Showing posts with label Travel Inspirations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Inspirations. Show all posts

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Patan Durbar Square and the Royal City

I've never seen such a magnificent old city as Patan Durbar Square, located about eight kilometers south of Kathmandu.

Patan is the old name of the present-day Lalitpur, is considered the third-largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara.

While the old city of Patan offers a nostalgic tour of its royal past, there's one place to visit, learn and appreciate -- the Patan Durbar Square.

I'm lucky to have visited one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu valley which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other two Durbar Squares are located in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, but unluckily I wasn't able to visit.

But then, as I entered Patan Durbar Square, I could feel that it has a rich cultural past and the most magnificent royal palace worth visiting.

It has 155 courtyards and 55 major temples that are significant to Hindus and Buddhists. I was able to get inside one of the main temples and had a great appreciation of the architecture and the arts.

Patan is a city of fine arts. And the marvelous architectures are reminiscent of how arts are ingrained in their culture, preserved, and passed on to the next generations. Their craftsmanship is superb and brilliant as they create wood, stone, and metal carvings. 

Patan has preserved its rich tradition of artistic craftsmanship from the local woodcarvers and handicraft makers. From the time of Royal King Newar, artistic skills still live on. 

I was fortunate to have visited Patan Durbar Square in 2013 before it was hit by a strong earthquake in April 2015. Some of the temples and structures were heavily damaged. The good thing is that it was already reconstructed just like the original structure.

Patan Durbar Square is a truly unforgettable experience. Walking on the tiled red bricks while staring at the red wall bricks was like a teleport back to the old days of fine arts and great craftsmanship.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Tranquility at the Lotus Temple

Where can we find peace in a world full of noise, hatred, and wars?  People would fight for their beliefs and feel superior to their religion. Country versus country, religion versus religion, people tend to have endless fights about what they truly believe in.

In a country of more than one billion people, I've found a place where people regardless of social status and religion would come together to worship one God.

It's the Bahaí House of Worship, popularly known as the Bahá'í Temple or Lotus Temple. It's magnificent modern architecture that the people of the world have to visit and appreciate its beauty. 

This architectural wonder was designed to form like a lotus flower. One can see it from the top, from all sides, and even from a kilometer distance. It was built to house thousands of visitors from different places in India and different nationalities in the world.

It was a great moment when I challenged myself to visit Lotus Temple in Delhi, India sometime in December 2011. I remember the thousands of people inside the temple complex who endured the long lines to get inside the main temple. I had to follow the strict rules of patiently waiting in line and leaving the shoes to go barefooted inside the temple.

I had to find a good place to sit in, as I entered the temple. I'd chose to sit peacefully in the center and meditated for an hour. There was no noise but purely serenity. There were no religious objects, but just the walls and interior designs. It was a calming and meditative experience as I was surrounded by people from all walks of life and different religion.

I felt good and inspired that people of opposing beliefs could come and sit together in the same place of worship. It could not be possible for other religions as they impose exclusivity to protect their faith.

At the Bahá'í Temple, everyone is a son of one God. And that all people believe in one God. That's the significance of the Bahá'į faith. It's about the oneness of humanity. No hatred, no prejudice, and no exclusive God. But only one God for all.

If every country has its Bahá'í Temple, the people, and even atheists could have a place to visit to ponder about their existence and purpose. To find meaning and contemplate the joy of living.

Bahá'í faith taught me about the realization of one God for humanity. The same God that I adore and pray for wherever I am and wherever I may be.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Magical Night in Jaipur


To complete my journey to India's golden triangle, I was lucky to visit the lost Kingdom of Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan.

It's known as the Pink city since many palaces and structures are painted pink even back in the old days of its monarchy.

From Delhi, it took us five hours to reach Jaipur for a grand MDP talk about Harmonizing Power, love, and light among women at Marriott hotel.

That was a well-organized event and an inspirational talk of Master Del Pe, as he empowered women about their role in society and awakening their inherent power.

Among the cities in India, Jaipur is one of the most welcoming. The hospitality of the Rajasthani people is heartwarming. That's one thing I admire even on a short visit.

Some magical moments happen at a Rajasthani specialty restaurant. That was a cultural night showcasing their dance and music. It was fun watching cultural performances that are wonderful and graceful.

After the cultural presentation and the welcome drinks, it's time for dinner, and we entered their indoor dining area and waited for the food to be served fresh and hot. 

