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Thoughts on Travel and that Country #25 Dream

April 26, 2012
P1040766

I came back from Sweden a week ago, and it’s country 24 on 25-country travel goal!

I experienced all the four seasons in one weekend but I still had a great time in Stockholm.  

But I’m not here to talk about my trip to Sweden (sorry readers, but I’ll keep it for other blog posts).

Stockholm, Sweden - Gondolen View

But while on top of the Gondolen view deck overlooking the Stockholm twilight,  I realised that my 25-country goal is soon coming to an end.

Rewind back to five years ago, I never thought that travel will play a large part of my young life. If I asked my 19-year old self then, “How I see myself five years from now?” – I can say “starting a career as a lawyer or a journalist” – a statement with no trace of travel aspirations.

I never thought I would travel as I had now. This 25 countries before I turn 25  goal is far-fetched and a goal reserved for globe-trotting travel journalists, National Geographic documentary filmmakers or young millionaires, but not for a Filipino guy who just graduated from university.

Jump shot - Paris

Society dictates that we must follow a normal pattern to life. It starts with graduating university, getting  job, growing a career and raising a family, then once you become successful, you may travel and see the world! 

My life started the same way but I made a choice. I am not waiting until the end to see the world.

I am still working on a full-time career, working at a 9-6 job and clocking in my timesheet everyday.

And still, I  travel and have no thoughts of stopping.  I’m happy to continue to have a balance of travel and work

But it didn’t come that easy. Working on a full-time job, the amount of holidays to map out and the money to pay for travel, made  it  difficult  to achieve my goal. But after three years and looking at my list, I feel that I accomplished a lot already.

And now, I am one country to go from achieving my list – and it feels great! And to help sort things out, here’s a simple Q&A just to explain my travel plans for country 25 and the destinations after that.

What will be Country 25?

To be honest with you, I am still open to options on where to go. All I know is that it’s in June – I am going to make it!

I’ve already have a few destinations in mind. Romania, Serbia, Portugal, Iceland and Norway are some of my choices to cap off my 25 country adventure.

How would I make my choice? It really boils down to the activities available in the country as well as my financial status. I have a little over a month to decide but regardless of the decision, I think it will be an epic trip!

What’s next for 25 travels?

Well, of course, obviously my website is named 25travels and have been built on the foundation of my 25-country challenge, it’s a question on what will I do next with my blog.

Just to assure you, I will keep on travel blogging and I’ll be keeping the name! But the idea of having 30travels lingers in my mind 😉

What will be my next goal? 25 countries in the next 25 years? Maybe. I have already something in mind, but I will keep it for now and announce it soon!

Amsterdam & Backpack

Where are your next travels after Country 25?

Finishing my 25-country goal doesn’t mean that I am stopping my travels. It’s motivating me more actually.

After visiting Country 25, I’m set to travel to Thailand in July for a two-week trip. 

I’ll be hitting the UK late summer to see the Paralympics with Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds (@packsandbunks) too. And definitely, I’m open to doing trips around Europe – Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland and Estonia perhaps are on my list. And a possible return to Budapest (yes, again!), Prague and Berlin. I still have to hit Barcelona too!

These are just ideas – if you have destinations that you like to suggest –feel free to comment!

I think I’ll leave it to that – and as always you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Happy travels!

 

Asia

Filipino Friday: Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol

February 10, 2012
donsol

One of my first real travel experience involved jumping into open sea and chasing sharks.

If you don’t believe then check the photo of the big shark scar that I have on my knee. 😉 Still don’t believe me?!

Great White Shark Cage Diving

Well, I maybe joking on the scar on my knee, but the swimming with sharks part was actually the real deal. 🙂 Though, the catch is that it’s not sharks a la Jaws – but are calmer and less prone to eating humans.

Ladies and gents, I present you the whale sharks or butanding as we call them in the Philippines!

Whale shark

Unline the sharks that we commonly know about – they only eat plankton and krills.

They are the largest fish species in the world measuring up to 12 meters in length (almost the size of a big bus). Their mouth alone, at 1.5 meters in width, is big enough to swallow a human being whole.

; )

They are commonly found on the world’s warm and tropical waters and luckily the Philippines have lots of them.:)

The coastal town of Donsol  is the hotspot in the Philippines if you want to experience swimming with them. The whale shark season is between January and May of each year.

