Zentraveler on a new travel venue!

Due to malfunction of my electronics and a new travel itinerary I will return to writing the Zentraveler blog.  I have exited the Philippines  and flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and on to Bangkok,  Thailand where I rented a five star looking condominium for a month for $300.00 overlooking a huge swimming pool and the ocean.  As a writer this is what you do!  You get up in the morning have a few cups of coffee and take off walking wherever your feet take you.  Its amazing as the smells of the local food stalls begin to penetrate your morning stroll… you are ready for a crab omelette or whatever local foodstuffs they decide to give you. As they dont understand a word of English …maybe is better to just let them serve you!

Making the ultimate travel mistake after signing my 30 day lease, I said by the way which way is town and they pointed north along the ocean!  Be that as it may the following day I set out to walk to the town of Ban Chang  and stopped by the office to find out how far town was from the condo…they proudly announced it is only about 30-35 minutes by car taxi!  Wait a minute the internet had it located within the town of Ban Chang. The office announced its sort of is… as it is in the province.  A word to the wise always only book one night stay in any condo, hotel, home-stay, or guesthouse…this way if they are jack-hammering your next door room, running a continuous loud music festival,  crumpled bed with rock hard pillows crawling with bedbugs and drunken neighbors you can decline or check-out.

To make the best of things I viewed my new five star digs with marble kitchen, mahogany furniture, king side bed, 52 inch digital TV and a view to be envious of!  The condo had a small front porch ten feet from the Olympic sized swimming pool and provided an excellent work-space if thats what you were into….for me I took this opportunity to try and slow down and enjoy the morning walks, the afternoon swims and just hanging out in a strange culture.

After exiting Thailand via Bangkok I flew directly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia where I became acclimatized to a new culture alive with energy.  The French colonial architecture along with amazing temples and pagodas…sprinkled with every form of restaurant bar you could imagine gave the intrepid traveler many new sites and sounds.

From Phnom Penh I took the Mekong Limousine Bus to Siem Reap to witness the World Heritage Temple Wat.  The bus trip was amazing with comfortable seats with leg room,  a toilet and the bus driver drove sensible. We  had a 20 minute rest stop and only took five hours which was supposed to take six hours.  Siem Reap has some wonderful sights along the river and evidence of French Colonial architecture sprinkled everywhere.   And to brighten your day after walking miles at the temple ruins you could spend endless time on Pub Street just people watching and exploring the many restaurants, art stores, and local stalls to fill anyone’s food fantasy.

From Siem Reap I returned to Phnom Penh and took a van-bus to the sleepy town of Kampot in southern Camodia where I was invited to present my novel Blowfish with a panel of six other fiction writers from around the world at the second annual Kampot Writers and Readers Festival.  When electronics allow I will sprinkle my travel stories on Zentaveler with Photos.

So there you have it!  Zentaveler is back on the horse and anxious to share his travel stories with his readers!

QUOTE: “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. – Unknown

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The culture…If its lost its gone forever!

ZENTAVELER SAYS:  Its not just the travel…Its the journey.  Hop aboard grasshopper you to can enjoy the ride!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler on world’s healthiest foods.

Local Cooking School

Mediterranean Diet

Not looking for complicated rocket science or a treatise on how to live your life…then look no more and CHOOSE THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET the simplest and most healthy food choices on the planet.

Select the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean Diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.

Research suggests that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may be many: improved weight loss, better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels and reduced risk of depression, to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

If You would like a healthy way to enjoy your life then this is a no-brainer.  Quit the processed and fast foods with saturated fats and tune up your life the way you would tune up an engine.  Feed yourself good food and drink and your life will jump-charge into overdrive.

