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Personal, Philippines, Travel

One Weekend in San Juan, La Union

April 27, 2017

It’s a nice feeling to get lost in thought while appreciating the wonderful view by the beach. You can hear the loud waves crash by the shore. You get to see the beautiful sunrise/sunset by the beach.  That is what we exactly did last weekend, April 1-2 in San Juan, La Union.

San Juan, La Union is known as one of the surfing spots of the Philippines. This is where surfers go to if they want to surf and have a quick getaway. If you are not fond of surfing, you can laze around, walk by the beach and watch other people surf.

It was my first time to go to San Juan, La Union with my college best friend and her boyfriend. We decided to go to La Union (despite the long travel) because we wanted to explore the North and a change of scenery. We left Manila around 11pm via Partas.

Around 4 in the morning, we arrived San Juan, La Union. We had a lot of time to wander around since our check-in time in Barkadahan is around 12pm. We decided to chill by Flotsam and Jetsam and talk about life. We were able to watch the beautiful stars and sunrise by the beach.

Around 8am, we had a quick breakfast in Flotsam and Jetsam. After, we decided to go to back to our hotel and have another set of breakfast. We enjoyed our 2nd breakfast because we ordered corn beef which is our favorite breakfast dish!

To pass time, we decided to try out different restaurants along San Juan, La Union. The first restaurant we went to was El Union. Let the photos do the talking of the restaurant.

Next, we tried out Tagpuan since my friend told me that they serve bagnet (I highly recommend you watch I’m Drunk, I Love You if you want to know about the hype of bagnet). Their bagnet was yummy! But I found it expensive for its food serving.

Around 2pm, we were able to put our things in the room and dressed up for the beach. Good thing it wasn’t that hot when we went to the beach around 4pm. We took a few pictures (for me and my best friend’s blog) and enjoyed the beautiful sunset by the beach.

Around 7pm, we had dinner in Surf Shack. Surf Shack was just alright. I found the restaurant quite expensive and since there were a lot of people, the staffs were all over the place. It was hard for us to call a staff and we kept on reminding them about our orders. After our dinner, we decided to go back to the hotel and we had a good rest.

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The next day, April 2, we woke up around 6am and prepared for another day ahead of us. We went back to the beach because my best friend still had one more swimsuit to wear and have photos with it. In the process of her photoshoot, my shorts got wet! I wanted to have a picture with her by the beach and the waves were too strong. But it was all good because I had extra shorts.

After her photoshoot, we had a quick lunch in Olas Banditos. The price of their food was just right. The ambiance was laidback and suited with the theme of the restaurant. I am for sure going back to this restaurant!

After lunch, we bade goodbye to San Juan, La Union. It was a bittersweet and quick getaway. For sure, we are going back and we will be more ready since we will know what to expect.

P.S. This is leaning more on a personal travel post. I actually miss writing these kinds of posts for the blog.

Philippines, Travel

A Hidden Gem: Pinto Art Museum

February 1, 2017

I was just browsing through my camera then suddenly, I saw pictures I took in Pinto Art Museum. I totally forgot to make a blog post about it – how wonderful this museum is.

Last 2014, my friends and I visited Pinto Art Museum. We decided to check this museum because we saw great photos of this museum in Instagram and we love discovering new places. We had high expectations. Join us as we discover Pinto Art Museum!

Pinto Art Museum is located in a subdivision. It is quite hard to find the subdivision since you will have to get in an esquinita. Just be wary while driving – you should be able to see a sign that points you to Grand Heights Subdivision. Once you are by the area, there are no available parking but you can park along the street.

A Hidden Gem

Pinto Art Museum is not your typical museum. It’s a large property where you will be doing a lot of walking and climbing of stairs. The architectural design of the museum reminded me of Greece. There are also a lot of plants and trees. Aside from visiting the museum, this is a perfect location for pre-wedding photos. When we went there, we saw a couple having their pre-wedding photos taken.

Upon getting inside the museum, you will get to see different artworks. These artworks are so interesting that it made me want to buy one and put it inside my room. The nice thing with these artworks is that these are all made by Filipino artists. If you enjoy looking at artworks, you can surely last the whole day.

Pinto Art Museum is the type of museum that will spark your love for art. From the architecture til the paintings, it is already a work of art. Aside from having your pre-wedding pictorials, you can bring your significant other and have a chill and relaxing date. I can’t wait to go back to this museum. Who knows, there might be new and interesting artworks.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Open from Tuesdays til Saturdays
  • 200php – regular ticket
  • 180 php – senior citizens & PWD
  • 100 – students & children
Hotel Reviews, Philippines, Travel

Damires Hills : A Short Getaway in Janiuay, Iloilo

January 23, 2017

The main reason we went to Iloilo was to celebrate New Year with the relatives. The original plan was to go to a beach like Lakawon Island and do a day trip. But, we lacked time to prepare our beach trip. So, my aunt suggested to visit a nearby resort instead. This resort is Damires Hills.