It was a unique ambiance with a Rajasthani backdrop and painting on dim lighting. We were seated on the floor like a typical Indian seating position. The servers carefully pour over the food on the plate for every meal course that includes dessert. 

That was good Rajasthani cuisine and a light mood until we finished our meal. Then we had our pictures taken on a backdrop that resembles the arches in the palace. 

That was a fiery hot night from the cultural presentation to the sumptuous meal. I had fun and was delighted.


Magic happens when we see something unimaginable, and Jaipur showed us their best offering.

From Delhi to Agra and Jaipur. Finally, I'd completed the golden triangle. Those were the best moments worth reminiscing. There's always a spark, and there's always magic. And it leaves a lasting impact in our hearts.

© 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pashupatinath Temple: Of Life and Death

All life comes to an end. That's a reality that most of us are scared of or in denial of the fate of human existence. In short, we'll all die. But happens when on our earthy departure? And so, one day, I was brought to a place to see the dead bodies for cremation rites on the holiest Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

My tourist guide brought me to one of the holiest Hindu temples in Kathmandu. He thought my visit wouldn't be complete without it since it's declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a highly revered place among Hindus.

It was a unique place since the temples and ashrams are on the riverside. The Bagmati River is holy among Hindus, and it's where they bring the dead bodies of their love for cremation rites.

I can't believe to had witnessed cremation rites open to the public. It was like more than five dead bodies are cremated in the first hour since I arrived.

I was on the hill portion of the riverside, where other locals also came to witness. You can see the greyish-white smoke emitted from the dead bodies as it's burned. You can imagine smoky air on the cremation area from afar. I felt uncomfortable at first, but I have to respect and learn from their religious beliefs.


Hindus believe that our physical body is irrelevant as we die, so they cremate it instead of burying it. In Pashupatinath, families bring the dead body of their loved ones. It's to perform the last rites before they bid farewell to their dearly departed.

As the dead body arrives on the Bagmati riverside, they wash their feet with water from the river. They sprinkle some rice and shower some marigold on the face before it gets burned. Then the ashes are scattered in the river. The family members would also walk three times in a clockwise direction around a wooden funeral pyre before placing the dead body on top.

That was an unforgettable experience back in 2013. Suddenly, it flashed back when I watched on television the mass cremation rites in open grounds in New Delhi. This time, families cremate their loved ones who died due to Covid-19.


Pashupatinath temple is a holy site in honor of Lord Shiva, the destroyer in Hinduism.
When I stepped out of the Pashupatinath complex, I had mixed emotions. The place and the cremation rites may not be for the fain-hearted, but I survived.

I may not have enjoyed much my visit to Pashupatinath, but I'm glad for the learnings. It was like reliving a lesson from my world history class. 

One thing I've learned is that when we die, our families will be there until the end to care for us. Our physical bodies may have vanished, but great memories remain in their hearts. Like Hindus, we may believe in the concept of karma and reincarnation. That may be, we don't only live once, but we're just waiting on our rebirth when our time comes to an end.

©️2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Boracay's Environmentally Conscious Tourism


Boracay Island in the Philippines is one of the top tourist destinations and remains one of the top beaches in the world. 

Boracay Island in the Philippines is one of the top tourist destinations and remains one of the top beaches in the world. This island is recognized annually by various international magazines and travel websites as one of the world's best. And since then, it has contributed to the influx of tourists from all over the world.

What I like about Boracay is its diversity; from different nationalities and locations where it suits the taste and preferences of the tourist. It's like a melting pot of cultures and personalities making it truly a world-class tourist destination.

Boracay Island may seem like a perfect paradise, but it has its hidden imperfections uncovered. I've seen it! I was there in April 2016, about two years before President Duterte made an order for the island's closure for rehabilitation in April 2018.

For years, big businesses like hotels have deceived tourists and their hotel guests by providing reading material that explains the occurrence of the algae that makes the shoreline dark green and unsightly. I can't believe how they disseminate disinformation by making it appear to be a natural occurrence.

I saw the big pipes from establishments that excrete wastewaters to the shore where untreated sewages are flowing, making the water in the area dark green and dirty.

The president called it a cesspool, and that observation is very evident. Then he ordered a 6-month closure of the island. That move was a big sacrifice for the thousands of businesses and island workers and the number of affected tourists. The projected billions of pesos lost for the island's tourism paved the way to pursue its rehabilitation for intended revitalization.

