Thursday, February 27, 2020

Tuyok Food

by Regin Reyno

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”― James A. Michener

One of the joys of traveling is experiencing other cultures. And, one of the ways we can experience the culture of a country is through its food. Food tells so much about the place and people of a particular country.

Traveling is also an opportunity for us to have a culinary experience.The joy and comfort that it brings; the nutrients and nourishment that it provides-all contribute to our development and well-being, I believe. And nothing beats the authentic ones. For example, Thai food outside of Thailand is so much different. So, when visiting Thailand, it is an opportunity to have the real one-as it is 10x better than that of Thai restaurants outside Thailand; like Jatujak in Manila for example, or Lotus Thai in Beijing. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Jesus Christ's Tomb

by Regin Reyno

Day 21
November 29, 2019
10th leg: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel 

I was greeted by lovely, wonderful, friendly people at the entrance. “How much is the admission fee?”, I asked. “Oh no, it’s free.” One of them replied with a smile. Then handed, me a brochure with a map of the place. “I want to go to Jesus’s Tomb”, I said. “Oh, it’s easy. This is the way to the tomb, but I suggest you go to Golgotha first. Here is the map, we are here, turn right, then follow this. After that, go can go to the tomb.”

“Golgotha? Wow. Isn’t that where Jesus was crucified?” I told myself silently. My excitement grew. My heart rate increased. “This is unbelievable!”

That morning, I was in search for the tomb where they laid Jesus after His crucifixion. From my hostel, The Post Hostel Jerusalem, I walked to the old city of Jerusalem, entering The New Gate, then went outside again, passing through Damascus Gate. 

I arrived at The Garden Tomb; a beautiful garden where that conversation took place. It is just located just a few meters from Damascus Gate: one of the gates of the old city of Jerusalem.

I didn’t know that in searching for Christ’s tomb, I will also find the place where He was crucified. It was amazing. I didn’t expect that tomb to be that close to where He was crucified. Growing up, I always thought that Jesus was crucified on a hill; a high hill that requires some serious hiking. That’s why it was a surprise for me that I was a few meters from where Jesus was crucified. 

The garden was so peaceful. Only a few people were there. It is surrounded by beautiful flowers, bushes, and small trees. There are also gazebos and benches where you can meditate and relax. 

After a few steps, I was at the view point of Golgotha. I was witnessing the place where Jesus was crucified. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Western Wall

by Regin Reyno

Day 20 and 21
November 28-29, 2019
10th leg: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel 

Sometime in 1992-1995, the president of Cagayan Valley Sanitarium and Hospital, Dr./Pastor Loreto Garcia went to the Holy Land; Israel. Upon coming back, he spoke about his trip at one of the vespers meeting (Friday night) at CVSH conference room. He shared to us his experience. 

I was still a small boy, sitting on one of the benches, being amazed by his experience. I remember he also had a big TV, showing us videos about the Holy Land: videos of people floating on the Dead sea, Jews in the old city of Jerusalem, Middle East produce such as olive oils, perfumes, and some herbs. 

But what really stuck in my mind, is the video of people praying at the Western Wall also called the Wailing Wall. Many people, clothed in traditional Jewish costume, uttering prayers, even bowing. 

He explained to us what is happening. He said, “These people write their prayers on a piece of prayer, then stuck it in the cracks or mortar joints of the wall.”

I was really fascinated. I also wanted to witness this ritual of the Jewish people. I told myself that one day, I will also go to the Holy Land and see this. 

I didn’t when or how, as back then, traveling isn’t as common as it is today. And, I knew that Israel is far from where I was and the expenses is going to be expensive. 

But, nevertheless, I believed that I can be there someday.

Fast forward to November 28, 2019, on a Thursday afternoon, I was at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem, Israel-witnessing people praying. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Circumnavigators Club Member

by Regin Reyno

One of my goals during my around-the-world journey is to meet all the rules set by Guinness Book of World Records for a circumnavigation. This will qualify me to join one of the most exclusive clubs in the world; The Circumnavigators Club. It is the only club in the world dedicated for men and women who were able to circumnavigated the globe. 

