Book Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

a22ee4224c6fc7a20ab86699469cf0cfAs expected, this book entitled Easy by Tammara Webber is such a beautiful story that it got me hooked on reading it in just a short period of time. And I’m so grateful to Goodreads for letting me discover this wonderful novel.

I think it was at that time when I was surfing the site for an interesting but unfamiliar book to read that I found this. But it took me awhile before I’ve decided to read it. I guess its because I was never keen on reading college romances.

Anyway, the beginning of the story was certainly an unusual one. For it was really interesting, suspenseful, exciting and catchy. The story of Lucas and Jacqueline is definitely one of my favorites, and reading their emails and text messages were so much fun. Plus what I like about the story, aside from the fact that it’s actually my first time to read a college romance, is that, on how both of them have found each other.

So even if both of them were kinda lost, but fate had stepped in so that they can learn from each other, and support one another with all the love growing between the two of them. I’ve also learned from reading this story is that when it comes to loving someone, it’s not about giving up what you really want in life just for the sake of your loved ones, for it’s all about balancing everything to support one another (but of course, not that one-sided support).

Because doing so would be like you’re evolving your life for that someone alone, which shouldn’t be the case since you have to retain your individuality as a person.

All in all, it was definitely a page-turner and I had so much fun reading it.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it, until my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

a1bb096d433f69fa110aa9039526b713

Advertisements

Book Review: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

 

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a beautiful story about Angelo Bianco, a young priest, and his childhood friend, a violinist named Eva Rosselli.

Set in Italy during the German Occupation, this is a tale of a passionate and forbidden love in a time where things were so uncertain, and full of obstacles.

The kind of novel that I had never thought that would make me feel so emotional while reading it. Seriously, it was that engrossing and heartbreaking to read.

Furthermore, the author of this inspiring story had captured its readers by giving them a glimpse on how these people from all the countries that were invaded by the Germans lived during those times. So as a reader, I was painfully hit hard of the idea on how arduous it is for them to live a life in fear, but at the same time, trying to be brave and strong as they cling to the hope that one day, they will be able to see the light of a newer and brighter world. A world in which everyone would live in peace and harmony – without any judgment or discrimination just because they have a different race or religion. And that it also doesn’t matter who they are because what matters most is the sense of respect, kindness, and love for one another.

For sure, every reader who have already read the book, knew that the story of Angelo and Eva is something that they will never ever forget. Not just because of their love story, but more on how this couple have been such an inspiration, and despite the fact that Angelo is a Catholic (and a priest), and Eva being a Jewish. Such obstacles have really been a test on how strong is their love for one another. Using that love not just for themselves, but also offering it all to God; asking for the strength and courage to guide them in helping the Jews in their community. Risking their lives because they want to fight for justice because of all the inhumane and cruel things that they’ve witnessed from the German soldiers and officials.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

So before I wrap it up this blog of mine, I would like to share that before I’ve finished reading the novel, I already knew that this one have definitely made it at the top of list as one of the best books that I’ve ever read. For it was so heartbreakingly beautiful, and I still haven’t recovered from it. And just thinking about it every now and then gives me that emotional feeling that I just couldn’t entirely explain.

Well yes, it’s a fiction, but all the details about the invasion that were described in the story were true. A reminder, especially after so many decades had passed, that one should always hope and pray that something like that should never happen again, and to keep the faith that the good will always triumph over evil.

Plus, even if I’m a person who doesn’t entirely practice her religion, but I faithfully believe in God. That I believe, not in its traditions, but in humanity’s faith to do good things.

2115b0ba0767967ef639cdbd75d4674e

And as a bonus, below are the following quotes that I’ve highlighted while reading the book.

“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they’ve driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds. In music there is no bondage. Music is a door, and the soul escapes through the melody.”

“Love had not made them poor. Love had made them wealthy. In that moment, they were royalty, a king of fortune and a queen of destiny, embracing a tiny prince of peace.”

“God makes me strong. He gives me courage. He gives me peace. He gives me purpose.”

