My travelling stories


“Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life.” -Paul Theroux

In the heart of Luzon, flanked between Zambales to the west and Bulacan to the east lies the gastronomic capital of the Philippines, Pampanga. Long before it got its well-known moniker today, the province was once known as La Pampanga which was designated by the Spaniards. The unique appellation stemmed from the encounter the Spaniards had with natives who were living along banks or “pampang” in Spanish of the Pampanga River in 1571, marking it as the first Spanish province in the Luzon Island. Today, this quirky little province is home to the world-renowned sisig and the finest Philippine dishes. Apart from Pampanga’s obvious flair for culinary masterpieces, the province is also known for its annual Easter re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and come Christmas season; holiday revellers can enjoy seeing the giant Christmas lanterns. The province has come a long way from being known as the land of natives living by the riverbanks, but their long and colourful history remains.

Apart from the diverse tourist attractions and the bustling nightlife, Pampanga also houses world-class resorts, casinos, golf courses and duty-free shopping. With all these attractions, you are guaranteed a myriad of activities whenever you are in the city. From the heritage sites, historical churches to the array of various restaurants, your one-day itinerary to Pampanga is sure to be full of things to do. Here are some of the places you should definitely not miss during your visit.

1.)     San Guillermo Parish Church (Bacolor, Pampanga)

It is a known fact that the Philippines traces some of its roots to the Spanish colonization, and a concrete evidence of that is the remnants of Spanish culture and heritage sites. Apart from that, the country is peppered with ancient and historic churches. Pampanga has its fair share of them. The San Guillermo Parish Church, an old church originally established by Augustinian Friars in 1576 used to be a placed of worship but is now known as a local tourist spot owing to the devastation that hit it back in 1995. Half of the church is buried from the lahar flow caused Mount Pinatubo’s eruption. Aside from taking photos, one should never miss visiting the museum located in the church complex.

2.) JB Betis Woodcraft (Guagua, Pampanga)

Next, to the San Guillermo Church, your next visit should be JB Betis Woodcrafts in Betis Guagua, Pampanga where you can appreciate the finest wood creations made by wood connoisseurs. From furniture to statues, every wooden creation is an evident showcase of their expertise which is obvious from the meticulously fine details etched in their products. If you are looking to fill your home with locally made furniture that is nonetheless impressive, the town of Betis is your best bet.

3.)  Atching Lilian’s (Mexico, Pampanga)

What is a trip to Pampanga without indulging your palate and sampling some of its finest epicurean delicacies and famous dishes? And what better way to satisfy your appetite than beginning it with a hearty and savory lunch? In a grandiose ancestral Mexico, Pampanga lives Atching Lilian, one of Pampanga’s culinary virtuosos. Considering that she is a master at her craft, Atching Lilian is a known culinary historian and hosts a cooking show. A tour to her place is not only limited to eating her food but would also entail a tour in her kitchen where she would show you her antique cookware collections as well as a demonstration of how making San Nicolas cookies, Pampanga’s famous dessert. Everyone visiting is required to bring their big appetites with them as after the tour you are treated to a buffet of food she has specially prepared. Included are some of Pampanga’s famous dishes such as Tamales, Morcon and Dinuguan.

4.)  Betis Church (Guagua, Pampanga)

After lunch, a visit to another church is in order. Though relatively unknown, the town of Betis has its own local version of the Sistine Chapel which is the St. John the Apostle Church (Betis Church). Built in the 18th century by Augustinians, the Betis Church is incredibly well-maintained, and the imposing structure remains majestic until today. Considering its grand architecture and impressive wall murals, the church is rightfully protected as a National Cultural Treasure. Though a lot of pictures of the church have surfaced online, nothing beats seeing this marvellous and historic structure for yourself.

5.) Pinatubo Museum

End your trip with a visit to the Pinatubo Museum, one of Pampanga’s newest tourist attractions and is a recent addition to the Center for Kapampangan Studies. With its opening just last June 14, 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, the museum features a mural timeline of the history of Mt. Pinatubo. Additionally, one can observe the many various exhibits by Joel Mallari and mural sculptures by Arnel Garcia.

Straight from a Volunteer’s Diary

I had won the 10th criminal case in a row and had been looking for some fresh way. So, I decided to take a hiatus from work and explore the world. What can be more enjoyable than making trips to Asia and Africa and also volunteering in the continents? My trips to these two continents taught me to see the world in a different way. Today, I want to share my experience in the two continents and help my fellow volunteers.

 Let me first give you an idea of the differences between the two continents.

# Languages spoken

Asia – Some nations like India or Philippines have many vernacular languages, while some nations like Vietnam have only one language. Since, the British had colonized most of Asia; English has turned into a common language. You can volunteer in India and see the numerous vernacular languages in use.

Africa – While French and English are most prevalent, other languages are also spoken in African nations. Most countries have tribal languages.

# Volunteer destinations

Asia – Most Asian nations welcome volunteering aid. Volunteers flock to Asian countries not only because the people in those nations need help, but also because of the affable weather conditions and lack of large-scale political disturbance. Nepal and India are the most favoured destinations for volunteers.

Africa – Very few nations in Africa are safe enough to attract numerous volunteers. Countries like, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria are the most favoured destinations among volunteers.

# Types of volunteering activity

Asia – My trip to Asia taught me that the focus on volunteering activities in the continent is on education, especially on learning English. Countries like, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam emphasize on teaching English to the young generation.

