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A P R I L / M AY 20 0 9


TAIPEI Painting a Picture of Taiwan’s Capital


A Melting Pot of Culture & Enterprise







Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Dubai on July 2009

Welcome Warm greetings from Spirit of Manila Airlines! It is with great pleasure that we bring you the second issue of Manila Skies. Leaf through its pages and discover fascinating sites in our featured destinations— Taipei, Dubai and Macau.

In this issue, the many facets of Taipei unravel and reveal a contrast of lifestyles that distinctly portray the main city of Taiwan. From its vibrant side streets and alleys to the more laidback atmosphere of its towns, Taipei brims with charming diversity. Marvel at the remarkable structures and architectural designs that make up the city of Dubai. Walk the streets of Macau and discover the pathways to its numerous cultural and historical treasures. These and so much more, so read on, relax and enjoy the rest of your journey.



APRIL / MAY 2009




Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Singapore on July 2009

Contents IN FOCUS



Uncover the diverse sights and sounds of Taipei from the city to its county


A Melting Pot of Culture and Enterprise A mix of the old and new, Dubai delivers architectural and cultural wonder





News and announcements of exciting events in Bahrain, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines

Find out what’s up this April and May


Experience Macau in a day


Singapore keeps you busy from morning till evening

10 14


APRIL / MAY 2009



Pico Integrated Marketing Agency MANAGING EDITOR

Maria Soledad Racelis ART DIRECTOR



J.R. Felipe


Kristy Ann Texon


Walk the pathway towards the magnificent crater of Mount Pinatubo

Christa de la Cruz




Globetrotting birds make Pampanga their sanctuary



A list of unique restaurants for the health-conscious traveler


Mark Chester Ang, Daniel Shih, Romie Angeles, Timothy Stieler, Dhanesh Ramachandram, Max Chu, Jacqueline Ong, Todd Alperovitz, Locar Chang, Roy Robedillo, Ming Wei Goh, Iván Utz, Igmar Grewar, Isa Yassir, Stiliyana Simeonova, Andrey Papko, Carlos Mejia, Neil Parker, Konstantin von Wedelstaedt, Matthew Carr, Alexander Mack Eckert CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Anne Elicaño, Jacqueline Ong, Karla Rey, Candice Tiu, Pryme Queblatin


Joanna Montoya J.R. Felipe



FLEET INFORMATION COVER The National Concert Hall in Taipei is part of the National Theater and Concert Hall (NCTH). Located at the Chang Kai-shek Cultural Center, the twin halls are the premier venues for Taiwan’s performing arts. The buildings were opened in 1987. Photographed by DANIEL SHIH


36 38


Rommel Bobiles

ManilaSkies is published monthly by Spirit of Manila Airlines in partnership with PICO Integrated Marketing Agency. SPIRIT OF MANILA AIRLINES, INC. Building 7095 and 7212, DMIA Aviation Complex, Clark Special Economic Zone, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, 2023, Philippines w w w. s p i r i t o f m a n i l a a i r l i n e s . c o m PICO INTEGRATED MARKETING AGENCY 3/F MDCC Building, 3328 Matanzas Street Palanan, Makati City, Philippines Tel: (+632) 556-7266 / (+632) 994-0564 Telefax: (+632) 832-2067 / (+632) 556-7262 Email: w w w. p i c o m a n i l a . c o m Opinions expressed here are solely of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by Spirit of Manila Airlines or Pico Integrated Marketing Agency. Reproduction of photos in full or in part is prohibited, unless permission is secured from the editor and the publishers. Utmost care has been taken in compiling the contents of this magazine, but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising therefrom. All information is correct as of press time.

w w w . m a n i l a s k i e s . c o m



GEARS UP Spirit of Manila Airlines, a new budget airline based in Angeles City, Pampanga, will finally open its Manila sales office in April.

Starting May, passengers can start booking flights through an efficient reservation system provided by Reddix. The airline’s tarmac in Clark, Pampanga will also be ready to start operations. The management saw it fit to reschedule the company’s operations to ensure that the offices are ready to address the needs of the customers. Spirit of Manila Airlines will carry out the first flights to Taiwan and Macau in July. The move will be a springboard for the airline’s goal to primarily serve Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) working in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East.

SALES OFFICE: Spacious sales office to welcome clients

CALL CENTER: Customer Service Representatives always ready to assist and answer inquiries


APRIL / MAY 2009


Take a

BITE Satiate your wanderlust as Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) 2009 provides a haven for travelers. From May 13 to 15, travel enthusiasts will come together at the Bahrain International Exposition and Convention Centre. Now on its fifth year, BITE 2009 aims to boost the tourism in Bahrain by presenting the latest travel trends, newest projects, and emerging destinations in various countries. BITE is also the perfect avenue for introducing products and services to the market. Visit their website at or call +973 17200001 for more information. Inquiries may also be sent to



P E T E R K N I P P H O L D I N G S , P T E . LT D .




World Gourmet Summit 2009

National Caving Congress

A Toast to Good Food

A Call for Conscientious Cavers

Gustatory feasts await food connoisseurs at the Singapore World Gourmet Summit, to be held from April 19 to May 2. The assembly features only the best in wining and dining. The annual event presents a smorgasbord of delights from top international chefs. Celebrity dinners, restaurant tours and food tasting sessions are lined up to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Wine-tasting socials are also part of the summit. Log on to their website at for more information. For other inquiries, email or call +65 6270 1254

On May 11-15, 2009, cavers from different countries like Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States will flock to Samar for the 9th National Caving Congress. Local and international speakers are expected to share their insights on responsible management of caves. The congress is in line with RA 9072, which is known as the Caves and Cave Resources Protection and Conservation Act. The meet will be held at the Sohoton National Park in Basey. The Department of Tourism, the local government of Basey, and the Philippine Speleological society will host the event.

