In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#10) : Chamorro Village
During my second visit in Hagåtña, the Capital City of Guam, the main place that I had been most of the time was at Chamorro Village because it is famous for its Wednesday Night Market. And I was curious how famous the village is. And before it’s totally dark, the village comes to life. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
When I did the Heritage Walking Trail, I was pondering and looking back on the historical site, how war ruins a lot of things. Because Japanese seats in the plaza for few years when they were able to take over Guam for a moment from US and when the latter reclaims it again, the plaza has been damaged severely in 1944. Now what remains are only parts that can be restored at that time and that are all can be seen in the site. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#36) : Insular Guard Monument
They also called it as Guam Insular Force Guard Monument (Memorial) which honors the gallant stands of Chamorro men against the invading Japanese imperial army troops in 1941. These men were recruited 8 months ago before the World War II outbreak in the pacific. US Navy Captain McMillin decided to surrender to prevent more killings of the Guam Defenders. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
I experienced a bit of traffic on my way to Manila International Airport Terminal 3 around 12:30 AM of Sunday morning but after struggling for 30 minutes of slow movement in specific part of Aguinaldo Highway, the overall travel was smooth and I was thankful for it.
I arrived at the airport around 1:30AM, I found lots of passenger in the terminal, probably thinking the same thing I was thinking, many people trying to avoid travel rush for the Holy Week which is a major holiday in the country as it is used to have long holiday aside from Christmas.
I checked the information in the monitor screen that I passed on my way to travel tax desks. After I saw the check-in counter information, I queued and paid my travel tax and walked towards the entrance of my check-in counter. Because of too many people, I fall in line in the queue thinking that it was the same line to enter the check-in counter for my flight. That decision was based from my past flights in that airline. The said airline tends to make one line for all their flights regardless of your destination and time of your flight. I didn’t notice if there was sign that separates Guam flights to the rest of their flights.
I got nervous because the queue for check-in was crazy, it even passed the whole counter area. But I had some doubts because I have this impression that US flights will not have that many passengers compared with other flights. I went to the entrance of the counters and I asked the airline crew for check-in counter of Guam flight. The crew confirmed my suspicion that queue for Guam is different. I wasn’t able to see the sign immediately because it was partially obstructed by people queuing near the entrance. I felt relieved and was glad that it’s at the opposite side. I showed my printed flight itinerary to the crew and she allowed me to go inside the counter area and queued along with few other passengers. I queued for few minutes and it was my turn to check-in, the process was finished without a hitch. Since it was still early, I spent hours waiting at the boarding gate.
Then boarding time came and I followed other passengers to board the plane. Inside the plane, I was sitting in window seat and alone in 3 seat row at left side of the plane and there was another passenger at the right side window seat, same with me alone at his row. The flight in overall was smooth except for sometime that I felt a turbulence outside the plane. I napped from time to time since I didn’t have enough sleep before my flight. I woke up and saw my meal has already been served.
After more than 4 hours flight, we arrived at the island which is a USA territory not really far from my country at the right most side in the Pacific Ocean. After disembarking the plane, I walked straight to immigration and queued the visitors lane. My lane was slow since it’s only one officer assisting us at first. When all USA residents passed immigration, visitors lanes moves faster as other immigration officer helped out until I reached my time to face one of them. I had my face captured, my finger print recorded and after few questions, I passed the immigration without glitch.
First thing to learn when I went outside the airport was the transportation was not immediately available as most likely other passengers went out before me took all those waiting cab outside. I walked to the taxi kiosk’s counter near the entrance/exit of the airport but it was closed. I tried to enable my data roaming and started browsing but nothing happens like no internet in my phone. It’s good thing that they have some employees in the ground and someone asked me if I need a cab and I responded in agreement.
I waited only few minutes, the cab arrived and I jumped into it. I was very thankful that he was a Filipino and we talked at bit on the way to my hotel. The fare was $18. We arrived in the hotel that I booked around past lunch time. I asked the hotel clerk if I can check-in at the time that I arrived but the hotel clerk said it will be at 2 PM. I asked the hotel if the pocket WiFi that I rented in Guam has arrived in the hotel and I was glad that it was already there. After I received the pocket WiFi, I used it to browse where can I go while in Guam. So technically I was browsing internet at the hotel lobby while waiting for my time to check-in.
