An inspiring interview with a teacher traveller

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Teacher Sherilyn is proud to present to you our blog guest on the theme “Teacher on Holiday”. Our visitant is none other than Marga Placido!

Teacher Marga, as what her students and colleagues would call her, is famous for taking annual leave at work to travel. When she files for leave, her colleagues automatically ask her which country she will go.

Her recent trip, she was able to visit Vietnam, Thailand and Hongkong in a span of ten days. Let’s find out what motivates her to travel! Here is our interview with Teacher Marga:

Which places have you been to?

Philippines (Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Benguet/Sagada), Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali), Hongkong, Macau, Thailand (Bangkok, Krabi and Phuket), Qatar, Georgia (Tbilisi), Vietnam (HCM)

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Among the countries you have visited, which one do you like best?

Of all the countries that I’ve been to… I can’t say that I have favorite, because I believe that each country has different to offer like the food, cultures/beliefs, breathtaking views and people. I also think that it is not really about the place, it’s the people who you’re with and the experience that you’ll gain in that particular place… It creates memories for a lifetime and that makes your travel more unforgettable.

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Why do you like to travel?

I like to travel simply because it teaches me how to be happy and I think that’s one of the most important things in life, “happiness”. It also makes a person a better person. You’ll become more confident with yourself, more adventurous, it helps you not to get scared to try new things… In short, it pushes your boundaries.

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One of the reasons also why I love to travel is learning to appreciate simple things like having a nice buffet breakfast every morning! =)) 

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What effects has travelling done to you as a preschool teacher?

I always believe in the saying, “Experience is a good teacher” but now I do believe also that “Travel is the best teacher”. We have the whole world to learn about. In every place I discover and every person I meet, it helps me to see the real world… It also helps me broaden my mind and vision in life.

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Whenever I travel, I always share my experience with my students. They maybe are still young and can’t really understand the real world but as teachers, we can share to them our travel photos and stories that can awaken them to what the world has to offer… It surprises me sometimes that some of them can relate to my stories.

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Do you think teachers should travel during one of their breaks? Why?

Definitely yes! We all have our stress in our lives and sometimes our work can be too demanding but whether you’re a teacher or not you should at least travel once in a while. You must explore new places and break out of your daily lifestyles. For me, travelling is a good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.

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Do you have any last message to our readers?

Enjoy life…Travel while you’re young and able to! =))

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What can we take-away from Teacher Marga’s interview?

Take-away 1: As what Teacher Marga said, we need to travel once in a while to break away from our mundane, day-to-day activities. Travelling will make us come back to our work with fresh mind to start anew.

Take-away 2: Looking for the best teacher? Then, travel! For Teacher Marga, “Travel is the best teacher”… There is so much thing to learn about the world..  This helps her to see the real world, broaden her mind and awareness. Indeed! Travelling widens our sphere. Do not be confined staying in one place. Go around, connect the dots and see the bigger picture! Make the world your vast classroom, a venue where you can learn anything you want to learn… a place where you take charge of your own learning!

Take-away 3: Teacher Marga gave an advice to “travel while still young and able to”. This is actually true! Travel while still young because this is the stage in your life where you should keep learning to discover not only the world but more on uncovering yourself. This will equip your life with necessary skills needed as you grow older and as life’s demands become more stringent. So, again, travel the world while you’re young and able to!

P.S. For more travel updates from Teacher Marga, you may follow her on Instagram. Her account is traveltoremember.

What to do in Yangon

I was in Yangon, Myanmar for three days. One main thing to see in Myanmar is its pagoda. Myanmar has a lot of pagodas; it just varies in sizes.

The biggest of all is the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is also the most sacred pagoda as it houses strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics.

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Another pagoda you may visit is the Sule Pagoda. To me, Sule Pagoda is similar to Shwedagon. It is only their size differs.

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I also visited Kandawgyi Lake. This lake is the second lake in Yangon. However, its water is artificial. Its water is channeled from Inle Lake through a series of pipes.

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There is one more nice place to see in Myanmar, and that is Bagan. I haven’t been there. I hope to visit it next time!

The Amazon River of Southeast Asia

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Visiting the Ulu Temburong Park was the highlight of my Brunei trip. I was glad that I had the chance to see this best attraction in Brunei. Ulu Temburong Park is the first national park in Brunei. It is protected and preserved for scientific research and low-impact visitors.