“Sand and ash. The ingredients of glass. Such beauty created from nothing. It had been something Babbo had marveled about and something she’d never understood. From sand and ash, rebirth. From sand and ash, new life. With every song and with every prayer, with every small rebellion, Eva felt reborn, renewed, and she vowed to press on. She vowed to push back, to make glass from the ashes, and that courage was a victory in itself. Eva”

“Does it matter how we pray, if our devotion is pure, if our love for him leads us to love and serve and forgive and be better?”

“But we have to live in order to learn. And sometimes we have to fight in order to live.”

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well that’s it for now and till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Highlighted Poems: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

de0b1eb1d35d6d8bbdf421ac5d153154

“Poetry is what happens when your mind stops working, and for a moment, all you do is feel.”

-Atticus

For my first blog post for the month of November 2017, I’m going to share with you those poems that I’ve highlighted and saved while I was reading Ms. Rupi Kaur’s latest collection of poems.

In which by the way these poems have been a very inspiring and mind-boggling one to read. And it’s like getting into a glimpse into the poet’s vulnerability, and because of that, she was able to flow such thoughts in a writing that had resulted into creating such poems that a lot of modern women can truly related themselves into.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

Furthermore, it was very thoughtful of her, to dedicate it to her dear mother – the woman who was braved enough to leave behind her family and country in order to pursue a better life with her husband and children to a place that is culturally different than what she was used to.

In addition to that, ever since Rupi Kaur had been a child, she had always looked up to her mother as a source of strength and inspiration in becoming the kind of person that she wanted to be. Someone who is independent and knows her worth as a woman.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

And if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now. Till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

 

 

Book Review: The Note by Zoe Folbigg

9781788543606

London commuter and her Train Crush | Daily Mail Online

A heartwarming true story about the author of this book. Which is tale of a love, but also truly inspiring and uplifting to read.

I think it was in late September, when I was scrolling on my news-feed on Facebook that I came across an article about a young woman who commutes to work every day by a train. Usually, it would just be an ordinary and typical day for her, but suddenly it wasn’t so anymore; for there was a new commuter – a beautiful young man.

Then after that, he became a fellow passenger every morning, and as time passes by, she had fallen in love of this particular stranger. Of course, it sounds kind of irrational to fall for someone you really don’t know at all. Except for this woman, because she tends to feel like there’s a real connection between her and the guy. And deep down, she just knew that he could be THE ONE.

For months she’s been wanting to have the chance to get to know him. However, every time she sees him, he’s just always stuck in a book- reading. Then one day, after gathering such courage and words of inspiration from her love ones. She was brave enough to slip him a note, asking if he’s interested to come and meet her for a drink.

So wanna know what actually happened to them?

Well, there’s only one way to find out. And that is to read it.

Furthermore, I would like to share my own insights about the novel, and I’m going to be very bunt by telling you that after reading the article. I was so intrigue of the story that I’ve decided to get my own copy and read it right away. But the thing is, I actually didn’t enjoy reading the first half of the book. I guess, as a reader, I was a bit confused on how some of the point-of-views of the main characters were being presented. So it took a little getting used to before I was able to really grasp the author’s writing style.

Yet when I got to the second half of the story, especially to that part when the young woman had given the note to the train main, it got all exciting, that in just a matter of days, I was able to finish reading it.

Then after going through the whole romance of the author and her train man, (despite the minor difficulty that I’ve encountered), I just knew that this one deserves a book review in my blog. Because I wanna share and recommend to you a novel that doesn’t really focus on the romance itself, but on the importance of being courageous in pursuing what you really want and also to what makes you profoundly happy.

Plus, this story enlightens its readers on the simple thought that being brave by taking a chance on something you desire could really change everything. You just have to believe in it.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now. Till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

The Vietnam Project: Day Tour to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc

“Go to a place where you’ll feel at ease and most likely yourself.”

7

On our fourth day in Vietnam, we’ve had the chance to visit and experience one of this country’s greatest treasures. Which was a road trip to the Ninh Binh Province to visit its Hoa Lu Temples and a river cruise in Tam Coc. And if there’s a day tour that I would most certainly recommend for you to do when you’ll visit Vietnam. This is definitely one of those.

Just the same as I did in our Halong Bay tour, I’ve also booked this Tam Coc tour online, and by pure coincidence, both of these tours were booked separately, and it was only after booking, when I was about to check my e-vouchers, that I’ve noticed that it was all under the same travel agency named Halong Hanoi Transfer.

