from the commuter

The photos which I took myself are random images of commuting and life. Enjoy the ride!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Shoes and shoestring budget trips

No commuter blog is ever complete without talking about a commuter or a pedestrian's aid - footwear or shoes- and what he or she does about them. In the Philippines, there is no better place than Marikina to discuss shoes. Marikina is known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, where the centuries-old industry still exists and flourishes. 

Growing in Mindanao, I heard of Marikina's famed industry. While I buy mostly local shoes, I was yet to see Marikina up close with its shoe industry until a weekend family trip to Marikina took me to a place devoted to nothing but shoes! The Marikina Shoe Museum, although small in size, was a rich depository of the special role shoes play in the lives of the Filipinos. Who else best exemplifies the Filipinos' love story with shoes but the former First Lady Imelda Marcos. She was so known throughout that international ads and shoe stores allude to her: "There is a little of Imelda in each one of us."

So it was not a surprise to see walls and glass-encased shoes paying homage to her hundreds of pairs in the museum. The entrance ticket of P50 was worth everything.

The Otto store near the museum seems to be a popular stop for people in search of affordable shoes
Also, quite recently, I was a first-timer tourist to another ASEAN city, Jakarta. Booking tickets and hotels in advance made the trip a good and affordable one. Jakarta is like Manila's twin city. I told my Imdonesian friends that I felt like I never left home. hehe.

Yes, they have Tuk-tuks there, Bajay, I think, it is called.

Thamrin, one of Jakarta's major thoroughfares, is a busy street.
 Thanks to my wonderful host, Aireen, who was my college classmate and thesis teammate, my trip to Jogjakarta was well arranged. We took a plane to Jogja (its other name), and I flew AirAsia for the first time. I noticed that the Jakarta Airport is a good one.

Jogjakarta tarmac
The Jogjakarta leg of my Indonesia adventure included Borobudur and Prambanan. It was wet in Borobudur and we still managed to admire the Buddhist structure. I had to ditch my Chinese shoes as they were wet. If kept them on for the next few hours, I would have gotten some more unwanted fungus.

So, I bought these nice sandals in Borobudur. I think I got a pretty reasonable price for the pair. Besides, when you're in Indonesia, you're a millionaire. 

I did some gustatory adventure as well. We went to Malioboro Street where strings of eatery open only at night. We had dinner there, sat on the floor and observed the locals as we joined them in tasting the local cuisine.
After the dinner and the walk along the long stretch of Malioboro Streets with all its Batik shops, we were tired and simply had to take a rickshaw, my first time, back to our hotel.
 The next day, we went to Prambanan.

Our less than 28-hour adventure in Jogjakarta was a memorable one. Other than visiting the world-famous temples, it was the company of a good friend that made the whole trip fun. It brings me pride to learn that while good friends and classmates are being blessed in their careers, they remain humble and generous. To Aireen, my host, I am very happy for you and I thank you.

But my gratitude did not end in Jogja as Aireen took me another beautiful place, Bandung, the next day. Seeing the countryside by car was refreshing. Our destination, Bandung, reminded me of Baguio and Tagaytay. It was a nature trip this time. 

I was brought to Kawa Putih (White Crater), where the water formed inside the volcano was whitish. It was simply beautiful although the sulfuric smell could trigger an asthma attack. To my surprise, it was a popular place for couples on dates.

Kawa Putih in Bandung, Indonesia

Now, not only do I thank my good fortune at work and the cheap airfare, I also express gratitude to people who share their time and resources in helping me create memories. Good times!

And to share the joy, I got these Batik slip ons as gifts to family and friends for 18500 Rupiah, that's around 90 in Philippine pesos. Not bad, I would say. Everything was good even.