Pork chao long and cheese French bread - Pham Chaolong, Puerto Princesa

The origins of chao long in Palawan

Clean, white tables contrast with the bright blue walls of Puerto Princesa’s Pham Chaolong, as we enter in search of lunch. Fans high up on the walls circulate the hot summer air, and condensation drips from the glass soft drink bottles long before they make it to the tables. A simple menu hangs from one … Read more

Manila slum on the banks of the Pasig River, Manila

What happened to Manila, Pearl of the Orient?

It’s late afternoon in Manila’s Plaza de Roma. The green lawns, protected from stray dogs and litter by multiple watchful caretakers, welcome visitors to the city. Wedding guests spill out of the imposing Manila Cathedral at the square’s south-eastern end. Hawkers offer mechanical plastic toys for sale – “I stayed up all night, making them … Read more

Wives' room, Volkonsky museum

Living in exile

Aside from its proximity to Lake Baikal, which draws the majority of its tourists, Irkutsk is a town of interest in its own right. Prior to the 1917 Revolution, in which the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, came to power and established what would go on to become the Soviet Union, Russia was an … Read more

Communist revolutionaries painting, National Museum of China

History in the making

I’ve already alluded to some pieces of China’s history, from the ancient architecture to the giant firewall that blocks sites like Facebook, but now really is an interesting time to visit the country. At my hostel in Beijing, I met two other travellers, Matt (from the US) and Sam (from Brazil). We got talking, and … Read more

Prayers to Confucius

生日快乐孔子

AKA Happy Birthday, Confucius! At least I hope Google Translate isn’t messing with me… Some time during my days of TV watching in Qingdao, I also managed to exert myself enough to flick through a Lonely Planet for Shandong province and discovered that Confucius’ birthday was coming up and would be celebrated in his home … Read more

1000 cranes

Remembering a Little Boy

In Sendai, the earthquake’s after effects lie mostly beneath the radar, out of tourist view. Hiroshima, on the other hand, has taken the biggest disaster in its history (indeed, one of the world’s greatest disasters) and created  a memorial that would (and should) be impossible to miss. On 6 August 1945, US military forces dropped … Read more

Arched entrance to Osaki Hachimangu Shrine, Sandai

Two and a half years on

On February 22nd, 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand, killing 185 people and injuring many more. Buildings collapsed with people inside, sink holes opened up in the streets, and rescue teams from all over the world sent people to help. It was one of the biggest disasters in New … Read more

Prosthetics area, COPE

How Laotian people COPE

I’ve written about the Vietnam War, and the impact the US bombing of Cambodia had on the rise of the Khmer Rouge regime. And now I get to talk about US bombs again. While Cambodia is a world leader in numbers of landmine victims, Laos holds the title for world’s most bombed country per capita. … Read more

Firing range, Cu Chi tunnels, Vietnam

History is written by the winners

In Vietnam, what we in the West know as the Vietnam War is referred to as the American War. The end of the war is Liberation Day. And the Nodorom Palace, headquarters of the South Vietnamese war command, has become the Reunification Palace. On the day the tanks rolled through the Palace gates, capitalist South … Read more

Wired veranda, Tuol Sleng prison

Cambodia’s tragic legacy

For six short months of my university career, I was enrolled as a History major. Unfortunately, there were no History papers on offer during that six months, and so, when the second semester rolled around and I changed to a Performing Arts major (which became English by the beginning of second year), I had not … Read more