Mad About Thali Meals in India

August 30, 2014

It was at Agra–our third city stop in India–where I looked behind me and saw the couple seated next table relishing an interesting looking plate filled with assorted dishes. We asked the waiter what it was. "That is Thali ma'am and sir" replied the amiable restaurant staff. Without further ado, I ordered one for myself while Aileen, still worried about contracting diarrhea ordered something else. For starters like myself, Thali (means 'plate') is an Indian and Nepali meal that consists of varying dishes like vegetable curry dish, dal, rice, papad and curd or yogurt and is served on a large round plate. 

Tina Punzal

When an Accommodating Phony Tourism Officer Turned Hotheaded at Istiqlal Mosque

August 26, 2014

After my temple run concluded in Yogyakarta, I went back to Jakarta for a couple of days before my Cebu Pacific flight back to Manila. At the hostel I met two other Filipinas who became my accidental tourist buddies. Since we're all going home the same night, we decided to spend our last day just roaming the city aboard a tuktuk, stopping for some sights and shopping along the way. After walking out of the National Monument park (Merdeka Square), we were approached by a thin middle age man wearing blue slacks and tucked in polo, introducing himself as an employee of the local tourism office.


Hanoi Spring Roll and a Conversation through Google Translation

August 20, 2014

One of the many amazing things about traveling is the opportunity to meet new people on the road. During my trip to Hanoi I met Hoang, a cheerful woman who works at one of the many Sihn Tourist offices in the city. Recommended by another traveler friend Jerik, I sought her out after I arrived to avail of a Halong Bay and Sapa tours. We met and conducted business but by the end of our transaction she unexpectedly extended an invitation for me to join her and some friends for a dinner at her place. Shy and feeling a bit paranoid brought on by a number of Asian gore movies, a series of images involving hack saw, chains and giant hammers flashed before me. "Hello Mark, you want to come yes?" as Hoang tapped me on my arm with a glistening smile and I was back to real world. "Sure, what time? I would love to go" I told her.

Charisse Tumlos

An Example of a Well Assembled Space: Azumi Boutique Hotel

August 15, 2014

A series of flashing bulbs always lit up inside my brain each time I hear the term 'boutique hotel'. As a veteran of sleeping in dingy hotels devoid of management's proper planning and an architect's imagination, I welcome the idea of staying in a fancy nest. So, coming to Azumi Boutique Hotel in Alabang on the day of the 2014 Globe TattAwards (where this travel blog was a finalist for the third straight year), my expectations are sky high. House and hotel interiors always look better in pictures, so I was curious to see how Azumi would look like in actuality. 

Monnette Santillan

The Dharma Wheels Go Round and Round at Sarnath's Isipatana

August 07, 2014

 "... here at Sarnath he turned twelve wheels of Dharma ..."
"Keep in mind this most beautiful wood,
named by the great rishi,
where ninety-one thousand kotis of Buddhas
formerly turned the Wheel.
This place is matchless, perfectly calm,
contemplating, always frequented by deer.
In this most beautiful of parks,
whose name was given by the rishi,
I will turn the holy Wheel." 
-Voice of the Buddha

Tania Maria Gonzalez in Sarnath