It was around 8:30 am in the morning that we were picked up by our tour guide at the Hanoi HM Boutique Hotel. Actually, the shuttle bus was kind of late for about 30 minutes; and for one moment, my sister and I thought that we wouldn’t be able to get some comfortable seats, but it’s a good thing that we were still able to for assigned bus was almost full by so many travelers from different countries like in Thailand, India, USA, China, and South Korea. However, despite the number in our group, we didn’t had that kind of friendly vibe to one another. Not like in our Halong Bay tour; it is because each one of us were really accommodating and friendly towards each other especially to those group of Filipinos that we’ve met on board.

This full day tour was headed by a very funny guy named Doc. At first glance, he may seemed to be so serious on the outside, but when he started talking to us during our journey. We were all quite surprised that he speaks in a very humorous and hilarious kind of way.

Well moving forward, the journey to Ninh Binh Province took only for about two hours including the stop over at a souvenir shop in which most of the items that are being sold there were handcrafted by the locals who are disabled.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Then an hour before noon, we’ve arrived at the Hoa Lu Temples. A famous historical site in Vietnam that were built during the Dinh and Le Dynasties.

Actually, the place looks kind of similar to “The Temple of Literature” in Hanoi. So when Mr.Doc was giving us in our group some historical insights about the place, my sister and I were at an advantage. For we’ve remembered some of the main points that Mr. Bui Duy Khanh (tour guide on day 3) had shared with us, and because of that, we were able to answer some of the questions that were given to us by our tour guide.

From there, we were all given an hour to explore on our own the temples. And since the place was less crowded, we’ve had a wonderful time wandering around while taking tons of photos. Then head off straight to Tam Coc for our buffet lunch.

It was a very hot and humid fourth day, but I would have preferred that kind of weather instead of the rain. Cause then we wouldn’t been able to enjoy our tour. After our lunch, our guide was already waiting for us at the Tam Coc wharf in order to assist us in our ride to the sampan boat. In which this kind of boat can only accommodate three passengers, including the guide who will row the boat using either their two arms or legs. The river cruise took for about two hours, and despite the blazing heat of the sun, we most certainly had one of the best time of our lives, and it was such an adventure especially the journey inside the caves.

Some tips for you guys, always make sure to bring a bottle of water and your own snacks with you. It is for the reason that such items there are being sold at a touristy price. Plus, if you’re someone who’s also very conscious about being under the heat of the sun, make sure that you’re wearing a long sleeve, or a cardigan maybe, and to wear cap; and if you also have an umbrella with you. That would totally be awesome.

To continue our story, I would also like to share some thoughts with you my fellow readers, and that is, during that boat ride, I’ve realized that one must definitely try to utilize and absorb all the stunning views of Tam Coc. Well, of course, taking tons of pictures and videos there are definitely a must in order to have something to remember. But the thing is, as much as we want to capture everything. We just can’t. So the best thing that one should do is to just sit back, enjoy the ride, drink something (maybe a cold beer?), eat some snacks, listen to some favorite music on your phone, and just take it all in. Because the only thing that you will truly gain from it all are the unforgettable memories from that experience. Including the amazing views that you’ve captured right before your very eyes.

Furthermore, I would also like to say a huge “Cam On” or “Thank You” to the woman who was assigned to row the boat for us. That despite our language barrier, we were still able to communicate through our smiles and hand gestures. And by the way, giving some free snacks and tips to the rower is somewhat optional. But in our case, we were so grateful to her that we didn’t mind giving something extra because it was all worth it.

 

Back at the dock, Mr.Doc was already waiting for all of us in our group to assist us individually in choosing the bicycles that we will be using for our Do-it-yourself exploring in the small town village of Tam Coc. But the bicycle experience are for those who really knows how to ride the bike. So if you don’t know how to ride it, then the tour guide will give you the one hour free time to explore the small town village by walking.

At first I was somewhat hesitant to do it because it’s been years since I’ve ridden a bicycle. So I was totally nervous. But upon hopping on and moving forward. I was profoundly enchanted of everything around me. Almost to the point that I can’t believe that I was actually doing it. The first stop was at the center of the village, and then we went along the highway road going to the rice field of Bich Dong with an overview of the mountains of Tam Coc.

