Amusing Travel Photos II

Here’s part II of amusing photos from Thailand and Vietnam with the brother modelling for a few snaps.

Both countries offer some of the more playful labels.

Check out part I here.

** THAILAND **

Chiang Rai.phorn store
wonder what they have in store besides wines | Chiang Rai
Bangkok. corny
corny bar | Bangkok
Bangkok. GH letter (819x1024)
a love letter | At Phranakorn Inn, Bangkok
Bangkok. Spiderman
Yamaha Spider Man | Bangkok
Chiang Mai. boys
boys cannot be Baht | Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai. cougar
want some cougar milk? | Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai. Frank
won’t the real Frank please stand up? | Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai. hill temple
wow, they give ships! | Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai. band
unique band name | Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai. dextrose water
dextrose water | Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai. night market
makes sense? | Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai. sports hero
my hero! | Chiang Rai

** VIETNAM **

Nha Trang supermarket
bomba! | Nha Trang
Dalat. bitchness
bitchness | Dalat
Hoi An Cua Dai Beauty Salon
enticing name for a salon | Cua Dai, Dalat
Dalat. fresh cement
what did the bird say to the horse? | Dalat
Hoi An monkey
save the monkey! |near Japanese Friendship Bridge, Hoi An
Nha Trang Cafe des Amis
when ice creams attack | Cafe Des Amis, Nha Trang
Nha Trang Cafe des Amis 1
great comment! | | Cafe Des Amis, Nha Trang

Amusing Travel Photos Part I

All it takes is a keen eye to capture funny and amusing photos and captions while travelling.

Here’s part I of our travel collection in South East Asia.

Got similar photos to share?

** CAMBODIA **

Battambang. court
first warning | Battambang
Battambang. World Mac
Apple competition? | Battambang
PP. ministry
recognizing beliefs | Phnom Penh
PP. discriminating restroom
discriminating restroom | along Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh
Kep. Koh Tunsay
generic resort | Koh Tunsay, Kep
SR. Pub Street tuktuk
cool tuk-tuk | Pub Street, Siem Reap
PP. angry bird stick food
angry bird stick food, anyone? | night market, Phnom Penh
SR. TM violation
trademark violation | Pub Street, Siem Reap
Battambang. choices
choices, choices | Battambang

** MYANMAR **

Yangon. Mr Bean Peek-a-Boo Bus
Mr. Bean peak-a-boo | bus station, Yangon
Bagan. beer promotion or cola
found out it’s an energy drink instead of a local beer but still, co-promoted by kids? | Bagan
Bagan. scary dolls
would you buy these dolls? | for sale in the morning market, Bagan
Myanmar bus stop to Hpa An
the most original sign I saw of a ladies’ CR | bus stop to Hpa An
Yangon. dove transport
dove bus | Yangon
Yangon. John Cena Jewellery & Souvenir Shop
I didn’t know he had a shop there| jewellery shop, Yangon
Yangon. Lost and Found
yeah, you can easily claim what you lost from the cabinet | hotel in Yangon

** LAOS ** 

Luang Namtha. complaint box
not sure if this was ever opened | Luang Namtha
Luang Prabang. carving
ooh, they carve anything | Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang. local KFC
local KFC | Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang. make blood
make blood | Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang. watering hole ad
cool watering hole ad | Luang Prabang
Savannakhet. assumption
well, ideally | Savannakhet
Savannakhet. confusing ad
breakfast for rent? | Savannakhet
Savannakhet. dig more
only Filipinos esp. Ilocanos can understand – staying true to its name | Savannakhet
Savannakhet. Museum comment 2
political statement | museum comment logbook, Savannakhet
Savannakhet. Museum comment 4
okay, Brian Kim | museum comment logbook, Savannakhet
Savannakhet. Museum comment
Like it! | museum comment logbook, Savannakhet
Savannakhet. scary mannequin heads
yeah, this is how you should attract (?) clients | Savannakhet
Savannakhet. TM violation
another trademark violation. 7/11 sure is famous | Savannakhet
store near GH. Luang Prabang, Laos
apparently, there is such a cigarette brand | Luang Prabang
The Indestructible Rock Restaurant. Luang Prabang, Laos
the indestructible rock | Luang Prabang
to Luang Prabang, Laos
Comment: “Hate this kind toilet is crazy charge me 2,000 kip”                      Reply (with arrow): “So better for you going back to your fancy and comfortable toilet at your home”                                                                                                @ a local comfort room | Udomxai to Luang Prabang
Udomxai, Laos
battle of the Miss-es | Udomxai
university ad. Vientiane, Laos
even universities uphold healthy eating | Vientiane
Vientiane 3
just stressing | Vientiane
Vientiane, Laos
why would you hang those in the tree? | near resto area, Vientiane
Vientiane. alligator shoes
crocs gone wild – these are famous with locals | Vientiane
Vientiane. Patuxai vandalism
and there were writings on the walls | Patuxai, Vientiane
got it? | night market, Vientiane
got it? | night market, Vientiane