Donsol’s is a prime example of sustainable tourism – mixing tourism development, bringing livelihood to its people and at the same time increasing awareness about these awesome creatures.

I did the whale shark interaction back in 2008 and it remains as one of my most unforgettable experience to date. We came late in the season but luckily still had a chance to see a couple of whale sharks.

Donsol

All the sightings can only be arranged from the main tourist office. You have towatch a video first about whale sharks and the rules you have to follow. Then you are brought to a boat together with a shark spotter. The shark spotters (or BIOS) used to be fishermen who used to capture these sharks for food – but now they’ve changed jobs to become the shark’s prime protectors!

Once they’ve spotted a whale shark, you’ll to jump in the open sea and swim so hard to follow these huge creatures.

You are not allowed to touch, ride, feed or swim right next to them (especially near their tails) for your safety and for the preservation of their habitat as well.

But definitely, it’s an experience that everyone should do!

To go to Donsol, fly to Legaspi (1 hour from Manila or Cebu) and it’s another 1 hour jeepney ride away to get to the Donsol town proper. Alternatively, there is a daily overnight bus that goes to Legaspi and Donsol. You can arrange the day you want to do the swim in their tourist office and will cost you less than 1500 PHP (30 USD) for the entire thing.

Have you tried swimming with whale sharks? Share you experience below!

About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

Travel Blog

A look back: My ABCs of Travel

February 1, 2012
London bridge

This travel blogger meme has been going on for some time and I’m finally getting my hands out on answering it. I’ve been tagged by brilliant travel bloggers –  Jade & James of OurOyster.com and Tom of Waegook Tom.

Here goes my ABCs of Travel:

A: Age you went on your first international trip

My first international trip was to the US when I was 14. It was a 50-day trip jumping from San Francisco then to Houston. After, we headed to New York, Washington DC and Orlando in Florida. A whirlwind trip with the family but I got a good taste of what travel entails.   I got to see snow for the first time (for a Filipino it was MUST) and also travel to ground zero a few months after the September 11 attacks.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:

Belgian beers

Oh man, HANDS DOWN – beers from Belgium! Travelling in Belgium won’t be complete without tasting their world-famous beers. I feel very lucky that I live here now. 😛

And as for beer types, definitely Houblon Chouffe, Delirium Tremens, Duvel and Triple Westmalle tops my list.

C: Cuisine (favorite):

Vietnamese cuisine. I spent most of my days in Ho Chi Minh enjoying Vietnamese street food. Who would have thought that you’ll find baguettes in Southeast Asia? They manage to achieve a fusion of Asian & Western delicacies.  I will go back there simply for the food!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:

Favourite: Amsterdam. The city has a great vibe, interesting history and active nightlife. And of course, the canals and architecture are beautiful. I’ve been there five times and don’t mind coming back again!

Least Favourite: I have to say Paris. The city has interesting places and attractions but it’s too touristic and chaotic for me. And it’s also too expensive for my taste. The city never really captured me that some other were. L

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

Rock Werchter 2009

Music festivals in Europe particularly my first one – Rock Werchter in 2009. I didn’t expect that I’ll get to see Coldplay, The Killers, Bloc Party and Jason Mraz in one night! In Asia, it’s rare for a foreign band to visit so seeing three of your favourite bands in one night was a shocker.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:

Trains – comfortable, cheap and convenient. 

G: Greatest feeling while traveling:

The feeling that you are now on a place that before you only see on postcards, television or in movies. It’s the thought that you are really in this place always stands out.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:

Morocco. It was the beginning of summer when I went there in 2009. I remember carrying a litre of water everytime we had to go out. And there are no beers around and that didn’t help out relieving our cool feeling. 😉 Good thing there were orange juices everywhere to keep us feeling sweet and hydrated.

Jus d'Orange in Marrakech

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:

Happy Guest house

From Happy Guest House in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  The family managing the place was really friendly and takes care of their guests as if we are part of the family. The best bonus was we got to stay and got free airport pick-up,  bicycle rentals, wifi, towels and bottled water – all for 3 USD a night!

 J: Journey that took the longest:

Aside from 20 hours trans-continental flights, the longest and also the most painful journey I did was with a bus ride from Berlin to Brussels. It was supposed to be an 8-hour trip but turned into 23 hours because of the heavy snow! The bus ride was very uncomfortable  –  Toilets were clogged, chairs were small and the driver hardly stopped for toilet or eating breaks. Never going to do that again!

