Is Surabaya Worth Visiting? Here are 17 Interesting and Fun Things To Do

This list takes you to the 17 interesting and fun things to do in Surabaya that I discovered during my trip there. Enjoy!

The first few places that would definitely come to your mind when talking about a travel to Indonesia would be Bali, Yogyakarta, or maybe the capital city Jakarta. However, this archipelago nation has definitely more to offer, and most of them are not really known to international tourists. One of these places I am talking about, which is apparently popular to domestic tourists but not to people who travel internationally is the city of Surabaya, the second largest city of Indonesia. Now, the question: Is Surabaya worth visiting?

Aside from being a big populous city in Indonesia, Surabaya has a lot to offer to tourist in terms of culture and history, since a lot of historical events leading to the independence of the modern day sovereign Indonesia happened in Surabaya. Moreover, Surabaya is a port city, meaning it is a typically busy area like any other major city in the world. Also, Surabaya is very well know because of its blazing humidity — even more humid than Jakarta!

I had the chance to travel to Surabaya because I attended an academic conference, and I should say this city exceeded my expectations. I was able to get to know amazing people, it has so many museums, and its hustle and bustle is not as frustrating as other cities. I don’t know about you, but lately I would rather travel to places which are not frequented by tourists, like Surabaya.

ALSO READ:
SURABAYA, INDONESIA TRAVEL GUIDE 2020: Things To Do, Where To Stay, etc.

So without further ado, here are some spots I visited during my travel to Surabaya, Indonesia:

Arab Village

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Arab Village. Photo by whiteboardjournal.com

Surabaya, being one of the multi-ethnic cities in Indonesia, has an Arab District which resembles a typical medina in an Arab country. It is a very busy area where a lot of commercial activities are taking place everyday.

Sanggar Agung Temple

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Sanggar Agung Temple. Photo from sewabussurabaya.com

Also known as Hong San Tang, this Chinese temple has become a popular tourist spot in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is located in Pantai Ria Amusement Park.

House of Sampoerna

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The beautiful lobby of House of Sampoerna
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: An exhibit at House of Sampoerna featuring Heroes Month celebration photos

It is apparently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia which features everything about Sampoerna, the biggest cigarette brand in Indonesia. They showcase the history of the cigarette industry in the country, how the business started, and the legacies it gave to the people of Indonesia. Aside from the museum, it also has exhibit rooms which everyone could use for free. When I went there, I was able to witness a photo exhibit for the Heroes Day, which was, by the way, super awesome!

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Heroes Monument

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Statue of Soekarno and Hatta at Heroes Monument Surabaya

Heroes Monument is the national symbol of the Indonesian struggle for independence, and this monument is dedicated to those who dedicated their lives during the Battle of Surabaya on 10 November 1945. The area has a very peaceful vibe and you could really feel how people value the independence that they got from the colonizers. There is a huge statue of Soekarno and Hatta at the memorial.

ALSO READ:
FREE INSTAGRAM STORY TEMPLATE: INDONESIA TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

10th November Museum

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: 10th November Museum, Surabaya

Surabaya was where the Indonesian struggle for independence happened on 10 November 1945, hence the 10th November Museum. The museum was very modern and interactive, and there’s too much emotion as I was wandering around the museum. It will indeed make you feel what was happening during their struggle for independence.

ALSO READ:
SHERLYN’S QUICK (BUT HONEST!) OVERSEAS ACCOMMODATIO REVIEWS: TO STAY OR NOT TO STAY AGAIN?

Hotel Majapahit Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Our afternoon tea meal at Hotel Majapahit Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The beautiful corridor of Hotel Majapahit Surabaya

I would not miss having a fancy afternoon tea session in this very historical hotel that was built in 1910. It is old but you can still appreciate its beauty because it’s definitely well-preserved. It has a lot of green spaces all over and everything is well-maintained. Their afternoon tea is very localized. This is where I was able to taste Lapis Surabaya for the first time. Yum!

