Top 10 Places to Visit in London

London for the past few years has been consistently top of the most visited cities around the world according to Mastercard’s Global Cities Index. London has many iconic areas, buildings and monuments which are famous around the world. Living here I don’t see things in a tourist’s point of view but here are my personal top 10 places to visit within the city.

10th) Kew Gardens

London’s Botanical Garden makes it to my top 10. This Garden houses a collection of over 50,000 living plants and is known to be one of the worlds leading Botanical Garden. An interesting note is that Kew Garden is actually a UNESCO world heritage site.

9th) Oxford Street

London’s and Europe’s most popular and busiest shopping street with over half a million visitors every day. A must for tourists who look to shop for the latest fashion trends. One of the oldest, largest and most famous toy store Hamley’s is located on Regents street another shopping road which connects with Oxford street. Other iconic stores which resides around or within Oxford street are include Selfridges, Liberty, Nike town and many more.

8th) Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square is a public square in central London, commemorating the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar. Iconic for its centrepieces such as the Nelson column which honours the British admiral and the beautiful fountain right next to it. Nearby attractions are the National Gallery, Charing Cross Station, the Mall and many more. One of the best places in London to rest and have a snack.

7th) Shoreditch Graffiti

Shoreditch Grafitti

A new trend for London’s east, Shoreditch is home to a thriving and ever popular street art scene. Something new for London away from its traditional attractions, popular for the younger and more artistic travellers.

6th) Piccadilly Circus

Just like Trafalgar square, Piccadilly Circus is also a public space. However instead of it being surrounded by Museums, Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by shops and restaurants. This intersection connects the busy shopping district to the parliament square and Green Park. Nearby places are London’s china town, Leicester square and many others.

5th) The Shard

Europe’s tallest building makes it in my top 5. One of the newest skyscraper in the city the glassed building includes hotels, restaurants and an observation deck at the top. Considered to have the best views of London, so visiting here would could be very valuable.

4th) Tower of London + Tower Bridge

The Tower of London is the most popular historic castle within the city. The castle has lots of exhibits including the castle itself, the yeoman wanderers, various ghost stories, tortures and execution but most importantly the crown jewels.

Right next to the castle is another of London’s iconic structure the Tower Bridge. Sometimes confused as London Bridge due to its popularity. Visitors may go up the towers for panoramic views of the city and have a walk on the glass walkways.

3rd) British Museum

Quiet to my own surprise the British museum has constantly been high on respectable travel guides such as Lonely Planet and Timeout. Unofficially dubbed as the treasure chest of the world’s cultures, the museum keeps the most comprehensive collection of historic artefacts from around the world. Although many of the exhibits are not of British culture this place is a must visit whilst in the city.

2nd) Buckingham Palace + Green Park

Photo by DAVID ILIFF

One of the most popular and important building (in my opinion) in the capital. Buckingham is the residence and administrative headquarters of the royal family. Popular for tourists due to special royal events, the changing of the guards, summer floral displays and many more. Surrounding the palace is Green park which is also very popular for a walk.

1st) Parliament Square + London Eye

The centre of British politics and the area I believe is the cover attraction of the city. The Parliament square includes many popular monuments, statues and structures including the Big Ben, Red phone boxes, Winston Churchill Statue, the Parliament itself, Westminster abbey and many more. The London eye which stands just across the bridge is also one of London’s top icons and below this are attractions such as the sea life aquarium, London dungeons and more. I cant think of any other locations which would beat these in London.

 

Non of the photos used are my own please see below where I got them from

Photos from:
10. Daniel Case https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daniel_Case
9. Tony Webster https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/12297634063/
8.  Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben124/14695359673
6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/7221539@N06/8070261694
5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynxman/37040486935/
4. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3. Eric Pouhier https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Eric_Pouhier
2. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Misterweiss

Top 10 Places to Visit in Metro Manila

As the Philippines is getting more and more popular as a holiday destination, I look at the top 10 places I believe that cant be missed whilst in the country’s entry point Metro Manila.

