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A Scary and Turbulent Flight Back Home

Have you ever took a plane and got scared when you are up there? Or you have taken a plane and you were not nervous but someone made you so? Or have you taken a plane when someone is SO nervous that you have been contaminated by him/her? I don't know your answer but for me, the answer is YES!

I have this experience to share with you. It was at least my tenth time boarding the Cebu Pacific Air plane. That certain flight, which was from Malaysia to Philippines last September had a departure time of 2 in the morning so it was very dark in the air and I could not enjoy the usual window view of the things down as we flew. . It was a bit rainy and cloudy night and the flight had a constant warning to fasten the seatbelts due to turbulence.

However, there was one passenger with us, just across our row, who was not able to handle all the turbulence and got a bit nervous. She was praying too loud on the plane that despite the noise, all of us could hear. She was murmuring "Lord God, save me. Lord God save me!". The rest of the passengers of course got concerned and called the attention of the flight attendants. Only by then that everyone realized that she already had oxygen/breathing difficulty. The good thing about it was the fact that the flight attendants were so quick and very supportive of the passengers' needs. They took a little oxygen tank and let the woman breath in it. Then, another flight attendant called on through a microphone for any doctor in the flight. And we were so lucky to have ONE in that certain flight and she obliguely volunteered to help and sat near the woman, who had the adjacent seat empty that time (what a coincidence!).

To make the story short, we all landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) safely and a bit satisfied with the flight. We have seen the good service during the flight and the helpfulness of everyone. The lesson to those fliers is: If you feel bad during the flight, do not hesitate to call for a help. That woman never asked for a help, she was only lucy to have concerned fellow passengers who called the attention of the attendants. And to Cebu Pacific Air, despite the fact that they have the lowest fare in town, they also do good service that time. Compliments. This airline has its website at www.cebupacificair.com. Just don't purchase in their main office in Manila though because both the Robinsons Galleria office and Robinsons Manila Office are always packed with hundred of ticket buyers.<\span>

Luggage Left in Dubai

We had this flight with Emirates from the Philippines to Italy. Since it is a bit far a distance, we needed to connect flight at Dubai International Airport. Although it was a flight with two Emirates planes, mistakes still occured when our luggage did not go with us as we arrived in Milan Malpensa Airport.

This story is a little funny and irritating for us. No problems with the plane for, I love the service and the fascilities.When we arrived at the Milan Malpensa Airport, the first news that greeted us was that we need to go to the information desk. There, we were informed that our luggage was left in Dubai! Practically, I had nothing with me! The clothes, the "pasalubongs" and all the things that were to be with me, except my documents were all in the luggage that were left over. The good thing is, the Emirates staff promised to deliver our luggage in three days. And they did. At least the damage done was controlled. No hurt feelings for Emirates. I will take the plane again if given the chance. It is cheaper, I have to tell you! Haha!

The Manila's China Town is Binondo!


During a group tour led by Mr. Carlos Celdran in Manila's Chinatown, we were told that one of his clients from China have considered the place as ""more Chinese than China". But to me, I can say that the place looks more of a hispanized area. But maybe it is the impression I got after I have seen the old Binondo Catholic chruch and have seen many horse- drawn coaches around which is for me, a Spanish thing in the Philippines centuries ago even the there are lots of Chinese kiosks and stores all around. The most remarkable of them is the gold store in the area.. Thus, to compromise our opinions, at least we may consider the place as a good blending of Spanish and Chinese cultures.

The place was a bit stinky, crowded, not beautiful and was very humid and dirty. It was a place of history for Filipinos though. Also, I have learned that Chinese believe that the wealth is not found outside, so no matter how dirty it can be out, those inside the houses might be keeping millions of pesos!

The Old Style Transport
In the busy roads of Binondo, where churchgoers come after another and jeepneys around the place are noisy and also in abundant supply, I have seen various coaches where a horse pull as guided by their respective coachman. Before we started our tour, I met up with some co-tourists that I know in the Binondo Church. It was really a lucky day because there was a wedding ceremony at that very moment. Quite a luck! It was a traditional Filipino/Chinese wedding in Philippines which is very posh! Even the foreign tourists who went with us was left in awe when they have seen the bride.

In that afternoon, our tour master made us experience the feeling of riding in the horse-drawn coach. We have toured around the Chinatown area carried by these kalesas, the local term for these horse-drawn coaches. A kalesa can carry three people, the coachman and the two passengers.

Rediscovering Binondo
Starting from the little fountain of the little plaza right across the Binondo church, we treaded through the famous Chinese streets named after some famous Chinese in the Philippine history. The Ongpin Street. Old Chinese houses and establishments are in the place to see on how they survive until now from a long time of existence. Of course, not to be missed is the current slums in the area with little children around shouting to us as we pass by telling that the horses smell bad because of their excretes. We took photos around and after visiting the tenants of the old Chinese house (yes, we did get in) and after our tour master has given his gifts and donations, we went back at the center fountain near the church. It was the end of the coach ride.

We then had a walk to the other side of the town where we tried various stores and tasted some Chinese delicacies especially their famous hopia. Old chinese buildings and offices as well as organizations/associations headquarters were introduced to us. We also went to the Chinese Shrine where the God of war is praised. Also, we proceeded to the Christianized Chinese altar.

The Old King Building
While we were still having the kalesa ride and amidst the heavy traffic among jeepneys and private vehicles around the area, we have managed to reach the Pasig river where the old big buildings were during the early days. There we went inside the old 3-floor Ayala building and we have seen that it looks something familiar and western. Only we have realized a little later that it is the location of some advertisement in TV for a famous Filipino fastfood, the Jollibee and where the singer-actress Sarah Geronimo was the indorser. The design and ambiance of the area seems foreign if given some imaginative touch and effects in the TV. It is closed for public though. We only had special permission to enter with the negotiation of our tour lead.

