Shanghai Calling:A Paris of the East Journey

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Oddysseus Almanac

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“Everyone has a life’s calling”. Each person’s calling is unique and distinctive and in alliance with personality traits and talents. Throughout your life, your calling surfaces over and over again, sometimes in obscure ways or in areas that you have ignored. Your calling may not be the most lucrative thing you had in mind and this is oftentimes one of the reasons why it is overlooked. When you operate in your calling, you will have a deep sense of peace and an overwhelming feeling of personal satisfaction. You will find that you are just one piece of a larger puzzle, and that your impact will felt by more than just you.

_44669984_258b9d95-0f70-4d36-9c39-13e3b5b06869

Summer,29 days after leaving the portals of the colossal premise of our university a life changing and trotting – experience embrace me and shiver down my spine. A trip that I couldn’t ever fathom that will came into realms…

View original post 1,120 more words

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FACING THE GIANTS: UNLEASHING THE HIDDEN GRANDEUR OF ISLA GIGANTES

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Oddysseus Almanac

This little gem radiates like a sapphire and gives me such feeling that somewhat a giant is waiting to be either conquered or explored beneath its threshold.

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When i was a little  boy I’m am so amazed and astonished to hear stories  from various mythology and legends of many different cultures include monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. “The Giants”.In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic people are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian, Nartian, Hindu or Norse. There are also accounts of giants in the Old Testament, most famously Goliath. Attributed to them are extraordinary strength and physical proportions. Fairy tales such as Jack the Giant Killer have formed our modern perception of giants as stupid and violent monsters, sometimes said to eat…

View original post 1,794 more words

FACING THE GIANTS: UNLEASHING THE HIDDEN GRANDEUR OF ISLA GIGANTES

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This little gem radiates like a sapphire and gives me such feeling that somewhat a giant is waiting to be either conquered or explored beneath its threshold.

IMG_7483

When i was a little  boy I’m am so amazed and astonished to hear stories  from various mythology and legends of many different cultures include monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. “The Giants”.In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic people are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian, Nartian, Hindu or Norse. There are also accounts of giants in the Old Testament, most famously Goliath. Attributed to them are extraordinary strength and physical proportions. Fairy tales such as Jack the Giant Killer have formed our modern perception of giants as stupid and violent monsters, sometimes said to eat humans, especially children (though this is actually a confusion with ogres, which are distinctly cannibalistic). The ogre in Jack and the Beanstalk is often described as a giant. However, in some more recent portrayals, like those of Roald Dahl, some giants are both intelligent and friendly, as in Gulliver’s Travels.

But hold on a second… Look what I’ve found out that made my summer getaway a perfect one! A summer that incorporated snorkeling, spelunking (Caving), island hopping,nature trekking and seafood galore. I found a Giant! A giant of life trotting-experience.  A humongous  form of a beauty, mysticism and concealment that looms in this majestic silhouette of nature. Isla Gigantes…..

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Isla Gigantes is a group of islands off the coast of Carles and Estancia .It is considered now as one of the last ecological frontier in Northern Iloilo by some it’s a place wherein cluttered of lush green jungles meet the compelling pristine waters and once you visited this virgin paradise you just stop from coming back. It is one of the least travelled locations in Iloilo because it is not that accessible. They don’t even have a regular electricity and communication signal there. Even though I was born and raised in Iloilo, I haven’t gone to this place which is only a few towns away from our place. But now, Its has already been discovered by many and by the word of mouth and the influence of internet, Its enchanting beauty has already captured the heart of many Filipinos, foreign and even the media.

Friends of mine would say “Why Isla Gigantes?”Isnt it dangerous there?”often i smiled back and leave them with 2 words to ponder-“Simply Irresistible”My total admiration drove the idea of posting such article for the readers and future travellers that eyed this magnificent hidden gem.

How to get to Isla  Gigantes?