40

It was most certainly one of the best highlights of our trip in Vietnam. Even I was kind of imagining that I was Elizabeth Gilbert of “Eat, Pray, Love”; cycling around the countryside, and greeting “Xin Chao!” to the locals every time we pass them on the road. Well I wish we could have explore more of the rural village. But we were on a schedule, and we have to get back to our meeting area as to where our shuttle bus was waiting to take us back to Hanoi. And during our journey, while I was looking outside the window of the bus, I’ve had this overwhelming feeling deep inside of me because that experience alone was definitely one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done as a traveler, and it was entirely unforgettable.

Exploring the Small Town Village of Tam Coc

Then at 6:30pm, we’ve arrived back to the city and were dropped off at our respective hotels.

So for our free time in the evening, Fatimah and I went out again to eat some dinner at a local restaurant that was just a walking distance from the hotel. I’ve ordered a “Dried Beef Salad”, and for my sister, she ordered the “Bird Salad”. But mine was more delicious than hers.

It was still an early night, and the streets had gotten a bit quiet and less crowded since the night market is only available during the weekends. And because we still want to utilize our time, we went out again to explore every nook and corner of the old quarter, and to continue buying some souvenirs. Cause by tomorrow morning, we would have to start packing our things for it’s our last day in Vietnam before we head back home to the Philippines.

The Rice Field of Bich Dong

The thing is that during those times that we were wandering in that area, both my sister and I felt somewhat emotional again. For the reason that we still can’t believe that we’ve mostly accomplished all of the things that we’ve planned for months. Furthermore, we know that deep down, we will surely going to miss everything about Vietnam; including those people that we’ve met, the food that we ate, the places that we’ve explored, the night market, and also some insights that we’ve learned.

Moreover, it feels so surreal that we were only there for about a number of days; because it felt like we were there for a long period of time. I guess it really shows that we’ve had such a wonderful time.

And that my friend is how our favorite and memorable fourth day had turned out to be.

By the way, are you looking for a place to stay on your next trip that provides such huge discounts and tons of reviews?

Because I would definitely recommend for you to book it under Agoda.com

One of the best sites for hotel bookings. And not only that, it’s convenient and reliable for every travelers out there.

 

49

Hoan Kiem Lake

The Vietnamese Version of Chicken and Beef Salad

And below are the links that would direct you to the Vietnam Project Series.

DAY 1: The Vietnam Project: First Day in Hanoi

DAY 2: The Vietnam Project: Halong Bay Tour

DAY 3: The Vietnam Project: Hanoi Free Tour Guides

Thank you so much for reading.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

28 Books that I would Recommend for Everyone.

For my annual birthday blog. I’m going to share with you the list of top 28 books that I’ve already read since I’ve started the 2017 Goodreads’ Reading Challenge.

Although I still haven’t finish yet in reaching this year’s goal of reading a total number of 68 books. But so far, I’m making a wonderful progress because I’m already a few more books away. Hopefully, in a few months, I’ll be able to accomplish it.

Well anyway these are the titles of novels that I would definitely recommend for you if you are looking for something new to read.

 

  1. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.

    Click to see my Book Review      

  2. Treasures by Lisa Jackson.

    img_3701“A riveting blend of mystery and romance makes Lisa Jackson’s navels irresistible. Now the bestselling author of Twice Kissed and Wishes brings sensuality and suspense to enthralling new heights as a woman seeking to discover her identity finds herself thrust into a world of hidden secrets and dangerous desires.” -Goodreads Summary

  3. The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

    Click to see my Book Review

  4. First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    Goodreads Summary

  5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

    “milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.” -Goodreads

  6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

    Goodreads Summary

  7. Looking for Peyton Place by Barbara Delinksy

    img_3692

    Goodreads Summary

  8. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

   “What a beautiful story and I’m so proud to say that I’ve read this one in just one sitting. “
Goodreads Summary

  1. When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

    “Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Book 1 of the bestselling Canadian West series.” -Goodreads

  2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    “This can happen to anyone.”

