Relaxing Cebu.. ahhh!

Cebu, Philippines has got to be one of the most chill places i’ve ever been. The pace of life is a lot more relaxed, ideal for unwinding from the stressful city life. While we were there, we met a local who offered to take us island hopping for a discounted rate. It turned out to be a worthwhile, once in a lifetime adventure. He took us to this small secluded island where we got a chance to play in the water and enjoy the warm tropical sun before the storm clouds came rolling in.
Below are a few clip: aboard the boat & on the island.

climb aboard out engine boat from Thomas on Vimeo.

do the island hopping in Cebu, Philippines. from Thomas on Vimeo.

Life at the resort was not too shabby. Although we paid top dollar for everything, from mixed drinks to western food Tambuli Resort, we enjoyed our stay knowing that we are safe and well feed. Outside out resort was a whole ‘nother story. Lets say sketchy is how i would begin describing the location. So taxi was our only choice of transport. We haggled every driver to make sure we get a good meter rate. Most taxi drivers would disregard the meter and demand 3x the reg. amount. But there wasn’t much around the resort unless we travel 45mins into Cebu city. So we would go to the mall 15mins away.


The taxi ride was eye opening. Life outside the resort was a dramatic contrast. We saw seas of makeshift markets, miles of homes that resembled shacks along side huge mansions, witnessed children playing basketball on dirt with a single wood scrap hoop, and experienced the disparity of children begging for pesos.

There is no doubt that manicured beach resorts like ours are fantasy lands designed for foreigners and the rich, only to be admired from a distance by the poor. The tall compound walls conceal it from the outside and strong doors shuts out the masses. Heavily armed security guards at Tambuli resort, ensures no one seeps though the walls that divides the classes.

We exited the taxi and passed by a series of small shacks before entering the local shopping center. Passing by one of the shacks, a young girl asks me, “Sir, a few pesos please?” To me, She was one of the many young kids in Cebu City trying to cross the walls to a better life.

This encounter really made me think about myself. It was a moment to reflect upon my fortunate upbringing in a blue collar family and the simple pleasures I take for granted. I thought about life had I been born into poverty. It was the moment when I fully realized how lucky I am to be raised in a land with infinite opportunities, where no wall can stand in my way to living the good life.

A Day in Singapore

With nothing but a round trip ticket to Singapore and Hotel books, we were off for another get-away (from Hong Kong) adventure. The minute we landed in Singapore we were already hot and humid. Thank god for AC.

The MRT ride (mass transit) to our Hotel was fast. Our friends have mentioned our Hotel is nicely situated in the Red Light district (not exactly what you want to hear). Off the Kallang MRT station, I lugged our suite case up and down the streets in search of our hotel. It turns out that our hotel is a chain, all named Hotel 81 and most located in the same district, so locals would point us to every which direction. Lugging a suite case under the scorching heat, now that’s my idea of an ideal vacation.

When we finally settled down, we got down to business. We came to Singapore to explore the taste of new and interesting foods.

First stop: Little India

The area was very quiet with few people roaming the streets. But our craving for roti oiled our drive to find good Indian food. We came across this open air rest. that had a wide spread selection of Indian food. I had the yummy Chicken Marsala with rice and interesting sides. One of them was a tapioca pudding that had lots of spices, didn’t quite fit my pallet.

Next stop: Chinatown

I’ve been to several Chinatowns, in the US and abroad, this reminded me of the Chinatowns in the states. Most of the merchants sold the same old souvenirs I can find in SF’s Chinatown. Nothing noteworthy other than the newly built temple (very vibrant and colorful).

Next stop: Where’s the Merlion?

We got off at the City Hall MRT station and walked through the scenic part of the business district. One building across from a WWII memorial had a UFO like saucer atop its roof. Interesting. The Merlions was a perfect end to our day in Singapore. The waterfront view of the Singapore skyline was amazing.

Taiwan: Day 3

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: interesting history lesson about Mr. Shek

He look it’s Circle K in Taipei, Taiwan. Service!

CKI in Taiwan. how cool is this.

Herbal Shop: Lick some herbal powder, drink some berry tea and that’s about all I can have. Another sales gimmick.

healing powder. Not to be mistaken by the other healing powder you snort. the herbal shop of the mountain side people.

Hunger: Great tasting lunch. Minced meat over rice + Tofu, best dishes.

Baked Fish look at doris eyeing the food.

Changing of the Guards:  pic-cha time!

The Grand Hotel Taipei: Rub the figure for wealth. Look at  us get our greed on.

look at us. united by the common wish.. for more $$$ cheese. group pic.

Get our fortune: I was told I will have a rough career, will have to work hard to get what I want. Also, I tend to think rationally when buying goods, not to be careless with money. So when she offered me a good luck charm (for $60+ USD), I said.. I can’t buy it now… maybe when I rich.  Just holding my wealth.

Chinese Fortune tellers. eek.

Hot spring / Dinner: OOh how I miss the strong jets and powerful  showers

time to relax group pic. You might not see it.. but there's a mountain side view.

Late night munchies: Swings for seats=cool. price isn’t right=bad. Result: took some pix and left for Starbucks. Almond mocha.. ooh tasty.

swingin' look how big starbucks is. 3 floors big.