Zentraveler reflects on Holy Week Bantayan Island 2017!

Bantayan Holy Week

The small tropical island of Bantayan located in northern Cebu province in the Philippines sheds its laid back atmosphere like a snake as more than one hundred thousand people from around the world come to celebrate Holy Week… Which is celebrated from April 13 Maundy Thursday to April 16 Easter Sunday in the year 2017.

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.

Most of the accomodations , restaurants and beaches are located in the town of Santa Fe and almost every square inch of its white powdery sand  is covered with people who are here to enjoy the beach, good food and religious activities.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday, then Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a solemn occasion in the Philippines,  a time for serious atonement.

Holy Week Celebration

Holy Week is when many people perform holy rites in fulfillment of a vow they made when they asked God a favor, such as a cure for an illness. Priests and religious statues are dressed in purple to symbolize gloom. Devout Catholics go to church everyday; some fast.

Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, Filipino Catholics bring (palm fronds) to church to be blessed by the priests.  Then they bring the fronds back home with them.

Fountain and Church

For most of the week, especially after Tuesday, the towns are eerily quiet with TV and radio stations going off the air and no loud noises or revelry whatsoever. Catholics stop eating meat, turning to fish, and the more devout ones go on a completely liquid diet. Many businesses are closed, so make sure you have supplies, especially food, stocked up and make your hotel reservations well in advance as the hotel accommodations fill up fast.

The traditional  “reading” or chanting of verses about the suffering of Christ starts on Sunday and ends on Maundy Thursday, which is the day when the washing of the feet is celebrated.

Good Friday  commemorates the crucifixion and death of  Christ. On this day, you will see religious figures being carried through the towns on top of  carriages. The religious images and statues are veiled in black in mourning of the death of Jesus.

The most striking feature of  Holy Week celebrations in the Philippines is the sight of Filipinos publicly whipping themselves. These are reenactments of the torture and death of Jesus. Some Filipinos not only whip their backs into a bloody mess, they also have their feet and hands nailed to a wooden cross. Tourists come from all over the world for the sight in the Manila area. Bantayan Island does not practice this reenactment, but has an impressive parade and reenactment of the Stations of the Cross in Bantayan Town.

Among Filipino superstitions on Good Friday is the prohibition against children playing. This is because they might injure themselves and not have their wounds heal. You will always be reminded that during this time when Jesus is dead, and so everything is awry and bad things are apt to happen.

Black Saturday is when Christ is entombed. Filipinos spend the day preparing for the night vigil leading up to Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. At  four o’clock in the morning, Filipinos do a  ceremony commemorating how the Virgin Mary met her son Jesus who has come back to life. Her image will be brought to the image of the Christ at the local church. Flower petals will be rained down on them.  Everyone is happy that Jesus is alive again and that the world is back right. On Easter day, grocery stores re-open and you can buy food.

In contemporary times, these Philippine traditions are slowly disappearing. Young Filipinos now use the Holy Week to vacation at the beach. Modified from Tagaloglang.com

So there you have it!  If you want to celebrate and enjoy Holy Week you are only approximately five hours by bus and ferry from north terminal Cebu! Pack a big lunch, relax in the sun, go to the beach and swim or island hop, sky dive or have some quiet time to reflect about the real meaning of Holy Week!

QUOTE: Let this season of LENT remind us all that this life we have and the material possessions we hold are just being LENT to us. We’re all passersby. We’re not immigrants here. We’re all pilgrims on the road. We bring nothing when we die. But we can leave behind the love we’ve shared, the hope we have given and the goodness we’ve done. May we all have a meaningful HOLY WEEK. GOD BLESS.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The real meaning of Easter…it’s not rocket science.  It is a religious celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: A collection of inspirational quotes.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Come to Bantayan Island and discover a hidden Paradise.  Grasshopper has been lounging on the beach and has a wonderful golden tan to prove it.  He also never misses going to Mass and says his prayers every night at bedtime.  Who knows maybe Saint Grasshopper is in the cards?