Africa – While imparting education is a part of the activities performed by volunteers, they mostly have to dedicate their time to health care activities. Africa often comes under the impact of life-taking diseases. Therefore, medical attention, proper nutrition and community development are the major activities performed by Africans.

# Geography

Asia – Most of the volunteering organizations are located either in urban or semi-urban locations. Very few volunteering activities occur in remote areas. In fact, in India, some of the volunteering organizations are located right in the heart of major cities. This ensures that volunteering in India is made easy by access to proper communication.

Africa – You can enjoy Africa volunteer experience only when you are tough enough to stay in difficult conditions. Most of the volunteering locations are situated in rural areas. In fact, some volunteers are sent to live with Masai tribe members in their village. As a result, volunteers have very less communication with the civilized world.

Now, I am about to reveal some of the similarities that I noticed while volunteering in Asia and Africa.

# The category of programs is similar

Most of the volunteering programs revolve around community development, education, women’s education, women’s rights in the society, health, poverty and environmental stability.

# Arrangement of programs is done in similar manner

Volunteer organizations in developing nations hire volunteers in order to face social and economic problems in their society. There are some organizations that act as middlemen in the process of hiring. They hire volunteers and place them in different nations for volunteering. It does not matter whether you are placed in placement is in Asia or Africa; the method of arranging programs is the same in both the continents.

# The spirit of humanism is the same

I have volunteered in Asian nations and also in African nations. But, I realized that the spirit to work for greater good exists in both the continents. Volunteers get involved in the massive participation of helping others in spite of the poor living conditions and difficult weather conditions.

# Volunteering for children

While Asian nations emphasize more on education of the youth, African countries are more into building a physically strong future generation. In your trips to Asian and African nations you can notice that both the continents are concerned about well-being of their future generations.

# Wildlife preservation

Both Asian and African countries are involved in preserving the animal population in the continents. Tigers, lions, monkeys, birds and reptiles are helped by the volunteering programmes. The volunteers work in reserve forests to make sure that the animals get proper treatment when unwell, do not get attacked by poachers, tourists do not throw glass items on the forest ground, etc.

By now, you must have realized that Asia and Africa are stark different from each other. But, the spirit of humanism in both the continents is the same. Why don’t you experience volunteering in the two continents and let us know about your experience?

Dubai is substantially more like Shanghai, with its bold construction modeling, awesome horizons, fixation on design and style, and thriving contemporary craftsmanship scene. In spite of bits of gossip, Dubai has a rich society, however, the greater part of it is elusive, established in Bedouin legacy and conventions of narrating, verse, tune, and falconry, yet there are a lot of chances to experience it like a localite. Read on.

Get on one of those Delhi Dubai flights and you would enter a fascinating world altogether! Dubai is hot and sweltering the majority of the year. Best time to visit is Nov to Mar, when temperatures are moderate. January is also considered the ideal month to visit. After dusk, Dubai now and then appears like a city loaded with many surprises, perpetually vigilant for in a dazzling way. Its diversity provides food for pretty much every taste, spending plan and age bunch. From ostentatious spots, smooth housetop porches and sizzling shoreline clubs to mixed drink sinkholes and shows under the stars, Dubai conveys hot and vibrant odysseys. Much part of the nightlife is the extravagant lodgings, yet there’s no lack of other recreation and activities, including shisha lounges, group theater and unrecorded music venues.

Albeit steady by correlation, Dubai is no more abnormal to cutting free when the moon’s high in the sky. In case, you are setting out here toward sun, ocean and sand, spring and fall are perfect, the time when you can tan your body by day and cool down later at eateries, bars and shopping centers. Summer, while rankling, is progressively demonstrating prominent with spending plan voyagers and families for the deals that can be discovered – it is the least expensive time to visit, yet do note that from June to September the normal day by day temperature is well over a singing 40 degrees Celsius. Amazing Mosque is mind boggling! Delightful and luxurious and to some degree overpowering in its size and glory. The Grand Mosque is the one spot in which a clothing regulation is entirely authorized. Women must be secured from neck to toe and wear a hard scarf. The mosque is astonishing to see as you approach it and just as stunning inside. Unquestionably an absolute necessity check whether you would be in Dubai.

Head to the Burj Khalifa to appreciate the eminent perspectives from the highest point of the tallest building on the planet. Invest some energy to stroll around the Dubai Mall, which is adjacent to the Burj Khalifa. Underneath the mantle of marvelousness and style, unobtrusive and alluring charms of Dubai could without much of a stretch be ignored. In any case, lift the shroud of this sparkling jewel city, and the embodiment of Arabia is rapidly found in the energetic, tumultuous and conventional souqs based on the Creek, the heart of this old exchanging port. Dig somewhat more profoundly and you would discover that the people here are savagely glad about their desert legacy. It is hard not to appreciate Dubai for its inexhaustible verve, gutsy desire and capacity to conjure up and acknowledgeable ventures that somewhere else would never get off the planning phase. This is a superlative-longing for society that has established the world’s tallest building, an island molded like a palm tree, an enormous indoor ski heaven, the world’s quickest thrill ride and continuous starchitect-planned craftsmanship with exhibition halls of global stature. Coming to Dubai frequently can feel like an jetspeed tour to the future world. A quaint contrast of this place would be boarding Delhi Kullu flights into the hills for a vacation that thrills in a different way to same degree. Have a great tour!