ALSO READ:
AN AFTERNOON TEA IN HOTEL MAJAPAHIT, SURABAYA WITH AN EX-FRIEND

Mirota Batik and Handicraft Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The overwhelming selection of batik at Mirota Batik Shop
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Beautiful artworks at Mirota Batik Shop

I have been fascinated by the batik culture of Indonesia, but to my surprise I found out that every part of Indonesia has a different batik pattern! I was glad a friend brought me to this place because I want to buy a batik outfit (I am a Southeast Asian Studies Lecturer and I might be needing some batik outfit in formal events like conferences and such). It was hard to pick designs because I love a lot of them and batik is so beautiful! I was also able to buy souvenirs in this shop like ref magnets and wayang kulit bookmarks.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirotabatik.sby
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mirotabatiksurabaya

ALSO READ:
FLYING AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA: DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AND FROM BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a SURABAYA HERITAGE TOUR to see all the sites I just enumerated?

Klook.com

Bank Indonesia Museum Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Bank Indonesia Museum

This museum occupies the former De Javasche Bank which was the central bank of the Dutch East Indies or the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. Aside from the history of banking and finance of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia Museum will also tell you about how the Dutch colonial government operated in Indonesia and how it managed the resources in Indonesia. They also house a lot of memorabilia from the old bank.

ALSO READ:
THE BEAUTY OF LEARNING ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA

Cheng Hoo Mosque

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Cheng Hoo Mosque, Surabaya

Like any other major city, Surabaya has a significant number of Chinese settlers, and most of them have converted to Islam. As a way of preserving their Chinese roots, this mosque has incorporated both Islam and Chinese elements.

ALSO READ:
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BLOCKBUSTER MUSEUM

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Blockbuster Museum. Photo by idntimes.com

Blockbuster Museum houses thousands of memorabiliaand figurines from popular film characters such as the Avengers, Harry Potter and Star Wars characters.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a BLOCKBUSTER MUSEUM TICKET through Klook?

Klook.com

MORE DAY TOURS FROM SURABAYA

The following activities are already outside Surabaya, but they could serve as interesting day tours from Surabaya. I also provided links of the tours for easier booking.

MOUNT BROMO SUNRISE AND MADAKARIPURA WATERFALL

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Mount Bromo National Park

A mandatory side trip from Surabaya would be a sunrise trip to Mount Bromo, an active volcano located at Bromo Tengger National Park. For some reason, there were so many people when we went there for the sunrise trek, and it was difficult to enjoy the view. However, there are parts of the National Park that are worth visiting which will give you a breathtaking view.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a Mount Bromo Sunrise and Madakaripura Waterfall Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

We stayed at Bromo Terrace Hotel the night before we went to Mount Bromo and it was a very, very nice hotel, I swear.

You can book your stay at Bromo Terrace Hotel through Agoda.com or Booking.com

fun Things to do in Surabaya
BROMO TERRACE HOTEL

IJEN CRATER HIKING EXPERIENCE

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Ijen Crater Hiking Experience. Photo by sarahbeekmans.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Ijen Crater Hiking Experience through Klook?

Klook.com

MADURA ISLAND

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Madura Island. Photo by okezone.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Madura Private Day Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

TUMPAK SEWU WATERFALL AND RAINBOW VILLAGE

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall. Photo by triptins.com
fun Things to do in Surabaya
Malang Rainbow Village. Photo by findingbeyond.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and Rainbow Village Private Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

GILI KETAPANG SNORKELING

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Gili Ketapang Snorkeling. Photo by bromoijentourism.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Gili Ketapang Private Snorkeling Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

MOJOKERTO TEMPLES AND STONE CARVING TOUR

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Reclining Buddha Statue. Photo by indonesia-tourism.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Mojokerto Temples and Stone Carving Private Day Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

TAMAN SAFARI PRIGEN

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Taman Safari Prigen. Photo by tripzilla.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Taman Safari Prigen Day Trip through Klook?