After I checked-in to my room. I stayed there to prepare my adventure plan in the island for the next coming days. I decided to rest since I haven’t had enough sleep the night of my travel. I had my dinner to fill me in and down to bed with my first day in Guam.
Here is one of the name of the place which is Guam that I added in my photo collection. The island of Guam is an US territory located in the Pacific part of Oceania continent in Micronesia. The photo includes “Hafa Adai” pronounced as “half a day” which means “Hello” in Chamorro, the local language of Guam. The photo is part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
One of the sculpture that can be found while following the Hagåtña Heritage Walking Trail is “The Pietà of Hagåtña” stands at Skinner Plaza. The statue serves as the memorial for fallen heroes of Guam. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
Colors (Post#8) : Heart Lock Wall at Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point)
Anyone who had a chance to visit Guam definitely heard about Puntan Dos Amantes or Two Lovers Point. There is a legend of two lovers that surrounds the place. The Heart Lock Wall shows colorful locks where mostly lovers put in the wall which became a tradition when visiting the place and became an attraction in the area. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
The first time I traveled in Taiwan, my itinerary was not really planned. I called it as experimental travel because it’s the first country that I visited using a visa exempt policy. So, in nature, there is possibility that my entry will be denied if there is something wrong how I understand Taiwan’s policy regarding visa-exempt. But I was thankful that my first entry was smooth as I dreamed of it.
Without further ado, here are the 3-Days Itinerary that I had during my first time visit in Taiwan. Please use the itinerary as reference as the list are not necessarily in order the way I visited them. I myself checks other itineraries from other travelers but in the end, I still created my own itinerary based on budget, time frame, availability and more of my preferences. There are different reasons and considerations for my list so you can use it at your own discretion.
We came back to the bus and continued our journey in Taroko Gorge. And we drove towards the Tunnel of Nine Turns. Here, I had a chance to see the scenery inside the bus. The Jiuqudong (Tunnel of Nine Turns) was constructed in 1996, so that the visitors can view the rock folds, joints and faults of the marble cliffs. The two cliffs are so close to each other, and it looks like they are joining to each other if seen from afar. This section has the reputation of “Nine Turns of the Coiled Dragon”. I discovered that “Nine” for Chinese means “many”.
Scenery from Tunnel of Nine Turns
We reached Tien-Hsiang or Tianxiang Village where the hotel restaurant is located and where we had our lunch that day. We were divided into two group and sits surrounding a huge circle table. At the restaurant we had a chance to eat local delicacies. Pardon me of the food specifics, as I don’t knew the menu of what we ate, all I knew was its Taiwanese cuisine. Though, I was not really good in food stuff, but I love to eat, who doesn’t? Right? The menu that was served was as just enough to all of us to fulfill our bellies and to keep us going in our adventure in the park.
After our lunch, we went outside to see a bit of the village. I walked around, I found local stores and bought post cards as my personal souvenir of the place. I also found a monkey strayed around the corner where people approach it just to take an up close photo. I continued strolling in the area then I saw bridges. First was Zhihui Bridge, second was Pudu Bridge towards Xiangde Temple at the mountain side. I enjoyed the scenery in front of me and thinking that it is such beautiful and serene place. I took more photos before I decided to go back to the bus.
Zhihui Bridge and Pudu Bridge
Zhihui Bridge with the Background of Xiangde Temple Area at the top
Xiangde Temple Area at the top
Taroko National Park (Part 2) : From Tunnel of Nine Turns to Tien-Hsiang to Eternal Spring Shrine
Snapshots along the way before reaching Cihmu Bridge
Cihmu (Cimu) Bridge
We had a brief stop at Cihmu Bridge to appreciate the scenery that it has to offer. I approached the bridge and went to the waiting shed or pavilion nearby located at higher ground, a great point to take photos in different angle of the place. At the waiting shed, there were scenery found to be amazing. I did enjoy the quick visit we made in the bridge.
Waiting shed or pavilion
“Cimu” in Chinese means motherly devotion. The bridge has connection to the legend where the area is known as “Heliu” where two rivers meet. A child near the edge of the river has been swept away by large current of water. Every day the mother’s child go to the river and pray for her childs safety and hope to come back to her.
Liwu River from Cihmu Bridge
Liufang Bridge that we passed by
Eternal Spring Shrine (Changchun Shrine)
The last stopped we had in Taroko National Park was in Zhangchun Bridge. There are lots of scenery to see here. First was the famous Eternal Spring Shrine or Changchun Shrine which visible even from a distance, the shrine gives a photographic view because of its location, because of its falls underneath, because of the greenery background that surrounds it, because it stands at the mountain side and because of Liwu River at the bottom of it. One thing that I learned while I was here was when I read the information near the bridge about the shrine. Because there are many people died building the Central Cross-Island Highway, Eternal Spring Shrine was built to commemorate the men who lost their lives on it.
Taroko Eternal Spring Changchun Shrine
After appreciating the scenic view of Eternal Spring Shrine, I saw as well the Guanyin Dong, the building or temple at the top. Then, we walked and passed Zhangchun Bridge. While at the bridge I saw Liwu River in another angle to appreciate it more. The tour in the park gave me this thoughts that Liwu River is all the way with us through the entire journey in Taroko Gorge, I had seen its different beauty in every part of the park. A truly magnificent river for me. We passed the tunnel road of Zhangchun Bridge to go to the bus as we nearly heading back to Hualien city. Before I jumped in to the vehicle, I saw Taroko Changuang Temple Suspension Bridge and Gate to Changuang Temple.
Liwu River at Zhangchun Bridge
Taroko Changuang Temple Suspension Bridge
Liwu River and Zhongbu Cross-Island Highway
Gate to Changuang Temple
My tour in Taroko Gorge is a day tour and I already admired the park. I am wondering what if I had a chance someday to hike some part of this beautiful national park. I hope I will be given a chance. Until then.
Discovery (Post#25) : Mabini Historical Marker at Asan Beach Park
In one of the tours I had in Guam, I had a chance to see a marker of a familiar hero back home – Apolinario Mabini. I felt proud when I saw such marker. At least in a small island like Guam, one of patriotic men in my country is recognized in that part of the world. He is one of my country’s extraordinary hero as he lost his both legs because of polio disease, it wasn’t hindered him to give his love and service to the country and he often called as “The Sublime Paralytic”. Aside from that I myself more recognized him as the “Brains of the Revolution” as he became adviser when forming revolutionary government of my country. Mabini was captured by American colonial authorities during Philippine-American war and exiled to Guam. The marker which is Asan Point is where Mabini lived in Guam. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
The beginning of my adventure travel in one of the US Territory was not far from my country in the Pacific and named as Guam. This part of the world has commonality in my country Philippines because of its geographic location and history. These photos are part of my Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#9) : Shilin Night Market – Largest and Famous Night Market in Taipei
When I came back to Taipei after doing Taroko Gorge day tour, since my flight was around midnight, I decided to go to Shilin Night Market. So from Taipei Main Station, I took Tamsui-Xinyi (Red Line) going to Tamsui and get-off at Shilin Station. From that station, I walked few minutes until I reach the place that I intended to be. Shilin Night Market is located between two train Station. First is Shilin Station and second is Jiantan Station. I used both Station. Going to the night market was Shilin Station while going back to Taipei, I took Jiantan Station. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
One side trip that we did during the day tour at Taroko National Park was a short stop at Hualien Der-Yen Beach which located near Hualien Airport. At the time of our visit, I felt the cold-windy air of the beach, saw the wild waves back and fort to the shore and heard its waves which gave me a good feeling at the end of the day. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
In my 3 days in Taiwan, I took a day tour during my 3rd and last day as my final adventure in the said country. I know that I haven’t seen much yet of the city but I wanted to see a national park during my visit in Taiwan and with that same reason, I booked Taroko Gorge day tour online before I ended my travel and before I flew back to Manila.
It was Monday, January 9, 2017. I put back all my stuff in my small luggage backpack and prepared myself early in the morning. I checked-out past 5AM in the morning and sit in the cafe within the hotel / hostel that I stayed in Taipei and waited for my tour to pick me up. In few minutes, the car arrived, I stood up and went outside and a man looking for me reading my name. I responded that its myself and he told me to hopped into the car. Inside the vehicle I found other tourists. Next, our car traveled to Taipei Main Station and from the parking area we walked towards the station that will bring us to Hualien. Our tour guide informed us that we will take the train and once we reached Hualien Station, we will meet Josephine, our guide in Taroko Gorge National Park. Then, he gave our train ticket. While we were waiting for the right train that we need to take, I introduced myself to the 4 people in the same tour. One couple from London, a French women student from Hongkong and a male solo traveler like me.
When the train arrived, we checked the train car from our tickets. The French woman and I had the same car in the train but our seats were apart from each other and the three were in another train carriage, therefore I traveled from Taipei Station without talking to someone. I set the alarm in my phone in case I may fall asleep in the train while traveling. And I did fell asleep but I woke-up from time to time. Since I was sitting at window seat, I was able to capture some photos along the way before reaching Hualien Station.
River border between Yilan County and Hualien County near the coast before passing Heping Station
River before reaching Xincheng Taroko Station
We reached Hualien Station and two of us from the same train car look for the rest of the three and came together in a group. As advised on us of our guide in Taipei, we have to specifically meet Josephine just near the stairs after we just get-off the train. We waited and went down, then we go back upstairs. Then we met Josephine. After she met us, we walked a bit inside the station and then she mentioned that there was another group that she was waiting as well, that’s when I realized that she handles more than one group travel tour company. She advised us to do what we need to do in the station while we were waiting for the rest of the group to be completed according to her list. Then, after we were assembled completely, we went out towards our bus at the parking.
Josephine speaks English in Chinese tone but its understandable. She’s friendly and lively when speaking and she tried her best for us to laugh a bit. She also speaks Chinese and Japanese while on the tour. That’s quite a skill, speaking 3 languages in a tour. Along the road she started explaining some of the places that our tour bus was passing by which shows she definitely knows the place.
Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate (East Gate)
Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate
Liwu River from Taroko East Gate
After sometime, we reached the entrance of the park called Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate. Here, we stopped a bit to see the arch gate and its surrounding areas such as Jinwen Bridge and Liwu River. Near the gate, we had a glimpse of Zhongbu (Central) Cross-Island Highway. Next, we were back to the bus, we crossed Jinwen Bridge, we passed Taroko National Park Tourist Information Center and we stopped at Shakadang Bridge.
Shakadang Bridge, River and Trail
Shakadang Stream / River
Shakadang River along the Shakadang Trail
I had this tense and funny experience while in Shakadang Trail. Our tour guide, gave us time to get down to Shakadang Trail from the bridge so we can walk a bit in the trail to take some photos in the area. Not knowing how long the trail really is, because of my fascination with the beauty of Shakadang River, I walked probably more than kilometer distance of the trail that resulted me to be late 10 minutes of returning to the bus. When I was walking back, when Shakadang Bridge had been visible to me, I felt concerned because I was not able to see the tour busI had from where it stopped which just few steps from the bridge stairs to the trail when I got-off. Then I walked fast and hoping that I was never left behind. 11 AM was the return time to the bus and I was still walking in the trail. I did a walkathon and passed so many walkers along the trail, then climbed the stairs as fast as I can, my hopes rose when I saw buses after the bridge near the tunnel road. I was near the buses and don’t knew what’s next to do when I don’t even knew my bus tour plate number. So I checked the nearest bus to me and looking for a familiar face. Then I passed another one and Josephine was just outside the bus. I felt relieve when I saw her. I apologized to her and to the people inside the bus for being late because of my negligence to return on time.
Some snapshots while inside the bus looking towards Liwu River while we were driving at Zhongbu Cross-Island Highway after Ningan Bride going to Swallow Grotto.
Yanzikou (Swallow Grotto)
Swallow Grotto Trail
Swallow Grotto Road Tunnel/Thruway
Potholes on the Cliff Face along Swallow Grotto Trail
Cliff Faces along Swallow Grotto Trail
Swallow Grotto Trail Photos
I was back at the bus, the tension that I felt died down and I felt relax again as our bus were moving along road. Inside the bus, I looked at my window and continued to see the park while inside of it. We stopped a few minutes again, then I realized that Josephine picked-up the safety hats that we will be using as part of our itinerary in the national park and each of us get our own hat. The safety hat was not different from the hard hat that construction worker that are using, with that in my mind, I just thought that maybe its important as part of our safety in the tour.
The bus stopped again near Swallow Grotto or Yanzikou. Then our guide checked all of us if we were all wearing our safety hat and she signaled us that we can get-off the bus. It is a road thruway that looks like a tunnel where we had a chance to walk inside with viewing deck to see Potholes on Cliff Faces and portion of Liwu River.
Swallow Grotto Trail with Liwu River
The walk that we did which started from Swallow Grotto Trail ended up to Jinheng Park, just before Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail. When we reached Jinheng Park, we saw another scenic spot – a beautiful rock formation in the gorge. There was this thing that our tour guide was telling us to find in rock formation which is the “Indian Chief”, honestly, I was having a hard time to find it myself maybe because the way I looked at the rocks and the angle of my eyes towards the rocks. And in the end, I found the famous “Indian Chief” face that curves in the rock. After enjoying the scenery at Jinheng Park, I decided to go back to the bus and before I jumped inside of it, I enjoyed the view of Liwu River from Jinheng Bridge.
One of the things to see while walking around Tien-Hsiang Village is to see monkey astray in the ground. The monkey that I saw was near the local store just beside the river and its own location was a great viewpoint for a wonderful scenery with the background of bridges and temple at the mountain side. The photo is part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
Featuring Our World (Post#6) : Eternal Spring Shrine (Changchun Shrine)
The last stop we did while touring Taroko Gorge National Park was Eternal Spring Shrine or Changchun Shrine. An ancestral shrine of Eternal, Long or Spring. One of the picturesque point in the park. The architectural style of the shrine was after famous Tang Dynasty Temple. It commemorates the memory of 225 veterans who died constructing the highway. The spring water pouring beside it is called Changchun Falls. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
When I walked a part of Shakadang Trail, I never expected such an amazing crystal like water stream that flows to Shakadang River. It’s one of the reason why my walk continued to be farther and farther that I almost compromised the tour and resulted of my being 10 minutes late to return to my bus. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
One of the unexpected walking trail that I got a chance to walk accidentally was Shakadang / 砂卡噹 / 砂卡礑 / Shākǎdàng Trail. And I loved this trail because of the scenic spots to appreciate within Shakadang Stream or Shakadang River along the walking trail. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
View At My Window (Post#25) : Taroko Gorge’s Indian Chief Rock
The famous “Indian Chief” rock formation that I wasn’t able to recognized at first is visible as you look towards the other side of Liwu River. Its whole human head in profile at the right side, as you imagine while looking at it, where you will find its nose, mouth, chin, dimple, eye sockets and forehead. The green vegetable above its forehead makes it like an indian chief wearing a headdress which is why it’s called “Indian Chief Rock”. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
When I reached Jinheng Park (Jinhang Park) at Taroko Gorge National Park after following the walk of Swallow Grotto Trail. One of the things that I learned in the area is that the bridge itself has its own story. Its former name was Bailong Bridge and named after Chief Engineer Jin Heng of the Xipan Engineering Section as a tribute to him. He inspect the damaged of the construction highway after it rocked by earthquake, but unfortunately when he was checking it at early in the morning, another landslide happened that led to his death. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.