U P D AT E POOL SHOWCASE IN SINGAPORE On April 19, 2009 Kaohsiung Organizing Committee Managing Director Shyh-Fang Liu, Director of Marketing and PR Department Ming Chuan-Hsu, and the new director of the Taipei Representative Office in Singapore, Vanessa Shih, attended a press conference at the Rafes City Shopping Centre in Singapore. As a warm-up to the press conference, two top players from Chinese Taipei, Yang Ching Shun, currently the world No.41, and Cerie Chang, currently Women’s world No.9, took part in the showcase of their skills against local Singaporean pool champions. The two players are spokespersons for the World Games 2009, which will be held on July 16-26 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

ManilaSkies CALENDAR

What's Up? The centuries-old tradition of dragon boat racing continues to ward off evil. Rhythm of drums livens up the festivities.



To anticipate a good harvest, the sacred oxen and the royal plough is led through Sanam Luang Park in Bangkok. His Majesty the King attends this ceremony.


Once a year, people pay tribute to the beast of burden. Carabaos are adorned with flowers, and races are also held during the celebration.

May 15 PAHIYAS FESTIVAL Houses in Quezon are festooned with kiping, which are edible decorations made of rice. The festival is held in honor of the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador.

M an i la S k i es







The streets become one animated stage as men and women in warrior garb and masks reenact the story of the centurion, Longinus, who stabbed Jesus’ side.







Coastal communities hold the festival to ask for safety at sea and pay respects to the Goddess of Seafarers, A-Ma; she is one of their most revered gods.









APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies ‘ROUND THE CLOCk

24 HOURS in MACAU A sampler of everything old & new Macau has to offer



9:00 AM

9:30 AM

10:00 AM

Wake up to a sleepy Macau. Enjoy a full breakfast and have a fi ll of delectable pastries (MOP$610) and fresh sandwiches of your choice (MOP$8-28) at Margaret’s Café e Nata (Gum Loi Bldg., Rua Alm. Costa Cabral, +853 28710032). Near Sintra Hotel, it’s just walking distance from the corner of San Ma Lo Rd. and Avenida de D Joao IV. Don’t forget to get a mouthful of the famous Portuguese egg tart (MOP$7 per piece) and bring home a dozen too (MOP$80). Margaret’s egg tart is at par with the ones made by the more famous Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane Village (1 Rua da Tassara, +853 28882534).

From Avenida da Praia Grande, walk the famous San Ma Lo Rd. towards the Inner Harbour. Also known as Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, San Ma Lo is Macau’s main street located right in the heart of Old Macau. Spanning less than a mile, it is bustling with local activity and a gateway to a lot of tourist attractions. Since most shops are still closed at this hour, it’s a good time to observe the decorated façades of the upper building floors complete with the old-style lamps. While walking, also notice the mosaic designs of sun, sea creatures and flowers embedded in the cobblestone walkways.

Halfway through your walk, you’ll reach Senado Square with its unmistakable wave-patterned pavement. As the central hub of Macau, it is the location of the Post Office, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (formerly Leal Senado), and the Business Tourism Centre. Both locals and tourists flock this plaza, making it a good place to hang around and meet friends. Stop by the Tourism Office and ask for free guidebooks and maps. See other heritage sites around Senado Square such as the Holy House of Mercy, St. Dominic’s Church, and The Cathedral. As you make your way around the plaza, checkout the alleys branching out from this square for some side-street shopping.

10:30 AM

11:30 AM

Start walking towards St. Paul’s Ruins. This grand façade is one of Macau’s famous landmarks and one of the best places to get a souvenir picture of Macau. Admire the remains of the Church of St. Paul built in the early 17th century. See why the façade has been described as a “sermon in the stone,” and know the story behind Christian symbols and personalities. Other heritage sites are within the direct vicinity of the ruins—Section of the Old City Walls, Na Tcha Temple, and Mount Fortress. Also nearby are the Museum of Sacred Art (in the ruins) and Museum of Macau (in the fortress).

Shop for souvenirs, antiques, furniture, porcelain fi gurines, fi ne ceramics, and decorations along the streets of Rua das Estalagens, Rua da Tercena, and Rua de Santo Antonio— all of which are directly accessible from Rua de S. Paolo. In case you get lost, fi nd your way back to St. Paul’s Ruins with the help of street signs. Grab a pork bun and a refreshing drink from food stalls found along Rua S. Paolo before heading back to Senado Square. You’ll need these for another round of walking.

12:30 NN Back at Senado Square, resume your walking tour by following Rua do Dr. Soares uphill beside Leal Senado. Turn right to find Rua da Felicidade, a street lined with shops and houses known for its carved red lacquer facades. Also known as Happiness Street, this area had once been Macau’s Red Light District. Here you’ll find the centuryold restaurant Fat Siu Lau, famous for its roast pigeon. Continue walking until you reach Rua da Caldeira where you’ll find numerous stalls selling popular food-souvenirs. This is one of the best places to buy slices of tasty dried meat (MOP$49-69) and a box of sweet almond cookies (MOP$20-30).


APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies ‘ROUND THE CLOCk


1:00 PM

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

Find your way back to San Ma Lo. At this hour, most of the shops are open and you can see them selling jewelry, clothes, traditional food and medicine on both sides of the street. From here, take a cab (MOP$5060) or catch a bus (Bus Nos. 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, 34, MT1, MT2; MOP$3.30) to Taipa Village. Get off the bus stop near Largo dos Bombeiros at the heart of the Old Village. If you happen to be here on a Sunday, catch the Taipa Flea Market held in this square from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Walk towards Taipa Houses Museum—another of Macau’s famous attractions. From the tip of Rua do Cunha turn left at Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio. It showcases five traditional Macanese colonial-style houses lined along a waterfront where Superiors and Macanese families once lived. The houses now serve as heritage museums and exhibition areas. Entrance fee is MOP$3/5 for student/adult, open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Have an early dinner at the Venetian Macao Festivita Food Court, where you can enjoy the view of blue skies, even at night. The 1,000seat food court hosts a wide range of international and local cuisines.

1:30 PM

4:00 PM

A few steps from Largo dos Bombeiros, you’ll find an entrance to Rua do Cunha (also known as Food Street). You will find a number of restaurants, coffee shops, and pastry shops packed in this alley. Before you get overwhelmed with the choices, head north and dine at Dom Galo Restaurant (45 Rua do Cunha, Taipa Village, +853 28827423), a charming two-storey restaurant serving both Portuguese and Macanese cuisine (main courses at MOP$50-100).

From Taipa Village, take a short taxi ride to The Venetian Macao in Cotai Strip. Currently the world’s biggest casino, The Venetian Macao is definitely worth a visit. Despite its intimidating grandeur, everyone is welcome here. Enjoy non-stop entertainment shows in the casino lounge or stumble upon free street performances as you walk around the 40-storey building. Be sure to hang around St. Mark’s Square and catch carnival-like performances from 2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

7:30 PM Head back to Central Macau and stop near the entrance of Hotel Lisboa—the first casino in Macau and considered a city icon. In front of this hotel, you’ll see triciclos or cycle-rickshaws for hire. It’s a fresh and relaxing way to tour Macau at night. For a fixed itinerary around Central Macau, a trip would cost about MOP$40-120, while an hour’s rental would cost about MOP$150-200. Prices are negotiable, but be sure to agree on a price first before you head off.

8:30 PM Back in Hotel Lisboa, go casino-hopping along Avenida da Amizade and nearby streets. In this vicinity alone, you can fi nd more than 10 casinos including Grand Lisboa, Wynn Hotel, Star World,

MGM Grand Macau, Mandarin Oriental, and Waldo Hotel. Aside from trying your luck at casino games, enjoy free entertainment and attractions offered by these casinos. Free shows at Wynn Hotel include a Performance Lake Show featuring a dancing fountain (daily, every 15 minutes, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.) and the Rotunda Show (daily, every 30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.) featuring the Tree of Prosperity, a brainchild of Steve Wynn. Also see the Star of Stanley Ho—a 218-carat f lawless diamond displayed at Grand Lisboa. As an alternative to casinohopping, you can hit the pubs and bars at Lan kwai Fong (found near the Kun Iam Statue and Cultural Centre) to experience Macau’s local nightlife.

12:00 AM Hit the sack at any hotel near San Ma Lo or hotels found along Avenida da Amizade and its direct vicinity. By being in this central location, you can def initely afford to sleep late.


Located in Macau Peninsular, these sites are adjacent to one another and tourists can hop from one heritage site to the next St. Paul’s Ruins Na Tcha Temple Section of the Old City Walls Mount Fortress Senado Square

MUSEUMS Museum of Macau Monte Fortress, 112 Praceta do Museu de Macau, No. 112

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets are only available up to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Tel: +853 28357911 / Fax: +853 358503 The Taipa Houses Museum Avenida da Praia, Taipa Village Macau Macau

SHOPPING DISTRICTS & ESTABLISHMENTS Rua das Estalagens Rua da Tercena Rua de Santo Antonio Rua da Caldeira Fat Siu Lau Taipa Village Taipa Flea Market Rua de Felicidade The Grand Canal Shoppes The Shoppes at Four Seasons

FOOD SHOPS & RESTAURANTS Margaret’s Café e Nata Gum Loi Bldg., Rua Alm. Costa Cabral Tel: +853 28527791 Dom Galo Restaurant 45 Rua do Cunha, Taipa Village Tel: +853 28827423

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No admittance beyond 5:30 p.m. Free admission on Tuesdays. Closed on Mondays.

Fat Siu Lau Rua da Felicidade, No.64 Tel: + 853 28573585

Museum of Sacred Art Ruinas de Sao Paolo Macau Macau

For more food stalls and shops visit the streets of: Rua da Caldeira Rua do Cunha (Food Street)

+853 28825631

Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Tel: +853 28315566


APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies ‘ROUND THE CLOCk 1






Traveling alone in Singapore means you can do all the shopping, eating and sightseeing you can pack in a day, or simply hang out without having to worry about bringing a companion. But in order to encourage you to explore, below are ways to best experience the shopping and dining that this country has to offer. You can follow this list to a T, or skip some suggestions depending on your pace. Have fun! 14

Start early and have breakfast amidst the locals at Yakun, Far East Square or 67 killiney Road with the traditional freshly brewed coffee, egg and kaya (coconut jam) on toast. Head to the Singapore’s Merlion and Esplanade Center for that must-have souvenir photo. Go and see one of Singapore’s shopping destinations: Chinatown. A must-try here is the thinly sliced barbecued pork sold at Bee Chun Heng. Go to Funan Center for everything IT. This is the mall to get gifts for all the gadget and gizmos locos in your life. Have an affordable lunch at a hawker centre, Singapore’s answer to fastfood. Pair local seafood specialties like Chili Crab, Black Pepper Crayfish and Buttered Prawns with a glass of sugar cane juice. End with any of the

local desserts like ice-kachang and bubor cha cha. Perfect for summer! Little india is another bargain shopper’s paradise. While there, try the delicious local kebabs or satay, grilled to perfection and served with spicy rich peanut gravy at one of Little India’s restaurants. Stroll down Orchard Road, Singapore’s famous shopping street. Singaporeans are fans of having high tea. Enjoy one at the Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room or have a cup and scones at the Regent Singapore. For an early dinner, head to Chijmes (pronounced “chimes”), a national heritage site that offers exciting dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment experience. Chijmes Hall, the restored chapel, provides a spectacular backdrop for musicals, recitals and other theatrical performances that you can enjoy. Experience Singapore’s night life and go bar-hopping.