 K: Keepsake from your travels:

I collect t-shirts from different countries particularly those with bizarre prints on it. One of my favourite shirt was the one I got in Prague saying “Czech me out!” – it’s a bit touristy, but I like it. 🙂

 L: Let-down sight, why and where:

Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. We had to pay 13€ to go inside, but apart from cool escalators – it really has nothing to offer. The view from the top was quite disappointing.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:

When I first moved into Belgium, I fell in love with travelling and living abroad. I didn’t imagine that I’ll be able to make really good friends with people from almost all corners of the world. It made me proud of who I am and also made me realise that there’s a world out there waiting to be explored.

 N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

Marriott Hotel in Champs-Elysees in Paris. I didn’t pay for it, thank God, but the idea that we stayed right in the main street of Paris was pretty convenient and fancy.

 O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:

Jumping photo in Tower Bridge, London

Jumping photos – I have loads of photos everywhere. I can create a big folder from my travel photos with simply jumping photos.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?

I’m not counting but I know that I’m now almost halfway through my passport.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:

Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. You get to be inducted to the Viet Kong idealogy, show you some deadly traps,  drag you under the tunnels, hike through the jungle then finally give you an option to fire a rifle! It’s one of the most unique experiences I had on my travels.

 R: Recommended sight, event or experience:

Angkor Wat - Siem Reap

Angkor Wat. It’s hard to imagine that it was once a thriving civilisation – but it’s grandeur was simply breathtaking. It’s a nice reminder that you only live once and it’s up to yourself have to take the most out of it.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:

Experiences , whether it’s shooting rifles, swimming with whale sharks, crossing ziplines etc – it’s those experiences that you’ll  remember on your travels. So I don’t care if I had to eat street food all the time or fly low cost, as long as I know that in exchange  I’ll get a rewarding experience, it’s fine!

T: Touristy thing you’ve done:

Climbing up the Eiffel Tower. We queued for 2 hours to start with, then queued some more to go up the tower peak. Ended up losing a day just on that. Hahahaha.

U: Unforgettable travel memory:

There are two:

First, when I went swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol, the Philippines. The opportunity to see wild life up close (and not just any wildlife but bus size fishes!) was both a memorable and humbling experience.

Second, was my trip to Morocco. We were on a cross-country trip from Marrakech to Tangier. It was only for a week but we got to see breathtaking sights like Dades Gorge, Sahara desert and the medinas of Marrakech and Fes. It was my first “backpacker” trip as well – complete with sleeping in airports, haggling for prices and being tricked into buying a damn carpet (my friend, not me)

Camel head in Morocco

V: Visas, how many and for where

I had three – US visa, UK visa and my current and very precious Schengen working visa. On the latter, it took me almost one and a half years to get! (no joke)

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?

I’m not really a wine person so I can’t really name anything in particular. 😉

 X: eXcellent view and from where?:

El Nido – the town is right smack in front of limestone cliffs. A world wonder no doubt.

Y: Years spent traveling?

I started living in Belgium when I was 21 – so I’d say three years. 🙂

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?

Not really a big sports person, but I’m a supporter of the Holland National Football team and also of tennis’ Novak Djokovic.

I tag:

Tom from Active Backpacker

Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds

Cole & Adela from Around the World in Four Jandals

Roy from the Riding Dutchman

Euan and Rachel from Our Wee Trip

 

Travel Blog

Hello 2012!

January 17, 2012
Hello 2012

I’m back! And ready to begin 2012 with a huge set of energy and travel spunk!

I know that I’ve been missing in action for more than a month and there was a reason for my absence.

2011-12-28 15.18.45

Three weeks ago, I’ve made a change in my life. I made a big move from Asia to Europe.

I moved from my hometown, Manila, Philippines to Brussels, Belgium. I will be calling Brussels my home again for a while. And as with many movers, I was involved a lot with it – packing, arranging flats, sorting out visa requirements, parties and more packing. When I got into Brussels, I also had to do the reverse – unpack, finding a flat,settling down and an added bonus of travels with my mum.

Between those times, it was tough to find a moment to sit down and write.

