Travelers Journal :: ßry™

it's all about me and my whereabouts. thanks for visiting.

First time here was not as good as the second time --- a chance to finally roam around and discover what's in the City of Angels --- the City of my all-time favorite TV series, 24!

First stop --- the LAX International Airport. Being the fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX gives you a first glance how diverse Los Angeles is --- people of different nationalities, of distinct fashion statement --- a good starting point, that is!

As in my other trips, just to get the actual feel and photos of global landmarks of the places I visit, would complete the adventure! Topping the list is the Hollywood Sign! Looking from the Hollywood & Highland Center, the sign was quite small! Though I didn't manage to get as close as I've wanted to the Hollywood Sign, it was nonetheless a happy experience.

The Hollywood Sign from the viewing deck of Hollywood and Highland Center

Hollywood and Highland Center

Next is the Hollywood Walk of Fame where over 2,000 brass stars are embedded on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Printed on the stars are names of popular celebrities. There is one stall that sells tricked-photo with you and your name engraved on a star. Problem is --- it's too costly! me and my stinginess! hahaha!

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Talk about glitz and showbizness, LA is the home of the Academy Awards. 3 ceremonies were held in the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Aside from its stunning Chinese architecture, famous features of this Theatre are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt bearing signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular celebrities from the 1920s to the present day. The Kodak Theatre which is on the same block as Grauman's, is the latest home of the Oscar's. Too bad though as I didn't manage to get in. sigh...

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Kodak Theatre

What makes LA lights shine even brighter is the Universal Studios Hollywood! This "Entertainment Capital of L.A." is a one-stop destination for those who would like to enjoy movies, shopping, drinks, food, and history of the movie industry. The Universal City Walk is a strip of restaurants, shops, and cinemas. Best spot here is ofcourse the Universal Studios Uniglobe -- which summarizes everyone's Universal fantasies.

The Universal Studios Uniglobe

Universal Citywalk

Now what completes L.A. tour for most people? Whatelse --- it's the visit to Disneyland Resort! Disney's theme park is actually situated in Anaheim, California but it's just so associated to L.A. that's why people oftentimes think it is located in L.A. There's just one thing I proved though, Disneyland is really a place for kids and young at heart to enjoy. And this one fulfilled childhood dream of mine ends this particular post for my blog. 'Til next time!

The Disney Tram will take you to the Disneyland Resort.

Would you like to see dolphins play around like kids right before your very eyes? Or perhaps a group of gigantic killer whales spy-hop and lift their entire bodies out of the water? Then Sea World San Diego is the right place for you!

Being one of the world's premier marine theme parks, SeaWorld is California's 200 acres of world-class dolphin and whale shows, exciting rides and up-close animal interactions. Although millions of its visitors are predominantly children, I would say that this place is also for those young at heart. I myself had a wonderful time here! To see live dolphins and whales perform in a fiesta carnival-like shows was truly an exhilarating experience. Imagine the gigantic whales and dolphins show off and enthusiastically mingle and play with the audience. As a warning, you should prepare yourself to get soaking wet if you happen to be seated in the first 14 rows as these highly-spirited creatures will vigorously splash waters to their audience during the show.

And talk about star performers --- the ultimate star at Sea World is Shamu. Right now, "Shamu" is a stage name given to one of the living orcas at Seaworld. The original Shamu died in August 1971.

Shamu slides out during "BELIEVE: The Shamu show",
the most popular show at SeaWorld, running 20 minutes
and showing up to six times a day.

Sea World special attractions

Sesame Street Bay of Play

Interaction with Beluga Whales

Journey to Altantis

Pet Show featuring dogs, cats and birds.

Dolphin Interaction Program

Seaworld San Diego boasts of its record high of more than 80 million visitors. And before I got older I finally had the chance to explore and experience its real adventure and thrills!

Since I am unable to catch-up and continue writing about my travel stints, I decided to take a break from travel writing for this particular post --- a break for a cause indeed.