Klook.com

There you have it! I wish I could stay longer when I went to travel to Surabaya Indonesia to visit more spots there and in the nearby towns, but I could always go back next time. We will never run out of places to visit in this world, but just in case you will have a chance to detour in Surabaya, I can assure that you will never regret it. Next time I want to visit more museums, cafes, Mount Ijen, and the neighboring town of Malang. So, I’ll ask you again? Is Surabaya worth visiting?

ALSO READ:
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For more travel articles about Indonesia, click on the banner below:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Indonesia

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HOKKIE COFFEE MAKATI: A TASTE OF INDONESIAN-STYLE COFFEE IN MANILA

For accommodation options in Surabaya, Indonesia, check the banner below:

White Bean Cafe: Your Instagram-Worthy Restaurant in Naga City

(This is an non-sponsored review of White Bean Cafe Naga when I visited Naga City.)

There are plenty of restaurants in Naga as per my internet research, but serendipitous encounters with nice restaurants make a travel experience more memorable for me.

I was having a solo walking tour in Naga City when I accidentally stumbled upon a place just in front of the Naga Land E-Mall with a very beautiful interior, White Bean Cafe. For somebody who will go places for Instagram (well, that was me before, but not anymore), I cannot help but check out the place. It turned out that it was a coffee shop located at the ground floor of Naga Land Hotel at Elias Angeles Street, Naga City. I was hesitant to enter the place at first (because guys, it’s really intimidatingly beautiful af), but I feel like I’m gonna regret not dining in here, so yeah.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

The restaurant was not full of people when I came in, and I believe it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy some peace and quiet and take photos around as well. When you start to grow older, I believe you will get accustomed at seeking for some peace and quiet in this very complicated world and life.

(If you’re new in this website, well, you will see a lot of existential stuff like this one hehe)

White Bean Cafe Naga City

I ordered Creamy Pesto Pasta for Php195 and Strawberry Milkshake for Php125. I was not able to take a photo of my meal because I was really stunned by the cafe’s interior, but I can tell you that the serving is big enough that I was not able to finish it. However, if you’re gonna realize, the food was a little expensive.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

The staff will happily allow you to take photos around the restaurant. It is my habit to ask permission from the restaurant staff before taking photos around, especially if I could cause discomfort to other people dining in the place. Thankfully there are no big crowds at White Bean when I went there.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

To be honest the place looks so prim and proper and therefore intimidating. It literally feels like being inside a doll house. Every corner is beautiful and fairy tale-ish. I don’t even want to touch anything inside the cafe because every corner is so beautiful!

I am thankful that beautiful restaurants in Naga like this existed!

I could use just reading any random book here and just relaxing while sipping some milkshake. I bet no other restaurants in Naga has this beautiful kind of interior. I’m in love!

White Bean Cafe Naga City

I’m not sure if I will have another chance to visit Naga City again anytime soon, but if ever that happens, I will surely visit White Bean Cafe again.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

Oh, look! They have a good selection of cakes! Looks yummy!

White Bean Cafe Naga City

Do you know any other Instagram-worthy cafes anywhere in the Philippines and Southeast Asia like White Bean Cafe Naga? Please don’t hesitate to let me know by sending me a DM at my Instagram account @wheressherlyn. Happy travels!

White Bean Cafe Naga Contact Details

Naga Land Hotel, Elias Angeles, Barangay Santa Cruz, Naga, Camarines Sur
(054) 473 2111
facebook.com/whitebeancafe
instagram.com/whitebeancafe

Where to stay in Naga City?

White Bean Cafe is located directly at the Ground Floor of Naga Land Hotel, and I recommend this hotel to those who are traveling to Naga City.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: An Afternoon Walk at Manila Bay

Very recently on my black and white travel/street photography Instagram portfolio (@sherlynmaehernandez please give it a check and follow if you want), I wrote this statement in my bio:

An International Relations Professor who will keep on traveling and taking photos around Asia until she makes it to NatGeo

@sherlynmaehernandez on Instagram

It’s not that I have this overflowing confidence that my works are already NatGeo quality enough, but kinda I need to own it in order to set the mood on myself that I have to work my butt off to have a portfolio worth noticing by NatGeo. A few weeks ago, I was able to read and finish the book The Ikigai Journey by Hector Garcia, and in the chapter “The Power of Words”, he suggested to put a label on your projects. Specifically, he said:

β€œIt is essential for our personal projects to have a name in order to keep us motivated.”