But now, my schedule has been bit freed off  so here I am writing my first post for 2012. I’m going to give a quick run through of what has been happening so far , how I arrived into the idea of the move, and what to expect from the blog and my 25-country travel goals!

The Story: The Big Move

What’s with the big move? Actually, this has been in the works for more than a year.

While I was kept busy with work and travel, I was working behind the scenes with ZN, my employer in Brussels, on fixing my work permit and moving me back to Europe. I was working with them before for a year then had to move back to the Philippines in 2010 to sort out my work permit. It was a tough process – filled with paper works, interviews and constant visits to the embassy.  After more than a year of applications and waiting time, I manage to score a work permit last November.

The Story Part 2: An Unexpected Surprise

And there was more good news – more like the icing on the cake that came a few weeks after I got my work permit approval.

I found out that I won two free return tickets to fly from Manila to Europe for FREE with KLM Philippines through their Tweet Me To Europe contest. It was an amazing opportunity and fitting struck of fate that these two opportunities came at the same time. I decided to bring my mum with me as it will be her first time to be in Europe as well.

The Story Part 3: Long and busy December

Now, having my work permit on one hand and a free plane ticket on the other, there’s definitely no turning back. I am set to move to Europe!

I spent most of December doing my visa, preparing for the move, packing and repacking, meeting friends and doing parties. Packing your life into a 23 kg suitcase wasn’t easy. At the same time, it was Christmas, so there was the added bonus of more parties and dinners. 🙂

The Story Part 4: Asia to Europe

Finally, on December 28, 2011, we flew to Europe. Our first destination was Brussels, Belgium as I worked my way on finding a new place and settling down. After all that was settled, me and my mum went to Paris, France for a couple of days for New Year’s Eve.

Paris on NYE

I started work the week after NYE. While my mum, being a backpacker’s mum, travelled to Germany by herself for the rest of the week. We met back that Friday and went to Amsterdam, Holland for the weekend.

A few days after, we both went to Helsinki, Finland for my country 23 and a real winter experience (as Western Europe failed to produce a good weather now). My mum left just last Friday, contented and happy about her travels; I went back to Brussels to resume my normal working life.

So now, pretty much a new chapter of my life unfolds again  – a life back in Europe with the same (if not much higher) travel motivation!

Are you still working on your 25-travel goal?

Yes, of course – I may have been off the grid for the past few weeks but in between I went to travel to Hong Kong/Macau (Country 22) and Finland (Country 23). I am now down to two countries with approximately six months remaining. I’m very excited!

I’m still thinking of which two countries to do to finish my goal – any suggestions?

So what can we expect with 25travels?

Lots and lots of travel stories and inspiration notes of course.

I’ll be writing about my last trips in Asia –  Hong Kong & Macau plus local trips in the Philippines. There will be tips as well on the process of leaving home and all the run around it

There will be stories too about coming back to Brussels, Belgium, and how is it to travel with mum (I’m not sure she reads this blog) and of course, our travels to Paris, Amsterdam and Helsinki.  And I will resume my weekly travel blogger interviews and the usual travel tips and inspiration sets.  There will be guest posts too.

It’s a plethora of posts, interviews, tips and advices. I’m about to update my editorial calendar and  I’m already assuming post ideas for the next 3-6 months. 😉

So don’t forget to follow me on twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed, and visit and Like 25travels facebook page for the latest news and blog stories. And I’d like to hear from you too – so write below what have you been up to and your travel goals for 2012!

Let the new year begin!

Amsterdam 2012

Challenges

You don’t have to be rich to see the world

August 11, 2011
25travels - rich to travel

That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest. – Henry David Thoreau

Vietnamese Dong

Somehow, the phrase ‘luxury to travel’ have been used as if each word reciprocates the other. Our understanding of travel has been confined to the idea that you need to have lots of money to do it. Does this mean that travel is only reserved for the rich?

NOT AT ALL.

 

Travel is a lifestyle and a mindset. It’s not money that fuels that desire, but travelling comes from the desire to live life to the fullest, to go beyond the confines of our own space and get out and see the world. Travel is a state of mind – and you don’t need to have all the money in the world to do it.

And while having the ‘luxury to travel’ is true for some people who are lucky enough, the fact is that at this time, travel is not limited to those with deep pockets anymore.