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To reach the park, we had to take a speedboat from Bandar Seri Begawan and travel along the Brunei Bay area. We stopped at Bangar Temburong Town and took a road trip to Batang Duri. We then rode a long tail boat that traversed Temburong River. Traveling across the Temburong River felt like having the Amazon River experience. The long tail boat brought us to the entrance of the national park.

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From the entrance, we trekked into the pristine rainforest and reached the canopy base. We took the stairs and managed to reach the canopy walkways. On top, you would have a better opportunity to observe the perfect view of the forest.

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Overall, I never regret my travel to Brunei. It was a wondrous experience to join the day adventure to Ulu Temburong Park. I met great people during my trip. Aside from that, I had undergone an extraordinary escapade that was worth remembering!

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Globe-trotting: The story of a solo traveler preschool teacher who has visited all ASEAN countries

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What inspires me to see the world is brought by my travel and childhood memories. When I was a child, we lived in Lucena City for a short period of time. During summer breaks, we either spend our family holidays in Manila, Laguna or Quezon visiting our relatives. If not in those places, we are visiting beaches in our town in Masbate or staying in our grandparents’ farm.

I usually traveled with my family, not until I entered elementary and high school where I had to compete with other students in our province or region. There are times my mother would accompany me because I had motion sickness. Sometimes she could not be there; I had to travel with my fellow participants and trainers.

When I entered university, my family traveled to Quezon City to make sure everything was okay before leaving me. After that, I had to travel from Quezon City to Masbate all by myself. But, that’s not where my solo traveling started!

My solo traveling started before my university graduation. I was twenty years old back then. I traveled to Baguio City from Manila with my backpack. My friend brought me to the bus terminal, and at 12 midnight, the bus departed. I reached Baguio City at 6am. When I alighted, I realized that it was Friday the 13th. I started to think “Should I continue exploring Baguio? Or should I take the bus again back to Manila?” I felt apprehensive because it was Friday the 13th, and also, I was a graduating student. There was this superstitious belief that if you are a graduating student, you are prone to danger. To make that thinking go away, I went out of the bus, walked a little further and bought “taho”. Then, walked a bit further again until I felt the cool atmosphere, witnessed the sun rose and saw a person doing his morning jog. These sights made me at ease. Fear started to dissipate. I decided to stay in Baguio. I stayed in UP Baguio dormitory for two nights, where I had discount as a UP student.

My next solo traveling was in Myanmar in 2014, Brunei, Hanoi (Vietnam) and Luang Prabang (Laos) in 2016. I will tell you more stories about my Laos travel because it was the boldest travel I had ever done in my life!

What would you feel if you were new in a country where you could not understand their language at all? What would you feel if all people you see were strangers to you? What would you feel if you traveled for 1.5 hours from your hotel with a driver you did not know and you were to pass by secluded areas? Actually, I did not care about the first question. I could always use “sign” language. I also did not care if all people were strangers to me. I went there to explore places and learn their culture and history. What caused me fear was traveling for more than 1 hour (with a person I did not even know) in a place where I could only see soil and grasses with no houses, no people and even no cars or other kind of transport passing by! That frightened me! What if I will be kidnapped? What  if I will be harmed? To make those unwanted thoughts vanished, I initiated conversation with the driver. I talked to him and get to know him until I felt at ease. He was Manny Pacquiao’s fan by the way!

My fear totally disappeared when we reached our destination. Sigh! Finally, we reached the destination. I could now see some people. Sigh again! “Thanks, God, I was safe!”. Sigh again. Sigh again. “Thank you, Lord!” 🙂

I paid for the entrance fee and took the boat to cross the Mekong River/Nam Ou River and reached Pak Ou Cave. The nature, its beautiful scenery calmed me. When we reached Pak Ou Cave, I saw a variety of Buddha statues in the lower cave.

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The driver served as my tour guide. He told me that many local people would visit the cave during Lao New Year.

We then went to the upper cave. He said that the upper cave served as the house of their King when America was bombing Laos.

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After visiting Pak Ou Cave, we took a boat again and rode the van. I was already feeling relaxed. We headed to my next destination, which was the majestic Kuang Si Waterfall.

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After feeling the cool splash of water from the waterfall, I came back to the van where the driver was waiting for me. I had not eaten my lunch yet. I still had few kips left in my wallet. I asked him to buy food for us. He said, he had already eaten. I told him he could eat it for dinner. He bought food. He drove me back to the hotel. Then, we parted ways.