Hector Garcia, The Ikigai Journey

Hence, I decided to label my passion project: #TakeSherlynToNatGeo. Boom! How’s that?

I have traveled around Northeast and Southeast Asia enough to accumulate tons of photos I can actually exhibit in a hotel lobby or museum or anywhere I want, but this pandemic has been postponing this whole photography thing I’ve been wanting to pursue. If I’m being honest, I seriously want to ditch my job in the academe to do this full-time, but I don’t know where to begin.

THE CHALLENGE

Since I need to keep my job in the meantime to put food on the table and save up for my next move in life (but don’t ask me yet about this because I seriously have no idea what will I do next), I challenged myself to try to come up with 10 outdoor photos (travel/street photography) around Manila in order to keep the creative juices coming and since I haven’t traveled anywhere since January this year.

In order for me to document the existing human conditions in my home city (Manila, Philippines) through travel/street photography, I need to go where the people are going. The City Government of Manila has cleaned up Manila Bay and it therefore was restored as a lovely spot where people could watch the sunset and do some exercise. Manila Bay is just a 15-minute walk from where I live but it’s somewhere I would never choose to hangout at, let alone my colleagues and friends. But since it’s pandemic and everyone needs a little bit of a nature at the heart of the most dense city in the world, I decided to give it a try.

With that, here are some photos I took while doing some brisk walking along the strip of Manila Bay, including my way going there and going back to my place:

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: THE WORKS

I walked along Taft Avenue and then Pablo Ocampo Street in order to reach Roxas Boulevard.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Pablo Ocampo Statue
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Pablo Ocampo Statue

Upon reaching Roxas Boulevard, you will be greeted by the iconic Cultural Center of the Philippines Building, where a lot of people are exercising by the garden.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Cat in Manila Bay
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Cat in Manila Bay

BTW, YOU SHOULD SEE THE PART 2 OF THIS PHOTOWALK SERIES (TAFT AVENUE-UNITED NATIONS AVENUE) HERE.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boys Having a Selfie
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines- Boys Having a Selfie

I walked northwards until I reach Rajah Sulayman Park. I’ve been living in Manila for more than half my life, but this was the first time I actually stepped into this area!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Be a Better Human Mural
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Be a Better Human Mural

On my way home, I found this stuffed toy by the university gate. The mood!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Stuffed Toy at a University Gate
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Stuffed Toy at a University Gate

TAKEAWAYS

Two things: I will try my best to go out more (but in a very, very safe way, of course), otherwise I will try to make use of my past travel photos to build up my travel/street photography portfolio which are on their way to NatGeo. No, but seriously, I will appreciate if you will suggest more street photography projects for me for next time.

Where to Stay in San Juan, La Union: Monaliza Surf Resort (Review)

(This article is a sponsored yet honest review of Monaliza Surf Resort La Union).

ALSO READ:
WHERE TO EAT IN SAN JUAN, LA UNION: TIPPLE AND BREW RESTO BAR

Since a few years ago, I always wanted to go to La Union. Before coming there, I imagine a world where people are in beach outfits and partying all night and going to the beach and surfing in the morning. I have been to other similar places like Zambales, but I think La Union will give me a different experience. In a nutshell, Monaliza Surf Resort was able to give me such experience.

A lot of accommodations in a form of hotels, hostels, and resorts exist in La Union. However, among them, this resort already exists even before the town of San Juan was discovered by tourists: the Monaliza Surf Resort.

