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Smokey Slum Tours – Unforgettable and Unadulterated Journeys to the Slums of Metro Manila

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If you want a realistic and immersive experience of what it is like to have practically nothing, then take a Smokey Slum Tour. In this tour, there are no pretenses, no cover-ups, no sweet lemoning, no drama, no scripts – you teleport to the most famous slum area in Metro Manila, and perhaps in the entire Philippines – the Smokey Mountain.

Smokey Mountain Tours Entering the slums

Smokey Mountain refers to a large landfill in Metro Manila made into a semi-permanent to permanent dwelling of thousands of impoverished Filipinos making a living from collecting and selling recyclables gathered from the garbage piles. This dumpsite has been in operation for more than 40 years containing over 2 million metric tons of waste before it closed down in August 2007.

A typical Smokey Slum Tour costs P750 per person (maximum of 6 guests) and includes use of public transport such as the renowned colorful jeepney and 3.5-hour tour around the slums. The tour takes guests to recycling areas (scavengers’ workplace), residential areas, and esteros or canal and river systems. Guests also get to interact with some of the residents and witness briefly their way of life.

However, the tour imposes a No Camera Policy as courtesy to local residents and respect to their privacy. That is right, no selfies here, but what is cool is that Smokey Tours is a tourism project of World Experience Philippines, an NGO that helps impoverished communities. So you get to help slum residents in the process.

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Smokey Tours also offer:

  • Bicycle Tour at P1,000 per person, covering Intramuros and Rizal Park to discover Manila’s history;
  • Cemetery Tour at P750 per person, covering flower market visit and cemetery visit to understand how the living co-habit with the dead;
  • Cockfighting Tour at P1,000 per person, includes entrance to the La Loma Cockpit Arena; and
  • Market Tour at P750 per person, includes food tasting

Currently, there are low-cost shelters scattered in Smokey Mountain, remnants from the 1993 housing project of the Philippine government, in addition to the shanties built by Smokey Mountain residents. An alternative landfill, the Payatas Dump Site opened in 2007, is now home to a burgeoning scavenging community composed of at least 80,000 people.

The coolest airports for a stopover

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Have you ever found yourself trapped in an airport, waiting in a fit of boredom for your next flight? There you are, bumbling around and killing time, searching for ways to distract yourself until you can finally jet off to your dream destination.

If you’re a frequent flyer, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll find yourself stuck in an airport every once in a while. And, if it’s a frequent occurrence for you, you might even have found ways to stave off your boredom.

But, now picture the scene – you’re in an airport, but you’re not bored. Instead of a blank, vaguely purgatorial flight hub, you’re treated to a treasure trove of things to do and cool experiences to be had.

It might seem like a fantastical idea, but there are a number of airports in the world that are blessed with the coolest features. They’re almost enough to make your time in an airport a holiday in itself.

Stansted Airport, England

Situated just outside of London, Stansted is one of the foremost airports in the United Kingdom, offering a stunning range of services.

Stansted Airport, England
Stansted Airport, England

Some of the features of the airport include the Stansted meet and greet, a varied array of bars and restaurants, shopping facilities and even a regular showcase of super cars from car competition organiser Best of the Best.

Wellington Airport, New Zealand

Not many people knew too much about New Zealand until The Lord of the Rings films were made there, apart from that it was on the other side of the world. But, now, The Lord of the Rings is everywhere in this beautiful country as it capitalises on its success.

Wellington Airport, New Zealand
Wellington Airport, New Zealand

And, Wellington Airport is no different, with a frighteningly massive statue of Gollum, the creepy cave-dwelling husk of a creature, towering above its visitors.

It makes for quite an architectural surprise to see this limp face peering down at you, and is bound to make any fans of the films yelp with glee.

Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi has long been famous for its opulence and overblown sense of luxury, offering a series of manmade wonders that make it look like the biggest pleasure facility in the world – and its airport has followed that look down to a tee.

Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates

The real highlight of the place is the architecture, which offers grandiose curved roofs with arabesque patterns to allow the natural light in without the crippling heat burning through.

As soon as you’ve entered the airport, you’ve set upon a dazzling journey through this sea of shops and first class facilities as you await your flight.

Hong Kong International, Hong Kong

Hong Kong International is a veritable wonderland all of its own, turning a stress-fuelled layover into a relaxing experience.

Hong Kong International, Hong Kong
Hong Kong International, Hong Kong

Featuring an IMAX theatre, an entire theme park and even a golf course, you’ll feel like you’re tearing yourself away from this airport when your flight finally arrives.

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5 Luxurious Family Breaks To Take Before Summer’s Over

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Summer may soon be over, but it is not yet too late to plan an escapade. Thinking of the perfect last-minute summer getaways? Keep on reading and we will provide you with insights on some of the best places that can be taken into account. Enjoy the warmth of the sun while you can!

Book Overwater Villas in Bora Bora

Book Overwater Villas in Bora Bora
Book Overwater Villas in Bora Bora

Source: here

If your family loves the sea, Bora Bora is an exotic paradise that should be explored. Book one of the overwater bungalows from some of the top-notch resorts. Many of these bungalows are equipped with lavish facilities, such as your own pool. This gives your family the privacy that you want. The best thing is that you can hop straight into water. For a more hassle-free experience, some bungalows have butler service, making sure that someone is immediately available when you need help in any way.

Wine Holiday in Bordeaux

When you speak of wines, one of the first places that will most probably be mentioned would be Bordeaux. This lavish French destination is known for being the home of some of the finest wines in the world. It is abundant with scenic and relaxing vineyards, which can offer the perfect respite for the whole family. Because they have good wine, expect to enjoy good food as well. Do not also miss seeing their museum that has been built specifically to showcase the culture and history of wine. If there are a few of you, it can be fun to all stay in a villa.

Villa Holiday in Spain

Spain is also an excellent choice of destination in the summer. Should you decide to go here, do not just stay in any hotel. Rather, book a villa that can accommodate the whole family. Self-catering villas can provide you with more freedom and privacy. If you want to make it more luxurious, book one that comes with butler service. Look for a villa that has a pool and other facilities that can be enjoyed by the whole family all throughout your stay.

Stay at Domes of Elounda in Crete

Crete is one of the most stunning locations in Greece. For families who love the beach and island life, this is a highly recommended destination. While there are plenty of accommodation options available, one of the best would be Domes of Elounda. It is the epitome of haute living. It is luxurious and family-friendly. There is an in-house spa for relaxation and rejuvenation. They have world-class restaurants for you to sample the best Greek cuisine. Most importantly, they have impeccable service.

Rent a Cottage in the Cotswolds

If you are looking for a place where you can enjoy old-world charm and a serene ambiance, the Cotswolds should be on the top of your list. Book a trip with the whole family and make sure to rent one of the traditional cottages. They are perfect for an idyllic escape, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Make your holidays more memorable by taking a leisurely walk in its small towns. As you go for a stroll, you will surely be in for a visual treat.

 

 

5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss In Sydney

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Australia is full of really cool places to visit. You could almost fly into one of the cities without a real travel plan laid out, start exploring, and still have an amazing vacation. But it’s generally a good idea to at least have some ideas in mind, particularly as concerns the top cities. This site has posted previously about the joys of Melbourne, and in this piece we’ll be turning our attention toward probably the only other Australian city as famous: Sydney, the capital of New South Wales and host city for the 2000 Olympic Games.

In any city this big and famous, and in this interesting a place, there’s enough to do to make your head spin. But to help narrow things down and hopefully show a diverse range of activity, we’re highlighting five things you really shouldn’t miss if you spend time there.

1. The Beaches

Sydney is known for its beaches, and it’s not all about Bondi Beach (which is probably the most famous of the bunch). As another travel writer put it, this city has a beach for everyone, whether you’re looking for a crowded cultural experience, a place to try your hand at surfing, or more secluded beauty.

Manly Beach is a great option if you’re looking for something visually impressive, Bondi is the place to go for the classic Sydney experience, and Bronte is a nice option if you’d like a little bit of a more relaxing time out. But the overall point is to make sure you set time aside to visit a beach or two, because Sydney is right up there with Rio de Janeiro as far as cities where beaches are the main attractions.

2. The Rocks

The Rocks is not a single attraction, but rather a neighbourhood in the city, and effectively Sydney’s “old town.” Quaint, old-fashioned, and historic, it’s just a very pleasant place to wander.

There are famous old pubs, buildings that hail from British settlements in the 1800s, and beautiful views of the water and some of the city’s best sights. You can find specific recommendations of establishments to check out at The Rocks, but we’d recommend simply exploring loosely.

3. The Harbour Bridge

Aside from the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is perhaps the city’s most famous landmark, and it’s actually quite striking. It extends from quite close to the Opera House out over the harbour and far enough that it actually holds the title of world’s largest steel arch bridge.

You can walk or drive across the bridge just for the experience and the views of the surrounding city and waters. But the real way to experience it is through the “BridgeClimb,” which allows you to actually trek up the arches. It’s a little bit daunting if you have a problem with heights, of course, but otherwise it’s a fantastic and beautiful adventure, and something you’ll be glad to say you did after the fact.

4. The Star

This is the biggest casino in Sydney, and not something we might ordinarily recommend. In-person casinos in generally are a bit out of vogue, thanks to all the alternative options people now enjoy.

Live dealer games online offer players the excitement and atmosphere of a real establishment from the comfort of their own homes. And with virtual reality emerging, that sense of physical presence in online games is only going to increase. But certain big cities in the world still have worthwhile casinos, and The Star is a very classy establishment. It’s not overly gaudy or ridiculous, but rather tasteful and attractive, with a focus on keeping you entertained through food, drink, and games. As city casino attractions go, it’s actually fairly unique.

5. Momofuku Seiobo

Recommending a single restaurant among a city’s top attractions isn’t always particularly fair or instructive, but we’ll make an exception for Sydney.

This is one of the more famous restaurants in this entire part of the world, run by a creative chef who fuses Asian traditions with his own Caribbean roots. Momofuku Seiobo is certainly a little bit fancy and expensive, but it truly is an attraction rather than just a restaurant or meal.

Show Your Cool and Ingenious Side this Valentines

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Valentines is almost here, and you might be anxious about what to give or offer to your loved one. Well, here are cool and ingenious ideas you can do this time of the year, or the years to come.

Head down to Chicago and join the Cupid’s Undie Run at Wrigleville. It is something more than looking sensual because as you run in your undies, you are also raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Plus, there are cool prizes to get at the end of the run. To cap off the event, you can join the after party at John Barleycorn. (February 13 at 12nn)

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Get married in Las Vegas. Yes, that is right. Tie the knot and have a great time with your partner as Elvis officiates your Las Vegas wedding. There is nothing cooler than that, right? After which you can choose to go betting or see cool adult shows such as the burlesque sexy show, 50 Shades parody show and a lot more. (Anytime you are ready)

Attend a masked ball in New York. There a Cupid’s Masquerade at the SKY Armory at 351 S. Clinton St. Tickets are sold at $75 each, and with it comes a grand ball where you can play any character you like and play mysterious while enjoying delicious servings of hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks at the open bar. (February 13 at 7pm)

Celebratory glass

Enjoy with the singles at Philly. Join other singles and have some fitness fun with Chalk Strength and Wellnes instructors at the Trainer Hall at 509 Spring Garden Street. There you get to have a two-hour non-stop fitness routine that is really good for your heart. After which, who knows you just might have some after party with these health buffs. (February 14 at 2pm)

Have some wine tasting at San Francisco. Head down to Union Street and engage in the second annual tasting event that includes a variety of choice wines and finger foods. Notable restaurants and wineries are hosting the event, so it should satisfy your epicurean side. (February 9)

Millions of roses will fly over Europe

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On Valentine’s Day, millions of people will be able to express their love with red roses by early air travel. The flowers are very sensitive to the long stalk must be transferred quickly and carefully to Europe from countries where grown in Africa and South America.These days, the Lufthansa Cargo fills its commercial aircraft with flowers to ensure that millions of red roses can arrive on time and be sold on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Overall, the top commercial airline in Europe will carry about 1,000 tons of roses from warmer climates in Frankfurt, equivalent to 1,000 small cars.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

The logistical process of transferring up to 90 tons of roses on a flight is actually more environmentally friendly than the cultivation of this quantity in Germany. According to research conducted at Cranfield University in Britain, this process would result in the release of larger amounts of carbon dioxide as well as to develop any artificial flower needs water and additional heating. Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador, where the capital, Quito, called the City of Eternal Spring, is the largest exporter of roses. The Lufthansa Cargo connects all these countries with floral production hub in Frankfurt with multiple cargo flights a week. In order to ensure that the special needs of Valentine’s Day have launched additional flights beyond the scheduled.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

The Lufthansa Cargo has created a special service for the movement of perishable goods such as flowers or food. A sophisticated logistics system of the airline with specialized cooling systems to freight areas and alongside the experience and specialization of crop producers in exporting countries ensure that roses will arrive fresh at their destination. Immediately after harvesting the flowers are transported as quickly as possible from the nurseries in packing and from there directly to the aircraft. This ensures that they will retain all their freshness upon arrival at the airport in Frankfurt. From there coordinated their transfer to the next destinations of Europe.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

By Nicole P.

Contactless Credit Cards Are Reshaping the Way People Board Trains

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London has finally licensed a contactless payment system that allows people to board trains or buses with the use of a debit or credit card. This new technology will also be coming to other major cities around the world.

Universal Transport System

The license allows people to use this technology that can be utilized elsewhere. The money earned with this type of technology will be kept for a fare freeze for commuters in the city. This new tech enables the use of contactless debit or credit cards by swiping on readers in public terminals.

Ticketless Commuting

As a result, commuters will be able to travel without using any ticket. At each day’s end, the transport system will calculate the distance being travelled and will deduct the right amount. A daily or weekly cap will be applied on your spending if you travel enough. Mobile devices that support contactless technology can now be used as well to jump on a train or bus or even on the London Underground.

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History of Contactless Tech

In 2003, this concept was started by introducing the Oyster swipe card developed by Cubic, which allows commuters to keep season tickets or pay-as-you-go credit in just one card. This same card reading system has added contactless payment system since 2012. The company will take this contactless tech to other countries as well.

Procedure for Contactless Payments

Personal identification numbers or signatures are not necessary when you use contactless. You simply need to touch your card on the card reader that should render contactless. Other contactless payment methods are also accepted when making transactions elsewhere.

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You only need to have a credit or debit card issued in the UK on MasterCard, American Express, Visa or Maestro that displays the contactless payment symbol. Thus, you can use it when you decide to travel on various transports around the UK and soon around the world.

 

11 Holiday Travel Hacks to Make Life Easier

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Holidays are the best time to travel with the whole family. But it’s also the worst time to do so, what with all the other people trying to do the same. So to make life easier for you and your family, try these travel hacks for the holidays.

  1. Book your travels on a Sunday.

Sunday airfares usually a lot cheaper, so take advantage of this for better deals.

  1. Go for red-eye flights.

These are the last flight out of the airport, which is also usually cheaper.

  1. Clear your web browser’s history, cookies and cache.

This prevents airlines from knowing how many times you’ve visited their site, which can lead them to change their price accordingly.

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  1. Choose to fly out on the day of the holiday.

Chances are, there’s only a few people who will do, so you don’t need to struggle your way through the airport.

  1. Plan your seating arrangement online.

If you’re travelling with the whole family, you want everyone seated right next to each other on the flight.

  1. Make use of smart apps.

GateGuru, for example, can help you plan your trip, including weather, departure info, ATM machines, rental car companies, etc.

  1. Take doctor’s advice.

Get each of your family members flu shots before your holiday trip to avoid getting sick during or after your travel.

  1. Take advantage of curbside check-in.

You don’t want to get involved in the long queues inside the airport, so make sure you use this service.

  1. Invest in compression socks.

Going on a long haul flight can make your feet swell, so buy compressions socks for everyone for the trip.

  1. Learn the smart way to pack.

Clothes that are folded can take up a lot of space in your luggage, but not when they are rolled.

  1. Let children bring their own entertainment packs.

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Traveling with kids can be a messy affair, but not if you keep them entertained. Let children bring smaller bags where they can store their toys and goodies.

Use these hacks and be on your way to a truly merry, worry-free Christmas trip.

Traveling With Your Dog

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Bringing your pets with you on trips doesn’t just add to the fun, it also eliminates the worry in not knowing what’s going on with your cat or dog while you’re out on the road. However, pet travel is something that needs extensive preparation and for this, you’ll have to do your assignment.

Crating Your Pet

You might feel bad about putting your pet in a crate but know that most pets don’t really mind and may even feel safer being in one. An essential thing you must ensure though is to keep your pet well-exercised prior to crating. If he’s used up his extra energy, he’ll be more likely to rest. Also, keep the crate clear of anything that can cause harm such as loose collars and leashes.

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Driving With Dogs

Avoid feeding your dog too much before driving out. Don’t feed while you are on the move either as this can trigger motion sickness. Should you wish to feed your dog some treats, do it on breaks and choose protein-rich food.

Air Travel

First thing’s first: check airline rules with regards to pet travel. You may be mandated to present health certificate and submit requirements you will need to prepare ahead of time.

And if your dog won’t be with you in the main cabin, try not to create a huge goodbye scene. Be calm and your dog will be too.

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Choosing a Hotel

You will have to stay in a hotel that allows pets, for sure. It would be ideal to find one that’s located near a park for your much-needed dog activities. This way, if your dog starts barking and howling in your room, you can quickly take him out for exercise and calm him down.

Traveling with your pet can be a real fun experience if you make sure you are as ready as possible wherever you wish to go. Be calm and assertive. Keep your dog well-exercised and you will have the best travel companion you can ask for.