  • Eat lots of vegetables. Try a simple plate of sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and crumbled feta cheese, or load your thin crust pizza with peppers and mushrooms instead of sausage and pepperoni. Salads, soups, and crudité platters are also great ways to load up on vegetables.
  • Change the way you think about meat. If you eat red meat, have smaller amounts and opt for “organic, grass-fed” whenever possible to avoid the antibiotics, hormones and GMO feed associated with industrially raised meat. Put small strips of organic, free-range chicken on your salad, or add small amounts of meat to a whole-wheat pasta dish.
  • Always eat breakfast. Fruits, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods are a great way to start your day, keeping you pleasantly full for hours.
  • Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, sablefish (black cod), and sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish like mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health.
  • Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. If it’s helpful, you can jump on the “Meatless Mondays” trend of foregoing meat on the first day of the week, or simply pick a day where you build meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Once you get the hang of it, try two nights a week.
  • Use good fats. Extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados are great sources of healthy fats for your daily meals.
  • Enjoy dairy products such as natural cheese, Greek or plain yogurt. Research shows that eating whole-milk dairy products is linked to less body fat and lower levels of obesity. This may be because full-fat dairy makes you feel fuller, faster, and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer, thus helping you to eat less overall. Choose organic or raw milk products if possible.
  • For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Instead of ice cream, cake or other baked goods, opt for strawberries, fresh figs, grapes, or apples.

QUOTE: “Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.” ~Mike Adam

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Why switching over to a Mediterrean diet is good for your health.  The science of the effects of dietary habits on health is still in its infancy according to Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, the dean of Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. Up until recently, food was considered primarily a source of energy and nutrition but not a factor playing a major role in health and illness.

The Mediterranean diet, in particular, has gained the attention of the scientific community because populations adopting this type of diet seem to present with better health outcomes and an increased life expectancy. On the other hand, the typical modern Western Diet is associated with increased risk of diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease, and even cancer. For all these reasons, switching to a Mediterranean type of diet is considered one of the best ways to prevent many diseases that are epidemic in the Western world and which are associated with high mortality rates and a low quality of life.  Its not rocket science to explain why everyone should consider adopting a Mediterranean diet for the sake of their health.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Health

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Choose the Mediterranean Diet for better quality of life and to outwit the life insurance companies.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler arrives in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

 

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride…  Lonely Planet

After working my way south from mi arrival in Denang Airport I traveled by train, sleep over bus, local bus, motorcycle, river boat and pulled by a water buffalo.  When the bus dropped me off on a main street in the tourist area my next task was to cross the street and find a hotel for the nights lodging.  As a volley of determined motorcyclists whizzed by at breakneck speed I stood on the sidewalk waiting for my chance to cross the street.  The green street light changed to red and I somehow jaywalked in a ziz zag fashion between the revved up motorcycles who were still coming… climbing up on the sidewalks out of alleys and everywhere but droping out of the sky with parachutes.

Motorcycles Everywhere

Motorcycles Everywhere

If you want to see the energizer bunny all you have to do is look anywhere and people are  moving like an army of ants, but with motors.  After all of this I checked into a brand new hotel right on the tourist strip at a discounted price.  The staff was excellent and I started up the street where I found an authentic coffee shop complete with antique copper brewers, cool air conditioning and relaxing music.  I took a window seat and watched one entrepreneur actually park your motorcycle right on the sidewalk for a small fee and completely block anyone from walking on the sidewalk which gave extra adrenaline to walking with or against traffic as their are no rules whilst dodging the motorcycles.  Talk about an obstacle course Ho Chi Minh City wins hands down on anywhere I have  traveled in the world.

Coffee Hous

Coffee Hous

The short answer is go with the flow so after leaving the coffee shop I headed down an alley that looked like pedestrians and tourists only, some drinking beer with there chairs on the edge of the alley, but like a sick movie where you hear the sound of a racing motorcycle you are standing in the alley trying to read the menu and whiz goes a motor weaving in and out and almost brushing you as he speeds by. You think hell maybe hes making an  important delivery to a blood bank or he is just slightly deranged.  You walk another thirty meters and there is the local restaurant you have been searching for.  They cook your meals in an open space directly across the street from the restaurant with all native dishes.  You relax order a beer, an appetizer and watch the world go by.  For the moment you are in the safe house and thank your lucky stars you are not a waiter walking across the street with a tray of food with some motors chasing your tail.