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 discovers longevity pill.

What if I told you that I know of a little white pill that can add years to your life and its dirt cheap would you be interested?  It reminds me of the psychiatrist who has about twenty diplomas in his office waiting room and in bold letters it says: “IT’S AMAZING WHAT I DON’T KNOW.”  Who knew?

Today they have cults who are trying to live one hundred seventy years and any number of snake-oil salesman claiming they have a cure for this and that, but as research gathers steam there is a cure for everything including living longer.

In Japan there is one town that has more people living over the age of one hundred than anywhere in the world.  Some of the things that contribute to this are a close knit society with many friends, a diet consisting of fresh fish and vegetables and daily exercise.

What if there is a break-thru study by accident that discovered this small white pill can add years to your life and it truly is a miracle drug with no known side effects.  This sounds like its strait out of Orsen Wells book 1984 or a playbook from outer-space.

Since curiosity nearly killed the cat and you are still with me… the little white pill which you can take daily is called METFORMIN.  Hey wait a blooming minute isn’t that a drug to treat diabetes?  The answer is yes and when they experimented with animal studies those who took this pill lived significantly longer. Martin-Montalvo A. et al. Metformin improves healthspan and lifespan in mice. Nat. Commun. 4:2192 doi: 10.1038/3192 (2013).

Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice.  Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake.

At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on health and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.

So there you have it… if this drug Metformin increases the longevity of mice and helps with other crippling diseases this might be the answer people have been seeking since the dawn of civilization… including: Ponce de Leon searching for the fountain of youth.

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on Zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

QUOTE:“You know what I think prolongs life?” Harry has said. “Art and Music. Beyond that, it is to have a heart full of love, That is the most important thing”.” -Neenah Ellis

 

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:

“There is increasing interest in exploring how drugs for one use might be repurposed for another. It is exciting to discover that a drug already known to be safe and effective in humans might be further studied for a possible, alternate use for healthy aging.”

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Mankind

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Metformin might add years to your life.  The grasshopper says his prayers, lives a healthy lifestyle, and takes a Metformin daily.  After giving him a mirror and taking some selfies he definitely looks and acts younger and even has an extra hop in his step.

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 Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodian Temple

Cambodian Temple

 

After studying and reading about Cambodia it was a no-brainer to pack my bags and see the many sights, smells and people of Cambodia.  My first impression after flying into the Phnom Penh airport was being delivered like royalty in a fancy motor tuc tuc directly to my hotel room just a few blocks from the river!

Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road

First things first… after you check into your hotel make sure you take a few hotel cards with exact address and look for some landmarks which will identify your hotel.  I call this the awareness stage.  Next step I carry a travel wallet with no credit or debit cards, a colored copy of my passport, small amount of money and my personal cards to give out to interesting travel people you may meet along the way.  My other wallet with money, credit cards and debit cards fits with my passport and is either locked in hotel safe or locked into my small travel bag hidden somewhere in the hotel room!

The first thing you notice is the hotel staff is friendly and anxious to answer your tourist questions and to my pleasant surprise most Cambodians in the tourist areas have a fair amount of English speaking abilities.   Also even though the US Dollar is not the official money of Cambodia, everyone wants and uses US Dollars for most transactions over a dollar.  If it is a small transaction example two pieces of bread expect to get change in Cambodian Riel or carry some loose Cambodian change for small transactions.

Golden Buddha

Golden Buddha

And when you go to the ATM machine you simply choose US dollars.  If you select $100 dollars guess what you get a $100.00 bill and no-one can change it?  So what I have learned to do was to go to the ATM machine located outside a major bank during weekday business hours get your $100.00 dollar bill and go inside the bank where any teller will be glad to give you change.

Don’t know who taught this to the Cambodian merchants but at least three times they refused to take my US dollars after holding them up to the light and they report to you “old Money”  cant take.  Bear in mind if there are tears etc I would understand, however if you got this money from local bank should be OK.  A small hotel operator after paying daily three days in a row  refused my money because he thought it was old.  I boldly said:” take it or leave it we can have the police settle this matter … I just got this money from the bank”!  He grumbled and took the money!

Buddha

Buddha

 

Now that we have security issues and money out of the way I take my first stroll in Phnom Penh down the sidewalks on to riverside drive where there are a plethora of excellent restaurants, pub bars, tourist travel agencies and gift shops and  I might add they have excellent draft beer on tap at many local restaurants and bars for fifty cents.

Religious Image

Religious Image

Phnom Penh is buzzing with energy.  They are building condos everywhere with supply trucks, tuc tuc’s, motor scooters, and buses running bumper to bumper during most business hours.  This is the time to choose a local eatery and sit back and watch the world go by.  Wait long enough and you will see everything… five or six people on one motor cycle, a few panhandlers, people hawking and selling all sorts of things all immersed in a Buddha society with lavish lawns and temples where you can just hang out eating homemade ice-cream or photograph everything that walks, flies or runs.

 

Cambodian Leaders

Cambodian Leaders

I spot this French cafe and order their coffee Lat tee and their house specialty a spinach crepe. Just watching the chef make this on a hot griddle using buckwheat flour with spinach is an art into itself. As I await my luncheon I  look around at well dressed intellectuals like the Hemingway days.  One man with a proper bow-tie gives me the local paper and says he is a professor at several local colleges, another is a photojournalist on assignment from Australia.  A few well dressed ladies from the wealthy set approach giving cheek kisses to their group of friends leading their poodle dogs to their favorite table and a few bohemians with beards and berets are smoking something with strange smells.

Golden Buddha

So there you have it…The people of Cambodia are friendly, they have every style and every budget for restaurants and you can find anything from a backpacker hostel to a five star hotel to fit your budget.  So if you would like to see Phomn Penh before it evolves into another mega-city for the rich this might be a good time to book a flight into Phnom Penh and see for yourself a city on the move…yet with enough French architecture, Buddha temples and interesting people to make it a worthwhile trip.

Street scene

Street scene

QUOTE: “The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”  Sir Richard Burton

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: In 1979, the Khmer Rouge was driven out by the Vietnamese who established the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, essentially a socialist puppet state of Vietnam. In 1992, the UN stepped in. In 1993, the monarchy was restored, a parliament was elected, and the name was changed to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: People…They are some of the best treasures left on Earth!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: What are you waiting for Grasshopper?  Why not book a flight and see if the grass is greener in Cambodia.  One thing I can tell you most of the soil in the entire country of Cambodia is reddish in color.

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 Fire Dragon Therapy

If you have tried snake therapy, African snail therapy, and blood sucking leeches maybe you should go to the next level and experience the thousand year old Chinese Treatment for whatever ales you!

This is one treatment you cant do yourself and is very important to find an experienced Fire Dragon practitioner who really knows how to set you on fire!  On my recent trip to Thailand I found such a guy and went thru ten sessions of Fire Dragon Therapy.  As I lay there half mesmerized all I could think of was “Light my Fire” song lyrics as the fire erupted on my belly, chest and back.

Following the advent of the 21st Century, with the faster pace of life and the elevation of the standard of living, health has, once again, become a matter of concern. It is a matter of some urgency for medical practitioners to find treatment methods which are effective, have little side-effects and are accepted by patients.

“Chinese Meridian and Collateral Fire Dragon Healing Technique” is a natural, effective, safe, hygienic, easy-to-popularize healing technique that has become the choice of many patients. Chinese Meridian and Collateral Fire Dragon Healing Technique is also known as “Fire Healing along the Meridians” , or simply as “Fire Dragon Healing Technique” . The skin is the part of the body that the practitioner works on. A warm wet towel is used as the heat conductor and 95% proof medical alcohol is the heat source. The practitioner sprays the designated meridians or pressure points (or particular surgical areas), then methodically ignites the alcohol on the heat conductor and douses the flames. This causes the capillaries to expand and the skin to show a blushing red color. This is followed by the application of a specially formulated “intermediary” liquid – Fire Dragon Liquid  in order to achieve the effects of opening up the meridians and collateral channels, moving the qi (energy) and removing pain, dispelling internal wind and dampness, invigorating the blood and restoring the normal functions of the body and youthfulness.