    It’s a brilliant story and would totally freak you out as a reader. For its a novel that was written in order to portray that something like that does happen in reality. And of course, what we might perceive about anyone on the outside is not as truthful or real on the inside.

Goodreads Summary

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

    Click to see my Book Review

  2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

    Goodreads Summary

    “It’s surreal and insanely funny.”

    “Although, there were some things that were slightly exaggerated in the story. But this certain type of people called “Crazy Rich Asians” really do exist. And as a reader of the book, you might find it entirely fascinating to read about the extravagance on how these people lead their lives, but you’ll also learn an important lesson that money is definitely not everything. Sure it is our means to give us a comfortable life. But is it truly everything? Not really. Cause it is the little mundanes, the special moments that we have with our love ones that gives everything a whole new meaning. For love, happiness, kindness, our sense of contentment, and a whole lot more of positive things, are the ones that are priceless beyond measure that money can never provide us.”

  3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

    “A heartwarming story about a disfigured child (who’ve just taken the first step into a normal childhood) and his parents’ unconditional love towards him; that despite on how the world views him physically on the outside, but to his mother and father, he will always be a special and extraordinary kid.

  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    Goodreads Summary

“Well at first, you might find the personality of Eleanor Oliphant as somewhat hilarious, but once you’ll get to know her, you will realized that her story is entirely heartbreaking, and at the same time emotionally heartwarming. Moreover, every readers of the book would tend to feel a bit affected after reading it.”

  1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

    img_3690“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience.”

    The whole story of the sequel was entirely mind-boggling but full of profound truths about the realities that are happening in our society; especially when you’re also talking about the many different acts of DISCRIMINATION.

 

  1. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

    Click to see my Book Review

  2. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

    Goodreads Summary

  3. Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

    Goodreads Summary

    img_3689

  4. How to Find love in a bookshop by Veronica Henry

    Click to see my Book Review

  5. This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    Goodreads Summary

  6. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

    Goodreads Summary

  7. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

    Click to see my Book Review

  8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

    Goodreads Summary

  9. The Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

    Goodreads Summary

  10. The Mistletoe Secret by Richard Paul Evans

    Goodreads Summary

  11. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

    Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

    this is the recipe of life
    said my mother
    as she held me in her arms as i wept
    think of those flowers you plant
    in the garden each year
    they will teach you
    that people too
    must wilt
    fall
    root
    rise
    in order to bloom

  12. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

    Goodreads Summary

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

  1. The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter

    Click to see my Book Review

 

By the way, if you’re interested to purchase a copy in any of those titles that were listed above. You can buy it online with a FREE delivery worldwide at Book Depository.

Thank you so much for checking out my list and if you have any thoughts about my post, don’t hesitate to write it in the comments section.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

 

 

 

 

The Vietnam Project: Hanoi Free Tour Guides

One big tip of knowing a particular place?

Converse with the locals, and from them, you’ll learn something quite different.

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

Old Quarter

Anyway, are you familiar of this kind of program in which there are some organizations in Hanoi that gives free tours to its foreign visitors?

But the tour is not technically free. For you will be the one who will pay for its transportation, snacks/lunch/dinner, entrance fees, and other gratuities. All you have to do is book online, inform them of the list of places/sites that you wanted to see, and wait for some confirmation from them if there’s a vacant schedule for you.

My first choice was the Hanoi Kids Organization, but upon booking, I wasn’t able to have a slot for our requested schedule which was on the 3rd day.

So I’ve decided to change our bookings to the Hanoi Free Tour Guides. A similar organization from my first choice, but this time, these are being handled by some college students who wants to do this kind of thing in order for them to practice their English language.

The organization had assigned us to someone who majors in economics named Bui Duy Khanh. He’s very friendly, and his English is really good. And as our private tour, he’s also very informative of its background and history on every major site that we’ve visited.

But I only did have one major concern, and that is in all of our tours, we’ve mostly used a taxi as our mode of transportation. So it had taken a big part of our budget. Luckily, we’ve only consumed for about 80% of what I’ve already set aside for that day.

Well if you are the very thrifty type of traveler, I would definitely suggest the Hanoi Free Walking Tours.

