Welcome to my Eworld

This site is solely dedicated to my travelling experiences both locally and abroad. When I say locally, it refers to my escapade in my home country, the Philippines; while abroad covers my travels in Asia, Europe and UK, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, as well as my future trips to Africa, China and Arabic countries.

Some of these travel journals photos are previously posted in my Friendster blog ( My Simple Life - unfortunately the blog is already dormant now); Travel Blog account, Travellerpoints account; but majority of them are shared in my e-Travel Guide account in TRIVAGO. I also write stories about these locations in my JPGMagazine account. Good luck and have fun reading my TRAVELdiary...

Quote Me If You Like...

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." (Lao Tzu)

Pic-a-boo: Sojourn In Motion

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Why I love to travel?

GOING PLACES LOCALLY AND ABROAD is always my cup of tea. Having a Sagittarius zodiac sign, I am really destined to explore, conquer the globe and take pl easure (and learn) from it!

Why travel? If you have the necessary resources (time and money), you are physically and mentally fit, and you have proper supporting documents (i.e. passport, insurance, visa, etc.), what is the reason why you can not pack your bag and go?

In my own personal experience during the past 15 years, I have been to several places, not only in my home beautiful country, but also to other fascinating destinations around the world. My travelling escapade is always driven by work and studying. Having involved in various development projects that provide solution to environmental problems, it does requires touring around the country or overseas. Also, my desire to further enhance my expertise in the field of my specialisation through postgraduate studies/trainings elsewhere serve as a stepping stone to visit different places. Thus, my numerous travels are the outcomes of the kind of jobs that I am involved with, as well as the rare opportunity to secure financial grants to study abroad.

Being in that particular situation on the right time and location, I will do my best to tour around the place and the neighbouring towns/cities. Honestly, being single and healthy, it is easy to do this, but if I have my own family and getting older, then travelling (abroad in particular) will not be in my top ‘must do’ list. Maybe some people will argue that anyone could still have a wonderful vacation even you have the family (and children), or during your retirement period. Well yes, however, the frequency and the duration will dramatically decrease. And there will be other issues relating to health condition that somewhat crucial in finalising travel plans which also affects the kind of activities you want to do during the travel.

Moreover, most importantly it will also depend on where you are permanently residing or where your travel (point of origin) begins. For example, if I will live permanently in the Philippines, my travel to UK, Europe and the US will substantially diminish, but much more on local travels instead. Why, because my travel will be dependent on the affordability (i.e. mode of transport) and convenience (visa processing) to visit the place. Finally, however security or safety (because of political instability of the destination) is not a big issue to hinder my travel plan, unless there is a government restriction on that particular destination. I am not generalising it, but for British, American or Australian nationals are fortunate to travel without any stress of not having a visa elsewhere. Unlike us coming from developing countries, it is a must to undergo such strict issuances of a visa. Sometimes, I feel it is unfair for people who have the genuine intention of travelling overseas but denied for a visa for the reason of coming from countries that threaten their security/safety.

So, the kind of travelling that I am looking forward to is absolutely different from where other travellers want to go or what they want to do during their travels.

WHAT MOTIVATES ME TO TRAVEL? How about my choices where to go? What factors to be considered in those choices? What activities that I normally do during my escapades or things that fascinates me? And lastly, what souvenirs that I bring after my visits which will always remind me of my wonderful journey and the learning experience? Please bear with me while I am trying to quickly answer these queries.

Motivation to travel
Watching films, reading travel magazines, and my hobby in photography motivate me to visit other places. Being a regular moviegoer, I am fascinated with the cinematography of the film which leads me to wonder where this location where been shoot. I will make sure that I stay in my seat while waiting for the full credits of the film which provide me the information of the location. Travel magazines are also influential to pack my bag and explore the featured scenic attractions in the publication. And most importantly, because of my interest in photography, I always go out and have my vacation just to improve my photography skills by visiting these places featured in the magazines or in the films. To some extent, I am also motivated by the interesting stories from my close friends who were able to visit these places. Overall, I believe that through my travelling, I could experience and learn other cultures, languages, beliefs, history and to meet interesting people which I could not find in textbooks or not being taught inside the classroom.

**Choices where to go
The main factor that influences where to visit or spend my holiday is ‘relatives and friends’. It is because having them on these places, it will be easier for me to explore and enjoy my short stay – hassle-free and save money. In most cases, my accommodation is ‘free’ and I could do more things considering that my friends are hospitable enough to tour me around at their convenience. Aside from that, if they are not available, they will provide me the best itinerary - where to visit and what to expect from these attractions. Moreover, my choice is also affected by the affordability, accessibility, the mode of transport, and the convenience to get the visa. For example, if I will have to choice between Spain and Italy, I would probably choice Italy. Well both countries offer fascinating attractions, but I would rather choice Italy since it will be easier for me to secure the visa than Spain. Securing a Spanish visa requires a two-stage application: sending a request letter and the personal interview in Manchester. While the Italian visa application is done by posting the required travel documents, including the processing fee which takes 2-3 weeks.

Activities to explore the place
As I said earlier, I want to learn and enjoy from my travel and I can only do this by visiting places that will probably satisfy this desire. Generally, I am interested to visit libraries, museums, castles, shopping malls, churches, historical structures, and of course watch live shows, festivals and musical productions; and visit resorts, casinos and beaches. I do research by visiting universities and check the possibilities of having future research with these institutions. Visiting theme parks that offer adventurous and thrilling rides is also in my list during my travel.

Aside from shopping for clothes and personal accessories, I make sure that I have extra copies of postcards for each location/attractions that I have visited, which some of them will be sent to my family and friends. Also, I am interested to collect pins, key chains, posters and beer mats. Unfortunately, I don’t bring home some antiques and jewelleries which are subject to airport tax and duties. For some people, antiques and art crafts are their interests, but at the moment I don’t have the obsession to have them. This is because I don’t have a permanent place to store or display these pieces of art. The photographs taken during my trips will ultimately serve as mementos and a truly evidence of my escapades. I forgot to mention, I also buy 1-2 books during my travel.

AND FINALLY, I can now finally say that travelling is something that I will always gain invaluable benefits from it not only being a traveller but also a learner. Spending for travels is a personal choice to make, but definitely the opportunity to go places is a ‘priceless’ learning experience that money can’t buy! Enjoy living and have a simple travel plan in life!

Note: This journal was originally posted in October 2007 but I did minor updating and worth re-posting it again to find out more about myself.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Getting high while travelling

I HAVE A MIX OF EMOTIONS travelling by air. It is a tiring occasion queuing for all the security gates and inspection (while carrying your allowable hand-carry luggage) as well as an exciting experience to reach the final destination.

After what happened on the 11th September 2001, air travel is becoming a stressful journey which more strict regulations to follow for the security and safety of the passengers. On the other hand, especially for long flights, it is also a rewarding experience to enjoy the amenities offered by the airlines (like UAE Emirates).

Maybe for some people, after taking off and before touching down of the airplane are bit scary time for travelling, but personally I consider it as the best moment to capture the landscape below. Since I always ask for window seat, I have the opportunity to take some rare images of the ground despite the double glass panels of the plane windows. The objects below are so near but yet they're very far! The clouds are welcoming as if I can walk and jump on them effortlessly.

The photos shown here were taken from 2006 to 2010. The longest trip I had before is 17 hours which give me the opportunity to admire the airspace, including the time difference between continents when the day and night meet.

These airscapes images were taken in Madrid (Spain), California (US), and the Philippines.

Friday, 21 January 2011

London Olympics 2012: An event travel destination

I AM ONE OF THE FANS OF OLYMPIC GAMES! It is ironic to confess that I havent been to any sport events during the Olympics, except for the fact that I do watch the live TV coverage of my favourite sports - from athletics to swimming. I also visited two main olympic stadiums in the past: Atlanta, Georgia (USA) for 1996 Summer Olympics, and Montreal, Quebec (Canada) for 1976 Summer Olympics. I've been to Sydney but I did not have the opportunity to visit the Stadium Australia (known now as ANZ Stadium) for the 2000 Olympics.

In less than 20 months, the 2012 Olympic Games will take place in United Kingdom and it is set on 27 July - 12 August 2012; and Paralympic Games will follow from 29 August - 9 Sept 2010. I'm not sure if I will be able to watch these events but I already signed-up for the tickets two months ago! Early intention/signing to buy tickets allows spectators to receive news and updates from the London Olympic organizer. Few days ago, I received an email that the tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 until 26 April 2011. With regards to the Paralympic Games tickets, the application will open on 9 September 2011.

As part of my fascination with this international competition, I will be posting some interesting facts about the game, particularly some facts about record holders, controversies, and of course the participation of my home country, the Philippines. So watch out for this and I might also sponsoring an online competition! In my own little way, I also supported the 2008 Olympic Games held in China... Find out about it HERE.

Please note that the issuance of tickets is first come first serve basis and the tickets will be issued via officially registered or recognised National Olympic Committee (NOC) or their appointed Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) in your country of residence. Again, beware of unauthorised websites claiming for discounted tickets. Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Featured Travel Blogger: Nelieta believes that all journeys have secret destinations

I AM HAPPY TO INTRODUCE TO YOU my first featured travel blogger from Argentina. Her name is Nelieta and originally came from South Africa. Her travelling adventures started when she was a teenager and when her parents bought a caravan. Every year, together with her parents take a family vacation to some exotic destinations. But over the years the little explorer inside her was dying a slow death because of other personal commitments. Eventually, she promised herself that she was going to see the world and nothing was going to stop her.

Now, here she is, Nelieta will allow us to discover herself as a travel blogger and maybe we can ask her some questions as she embark a new life in Argentina!

Q1: How many times you travel a year? Whenever I get the opportunity.

Q2: Do you stay in your home country (locally) or do you go abroad/overseas? We started a business about 2 years ago which makes travelling abroad a little difficult. With the current economic climate it is also very expensive to travel abroad. I took one overseas trip last year and a couple of trips locally. They are both satisfying but if I could choose I would definitely travel abroad.

Q3: Do you organize your holidays yourself or do you go to a travel agency? I organize everything myself and that includes flight tickets. In the beginning of my travel I did make use of Travel agents.

Q4: Do you prepare your holidays in advance by reading guide books and onlinetravel sites? I do prepare for my holidays in advance by reading guidebooks and reviews. But I also like to experience the moment. I find that by reading reviews you form an opinion in your subconscious and often disappointment sets in. However when I travelled to Russia I used the last method and afterwards I wished that I have read more about the culture, people and the country.

Q5: Do you travel alone/with family or friends/with an organized group? I did use organized groups in the beginning when I just started to travel. As I travelled more I became more daring and moved on to individual tours.Then I started to do things on my own. It is very limiting to travel with family or friends especially if they don't share the same interests. Now I travel with my husband and we have such a good time together because we like the same things.

Q6: Do you prefer the beach/islands/countryside/cities as destinations? I like all holiday destinations.

Q7: Do you mainly relax or are you an active holiday traveller? I am an active holiday traveller. I love to explore places.

Q8: If you go abroad do you learn at least some words of the foreignlanguage? It is always important to learn a couple of basic words. People appreciate it when you try to say something in their own language even if the pronunciation is terrible.

Q9: Are you interested in the cuisine/food of a foreign country? Yes but I am not a cuisine fanatic. I would much rather spend more time taking photos than in a restaurant trying new food.

Q10: Which mode/means of transportation do you prefer? I use all kinds of transport. It is fun and a good way to explore the city.

Q11: What kind of luggage do you take with you? Have you got problems packing? I always have a problem with too much luggage. I don't pack a lot of clothes but I always take my camera bag , laptop and a book or two. This is already too much!

Q12: Do you send picture postcards to your family and friends? No, but I often buy postcards especially where I am not allowed to take pictures, like some museums.

Q13: What kind of souvenirs do you normally keep during your travels? I collect fridge magnets. I always try to find something that will trigger my memory when I look at it.

Q14: Does your blogging experience or having a travel blog help you in yourtravels? My travel blog is a personal recollection of my travel experiences over the years. I have always kept a travel journal and it helped me a lot when I started to write my blog. My travel experiences have given me a lot of self confidence and I am not scared to hop on a plane and explore a new country on my own. I realize that I am capable of doing anything.

Q15: Have you met someone or individuals through your travel blog? No but I would love to meet some of the people who are following my blog.

"People often ask me how I choose my next destination. I don't, I answer them, it chooses me" - Nelieta

NOTE: Nelieta also operates a modest hostel accommodation in Argentina. The hostel has new, modern and spacious rooms, inclusive of ensuite bathrooms and hot water. Bedding and linen are also provided. The hostel has a magnificent view of the mountains, and during the nights the sky when it is crystal clear, you can almost pick the stars from the heaven. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Newsbits: Introducing My Featured Travel Bloggers

MY INTEREST IN TRAVELLING - exploring other places both locally and abroad is priceless! I am very grateful to have the opportunity to meet people online (and during my trips/holidays) who have also the passion in travelling. It might be interesting to feature these people in my travel blog.

Featuring them here is recognising their efforts to maintain their own travel blogs that serve as invisible bridges to connect travellers around the world and somehow to know them better as travel bloggers, finding something in common or maybe interesting things that inspire them to discover and explore other places that might also motivate or encourage other people to do the same. I think we are naturally "nomads", wanting to move around to discover new things or try to do things while travelling that caught our imagination.

I ENJOY READING OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS and it is nice to know the person behind the blogsite as well. As part of my 2011 travelling experience, I will be featuring some of the travel bloggers that Ive met online, and who knows I will be able to meet them in person if the opportunity allows it to happen in the future.