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

Upon entering the compound of the resort, you will already feel the very quaint vibe it brings to the guests. The place has several nipa  huts and airconditioned rooms to choose from.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSOC8hgnQc7/

The Check-in Process

monaliza surf resort

Check-in is very fast especially if you have prior reservation. The people at the resort are very kind and accommodating. You will be given your key and you will be led to your room.

monaliza surf resort

The Room

monaliza surf resort

We were given an airconditioned room which is very basic but is very clean and cozy. Its space is just right for two people. I love the wall decorations in our room as well! The bathroom has a space where you can hang your swimsuits after swimming in the beach.

Other Rooms

https://www.instagram.com/p/COUYlzmnOYb/

Monaliza Surf Resort also has other rooms like the fan nipa huts. There are also rooms which face the beach front.

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

The Beach Front

https://www.instagram.com/p/COQcjBYng9B/

Compared to the beach front of other resorts, Monaliza Surf Resort’s beach front is located in front of the Point Break, where the waves are the best. Perfect for surfing lovers!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSDh3BOl9Dl/

Surfing Lessons

monaliza surf resort

Monaliza Surf Resort offers surfing lessons to its guests and it has surfing board rentals available.

monaliza surf resort

Le Point Bar and Barefoot

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

Inside the compound of Monaliza Surf Resort are Le Point Bar and Barefoot. Le Point Bar comes very lively at night and both locals and foreigners party together. The following day, you can have your breakfast and lunch at Barefoot.

monaliza surf resort
Processed with VSCO with l5 preset

WHERE ELSE TO GO NEAR MONALIZA SURF RESORT?

Worry not, because Urbiztondo has a lot of spots to offer!

First, I would recommend you to visit Tipple and Brew La Union! They have a huge selection in their menu and they have good craft beers (one of the best in town).

And of course, you can’t miss the infamous Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel! It’s popular for drinks and for parties. I know it’s another accommodation, but here’s a pro tip: staying at Monaliza Surf Resort is cheaper, so you can book your accommodation there, then just drop by anytime at Flotsam for pizza, drinks, and to party. How’s that?

https://www.instagram.com/p/COPUbnHnY70/

Why am I recommending Monaliza Surf Resort again?

Before all the hispter hostels and resorts existed in the coasts of San Juan, La Union, Monaliza Resort is already existing and it can offer you an authentic experience of the beach life. It is located at the part were the waves are the best. You need not to go out to grab some food and to party at night. Monaliza has all the amenities you need at a very reasonable price. If you happen to be at the Surfing Capital of the North, do consider Monaliza Surf Resort.

Monaliza Surf Resort
Monaliza Surf Resort Rates (as of January 2018)

Monaliza Surf Resort Contact Information

National Highway, San Juan, La Union, Philippines
Facebook: /MonalizaSurfResort
Instagram: @monalizasurfresort
+639178385715

Snippets: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam (Travel and Street Photography)

Hola! I created the Travel Snippets series on my blog to show you some of my travel and street photography works from the different places I’ve traveled to in the past (well, before the pandemic hit).

I had the chance to visit Brunei Darussalam before, and I have been posting informative blogs about it ever since, including the most Instagrammable spots, places to eat, hostels to stay, local foods to try, my personal journal of my experience there, and even flight information.

So, without further ado, here are some of my snippets from Brunei! Expect a Part 2!

After the Rain at Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLs8fQvHihG/

Post-Grocery Coffee Run at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLu6SNcnJgt/

Omar Ali Bridge Mid-Construction

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMTFzwJn29B/

Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMUYBfeHM8b/

A Walk Along Jalan McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMWENXIn4f8/

A (Photo) Walk Around the Block: Little India Singapore

I had a very interesting photo walk at Little India Singapore and here are my thoughts.

A layover at Singapore is something I always look forward to in specific trips because I always love visiting Singapore with every chance I get. My trip to Myanmar with Singapore Airlines came with an overnight layover in Singapore since there are no direct flights from Manila to anywhere in Myanmar.

But anyway, I talked about my layover in Singapore experience in another blog, but here I just want to reflect on my first encounter at Singapore’s Little India.