Are You Smart?

Here’s some old news though not yet fully understood or accepted. After knowing about this, add to some of my favorite movies and talks listed below, I have now approached education and learning differently.

I learned this, ironically, in one of the leadership trainings conducted at work 2-3 years ago as part of employee management. But, I believe that this is more applicable to parents, teachers, yuppies (who would soon become parents) and students.

Traditional school systems, generally enhance intelligence and measure one’s potential for success through exams. Sounds familiar?

If someone’s weak at grasping basic concepts or formulas, the general advice is that person needs to concentrate more to up his grades or take some tutoring classes to improve. Medical terms like dyslexia or ADHD provide explanations for certain instances. We even have terms such as bobo, dumb, and dunce. There are, however, exceptions.

Dr. Howard Gardner developed the Multiple Intelligences Theory in 1983 stating that IQ testing to determine intelligence is too limited.

Yes, we have a lot of “successful” individuals in their chosen fields of study in the maths and sciences. (Do note, though, that success as defined here is the traditional definition. We all have our own definitions of it.) But there are also those who excel in various fields such as actors, athletes, writers, singers, dancers, etc.

source: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/Libraries/blog/multiple-intelligences-learning-styles.jpg
source: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/Libraries/blog/multiple-intelligences-learning-styles.jpg

Awareness of this makes us more open to how we approach education and IQ.

Here are some additional inspiring talks and thoughts about education and learning. Enjoy!

  • Indian Movie “3 Idiots”
  • Indian Movie “Every Child is Special”
  • American Movie “Dead Poet’s Society”
  • Sir Ken Robinson TED Talks: “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”  and “How School Kills Creativity”

“We’re Getting Maaaarried!”

Pre-nups.

To put it simply, pre-nuptial photos are “staged” photos of the engaged couple before their wedding day.

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen pre-nup photos of friends and family. It has become part of the modern day city couple’s “wedding package”. (And boy, what price to pay for precious moments!)

We admire the photos of the lovely couple beaming with excitement, looking at each other with sparkly eyes as the camera rolls and shoots at every possible angle.

It was March in Singapore when we witnessed a series of pre-nups in some of the city’s famous spots. I’ve never seen several pre-nups in a day like that day in the Singapore Botanical Gardens! Only three pairs chose different locations and gladly didn’t encounter another while enjoying their time.

I can’t resist sharing this through a blog just because. :-)

Here is a collection of those sneaked candid pre-nup snaps behind the photographers. Congratulations to all the couples!

NATIONAL MUSEUM, SINGAPORE.

I and my friend, Jen, wanted to visit the museum when we saw the colorful bride-to-be from one of the side doors. I didn’t waste time and pushed the door open to capture this photo.

Her gown added life to the building’s white-painted walls. She looked radiant beside her equally love-struck beau.

Singapore National Museum
pop of color in a sea of white

OLYMPIC WALK BY THE MARINA BAY SANDS SHOPPING CENTRE, SINGAPORE.