I am guilty for being a contributor to global warming just by computing my carbon footprint for a one-way trip from Bangkok to San Francisco:

1 passenger , flying from BANGKOK (BKK) to SAN FRANCISCO, CA (SFO) ( 12,749 Km ),
in Premium Class (Economy Premium, Business, or First)
generates about 1,800.23 Kg of CO2

Calculate your carbon footprint using the United Nations ICAO
Carbon Emissions Calculator which is available at

And to make this break truly for a cause, I urge everyone to learn more about global warming. This is the best time to involve yourself in today's most alarming issue of the humanity.

Visit COOL101 YouTube Channel at

I CARE about the environment. Stop GLOBAL WARMING!

Voted as the Best City in the World in the 2008 survey by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Bangkok boasts of its culture and lifestyle as well as its colorful tourist destinations --- one of which is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

In a nutshell, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market describes the traditional "buying and selling" customs in Thailand particularly those communities along the river. It is located 110 kms west of Bangkok. So this "tourist craving" is actually not within the busy Bangkok Metropolis.

Colourful, lively, noisy, and crowded --- these are just a few elements that will surely add up to a fun-filled experience! It starts in waking up early as in 5:30 AM so you could travel from Bangkok (around 6:30 AM) and ensure to arrive at Damnoen Saduak at around 7:30-8:00 AM. The wet shopping craze begins with the long-tail boat hitch to the actual Floating Market. On your way to the market, you’ll pass old-style teak houses, orchards, spirit houses and local people who chose to maintain the lifestyle of their ancestors.

The end of the ling-tail boat ride rings the bell to signify a welcome treat for you by a totally chaotic, crowded 'khlongs' or small canals. But you have to be quick in flashing your cameras as every single second give you a prime shot of actions as starred by flat boats paddled by Thai women selling just like whatever is saleable --- fresh fruits, colorful hats, umbrellas, fans, t-shirts, bags, slippers, hot-served noodle soups and more!

Now what's the next big thing that awaits you if you are not quick? You'll definitely get wet!

If you are planning to visit Bangkok and would like to avail of the Whole day Floating Market tour package (inclusive of Elephant Show, Cobra Show, Crocodile Show and Thai Cultural Show) you may contact:

MABUHAY Travel Agency Bangkok

747/7 Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road 21/1

Bangsue, Bangkok 10800 Thailand

Tel.: +66-2-585-7873

Tel/Fax: +66-2-911-2098

Mobile: +6689-112-2098

or e-mail

A boutique mall…
A restaurant strip…
An open water marine habitat…

These and more are what you will experience at the Philippines’ first state-of-the-art oceanarium – The Manila Ocean Park!

This 8,000 square meters oceanarium held its soft opening on February 29, 2008. Although the construction is still incomplete, many foreign and local tourists are already visiting the theme park. I’ve been to the Sentosa Underwater World of Singapore, the Siam Ocean World of Bangkok and to the Aquaria Oceanarium of Kuala Lumpur but I must say that the concept and the location of the Manila Ocean Park is thus far the best (which might be dethroned in my mind by the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan.. I will soon be there!) First of all, the Manila Ocean Park takes pride of being situated at the Manila Bay, giving its visitors a real “oceanic feel”. The construction plan and design of the park is certainly worth looking forward to. I would definitely like to see the marine-themed mall and hotel, outdoor pools and restaurant strip which are expected to be completed by end of 2008.

As this is the first oceanarium in the Philippines, the Manila Ocean Park maximizes the opportunity to spearhead efforts in educating Filipinos on various initiatives on the conservation and preservation of Philippine marine life through symposium, multimedia presentations, research and special partnerships.

The 7 major sections of the oceanarium provide its visitors a good glimpse of about 20,000 marine inhabitants (approximately 300 species).

Agos (Flow) is the first part of the oceanarium where you can see water cascading from an artificial waterfall.

Bahura (Reef) showcases the very colorful Philippine underwater rainforest, thus giving a sampler of how beautiful the Philippine coral reefs are.

Laot (Fishing Ground) displays fishes of various colors and sizes.

Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean) showcases a 25-meter long underwater tunnel. This is one of the main attractions of the Oceanarium.

Ang Kalaliman (The Deep) features the barracuda - known for its toothy grin as the “Tiger of the Sea”.

