Guangzhou: The Stopover before Paris

Our flight to Paris included a stopover in Guangzhou, China which was a 3-hour flight from Manila. On board China Southern Airlines, they actually served dried mangoes for desert. (Yay! A little bit of home before setting foot on a foreign country.)We were originally set to stay in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for only 3 hours. But due to a delay, we had to spend 5-6 hours in Baiyunport.  Allow me to share my experience and tips if ever you drop by Baiyunport.

Things to know about Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

>> Can’t speak Chinese like me? Worry not! The airport staff can speak English. They even wear a badge to indicate that they can speak English. The badge also shows a certain number of stars to indicate how well they can speak in English.

>> They have tablets attached to trolleys which can be a source of entertainment (music videos, trailers, etc.) and information (flight details, boarding gate, map of the airport, current events, news, etc.). Although most of the entertainment were in Chinese, I had fun watching the videos and trailers.  It was also through the tablets that we found out that our flight was delayed. Another good thing about the tablets is that they have USB ports. We used these ports to connect our gadgets and charge them while we were waiting for our flight.

>> NO FREE WI-FI unless you are a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company. This kind of sucked because I wanted to check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. (Tip: An airport staff told us that you can look for a person who is a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company and hope that this person is kind enough to share his/her account with you. Multiple devices can be used for one account.)

>> Stores ONLY ACCEPT YUAN. Since we had ample time, we  strolled and checkout the shops. I wanted to buy something but they didn’t accept US dollars. So if ever you do stay for a long time and might need to buy water, a meal or something bring some YUAN with you. 




Nostalgia in Guangzhou

>> The time I dropped by a convenience store and I hear the one of the few Chinese song I knew. Blaring from the store’s speakers was the ” Mei (Beautiful) by Wang Lee Hom. Enzo (my teammate for Go Green in the City) was surprised that I knew the song. I actually listened to Wang Lee Hom’s The 18 Martial Ats album. The songs were featured in his movie “Love in Disguised that I watched more than five times. This instance made me nostalgic. I remember that it was my former roommate, Joey, who actually shared the movie with me. We used to have a couch in S207 and we used to watch movies together in that couch. One of the movies we watched together on that couch was Love in Disguise with Noreen screaming “Ang gwapo niya talaga! (He is so handsome.)” every five minutes or so. 

>> I have mentioned that the tablets had trailers. It actually featured a trailer of You are the Apple of My Eye. This brought back memories of the time I watched the movie in Singapore. You are the Apple of My Eye is a Taiwanese movie that my friends from Hong Kong strongly recommended (and I strongly recommend you watch, too). I got to watch this with my roommate in SG, Gloria Tsang. We went to the Golden village cinemas in Jurong Point near Nanyang Technological University, where I spent a semester in 2011.

Off to Paris


It was a good thing that we were flying out on a late flight because I just had to sleep most of the time. It

was also a good way for me to adapt to the different time zone. (Tip: Midnight flights are usually cheaper.) I was knocked out most of the part of the 13-hour flight to Paris.

For the time I was awake, I was either eating the food that they served or listening to music while also thinking about the slides we have to present. (Yes! I was thinking of ways on how to improve the presentation while on board the plane!) Although I had my own playlist, I didn’t want to drain the battery of my phone because I might need to get in touch with the people from Schneider Electric Paris. So I stuck with the given entertainment on board China Southern Airlines which was not that bad. But I find it weird that Justin Beiber is listed under Western Classics and Super Junior is on the Asian Classics list. But nevertheless, I found a bunch of songs I like and created my own playlist on the entertainment system.
My playlist on board China Souther Airlines (at least those I can remember)
  • All I Ask of you (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Learn to be Lonely (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Angel (Jay Chou)
  • First Kiss (Jay Chou)
  • Father and Son (Jay Chou)
  • Secret (Jay Chou)
  • Les Miserables OST

The Indonesian Vibe

http://youtu.be/MI4F-O8aF1c ??????????????????????????????? Nothing beats good company, good food and good music. Schneider Electric Indonesia organized an appreciation dinner to culminate the Go Green in the City East Asia. We got the opportunity to converse with Zeljko Kosanovic, East Asia Zone President at Schneider Electric. We know a bit about his background and work at Schneider Electric. But more than that we are able to know a little bit about the Indonesian culture through music.  The dinner featured an interactive entertainment. The band played familiar tunes using traditional Indonesian instruments. Each of us got a chance to play a note using an angklung. The angklung is a musical instrument made of two bamboo tubes attached to a frame. One hand holds the middle of the frame and the other hand holds the end of the bottom frame and shakes the instrument to produce a certain note.

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I got to use an angklung that produces a higher C note. Other participants held angklungs that produce different pitch to complete the octave. The anklungs were numbered and the conductor used hand gestures to indicate which angklung should be played. To add to that, we all got to keep the angklung as a souvenir. ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? P.S. The video on this blog was originally uploaded by a fellow participant from Malaysia, Ong Chun Keat on his Facebook page. 🙂

My grandma taught me…

I fondly called my grandma, Mama Ko. It comes from Mama Dako which literally means Big Mama. (Although she wasn’t big.) It was my grandma who named me Alyssa. (My mom wanted to call me Joanna.) We would have been celebrating my grandmother’s birthday yesterday, if she was still with us. This post is in memory of my grandma who taught me to appreciate a number of things I take interest in until now — books & travelling.

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Mama Ko taught me the value of travelling in her own little ways. She used to bring me along in her trips to Cebu and Manila. My summers were never dull because of those trips. I enjoyed shopping for clothes in a shop called Red Circle. But above all, I just loved being in another city. I enjoyed the boat and plane rides to the unfamiliar cities.

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I remember tagging along with her to Tagaytay and see the Taal Volcano. A vague memory is still with me of the time I saw dolphins while on board a ship to Cagayan de Oro.

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I even got my passport at a very young age because she brought me, my mom and Mama Des to Hong Kong in the summer of 1998.

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The following summer we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. I was with Mama Ko, Mama and Tita Christine in Bangkok. I remember crying and having a fit just because I couldn’t ride the elephants. Hahaha! I really did like to ride that elephant. So, I rode a wooden elephant in Singapore Zoo more than a decade after. :))) But that’s beside my point.

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Summer of 2000 was the last summer I had with my grandma. That summer, my mom and my grandma allowed me to join a book seminar that was hosted in National Book Store, Shangri-la. They let me be part of the Book Circle Club, a sort of club for kids who are supposed to like reading books. I don’t recall much of the book seminar. But I remember my mom and grandma buying me new storybooks – Strega Nona and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. That summer they also got me my very first novel – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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I really don’t think I got my interest in books from me mom. (Sorry, Ma! Hahahaha!) I remember my mom dozing off after reading a few pages of the first book of the Harry Potter series. On the other hand, I remember my grandma reading monthly issues of Reader’s Digest.

I was blessed to have a grandmother who took me to different places, sparked that enthusiasm for travelling and taught me to appreciate reading books.  😀

No cakes, no presents, just great company

When I got my Starbucks planner last December. First thing I did was mark “important” days (i.e. my birthday, mom’s and sisters’ birthdays, crush’s birthday, close friends’ birthday, ect.) The planner had tasks printed on random days. It just so happened that for my birthday weekend the Starbucks’ planner said: “Spend quality time with your family this weekend.” I seriously wished I could have gone home. I haven’t celebrated my birthday with my family in five years now. But I did spend my day with my family in the dorm — former roommates (Gem, Joey and Noreen) and current roommate (Angela).

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Gem happened to drop by the dorm. We had lunch at Fresh Selections and she bought me ice cream from Dairy Queen.

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Joey called to greet me. Yay! Birthday greeting all the way from Zamboanga! 😀 Enzo, Gab, Kayvee and Boc (C114 boys) called and greeted me over the phone, too!

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Noreen and I had some fries and wicked oreos in Flaming Wings.

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Angela and I were supposed to watch Despicable Me 2 in Eastwood but we weren’t able to get seats. So we decided to have dinner at Bigoli and walk around for a bit. We took pictures with the mimes and stopped by the Candy Corner. Ange bought me a bag of Candies. Hurrah! 😀  We also bumped into my foster brothers, Jeff and Paul.

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So, nothing fancy for my birthday. Just a day to enjoy the company of friends. 😀

P.S. One of the greetings moved me so much that it made me cry :’)

My Southeast Asian Bucket List Entry

A few years ago, I took Hi 16: Asian History, a class taught by Ms. Isabel Nazareno. I chose to learn about history that is about countries that are geographically near. Aside from the geographical location, I also considered the fact that early interactions with other Asians gave birth to what we now know as the Filipino culture. I had my apprehensions when I took the class — the names are difficult to remember and I just hated memorization in general!

Please do not ask me about the details I learned about the Chinese Dynasties, Shoguns in Japan and Indian civilization. I have forgotten most of them after the exams. (Hahaha! I only got a B in that class.) But what my professor was able to do is spark my curiosity to explore the Asia and learn more through travelling.

The last part of the course covered Southeast Asia as a general topic. We didn’t have the time to delve into the history and culture of each country. This is the reason I choose to add to my bucket list:

“Travel to all ASEAN countries.”

What do you think? Want to explore Asia with me? Or perhaps, add this to your own bucket list?

I am not in a hurry to complete this now but I do home I get to explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in next few years. But I do not limit myself to travelling around Asia. I would love to travel around Europe as well. 🙂Image