10th) Manila Ocean Park

Firstly we start off with a family amusement. This Oceanarium has plenty to see and do, with over 300 marine species indigenous to South East Asia. There are also land creatures with a barnyard, bird and insect section. Most anticipated are the seal show which is applaudable and last but not the least is the symphony of evening show which is a magical light, water and fire show which come together to gives a great end to the day. Honestly it is not the best Oceanarium that would blow your mind, but it is a worthy visit whilst in the capital.

Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park ( photo from https://www.shoreexcursions.asia/manila-ocean-park/)
9th) Quiapo Church and China Town

Quiapo church and the surrounding area is no doubt very important to the Filipino people, its religious and cultural significance is the reason it is on my top 10 list, however this area is also known to be very dangerous to locals themselves, so any tourists would need to be cautious. Nonetheless this Church is very important with many miracles said to have happened, one of which is the story of the black Nazarene statue which arrived from Mexico in 1606 surviving a huge fire.

The nearby Binondo China town is also significant for being the worlds oldest china town in the world. A place that should be high on this list but because its not accessible and a little dangerous, im happy this being 9th.

asianjournalusa.com/the-political-rallies-in-plaza-miranda-the-mercenary-prayers-at-quiapo-chu-p13552-184.htm
8th) Poblacion, Makati

One for those who enjoy a bit of nightlife, Poblacion has a mixture of affordable and high-end bars and clubs. It is popular for locals and foreign tourists. A place that must be visited to appreciate Filipino night life.

7th) Bonifacio Global City

The first of four shopping site on my list. Bonifacio Global City is an outdoor high street retail arcade which has both affordable and high end shops and restaurants. Boasting a beautiful parklike greenspace in the middle with fountain and artistic features this shopping district is very popular.

Bonifacio High Street (goodfreephotos.com)
6th) Resorts World

The brand ‘Resorts World’ is well known around the world. For Manila, Resorts World is a complete high end entertainment complex including a casino, theatre, cinema, shopping complex, restaurants and accommodations. Resorts world is high on my list as it is popular amongst tourist and it is nearest to the airport.

5th) Greenbelt Ayala Centre

The most extravagant and  luxurious of all the malls in Metro Manila. the Greenbelt shopping mall consist of high end shops such as Prada, Gucci, Armani and others alike. This mall makes the 5th best place to visit in Metro Manila as in my opinion it takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the city, a nice place which may make you feel at home. The nice green space in the middle, vegetable plantation, cat play area and the outdoor church makes a brilliant hotspot for tourism

4th) SM Mall of Asia

…and another mall but its the last one I promise. SM Mall of Asia was arguably once the largest in Asia when it was built in the year 2006, it has since been replaced as 4th largest in the country and down to 14th in the continent.  4th on my list as unlike ‘Resorts World’ this is a complete leisure complex for all ages that is affordable to the average person. Complete with concert halls, Imax, bowling, arcades, funfair, shops, restaurants and an Olympic sized skating ring. Furthermore the man made bay area is a good place to chill and take it easy.

Mall Of Asia
https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=59538&picture=mall-of-asia
3rd) Intramuros

A fortified walled complex from the Spanish colonial era makes it as my 3rd place that I believe people should visit. Formerly the Spaniards centre for governance, this had huge significance through all colony from Spanish, Japanese and American rule. Intramuros has lots of Spanish architecture within its walls which I believe is  a must for visitors.

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Intramuros (photo by Armanbambuco)
2nd) Quezon Circle

My 2nd placer is questionable and I believe a lot of people who is from the Philippines or Metro Manila itself would find my choice quiet surprising and interesting. Quezon Circle is a park situated in between a large 8 lane roundabout, it is a park where many locals visit to chill, date, unwind, stay active and just have a good time. Central to this park it the Quezon Shrine which is a beautiful 3 pillar structure which houses the remains of the popular late president Manuel Quezon. On top of the monument is an observation deck and below is a museum about the late president and also about the country in general. The park has a cute theme park with traditional fair games and rides. I believe Quezon circle doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, maybe the sheer distance from the main Manila region or the lack of advertisements. I have always found this place amazing and when I brought my visiting friends over to see this, I was surprised by their very positive reaction, so this park makes it as my top 2 place to visit whilst around Metro Manila.

