Off to the Philippines

Ever so slightly out of the blue, I’m off to the Philippines for the first time!

My week-long trip, sponsored by Asia Transpacific Journeys, Blue Horizon Tours and the Philippine Department of Tourism, will be set on Luzon, the largest of the Philippines’ staggering list of 7,107 islands. I’ll be up in the Cordillera Mountains north of Manila, spending several hours a day hiking to, from and around the lush, green villages of the Mountain and Ifugao provinces, including the ancient rice-terrace landscape of Banuae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I’m excited to push myself physically, and to experience the customs, crafts and foods of indigenous tribes who’ve lived in this part of the world for thousands of years.

It promises to be a bootcamp for my senses…and my body.

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Escape from Taipei: Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant

Resting quietly in the lush mountains of Taiwan’s Yangminshan National Park, high above the outskirts of Taipei, Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant will not only nourish you with tea and an ornately creative meal, but also allow you to get in tune with nature.

Take a deep breath…and tuck in.

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Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: Stay Awhile

Please forgive me for being remiss, dear readers: I’ve known about Mr & Mrs Smith for years, but have neglected to share until now.

Allow me to remedy my oversight and introduce you to some truly spectacular couple-friendly “hotel porn” from around the world.

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Romancing Jiufen

About an hour outside of Taipei, Taiwan, I was smitten (smitten, I tell you) by  the historic mountain town of Jiufen.

Pedestrian streets paved with stone, glowing paper lanterns, teahouses with vine-covered patios and twinkling views of the Pacific…it’s enough to make you fall in love all over again, a really long way from home.

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Eyes Wide Open: The Taiwan Culinary Exhibition

Each August at the Taipei World Trade Center, the Taiwan Culinary Exhibition attracts a huge crowd for every one of its four days. It’s a balls-out parade of some of the most elaborate, exciting, artistic, enticing and baffling foods on Mothership Earth.

Oh, and did I mention? It’s entirely in Chinese. [Read more…]