What can we do to help our tourism have a significant impact on its sustainability and environmental protection? I believe that the 6-month rehabilitation of Boracay made us realize that money from tourism alone won't make us truly rich and progressive. But our environmental consciousness as a tourist will help destinations like Boracay to be sustainable and highly livable.

Tourism is our number one industry, and it's booming before the Covid-19 pandemic came. When the lockdown happened, tourism was down and almost dying, but we've seen clean and crystal clear waters of Boracay. It means that business establishments and tourists are the main contributors to the pollution of the island.

Do we need a 6-month rehabilitation of our topmost islands every six years? Well, that would surely hurt tourism, but it's for the good of the environment. We need to balance our tourism and its environmental impact so we can truly call it a paradise.

There's progress in Boracay as compared to the first time I visited the island in 1998. It's becoming too commercial, and the island may have lost its serenity and ambiance due to its fast-growing present-day development.

We need to boost more and promote our tourism. We have the best islands and beaches, but we also need responsible Businessmen, and for us to be environmentally conscious tourists. We leave no trace but footprints and great memories. 


When we can travel again without restrictions, we'll now become better tourists. And together, we help revive our tourism and our God-given paradise.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay


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👉 Weekend Getaway in Boracay

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Highlands of Tagaytay

When the smoke emits up high on a volcano, and when the ashes fall, that must be something scary. And what's even frightening is when the smallest active volcano disrupts peoples' lives.

That was the scene in January 2020 when the Taal volcano erupted. People were frightened and put on forced evacuation. Nearby establishments were closed, and many families lost their homes and livelihood.

A year after, life is back to normal for the people of Taal and Tagaytay. The beauty and grandeur of the famous lake captivate one's soul from any distance.

The cool climate of Tagaytay is perfect for a bowl of beef bulalo and a cup of coffee with the breathtaking view of the Taal lake and volcano. I love its romantic scenery, and I'll never get tired of it. I feel so relax, and it truly heals the soul.

People's park in the sky offers the best view of Taal lake. It's cool and windy on the highest point of Tagaytay, and the backdrop is naturally stunning. Tagaytay highlands and the Crosswinds offer a Swiss-like landscape with beautiful mountains and greeneries. 

I would love to be there. It's truly enchanting!

The picnic grove is fun-filled moments with a much closer view of Taal lake. The place has changed a lot since our last family visit in 2016. More changes are in place, hoping that it won't lead to overdevelopment, but a balance of nature and city life.

A year after the lockdown, more people visit places of interest, and they deserve a great place to unwind and rejuvenate. Tagaytay is just beautiful, and the Taal lake is naturally wonderful and perfect for a weekend family getaway.

The Highlands of Tagaytay is a home away from home. It's a livable city away from Manila and will always remain to be beautiful.

What makes it enjoyable and romantic is when you share happiness with your family and special someone. It's great to make memories that last, and we'll always create meaningful moments to cherish and reminisce.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Wellness and Balanced Life Strategies at the MDP Village


Fitness and wellness. That's our goal to achieve year after year at the start of the new year. 

Fitness goals must be part of our health journey. Being healthy and free from diseases and illnesses makes us truly alive. It makes us jump high to reach a new level of success as we start our year right.

The higher the jump, the lighter, the better.

Yes, the past years may have been out of control when unconscious dietary lifestyle hit us badly, eating junk foods of no nutritional value making us ill and could kill us.

Then work and stress eating or overeating may have led to out of shape. Our physique suddenly has changed as we add years to life when metabolism hits low. 

That's terrible, but we can regain control.

Through the years, it's a challenge on how to be in shape. To be fit takes a lot of discipline and commitment. It's never easy, but doable and not impossible. I used to make it with minimal discomfort but had achieved the desired goal.

I can, and I will!

This year 2021, is about getting back to what we used to be. To be fit and healthy; to be well, and not ill; to feel better, and not bitter; to see things brightly, and not ugly.

Getting sick is expensive and deadly. I can't afford it, so I choose to be well and avoid getting ill. 

Through the years, we have listened to various health teachings. From fitness and wellness gurus, medical experts and health trainers, and healers.

There's a great Master who has greatly influenced my belief about achieving balanced health and the esoteric causes of diseases, now revealed to humanity.

Balanced life strategies focusing on health and wellness are what I have learned from a Master of life, Master Del Pe, since 2011.

I'm grateful to have known and be mentored by a modern Sage and an international life coach who's visionary in leadership and has a deep love for humanity and the world.