Do you have plans of traveling solo yet fear has been stopping you? I also felt that! But… “Don’t let your fear of what COULD happen make NOTHING happen”! It will make you a better person than you are right now. After my Laos trip, I could say that I am dauntless!

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For more of my travel stories, read Holiday Mode: Teacher is On Leave category.

Masbate

This blog is written to promote my hometown, Masbate, specifically the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar. I wrote it in Masbatenyo dialect and translated it to Filipino and English languages. Read on…

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Summer na! Nano’n plano mo? Sa diin na beach plano mo magkadto?

Nakakadto na ako sa iba na mga magaganda na beach sa Pilipinas parehos san Boracay Island sa Aklan, Moalboal, Malapascua Island kag Bantayan Island sa Cebu kag Puerto Galera sa Mindoro. Nakakadto naman ako sa iba na sikat na beach sa mundo parehos san Maya Bay sa Phuket, Thailand, Railay Beach sa Krabi, Thailand kag Nusa Dua sa Bali, Indonesia. Kun nagaisip ka kun diin pa na beach gusto mo magkadto, bisitaha an Masbate kag diskubrehon mo an ganda sani na lugar!

Oo, tama! Kadto na sa Masbate! Dili lang kay igwa an Masbate san maganda na Miss International 2013 na si Bea Rose Santiago, madunong na tagasurat sa MMK na si Benson Logronio, PBB 1st Runner Up na si Kisses Delavin, King of Catwalk na si Sinon Loresca kag aktibo na Presidente san Local Legislators League of the Philippines na si Vice Governor Kaye Revil… igwa man kami san magaganda na lugar na kaya namon ipagmalaki dili la sa Pilipinas kundi maski sa buong mundo!

San Enero, nag-uli ako sa Masbate. Kaupod an akon mama kag papa, gin bisita namon an Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar. Pagkakita ko sa lugar, sobran sadya ko kay dili ko hunaon na may sugad kami kaganda na beach sa Masbate! Sabi ko sa sadiri ko, dili ko na o namon kailangan pa na mag beach sa hilayo kag maggastos san dako, kay igwa na kami san maganda na beach na dili mapadaog an ganda sa iba (na sikat) na beach!

Adi an pira sa mga litrato na kinuha namon gamit an cellphone ko:

Filipino

Summer na! Ano’ng plano mo? Saang beach mo gustong pumunta?

Napuntahan ko na ang ibang magagandang beach sa Pilipinas gaya ng Boracay Island sa Aklan, Moalboal, Malapascua Island at Bantayan Island sa Cebu at Puerto Galera sa Mindoro. Nakapunta na rin ako sa ibang sikat na beach sa mundo tulad ng Maya Bay sa Phuket, Thailand, Railay Beach sa Krabi, Thailand at Nusa Dua sa Bali, Indonesia. Kung nag-iisip ka pa kung saan mong beach gustong pumunta ngayong summer, tara na sa Masbate at tuklasin mo ang ganda ng lugar na ito!

Oo, tama! Punta ka na sa Masbate! Sa Masbate, hindi lang meron kaming Miss International 2013 na si Bea Rose Santiago, bihasang manunulat sa MMK na si Benson Logronio, PBB 1st Runner Up na si Kisses Delavin, King of Catwalk na si Sinon Loresca at aktibong Pangulo ng Local Legislators League of the Philippines na si Vice Governor Kaye Revil… meron din kaming magagandang lugar sa Masbate na pwede naming ipagmalaki hindi lang sa Pilipinas kundi pati na rin sa buong mundo!

Noong Enero, umuwi ako sa Masbate. Kasama ang aking mga magulang, binisita namin ang Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar. Pagkatapos kong makita ang lugar, sobrang saya ko dahil di ako makapaniwala na may ganoon palang kagandang beach sa amin sa Masbate! Sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi na namin kailangan pang pumunta pa sa malayong lugar para mag-beach dahil meron na pala kaming beach na hindi magpapatalo ang ganda sa ibang beach!

Narito ang ilan sa mga larawang kuha namin gamit ang cellphone ko:

English

It’s already summer! What’s your plan? Which beach do you want to visit?

I have been to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines like Boracay Island in Aklan, Moalboal, Malapascua Island and Bantayan Island in Cebu and Puerto Galera in Mindoro (to name a few). I have also been to other famous beaches in the world such as Maya Bay in Phuket, Thailand, Railay Beach in Krabi, Thailand and Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia. If you are thinking of another beach to explore, I would suggest, go to Masbate and see its beauty!

Yes, you heard it right! Head to Masbate! Not only that we have the beautiful Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago, talented MMK writer Benson Logronio, PBB 1st Runner Up Kisses Delavin, the King of Catwalk Sinon Loresca and the ever active and dynamic President of the Local Legislators League of the Philippines Vice Governor Kaye Revil… we also have magnificent nature wonders!

Early this year, I was in my hometown in Masbate. Together with my parents, we visited the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar. Upon seeing the place, I felt elated as I never expected that we have such beautiful creation in Masbate! I told myself that, whenever I come home, I do not need to visit far away beaches as we have our very own grade A beach in Masbate!

Here are some of the photos we took using my phone:

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Welcome to Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar!
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We are happy because it is awesome to be here… and oh by the way, hello from us!
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The cottage… You can bring your own food and enjoy your sumptuous lunch by the sea. You may also rent snorkeling and diving equipments from here.
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The sandbar…

Masbate will gladly welcome you! Pack your things now!

For hotel bookings, click here.

My Top 5 travel mishaps and how novice travellers can learn from it

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Traveling is not always smooth no matter how long or how much time you spent on planning. There will always be cases that unforeseen circumstances will arise. Here are my travel mishaps in the past years:

  1. Stuck in Puerto Galera with my parents due to typhoon. It is a standard operating procedure that once there is typhoon, modes of sea transportation is prohibited to travel for safety reasons. My parents and I decided to travel to Calapan from Puerto Galera thinking that they might allow sea vessels or ships to travel. However, none of them traveled as advised by coast guards. My parents and I had to sleep at the port waiting for the next travel schedule. I had to rebook and rebook my ticket for my flight to Singapore. (Lesson learned: When going to an island in the Philippines, visit that island first then be in Manila 3 or 4 days before your flight. In case, there will be typhoon on that island, at least you will not keep rebooking your ticket.)
  2.  Arrived a day earlier in Boracay and had to pay additional night for the room. I got mistake looking at the time of departure. I thought, the travel date was (for example) 12am of 2 November, but in fact, it was 12am of 1 November. Good thing my whole group discovered it on the day of our flight. And so, we hurriedly packed our things and took the flight. (Lesson learned: Double check your itinerary and pay attention not only to flight date but also to flight time.)
  3. Paid money for 20kg luggage from Seoul. I usually do not do shopping when traveling. I like to see places rather than to shop. But, Seoul is a different case! I love Korean fashion and Korean products, so I told myself I needed luggage for the things I would buy. It was my mistake in the booking. I put 20kg luggage from Singapore instead of from Seoul. I had to pay for my 20kg luggage in Seoul. (Lesson learned: Double check your booking.)
  4.  Missed a domestic flight. From Cambodia, I flew to Kuala Lumpur and supposed to fly from there to Manila to catch my domestic flight from Manila to Masbate. However, flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila was so delayed that I missed my flight! Philippine Airlines could not arrange a different timing for me because it was not the fault of their airlines that I was late. If I flew from KL by Philippine Airlines, they could still assist me. My domestic ticket was wasted… Instead of taking an overnight bus plus a boat to Masbate (which would be very exhausting), I bought flight ticket to Legaspi and take bus and fast craft to Masbate. (Lesson learned: If taking connecting flights, better to book the same airlines. If need to book different airlines, provide one or two days gap.)
  5. Cancelled flights by Jetstar. I avoided using AirAsia because I had three experiences with them wherein they were always delayed. So, in my recent trip, I told myself to book any airlines but not AirAsia. However, anything is possible to happen to anyone! Jetstar messaged me half a hour before I left my house that my flight was cancelled without giving me options. I had to call them and tell them that I really needed to fly to Hanoi as I needed to fly from there to Laos on the next day. They heeded to my request, but then, my time and energy had been wasted. (Lesson learned: Delayed flights or cancelled flights can happen to any airlines.)

Traveling is fun! But, of course, not everything will come easy! So, aside from reserving memory for your photos, also reserve energy, time and money in case there are unforeseen circumstances to occur. Enjoy traveling!

