Singapore in three days

This article is written by Lakshmi Sharath. Lakshmi is a media professional , a traveller, a travel writer and consultant .

Its tough to touch, feel and see any country in a few days , especially if you are a traveller like me. But if you are visiting Singapore as a tourist or on business and you have anything between a few hours to three days in hand, you can still get to experience the country based on your interests. There are no must sees – it just depends on what you want to see .

For instance, while we were at Changi airport on transit, we decided to go over to the orchid garden and then an airport official recommended a visit to the butterfly park in Terminal 3.  A friend recommended that I go over to the Changi beach while the information desk asked me if I was interested in a free city tour . I find Changi one of the friendliest international airports and here, you can even get a foot massage for free or you could visit a spa after duty free shopping.

Secret Places In Philippines – Batanes

The raging sea beats the island of Batanes as if to say I am King.
The waves violently slap the rocks with enviable freedom. Its stammering power heeds no remorse.

The island however doesn’t back down, doesn’t fold-up or disintegrates. It takes a proud beating with a ‘Hah’, I am Batanes.

Batanes should indeed be proud of its coffers. It offers an amazing landscape that is as complex as a Roger Dean art work. The twisting spiraling mountains roll for miles and miles carpeted with green pastures.

The Mahatao Lighthouse, Batanes, Philippines

Atop its numerous cliffs one can get a front seat view of the feisty merging waters of the China Sea with the Pacific Ocean. There is also something incredibly charming about the island’s unique stone houses. Around 3 meters thick, these rock abodes crafted by the ancestors have stood against torturous rain and bullying winds. The roofs are made of cogon providing water proof shade. From afar the houses create an amazing texture of color and form that is bucolic and unlike anything that I’ve ever been in the provinces I’ve visited.

In spite the amazing scenery the island’s greatest strength is its people–the Ivatans. Storm warriors by birth they still posses a gentle demeanor, friendly disposition and an unbelievable sense of trustworthiness.

Crime is said to be non-existent in Batanes and people find no need to lock their doors. There is even a sign posted in the city treasury that reads “LOST AND FOUND- MONEY. Please claim inside”.

As most travel junkies know Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines and its smallest island both in terms of land area and population. Among its ten petite islands only three are inhabited– Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang. Sandwiched by Babuyan Island and Taiwan, the province is closer to Taipei than Manila. In fact an urban legend states that on a clear day one can see Taiwan and hear Chinese roosters crow.

Growth in Batanes’ tourism has been spurred by airlines such as Asian Spirit that conveniently jets weeklyflights (for a P10,000 round cheap tickets price).

Surprisingly posh, the main airport is located in Basco, the province’s capital (found in Batan island). Albeit the flight being a bit choppy, I land safely in Batanes and seek my adventure holidays.

Raj Aryan

31 Mar 2010

http://blogs.rediff.com/peoplefav/tag/manila/