The travel industry is continuously moving towards adapting business models that fit budget travelling – with flights, accommodation and transportation prices kept low – that normal people like you and me can now afford. We are living in a time where travel has been open to everyone – and that the idea of going out to see the world has been made easier and more importantly, cheaper.

I admit that my job allows me to earn more than a peer my age earns here in Manila and it is definitely an advantage that I’m lucky that I have. But I’m not living life like a millionaire. Like you, I pay bills and debts, I work 8 hours a day, and do public transport. And I save, too.

But I can say I live a life that I want and I’m sacrificing a bit of myself in order to make this a reality. AND YOU CAN DO IT TOO! And often, I have to get rid of material ‘wants’: instead of an iPhone, I booked a flight to Vietnam; instead of buying new shirts or shoes, I saved that money to pay for Angkor Wat entrance; and I’ve taken jeeps/buses instead of a cab, so that I can pay for a boat ride on the rivers of Loboc, Philippines.

That is how I travel – I work and save. And I feel happy because I know that this is a kind of long-term investment I want for myself. I’m sure I’m not going to remember when I’m 50 that I have had the newest Blackberry or the latest shoes or jeans during my youth, but rather, I’ll look back to the places I’ve seen, friends I met and experiences I had.

Morocco - Circle of friends

For me, it all boils down to motivation and passion. I am passionate about travel – and I work hard to keep the passion going.

When I do get on the road, I travel not with my wallet but with my eyes, ears and nose. I stay in hostels or ask for free hosting. I take public transport even if I’m scared of getting lost sometimes. I eat street food as if my mom cooked it. I’ve slept in airports, train stations, places of strangers, fast food chains and coffee shops. I’m a sucker for low-costs flights, too. I’ll take a flight that is 1000-2000 pesos cheaper even if I have to wake and leave at 2am or travel to the ends of the earth to catch it. This is the life I chose to live and I aim on getting the best out of the experience.

And there more people who are doing more with less – hitchhiking, volunteering for free accommodation, couch-surfing, walking thousands of kilometres just to see the world and live their life.  I admire them, and want to join their ranks soon.

That’s actually my aim for this blog: to let people know that there’s nothing that limits you from seeing the world, be it money, your job, your family, your phobias or your allergy to insects. There are more ways to travel, and all you need is to keep your desire and dedication to see the world.

Live your life now. Go and see the world.

Thank you to my travel heroes too for the inspiration behind this post

 

Travel Blog

Two sides of the Cu Chi tunnels tour

July 16, 2011
Shooting at Cu Chi tunnels

As any traveller would say, itineraries change and original plans become more of a suggestion once you get into a destination. The same applied for us in Vietnam.

Originally, we were supposed to go to the beaches of  Mui Ne, but we changed plans and opted for the closer Cu Chi complex instead. Nen got sick so an overnight trip with 10 hours cumulative bus travel would not work for us. Also, after an interesting experience at Saigon’s War Remnants Museum, getting on a historic and cultural experience was, in this case, better than lounging on the beach. 😉

At Pham Ngu Lao, tours to Cu Chi were sold as much as Pho were on the streets. It costs 6USD for a half-day tour and 9USD for a full day with an added visit to Cao Dai temple. We were easily sold into it and opted for the latter.

First stop was the Cao Dai temple – a 2-hour road trip from Ho Chi Minh City. The practice of Cao Dai is a combination of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism – and as many religions promote, it”s dedicated to good living and charity.

Cao Dai temple, Vietnam

The colours of the temple were bold and striking. Red, blue and yellow were everywhere from banderitas,  robes of their high priests, even the emblems inside the temple.  Nen and I actually matched the occasion as we were also standing out with our bold blue and red shirts.

Cao Dai temple, Vietnam

After the short visit, it was another two and a half  hour bumpy ride to Cu Chi tunnel complex.

Once we arrived, we got into the briefing room that was designed during the time of the war. Again, we were bombarded with more anti-American point-of-view, which honestly got tiring.

The actual park was bigger than I imagined, but the tunnels themselves were definitely not for claustrophobics. Nen and I were brave enough to go onto the hole the size of a shoebox. I imagine how hard it was living in such small quarters. But if it’s between life and death, then I think being comfortable wasn”t on the top of their heads. We got to go inside a shorter series of the tunnels too (actually slightly made bigger for the tourists coming).