Quezon Shrine (Photo from https://www.justrunlah.com/running_route/quezon-memorial-circle/)
1st) Rizal Park

Probably the cover attraction of the capital and what I believe is the must see place whilst in Metro Manila is Rizal Park. Adjacent to the walled city of Intramuros this place is a favourite leisure spot for Filipinos. This park also has history as it was the location of the execution of Filipino patriot Jose Rizal which started the Philippine revolution against Spain. The monument which holds his remains is the focal point of this park and because of this the area remains a significant place for the country and for what I believe is a place visitors should visit whilst in the country. 

File:Rizal Monument at Rizal Park.jpg
Rizal Monument (photo by Maynard Rabanal)

So there’s my personal top 10 places to visit whilst in Metro Manila, do you think?

Thanks for reading!!!

 

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Reference:

https://www.myproperty.ph/journal/2019/02/13/the-top-10-largest-malls-in-the-philippines-infographic/

Top 10 things to do in Boracay

 

10 of the best things I have personally done within in my last 4 visits to Boracay.

 

10th) 15 Shot Challenge (Coco Mangas)

For all the party people and drinkers out there, coco mangas has what they call the 15 shot challenge. Should you be able to complete this a free shirt is given. This drinking activity is a good way to start your vacation. Too bad I’ve never completed this.

9th) Walk or Run at Stations 1-362638_10151573862965818_1054097044_n

If you are in Boracay to just relax and take it easy, then a walk from stations 1-3 or vice versa is a nice thing to do. It will take about 30-45 minutes to get from one end to the other depending on how fast you walk. Some people also jog or run this route.  The scenic views of the sea is worthwhile. Remember to stop by D’mall though.

 

 

8t140h) ATV and Buggy Ride

ATV and Buggies are always a good thing to do, especially on a hot day, however with the route being very short and the rides being closely supervised like little kids, I only put this activity at 8th. To improve this they should really allow people to roam at their own leisure.

 

 

 

7th) Water Sports and Activities

Boracay is a paradise island, so why not get in the water? Any water sports whether Jet skiing, banana boat, flying fish, wind surfing or parasailing, the thrill of getting in the middle of the sea is just priceless.

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6th) Helmet Diving

Helmet diving is an a way of going underwater, if you are not very confident of scuba diving. There is no need to be trained and you can decide to do it on the day.  Underwater you will see all the colourful wildlife Boracay has to offer.

5th) Visit Puka Beach

Puka beach is a much quieter area for those who want to get away from all the crowds. It is again a beautiful area with a much more coarser sand than that of stations 1-3.

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4th) Nightlife

Boracay is known as the party island of the Philippines. So what’s the point of going Boracay without experiencing the Nightlife. Boracay has plenty of clubs and pubs to choose from all with different statures. The best time for a Boracay nightlife would definitely be the Laboracay festival  at Philippines Labour day, haven’t been but its definitely on the list.

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3rd) Boracay Pub Crawl

4th choice was any old nightlife, but for my 3rd is the ‘Boracay Pub Crawl’, for an entrance fee you will get a free shirt, a shot glass and free shots along the way. Here you stay as a group, the best way to meet people. Along with games and a few different activities the night will be enjoyable to anyone.

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Boracay Pub Crawl
2nd) Ariel’s Point

More for the adrenaline seekers, this little secluded island, around 30 minutes away from Boracay includes a cliff dive of different heights, canoes, kayaking, snorkelling, snacks, barbeque lunch, beverages and more.  This is a whole daytrip package  from around 10am to 5pm, a private boat takes all visitors across to this island.

ariels point.jpg

1st) Paraw

My number one thing to do in Boracay. Paraw is a small boat, that uses the wind to move the boat. Passengers ride on the either side on nets, it is possible to lie down or sit and enjoy the view. The paraw is usually a 30 to 45 minute ride, and sometimes the boat people will stop in the middle of the sea, so you can jump in and swim. There are bigger boats and yachts for rent, but where’s the thrill in that.3

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Top 10 Places to Visit in Pangasinan

Pangasinan is my province (countryside) in the Philippines, around summer or Easter time we used to (and still) love to roam around the various beaches and attractions, with whatever budget we have.