After decades of world travel and working with individuals, families, governments, groups, and companies in more than 100 countries, the Philippines is truly blessed to have Master Del Pe come back and settle in his hometown.

Master Del Pe's new Shangri-La is beautiful and located in the beautiful highlands of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, in Northern Philippines. 

His MDP Village is a wellness and healing center hub in the North and is gaining recognition among health enthusiasts from the Philippines and other parts of the world.

Master Del Pe had hosted an international convention at the MDP village where attendees get a perspective about higher consciousness and mastering life ahead of its time.

MDP village is also a spiritual sanctuary, an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, and in regaining life to have peace of mind daily.

I've attended and listened to Master Del Pe's interviews from various social media like Facebook and Youtube, and his insights and expertise is mindblowing. 

If one day you might want to visit him at the MDP Village or meet him in Metro Manila, you may follow and contact him on his social media accounts below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masterdelpe/

YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/MasterDelPe

Website: https://www.mdpvillage.com/

I've learned a lot from Master Del Pe. He's a master in life and the one who can help us live the best life we deserve. 

©️ 2021 Del Cusay 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Reaching for Cloud 9 in Antipolo


There's a beautiful 360-degree view in Antipolo. The city's highest point is really on cloud-nine, heaven in the city.

As I waited for the sunset, I am so thankful for the chance to see the panoramic view of Antipolo City and the magnificent skyline of Metro Manila.

The City of Antipolo, Province of Rizal, is blessed for its higher elevation and proximity from the Philippine National Capital Region, Metro Manila. In less than an hour's drive, you'll feel its cool and windy climate.


I like the city vibe of Antipolo. It's a clean and peaceful city. The people are friendly and very welcoming to the tourists. No doubt that it's a favorite weekend getaway for people from Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

The Cloud 9 hotel and restaurant is my favorite spot in Antipolo. I had a sumptuous lunch after a short day trip around the city. The wide-open restaurant in the sky serves delicious Filipino dishes and is a favorite destination among food lovers, including returning Filipinos in the country for a vacation. Filipinos' best cuisine is very well-served to the diners, and the Cloud 9 restaurant never fails to give a lasting impression.

The best 360-degree view is on the hanging bridge and reaching the tower on the other side. It's a great view and with a romantic appeal to families, lovers, and friends. 

The place isn't just for a romantic couple. It also attracts families, groups of friends, and even solo travelers. Everyone enjoys the scenery. Wait until dusk, and you'll be captivated by the purple hues of the sky; even more romantic if someone is on the side.

The Cloud 9 is reminiscent of "The peak" in Hong Kong, but the former is Filipino pride. I enjoyed it. I love it, and I'll surely come back for more.

Life is good and bestowed with Divine grace. As we reached the peak, we paused for a while, closed our eyes, held on with breathing, and breathed out. And as we open our eyes, we see the magic happens in cloud nine.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Invigorating Walk at the Lodi Garden


I
t's a great feeling when ancient architectural wonders are well-preserved and restored. Those structures were built to last and tell a tale as old as time.

In New Delhi, India, I was happy to visit a 15th-century tomb. It's a combination of Hindu and Islamic architecture. That was a decade ago on my first visit to India in 2011.

Ancient tombs in India are grand and built with love. It says something about their character, their status, and their power in society. 

Lodi Garden is named after Sikander Lodi. He was an Afghan Sultan of Delhi Sultanate from the Sayyid dynasty that ruled places in Northern India, like Punjab, including modern-day Pakistan. Together with three other rulers, their remains are on the tomb of this beautiful garden.

I have a deep admiration for Hindu and Islamic architectures as they reveal certain charm and character. Its artistic expressions are evident in the detailed carvings and designs.

That was a soulful moment when I strolled in the garden, touch the surfaces of well-preserved structures, and feel the vibe back in time.

Lodi garden is an ideal place for a morning walk and exercise. It's a solemn place to unwind, sit on the grass, do some yoga and meditation. The surrounding is cool and clean and has a beautiful landscape and greeneries. It's truly relaxing and revitalizing.

In our modern-day world and with advancements in architecture and technology, people will appreciate and value history and culture. It's valuable and priceless. It deserves recognition and respect. And so I did.

I had meaningful moments at the Lodi garden. The history and culture are what fascinates me. That's how I appreciate a place of such a very high historical value. It leaves a lasting memory and a pleasant reminisce.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stairway to the Ruins in Macau

The former British colony Hong Kong brought a wonderful surprise for my parents as we explored the vibrant cosmopolitan in the East. And so, at the end of the 4-day trip, we had one last stop, and that was a day visit and tour in a neighboring Special administrative region, Macau.