One of the videos on YouTube that inspired me to do an around-the-world journey was CNN’s Richard Quest's Around the World in 8 days, using only budget airlines. Part of his quest (pardon the pun) is to also join this exclusive club. 

It is great to belong to an organization composed of people with the same mentality, interests, and passion as yours. 

This club was founded in 1902. Notable members include, Gen. Douglas McArthur, Harry Houdini, Pres. William Howard Taft, and Neil Armstrong, to name a few. (We’re in good company, huh?) 

Friday, February 14, 2020

7 Romantic Places Around the World

by Regin Reyno

"If travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end."    ~Pico Iyer

This month of love I want to share with you 7 places that are romantic. These are places that will add to that spark: that magical feeling when with you’re with a romantic partner: whether that be your wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancee, or even a fellow traveler that you’ve met on the road (ala Before Sunrise), or even a local. 

The elements of these places will definitely make you fall in love even more: rekindle that lost romance: or who knows? Maybe even bring romantic love that wasn’t there in the first place. 

Routine, busyness, boredom, flat experiences; these are just some of the things that can kill that romantic feeling. So, book that ticket, delete your social media apps, and head to these destinations to have a wonderful romantic getaway. Life is short to not have romance, magical experiences, and cloud nine moments. 

7. Agra, India

One of the most iconic symbols of romantic love; The Taj Mahal: an ethereal beauty. 

Walk around Taj Mahal during early hours of the morning. Go inside. Behold the tombs of Sha Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal and reflect on the love and sacrifice that resulted to this beautiful building. Sit on one of the benches from distance and spend time looking at it. Let its beauty and story work its way to your hearts. 

Cap your day by having a delicious Indian cuisine dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the Taj with the moonlight reflected on the river. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ait Ben Haddou

by Regin Reyno

Day 17
November 24, 2019
9th leg: Marrakech, Morocco

The early morning temperature in Morocco was so cold. Good thing the van was very comfortable. Together with other travelers, we were on our way to Ait Ben Haddou: an ancient ksar, or fortified village from Marrarech. The drive was very scenic. We passed by beautiful mountains, wonderful rock formations, amazing desert views. A stop-over at a cafe overlooking the mountains allowed us to warm ourselves with Moroccan mint tea by the fireplace. It was winter in Morocco, hence the cold morning. 

After a long travel along mountainous zigzag road, where the driving was so fast and scary, we’ve reached Ait Ben Haddou.

I was excited and happy to finally be at this ancient fortified village made of pounded earth. It used to be a very rich village, as it was along the caravan route from ancient Sudan or the Sahara desert going to Marrarech in Morocco. I was built during the 17th century A.D. It is a UNESCO World Heritage SIte. 

As we were approaching Ait Ben Haddou, our guide, Mohammed, kept on talking, giving us valuable information. From a distance we finally saw the village. As my other companions were snapping photos and posing, I just stared at it for some time, admiring its splendor from a distance and imagining the life of the people back then; people who live in the desert. 

It is also a set for many movies: Babel, Gladiator, Game of Thrones, and James Bond’s Living Daylights to name a few. Its preserved buildings makes it an ideal set for movies. 

Upon entering, Mohammed told us that in the olden times, there’s a specific time when they close the gate at night. And once it’s closed and you are still outside, they won’t open it for you, so you have to sleep outside and wait for it to be open the next day. This is because a lot of bandits are trying to attack or steal something from ksars such as this.

Filming location of James Bond's Living Daylights

Thursday, February 6, 2020

FALSE Stereotypes

by Regin Reyno

There are many FALSE stereotypes or misconceptions out there. We often have false perception about places or people, and are usually debunked upon visiting a country/place and seeing and experiencing what's it really like.

Here are my top 7 FALSE stereotypes that I've debunked upon visiting and experiencing the place.

Grand Mosque
Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Philippines
Biggest mosques in the Philippines
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