WELCOME TO THE COLORFUL WORLD OF LITTLE INDIA SINGAPORE

Being the most stingy traveler that I am back when I was a broke government employee slash graduate student, I typed “Singapore Little India” at agoda.com and sorted the results from the cheapest to the most expensive, and booked the cheapest hotel, no questions asked. I scored an obviously not-so-fancy hotel along Serangoon Road.

I can say the location was a little jackpot because it made all my navigation throughout the Little India Singapore area very convenient because it’s close to almost every major street art and tourist sites. I woke up very, very early because I always want to enjoy walking around in peace and take clear landscape and shots of everything without all the people at the background.

Little India Singapore
SEE ALSO: Snapshots from one of my breakfast experiences at a hawker centre in Singapore (click the photo to view)

I went to visit the small mall in front of my hotel and waited for it to open so that I can have some currencies exchanged, in case I will come across something interesting to buy or to eat, or in case I need to take some transportation while going around.

I started walking around Little India Singapore and I can’t help but notice how having such vibrant colors in their houses and establishments are naturally part of their culture. I love colorful things. Color makes me feel alive. I feel happy seeing colorful things.

Without any plan in mind, I went around. I saw closed shops. I saw a few people already grinding before sunrise. I saw people cleaning the streets. I saw people going to temples to pray.

I was listening to Mark Manson’s podcast because I love his books and his online content, but when he said that Singapore is all about infrastructure and no culture (he called the country ‘soulless!), I WAS FURIOUS. The island of Singapore is so small and yet obviously he has not been around.

Singapore is full of culture. Singapore has a very rich history. I will always be willing to bet my life in defending the idea that Singapore has a lot to offer, more than the glitz and glamor of Marina Bay Sands, the very futuristic Jewel Changi Airport, and the very efficient train system. I have been to Singapore countless times, and I am already past the phase of romanticizing every part of it because I’ve seen many parts of it. Sure, it’s still not perfect just like any other countries in the world, but if given a chance, I would want to live here, experience more of Singapore, and get to know it better.

Perhaps I should write more about Singapore and the things that other people failed to observe. Perhaps Little India Singapore and other unseen parts of Singapore need more appreciation. I have big dreams to document all my travels in this website for the world to see, but for some reason I don’t understand why I find it hard to gather some inspiration. I’ll try my best, I promise

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLf5isUHboR/

How to Appreciate Kuala Lumpur

I know a lot of people who were ‘not impressed’ with Kuala Lumpur, saying there’s really nothing special there. I beg to disagree.

I had the chance to visit Malaysia when a group of friends came up with an idea of going there as a group. I honestly don’t have a lot of expectations going there, and I just want to catch up with friends whom I have not seen for a long time. I surely had a good time with them, but KL has exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, here are three reasons on how to appreciate KL as a city to travel to, despite a lot of people saying it’s not impressive:

#1: Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot, therefore it is also a foodie haven.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, but like Singapore, it has a huge number of Chinese and Indians. Therefore, expect that Kuala Lumpur can offer you the best gastronomic experience of your life. Fancy some big Indian food? Kuala Lumpur has got you covered. Craving for Chinese food? There are Chinese restaurants all over the city. Want to have a local culinary awareness? There are night markets for that.

#2: Petronas Twin Towers is a unique world wonder.

Any visit to a major city will not be complete unless you get to see its iconic structure. For most tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur, a photo with the Petronas Towers at the background is something mandatory. I had the chance to have a glimpse of this beautiful architectural wonder when my friends and I walked around KLCC before going to Dataran Merdeka because the stunning view of this twin towers can be seen in so many angles. Also, we stayed in an accommodation with an amazing rooftop pool with a beautiful view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, including the Petronas Towers.

kuala lumpur
Are you planning a trip to Malaysia a la Anthony Bourdain? Click the banner above to check where Tony went.

#3: If you’re missing a piece of home, wherever you came from, Kuala Lumpur most likely has got you.

Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot, but it is also one of the obvious manifestations of the globalization phenomenon. You can possibly find McDonald’s and Starbucks all over the city. If you want to go shopping for foreign brands, Kuala Lumpur has a lot of high-end malls for that. Just like any other big Southeast Asian city, Kuala Lumpur is a concrete jungle.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLehIcEH-V8/

When I previously attended a conference in Surabaya, Indonesia, I met a lot of new colleagues from Universiti Malaya and University of Malaysia Terengganu, and they were the most amazing people I met. I love how kind and gentle Malaysians are, and I actually promised them I’ll visit them in Malaysia next time. Having more reasons to visit a place again apart from the usual sightseeing makes a more meaningful travel experience for me. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Kuala Terengganu? I’ve been Googling the place and it’s so beautiful there.

Also, since my friends and I only spent a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur, I never had the chance to visit other sites, such as Batu Caves, Cameron Highlands, and even the local markets. After this pandemic, I vow to go back to KL again this time to go around on my own like I usually did in other cities, visit more museums and art galleries, eat food I haven’t tried yet, visit restaurants and sites that Anthony Bourdain visited, and visit nearby cities like Cyberjaya, Putrajaya, Selangor, and many other. God, I miss traveling, a lot.

The Underrated Surfing Town of Daet, Camarines Norte

Quaint little towns in the Philippines are part of my travel bucket list, and discovering the beauty of the surfing town of Daet was really life-changing.

“Where could be the closest province I haven’t been to so far which I can plan to travel to last minute?”

This is the question I always ask myself each time a long weekend or an upcoming break is approaching. I used to feel like I always have to go somewhere during every free time I get. I used to feel like I always need to have the next best thing figured out. I used to feel like I need to feel every void or space in my life and I am not supposed to stay idle.

Now that I think about it, that mindset kinda feels exhausting. Lately, I’m honestly all about slow living.

Anyway, so my usual ‘scratching that travel itch’ moment has led me to decide to go somewhere new: the surfing town of Daet.

The Surfing Town of Daet

Just like some of the past trips, I had in Bicol Region, I randomly hopped on a bus from Manila and picked a bus which leaves the soonest going to my town or city of destination. I have done this in the past for my trips in Legazpi and Naga, and I will be willing to do this again for the rest of the places I haven’t been to in the region.Specifically for the surfing town of Daet, I don’t have any expectations from this town. I just want to set foot there just because. Boy, I can’t even find any tourism-related information online apart from this Jose Rizal statue and a beach area. (Hmmm perhaps I should write about it? I really want to, but I always find myself feeling lazy about it.)

“A beach area? Girl, you came all the way to this town for a beach area? You are surrounded by a lot of beach areas nearby!” No, I was wrong.

Surfing Town of Daet
Where to Stay in Daet? Check out my review of Calaguas Gateway Hotel by clicking the banner and their Facebook page here.

I took a tricycle from my hotel to visit Bagasbas Beach during my first afternoon in Daet. I posted an Instagram Story of a static video of Bagasbas Beach with the sound of the air and waves, and those who viewed my Story seemed to get a calming feeling watching the short clip. Also, one of my classmates from graduate school (who is also an avid surfer) told me, “I’ve been wanting to travel there to surf, but it’s really far.”

And that hit me. There may not be anything special in this town, but I was very brave and lucky to have endured that long bus ride from Manila to Daet and have been to this beautiful beach that some people are just only dreaming of going. I admit, the beach was really beautiful and relaxing, and I could sit by the shore for a long time just meditating and listening to the waves. The whole area seems very clean and well-maintained as well. There are a couple of surfing board rentals nearby, but nope, I don’t know how to surf yet, so I’ll give it a pass. Also, it’s not crowded at all!I even met some friends — some cool locals and a Spanish girl studying English (wait, studying English in Daet, of all places? That seems cool!).

I might not be willing to endure that looooooong bus ride again for Daet itself, but I would love to go back to visit Calaguas Island. That would be nice.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLeaH4JnxOj/

Documentaries About the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines

Every 25th of February of the year, the Philippines commemorates the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution which symbolizes the restoration of democracy in the Philippines after the Marcos Regime.