This time, I was strolling with my brother when we saw this couple in a suit and gown walking towards us. I thought they just came from their wedding or from shopping? *wink*

Apparently, they were following their photographer towards the shoot location in this central business district and shopping area. I salute the beau for supporting his fiancee by lifting her humongous gown while the bride-to-be balanced in her heels.

couple walk. Olympic Walk, Singapore
couple walk

GARDENS BY THE BAY, SINGAPORE.

We just finished watching the Garden Rhapsody light show when I saw the bride-to-be being photographed solo. I waited for the crew to set up and direct the couple before taking this snap of the pair.

Another perfect place for a pre-nup with the firefly-like super trees as background.

dance of the dragonflies. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Garden Rhapsody

SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS.

With the below collection of pre-nups in one day, I now believe this is the most famous spot for couple photos.

At first, I thought this was just a debutante photo shoot but when I saw the young man stand beside his lady love for the next roll, I stood corrected. I would have loved to visit the Evolution Garden first but I paved way for this moment.

Evolution Garden. Singapore Botanic Gardens
shooting at the start of time

Here’s another couple we met just a few metres away from the Symphony Orchestra Stage. They built a crowd of tourists taking photos of them. I think we all met at this point.

At this time, I told my brother I might have more photos of pre-nups happening around the garden than flowers or areas.

I was right!

2 Singapore Botanic Gardens
sweet-ums by the waterfalls

Just a few walks again from the second pair, we saw this two love birds in the middle of their shoot. I loved how they smiled at each other.

purple and pink. Singapore Botanic Gardens
happy in purple and pink

This was one off. She looked like a lost bride. Where’s the groom???

where's my groom?
where’s my groom?

The Bandstand – here became the meeting point of three couples who wanted to take photos by the gazebo. It was funny seeing them all meet in one area and giving way to each other to have their chance by the famed location.

5A Singapore Botanic Gardens
mass pre-nup photo

This was on the side of the Bandstand. The bride-to-be already wrote Mr. Right in her board while waiting for her beau. What do you think was on his board? I’m guessing Mrs. Always Right :-)

Finding Mr. Right and ?
Finding Mr. Right and ?

Ah, the classic top view shot in one of the wide trimmed area of the garden. I resisted to imitate the photographer’s shot. After all, I’m just a bystander.

7 Singapore Botanic Gardens
the classic shot

From being witness, I gathered that:

  1. March is the famous month for pre-nup shoots. I’m curious if they still consider June as their wedding month as widely known.
  2. Although the weather is warm, the sun’s up that helps in lighting and color except of course if they shoot at night like the couple who chose Gardens by the Bay.
  3. Most brides wore their wedding gowns on the pre-nups compared to the Philippines where brides usually don’t wear theirs. They reserve it for the big day. Instead, they base their costumes on themes they agreed with their photographer such as a 1950s theme or a movie scene.

If you were to ask me, I don’t think there is a significant importance of this to a wedding other than to give additional memories of the couple to them both. Some prefer to do away with it. Engaged or married couples, any comments? :-)

Watching pre-nups entertain me. Singapore gave it a whole new level of viewing experience!

Dalat – Vietnam’s City of Love

Cool weather all year round, pine trees, horseback rides, crops of fresh fruits (strawberries!), vegetables and flowers, swan boat lakes, slow-paced living. Don’t you want to live in a place like this?

Luckily, we have two cities in SEA that offer the very same characteristics: Dalat, Vietnam and Baguio City, Philippines. The former was a hill station of French soldiers during WWII while the latter was a hill station of American soldiers right about the same time.

Baguio City is my home city, so anyone who’s planning a trip to the Philippines can contact me if this city is part of your itinerary. Glad to be a local tour guide. :-)

I can talk a whole lot about my city but I’m dedicating this post to Dalat.

After three months travelling to different cities and towns across five SEA countries, I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived in Dalat. I and my brother can’t stop smiling as we looked around and compared similarities with our city back home. It felt like we were in a “Baguio” in Vietnam. Even locals looked like us so we really felt we belonged.

I knew immediately that Dalat is a cool city because of the pine trees that lined the paved highway from the nearby town.

tlx
just like home – pine trees and lake!