1

 

 

Maison Centrale/Hoa Lo Prison

So what is the advantage of doing this?

Well aside from the fact that we will able to help these younger generations to practice their English. The good thing about availing for this free tour is that each traveler will have the chance to learn from a local’s perspective about the history, the culture and the people of Vietnam. Which is something that you won’t get to experience if you’ll just decide to do the tour on your own now that the Google Map is very handy nowadays in terms of traveling or exploring an unfamiliar place.

 

 

For our first tour, it was the Maison Centrale, or mostly known as the Hoa Lo Prison. It’s the place where the Vietnamese that went against the government were imprisoned, and tortured during the French Occupation. While exploring, I almost vomited inside, and I ‘am so not joking when I tell you that I was feeling nauseated while going to every cell, and see in person the kind of place that for sure would really disturb its every visitors. It’s just that, the thought of how they were tortured in some ways beyond your imagination was so insanely hard to grasp, and to think of all the pain that these people had gone through during those tough times. It’s just so sad and at the same time insanely creepy.

We were there for almost two hours before we’ve headed off to our next destination which was the Temple of Literature.

 

 

The Temple of Literature is an ancient temple and the very first university that was built in Vietnam. A thousand years old building which was dedicated to Confucius, sages, and scholars.

It was a very hot and humid late morning, and as much as we were trying our best to really listen to our tour guides’ insights about the place. My sister and I were really beyond exhausted to keep up and felt so bad for him. But then at the same time, we felt so grateful towards him because he was entirely patient to wait for us to rest, before we continue exploring.

 

 

After that, we had a short break by taking our lunch somewhere near the temple, (a place that was recommended by Mr. Khanh). But before our very short journey to the restaurant, I would like to share an experience in which we were actually scammed by our taxi driver. What happened was that, the driver acted out like he was not familiar of the place (it’s kind of hard to believe since his vehicle has a GPS), so he was driving off from one block onto another, and then go back as to where we were picked up at the main entrance of the temple; and from there, that’s when he had finally went straight ahead to the restaurant. And instead of paying the usual fare of 30,000 dong (P68 or $1.32); we were charged for about 60,000 dong (P135 or $2.64).

I know it’s not much compared to what we’ve heard from some Filipino travelers that we met on Halong Bay. Sharing that experience to its fellow travelers on how they were scammed from 100,000 dong (P225 or $4.50) all the way to 500,000 dong (P1,126 or $23) in just a matter of seconds. So I would definitely advice for you to be very careful in terms of booking a taxi especially from the airport to the city proper.

And at that time, I was kind of disappointed in our tour guide for not saying anything since he should know the exact direction of the place. But as already mentioned, we were so tired and hungry that we just sort of let it slip away and forgave the driver for doing something like that.

So moving forward at the restaurant, each one of us in our very small group had ordered such heavy meals for our lunch and it was very delicious.

 

 

We were there for about an hour, and during that time, we’ve had a sort of an open forum. In which Mr. Khanh was very generous to share with us about his experiences as a personal tour guide, and also enlightening with us the modern day culture of Vietnam, and how the war had molded them to aim a life in peace and tranquility. Also, in our part, my sister and I had pointed out some important information about the Philippines. Our history, our culture, the food, the day to day living of the Filipinos, and so many other things.

Then after eating our sumptuous meal, we went to visit the monument as to where Ho Chi Minh’s body was laid out and preserved for all the people to see. However, the place is only open for public viewing in the late morning. And in our case, we went there in the afternoon so we weren’t able to have the chance to go inside but had decided to take a picture of the monument.

 

 

Furthermore, who was Ho Chi Minh? And why is it that up to this day, he’s considered to be a very important figure in Vietnam history?

According to our tour guide, this man came from a very poor family background who leads a simple life, but because he love his country so much, and wants to help its people gain their freedom against the French government. He has decided to travel the world, working from one odd job to another, to learn about each country, and get some insights about its style of leadership, and from there, did some writing; for he’s also a journalist. And when he came back, he has done everything that he could to help his fellow countrymen in attaining their independence, and later on, was voted as the new leader of Vietnam.

 

 

Our next tour was the Presidential Vestige, the residential area of Ho Chi Minh during his leadership. Not the glamorous and French palace as you’ve surely seen in one of our pictures. Although at present, it is being used as a guest house to all of its very important foreign visitors.