The Coachmen Converse<

As I was aboard the coach with another lady from the tour, I was holding a conversation with the coachman of our kalesa. It was a great feeling to be told first hand about the area. Generally, coachmen are gentle and sometimes offer their passengers to see how they raise the horse in the city and how they miaintain the animal at their backyard (if they have any in the slums). They are only, however, taking care of the horse as a source of livelihood. It is owned by someone else who is more better off in life and rent out the horses to coachmen in the area. The coachmen maintain the horse and pay the rentals to its owner at the same time.

One piece of advise though. If you happen to contract any coachman, don't let them overcharge you. If they know that ne is new in the place, they tend to take it for granted. This is true to most drivers of taxi too and not only in Manila it happens but also in other places (i.e. Malaysia).

A Great Afternoon!
The experience of taking the kalesa was really thrilling and it was wonderful to feel and do something like the people in the country before, especially during Spanish times, and to have experienced riding their kind of transporation.It was a necessity back then but now, it is a luxury to have this kind of ride because the fee for normal jeepney ride is Php 8 and the ride for the kalesa is Php 50 minimum. For us, however in the tour, we have paid Php 400 per coachman because of the long tour. It was worth the experience though.

Moreover, I have learned a lot of Chinese ideas that afternoon. I even burned a candle and have burned my wish to the Chinese God! Try to visit and Binondo area when you happen to visit Manila. Mabuhay. Or better, contact Mr. Crlos Celdran.because he will make your stay in Manila "different". I assure you!

Related Posts:
About Mr. Carlos Celdran and His Walk This Way Tour.

The Open Air Museum of Piazza Bilotti Nella Citta di Cosenza

Cosenza City is situated in the province of Cosenza too and it is in the Calabria, a south Italian region. I have been to this city at least five times both for official and social functions... and that includes malling! The city is not very big and it is very quiet as per my observation, or maybe this is my impression because the last time I have been there, it was raining and not so much people were on the streets.

Within the city, in the area stretching from the pedestrianized streets of Corso Mazzini until the Piazza Bilotti in the city of Cosenza, there is an open air museum called the MAB or Museo All'aperto Bilotti. This area hosts a wide range or modern day sculptures ready to be viewed and enjoyed by anyone passing by, be it a tourist or a local Italian. I have learned that these sculptures were donated by Carlo Bilotti, an American-Italian art collector. No wonder why the piazza) is named after him. Among the sculptures are Saint George and the Dragon by Salvador Dalì, Hector and Andromaca by Giorgio de Chirico, "the Bronzes" by Sacha Sosno, The Bather by Emilio Greco, The Cardinal by Giacomo Manzù and various marble sculptures by Pietro Consagra.

It was raining (as I have mentioned earlier) and pranzo (lunch) time when I passed by the place and was not able to take photos of all the sculptures. I only happened to take that of Salvador Dali. The next time I go to this place, I'll make sure that my digi cam is loaded and I won't hesitate to take photos. I share some by now but expect to have more in the future. Just try to see the buildings and castle in the hill... it just amaze me so much.

Is There a Beer in Heaven? It is Hard to Find in Malaysia!

When I was in Malaysia for at least two weeks, I have observed that there was a difficulty in finding a restaurant with a complete set of drinks like liquors and wines. The same is so with beer.

Beers and other vices products are very relatively expensive with other goods, especially when compared with food. It is because Malaysia is an Islamic country and even their promotional brochures tells that the general Muslim public do not drink liquors or wines or beers. Cigarettes are also relatively expensive.

A good piece of advice to those who lan to visit Malaysia is to ask first at restaurants if they have beers or liquors. Generally, only Chinese restaurants have these drinks. Islamic and Hindu restaurants do not have.

"La Fonte" Restaurant and Pizzeria

The thing that amazes me here in Italy is the food. There is a very wide variety and all these are tasty and very very yummy! Of course there is no equivalent for a Casa linga (home taste) but sometimes it is needed to stop by a restaurant and have some good time and try some food. One night, we happen to see and eat at La Fonte.

This place is a restaurant - pizzeria about 100 meters aways from the Villapiana Beach along the via Nazionale. This is in the province of Cosenza of Calabria Region. It is really a big place that can cater up to 300 persons and have also a wide parking area for diners who have cars with them. Even it was a bit dark when we dined I see that the ambiance is really good for the fact that it is spacious and there are arc ways from the parking lot towards the entance of the place.The parking area is far from the entance, thus, parked cars don't destroy the tranquil ambiance of the place. Before the entrance there is also an open air place for smiokers.

Inside, the decor is really good and sophisticated. There are framed photos of various famous comedians hanging on the wall. Wines are displayed at various shelves along the walls. A wide flat screen TV near the door is also ready for the diners. When we arrived, there were only two diners occupying a table but when we left, people were starting to come group after group and there were at least eight tables occupied with four persons each.

When it comes tot the food, the specialty is the "La Fonte" but I ordered the Capricciosa because I liked to have a mushroom in my pizza that time. My companions had their Pizza Rucola, (the one with beautiful red tomatoes), a Patatine Fritte (french fries) and Spaghetti Vongole (spag with sea shells). Of course these were coupled with drinks of beer (wine is plenty at home) and later on with desserts of gelato (ice cream). It was really a good dine for fifty euros and we were seated at the nearest table to the fire palce.

In case you visit at the vicinity and try to dine at this place (and I suggest you do), you may also call 0981 56254 for inquiries. It is "La Fonte" Ristorante - Pizzeria Sala Ricevimenti.