 Banana Vendor

Banana Vendor

This basically ends my first day as I meander back to my hotel.  You might say: “come on now the city cant be all that crazy… there surely must be something good in the city.”  The meal was so good it would be something to write home about…the food, energy, and coffee houses  in Ho Chi Minh city is beyond comparison.  Yum Yum!  As I drifted off to sleep the low roar of the motorcycles just outside my window had a calming effect and I slept like a baby.

Fish Monger

Fish Monger

The following morning I went to the market and saw more tourists than anywhere else in my travels.  They seemed to be from every country in the world.  Backpackers, Europeans, Americans, Russians, Swedish…just to mention a few.  The market is buzzing with fishmongers, hanging meats and chickens, small food kiosks, noodle stalls, coffee shops, retail everything…. including exotic spices from around the world and a flower market that Chelsea would be proud of.

Flower Market

Flower Market

You could spend several days in the market just people watching, sampling their food , taking pictures, and just hanging out.  So there you have it! A city on the move alive with night life, excellent restaurants, friendly people and a budget suited for every type of traveler.  As this is my last day in Vietnam I would like to thank the many shop owners, restaurant and hotel staff who made an effort to make my stay a pleasant one.  I secretly  donated one dong in the fountain which will guarantee my return visit…I have so much more to see and experience in Vietnam. So while you are laying around or slumping on your favorite big boy chair why not book a trip to Vietnam and discover for yourself some of its treasures.

Flowers

Flowers

QUOTE:. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Market Scene

Market Scene

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:  Ruou ran (snake wine), a Vietnamese specialty of rice wine with a pickled snake inside, allegedly can cure any sickness.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Planet!   Get off line and read a real book. Anything you can do to reduce your temptation to buy yourself the newest, fastest tech toys is a boon to the planet. Spending less time online isn’t easy. (I continue to struggle with it myself.) But benefits to the planet will result. Plus, you’ll be able to spend more time outdoors enjoying that very planet.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Purchase a rice farmers Vietnam straw hat and maybe you will get the local discount or run the risk of looking like a tourist dweeb.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

 

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Zentraveler on the Universe!

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. Albert Einstein 

In random numbers we now have 7.4 billion humans on this earth and I think therefore I am almost positive that less than one millionth of the human population understand what this above paragraph really means.  We are selfishly destroying the earth in nano seconds and it really wont matter what you think or do into the future unless we put the brakes on and design a worldwide software social system like Facebook to save our earth from impending disaster.

Food for thought…now that’s a mouthful.  Its our role in the Universe to embrace all living creatures and save nature not destroy it.  Since we have dug such a deep hole with wars, bombing, destruction of the environment, global warming, toxic waste, chickens with antibiotics, genetic modified foodstuffs, and development of the nuclear bomb…we are living on borrowed time.

We are losing animal and plant species in record numbers and as a reminder EXTINCTION IS FOREVER.  Is it too late to care about the Universe?  The quick answer is YES.  However if we could start a movement where we would plant a billion trees per year we could improve air quality, increase rainfall and beautify the world.   We could Shut down big business polluters and like Richard Branson appeal to every country in the world to get on board to save the Universe…

Heck if you could come up with a social media software program to save the universe Richard Branson would probably kick in a few billion dollars himself…  Just saying.

So there you have it!  To save the Universe or Destroy the Universe….even a first grader would choose the correct answer…how can we be so dumb over such a big issue?   Can you say corporate and personal GREED!

Smokey the Bear used to say:  Only You can prevent Forest Fires  and now Zentraveler says Only You can save the Universe.  Grasshopper shudders when a crop duster airplane spreads toxic chemicals over the clover fields…he says it makes him puke with just one bite…and sometimes knocks him silly …UGH!