6 Or alternatively, head out to Singapore Zoo for the unique experience of a Night Safari. A special note for shopaholics: Besides those already mentioned, here are other pointers: Go to Clarke Quay for the weekend flea market. Scotts Shopping Center or Tangs Department Store are good places if you like the usual mall experience.


Jalan Pisang / Arab Street is the place to get those precious stones and fabrics.

(1) Freshly squeezed sugarcane juice; (2) A Yakun breakfast composed of coffee, egg and kaya; (3) Enjoying a meal at Hawker center; (4) A booklover’s haven; (5) Wide choices of inexpensive food available at the hawker centre; (6) Enjoy an evening of entertainment at the Chijmes

kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City is the largest bookstore in Southeast Asia, if you fancy a read. Mustafa Centre along Serangoon Road has a mix of merchandise at bargain prices.

Singapore’s Destinations: Each trip will take a day or most of the day, so you can combine these destinations with some of the suggestions in the list: Sentosa Blk 33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa Island Singapore 099981 Tel: 1800-SENTOSA (736-8672) Singapore Zoo Blk 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826 Tel: + 65 6269-3411 Fax: + 65 6367-2974 Singapore Art Museum Blk 71 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189555 Tel: + 65 6332-3222


APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies ‘ROUND THE CLOCk 1

Singapore Botanic Gardens Blk 1 Cluny Road Singapore 259569 Tel: +65 6471-7138 Fax: +65 6473-7983


Singapore Night Safari 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore Tel: +65 6269 3411





Jurong Bird Park Blk 2 Jurong Hill Singapore 628925 Tel: +65 6265-0022 Fax: +65 6261-1869




Fort Siloso Blk 33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa Island Singapore 099981 Tel: +65 6275-0388




(1) The Esplanade; (2) Jurong Bird Park (3 & 5) Blooms found at the Botanical Garden (4) Gates of Singapore Botanical Garden (6) Singapore Art Museum



Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Kuwait on July 2009

ManilaSkies iN FOCUS






Taipei is a scenic blend of diverse characters and appeal—a vogue vanguard by day, a city jungle at night, and at times, your typical Asian metropolis. Its sights and sounds are like pieces of a puzzle that has uneven tabs and tags. As one navigates around Taiwan’s capital, past highways and narrow alleys, the odds and ends unknowingly fit together to form a perfect picture of an endearing locality distinctly called Taipei. By JACQUELINE ONG

M an i la S k i es

APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies iN FOCUS (1) A bridge in Bali, one of the towns in Taipei, is a good place to catch a spectacular view of the sunset; (2) The Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a tribute to the former president of the Republic of China; (3) Art pieces found in Yinnge’s Ceramic Museum; (4) Guandu Bridge links the towns of Danshui and Bali; (5) The Red Castle, one of the significant tourist spots reflective of the Spanish and Dutch influence on Taipei; (6) Drink stands abound in the streets of Taipei. This stall sells beverage made from tapioca and grass jelly.



TAIPEI CITY: FROM SKYLINE TO STREET LIFE Perhaps the most visible reminder of this city’s towering glory is the Taipei 101. The 509.2-meter from ground to spire building is home to an observatory where one can view Taipei’s skyline in all its modernity. Despite its entry into the global scene, Taiwan remains grounded in preserving its museums and memorials that say much about its history. The National Palace Museum houses an extensive collection of more than 700,000 artifacts illustrating the progress of Chinese history and culture. The Chiang kai Shek Memorial Hall pays homage to the nationalist leader of Taiwan. Inside the memorial hall is the National Museum of History, the Chinese Postal Museum—the only one of its kind in Taiwan, the National Taiwan Arts Education Center and a botanical park. The National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall is a tribute to Taiwan’s national hero Sun Yat Sen, the first president of the Republic of China. A true example of Chinese palace architecture, it houses a number of art pieces, and is also often used to stage performances. By night time, Taipei’s mood


changes into a bustling market scene. All over the city are night markets, each with its unique feature, but generally featuring the common sight of bargain finds and distinctive aroma of street food. Since it is located near a public university of the same name, the Shida Night Market is popular for the younger crowd looking for quick bites like oyster omelettes and pan-fried dumplings, as well as fashionable bargain items. The nearby Gongguan Night Market is famous for its delicacies like tofu, onion pancakes and pearl milk tea. The Snake Alley in Huaxi Street, located near the Longshan Temple, is the place to have a dose of exotic dishes. Shihlin Night Market is the biggest of all night markets, and perhaps where one can get the cheapest deals on clothes and shoes. It can get very crowded on weekends, but people still line up for the oversized chicken fry, grilled sausages and other knick knacks. Smaller night markets are Raohe, Yongkang and Tonghua. Taipei’s night market culture reflects the modern Taiwan experience, balancing the irrepressible expression of identity

and traditional tastes. If snaking your way past throngs of people for a budget buy or a whiff of Taipei streetlife is not your cup of tea, you may opt for comfortable shopping in Pacific Sogo, Shinkong Mitsukoshi, Breeze Center, Living Mall, the pedestrian shops in Ximending, or the boutiques in Zhongxiao Dunhua.

