An NYC Revisit

I don’t know, but having to travel out of my country makes me feel like I won a prize.  Do you? And one of the best prizes a traveler could get is a trip to vibrant New York.  This is my second time in this city.  Yet, the feeling of exuberance, enthusiasm and delight is so the same.

And though I have been to numerous spots of NYC during my first stay, I again revisited these hip and beautiful sites!  I return because it would feel like you would not completely gone to NY without revisiting these spots again. 

And from my not-so-humble assessment, these sites remained to absolutely be so fascinating.  The thing I felt when I returned did not changed when I compare it during the first time I visited.  It is still absorbing, enthralling and appealing.  My return reaffirmed and reinforced the feeling I had during the first time I visited.  Thus, those feelings were never a fluke and were simply validated. 

Now I wonder how New Yorkers feel when they go out of their city and visit a different spot on the planet.  New York is so vibrant and beautiful, it raises a question in me if they can feel the same way I am feeling when they go out of their city?

Are they already so hard to please? Or since the threshold of their feelings of awesomeness is already so high, do they always feel bland, shortchanged and blunt about the boredom they bear towards a different place they visit?  Or do they have to go out of Earth and visit a different planet for them to feel what I am feeling?

While contemplating on these puzzling questions, here are a couple of photos I took during my revisit to these amazing NY spots…

inside the federal hall
rockefeller center
ny stock exchange
charging bull
central park…
the grand… grand central
me and the flatiron

Ang pagbabalik!

The Oculus in Lower Manhattan

When I was in NY four years ago, there was one structure at the Lower Manhattan that was still being built.  It was a bummer of a sight then because it was construction noisy, construction dusty and construction ugly.

But now that I am back in NYC, I have nothing but special words for the new architectural landmark in Lower Manhattan on the very site that I am taking about.  It is called the Oculus and it is such a cool place to visit!  It is completely unique and is definitely different from the other buildings around the area.

Its beauty though comes with such a hefty price because according to google, it costs 3.9 billion US dollars to make!  That is just a massive amount of money!

Oculus, aside from being shopping center is also a transportation hub.  It is I suppose now the main train station in Lower Manhattan.  I know that Grand Central station is really classic, beautiful and un-comparable but I really really like this station.

The distinctive design of the building obviously seem to imply a bird’s wings that is ready to take off! The Oculus I guess is a symbolism of being like a Phoenix that has risen from the death and destruction in that area.

this blog post will not be complete without my proof of being there. striking a pose!

It is an awe-inspiring representation of giving hope and confidence to the whole New York that it is time to take off again after the sad events of 9/11 whose actual site of the tragedy is actually a few steps away.   But what I really love about this building is how it looks from the inside!  It’s matchless!

The Oculus is definitely one gorgeous structure!

Ganda! Grabeh!

Saying Thanks at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

I am a Catholic.  Finding and visiting a Catholic church during the duration of my travel has always been like something automatic.  It’s like an involuntary response of saying Thank You every time I am heftily rewarded.

And now that I am in New York, I made sure that the Catholic church that I would visit to say my sincerest gratitude to the Holy Heavens would not just be any other ordinary church. I made sure to enter and visit the largest neo-gothic cathedral in the United States, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

saint patrick’s cathedral
awe-inspiring!
had to light up a couple of candles to complete my saying thanks…
calmness and serenity seem easy to achieve

St. Patrick’c Cathedral is as magnificent as it is massive.  What is so unique with St. Patrick’s Cathedral is that it is a European-style of a church that is centrally located at America’s ode to consumerism and one of the most expensive shopping district, the 5th Avenue, no less.

It comes not as a big surprise then that St. Patrick is the patron saint of a local Catholic New Yorker.  And despite its being located in the busy street of 5th Avenue, as you walk in and gaze heavenward, achieving the sense of peace and solemnity seem easy to achieve.  Thus, saying a deep prayer and thanks was something uncomplicated and effortless to do inside.       

And just like any other Catholic church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral definitely completed my NY adventure.

San Patrisyo, salamat…

The Vessel at Hudson Yards

It has taken me six days to initiate writing about my new New York travel.  Reason behind it is because I was just so zoned out by the magnificence of the very extraordinary centerpiece of the new Hudson Yards known as The Vessel.

The Vessel is the hottest thing to see now in New York City.  And it is said that The Vessel is one awesome piece of sculpture that is meant to be climbed.  I for one did not miss the opportunity to do such. And as what Hudson Yards website indicates, it is a new focal point where people can enjoy new perspectives of the city and one another from different heights, angles and vantage points.

Climbing the highest point of the structure which is almost a mile of a vertical climb was actually something easy for me. It is 16 storeys high!  Not because I am still fit but because I am so used to climbing stairs higher than this one which usually happens when elevator service in my condo is not available (I stayed at the 24th floor).

The Vessel with its network of stairs and landings offers some remarkable views of the city, the river and the Hudson Yards itself.  I was so lucky to make it to the first batch of people who were allowed to go up on the day of my visit.  Yeah, I was early and was too excited!

 

I particularly don’t know what this structure would do for the city aside from attracting visitors like me.  There has been actually quite a number of mixed reviews about this structure but for me honestly, I like the look of this structure from the inside than that of looking from the outside.  And when I looked down at the center of the structure from the highest point and landing, all I can utter was a big Wow!

