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Boracay revisit – 2nd time’s the charm!

August 1st, 2010 No comments

My first trip to this small but famous island in Philippines was in May 2009, about 10 months ago. Due to the flight delay and subsequently flight changed, I had less than 48 hours on the island in total, which means I have to leave with regrets of not able to explore much of what the island has to offer. I am pretty sure I was saying this to myself when I was leaving the island: I’ll be back (without Arnold’s accent, of course)!

True to myself, I made the trip again in late March 2010. This time around, I have 4 days on Boracay itself and another day in Manila. I wish I had 6 days on Boracay as I was having so much fun there. In retrospect, there are no Malaysian island retreats that can offer an island holidays like Boracay can – in fact, we are not even close, except in one aspect – diving. Perhentian and Tioman Island are way better in this regard IMHO. Time to plan for a Perhentian dive trip, but that’s a different story…

Back to Boracay trip.

Getting To Boracay

Not easy to go Boracay from Kuala Lumpur, and not cheap, especially for last-minute air tickets.

Intermational Leg – some options:

  1. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) have direct flights to Manila and connecting flights to Cebu (via Kota Kinabalu), but these routes are normally expensive. RM1500 up for a round trip.
  2. Cebu Pacific has one daily flight plying Kuala Lumpur/Manial route, but it flies on odd hour.

    Odd hour flight for Kuala Lumpur -> Manila route

  3. Budget airline Airasia flies to Clark Airfield (formally known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, DMIA), about 2 hours from Manila’s main airport Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), where most of the domestic flights are taking off.

I ended up use option #3 above, and paid RM800 round-trip 2 weeks before the departure date. Should be able to get cheaper price if book in advanced.

Domestic

DMIA is airport-of-call for a handful of Asia’s budget airlines, and thus attracted a few bus liners plying DMIA <-> Manila route. Both Parkas and Philtranco bus liners are having terminal at Pasay City along EDSA. It took 2.5 hours for me to reach Pasay from DMIA (350 Ps one-way) during mid day – EDSA’s traffic can be very bad. From Pasay terminal, NAIA is just ~15mins away by taxi. Insist on meter-taxi, < 150 Ps.

There are many domestic airlines to choose from in order to reach Boracay Island. The nearest airport is Caticlan (airport code: MPH)

The domestic flight that I booked is Air Philippines Express, which operates from Terminal 3 (same goes to Cebu Pacific, while Philippines Airline operates from T2). Security is tight even though this is domestic terminal, requires to take off shoes when going through the security gate.

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Serendipity: Truong Tien Bridge, Hue, Vietnam

August 1st, 2010 6 comments

We kinda bump into this bridge. Hard to imagine this, but we really didn’t know about the existence of this bridge before we literally walked on it – we suck in planning our travels. It was the evening of 17th July 2010, we had the cab dropped us near a supermarket at the imperial city side of the Hue City after our dinner. Afterwards, we decided to walk back to our hotel, which is not that far away based on the simple map that we’ve got from the hotel’s uber-cheerful receptionist Tú.

Truong Tien Bridge, Hue, central Vietnam. Majestic at night when the ever-changing lights give a new lease of life to the cold metal structure.

Then we meet. Us and the Truong Tien Bridge. It is a 2-lane, 6-span metal bridge with narrow pedestrian walkway at both side, over the Huong River (a.k.a. Perfume River). It is painted colorfully by the ever-changing lights, from white to red, green, blue, yellow, all in different hue (no pun intended). The bridge is grand by its own, but with the lights giving it a different color & personality every few seconds, it is just majestic. We were busy taking photos while crossing it and before we reached the other side (< 500m I’d say), Ben’s camera battery ran flat. While he was running back to the hotel to have the battery charged for a short-while and then come back for more, I have the whole bridge for myself. (Well, not really. Like with few hundreds of the locals).

This was the only night that we overnight in Hue. If we didn’t happen to be here now, we are going to miss it like forever.

In life, some great things just come to you without you asking for it. You are so ecstatically happy that you wish the time can freeze at this moment eternally for you to to own it forever. But it is not to be. You let go reluctantly. And look forward for the next serendipity.

More photos after the fold – my futile effort trying to capture the moment as present, but then, it has been past.

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