It was just an hour and a half ferry ride from Hong Kong, and there's a welcoming message Bienvenido or welcome in the Portuguese language. Macau is a former Portuguese colony, and its preserved buildings and other structures are reminiscent of European heritage.

I always love cultural and heritage preservation, and Macau is home to a famous World Heritage site, the Ruins of St. Paul.

In the early morning, before heading to the airport for our flight back to the Philippines, we had a walking tour from our hotel going to the Ruins. It was the proximity of about 15 minutes walk until we've reached Senado Square. Just a few steps away from the Ruins.

That was in September 2016. A surprise made possible in celebration of the 64th birthday of my Mother. That was our first travel abroad as a family, and so it was truly memorable.


In the 17th century, they built the St. Paul Cathedral. It was destroyed by fire in the 19th century, leaving the façade as the Ruins.

But even in its ruins state, it's still beautiful and a work of art, just like the great churches of European craftsmanship. People of different creeds come to visit, and it attracts both local and international tourists eager to see and know the history behind the ruins.


The Ruins of St. Paul in Macau had just preserved a piece of the structure. With the heritage preservation effort, they decided not to demolish for the world to see. And to appreciate the once largest Cathedral in Asia.


Macau may have been transforming into a bustling metropolitan, with beautiful lights from its mega and ultra-modern structures, but it didn't forget its history and culture.

Macau felt like a cultural city, where its people live in simplicity amidst modernity. In the years to come, it may completely transform to be a much progressive metropolis. But it will have a unique identity with a blend of cultural influence from the East and the west.



We may not have explored much about other tourist sites in Macau, but we've seen one of the image structures of our faith. 

The stairway to the Ruins of St. Paul will always be a memorable travel experience. It leaves an imprint in our hearts, and it makes the whole experience worth remembering.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Kathmandu Valley and the lost Kingdom

The check-in counter was almost closed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport when I arrived in a hurried mode. That was like an episode of Amazing Race. The good thing is, I'm able to check-in and board the plane successfully. And my destination was the old Kingdom of Nepal. 

I got excited upon leaving India to see its neighboring country in the north after my six months of stay in India. For almost a week-long vacation, I'd imagine how it's like to live in Kathmandu valley surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan mountains. And that was awesome to have a glimpse from thousand feet high above and upon descending of the plane. 

Kathmandu City was a bit dry and dusty as I took a cab from the airport and going to the downtown area for hotel check-in. I needed to prepare for a walking tour within the vicinity to see and observe the daily living of the Nepalese people. 

Since I've stayed in the city center, places of interest were almost within walking distance. The mall, park, pond, temples, street bazaar, and durbar square were nearby, and I've started my journey on my first day.

My impression of Kathmandu is a city of friendly and kind people. The hotel staff, the salespeople in the mall and street bazaar, the kids in durbar squares, the security personnel in tourist sites, the cab drivers, and the random people I've met were all friendly and conversant.

I thought that it's their character to be congenial since they rely heavily on tourism. And have to give that great impression to every tourist they meet. 

The other cities like Lalitpur and Bhaktapur comprise the Kathmandu valley and overlooking the heritage site on top of a hill. The Swayambhunath offers a breathtaking view of the Kathmandu valley on a bright sunny day and clear blue skies.

Swayambhunath was my first stop among the World heritage sites recommended by my tour guide, and I was amazed by the old structures and the presence of monkeys everywhere. Hence it's also known as the Monkey temple.

I was happy to have visited one of the oldest heritage sites built in the 5th century, long before the birth of Buddhism in Nepal. But then, I've known that Nepal was an old country just like India, and so they have these heritage structures back in the early days of civilization.

Nepal is a great nation and once ruled by a King when it was still an absolute monarchy. However, it ended in 2008 on a constituent assembly creating a federal democratic republic.

I've learned about the culture, tradition, and way of living of the Nepalese people. It may not be as extravagant and as developed as other world cities, but it has a natural charm and a calming presence to the tourist.

In as much as I'd want to discover more about Nepal, but my almost week-long vacation ended, and time for re-entry to India.

I've created meaningful memories on a short visit, and it has a lasting impression on my heart. Nepal is Amazing, and its charm is everlasting.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay


Related Post:

👉 Strolling at the Garden of Dreams

👉 Kathmandu: The gems and the Lost Treasures