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It’s ironic actually how the whole tour progressed – from the good teachings promoted by Cao Dai, then a sudden shift to the horrors that was Cu Chi.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

They showed us traps the Vietnamese used to brutally kill their enemies. From Trap swing doors and rope swings – it was ingenious to be honest.

You step on the rice field, BAM!  A metal trap waits to capture you.

You open someone’s door, BAM! You’ll be hit with a wooden swing drilled with nails.

The “bad-assery” definitely peaks at the shooting gallery and you get to shoot some enemies yourselves.

The Cu Chi tunnel shooting gallery allows you to shoot using various different rifles – AK47, M16, M4 carbine.  Prices start at 10 USD for 10 rounds of bullets – with the price increasing depending on the gun you”ll use. We only got the carbine – which was the cheapest one.

Shooting range, Cu Chi

 

BOOM BOOM BOOM!

 

Nen & I got 5 rounds each. The feeling? must say pulling the trigger was exhilarating –  as if you suddenly release a big burst of energy.

But well I was not as bad-ass as I thought, perhaps because the target was too far that I don’t even see if I shot something or not. So definitely, no Top Shot or a casting on Wanted 2 yet for me. But it’s something I want to try again!

I love activities with adrenaline rush – and those that can somewhat potentially break your bones. But despite this, I am peaceful and usually all about harmony.  And definitely this tour has in a way brought the good and the bad out of me. 🙂

 

Challenges

The Burger Prince in Singapore

April 3, 2011
giantburger

Chicken rice, kaya toast and prawn mee are shoo-ins in any must-try Singapore food list. But let me add one more: a giant burger.

Fresh from our food trip in Malaysia, Jerick and I rode a Delima bus from Melaka Sentral Station and headed for Singapore. We went straight to Chinatown, had chicken rice and prawn mee at Maxwell Food Centre and decided to say hello to the Merlion the next day. We met two backpackers: Dennis, a German traveller roaming Southeast Asia; and Apple, a fellow Filipino traveller. Yes, we saw the Merlion, but we had a detour:  a Giant Burger Challenge. No biggie, you would say? See for yourself:

From the outdoor theatre of the Esplanade (the best spot for stunning views of the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands, the hotel with a surfboard-like rooftop resting on three towers), we walked for about five minutes to reach New York New York restaurant located at City Link Mall, adjacent to the City Hall MRT station. And that’s where Dennis, egged on by Jerick, Apple and I, summoned all the hunger in him to take down the Giant Burger.

The challenge is to wolf down an 8-inch-wide, 4-inch-thick burger with tonnes of fries. Sounds easy? The restaurant’s Honour Board shows that 10 extraordinarily hungry individuals have done it before, but here’s a caveat: you have to do it in an hour. Eat it within 60 minutes and it’s on the house; if your intestines couldn’t handle it, the restaurant will charge you S$40! With a ticking clock beside the huge plate (it’s distractingly pink, by the way) and fries the size of our fingers, this challenge is really for the hungry souls.

Our dear friend Dennis started off good. Too good, really. He quickly finished a quarter of the burger, then half of it. He took gulps of water in between bites and he felt full really fast. But the fries became his Waterloo: he couldn’t eat ’em all.

He tried all the ways to make the fries more appetizing: added salt, put lots of pepper and even showered them with catsup. But starch was not easy to take in. We requested for cotton candy to provide a contrast to the salty combo, and the cotton candy even became our makeshift pom-poms as we cheered him on. Sixteen minutes left in the clock and a quarter of the giant remaining, Dennis decided to give up. (Oh, and it  didn’t help that a song called Impossible was played during the challenge!)

The timer hit zero seconds and with Dennis’s wallet weeping, he handed over the S$40 dollars to the manager, who by the way, offered some insider info on how to successfully overcome the challenge  (holler in the comment box you want to know his tips!). Dennis considered it an an epic failure on his part and he refused to be called the burger king yet (hence, we’ll use prince for now). But he promised to do it again, when he returns to the Lion City in the future.

Sure, Singapore may be the land of chicken rice, chilli crab and kaya toast and it’s not famous for its burgers. But travelling is all about finding surprising tidbits of places you go to, right? Ditch your desires to take a burger challenge in other parts of the globe. This Singapore Giant Burger Challenge is really one for the books.

 

 

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