For me I highly recommend seeing The Vessel when you are in New York City.  One more awesome thing about The Vessel experience is it’s for free.  Hudson Yards is not fully finished yet, I will definitely be back in the future to check on the full work of this new NY landmark.

Ang kool!

A Stay at Novotel Taipei by a Novotel Fan

I think I am a fan of sister hotels Novotel and Ibis (both are members of the huge Accor Hotels).  These hotels as much as possible has always been my go-to hotels each time I am out of the country.  It is proved by the numerous posts I had about Novotel and Ibis.  This has been the hotel I stayed at when I was in Casablanca, in Bangkok, Singapore, Melbourne and last year in Zona Rosa, Mexico.

The latest room I had with this sister hotels is the one in Taoyuan, Taipei, Taiwan.  And after having been so impressed, and though considered mid-scale and budget types of accommodation, I can truly say that Novotel and Ibis has been my favorite.

overnight is not enough
zoned out by the massive lobby
a look of their restaurant outlet where buffet breakfast is served

While on transit and on my way to New York, I chose to stay for a day and an overnight in Taipei.  I initially planned to revisit the city of Taipei while on a stopover but because of the amazing facilities and amenities of Novotel in in this part of Asia, I chose not to roam the streets of Taipei and instead stayed within the confines of the amazing hotel!

Novotel in Taipei is a huge airport hotel with free airport shuttle!  It offers great buffet breakfast selection which is typical of a Novotel.  And it was my first time to use the gym facilities of a Novotel, which actually is huge and is so complete based on my typical gym routine.  At dinner time, I rested my gut from ketosis and ordered the classic Taiwanese Beef Soup Noodle.

some cool hallway!
super nice, super huge!
comfy bed!
bathroom!
waiting for my dinner to be served

Bitin is a Tagalog word for “wanting more”… and that was my general feeling when I left Novotel, Taipei.  Not because they have less but because it has so much that I wanted to stay more. I will definitely book my future stays in a Novotel…

Ay hart Nobotel…

Vanilla Cafe in Baguio City

I would like to believe that I have some level of proficiency on determining what and how good food would be like.  My taste buds know how to ascertain and adjudicate what good food is.

And though I love cakes and may seem to have the sweetest tooth on the planet, I have never been a fan of Red Velvet cakes.  And though I have yet to encounter a Red Velvet cake that makes my taste buds do a double-somersault with one and a half twists in the free position, I think I just had one that is the most remarkable.  

red velvet… it tastes delicious or it tastes beautiful

But my appreciation of this Red Velvet was not due to my taste buds doing a standing ovation but it was my sense of sight that makes me rejoice and be delighted towards the cake I was consuming.  I was at awe about the look, design and colors of Vanilla Café inside Kamiseta Hotel located in Baguio City, the tourist summer capital of my country. 

I guess this is the cutest café I have seen in Baguio.  The interiors were so stunningly pretty, it will definitely put some very sweet delicious smile on every one’s faces.  The café was so visually attractive, the happiness it ignites would surge towards all the other senses making all dishes they serve to be so happily pleasant and appealing.       

Vanilla Café have seem to possess some enchanting potion that smoke-screened my usually resplendent sense of taste.  I actually could no longer recall if the Red Velvet I had was good or mediocre but what I know is that I was smiling while consuming it inside Baguio City’s lovely and bewitching Vanilla Café.     

Hindi lasang masarap.  Pero lasang maganda!

Castillo De Chapultepec

A castle is the last thing I am expecting to find when I decided to tour and visit Mexico City.  But expect the unexpected because I found Chapultepec Castle or Castillo De Chapultepec which is also unexpectedly located in the middle of a very huge park, the Chapultepec Park.  This park is so big, it is even bigger than the famous Central Park of New York City.    

The funny thing is, while roaming around the castle area, I am reminded by a number of things and I am telling myself that I have seen such place in the past.  And then I realized that this was the place where some scenes were shot in the 1996 movie Romeo & Juliet starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes.  It was the set of the Capulet Mansion in that movie! 

The castle has been home for different purposes throughout its long history.  It has been a military academy, a presidential home, of course the royal residence, as well as an observatory.  Now it houses Mexico’s National Museum of History.      

It is the only castle in North America ever actually used as a royal home.  It was the residence of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Empress Carlota.  And during such time, it was still considered to be in the outskirts of Mexico City.  This emperor then wanted to connect his castle to the main city.  He then ordered the construction of a road so as to link it to the energetic city.  That road now is known as the bustling and affluent Paseo Dela Reforma. 

paseo dela reforma

 The construction of the castle started in 1775 and in 1806 it was purchased by Mexico City’s municipal government.  It was mostly abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence.  But it rose to prominence again with the story that is probably the most famous event that has taken place in that castle, the Niños Heroes (or Hero Children). 

Niños Heroes are six Mexican boys who defended the castle against the U.S. soldiers invasion of the castles in September 13, 1847 during the bloody Mexican-American War.  These boys are now permanently honored throughout the grounds of the castle through massive sculptures, artifact exhibits and a commemorative mural painting.  

Besides the beauty of the castle itself, there are lovely gardens and grounds.  You also got fantastic view of the city and the park’s surroundings.  And since it is now the National Museum of History, there are also historical artifacts, exhibits and furnishings that I really enjoyed seeing.

Chapultepec Castle caught me in such a big surprise, that it is one site that I would recommend seeing when in Mexico City.  It was one lovely and surprisingly enriching visit.

Mapapa-biba Meksiko ka sa ganda!