QUOTE: “It’s funny. When we were alive we spent much of our time staring up at the cosmos and wondering what was out there. We were obsessed with the moon and whether we could one day visit it. The day we finally walked on it was celebrated worldwide as perhaps man’s greatest achievement. But it was while we were there, gathering rocks from the moon’s desolate landscape, that we looked up and caught a glimpse of just how incredible our own planet was. Its singular astonishing beauty. We called her Mother Earth. Because she gave birth to us, and then we sucked her dry.” -John Stewart, Earth (The Book): A Visitors Guide to the human race.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Our universe is an amazing place full of amazing facts. Every day new discoveries are made and we’ve come so far in a relatively short period of time toward understanding our surroundings, where we originated from and where we may be heading. Even quantum physics has been scaled to layman’s terms. Lively discussions take place around the world on everything from String Theory to Dark Energy. All we need to do is look up at the night sky during  specified times to see constellations of stars, alignments of planets, meteorite showers, eclipses of the moon, visiting comets and so much more. Gravitational telescopes have made so many more observations possible for us and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Universe.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You cannot live alone in the Universe…we are all connected so quit your fighting and struggling and help save the Universe.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

 

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Zentraveler explores the secrets to Longevity.

Longevity

Longevity

If you would like to live to be a hundred maybe you can follow some of the secrets of my ancestors.  Uncle Irvin lived to one hundred four and worked outside trimming and growing things.  Grandma lived close to a hundred and planted her own garden every year plus had a room full of flowers and green interior plants, My mother lived just shy of a hundred and learned not to worry…answer the question what good does worry do? Great Uncle Russel’s occupation was  hunting for wild ginseng and mushrooms in the mountains. At age 96 he asked me to bring him a new beagle pup  as he wanted to start training the beagle to be a top rabbit hunting dog. It takes approximately two years of training in the field.  He planned to go hunting at age 98 with his newly trained beagle.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 84,000 centenarians currently live in the United States and the number continues to grow. By 2040, this fast-growing segment of the American population is expected to reach 580,000–a seven-fold increase. How can you boost your chances of one day joining their ranks? By learning the secrets to a long life and healthy aging.  Using the lucky number eleven we have listed eleven secrets to longevity.

1. Stay current.
One key to longevity seems to be keeping up with the times. Though it goes against the stereotype that the elderly are unable or unwilling to learn anything new, an increasing number of centenarians are embracing new media and technologies and are constantly learning new things.

2. Stay connected.
Daily communication with loved ones may also contribute to living longer. A large percentage of those polled–82 percent–talk to a friend or family member every day, and nearly 80 percent feel that an active social life is more important to maintain as you age than an active sex life. Some studies have shown that those with satisfying social relationships (including a stable marriage) experience less mental decline due to aging and remain more mentally alert than their more isolated peers.  People with pets also live longer.

3. Eat, sleep, and exercise.
Eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly are at the top of the to-do list for people who have made it to 100. Three-quarters of respondents make it a point to eat nutritious, balanced meals and get eight hours of sleep every night. Nearly half walk or hike once a week for health benefits, and more than 30 percent get weekly exercise from activities like gardening. Focusing on these areas can help you maintain a healthy weight over your lifetime and feel better mentally as well as physically. The “New England Centenarian Study,” conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine, found that few centenarians are obese and are almost always lean, especially men.

4. Stick to routines.
Many of those who live the longest have a fondness for daily and weekly routines. In addition to healthy habits formed by connecting with others and staying fit, nearly 75 percent say it is important to have a good sense of humor make it a point to have a hearty laugh daily. More than 60 percent meditate or practice  “spiritual” activity each day to help keep them centered. Be in the now…easier said then done.

5. Volunteer.
Giving back is another avenue to longer-term health and happiness. Close to 90 percent of centenarians believe that volunteering helps improve emotional health and can make people happier. Seventeen percent have volunteered in the past six months.  Not just volunteering simply helping anyone improve their life via teaching or demos is a win win situation.

6.Have a hobby.

And if you don’t have a hobby it never to late to get one and make sure its something you like and enjoy. Many hobbies to chose from in today’s world which include card playing, bingo, walking, golf, swimming, working crossroad puzzles, reading, stamp and coin collecting, growing herbs, music…and the list goes on.

