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Vietnam

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - December 14, 2015 - 9:00am

After touring the amazing sights of Bangkok, Thailand we were off to Hanoi in North Vietnam. We touched down in the state-of-the art Noi Bai International Airport.  We wasted no time as we went around Hanoi which is more conservative compared to the South (Saigon).  Hanoi has maintained the “old touch” started by the French who occupied the city in 1873 and later bombarded by the United States during the infamous Vietnam War. In 1976, South and North  Vietnam finally reunited and made Hanoi the capital of a unified Vietnam.  The City’s attractions were concentrated around the Old Quarter where inexpensive lodging houses are located.  Although it was getting dark, I started walking around the Ho Am Kiem Lake (similar to Burnham Park in Baguio City).  In the lake is the famous Morning Sunlight Bridge.  You have not been to Hanoi if you did  not try the street foods (sidewalk cafes) with “pho bo” (beef noodles) being the most popular.  Sights not to miss are Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and countless of museums and pagodas.  If you’re not careful there’s a chance you’ll be hit by scooter or  motorcyle, the major source of transportation of the Viets. If Thailand has the tuk tuk, Vietnam has the cyclo, a 3-wheel bicycle with the passenger seated infront. (“if naay banga ang pasahero unag patay”).  Vietnam’s currency has low value.  A bowl of noodles for instance costs 50,000 Vietnamese dong.  In fact, “Ang akong baon was 2 million dong” (that’s about Php 5,000 pesos). Nisulod ko sa pay toilet, naka bayad ko ug 3,000 dong, mga 6 pesos.  But in fairness, Vietnam has very good healthy food.  The French bread is terrific.

Halong bay

Two days was not enough to see all the sights in Hanoi but  we have to depart for Halong bay, a four–hour land trip from Hanoi.  We boarded our cruise ship called “Viola” and started to awe the 2,000 islets which were thousand years old.  Halong  means “Descending Dragon”  while it means take care in Ilonggo.  Halong Bay is one of the Seven Wonders of Nature together with our very own Palawan Underground River.  The following morning, we went around the islands and feasted on the natural beauty with its lush limestone karst and emerald green water.  We visited several fishing villages and explored one of the biggest caves  I’ve  seen.  Then we docked at  Tito Island where we had a choice of mountain climbing or swimming.  I’ts been years since I’ve climbed Mt. Apo so it was a challenge to attack the 500 steps to the Pagoda that overlooked Halong Bay.  With nightfall approaching, we went back to our cruise ship for dinner and fellowship. Elvisaya stole the thunder from other foreign performers  as he “rocked the boat” with rock and roll music.  After lunch we went back to Hanoi and prepared for our last leg, Ho Chi Minch City.  The following day, we landed at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (people still call it Saigon).  As mentioned  earlier, Ho Chi Minch City is more modern than Hanoi.  That’s understandable being influenced by the Americans during the Vietnam War. Shopping here is heaven for Filipinos ( I saw a lot at the shopping centers).  Some of the biggest are Vincom, Saigon Square Parkson and Crescent Mall. We visited the Nortre Dame Cathedral,  war museums and the Reunification Palace where the first two tanks of  the North Vietnamese Army that entered the gates are on display in 1975.  We wanted to visit the  Cu Chi Tunnels that covers 250 kilometers but we just ran out of time.  There’s still a lot to see in Vietnam, places like Danang with its beautiful beaches , Hue, Mekong Delta and Sapa (Vietnam’s answer to the rice terraces of Ifugao).

Elvisaya

Don’t forget to drop by Robinsons Fuente on December 20 at 5pm and watch Christmas with Elvisaya and Friends.  It’s a free concert featuring Jhun Villahermosa, the Frank Sinatra of Cebu, Amie Filomeno of Handurawan, Campus Idol 2015 winners and the Lourdes Parish Rondalla.  Of course the main act is Elvisya who will perform two songs with the Rodalla.  Hosting the  show is Sam Costanilla of As Time Goes By, tv show.  The show is supported by Casa Ilongga, Datche Philippines, Metrografix and Summit Circle.

ACIRC AMIE FILOMENO OF HANDURAWAN BAGUIO CITY BURNHAM PARK HALONG HALONG BAY HANOI HO CHI MINCH CITY NBSP VIETNAM VIETNAM WAR
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