Where to book your next accommodation

Teacher Sherilyn likes to travel in between school holidays and whenever time permits. She has visited 14 countries. Aside from Philippines and Singapore, she has been to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Hongkong, Macau, India, South Korea and Australia. Choosing a place to stay is one of the travel essentials that need to be carefully determined.

vietnam

To book for the best hotel options in Vietnam, click here for Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi bookings.

cambodia

To book for the best hotel options in Cambodia, click here for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap bookings.

myanmar

To book for the best hotel options in Myanmar, click here for Yangon and Bagan bookings.

kl

To book for the best hotel options in Malaysia, click here for Kuala Lumpur bookings.

brunei

To book for the best hotel options in Brunei, click here.

laos

To book for the best hotel options in Laos, click here for Luang Prabang and Vientianne bookings.

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To book for the best hotel options in Thailand, click here for Bangkok and Phuket bookings.

indonesia

To book for the best hotel options in Indonesia, click here for Yogyakarta and Bali bookings.

china

To book for the best hotel options in China, click here for Beijing and Shanghai bookings.

hk

To book for the best hotel options in Hongkong, click here.

macau

To book for the best hotel options in Macau, click here.

india

To book for the best hotel options in India, click here for Mumbai, Hyderabad and New Delhi bookings.

korea

To book for the best hotel options in South Korea, click here for Busan and Seoul bookings.

sydney

To book for the best hotel options in Australia, click here for Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast bookings.

singapore

To book for the best hotel options in Singapore, click here.

boracay

To book for the best hotel options in Philippines, click here for Manila, Cebu, Boracay and Palawan bookings.

Bookmark or save this site for future reference. You may change the places according to your destination and the number of nights you will stay in the hotel. Just a tip: double check where your hotel is located to ensure you book the right place. Oftentimes, it is good to stay in a place where everything or at least some tourist spots or attractions are reachable by foot to save on transportation cost.

What is good about this site is you can reserve it and have the option to cancel at no fee in case there are changes with your stay. Also, there are no any add-ons. What you see in this site is what you will pay… You can reserve the rooms online and pay once you arrive in the hotel you reserved. Unlike in agoda.com, you need to do some calculations like multiplying the price per night to the number of nights you will stay and add hotel tax plus service charge. Moreover, with agoda.com, you have to pay additional charge when you use Visa to pay.

So, the next time you travel, book through this page to avoid any issues in booking and paying! Again, save this page for future reference on your next travel! Happy traveling!

Seoul should be your next destination!

It has been a year since my first visit to Seoul. South Korea was the first country I wanted to visit 10 years ago. Yet, I visited the place after nine years of dreaming to be there.

What I liked the most during my stay in Korea were food and shopping. I like Korean food. My favorite is japche. I like Korean fashion and cosmetics. Korea is probably one of the countries I would always love to visit again and again.

Seoul is the second largest city in the world, next to Tokyo. If you are going to study its train station, it looks like roots of a tree or vines that intertwine with one another. But still, it is easy to decipher.

When in Seoul, don’t miss visiting their five palaces… Don’t miss wearing their traditional costume… Don’t miss eating their sumptuous food… Don’t miss saying “anyonghaseyo” to greet their people…

Seoul should be your next destination! Check the best place to stay here.

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Hacking Brunei

Among all the countries I have been to, Brunei has the most expensive transportation cost. It will make you pay S$150 if your will go for water taxi plus city tour.

How will you save S$150 if you are on a budget travel or a tight budget?

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Find a hotel that is near to the city! I was very lucky that I booked a hotel that was near to the places I wanted to visit. I stayed in LeGallery Suites Hotel. It was not a very fancy hotel, but what I liked the most in this hotel was its location.This hotel was in the middle of the places I wanted to see. Royal Regalia Museum, Saiffudien Mosque and Kampong Ayer were walking distance from the hotel. Bolkiah Mosque was also reachable by foot from the hotel.

So, there! To save money on transport, book your stay with LeGallery Suites Hotel or any hotels within the city. Click here to get a list of other hotels!

 

Gadong Night Market in Brunei

Gadong Night Market in Brunei is the most amazing night market I have ever seen! It is clean and orderly. They sell a variety of food at an affordable cost.

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I bought coconut juice for 1BND and the famous Nasi Katok for 2BND (coz I had two chicken).

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If you want to know more the story of Nasi Katok, you may read here.