Vietnam and Philippines Travelogue

Vietnam and Philippines Travelogue

By Aruna


Manila, Philippines โ€“ December, 2012

I had the good fortune of travelling on work in the recent months and had been wanting to write about it forever now, but laziness set in and I never got around to doing it until now!

In December 2012, I traveled to Manila in Philippines on work and I enjoyed it immensely. ย The hotel that I was put in was called “Premier F1,”ย which sounded so much like the Formula One race event ๐Ÿ˜› It was a fabulous hotel. I was put up on the 16th floor and had a lovely view. I was there around Christmas time and the entire city was so beautifully decorated. Office was about 10 minutes away from the hotel and I used to take a cab to work every day. It costed me about 80 pesos (Rs. 100 approximately). ย Philippines is heavily influenced by the Spanish and so you will find a lot of people speaking Spanish there, which was totally unexpected for me. The local mode of transport is the “Jeepney,”ย which is a bigger version of an auto and can seat about 12 to 15 people. It is a shared service, so if you are adventurous enough you can ride one of those.

To give you a perspective, it costs only 8 pesos (Rs 10 to 12) to go about 5 km. ย Thatโ€™s pretty decent I think if you are on a tight budget. I rode in one of those and had a blast, but it gets uncomfortable after some time, so its best for travel to nearby places. ย Cabs are easy to get and you donโ€™t have to book them in advance. ย I found it very similar to Mumbai. There wasnโ€™t much sight seeing to do except for the American War Memorial. ย Like they say in the Manila โ€“ the biggest hobbies are eating and shopping. ย I could get used to that. ย Some of the nearby places to see are the “High Street,” which is a huge place with many shops of different brands. It has a lovely sitting area and you can spend an entire day there if you are shopaholic. Another relatively inexpensive place is “Market Market,”ย which is perfect for gifts and buying inexpensive clothes and jewelry.



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Breakfast area at the hotel

Breakfast area

Christmas Party Phillipines

Christmas Eve

Grey Coat

Christmas party!! Theme was white.

Christmas Party

Ho Chi Minh- Vietnam โ€“ February, 2013

Earlier in February this year, I visited Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam on work. The experience was quite different from that of Manila. While Manila seemed more urban to me in terms of where I was put up, Ho Chi Minh (HCM) was more suburban. We were in the heart of the city close to the famous Saigon Square. Vietnam has a lot more history compared to the Philippines due to their war with the US. ย Their currency is the Vietnamese Dong โ€“ VND. About 1 US $ = 20,000 VND, so that will give you a bit of perspective from an Indian currency point of view. ย I traveled just before their Lunar New Year. It was a wonderful experience to be there during that time of the year. During this time, all offices are closed for a week, so are the schools and major establishments. Good time to visit though, its very ย festive everywhere. I had a bunch of people from my team travelling during that time, so it was a lot of fun catching up for breakfast and dinners and sight seeing. We didnโ€™t visit many places within the city, but did a tour of one of their islands close to the city. It cost us about $20 which is about Rs. 1000 and it included a 1 ยฝ hour ride to the island and lunch which I thought was pretty good. It was almost an entire day trip. We also did the New year eve on a cruise.


Blue outfit

A small note to the vegetarians โ€“ A lot of their food is very sea food like, so would advice you to do your research before you go. Shopping is not too bad, but you gotta hunt for good stuff. There is a wonderful place called Ben Thanh Market in Saigon which is filled with shops and you can get anything from souvenirs to clothes, spices, dry fruits, coffee and tea. Vietnam is known for its coffee, so do remember to bring some back if you get a chance.

Some pics for you guys! Enjoy.

Making Rice Paper. You can wrap veggies or any type of stuffing you want in it. Pretty neat stuff.

Rice paper

In office..:)


In Changi Airport in Singapore en route to Vietnam.

Singapore Airport

Just before taking off on the cruise.โ€ƒ

Blue outfit

Skyline from the New year eve cruise.


Out boatman..:)


Brave enough to hold it!


My all vegetarian meal

Vegetarian Food

Very pretty garden just at the entrance of the island.


Flower Garden

A BIG thanks to Rati for encouraging me to write.

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37 thoughts on “Vietnam and Philippines Travelogue

  1. Aru you look so lovely and pretty :* and perfectly written travelogue, I totally enjoyed reading your experience in Phillipines and Vietnam. You had lots of fun na ๐Ÿ™‚ What’s that in the bottle…is it snake…..eekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkssssssssssssss… they drink it?

