In The Land Of Batik Cloth

Semarang, IndonesiaNext port of destination after Penang was Semarang, an Indonesian city on the north coast of the island of Java. What I really like about Semarang first and foremost were not the sights that I was supposed to see (only if I opted to go ashore after my watch) but simply was the weather. It was warm and very humid, exactly just like the neighbouring Philippines. Well, many would not like warm and humid but I am the opposite – I hate cold weather.
So, arriving the port of Semarang, Indonesia, the ship docked at Tanjung Emas. There’s a cruise terminal in the port but having visited many European ports, I would say that the cruise terminal in Semarang is not that modern. [Read more…]

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Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Located between Pasay City and Parañaque City, it is made up of four terminals, each having a specific clientele. Terminal 1 has 16 gates and mostly caters to international carriers. Terminal 2, or the Centennial Terminal, is exclusively used by the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines for both domestic and international flights. Terminal 3 is the newest and biggest terminal, and serves flights of Cebu Pacific Air, PAL Express, and some international carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Cathay Pacific Airways. The old domestic terminal, or Terminal 4, is the home of AirAsia, TigerAir, and Skyjet Airlines. [Read more…]

Kiel Canal Sights

Kiel Canal

Entering Brunsbuttel Lock in the Kiel Canal

Though I’ve transited the Kiel Canal several times, the 61-mile long fresh water channel never ceases to amaze me. In rain or in sunshine, the view has always been beautiful. The countryside landscape unfolding in every ship’s turn along the narrow channel are always stunning. Navigating on a place like this, fellow sailors make sure you have your camera at hand – the amazing sights happen anytime.

Recently, I transited the canal once again. If haze was obstructing the view during those two previous transits, that recent transit was amazing – the weather was perfectly perfect for another remarkable canal cruising. We entered the first lock in the morning and by late afternoon, we were out from the canal.

To share some views in the Kiel Canal, here are some of the most notable and not to be missed Kiel Canal scenes. [Read more…]

Back in Penang, Malaysia

M/S Amusement World in Sweetenham Pier

M/S Amusement World in Sweetenham Pier

Watching the old yet elegant lady for the first time since I moved to another company about 8 years ago, memories from the good old days onboard the M/S Amusement World gushed in. There she was and less than a hundred meters away quietly berthed at port of Penang’s Sweetenham Pier. And there’s the ship’s mooring station at the stern with its winches and mooring ropes reminding me of the good old days onboard- barbecue parties, singing and dancing. Crew parties were often held here.
Looking farther away from the M/S Amusement World, you can see Penang’s medium rise buildings defining part of the city’s skyline. Unfortunately, I can’t find the photo where high rise buildings at the background showcasing another section of this multi – cultural city of Malaysia. [Read more…]

When Plan A Was Undoable, Plan B Came In

Colombo_cruise_berth_shopsColombo was another city in the ship’s string of voyages in Asia and another city for me to explore. So while still hundreds of miles away to Colombo, I already had in mind a lot of things to do ashore – city landmarks I must visit; local food to taste; and should I give tuk tuk (rickshaw) a try or just walked. I want to experience something of Sri Lanka other than just shopping; I want to explore anything and anywhere my wandering foot would take me in this huge and sprawling city.
The heat was excruciating when the ship arrived in Colombo. Well, what to expect, summer was at its peak. In the Philippine countryside where I grew up and lived, summer can be very hot but not as intense in Colombo. Though I have not thought of Plan B should Plan A becomes undoable, an unplanned Plan B just popped out from my head. Contemplating about the alternative that came to my mind, and YES why not! So, there I was in Colombo but not in downtown area but just few walks away from the ship. [Read more…]