Travel cheap to Isla de Gigantes, Carles, North of Iloilo. A group of paradise islets and a center of marine biodiversity of the Province of Iloilo. Actually, saying that getting their costs a lot of money is a misconception. There are still other islands that dot the waters of Northern Iloilo   so many sights to explore and discover! For those who want to visit Gigantes Island for themselves, Estancia Port is the main jump off point to Gigantes Islands

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Everyone can travel like the locals there do. The Bus Usually, the rendezvous area would be the Estancia, in Estancia port. From Iloilo, Roxas or Kalibo, catch a ride going here. The Boat The boat leaves only once a day at 2 PM. Take the Saint Micheal boat because it goes directly to Gigante Norte where the Gigantes Hideaway Inn  Resort is located. You should be at the port at least 30 minutes before the trip if you don’t want to miss it. The journey takes 2-3 hours,  The most comfortable place to sit down is by the window. (80 pesos). I would always advice to take the passenger boat because its bigger than the package boats hired by the resorts to pick you up from the Estancia port. When arrived to Isla de Gigantes, it will be like after sunset. The breathtaking views will be replaced by your adrenaline rush to jump onto the bamboo raft to take you to the shore. Secure your backpacks with some plastic bags so it won’t get wet just in case you drop it. People on the boat will give you a hand anyway. The Habal- Habal It is the means transportation in the Island. It’s a motorbike which is 10 pesos each ride or more if you hire them all day. But from the port, it will take you to the resort for only 10 pesos

Myth of Isla Gigantes

Isla  Gigantes boasts of pristine and raw beaches that are exuding charm and mystery. Legends and folklore immediately speak as I arrived in the island at night. Legends have it that the Gigantes Islands are reigned with “giants” way back then, and this is supported with artifacts found in one of its many caves(giant coffin). According to the local folklore,the giants who once  inhabited the island were destroying  the environment that a fairy(diwata) and other mythical creature cursed them and prophesied that the next generation of the islands inhabitant or their descendants will no longer be of great size and force.

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Giant Coffin Relics found in Gigantes Cave

 

Some fisher folks and native of the island testified that it was named after the sky scrapers like and towering tress which they named after the island. I didn’t see real giants when I stayed there; what I saw instead are warm people standing tall and proud like a giant with their prized possession: the islands itself.

Where to stay

Basically, all of the lodging houses for tourists in the Gigantes Islands is located in Gigantes Norte.  Some lodging houses are in Barangay Granada, but the one where we stayed at, the Gigantes Hideaway Inn, is located in Barangay Asluman, which is in the other side of the island.

The Gigantes Hideaway Inn Resort is more of a resort than a simple inn – it’s a collection of beach cottages in an extensive “open” compound.  It has basic amenities, and notable for its very strong water pressure.  The water is directly sourced from nearby mountains and it’s actually safe to drink, although it has a distinctive taste.  Like the rest of the island, there’s electricity for around 5 hours every night, but the resort has a generator that can be used to extend this, probably for a certain fee.

The Gigantes Hideaway Inn is owned by Joel Decano, who is also a tourism officer in the islands. As there’s almost no cellphone signal in the islands, you might need to be patient with Joel if he can’t answer your inquiries right away.  He spends half of the time in Estancia, and that’s where he’s able to check his text and online messages.  He prefers that you call up rather than just texting.

 

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Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn

Rock formations

The picturesque line of jagged cliffs in the southern part of Isla Gigantes is worth a visit. The scene could almost be mistaken to be in the exotic seascapes of Palawan or in Thailand. It is astonishing how nature could have made this formation over centuries.

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The Spanish Colonial Light House and Church

Sitting a kilometer away from  Gigantes Hideaway Inn Resort for an outstanding viewing of a perfect sunset in Brgy.Asluman Gigantes Norte is the towering and nauseating height of the white and huge Spanish Colonial Light House.Fear of heights needs to conquer as the altitude of the stairs going up to the pinnacles of the light house gives you a nostalgic feelings.Far behind it is a wreck  brick old Spanish structured church that display the relics of religious belief of the former in inhabitants of the island

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Baquitan Cave

Another exceptional place to visit in Isla is “Baquitan Cave,” which can be reached by conquering a steep cliff and entering a hidden forest on top. The trek to the top is not for the weak, the incline is around 45 to 70 degrees  and 200+ feet high, however, the effort is worth it after seeing the spacious caverns inside the cave with its otherworldly mood and rock formations. The cave is surprisingly well-lit because of several holes on the cave’s roof, which form an atrium of sorts. It would take two hours to reach the other portal of the cave together with  a two tour guide inside.

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Tangke”The Saltwater Lagoon

Tangke,” a salt water lagoon formed by a surrounding wall of monolithic cliffs. Tourists can take a dip and immerse themselves in the serenity of nature. Of all the places I’ve been, this island stands out the most. It is a wonder lagoon that mistakenly be thought of just a simple rock formation covering the entire islet. If you just pass by, you’ll never guess inside it lies a lagoon having a turquoise body of water that a smooth white sand underneath gives a clear reflection of the water and indigo skies. The best time to visit here is when it’s high tide so the water is deeper. It’s a warm and relaxing seawater, you’ll surely be reluctant to leave. This will give you a tour of this God’s given gift Philippines must be proud of. The boat docks beside the piercing rocks and you need a balanced gate so jumping off the boat is quick and easier. Shoe cover is badly needed to prevent cuts because these covering rocks are unforgiving. Hiding the sacred lagoon that gets deeper on high tide season. As we drew nearer, everything becomes more exciting. I could peak on the holes of the rocks and was able to see the calm turquoise water.  The birds are flying and singing like celebrating. The various rock formations surrounding the lagoon is perfectly so good to be naturally designed like of a wise and fine architecture of old temples .The mysteriously crocodile shaped stone, for instance is in the middle of the water is a natural rock formed like. You’ll see how great and wise the Creator is. No plan to swim but the water is so inviting .Wild Bonsai trees grow on some parts of the rocks, giving the lagoon a perfect spectacular view. This island resembles El Nido in Palawan. And it is possible to go rock climbing as well, if you have the gears. Lots of trees to go green, amazing lagoon, is perfect to give more climax keeping this milieu splendid, that’s good for the heart and soul.

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Antonias Island Coral Reef Sanctuary

Another oasis of comfort is Antonia Island Coral Reef Sanctuary where you’ll be able to swim with a school of kaleidoscopic fishes above the coral reefs. This is also where I braved the scorching heat of the sun to have a swim. Except for our tour guides and the island’s caretaker, it was only me swimming in the island in midday, savoring the sea after a sumptuous lunch.

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Bantigue Sand Bar

Not far from Antonia is the Bantigue Sandbar which is also a magnet for tourist’s attraction. It offers a good view of a fiery sunset during low tide which is the only time you’ll be able to see for yourself it’s snake-like formation.

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Potential as Tourism Site

Truly, there’s really a big room for improvement but given more time, Isla  Gigantes would surely be a giant name in Philippine tourism. In retrospect this little gem radiates like a sapphire and gives me such feeling that somewhat a giant is waiting to be either conquered or explored beneath its threshold.

Shanghai Calling:A Paris of the East Journey

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5350094_orig

“Everyone has a life’s calling”. Each person’s calling is unique and distinctive and in alliance with personality traits and talents. Throughout your life, your calling surfaces over and over again, sometimes in obscure ways or in areas that you have ignored. Your calling may not be the most lucrative thing you had in mind and this is oftentimes one of the reasons why it is overlooked. When you operate in your calling, you will have a deep sense of peace and an overwhelming feeling of personal satisfaction. You will find that you are just one piece of a larger puzzle, and that your impact will felt by more than just you.

_44669984_258b9d95-0f70-4d36-9c39-13e3b5b06869

Summer,29 days after leaving the portals of the colossal premise of our university a life changing and trotting – experience embrace me and shiver down my spine. A trip that I couldn’t ever fathom that will came into realms of reality. Shanghai: Paris of the East, A journey to the most expensive city of Peoples Republic of China.

The moment that I passed my invitation letter from a close friend at China’s Embassy in Makati and got my China visa made me one of the happiest guy for that day. After the hustle and bustle in the embassy The long wait is finally over and it’s my flight day. My first ever international trip ever.(yahoo!im so excited!) I arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 around 5pm due to the fact that I need to board in my luggage’s early and some queries in the immigration. My flight will be ETD is 12Midnight.Its smooth with little turbulent flight crossing the aerial skies of China.

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Our plane landed in Pudong International Airport around 3:13am.Its spring Season in China that’s why temperature is kind of freezing that require you to wear a coat or a thick jacket. My friend Lara Olson(CEO International Gathering Together) is the host of this trip is waiting for me.After filling out the arrival form in Pudong , China immigration let me pass through.

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Throughout this trip I stayed in a very welcoming, elegant and hotel like accommodation house in Beverly Hills Shanghai where mostly American expats are residing.Ive experience how to live like am American and Chinese as well since the Olson’s is living for almost 6 years in Shanghai.

Oh my !im having to use a chop sticks!haha My day always started with a very sumptuous meal in Olsons place prepared by Chinese Ayi’s. and always end up with American dishes.(I’m starting to love turkey sandwich!)