His first house was located at the main entrance, in which he stayed there for about four years before moving into a simple bamboo structured type of residence. At first glance, the massive area kind of looks like that you’re in the French or English countryside. It is because the president loves to be with nature that he has requested to put up a variety of plants and a certain number of animals in which today still remains. I remember our tour guide sharing with us a story that when an Australian journalist had asked the president about his favorite working spot. He said that it was being outside in the garden that he tends to have the concentration that he needed the most in order to work.

An overview from a very inspiring leader who has dedicated his life to save and serve the people of Vietnam.

 

 

Anyway, my sister and I had both agreed that in our third day of exploring, this is definitely our most favorite place that we’ve visited. I mean, the place looks so picturesque that how we wish that we could live in that kind of peaceful environment. Then, for the last site to visit with Mr. Khanh, we head off to the One Pillar Pagoda. Which was a short walking distance from the Presidential Vestige. Legend has it that when a married man had prayed for a son, it was in that very same spot that he’d prayed wholeheartedly, and where his wish was granted.

That ends our day tour with Mr. Khanh, and after that, he guided us back to our hotel in the Hoan Kiem District. For our token of appreciation (cause giving cash is not allowed), Fatimah and I were actually not prepared as to what would be our gift for him. So we’ve decided to give him my sister’s “Privacy Glass Protectors for iPhones” in which she just bought before our trip to Vietnam. The reason was that we’ve both noticed in one of our discussions with him that he seems to enjoy talking about gadgets specifically about some iPhone accessories. So upon arrival at the hotel, my sister went back to our room to get it and give it to him. Then before saying our goodbyes, we took some photos together as a group.

 

 

Mr. Khan, if there’s an opportunity that you will be able to read this blog of mine. I just want to say that, Fatimah and I are so grateful that you’ve been our assigned tour guide on that day. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for all the things that you’ve shared to us. We wish you all the best, and hopefully, after attaining your college degree, you will be able to pursue your plans of traveling to Singapore and Australia, and also to so many other places. Hope to keep in touch with you via email or Facebook. Again, Maraming Salamat (Thank You) and God Bless.

The tour ended at around four in the afternoon, so we still had time. And since it’s the last day of the night market, we had to make sure that we will be able to finish buying the souvenirs that we wanted to give for our friends and family back home. So after staying at the hotel to rest and freshen up. We went out again to start exploring the night market for the second time around.

 

 

Just a little thought before we continue, I would like to point out that our trip to Vietnam was not just about visiting some of the best spots that the country could offer. But we also took the chance to explore one of the most authentic parts of its main capital.

So wanna see the real Hanoi?

Wander around to every nook and corner of its old alleyways like the old quarter, and you will see the culture and day to day living of the Vietnamese people. Well, it was truly a mind-boggling experience, but it was something that we will never ever forget.

An insight that made me so grateful because I have gained something new in my quest to learn more about each place that I would visit and explore.

 

 

So on our last chance to experience the night market in Hanoi, I would definitely say that it was truly an evening to remember because the crowd had gotten way bigger than the other night. Plus, we really had a great time walking from one corner to another, trying to blend in with everyone around us.

Another advice, try to make sure that your visit to Vietnam falls on the weekend. For you will have so much fun experiencing the night life there; almost to the point that you’ll lost track of the time, and the next thing you’ll know, it’s already way past midnight.

 

 

As for buying some souvenirs, I’ve already mentioned that shopping in there can be very cheap. That for about P 2,000 ($40 or 1M Dong), you can insanely buy tons of items not just for yourself, but also for also for your friends and family. Just don’t forget to bargain at a very big discount.

So that’s how our third day have turned out to be, and I’m so looking forward to share with you our fourth day in Vietnam. Which was a side trip to the Ninh Binh Province to visit its Hoa Lu Temples, and enjoy a river cruise in Tam Coc.

Thank you so much for reading.

 

 

 

 

DAY 1: The Vietnam Project: First Day in Hanoi

DAY 2: The Vietnam Project: Halong Bay Tour

DAY 4: The Vietnam Project: Day Tour to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc