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Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City

Breathtaking view from the balcony

Breathtaking view from the balcony

I was really burned out, literally and figuratively, with my life so I decided to have a quick weekend getaway. At first, I had Baguio and Calaguas in mind but since traveling to those places would require more time and energy, I decided to go to the next closest destination – Tagaytay City. I looked through a lot of hotels and resorts in Tagaytay using Tripadvisor that will not only offer me comfort and escape but as well as a magnificent view of the Taal lake all day. Most of the hotels that time were already fullybooked probably because it is the summer season. Good thing that when I looked at Taal Vista’s site, there were still available rooms on my planned date of stay. I immediately called the hotel and made a reservation.

Lobby Lounge

Lobby Lounge

Taal Vista is a bit pricey compared to the other hotels in the area.  But since I was really desperate to treat myself to a well-deserved weekend break, I did not hesitate to book a room. Minsan ko lang naman irereward ang sarili ko ng magandang hotel, lubus-lubusin ko na. You see, I am not really fond of booking high-end or boutique hotels. But because I really planned to just stay inside the hotel, cuddle on my bed, watch my favorite movie and forget the world for a while, I chose a hotel that will offer me all the comforts I need. (And I needed to prove the testament of most of the commenters on TripAdvisor. Haha!)

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To Travel is To Live

Strike a pose!

Strike a pose!

I was looking for travel inspirations across the internet when I stumbled upon a quotation by Ernest Hemingway. He said “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love”. But what if, you get a chance to travel with people you do not know? Will you grab the chance? It was a particularly hard question to answer. I always get the notion that traveling with strangers is such a bad idea. What are you going to talk about? What if you don’t have the same wavelength? There are just too many questions that need answers, but you will never know the answers until you try.

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Backpacking Indochina Day 7 – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

For the endless bus rides

For the endless bus rides. (c) Stef Carandang

Day 0: Manila to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1: Grand Palace, Chao Phraya River and MBK

Day 2: Songkran and Khao San Road

Day 3: Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, Pub Street and Night Market

Day 4: Angkor Wat Heritage Complex and Apsara Show

Day 5: Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Preah Sisowath Quay

Day 6 Part 1: Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Central Market

Day 6 Part 2: Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

At 6:00 in the morning, we went downstairs to have breakfast. I honestly thought we will be the first ones but I didn’t know what kind of people are the others because they woke up so early. We ordered breakfast from the hotel restaurant. Kat seemed to have a rift with breakfast. Ang malas malas nya. She ordered bread with jam and butter while Shiela ordered bread with egg and butter then I had bread with egg and cheese. I had an entire entree when the waiter served my food, Shiela’s wasn’t bad at all. But when Kat got her breakfast, she had what she asked for: jam and butter. Yun naman pala by default lahat ay may jam and butter. Hahaha. Naawa nalang si Kat sa sarili niya.

At Golden Wind

At Golden Wind (c) Stef Carandang

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Hometown Hotel, Phnom Penh Cambodia

Lobby of Hometown Hotel

Lobby of Hometown Hotel

Location

Hometown hotel is located several blocks away from the famous Preah Sisowath Quay. Its neighborhood is composed of private houses, restaurants, bars and a mini mart.

In front of Hometown Hotel

In front of Hometown Hotel

Transportation

Just like in Siem Reap, the most popular mode of transportation in Phnom Penh are the tuktuks and motorcycles. It is very easy to roam around Phnom Penh because there are many tuktuks plying in the area. Bicycles are also popular which I think can also be rented by tourists.

If you are going on a tour, there are mini buses for tours going to S21 and the Killing Fields. On our way to the Mekong Express terminal, a small bus also fetched us from the hotel.

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Bou Savy Guesthouse, Siem Reap Cambodia

Our home in Siem Reap Cambodia

Our home in Siem Reap Cambodia

Outside Bou Savy, preparing to leave for Phnom Penh.

Outside Bou Savy, preparing to leave for Phnom Penh.

Here’s my short review of Bou Savy Guesthouse.

Location:

Bou Savy is located in a small alley just along Airport Road. It is near several establishments like a mini mart, gasoline station, laundry house and restaurants. The Night Market is also few minutes away. You can enjoy Siem Reap’s vibe while walking to the Night Market and Pub Street.

I think almost everything you will need at Siem Reap is within walking distance. It is very convenient to walk and enjoy the beautiful structures along Airport Road. What I liked most about the location of Bou Savy is that it is not really along the road so you can get peaceful sleep when the traffic at the road gets terrible during the Khmer New Year or just to be away from the noise of the vehicles on the street.

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Backpacking Indochina Day 6 Part 2 – False Alarms

 

Habang tumatagal, matumal na ang group pic.

Habang tumatagal, matumal na ang group pic.

Day 0: Manila to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1: Grand Palace, Chao Phraya River and MBK

Day 2: Songkran and Khao San Road

Day 3: Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, Pub Street and Night Market

Day 4: Angkor Wat Heritage Complex and Apsara Show

Day 5: Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Preah Sisowath Quay

Day 6 Part 1: Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Central Market

Midday of April 17th, after a heartbreaking trip to the Killing Fields and S-21, it’s about time to leave the humble city of Phnom Penh. At 11:30 we made our way to look for a place to eat. We decided to eat just near Hometown Hotel because time is of the essence. With 30 minutes cooking time, Cambodians I think didn’t get that memo.

We were joined by the others -Tikoy, Edge, Golden, Dan, Ms. Lyn, Vhik, and Froi. I ordered my comfort food–spaghetti and garlic bread. When the waiter started serving the food, he handed “my garlic bread” to Froilan. I didn’t even know it was mine (False Alarm #1) because the waiter didn’t say so and it was a small-sized french bread. I thought it would be just like the usual garlic breads here in the Philippines. We all thought it was free so they munched it, it was far from me to get some so I just passed. And Froi was having fun eating it so I didn’t bother taking some. Vhik and Froi were really enjoying the “i-didn’t-know-garlic-bread-of-mine”. Until Shiela asked “Umorder ka diba ng garlic bread?”. Froi laughed, I think he realized that he was eating my garlic bread. Hahaha. I myself was clueless that it was mine so I just said it was fine. At least I got to taste some. And whew I thank Vhik and Froi for eating half of it, the moment I tasted it, I asked “ano to tinapay na garlic flavor o bawang na tinapay flavor?”. Chunks of garlic were literally inside the bread. Haha. Anyway, my pasta was exceptional, as always.

Chicken skewers for lunch

Chicken skewers for lunch

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