looking for a taxi and there was none. I was planning to go to Jerudong National Park but somebody told me that since it's almost 10, it will be impossible for me to go there as there will be a high tide at around 2 in the afternoon and I will have difficulties in going back to the station and the last jetty back to Bandar Seri Begawan will be at 4PM. I was quite disappointed so I just roamed the place of Temburong but after half an hour, I just decided to take a jetty back to the capital city of Brunei.

Next, I visited the Tamu Open Market and it seems like a semi-Venice scenery. The open market is beside the river and they are selling mostly fruits. I didn't took so much time on that place and looked for the bus station that will bring me to The Mall Gadong.

I took Bus 01 on the Bandar station. Their buses are color violet with a number on the front to indicate it's route. There were lists of route per bus number so it was easy for me to navigate the entire city. I arrived at The Mall Gadong at past 12 in the afternoon so I took lunch first. I was quite surprise as I saw many Filipinos on the foodcourt, as in! I ordered some chili beef on this stall and the vendor was also a Filipino! So I ate my lunch and watched G.I. Joe on the mall's cineplex.

After the movie, I left the mall at around 5 in the afternoon and spent more few hours on the street of Bandar. The surroundings were very clean and there was only a small volume of vehicles on the streets so the air was mild fresh. The people here were very warm and very disciplined. Then I returned to hotel to freshen up as I was planning to visit the night market.

It was a half hour walk when I got into the night market. To my surprise, it was a place for foods galore. I was thinking that it was a place for souvenirs and other Brunei related products. I wasn't that dismayed at all as I had a wonderful dinner on that place. For them, night market is market for foods so that's one lesson I have learned from them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TV Series to Watch

The Fall season is now coming in the US and it also means the start and restart of TV Series. The following is the list of my recommended new TV Series that will start to air this fall. The list also includes the season premiere dates of other series that made me craving for more episodes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brunei Trip - Day 1

Well, one of my dreams is to travel the world alone. Many people were saying that traveling alone is so boring. But I can say and I can prove that it wasn't the case. Actually, this trip is my preparation for my 5 countries/9 days trip in September. I have learned a lot on this trip and this widened my experience and exposure on other culture and communication to other people. My flight to Brunei was 10:25 in the morning last 8th of August via Royal Brunei Air. The travel was almost 2 hours from Singapore to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan. On the arrival hall of the Brunei International Airport, I saw a man holding a paper with my name and I knew that it was the hotel airport pickup service. I made a reservation in Jubilee Hotel for two nights and I was amazed that at a low price, the room was really great with complimentary breakfast and airport transfer. One of the receptionists was a Filipina.

After arranging my things inside the hotel room, I took a quick shower and prepared myself to roam the city. I asked for a map on the receptionist and I was amazed that most of the tourist spots were walking distance only. Since I'm used to running and walking long terrains I decided to walk, it was also a nice way to check the city by feet. I started to walk and after twenty minutes, I arrived on my first spot, it was the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. It is classified as one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major tourist attraction. It is also considered amongst the people of Brunei as the country's major landmark. I also entered the mosque but taking pictures inside the holy place was prohibited. They provide this black long suite to all women who enters the mosque.

Not that far, but if you are new to the city, it will take you 20 minutes again to walk towards the Royal Regalia and eventually, I discovered that there was a shortcut. Well, Royal Regalia is a place where Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah keeps his expensive and memorable gifts from other dignitaries or other high ranking officials around the world. When I arrived there, I was obliged to remove shoes and fortunately, there was a group of tourists with a tourist guide and I joined them just to hear some explanations or story telling from him. One notable words from him was that the current sultan's first wife was his first cousin. Anyway, the place was full of golden crafts and other things that serves as a gift or "regalo" to the sultan. Yeah, there were plenty of golds there! But we were not allowed to take pictures on it, only on the basement displays were permitted to take shots.

I next visited the Kampong Ayer (Water Village) and it was a 25 minute walk from the Regalia. It is situated in the middle of the Brunei River and there were 39,000 people living in the water village. All houses/structures were linked together by many foot-bridges and can you believe that there are restaurants, mosques, schools, shops and a hospital in the middle of the river? Wow! I was really amazed by that information. It was dubbed as Venice of the East. Private water taxis provide rapid transit and they are resemble long wooden speed boats. When you look at the water village, it looks like a slum but I was told that the village enjoys modern amenities such as air condition, satellite television and even internet access! The view from the portview was refreshing and was really a cool place to rest.

After long walks and hours under the sun, I decided to take a rest and to eat. I was delighted to see a Jollibee in Brunei! Since I miss Joly foods, I ordered spaghetti, chicken with rice and a caramel sundae for dessert. The taste was nearly similar to the original from Manila but the chicken wasn't that good. But still, I enjoyed the food since I was very hungry that time. So I rested for a while then roamed the Yayasan Shopping Complex and I looked for a souvenir shop but I didn't see any stall. So I just stayed on the place and after almost an hour, I got myself way back to the hotel to rest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank You Tita Cory

It's been over a week since Tita Cory died. Many words have been spoken, many titles have been given to her, many praises have been showered to her. This is my way of saying "Thank You" to her for the democracy that every Filipinos are enjoying today. I met her personally when I was in college. She was a guest speaker on this leadership conference that I attended last 2003. Her speech was very solemn and very meaningful. She enlighten us on the importance of the youth as next leaders of the next generation. She spoke gracefully and you can really feel her power in those simple yet tremendous words. Every Filipinos love her and I was teary eyed while watching the necrological services and on the last mass. Her funeral service was a huge proof that people power is indeed the best way of showing the unity for a common goal. Analysing on what happened that day, I can say that Arroyo administration should not proceed with the amendment of constitution as this may result to EDSA 4. She should just finish her term and should show her sincerity of uniting the Filipinos. During these painful days for the Filipinos, I can say that I am proud to be a "Pinoy" and will continue to love my country. Filipinos are really nationalistic and to her, thank you President Corazon Aquino, the "Saint of Democracy".

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