While most of the Millennials (like me) and Gen Zs aren’t born yet during this historical event, we all want to have a glimpse of what really happened during that time. Sure, it happened in 1986, but we’re not all gonna lie that this event still affects the Philippines today. Hence, it’s every Filipinos’ responsibility to educate themselves of what happened back then and how are we all going to make sense of it today.

Reminiscing 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled an authoritarian
The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines. Photo by boholchronicle.com.ph

But before that, here is a music video of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines by Virna Lisa:

The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines Theme Song: Magkaisa

I am a huge documentary lover, and with that, I have compiled these seven documentaries I found over the internet about the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

EDSA 20 ‘ISANG LARAWAN’ (2016)

This 50-minute documentary was produced by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a national newspaper network in the Philippines.

Description from YouTube: This documentary special, which was released in 2006 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution, uses voices that had previously never been heard from before.

EDSA 30 (2016)

This 20-minute documentary was a follow-up for the previous EDSA 20 documentary also by Inquirer.Net.

COUP D’ETAT: THE PHILIPPINES REVOLT 1986 (2017)

This 1-hour documentary was produced by an Australian television network.

Description from YouTube: Australian television documentary that describes the four days of nonviolent military revolt that saw the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines. Explains who participated in the revolt and why it was successful.

1986 PEOPLE POWER EDSA HISTORY (2013)

This 25-minute documentary was produced by the Philippine Department of National Defense in 2013.

BIYAHENG EDSA (2006)

This 30-minute documentary was produced by GMA News and Public Affairs, a national television network in the Philippines.

Description from YouTube: In this documentary that originally aired in February 2006, broadcast journalist Howie Severino travelled along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, more widely known as EDSA, to investigate how the Philippines has changed in the 20 years since People Power. We are reposting this video online in anticipation of the 25th Anniversary of People Power this February 21 to 25, 2011.

BATAS MILITAR (1997)

This 2-hour documentary was produced by the Foundation for Worldwide People Power (FWWPP).

Description from YouTube: From the Foundation for Worldwide People Power (FWWPP), the makers of “Beyond Conspiracy: 25 Years after the Aquino Assassination,” comes a documentary that was critically-acclaimed for its coverage about one of the darkest episodes in Philippine history when the whole nation suffered under the unmitigated oppression by the Marcos authoritarian rule.

BONUS: ANG NAG-UDYOK SA EDSA REVOLUTION (2012)

Trivia: I used to teach Philippine History for a loooong time, and I stumbled upon this documentary that my former students submitted as their final requirement for my class. Apparently they uploaded it on YouTube, so yeah, just watch if you want.


Check out these other roundups of historical videos as well:

1986 edsa people power revolution

Photo Essay: A MORNING AT MOUNT MACULOT

I had the chance to do a mini-hike at Mount Maculot and take photos using a GE X500 Digital Camera. As you can see, the photos produce a film-like effect but usually bulges in the middle, especially if a shot is close-up. The photos were post-processed using the M6 filter of VSCO. Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of my photos at my VSCO portfolio. Enjoy!

Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot

SNAPSHOTS: ASIA Trailer

SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAY #20: A MORNING AT MOUNT MACULOT (PIN IT! πŸ“Œ)

Mount Maculot

OTHER SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAYS

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mount maculot
mount maculot
mount maculot

Photo Essay: ARRIVING AT PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Everytime I will choose to take a long bus ride instead of flying to hop from one city to another is something I always, always, regret later. In a previous tri-country trip, I entered Phnom Penh, Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was expecting nothing from Phnom Penh since it was just my gateway to Siem Reap to see the Angkor Complex, but this quaint little town has exceeded my expectations. Sure, there are a lot of horror stories from tourists going to this capital, but I always get reminded that I have to be gentle on Cambodia because of the scars that the former communist regime has left the nation.

Anyway, here are some photos from my quick trip to Phnom Penh Cambodia which I edited using the Kodak Porta 100T filter of VSCO. Also, don’t forget to check out my VSCO portfolio. Enjoy!

Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia