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My Java Experience: Tips for first time travelers to Indonesia (PART 2)

I recently spent a full week in Indonesia and discovered a lot of things about this country that would be helpful for first time travelers. I recently wrote about these tips here. If you haven’t read PART 1 of the series, just follow the link. Today, I’m sharing another set of tips to help you prepare for your next trip to this awesome country that is filled with culture, history, and nature’s wonders!

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To the left, to the left.

Stay left on the road when driving.

This country was under the British occupation. That being said, traits like the love for football and driving on the left side and having cars manufactured with steering wheels on the right are the norm. It took some time for me to adjust and every car ride would be such a thrilling experience because my brain would tell me something is wrong with their driving.

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Sockets look like this.

Bring an adaptor for your phone charger

Another example of the British influence in the country is their electricity sockets that are common in European countries. However, there are also ports that use the typical ones we use in the Philippines. The wattage is the same, only the port type is different. To play it safe might as well bring an adaptor to avoid the inconvenience of looking for one all over the city.

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Train ticket to Yogyakarta from Surabaya – an 8 hour travel.

Traveling from one city to another may be quite taxing and expensive

Just like the Philippines, Indonesia is an archipelago. It has over 18,000 counted islands and shares borders with Timor-Leste, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. So brush up your basic knowledge of geography and check the distance of the places you want to visit in this country. If your stay is going to be eaten by the travel time to go from one destination to the next, might as well tweak your plan so that you can maximize your stay.

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Baguio feels in Mt. Bromo Camp site.

Check the weather conditions in your time of visit.

The weather in Indonesia can be quite varied. It would be best to check the typical whether conditions of the area you are planning to visit so that you can pack the most appropriate attire for the trip. When I went to the camp site near Mt. Bromo, the weather was super cool but when I stayed in Jakarta, it was really hot. When we went to a hot spring resort in Bandung, the weather was really cold to a point that the road was covered in fog. Other factors to consider are the time of day you plan to visit the tourist spots and if these sites are in the highlands or lowlands because they both affect weather conditions.

 

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Booking.com is telling me how to get to our hostel in Yogya.

Find the best apps that can help you navigate your way

Two of my favourite apps/websites in this particular trip are Grab and Booking.com. Grab is our staple means of transport going to our hotel from the train station or from the hotel to the bus stop. Since the drivers later find out that we are tourists, they make the extra effort to make sure we arrive to the correct drop off. Also, I used booking.com to look for our hostels in Yogyakarta and Bandung. My favourite part of this website is that you have the option to book without having to pay anything so it won’t be a loss if you choose to cancel the booking later. Plus, you can filter your search such as the price of stay, wifi availability, or type of beds to match your specific needs so you won’t have to take too long to look for the perfect place to stay in.

Now that you are all set with these tips, want to work on your specific itinerary? Watch out for my day to day accounts on the adventures I had in Indonesia. Will post them soon!

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Learn more about my visit in this Prambanan temple and other sites, soon!

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10 Camping Essentials Everyone Should Know

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1. A smartphone for an awesome sound trip

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while capturing the magnificent view;

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2. A good pair of shades;

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3. A sturdy tent;

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4. A nice hammock for a cozy late afternoon nap;

 

14570_10152182947878667_3787948213319987136_n5. Food&Water + kitchen stuff;

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6. A person who knows how to cook;

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7. But when that’s nonexistent, Instant food saves the day;

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8. A master card player + Cards for entertainment;

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9. A Bonfire for the full camping experience;

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10. And of course, People you love

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Because nothing beats great travel adventures with good company!

A Stranger’s Story

 

Last night, while zapping through channels on the TV after the late night news show, I came upon “I love Pinas.” It’s a midnight travel show featuring attractions in the Philippines. That was my first time to learn about the show’s existence. I don’t watch TV much and I was curious with who the host was. I have never heard of him and I thought to myself, “Who is he and how did he get my dream job?”

So I googled Carlo Lorenzo today and I found his travel and food blog. His story was full of surprises. In a nutshell, he was a Broadcast Communication graduate from UP Diliman. He was a man full of ambition and worked as a newscaster for GMA Network. His ultimate dream was to host his own TV show. His work and ambition made him lose sight of the more important things in life. Then, in 2002, he was kidnapped which led to his epiphany. In his words, “When I was kidnapped, I was released from my other prisons: materialism, ambition, insecurities. In his Great Adventure story, he said, “My dream was big, but God is bigger.”

He resigned from work and tried to find himself again in God. He realized that for the longest time, his work was his god. His resignation paved way for him to realign his priorities and fully depend on God for everything. In 2010, just when he was almost broke, he got a call from the TV Network to temporarily host a show. One thing led to another and in 2011, he was offered his own show- I love Pinas.

As he puts it, God gave him the best version of his dream. God is really amazing. He has a great plan for each of us and He manifests this in extraordinary ways.

I don’t think it was just coincidence that I happen to watch the show last night and find out about this stranger’s story. It’s a reminder that I should let go of my worldly ways and have faith in God’s amazing plan for me, just as He did for this man.

Let’s keep the faith alive! Happy Friday!

 

Book Review: Three Weeks With My Brother

 

This isn’t supposed to be my first book review to be published in this blog because I have absolutely no idea how to write a proper review of sorts. However, I’ll just go ahead and do it. Bear with me as I pour my emotions into this post because at the very moment of this article’s writing, I’m still crying my eyes out. My head hurts with all the sobbing as I finished reading Three Weeks with My Brother seconds ago.

It’s a memoir of Nicholas and Micah Sparks as they travel the world in three weeks and contemplate on all the highs and lows that have happened in their lives. The book features two parallel stories, one about Micah and Nicholas’ travel around the globe- from Peru to the Cook Islands, India to Norway, going to Cambodia, Easter Island and a whole lot of other places they thought they would never be able to go to. The other story is a chronological account about their family’s life- from unforgettable childhood memories to coping up with teenage years, getting married then losing their mother, dealing with grief, then as you think the worst is over, they lose their father and then having their sister diagnosed with brain cancer.

Despite knowing the deaths to be expected in the book (as it was placed in the back cover), I still found myself sobbing real hard to their heart-breaking experiences.

Reading this book made me reminisce my own childhood, my life story, my parents and how they brought us up (my sisters and me). Somehow, amidst the cultural differences, I’d find bits of similarities with my life and theirs here and there and I bet a lot of people who would read the book could also say the same thing. This affirms a belief that there is a common universal denominator with how poor to middle class families strive wherever they are in the world.

When the really emotional parts of the book started to unveil, I had to stop reading, hide the book in my bag and look up as I tried my best not to cry. You see, I read everywhere, by that I mean the restaurant while waiting for my order, the jeep on my way home, the station while waiting in line for the MRT to arrive. No matter how hard I try though, a tear or two would escape my eyes and I’d catch worried glances by people as I rode the train back home earlier today.

When I finally arrived home, I read the last five chapters of the book. Good thing I read it at home or else I’d be a total mess. Neighbors would think someone died in my family with how I wailed on my bed reading paragraph after paragraph, each getting more emotional then the former.

More notably, as I was reading the last few paragraphs of chapter 16 (the second to the last chapter), my eyes were covered with tears, and I couldn’t even read the words anymore. I was sobbing so hard I had to cover my mouth or else people in the house would think I’m experiencing a breakdown.

I had to muster the courage to read the last chapter. And just as I thought that the teary-eyed moments in the book were over, a sentence or two would make we wail again. And without a doubt, the last three sentences of the epilogue summed up everything that the book was about.

 

On a more technical side, the author’s transitions were well thought, I was curious as to how Sparks would be able to make two totally parallel stories work but as expected, he delivered. The juxtaposition of events were awesome, more so because they actually happened. Layout-wise, the pictures from their childhood, graduation photos, and those from their trip added a more personal touch to the book.

I cried my eyes out with this book. It is definitely my favorite Sparks’ work to date. Now I can say I understand more profoundly where he gets all the emotions in his writings. “The Rescue” for example is close to his heart as it had traces of his son Ryan on it; or “A Walk to Remember” that was dedicated to his sister Dana.

I definitely love this book because, more than anything, all of it is real. This opened the door to understanding who the author truly is. I commend Sparks for it takes a lot of courage to trace back such a personal part of your being and sharing it with the world, leaving you vulnerable all throughout the process.

For the workmanship, the honesty, the bravery and the love of Nicholas sparks, I give THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER five out of five purple bliss stars! ###