Down the Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City

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I’m back with the second half of our second day in Vietnam, with some photos and stories from our excursion down the Cu Chi Tunnels in the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.

Just two hours from Saigon, the Cu Chi district is a great destination if you want to have an idea how the Vietnam War was like aside from the photos you see in museums. Here, our tour guide John expertly navigated the “park” with little anecdotes from war and explanations on how the underground system worked.

For a couple of years, many Vietnamese lived underground to avoid capture from U.S. troops. The narrow tunnels worked for the advantage of the small Asians, as the Americans cannot follow them inside. As much as the U.S. soldiers tried to follow them to their hideout, they can only go so far till they got stuck. Continue reading

Instadump: Hello Again Korea!

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It hasn’t been a long time since I finished blogging about my trip to Korea last May. Now I’m back with another post about Korea, but this time for my travel this November. It was the first time I went to Korea with friends and not family, and it’s a completely different experience. Though we visited places I’ve been to before, I viewed things with a different set of eyes.

I’ve been questioned a lot on why I keep coming back to Korea, and I cannot give a completely honest answer because it’ll take me hours to say why. So they ask instead if it’s really beautiful, and I answer with a wholehearted ‘yes!’

Maybe because it’s Autumn when we visited, but everything looked golden.

Before I dive into a full-blown blogging of the trip, I’ll update you first with the Instagram photos I took during the entire week I traveled back and forth between Seoul and Busan. Everything—from random alleys to fallen leaves to dingy street lampsis so photogenic that I took a lot of photos. Continue reading

Kaleidoscope of Colors at Cao Dai Temple, Vietnam

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On our second day in Vietnam, we went out of Ho Chi Minh City for a day trip to Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels.

Instead of booking the tour from our hostel, we inquired at other travel agencies in Pham Ngu Lao and got a deal two-dollar cheaper. It’s only two dollars, but hey, that’s already worth a meal in HCM!

Our guide picked us up from the hostel at around 8AM and joined a small tour group of Filipinos, Japanese and Europeans. One of the Filipinos is also an Elbi graduate and our batchmate! But we didn’t really bond, heh.

We traveled two hours to reach the Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh, a province in southwestern Vietnam. On our way, our tour guide John introduced us to the religion Caodaism, which was started in the province. According to Wikipedia (not John because I forgot many of what he said haha), Caodaism is a monotheistic religion and its full name means “The Great Faith Third Universal Redemption.” The symbol of the faith is the Left Eye. This reminds of KALK, a sect in the Philippines. There’s a temple near our house and they also have the eye as their symbol. Anyway.

The faith has influences from the Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, and even from historical figures like Van Gogh and Marco Polo. True enough, we saw symbols and images from the said religious groups in the temple. Continue reading

One Fine Day in Ho Chi Minh City

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Ho Chi Minh, where you can see a coffee shop in almost every corner. Ho Chi Minh, where there are more motorcycles and bicycles than cars. Ho Chi Minh, the city where half of the people you meet are foreigners. Then again, that’s probably because we stayed in the backpacker’s district.

For our first day in the city, we decided to roam the city by ourselves. We wanted to book a tour with Saigon Hotpot, a student organization who offers city tours for free, but they didn’t have a free time for the dates we booked. It’s really too bad since my friends who’ve tried touring with them recommend it a lot!

Good thing our hostel host gave us a map of the city with all the routes to the landmarks marked. We weren’t sure if they’re all within walking distance, but we decided to try anyway. Continue reading

Korean BBQ at Go! Kizip in Malate

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Instead of going to our usual choice of Korean restaurant, we tried Go! Kizip in Malate for our impromptu family dinner last week.

There seems to be a new Korean restaurant in Malate every month, and Go! Kizip is relatively new. My sister tried it before and highly recommended so we tried it last week. And I love it!

I don’t think I’m a reliable food critic because just give me grilled pork or beef and I’ll instantly love it. It’s either really good, good, or meh for me. Never bad because I’m a big fan of meat. This is also the main reason why I gained a lot of weight after college. Hehe. Anyway.

In my book, Go! Kizip excels in service. Seriously. I’ll give them 20 out of 10 starts for such an amazing service and generosity in banchan (side dishes!). As for the bulgogi and samgyupsal, I really loved those as well!

It’s cute how it’s written in Korean as 고기집, which directly translates to “Meat House” but can also mean a restaurant that specializes in meat. Then they named it Go! Kizip which sounds a bit like 고기집. I don’t think I’m making sense, lol. Continue reading