    1. Thanks Jomol. I appreciate that very much. never too sure about my writing. ๐Ÿ™‚ about that snake thing, am not sure. I think they do drink it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. u are looking amazing ๐Ÿ˜€ i just loved reading it ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ i liked the jeepney ๐Ÿ™‚ i think phillipines is a colorful and happy place or maybe because its before Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ and once more u look superb ๐Ÿ™‚ hugsss ๐Ÿ˜€

    thanks to rati for the encouraging part ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Thanks for the compliments Sreya. ya that jeepney is quite an experience. good way of getting around but for a first timer its better to travel wit a known person.

      Ya I am really thankful to Rati for encouraging me to write. I am a little shy. I mean when I write about makeup, jewelry etc I am a little more comfy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. u know aruna u remind me of one of my teachers ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ u ppl look so same like twins ๐Ÿ™‚ and the best part is her name is Runa ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ and that made me sooo happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I loooove traveling and I felt like I was visiting these places myself while reading this! Well-written and beautiful pics – and even more beautiful you! Thanks for sharing – minus that gross looking bottle with the snake ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Thanks Aarbee. ya that snake thing was really ugly but interesting somehow too :). There were bottles with those chameleon things also..yuckkk..

    1. Thanks Nidhi. Not sure about my losing weight but I have started walking and all again so woohoo that compliment means a lot to me. Trip was interesting and fun..In Vietnam i had an indian vegetarian guy from my team who was visiting at the same time who managed to find an Indian restiaurant abt 20 mins (walking) from the hotel so we ate Indian food everyday (6 days) and we walked back and forth 20 mins each way ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I am from the Philippines and I am quite glad that you enjoyed your stay here. =) I love reading your travelogue a lot. =) -Valarie

    1. Hi Valaries. i loved Manila. Had such a wonderful time. i am looking forward to going back again. I dont recall some malls that i went to. One very interesting place was that boardwalk type thing where all the eatieries are. very interesting crowd (wink wink) ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. awww raun this is suuuuuuch a super cool travelogue. enjoyed reading every bit of it. thanks for the veg food trip. if we ever happen to travel that side, i’d keep that in mind. you look uber chic and pretty in all the pics. thank you for this post. I was dying to read it. :-*

    1. Thanks Rati. you are always so encouraging. One’s confidence just builds up when they get on to IMBB. i sincerely value what you guys do for this site. Uber chic? wow..thanks thanks..

      Btw, I am so kicked about your travel waala contest. Is there a deadline to send the pics in? If nothing else I will pile on spending my own money ..assuming its India ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. woooww .. office trip turned into a vaccay.. amazing… u have had an awesome time.. will love to visit some time… u looking so beautiful and happy Aru :-)… how was the food there ??..was it yum ?? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Wonderful writeup Aru. Enjoyed reading it. Felt your enthusiasm and enjoyment during the trip. Thanks for the veggie tip, it helps a lot. Liked the colorful and bright Jeepney. ๐Ÿ™‚
    looking fwd to your next travel post in May

  9. I was keenly waiting for this, Aru! Thanks so much for sharing your experience ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m planning a trip to HCMC this year (got my fingers crossed; I’ve cancelled a LOT of trips this year…) and can’t wait to go after reading your lovely post!
    Did you get to shop at Saigon Square? That’s my main reason for wanting to visit ๐Ÿ˜›
    I was also a little worried about the dietary options since I quit eating meat a while back. It’s really encouraging to see the large vegetarian spread! Hope I can get some good “vegetarian pho,” although my Viet friends think that’s an oxymoron ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›
    P.S. You look absolutely adorable in all the pics ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Welcome Devie. Yes i went to the Saigon Square. Pretty nice. The Ben Thanh market is kind of around there and that market is quite cheap. You get everything from spices, veggies, fruits, clothes, jewelry, bags, souvenirs type stuff. Do send your email to your Rati and perhaps she can pass it onto me and i can give you more info. The island that ivisted was caled the Phoneix Island. There are some more but we didnt have time. You should check out the floating market when you go. It wasnt there when i went ‘cos it was the new year so they had closed it.

  10. wow.. u look so pretty and fresh everywhere.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanx a lot for ur info and piccys, will visit manilla surely before getting old.. ;P lol
    M loving imbb even more as we get to know abt new places & style at one go.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. ohhhhh dear,, so nice to see u in the pics Aruna .. brave enough to hold those bees… eewwwwww… and there is something abt ur smile which is hard to not notice… thanks fr sharing ur pics wid us <3

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