TAIPEI COUNTY: EVERY TOWN, A HUNDRED CHARMS Come weekends, Taipei winds down into a suburban paradise. Credit it to the efficient metro system—with its total length of 75.8 kilometers— that covers almost the entire Taipei area. From the city center, one can hop on the eight branch lines of the Taipei Metro to reach Taipei County, a separate administrative body that governs 10 countycities: Banqiao, Zhonghe, Luzhou, Sanchong, Shulin, Xizhi, Xindian, Xinzhuang, Tucheng and Yonghe. With a quick transfer to Taipei’s Railway System (TRA) that covers the entire island of Taiwan, one could easily get to Taipei County’s 19 townships: Danshui, Rueifang,





2 3



4 5

6 7


APRIL / MAY 2009





The picturesque white bridge of Taipei’s fisherman’s wharf

Sanxia, Yingge, Bali, Gongliao, Jinshan, Linkou, Pinglin, Pingxi, Sanzhi, Shenkeng, Shiding, Shimen, Shuangxi, Taishan, Wanli, Wulai and Wugu. Taipei County paints a totally different picture of the modern Taipei. The sky comes down lower as high-rise buildings are cut down to three-storey residential houses built very close to the railroad tracks. The landscape turns into a palette of greens, pinks and yellows during spring; the hot summer sun evidently tans the county locals. Come autumn, the weather in the county is nippier, like a forebearer of the yet-to-come winter breeze. Every township has its unique charm. Danshui’s fisherman’s wharf is perhaps Taipei County’s most picturesque view, with its postcard-worthy white bridge and sentimental port. A historically significant site, its tourist spots such as the Red Castle (Fort San Domingo) are remnants of its Spanish and Dutch occupation. A popular 2007 Taiwanese movie�“Buneng Shuo De Mimi/Secret” was fi lmed in Danshui’s 59-year old Tamkang University.


History aside, Danshui has an old market street (laojie) teeming with vendors hawking iron eggs (hard, blackened chicken eggs), ah-gei (glass noodle-stuffed tofu), marked-down designer bags and oriental mementos. A half-hour ferry ride across the Danshui River is Bali Township, a quiet area where the Shinsanhang Museum of Archaelogy is located, and most importantly, a spectacular place to catch the Taipei sunset. Another option to tour around the Danshui and Bali towns is via the bicycle route strategically connected to the metro system. Taipei County’s distinctive feature is its cycling paths that are both safe and convenient for outdoor enthusiasts. Yingge is another town worth putting on the county checklist. Literally “Oriole Song”, Yingge is Taipei’s best place to learn pottery. The Yingge Ceramics Museum exhibits Taiwan’s long history in ceramics culture. The nearby Old Ceramics Street sells

artworks and household items all made from clay, but perhaps the most interesting thing to do while in Yingge is to try one’s hand on the potter’s wheel. The town has several do-it-yourself studios, the most recommended of which is the Tao Yi Pottery Arts Workshop. One can also visit Taipei’s temples. Sanxia is a short taxi or bus ride from Yingge, and its impressive religious structure, the Zushi Temple, is both for the devotees and tourists alike. With its narrow walkway sandwiched between red-bricked buildings, Sanxia’s Minquan Old Street echoes a sense of walking into history. Also nearby is Taiwan’s largest Hakka Museum, a cultural center showcasing the Hakka aboriginal tribe’s works and history. Wulai is another township that is home to the Atayal aboriginal tribe. Here, one can appreciate the Atayal Tribal Museum, take a dip in the public hotsprings, hike to the Wulai waterfalls, or ride on the cable car that runs across the Nanshih River.



Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Doha on July 2009



Burj Al Arab remains the most prominent icon of Dubai at present.



The second largest of the seven states making up United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is a mix of old and new. Caught between the need to preserve its heritage and a desire to become the city of the future, Dubai is one of the world’s most exciting destinations. What was once a small village that relies on the industry of pearl and fishing is now a major economic and trading force. Under the leadership of its ruler, it closes on its vision of becoming the biggest tourist and business destination in the world. Property and leisure developers are building at warp speed to create the biggest, tallest and finest structures, theme parks and resorts. Its golden sand dunes are eclipsed by the monoliths of afuence mushrooming across the desert and around the coast.







Riding an abra (water taxi) is arguably the quickest way to move around, and offers the best value as far as river trips go. On the eastern side of the Dubai Creek is the Dubai Museum with its impressive lifesized dioramas depicting the past and present life in Dubai. This can probably represent a bridge to what Dubai was, explain its meteoric rise, and show what it envisions to be in the future. And as far as this city goes, apart from the seemingly sufficient funds, an abundance of culture remains apparent. Soaring over the Arabian Gulf, the Burj Al Arab Dubai is perhaps the most recognizable image of Dubai these days. This sail-shaped edifice, with an almost mythical allure to its structure, is anchored on a man-made island that is 280 meters offshore. It is the world’s tallest hotel


building. The 321-meter tall hotel soars higher than the Eiffel Tower, and is only 60 meters shorter than the Empire State Building. All 202 of its suites reflect utmost luxury, with spectacular views courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows and sprawling space with floor areas ranging from 170 to 780 square meters. The next door neighbor of the iconic Burj Al Arab is the Madinat Jumeirah. But unlike the Burj, the Madinat Jumeirah was designed to depict Arabia’s architectural heritage. Its sheer magnitude and elegance will take your breath away. It stretches along the Arabian Gulf Coastline, and is home to two exquisite boutique hotels: the Mina A’ Salam and the Al Qasr, and an air-conditioned souk with 75 boutique shops.