7. Feel satisfied.
It’s often said that the secret to happiness is wanting what you have. Centenarians seem to prove this point, with the oldest Americans harboring few regrets and expressing contentment with the lives they’ve led. In an impressive show of strong adjustment and coping skills, nearly 80 percent said there was nothing they would have done less of; over 60 percent said there was nothing they would have done more of in their lives. In the end, what more could you want from a long life than that?

8. Be your own Best Friend.

Sounds easy enough, but you would be surprises how many people fall into the trap of self loathing and the poor me complex.  Snap out of it Jack and Jill.  Do you want me to push you off a 300 foot cliff bungee jump with native vines tied to your feet…  I didn’t think so?  Friend or Foe its your choice.

9.  Forgiveness

Forgive any and all of your possible enemies…they didn’t know any better. And it like lifting the biggest weight and ball and chain from your person and soul. Now that’s something to crow about.

10. Gratitude

Wow that’s a mouthful.  Give thanks and appreciate the little things in life including saying something nice to everyone you meet.

11.  Be active and keep busy.

Unless you were born in the animal world and are a sloth where you hang upside down all day watching the world go by then just because your getting older doesn’t give you the right to be a sloth and a couch potato.  Bottom line get off your duff and  get with the program

So there you have it make sure you have a good nights sleep, get up early with the birds, eat a healthy breakfast, do your daily exercises, have an early lunch with lunch being your largest meal and an early dinner using small portions and if hungry take  a few apple snacks a day plus drink plenty of  water also drink at least three cups of green tea daily try to eliminate fast foods and a meat diet and  most of all stay away from doctors and chemical laden Pharmacies.

Now that you have all of the secrets you can live like Moses …you might double the 100 year mark and live to 200…then freeze yourself and start all over with  a new batch of DNA.  Whats not to like?  Paying those  taxes and such.  No worries mate… just instruct your personal robot to handle the details and kick back and relax.  And don’t forget to hug your friends and pets…they like that.  Grasshopper you can skip the longevity lesson.  Grasshoppers have a short life cycle especially when a hungry bird spots you lounging on your backside in the tall cool grass.

QUOTE: The secret to Longevity is to keep breathing. (Quote by – Sophie Tucker)

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: He who gives food, gives longevity, pleasant complexion, happiness,
stamina and intelligence.Buddhism advocates generosity as one of the main virtues accumulated even by the potential Buddha. Feeding poor people is one of the duties of a Buddhist. One who is capable of earning more with ethical means shares his/her surplus with others. Food, clothing, shelter and medicine are four essentials that a person needs. Buddhism emphasizes the fact that everybody lives on food and that is the main requisite. The Buddhist generosity is culminated when one sacrifices his or  her own life for the benefit of others. According to Buddhism, before asking the person to follow the teachings of the Buddha, one should check whether the person had enough to eat because the hungry cannot comprehend the essence of the teachings. The Buddha mentioned that hunger is the worst disease in the Universe.

THINGS YOU CAN SAVE: The earth is a good place to start.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Live each day as if it is the only day you have.  You would be amazed at how that can jump-start an entire lifespan.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

 

 

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Zentraveler comments on Bantayan Holy Week, Philippines

Every year the Bantayan Holy Week  located on Bantayan Island , Cebu approximately five hours from Cebu…attracts more Filipino locals, tourists and world travelers.  This year is no exception.  All of the buses and ferries are filled with Holy Week seekers who come to celebrate this great Easter Celebration.  The dates start on Thursday March 24, 2016 and go thru Sunday March 27 with the main attractions celebrated in Bantayan Town with a Easter themed parade. Located at the town center circle you can witness the ancient church and see hoards of people along with many vendors selling every type of tasty snacks and trinkets.  Other visitors rent rooms, hotels and guest houses and lounge on the white sandy beaches of Santa Fe , twenty five minutes from Bantayan Town.  Santa Fe has excellent swimming on the turquoise blue waters and offers many excellent restaurant ventures.