Fire Dragon Healing Technique was a natural healing method often used by the ancient Chinese in their struggle against illness. It theories were informed by moxibustion; which is, to harness the natural upwards and outwards movement of fire to warm the meridians and dispel internal cold, to clear the inside and outside of the organs, to unblock the meridians and collateral channels and the circulation of energy (qi) and blood in the body.

The principles of meridians and collateral channels, which are one of the building blocks of the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, are the theoretical basis of Fire Dragon Healing Technique. The network of meridians and collateral channels links up the upper and lower, as well as the inner and outer parts of the body. It brings energy (qi), blood and nutrients to all parts of the body. It is the body’s defense against illnesses. It is responsible for the transmission of sensations and the maintenance of balance in the body. It is commonly understood by naturopathic healers that the meridians and collateral channels are the key to the prevention and healing of illnesses. The network of meridians and collateral channels can be used for stimulation, transmission and re-balancing.

These functions are accomplished through the linkage between the internal organs and the skin. The meridians and collateral channels transmit sensations through this linkage between the skin and internal organs to reach the central nervous system, where adjustments of bodily fluids and biochemical processes take place. Fire Dragon Healing Technique effectively utilizes this characteristic of the meridians and collateral channels.

It is stated in Lingshu in Neijing  that “where both the yin and yang are deficient, fire should be employed,“ “where the meridians are weak, fire is the treatment,” and “where the meridians are tense, fire should be applied.” Fire Dragon Healing Technique is based on the theories of the twelve meridians and collateral channels and twelve cutaneous regions. The specially selected herbal medication is applied through the skin. When the warmth from the fire opens up the pores in the skin, spreading the specially formulated Fire Dragon Liquid  on the skin will enable the quick and thorough absorption of the medication. At the same time, the medication will reach the site of the illness through the twelve meridians, the eight extra meridians that run through the internal organs of the body.

The human body’s network of meridians and collateral channels include twelve meridians, eight extra meridians, fifteen collateral vessels, twelve meridian divergences, twelve meridian sinews and twelve cutaneous regions. Of these, the twelve cutaneous regions are where the workings of the twelve meridian and collateral channels are closest to the surface, they are also where the energy (qi) from the meridians and collateral channels disperses. Fire Dragon Healing Technique works on the twelve cutaneous regions and medication is applied to the skin. This enables the practitioner to reach the goal of treating the illness.

Fire Dragon Healing Technique is characterized by its use of the heat from the fire to dispel internal dampness, to restore the normal functioning of the body, to unblock the meridians and collateral channels, and to adjust the energy (qi) and the blood. Because it reaches all the internal organs, the four limbs and all the senses, it is used to nourish the body, to assist in the workings and the balancing of the yin and yang forces in the body. In this way,
the objectives of prevention of illness and healing are achieved. It is scientific, hygienic, effective, cheap and easy to administer and has little or no side effects. It is a valuable tool in the range of Chinese traditional treatments.

QUOTE: He that takes medicine and neglects to diet himself wastes the skill of the physician. Chinese Proverb

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The thermotherapeutic procedure consists in the application of a herbal product with a specific formula for each disease under treatment on the area of the affected organ. The area is covered with a towel soaked in alcohol and it is then lighted . The heat produced by the burning of the alcohol is easily born by the patient. The procedure is stopped when the patient announces a disconfort . The vasodilator effect produced by the fire heat accelerates the local blood circulation and the local metabolism. Thus, the curing substances of the herbs will be carried directly to the sick organ and they will act immediately at local level.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Life!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:  Light my fire and penetrate herbs into my meridians for the Fire Dragon Chinese Therapy.

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 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