Dubailand is an ambitious multi-billion, multi-themed park. It includes a hi-tech Astrolab center for children and adult entertainment—the Falcon City of Wonders, which is an attempt to recreate famous landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Eiffel Tower, and the Aqua Dunya with 36 wet and dry rides in three adventure islands. The coolest attraction, literally and figuratively, is Ski Dubai. The first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and the third largest in the world, it is the size of three football fields with 6,000 tons of snow. Surreal as it may seem, it has a 400-meter ski slope, a 3,000-square meter Snow Park with tobogganing hills, twin-track bobsled rides, and many other winter thrills, all built in the Middle Eastern desert.











(1) The Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort spans more than 40 hectares of lush gardens and landscapes representative of the natural and architectural beauty of Dubai; (2) The Mall of Emirates is a shopping haven for tourists and locals; (3) Dhow, a traditional wooden boat showcased in Dubai Museum; (4) The most efficient way to go around the city is by riding the abra—Dubai’s version of a water taxi; (5) The magnificent interiors of Burj abra Al Arab; (6) 4x4 vehicles are best used to explore the vast and golden sand dunes of Dubai.


APRIL / MAY 2009




Dubai has turned into a unique mix of the traditional and the modern, of relaxation and adventure. The Palm Jebel Ali is the definitive of the ultimate in luxury living. When completed, it will have the Marina and the Dive Experience, and will be the home of the world’s largest man-made dive park. Encircling the Palm is the Crescent and its 1400 water homes built on stilts. When viewed from the sky, they are supposed to spell out an Arabic poem of H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Dubai, however, is not all glitz and glamour. Despite the pace of change, Dubai still has that rich Arab culture waiting to be discovered. A visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is best for one to understand the traditions, customs and religion of the UAE. Participate in the popular Jumeirah Mosque visit, which takes place four times a week as a fi xed public tour. It is the only mosque in the country where





(1) A magnificent view of the city’s evening sky; (2) Dazzling dislplays of jewelry and accessories can be found in Deira’s gold souks.

non-Muslims can enter. Guests at the mosque are treated to a talk on the UAE Culture and the UAE’s official religion, Islam; a question and answer session is held afterwards. For a glimpse of Dubai’s roots and simpler character, head to Deira district near the Dubai Creek banks. Deira is a heady but dynamic mix of narrow streets winding around old buildings, which people do not usually associate with Dubai. Walking down these alleys, one comes face-to-face with the other side of Dubai, with local merchants, workers, and ordinary people going about their daily lives. This would be the best area to explore the souks. Souk is the Arabic word for market or place where any kind of goods are bought or exchanged. In the gold souk, be dazzled by the glittering displays in each shop window. Choose from gold necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, or even design your very own jewelry. The Covered Gold Souk in Deira is considered as Dubai’s

most famous gold market, with designs ranging from 22-carat Indian extravaganzas to delicate 18-carat Italian pieces. Prices here vary frequently based on weight and craftsmanship. Having to haggle with tenacious vendors can be quite challenging, but is all part of the norm and authentic experience. Walk a bit further toward the spice souk and f ind perfumes, incense, and tasty delicacies piled in sacks awaiting one’s attention. Dubai has turned into a unique mix of the traditional and the modern, of relaxation and adventure. While it is a melting pot of cultures converging for varied purposes—for the sun, sand, shopping, or for a taste of the exotic—Dubai maintains a distinct character of its own. It may not have the ancient sites, but Dubai continues to make history as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.



Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Bahrain on July 2009





Photographed by MARK CHESTER ANG

It’s a common misconception that one has to travel far and spend a fortune to embark on an adventure. This is especially untrue when you’re in the Philippines. The country is so abundant with coral reefs and mountain ranges that it is easy to hop from one eco paradise to another.


Adventurers will find thrill in another fact: this archipelago is part of the chain of volcanoes in the Pacific known as the “Ring of Fire”, making it an exciting destination for many volcano treks. The current superstar of the country’s repertoire of volcanoes can be found just 90 kilometers (55 miles) away from Manila, the country’s capital city. Mount Pinatubo dominated news headlines in 1991 when it became responsible for the second largest eruption in the 20th century. Thousands of people were displaced and nearby farmlands were bogged with lahar, a deadly mix of mud and volcanic ash. When all the noise and fury died down, Pinatubo and its surrounding areas looked as bleak and uninhabitable as the surface of the moon. These days though, Pinatubo is already a different place. Shrubs, grass, and even purple wildflowers are steadily creeping over the expanse of ash and salt beds. The only reminders of Pinatubo’s awesome capacity to destroy are blackened boulders and violently split cliffs. Over the years,

volcanologists and media crew have been replaced by bus loads of trekkers eager to see the transformation of the landscape themselves. The best time to go on a trek is from December to February, when Philippine weather is still dry and cool. March until May will also do, but the summer heat may get unbearable for the climb. What remains of the year is the rainy season, where the climb is likely to be dangerous, and the view is not as scenic. Trekkers can have their trip arranged by tour operators in Manila or Angeles City. A cheaper option would be to take a public bus from Manila bound for Dagupan or Baguio. The buses should have a stop at Capas, Tarlac, which is your destination. Victory, Genesis, and other bus liners leave Manila by the hour, but it is still best to have an early start as it will be a two to three hour-ride to the province. Once in Capas, head for the municipal tourism office at Barangay Santa Juliana to register and arrange for guides and off-road 4x4 vehicles

Over the years, rain accumulated in the basinlike crater of Mt. Pinatubo.

ManilaSkies ADVENTURE TRAIL The crater lake is safe to swim in for trekkers who wish to cool down.

to take you to the drop-off point of your choice. It must be stressed that registration and hiring experienced guides are essential for safety purposes. Once aboard the 4x4 vehicles, trekkers will cut through a wide plain and river bed, leaving billows of ash and dust in their wake. The ride will be rough but the sights rewarding. Since the 1,745-meter peak straddles Pampanga, Zambales, and Tarlac, the three provinces can be glimpsed all at once at certain points. Trekkers are also likely to encounter the Aeta, a tribe of semi-nomadic indigenous people whose ancestors have lived in Pintaubo and its surrounding areas for hundreds of years. There are two drop-off options. Those who would like to take the easy route will ride through the “skyway”, a dirt road which cuts the trek to a mere 40 minutes to one hour hike. Trekkers craving a more challenging climb should stop at the hot springs to continue on by foot for two to three hours. The walk to the top is a good way to get close to Pinatubo’s ever-changing terrain. Towering cliffs are tinged pink, red, grey, and black. It reminds one of


how Pinatubo’s ash release into the atmosphere during its eruption resulted into gorgeous sunsets all over the world for a year. If not for the sounds of the streams and the birds, the quiet in Pinatubo is almost solemn. It’s no wonder that the Aeta believe this to be the sacred fortress of Apo na Mallari, their supreme deity. Spectacular as the sights along the trail are, nothing will prepare you for the true highlight of the climb: the view of the crater lake. The 1991 eruption was so massive that Pinatubo’s peak was altered into a massive caldera or basin-like crater which, in the years that followed, eventually filled up with rainwater. The lake, in perfect contrast to its ash-gray walls, is a brilliant aquamarine. It becomes inevitable for tired, awestruck trekkers to rush down to the shore to take a dip in volcanic waters; it is perfectly safe to do so. The lake may have been hot and highly acidic in the past, but since 2003, has been safe enough to swim

in. Swimmers, however, are cautioned not to stray too far from the shore. One guide reports that the lake’s depths fall to around 800 meters. Others say that it actually plunges into the thousands. The trek ends here, and most people choose to make the easy descend on the same day. Others, perhaps to make the most out of the Pinatubo experience, partake in additional activities that complement the climb. An option is to pitch a tent, and spend the night by the caldera. Another is to indulge in volcanic mud facials and other spa treatments in the sprawling health and wellness establishment near the municipal tourism office. Those who are initiated by a Pinatubo adventure are often left wanting more. In fact, there are recurring visitors who pay their respects to Apo na Mallari’s fortress every few years. This is because every climb to Pinatubo is unique, what with the elements constantly shaping and reshaping its landscape. And if you’ve decided that once is enough, also remember that Pinatubo is merely one link in the great Ring of Fire; there are many more volcanoes to explore and discover.

ManilaSkies GO WiLD!

F L Y I N G B A C K to


With 7,107 islands, the Philippines is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Its largest island, Luzon, is the site of the Candaba Swamp—a 32,000-hectare bird sanctuary adjacent to the Pampanga River. The swamp has long been the migratory path of different species of rare birds coming from Alaska, Japan, Russia, Korea and China. Just last year in January, the area was visited by 17,000 migratory birds—setting a new record not just for Candaba but also for the Philippines. B y C H R I S T A D E L A C R U Z


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dominantly-white plumage of this specie makes its black beak, legs and lore distinct, aside from the yellow dots below its eyes. BLACk-FACED SPOONBiLL First sighted in the Swamp on January 11, 2009, the appearance of the rare Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) sets the third record for Candaba as the place where it was again spotted, the other areas being Batanes and Palawan. Bred only in the West Sea of Korea, the Spoonbill has been classified as “extremely rare and critically endangered”. The (1) Pied Avocet photographed by Rashed Al Hajji; (2) Black Faced Spoonbill photographed by Neil Fifer; (3) Great Bittern photographed by Karin van den Berg.

PiED AVOCET The rare and endangered Pied Avocet (Pecurriovostra avosetta) was first spotted in the Candaba Swamp at the same time as the Spoonbill. It first appeared in the Philippines on March 1991 at Puerto Princesa. Also dominantly-white except for its black cap and black patches on its wings and back, the Avocet’s young are usually blotched with greyer patches on its white plumage. Their bills are long and upturned and their legs are long and bluish. They usually breed in shallow lakes with brackish water.

GREAT BiTTERN Another rare migrant, the Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) was spotted again in the Candaba Swamp after 20 years, the first being in December 1989. Very similar to the American Bittern, the Great Bittern is large, chunky and brown. It hides behind reeds where it can easily blend in with its bill pointed upward when threatened. The return of these rare migratory birds to the Candaba Swamp has been attributed to the well-maintained bird sanctuary since 2005. With all the weeds still untouched and the fish still abundant, the Swamp has become an inviting breeding ground during the months of October to February.


APRIL / MAY 2009



Taiwan’s health consciousness gave birth to a lot of organic restaurants, thus giving us so many options to choose from. By CANDiCE TiU NUDE CUISINE’S Steamed egg with chicken

Photographed by COMPASS GROUP

Thinking of where to eat in a foreign land is always tricky. There are so many restaurants to choose from, but picking the right one can be a challenge. Taipei offers meals so scrumptious, that people may feel guilty for indulging on such treats. However, with the emergence of organic specialty stores and restaurants, people can have both tasty and healthy food. Taiwan has been processing organic food like tofu for a long time already, but people had to whip up their own meals if they wanted something nutritious. That was until last decade, when restaurants in the country started to become more health conscious. The trend in clean-living encouraged the rise of organic restaurants. Now, people have more options for hearty meals, and

several of those places are quite noteworthy. Nude Cuisine offers “nude” dishes. These, ironically, are wholesome dishes which are cooked without adding certain spices and seasonings. While spices can enhance the food’s flavor, it can also mask the genuine taste of the food. At Nude Cuisine, one tastes the dishes as how they’re supposed to taste like—unadulterated. The restaurant goes back to the basics by giving its customers healthy dishes. Ingredients are all organic; the veggies come from the owner’s garden, and all the others are bought from Yongfeng Organic Foods Corporation. By looking at the dishes, one may be a bit surprised with the price; but then

Tofu was first used in China over 2000 years ago. The poem “Ode to Tofu” by Su Ping, written in China in 1500 AD, was the oldest written reference to tofu. Tofu is made by curdling fresh hot soymilk. The traditional curdling agents or coagulant are nigari, a compound in natural ocean water, or calcium sulfate, a naturally-occurring mineral. Photographed by FLORIAN BOYD


NATURAL HOME’S “cold-soaked noodles” need not be cooked

With the choice of ingredients, you’re assured of quality and healthy food.

again, organic ingredients do not come cheap. With the quality of the food, people can be assured that their money is well-spent. Real Taste stands firm on its advocacy to maintain the quality of their dishes, despite the fast-paced lifestyle in Taiwan. The restaurant offers healthy food on the go—a refreshing concept in a world where fast food is often defined as unhealthy. Customers are assured of a variety of food, as Real Taste offers lunch boxes containing a mix of nourishing fare. Packed in clear containers, their organic dishes consist of appetizers, steamed vegetables, salads, tofu, and eggs. The storeowners make it a point to check everything that goes

in and out of their kitchen; every ingredient needs to be certified organic or from a noncontaminated farm. Qi Min Organic Hot Pot’s slogan, “From Farm to Table”, describes the way they run things in the restaurant. Every ingredient in this hotpot restaurant—from the chicken broth to the meat and vegetables—is organic. The ingredients are delivered to the table, and diners get to cook their own food in the boiling broth. Cooking is only half the fun, because customers feast on healthy meals. YFY Biotech owns and operates this restaurant; they also own the Organic Treasure Chest, a glass cabinet of

NUDE CUISINE’S Teppanyaki chicken steak

organic fruits and vegetables which customers can buy. Natural Home provides a total wellness experience for customers. The restaurant serves organic vegetarian meals; famous on their menu is the cold-soaked noodles, which do not need to be cooked. Organic spices are added to enhance the noodles’ flavor. Aside from being a restaurant, Natural Home is also a store that sells natural food supplements and cosmetics. To promote a wholesome lifestyle, they have even gone as far as holding classes that teach people to exercise and prepare organic food. With these restaurants, people in Taipei can still have healthy meals without having to sacrifice taste.

Hot pot is also called Chinese fondue. A simmering ceramic or metal pot of stock placed at the center of the dining table, a hot pot contains thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings and seafood. Photographed by ANNIE CHAN


APRIL / MAY 2009


ManilaSkies ROUTES

FLiGHT DURATiON Estimated flight time between Clark Field, Philippines and:

Kaohsiung, Taiwan: 1 hour Taipei, Taiwan: 2 hours Hong Kong, China: 2 hours Macau, China: 2 hours Singapore: 4 hours Bangkok, Thailand: 3 hours Palau: 3 hours Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 4 hours Osaka, Japan: 5 hours Bahrain: 10 hours Doha, Qatar: 10 hours Dubai, UAE: 9 hours Kuwait, UAE: 11 hours Visit for the latest flight schedules.

Kuwait Bahrain Doha


Osaka, J A P A N

Hong Kong, Kong, C H I N A Macau, C H I N A Macau Bangkok, T H A I L A N D Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur, M A L A Y S I A Singapore

Taipei, T A I W A N Kaohsiung, T A I W A N Kaohsiung

Clark Field, Field P H I L I P P I N E S Palau

ManilaSkies FLEET iNFORMATiON Boeing B737-300 Number of Aircraft 1 Engines CFM56-3B2 | 10,000 kg (22,000 lb) Max. Take-off Weight 61,363 kg (135,000 lb) Max. Fuel Capacity 16,157 kg (5,317 gal) Typical Cruise Speed Mach 0.745 (797 km/h) Typical Cruise Altitude 33,000 ft / 35,000 ft Maximum Range 4,074 km (2,200 nm) Passengers 148Y Cargo 929 cu ft (26.3 cu m)

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Boeing B767-300ER Number of Aircraft 2 Engines GE CF6-80C2B7F | 28,227 kg (62,100 lb) Max. Take-off Weight 186,880 kg (412,000 lb) Max. Fuel Capacity 90,770 kg (23,980 gal) Typical Cruise Speed Mach 0.80 (851 km/h) Typical Cruise Altitude 35,000 ft / 37,000 ft Maximum Range 11,306 km (6,105 nm) Passengers 290Y Cargo 3,770 cu ft (106.8 cu m)

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Spirit of Manila will fly from Clark to Macau on July 2009




Manila Skies #2  
Manila Skies #2  

Spirit of Manila Airlines Inflight Magazie