Hong Kong International Airport, A World-class International City

Hong Kong International AirportThis is Hong Kong International Airport. It’s world-class, state-of-the-art and very very huge. Built on a reclaimed land area, the airport ranked as one of the world’s busiest airports.
I already have made several stopovers in this airport and for every stopover I made, I always find everything in the airport, from safety and security to amenities and services, at high level. I always find arriving Hong Kong International Airport very relaxing – from deplaning to boarding – I haven’t experienced the need to rush to catch for my connecting flight. Even if I only have an hour or less left for my next flight, I can’t remember I ran or worried that I might be refused boarding. Every movement in the airport are well organized and very coordinated – everything works very flawlessly. Was it because of the airport staff? Or was it because of the airline? Or both? I don’t really know. [Read more…]

Uligamu, Less Likely Place To be Around But It’s Paradise

UligamuIf Philippines’ beautiful resort island of Boracay is jam-packed with tourists and almost everywhere around is heavily commercialized, the remote island of Uligamu in Maldives is the complete opposite. It’s kind of one remote island – no hotels, no restaurants, no shops but thatched roof huts of locals – waiting to be uncovered.
Approaching the island from sea, white sandy coast surfaced from the horizon. Inching closer to the island, gradually unfold turquoise clear water and stretch of white sand beach. But not a single structure or any signs of civilization came into view except for the loose vegetations. If not of the ship’s state of the art navigational instruments, I might have second thoughts either we arrived on our intended destination or not. But we arrived not in the wrong place, we were exactly right on the dot – we arrived Uligamu. Ship dropped anchor at a safe distance away from shallow water and everyone gets to the island by the ship’s tender boats. [Read more…]

The Closest Thing to Home: Kabayan Hotel

Kabayan HotelThe name of the hotel was derived from a local term of endearment for fellow countrymen, which is synonymous to the Filipino term kapwa, meaning brother, sibling, or even kindred. It is a close bond or togetherness that comes with being part of the Filipino culture and race. With the common trend of Filipinos going abroad to greener pastures, it is this link that binds them together, making one feel that they are not alone.

And with that, Kabayan Hotel exemplifies the spirit of homeliness, with its quality services, accommodations, and friendly staff. Each of its 276 rooms is designed for simplistic uniqueness that is usually embedded in the Filipino culture, as well as the comfortable functionality of being at home in one’s country. [Read more…]

Texas Street, A Pulsating Nightlife Destination in the Land of Kimchi

Texas Street

There’s a lot to experience in Busan. From dining and shopping to clubbing and bar hopping, Busan offers many things to do even after sunset. So when I took a short break working on cruise vessels and decided working on cargo ship (at least for one contract) sailing mainly around Asia, I finally had my chance to experience Busan – not on its attractions at the forefront but to the back alleys of Texas Street, a commercial street popular to local residents, foreigners and merchant sailors. [Read more…]

OMG! I Arrived Cebu On A Cruise Ship!

sinulogI’ve been in Cebu countless times – on several trips with my grandma when I was still a kid; few times when I was in college; lived in the city for few months when I took review classes in preparation for PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) board exam; once with my wife and kids on vacation; two years ago as crew member of a cruise ship; and thereafter, few times in a row – work related or for pleasure. So I would say that I am familiar with almost every corner around the city.
I don’t know how or why but I always find every visit in Cebu interesting and exciting. So when I learned that my next ship assignment had scheduled stopover in Cebu City, the more I became so revved-up and was so excitedly looking forward for that day – never in my imagination occurred that I will be visiting Cebu as crew member of a cruise liner. [Read more…]

Shanghai’s Pudong District, So Close But Out Of Reach

pudong_skyscrapers_shanghaiOne of the many destinations I wanted to visit is Shanghai, the largest commercial center in China choke full of gleaming skyscrapers dominating the skyline. Yes, I am a big Sim City fanatic. I played Sim City 4 before and now with Sim City 2013, I remain a hard working city mayor. During the game, I always patterned my city layout between these two cities – Shanghai or New York. So when the ship visited Shanghai sometimes in the summer of 2015, for the first time I finally had seen in person the very city influential in the game. [Read more…]