November 25, 2010

NI HAO MA CHINA: Jade Buddha Temple

On our last day before flying out of China, we went to visit the heavy in wow factor Jade Buddha Temple in the western part of Shanghai for 20 Yuan or Php138.

The temple was first built in 1882 but it was destroyed by the revolution. Fortunately, the statues were saved and in 1928 a new temple was built in the present site and it was named Jade Buddha.  It houses precious Jade Buddha statues that are not only rare cultural relics but are also elaborate porcelain artworks.

Although the history of the temple isn’t that old, its architecture is very grand and classic. Many rare and ancient statues, paintings and Buddhist scriptures are kept in the monastery. The temple consists of several halls, Heavenly King Hall, Grand Hall, Reclining Buddha Hall, and of course Jade Buddha Hall.

Jade Buddha Temple is a functioning monastery, monks still reside, study and pray in the temple and we were lucky enough to witness the monks perform a religious ceremony in the courtyard.

The burning of incense never seems to stop and feng shui red lanterns hang all over the temple, red ribbons tied in tree trunks, railings and stone lions with hand written prayers and wishes of good luck.


There is also a fish pond with a beautiful landscape near the exit of the temple. For 5 yuan you get to feed Koi fishes that could live up to 200 years old. Longer than you and I could ever live!

TIP: Highly recommendable place to visit.  Must not miss when in Shanghai. 

ADDRESS: 170 Anyuan Road, Shanghai

written by KIM 

November 16, 2010

MY PHILIPPINES: Roughing it up in Zambales

A 4 hour drive from Manila to Zambales for a 2 nights and 3 days of beach, booze and back to basics roughing it up living in Pundaquit.

Pundaquit is a local fishing village in the town of San Antonio, its waters face the Chine Sea and surrounded with mountains and hills and other islands.

(photo by MJM)

 Pundaquit beach
(photo by MJM)
Although there are other accommodations in the area, we opted to stay in a bahay kubo with no air- conditioning and no private bathrooms (ok so that was a lie, we have dilly dallied too much that all resorts in Pundaquit were already booked and we had no other options). The bahay kubo wasn’t actually that bad, it was clean, it had a functioning electric fan, 2 mattresses, a dining table and a stray cat. My only complaint was that the bath and restroom was communal, dark, cramped and stinky and you need to build up those muscle with the poso before you could take a shower.

our home for the next 3 days
(photo by MJM)

working out

Pundaquit is also the best jump off point to Anawangin Cove and Capones Island.  Capones is well known for its rock formations and white sands, and we took a 45 minute bumpy boat ride to get there.There’s not much to do in the island except to swim in the aquamarine waters, lounge around with a bag of potato chips, set up a picnic and bake in the glorious sun. There's no electricity, cottages, toilets, store and the signal was fluctuating so it was pretty perfect for a getaway.

45 minute boat ride to Capones Island (php 700)
the bangka can carry 5 persons including the bangkero

sharp rock formations all over the island

mj showing off her climbing skills

A Spanish era lighthouse also lies at the back of the island.

 Faro de Punta Capones better known as the Capones Lighthouse
 (photo by Ice Santander) 

It can be reached after an hours’ hike or you could take the shorter way that would require you to climb a steep flight of stairs after another boat ride.

 going up
(photo by Ice Santander)

We wanted to maximize our time so we opted for the latter. What the Bangkero failed to tell us is that it would require a lot of agility, patience and energy to actually reach dry land. In addition to the ride being bumpy because of the huge waves, the boat cannot dock on the shoreline so you have to get off the extremely unstable boat with the water at mid-waist. You then have to navigate on the slippery rocks while struggling against the waves and avoid slipping on the rocky bed.

 struggling to stay on our feet
(photo by Ice Santander) 

But it was a success and worth it.
 At the entrance of Faro de Punta Capones better known as the Capones Lighthouse
(photo by Ice Santander) 

 (photo by Ice Santander)

After the tiring battle against the ocean, we headed back to Pundaquit in time to catch the beautiful sunset.
Pundaquit sunset
(photo by MJM)

HOW TO GET THERE: Victory Liner buses travel daily from Manila to Zambalez.  Be sure to take routes going to IBA (Cubao to Iba php336.), it will take you to San Antonio bus station, from there take the tricycle to Pundaquit beach.  For schedules of Victory Liner trips visit there website:

November 12, 2010



MY PHILIPPINES: Lemlunay Dive Resort, Sarangani

Lemlunay roughly translates to “the good place one goes to in the afterlife” in the T'Boli dialect.

This dive resort situated in a precipice overlooking Sarangani Bay is some 33 kilometers from General Santos City Hall, so should only be about 20 minutes scenic drive.  Disclaimer: time is not to scale, just an approximate based on my driving skills.

Not far from the cliff where the resort is located is part of the Tinoto Wall that has become home to an abundance of diverse marine life and beautiful corals, attracting a lot of divers.  Paul Partridge, the resort manager/owner gives out diving classes with certificates.

Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez

For non-divers, there's an infinity pool and a seaside restaurant that serves great tasting home cooked comfort food. 

Poolside rooms P3,000
Ocean View rooms P2,500
*all rooms good for 4 person, maximum of 6 in a room.
Additional person P200.00 

HOW TO GET THERE: Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flies daily to General Santos City, from the airport, Lemlunay Dive Resort is only about 15 minute cab ride.
LOCATION: Brgy. Kamanga, Maasim, Sarangani Province 
TEL. NO.:  +63(928)524-4528 / +63(83)228-1704

written by KIM & MJ

November 10, 2010

DINING: Barbeking, Davao

Was pulling out of Victoria Plaza’s parking lot when a new sign caught my eye.

The timing was just perfect as my stomach was already grumbling, Korean for dinner it is!

Barbeking is a relatively new resto that opened last July 28 of this year and is owned by a Filipino doctor with a Korean chef and Korean consultants. The Korean manager greeted us at the door and within seconds we were seated. It was just past 6 and the only other patron is a family of 5, but as our dinner progresses the place was soon packed.

The menu came with an assortment of appetizers as Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (Banchan). Of course there was Kimchi (traditional Korean fermented dish made of varied vegetables and seasonings) some sweet potatoes, tofu, kaktugi (fermented raddish, tastes like kimchi but less spicy) and bean sprouts.

complimentary banchans

Main meal was Bibimbap, which literally translates to mixed rice. It is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed and seasoned veggies with chili pepper paste and diced meat. A pretty deep yellow farm fresh egg yolk was at center of the dish while the veggies are laid out in such a way that the colors complement each other making the presentation visually appealing. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

Bibimbap php240

We also had Sam Gyup Sal to go with our rice dish. Sam gyup sal means 3 layered meat - thick, fatty slices of pork belly, similar to uncured bacon. The meat is not marinated or seasoned, and cooked on a grill at our table. The grilled piece of meat is then dipped into sesame oil with freshly cracked pepper then to a mildly spiced bean curd paste before wrapping it with a fresh lettuce leaf together with a few slices of grilled onion rings and garlic.

Sam Gyup Sal on the grill php290

Sum Gyp Sal dip -  sesame oil with pepper and bean curd paste

fresh lettuce leaves for wrapping
JOEL the very knowledgeable and attentive waiter working the grill
ask for him on your visit

A tall glass of fresh ripe mango shake is at hand to cool off our palates when we get too enthusiastic with the chili paste.

Dishes are good for sharing and we paid 600php for the whole meal including drinks.

Haengboghan sigsa! (happy eating)

Enjoying the gustatory delights of Korea.

PRICE RANGE: php140-820
LOCATION: Victoria Plaza Compound, Bajada, Davao City
TEL. NO.: (082) 224-2238

written by MJ

FINAL CUT: The American President (1995)

I’ve been slacking around the house, nibbling on a seemingly abyssal bag of potato chips, watching a lot of cheesy old movies, and by cheesy, I mean Meg Ryan kinda cheesy and Annette Bening being the old.

To my surprise I actually liked When Harry Met Sally and loved the American President.

Not that American President, not Barack Obama.

November 9, 2010


Light towels are essential  to a  trekkers pack, it’s a convenient tool of drying oneself from the elements and bodily fluids (eeew, I know it sounded kinda off) plus it saves a lot of space and weighs less than any other conventional drying cloth (e.g. sarong, malong, cotton towel).

I don’t trek and I don’t hike but I sweat like a pig and I like traveling light so I own quite a few of them.

The lightest towel I own is the Lightload Travel Towels, 12x12 inches and weighs only .25oz (usd 2.75 pack of 2 on amazon). It’s so light and small I stick it inside my pocket together with my cellular phone, loose change and anti-itch lotion.

 Lightload Travel Towels available in the following sizes:
12x12 inches, pack of 2, 12x24 inches, pack of 3
30x60 inches, beach towel and Full size beach towel
available only at and at 
lightloads online:

Lightload towels are made with 100% viscose fabric (made from cellulous of plant cells), it feels like cotton but is much absorbent, they are also machine washable and actually last very long with the proper washing. The packaging is waterproof so anytime you get soaked in water your towel remains dry (assuming you haven’t unpacked it yet).

The Sea to Summit Dry Lite Towels on the other hand is a tad thicker than the Lightloads but still lightweight and compact, the material is made with fast drying microfiber and a suede finish for that extra soft feel.  Although it doesn’t come with a waterproof and a really cute packaging, it is remarkably absorbent and incredibly fast drying.

 Sea to Summit Dry Lite Towels available in 
Jade Green, Cobalt Blue, Eucalyptus Green and Outback Red

 also available in different sizes:
12x24, extra small, 16x32, small, 20x40, medium
24x48, large and 30x60, extra large
 available at all branches of The Travel Club and
The North Face shops

While the Lightloads are great, the fabric is a little too flimsy, too soft, too light and too thin and sometimes too cute I don’t want to take off its original packaging and not use it all.

Sea to Summit is hands down the best towel I’ve had, works like a miracle everytime.


written by KIM

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