Here are my 10 personal  favourite places to visit in ascending order.

 

10th) Dagupan City

Famous for its Milkfish locally known as ‘Bangus’. Dagupan is the host of the famous ‘Bangus Festival which local people have a mass barbeque of the fish, some of which are given for free.

bangus festival.jpg

9th) Alaminos City

Alaminos city is hugely growing in this province, being the nearest city to the iconic ‘Hundred Island National Park’. Sometimes the province could be difficult to get the bare necessities a tourists wants or needs. Alaminos has big restaurant chains such as Mcdonalds, Jolibee, Chowking, Shakeys and more. Usually if me and my cousins get too bored at home we would roam the city and find something to do.

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Alaminos
8th) Surip Beach

Surip is our ancestoral beach, its awkward shaped rocks, beach formations make this beach unlike others. Although unknown to tourism, this place is improving year by year, lots of new attractions are being found like caves and cliffs for tourists to go and see. Lastly Surip has a pilgrimage walk which starts beachside and climbs the hill upwards to the peak where the cross is.

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Surip
7th) (Anda) Tondol Beach

Tondol white sand beach is something different, the beauty here is not its white sands but its shallow waters. You could walk up to 1-3 km (in low tide) in this beach and the water would only be knee or waist height. However shallow waters don’t seem very interesting does it, but what if I say that you see colourful fishes as you walk around. Walking to other more secluded islands here is also possible. The bad aspects though are jelly fishes or stepping on sea urchins, however with its clear waters all you need is to be extra careful. Hiring a wooden raft is also very popular here.

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6th)  Bolinao Falls

This waterfall is hidden, only known by the locals. It is free however undeveloped, so if your ok with walking on stones or through a jungle then visit here. Its refreshing fresh running water is cool and jumping off the small cliff is the best feeling. Do make sure you know how to swim as there are no attendants at this area.

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Waterfall Jumping
 5th) Enchanted Cave

Only just recently new caves are being found in Bolinao, here visitor are allowed to enter and have a swim, unlike any other place around the world.

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4th) Manaoag Church

Always a special place for the family, we always plan to visit here. The catholic church which has been officially declared a Basilica, sits on top of a hill in the town. Famous for some miracles relating to the Lady of Manaoag, are portrayed in various murals. This church is huge in various pilgrimage and for prayer purposes, whilst the history playing huge importance to the region.

our-lady-of-manaoag-church-in-pangasinan
3rd) Patar Beach

Patar beach to me is the most beautiful, the sand is soft and the water is clear. The beach can however get very congested at peak times but the scenery never gets old. We’ve been here a few times and watching the sun set here is magical.

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2nd) Puerto Del Sol Resort

Definitely one of the best classy resorts in Pangasinan,(or within the northern area anyway). This resort is expensive, but it is just on another class than any other resorts around. The breakfast here is on of the best in any of the resorts/ hotels i’ve had around the world. Puerto del sol has the best views and best part of Patar beach. It is my number 2 as you cant find any other place like this in the province.

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Puerto Del Sol Resort
 1st) Hundred Islands National Park

My personal number 1, simply an iconic attraction in Pangasinan, with a mixture of 100 large and small islands this picturesque national park is a place to visit. I have seen the evolution of this place, having little when I was young, to now having more and more to offer such as a camping facilities, water sports, snorkelling and cliff diving. Traditional Boats called the ‘Banka’ take passengers to a number of islands such as the ‘Quezon island’ and the ‘Govenors island’ where the Big brother house was situated, and many more depending on what activities you want to do. Excellent place for everyone and barbequing is usually popular.

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100 islands