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Concordia International School Shanghai

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My first sight-seeing happened is a chance to enter at Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) is an international school offering American, pre-collegiate programs focusing on a student-centered learning community. Located in Central Pudong where two kids of Miss Lara’s children Ian and Eric were studying. The ambiance of the school is the same in Movie High School Musical with a very humongous façade. Miss Lara gave me a quick tour and tried to introduce me to some of her friends and I saw some familiar faces of teachers which I met during the Vacation Bible School in Iloilo.

The Bund

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For a century the Bund has been one of the most recognizable architectural symbols and pride of Shanghai. Every morning people come here to do exercises and every evening they come to appreciate the view with their loved ones.

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The word ‘bund’ derives from an Anglo-Indian word for an embankment along a muddy waterfront and that is what the Bund was originally.

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When the first British company opened an office at the Bund in 1846, it became the epitome of elegance. Now many attractive new constructions have been erected in addition to the historical buildings. The attraction of the Bund is the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance designs that once housed numerous banks and trading houses of various Countries of which they are now housing local Chinese companies and are well illuminated at night.

Zendai Thumb Plaza Shanghai

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Zendai Thumb Plaza locates in the middle of Lianyang International community with the constructive area of 110,000 square meters. It contributes shopping, amusement, recreation, art, and catering together. The plaza provides you a one-stop, all-around and high-quality service, helping you to enhance your life quality.

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Zendai Himalayas Center has an expansive lifestyle hub located above Huamu Lu metro station. The unique space, designed by renowned architect Arata Isozaki, features a range of shops, restaurants and more bookended by the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel and the Zendai Himalayas Art Museum.

The core of the building is a spectacular ‘urban forest’ area that features twisting ‘limbs’ over a covered central terrace space. Surrounding this courtyard a number of restaurants and shops are already open, including a new branch for Greek Taverna, hydroponic outlet The Urban Harvest and Thai restaurant Tai Cook.There I enjoyed watching my first ever 4d Movie experience(Spiderman4D) in a deluxe and cozy cinema house.

Shanghai YuYuan Garden

To gain an appreciation for life in Shanghai’s Old city.

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Yuyuan Garden, a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai, dates back to the fabled Ming Dynasty. Now Yuyuan Garden, a place of peace and comfort tines back to the fabled Ming Dynasty. Now a popular tourist destination

Shanghai Maglev

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Shanghai Maglev Train (Shanghai Maglev Demonstration Line) is the first commercial maglev line in the world. The line runs between Longyang Road Station on the Shanghai Subway Line 2, to Pudong International Airport, and the journey takes no more than 8 minutes to complete the distance of 30 km (19 miles). It can reach up to 431 km/hr (268 mph) during the journey. In 2003, it was enrolled by Guinness Records to be the fastest train in the world in commercial use.

Inside the train, it is very modern, clean and comfortable, much like that in an airplane. Trained attendants are present. There is enough sitting space, since there are only 2 or 3 seats in a row. Air-conditioning is available and passengers can adjust the temperature by themselves. There is a LCD screen indicating the current running speed of the train. Many passengers pay close attention and some even take a picture, when the number of “431” appears on the screen

Shanghai’s Financial District

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Shanghai’s Financial District (Lujiazui) is located on the east side of the Huangpu River, directly across from the Bund in Shanghai China. It features dozens of architecturally attractive high-rise buildings and lovely urban parks.

The magnificent Jin Mao Tower, the 101 story World Financial Center and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower are the three most famous buildings in Lujiazui.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

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Shanghai Pudong International Airport (airport code PVG) opened in 1999 and is already the world’s 20th busiest airport and China’s 3rd busiest, hosting over 40 million passengers annually. The airport is a hub for both Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. The passenger complex consists of two terminals, T1 and T2, with a third terminal expected to open in 2015. There are two hotels on-site, the Ramada Pudong Airport Hotel and the JinjiangInn Pudong Airport Hotel. Located 30 kilometers southeast of the city center, the airport is connected to the city by the Metro Line Subway system and the Shanghai Maglev High-speed Train, which takes less than eight minutes.

I believe that this trip sent me for a reason that will have a significance in this world. I genuinely feel that we are all blessed with unique callings in life. The expression of our calling contributes to a cause greater that ourselves.Till we met again my dear Shanghai!