If you have never been to Bantayan Island Holy Week… grab your backpack, pack some sunscreen and travel snacks and hop aboard the many buses leaving North terminal, Cebu.  As a reminder it would be a Cardinal Sin not to bring your camera.  Enjoy!

 

Holy Week Bantayan

Holy Week Bantayan

Can you imagine over 50,000 visitors will descend on Bantayan Island to witness and celebrate Holy Week.
This years event will be celebrated on March 24, 2016 Maundy Thursday and March 25, 2016 Good Friday. Filipinos from every province of the Philippines will trek here by private car, buses, motorcycles, and eventually make the ferry crossing from Hagnaya port to Santa Fe. Bantayan Island is approximately three hours by bus from Cebu plus one and half hour by ferry. From Santa Fe you can take motorized tricycle or jeepney to the town of Bantayan where the religious activities take place.

crowd scene

crowd scene

HOLY WEEK OBSERVANCE
“The ancient customs of observing the traditional religious festivity during the Lent is drawing bigger and bigger crowd of devotees every year to Bantayan. The main attraction is the passion and death of Jesus Christ well illustrated in life-size figures, mounted on high, richly decorated and brightly illuminated “carrozas””. These are paraded along the main streets on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Besides the passion and death of our Lord, images of saints as related in the Bible are also depicted. To this date, the scenes are complete from the Last Supper down to the scene when Jesus was being laid to His tomb.” source: Bantayan.Gov.ph

Fountain and Church

Fountain and Church

Since most of the resorts are fully booked well in advance you are advised to make your hotel and resort reservations at least six months in advance to insure you have a place to stay. Most of the people will stay in Santa Fe since it has many resorts and restaurants and is located on a beautiful white sand beach with palm trees swaying in the wind.

Magellans Cross

Magellans Cross

Almost every square inch of the beach is used for family get togethers and celebrations with many sleeping on the beach. Santa Fe has several tent rental vendors leased out on the first come basis. Some of the more seasoned visitors bring their own sleeping gear and equipment.

The main event is in the town of Bantayan and centers around the central park and historical church. They have daily parades which include life-like portrayals of Jesus and the Stations of the Cross. Vendors sell everything from candles to snacks and balloons and cotton candy for the kids.

Historical Church

Historical Church

While in Bantayan many visitors visit the fresh fish wet market, the vegetable market and the dried fish market. There are also many local businesses along with individual booths selling everything from used clothing, to the latest video releases. Many visitors purchase bags of dried fish for future personal use or as gifts to their friends and family.

Balloon Vendor

Balloon Vendor

If you get hungry one of the favorite hangouts of the locals and foreigners is Kermits Restaurant just off the central square. They are noted for the best cheese burgers on the island along with great burritos and homemade cakes and pies of every description. Don’t know what to order… try their Halo Halo special ice-cream with ice and hidden treats. Yum Yum!

Candle Lady

Candle Lady

So there you have it! Holy Week is quite a spectacular event to witness and celebrate the teachings of Christianity. So why not join in the festivities and contribute to the new Filipino public relations promotion which states: “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” As a reminder don’t forget your camera grasshoppers… you will have many photo opts while on Bantayan Island.

Veronica

Veronica

QUOTE: “We ought to fast, and to abstain from all vice, and from all that will lead us into sin, as well as from extravagance and superfluity. We should often visit the churches, and venerate and reverence all ecclesiastics on account of their office, and because they distribute the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, which they offer in sacrifice, receive themselves, and administer to others. And let everyone know and hold for certain that we cannot be saved except through the sacred Words and the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which priests preach, announce, and distribute, and of which they are the sole ministers.” -St. Francis of Assisi

Candle Ceremony

Candle Ceremony

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The Holy Week is one of the biggest, most colorful and most theatrical festivities of the Catholic Church along with Christmas. In the Philippines, the ‘Semana Santa’ (original Spanish name) or ‘Mahal na Araw (literally ‘dear days’) is the week preceding Easter Sunday. In this predominantly Catholic country, the focus of the celebrations is not just on the resurrection of Christ, but also on His crucifixion and the events that led up to it. In fact, given the penchant of Filipinos for everything heart-tugging, the crucifixion of Christ has always been more colorful than the other activities of the Holy Week.