Pagi - Overhang tank displays a variety of rays fly over while you're under this unique Overhang Tank.

Pating (Shark) give a face-to-face experience with the most feared predators of the sea – the sharks.

Although there are a lot of things that may be improved in the Oceanarium such as handling hundreds of visitors a day, I’m certain that the entrance fee of Pesos 400.00 (or US$9.00) for adults and Pesos 350.00 (or US$8.00) for Kids 4.5 ft and below is all worth it! I will surely go back to Manila Ocean Park once the entire project is completed since I am really intrigued by that Fish Spa. Imagine, plunging your feet onto the waters and letting these small fishes give you the foot massage. I waited for an hour but the queue is really long! Too bad for me...

How to get there: The Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand at the historic Rizal (Luneta) Park. It opens at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 9 p.m. You can take taxi from anywhere in Metro Manila. Nearest LRT station is the United Nations Avenue. From there you can already take a walk and pass by the Luneta Park (that's like 15-20 minutes of walking). If you want to take the famous Philippine Jeepney, be sure to take those passing Kalaw or Taft Avenue.

The Manila Ocean Park will look like this early 2009!

Are you an ardent fan of theater plays; or perhaps passionate about history and the arts? If yes, then Siam Niramit is a must see place for you!

If you are planning to travel to Bangkok, make sure to include Siam Niramit in your list of places to visit. This US$40 million investment showcases a world-class theatrical presentation of Thai history and culture. The theater itself can accommodate up to 2,000 guests and is a Guinness World Record holder for having the tallest proscenium (the arch around the stage) of 11.9 m.

Before the main show at the Siam Niramit Theater, visitors are given a pre-performance of Thai cultural dance at the multi-purpose grounds (in-front of the main entrance of the theater). Guests may also take photos with real gigantic elephants. There is also a traditional Thai massage sampler that lasts about 15 minutes. And if you happened to got carried away, a full Thai massage can be availed too. One section I like at Siam Niramit is the simulation of the ancient Thai village/community. Visitors can enter various models of Thai houses both from Northern and Southern Thailand which are surrounded by rice fields and canals. Visitors can also take a 5-minute ride of the small traditional boats. Aside from the mock rice fields, there is also the sugar and vegetables plantations.

The main event which is the stage play at the Siam Niramit Theater usually starts at around 8:00 p.m. When I entered this 2,000 seater theater, I was impressed with the murals which I already expected to be automated and retractable during the performance. The play is divided into three major acts namely: (1) Journey Back to History which presents Thai religious faith and ancient heritage of Thai civilization; (2) Journey beyond Imagination which presents Thai belief that life continues after death in a Fiery Hell or at a Blissful Heaven; and (3) Journey Through Joyous Festivals which presents various religious and colorful Thai ceremonies all throughout the year.

My favorite part of the show is the amazing transformation of the wooden stage floor into a flowing river where one of the performers plunged into the water and swam. Much to this, there were about four boats which sailed from both sides of the stage. So just imagine how great the stage concept is! And to present the seasons of planting and harvesting at the Central Plains, it also rained at the stage! This is one of my two most favorite highlights of the play!!! Next to that is the "blissfully-perfect" stage lighting and direction during the Blissful Heaven scene of Act 2. If I recalled correctly, there were 12 performers flying smoothly and freely as heavenly beings in this scene. The timing and lighting were just perfect!

Overall, the show and the place itself are worth experiencing for! It was indeed a good journey to the colorful and enchanted Thai history and civilization.

Siam Niramit is located at 19 Tiamruammit Road, Huaykwang, Bangkok.
The nearest MRT (subway) station is Thai Cultural Centre. Shuttle buses are also provided at the MRT station.

If you are planning to visit Bangkok and would like to avail of the Siam Niramit package (including dinner before the show), you may contact:

MABUHAY Travel Agency Bangkok

747/7 Bangkok-Nonthaburi Road 21/1

Bangsue, Bangkok 10800 Thailand

Tel.: +66-2-585-7873

Tel/Fax: +66-2-911-2098

Mobile: +6689-112-2098

or e-mail