Their colorful cemetery, along the entrance to the city, is also a sight that can’t be missed. The peaceful, populated place is unexpectedly situated near greenhouses of blooms and greens.

You can always find a cheap place to stay on the chains of hotels and hostels along Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Truong Cong Dinh Streets. And if you’re feeling hungry, you can always go to the nearby market place to taste local dishes or head out to Big C Supermarket located under the sports complex area near the city lake.

Bicycles, motorbikes, xe oms and reasonably-priced taxis abound so you don’t have to worry going around the city after getting tired from walking or visiting long-distance tourist spots.

We only stayed three nights. I would have stayed longer if not for the limited time we had.

There are several places to visit around Dalat like the farms, national parks and water falls. We preferred to visit nearby attractions besides walking around the city and taking in the Dalat atmosphere.

1. Hang Nga Crazy House

h6
beautiful local tour guide

It was a really crazy house with its weird architecture. You can immediately spot this unique house from the rest of the neighborhood houses.

h1
alien-like structure

This piece of wild, imaginative architecture was designed by Mrs. Dang Viet Nga, daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s successor, Truong Chinh.

hg
Mrs. Hang Nga’s photos and articles

Mrs. Hang Nga has a PhD in Architecture in Moscow, Russia. Her personal project of a home transformed into a local tourist spot and guesthouse to help pay for dbts that accumulated through the years.

Local guides provide a briefing about the house’s history and the woman architect before you can go around the compound. After that, you can go around winding stairways that lead to either the roof, a guest room or a dead end.

h2
winding staircase

I am quite scared of heights but even for that, I still walked the rooftop walkway, holding on the supporting rails and carefully treading it while praying for my life. Kidding!

h7
my dreaded rooftop staircase

It’s more than architecture in that it’s like an interactive artful masterpiece. I love art and architecture so I was drawn to the house.

h3
looks like a house straight out of a story book

I just wonder if the owner receives complaints from its neighbors due to the daily number of visitors. :-)

2. Truc Lam Cable Car and Monastery

We chose to ride the cable car because it was something new. And despite my fear of heights, I braved the high elevation for the experience. It was a looong 10-minute ride heading towards the monastery. I swear, I was holding on to the side rails inside sitting very still while my brother goofed around, scaring me all the way.

tl6
pretending to be brave

The ride offered us an amazing view of rolling hills, pine trees, rooftops and rose gardens.

tl1
more pine trees!

At the end of the ride was the meditation monastery of Truc Lam.

the monastery entrance in the middle
the monastery entrance in the middle

I only knew it was a meditation monastery when we arrived there. The garden landscape of bonsais and colorful flowers captured my attention. Since the middle of our backpacking journey, I realized how I started liking flowers and gardens. Getting more in touch with my feminine side or the highlights of getting older or both? I’m not sure. I just started to love it!

tl4
bright, lovely flowers

We met several visitors that day which, I think, included reunions. I can’t help but take photos of these lovely women

tl2
girlfriends!
tl3
clan reunion?

Well, you can’t really meditate with a bunch of people around but if you move further away towards the lake, then maybe you can. I got out from the crowd and walked around. It was nice and peaceful.

tl
monk living quarters

We chose to get the round-trip cable car ride that afternoon. I came to terms a bit with the height so I was able to capture some more photos along the way.

3. Valley of Love (Fr. Vallee d’Amour)

Before it officially earned the name, the valley was just plain valley.

It became famous when newly-married couples started frequenting the place as part of their honeymoon. And we understood why.

awww, look at that!
awww, look at that!

The large expanse of the valley offers a more peaceful respite from the laid-back city. It has now become a famous tourist spot not only for couples but for families and friends.

20150310_101212
more flower gardens

Manicured gardens greeted us as we entered the gates.

swans and flowers
swans and flowers
butterfly garden
butterfly garden
the tap that filled the lake
the tap that filled the lake
well-maintained landscape
well-maintained landscape
a view on the lower ground area of the wide park
a view on the lower ground area of the wide park

And since it was the Valley of Love, topiaries, symbols of love like hearts, butterflies, couple padlocks, swan boats and other kitsch abound.

the Vietnam version of the love lock
the Vietnam version of the love lock

It was a themed valley! There were lots of hearts and love love love that day!

