Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why Travel Tuesday: Jakarta, Indonesia

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features a photo from the notoriously dirtiest and most congested city in Southeast Asia: Jakarta, Indonesia.)

Cikini-Menteng Area at Night, Central Jakarta, Indonesia
The evening rush hour chaos and traffic along a street near Central Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Largest Mosque in Indonesia and in All of Southeast Asia: The Istiqlal Mosque

A large white building with a spherical dome on top was visible from the street by the central train station. I had just reserved a train ticket for the next day and I decided to walk towards the tall structure. It would not dawn on me until I reached the main building's interiors—its open and spacious five-storey prayer hall—that I had just walked in largest mosque in the largest Muslim country in the world—the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Istiqlal Mosque, Central Jakarta, Indonesia
The largest mosque in the largest Muslim country in the world: the Istiqlal Mosque

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why Travel Tuesday: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features a photo from a stunning corner of Singapore: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.)

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore
The stunning golden interiors of Singapore's Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Where I Do a 180 and Declare My Love for Singapore and My New Singapore Food Favorites

Maybe it was arriving yet again at the best airport in the world, Changi International Airport. Maybe it was landing here 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Maybe it was the fact that it was the first time I was out of the country again after being confined back home in the Philippines for six months. But as I made my way out from Tanjong Pagar Station towards the hallowed halls of Maxwell Food Centre, never mind that it was a hot and humid midday or that I had been up since 2 a.m. to catch my flight, I was feeling particularly giddy and overall happy that I was once more in Singapore.

Marina Bay, Singapore
One of the best places to go in Singapore in the evenings: Marina Bay

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ramadan in Indonesia and Celebrating the Breaking of the Fast in the Largest Muslim Country in the World

"It is usually the fathers and the sons whom you will see hugging each other and crying. It is very touching, Paul," my host Ericka explained to me as we joined the large throng of faithful Muslims all handsomely dressed in traditional Javanese clothing out in the streets that morning.

"They fight and quarrel with each other all year, but today, they come together and ask for forgiveness."

We had just heard a very special morning mass celebrated on this very special day here in the small town of Bondowoso in East Java, Indonesia. The crescent new moon had been spotted last night marking the end of puasa or month-long fasting. Ramadan was officially over and this day, Muslims around the world would celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast.

Idul Fitri (End of Ramadan) in Bondowoso, Indonesia
A Muslim girl in Bondowoso in East Java joins the large throng of people to hear mass in the morning of Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Backpacking Itinerary: Malaysia in Four or Five Days

I knew I was not in for anything much during my few days visiting Malaysia. At the time, I had already gotten used to slow travel that grasping all that Malaysia has to offer in four or five days would be quite difficult. Malaysia is after all quite a diverse nation, and a country whose history forms a significant part of the history of the whole of Southeast Asia. I came in knowing that I will only be, to put it in cliché terms, scratching the surface. Still, the visit yielded a few surprises for which I was very happy.

Hopefully, this short backpacking itinerary of Malaysia in four or five days will help those planning a short visit, too.


Backpacking Itinerary: Malaysia in Four or Five Days