This will be a regular post in my blog and hopefully this will be informative and interesting, consequently an inspiration to others - making their travels more enjoyable and memorable.

Watch out for my first travel blogger from Argentina. And maybe who knows you will be the next! Just answer the following questions and send it to: curiousph@yahoo.com.

Q1: How many times you travel a year?
Q2: Do you stay in your home country (locally) or do you go abroad/overseas?
Q3: Do you organize your holidays yourself or do you go to a travel agency?
Q4: Do you prepare your holidays in advance by reading guide books and online travel sites?
Q5: Do you travel alone/with family or friends/with an organized group?
Q6: Do you prefer the beach/islands/countryside/cities as destinations?
Q7: Do you mainly relax or are you an active holiday traveler?
Q8: If you go abroad do you learn at least some words of the foreign language?
Q9: Are you interested in the cuisine/food of a foreign country?
Q10: Which mode/means of transportation do you prefer?
Q11: What kind of luggage do you take with you? Have you got problems packing?
Q12: Do you send picture postcards to your family and friends?
Q13: What kind of souvenirs do you normally keep during your travels?
Q14: Does your blogging experience or having a travel blog help you in your travels?
Q15: Have you met someone or individuals through your travel blog?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Amazon Kindle: An ultimate travel gadget

HAPPY NEW YEAR! As we embrace the first week of 2011, I am also excited to start the new year with a big bang especially with my passion for books. As a traveller, I always bring a couple of books with me to entertain myself during long hours of flights and land commuting. There is no doubt that majority of international airlines have built-in entertainment programmes to choose from, but sometimes I still prefer to grab a pocket book for a while before I sleep or take a nap during long flights.

Recently, I got a pre-Xmas present from my cousin during my visit in the US and she bought me an ereader - the Amazon Kindle 3G. It is white, slim and light device which is very convenient to carry with one hand or inside a handbag. Indeed, this is an ultimate traveller's companion which can hold thousands of books and it has the functionalities for mp3 (playing music) and browsing the internet worldwide, free of charge.

With the fast-pace of technology in communication, we can now have easy access to free ebooks, and recently Amazon.com just recently announced the lending/borrowing/sharing functionality for Kindle users. This means that selected ebooks can be borrowed from other users in a certain period of time (14 days at the moment). Unfortunately, it is quite different to verify what books are available for loans, unless you catch up with the Amazon Kindle facebook account for updates.

As my personal contribution to this "amazonian kindling" era, I will post (on a regular basis) the latest ebooks, including links of websites that provided affordable copies or maybe at its best price: FREE! There are existing sites that maintain database of free ebooks, especially the classic ones. Once in a while, Amazon US is also offering free of charge copies in a limited period of time. The Amazon UK is currently offering 1-pound for a selection of ebooks until 06 January 2011. There are also promo deals for less than 1 sterling pound.

This week, I already downloaded dozens of copies in my Kindle with back-up in my laptop. Even if you dont have Kindle or ereader device, you can still read these books using your computer/laptop/netbook. The application can be downloaded from Amazon website or click the photo above. Later on, when you finally got your ereader gadget, it is easy to transfer the files from the computer.

As a simple bit of advice: Prior to your travels, it is more convenient to purchase or download your ebooks from your laptop/PC to your Kindle device. It is more easier and manageable in organizing them, instead of having them purchased during your trips.

Please note that are restrictions in terms of downloading ebooks overseas/abroad, so to avoid problems on credit card transaction, it is more advisable to verify your purchases thru the confirmation receipts being forwarded to your email address or you can manage it thru your Amazon account before you leave your country of residence.

With the start of new year, you maybe interested to check some of my ebook selection, available for download through your PC or directly to your Kindle or any any ereader device. Enjoy and share the fun in reading!

NOTE: Some of the interesting sites that offer freebies are shown below. You can be a member of these sites as well for managing your bookshelves (from wish list to purchased ones).

1. Manybooks. The site is also advertised in Amazon which contains thousands of ebooks. If you are interested with classical novels, then this is for you. For example, I did find stories written in Tagalog or Filipino or novels written by Filipino authors/writers.

2. Smashwords. Very simple site but quite beneficial for people who want to start their careers in publication. The site allows members to upload their stories for free or market it for a minimal cost. It also allows members to download the files in various formats and shared it various socialnetworking sites such facebooks, twitter, etc.

3. Feedbooks. It is similar to Smashwords but it has a link that list down the popular ebooks every week. It has limited options for downloading formats and for sharing.

Reminder: The featured ebooks above are free for downloading, however it does not guaranteed that it will be free from the time you have access to these books. You have to check it first before downloading them, otherwise you will be charged. Majority of the classics ones are free!

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Created by Eugene Villar.