PhotoGrid_1428886611653

Even flowers started looking heart-shaped.

look at that!
look at that!

I was inspired to pose like a hopeless romantic waiting for Prince Charming. :-)

dream works?
wait, wait, wait

I saw a lot of hearts on that visit that made me not want to see another one. It was too much for me but it was a nice walk in a park where you can relax and just chill.

Dalat is my fave city in Vietnam – home away from home. <3

What I Gained and Re-learned from Backpacking

Backpacking is rough. Each encounter means a whole lot to someone who is new at it.

There were times I got stressed and weary just discussing with enterprising drivers or walking under the heat of the sun.

There is no one way of doing things. I thought what was applicable in my country was also applicable in others. It wasn’t.

I was glad to have experienced it all. I learned a lot being a nomad for a while.

Here are a few things I re-learned and gained from my first trip.

  • PATIENCE

I came from a fast-paced industry where every second is precious. Time is gold. I fidgeted when a template loaded slowly. A meeting or training started on time. There were constant organizational and operational changes. And by constant, it meant immediately or in a few days or weeks. Overtimes were somewhat expected.

And then I traveled.

Buses sometimes arrived late or broke in the middle of the journey. Schedules on terminals were relative. Town locals lived in unhurried paces. Time moved slowly as I waited for the day to pass during slack times on our trip.

I already thought about the shift from a fast-paced to a slow-paced environment. I didn’t realize it would come early on.

I learned patience as I shifted gear.

  • HUMILITY.

At work, you first get recognized by what you do and how you do things. On the road, you are recognized by who you are, where you’ve been, where you’re heading, how you’re traveling. You talk about places and experiences instead of career progression or your activity during the weekend.

Titles have no bearing. Unless you stay in plush hotels, you get the same treatment as the rest of those staying in the same guesthouse or hostel which is not to say below par. For the most part, it was actually accommodating.

I got inspired by older couples or individuals who, as picked from conversations, had the capacity to travel in style but preferred to rough it up.

It was a humbling experience meeting and talking with them.

  • MORE CONFIDENCE.

I thought I already had enough confidence to deal with people same way that I did while I was still working in the corporate world. I was wrong.

Sure, I can confidently talk to bosses and partners about work all day but outside that circle, in a social scene, I fumble. I grapple for interesting topics to keep a conversation going besides the usual topic of what we do.

I found it was immensely different out there on the road.

I gained more confidence by meeting friends of mutual acquaintances and striking a conversation with them. I used my new-found confidence to meet more fellow travelers on the places we stayed at, on rides to another town or city, or on tourist spots as we walked around.

It made me more confident in a way that if it were in a social scene, I believe I can handle it better this time. :-)

  • TO BE GRITTIER.

Webster defined grit as “mental toughness and courage in the face of hardship or danger”. I think confidence is an ingredient too.

There were several times we had to discuss costs with service providers such as in transportations, accommodations and shops. We negotiated and agreed or disagreed. We declined if the price was not right or the package was not according to what was informed.

We learned to be tough and to stick by what we wanted if we knew it was the best way, given prior researches online. We look for alternatives until we get the nearest best choice.

Some approach strong. We had to play on the same level; otherwise, we lose. But we know when to stop and move on.

  • INCREASED MATURITY.

They say that maturity comes with age. That is partially true.

Maturity comes with the way we handle ourselves, our decisions. Age isn’t the only determinant.

Older travelers are, by default, pleasant to talk to. With years of experience going around and meeting people, they shared many inspiring stories. I hope I can be like them in the future, with eyes still sparkling like children as they talk about their adventures.

On the other hand, there were the young backpackers fresh out of school (high school or university) or taking a break from it. The perception usually is that young backpackers party a lot and talk about mundane or mediocre things. Yes, we’ve seen some but we were also fortunate to meet others who handled conversations well. These young backpackers, mostly from the West, aged 18 to early 20s have more years to explore the world. They amazed me with their confidence and maturity, I sometimes forgot they were younger than I am. They used the money they earned from working part or full-time to travel.

They believed travel is an investment necessary for growth. Who would argue?

  • BEING MORE OBSERVANT.

I’ve been observant even as a kid. I guess it was part of my rearing. It got more intense when I explored. The more I opened myself to experiences, the more I saw life unfold in front of me.

I’ve seen the good things and the harsh realities of people, practices and cultures.

Those were life strings, stories worth sharing and remembering.

Observation is a key element in writing. Travel watered my passion more through this.

  • EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL.

I met backpackers who worked for a year to travel for another, while some were on a gap year before they go back to school. Others have been traveling all their lives, immersing in languages and cultures. Some were there on contractual work.

Locals spoke about their lives, cultures, beliefs and politics. They shared a walk or a short conversation before going about their business.

Life unfolded in a shared table or ride. Overwhelming responses to simple questions gave way to bigger discussions. It was an inexplicable feeling.

  • BETTER APPRECIATION OF THE SIMPLE AND BASIC THINGS IN LIFE.

We’re living a consumerist life. We buy things, even those that we don’t need, to fill up our already full homes.

I have shoes, bags, accessories, clothes and other personal items that I stored in three big boxes prior to travelling. It is still a small collection for the average city lady but I now find it too much for what I really need. I need to de-clutter – a project I’m pursuing next month! :-)

I’ve lived my life on a backpack for almost four months, simply, with fellow backpackers and locals. Luxury became clean sheets, just enough clothes, hot shower and simple food on the street. I felt light.

  • YOU COULDN’T HAVE IT ALL.

Each one has flaws. Even we lack basic things at times. We complain when we don’t get what we want. In our comfortable lives, we rant at even the smallest of things like a broken microwave or a chipped finger nail.

When we backpacked, we experienced differences.

We’ve been to places where only a minivan transports a load of people from a place to another. Imagine the small space! Accommodations varied in various places. Some were cheap, some were expensive. Some had private baths with hot shower, some had shared bathrooms. Some had fans, some had air conditioners. A large bowl of noodle soup in one place was a medium one in another for the same price. We had the best and worst seats in buses and trains. Foreigners paid higher entrance fees on tourist spots than locals.

It was all part of the journey. Reality bites – we don’t get equal treatment. But we can work with what we have to get going, other than asking for a better share.

The world has a lot to offer. We just need to open ourselves and taste, feel, see, hear and smell it.

The best memories are those that fill our hearts, not our house. We remember them over and over again. We tell them to anyone interested to listen. Our eyes glitter every time we retell and remember. Sometimes, tears even well up in our eyes.

Experience is really the best teacher. Need I say more?

Average or Beautiful?

Hi everyone!

I’ve been offline for a while again to focus on some personal and home projects that I’m kicking off this April since I’m back in the Philippines. Watch out for more active feeds by next month as I settle in back home, dedicating some months for creative purposes. :-)

Here’s a post I wanted to share since it resounds strongly with me.

I dislike social experiments that test people’s reactions in most ways but I just watched an infomercial of a soap brand that makes women think twice about our perception of ourselves.

Dove did a social experiment where they labeled two doors in buildings “Average” and “Beautiful”. It’s the usual doors but just for a day, it had labels. Women who usually walked those doors paused for a moment before deciding which door to enter in. The result surprised me!  I realized I used to think about myself the same way back when I had so many insecurities. I still have some insecurities. I know I can’t have it all just like everyone but I gained confidence along the way that made me feel happy about myself.

Click on Dove’s Social Experiment to watch the vid.

If I were to choose, heck, I’d always choose the “Beautiful” entrance no matter what!

Share to all women out there.

Whatever race, color and background we come from and despite our imperfections, we are beautiful! Nobody is perfect anyways. Let’s love our physicality and improve our definition of self-image. <3 <3 <3

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