Colorful Celebration

Colorful Celebration

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Religious Cards.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Make a special trip to Bantayan Island and experience the Holy Week celebration.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Bantayan Holy Week, Bantayan Holy Week 2016, Santa Fe beach town, Stations of the Cross, Uncategorized

Zentraveler arrives in Vung Tau, Vietnam

 

Vung Tau Seascape

Vung Tau Seascape

Vũng Tàu is the port capital of Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province, on a peninsula in southern Vietnam. Once a French colonial town, it’s now a popular seaside resort that draws tourists from around the world. Because of its close proximity to  Ho Chi Minh City, many visitors day-trip and arrive by hydrofoil or bus. Its long, busy stretch of beach has the verdant Small and Big mountains as backdrop.

Sidewalk Dragon

Sidewalk Dragon

A few hour bus trip from Mui Ne I arrive in the petroleum beach town of Vung Tau.  Not having great expectations of a paradise beach town I was presently surprised as I checked into by beach view hotel.  After check in I walked along the main beach street and meandered upward on one of the best sidewalks in all of Vietnam.  As an older traveler this is a big plus for me.  I want to be able to walk, take my time, take in the scenes and stop at a coffee shop along the way. As I neared the top of the hill  there is a huge statue of Jesus perched on top of the mountain overlooking the bay and the city.  With approximately two hundred steps you can climb to the Christ statue and feel like you are the King of the Universe.

Jesus Statue

Statue

Vung Tau will definitely not disappoint.  Approximately one hour into my walk I started to descend down hill toward a long scenic bay  and of course as if a genie appeared there was a great coffee shop perched on the cliff overlooking the bay.  If you have never drank Vietnam coffee…it is to die for.  With coffee in hand I order a plain baguette with cheese and egg and I was good to go.  Total cost one dollar.  This is a good time to reflect and give thanks to the travel gods and whoever is running the universe these days.

Seaside Restaurant

Seaside Restaurant

After my lunch break I crossed the road and  walked back up the scenic sidewalk overlooking the bay and ocean with many green shade trees planted strategically along the walkway.  What a great place to take some pictures, no lines no shoving and pushing… just you alone able to capture the seascape for your personal memories and to share a few  for  fellow travelers on the Zentraveler blog.

Offshore Island

Offshore Island

So there you have it!  An excellent city with long scenic beaches, French Colonial architecture that has some of the best seafood restaurants in the world,  a choice of hotels to fit any budget and many activities for the tourist to chose from including: island hopping, scuba diving, jungle trekking, or just lazing on the beach. I personally liked the wide sidewalks, the small outdoor tables where you could always get a good cup of coffee and to me the feel and vibe of the city was great.  Vung Tau has some big plans for future tourism development and if you were looking for a possible retirement heaven Vung Tau just might fit the bill. What are you waiting for Grasshopper a personalized invitation from the King or a swift kick in the pants to move you off center!

Beach Whale

Beach Whale

QUOTE: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Vung Tau Beach

Vung Tau Beach

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: When you’re headed to Vung Tau, the world feels like your oyster. Whether you’re off on a romantic escape, family holiday, or solo excursion, you won’t want to miss any important local landmarks or the best cuisine in town. There is perhaps no better way to take in the city than by staying at an ideally located Vung Tau accommodation. You can also arrange jungle treks, surfing, off shore diving, a round of golf or just hanging out at the beach.

coffee and tea time

coffee and tea time

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:  Travel memories….like long term batteries their everlasting.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: When you travel often times the best experiences are not planned and you simply go with the flow.  Some travelers are so busy with their electronics and precision time tables they end up looking like possessed robots on steroids and completely miss the point of travel.

From here to Infinity and Beyond is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on. Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.

 

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Filed under Beachside City, Budget Hotel Rentals, Seafood Restaurants, Statue of Jesus, Uncategorized, Vietnam, Vung Tau