Damires Hills is becoming quite known in Iloilo. Located at Janiuay, it’s a resort that offers nature and adrenaline activities. It’s a nice place to unwind and appreciate the beautiful view. There are a lot of activities that is perfect for kids and adults.

I appreciated this resort because I love nature and there were a lot of activities one can do. The only activities I was able to try were the Canopy Walk and The ATV. My younger cousin and her other cousins from the mom side had the chance to swim. Other activities include zipline, Kids Adventure Park and Team Building.

Upon our stay in this resort, we were able to rent a cottage. Inclusive of the daytime cottage are the food and drinks which was reasonable. The food was just right, nothing special with it. If you want to sleep in this resort, they offer overnight cottages.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Janiuay is  a 30 minute – 1 hour drive from Iloilo City.
  • Entrance Rates: Adult/Kid – 100; Senior Citizen – 80; Swimming – 120
  • Daytime Cottages (w/ food and drinks):
    Gardenia 10,000 / max of 40
    Dahlia 10,000 / max of 40
    Kalachuchi 8,000 / max of 30
    Gumamela 3,000 / max of 12
    Bougainvillea 3,000 / max of 12
    Azucena 3,000/ max of 12
    Margarita 3,000 / max of 12
    Sampaguita 2, 500 / max of 10
    Dama de Noche 2, 500 / max of 10
    Yellow Irish 3,000/ max of 12
    Santan 3,000/ max of 12
    Daisy 3,000/ max of 12
    Aster 3,000/ max of 12
  • Overnight Cottages:

Balay Mangga – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max 0f 9)

Balay Durian – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Badiang – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Bugnay – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Langka – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)
Balay Chiko – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Upper & Lower House – 3,500 (6 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 7)

Adelfa, Begonia, Cattleya, Rosa & Zinnia – 2,800 (Good for 2 pax max of 3 with free breakfast for 2 persons)

Damires Hills Adventure:

  • Zipline (Sitting) 200
    Zipline (Superman) 300
    Bungee Trampoline Free
    ATV Ride 300
  • Contact Information: (033) 396-8144 / (033) 531-6519 [Landline] ; 09399060689 / 09176325901 [Mobile]
  • Website: http://www.damireshills.com/

GENERAL THOUGHTS

Damires Hills is a great getaway if you don’t have the time to get out of the city. There are a lot of activities one can do there. You can enjoy Mother Nature there. If I do get the chance to go back to Iloilo, I might would want to consider going back to Damires Hills.

Philippines, Travel

Expense Guide to Buscalan Village, Kalinga

July 7, 2016

Before I left for Kalinga, I had no idea on how much I should bring for the trip. From the other blogs that I have read, it usually is the budget/expense guide that lacks in their posts. So, here is my budget guide for those travelers who plan to visit Apo Whang Od and Buscalan Village in the future.

Take Note: We only stayed for a night in Buscalan Village. We were 5 in a group but prices may vary in some situations.

Price (in PESOS)

DESCRIPTION

705PHP

Victory Liner Deluxe Bus to Tabuk, Kalinga

75PHP

Breakfast with Drinks (Tabuk, Kalinga)

150PHP/person

Van Ride to Tinglayan, Kalinga

50PHP/meal

Lunch (Tinglayan, Kalinga)

300PHP/person

Homestay with Food (Buscalan Village)

75PHP

Environmental Fee

667PHP/person

Guide (2,000PHP for 2 days. Amount based on 3 people only)

850PHP

Pasalubong (Gift Store. Optional)

100PHP/head

Habal-habal

75PHP/head

Van ride back to Tinglayan, Kalinga             (Total: 375php)

100PHP/head

Van ride from Tinglayan back to Tabuk, Kalinga (Total: 500php)

606PHP/head

Victory Liner Regular Bus back to Manila (with reservation fee)

TOTAL: 3588 PHP

Philippines, Travel

The Journey to Visit Apo Whang Od Was Worth The Trip

June 19, 2016

I couldn’t believe it. My parents actually allowed me to go to Kalinga with my friends the last minute!

One of my best friends, along with her thesis mate, had to go to Buscalan Village for school research. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity since Apo Whang Od is already a National Artist. We left Quezon City around 7pm via Victory Liner. After 12 hours, we finally arrived Tabuk, Kalinga!

It was still a long journey to reach Buscalan Village. From Tabuk, we had to ride a van going to Tinglayan since this was where we had to meet up with the guides. It took us another hour to reach Buscalan from Tinglayan. Our travels to both Buscalan and Tinglayan were via top-load. You should try it next time!

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As we reached the turning point, there was still trekking done. The trail is actually easy but what made it difficult for me was that it was too steep and I tend to get tired easily. It has been a year since my last trek and my body is not used to it anymore. This just shows that I NEED to go back to the gym ASAP and trek more mountains. While trekking, there were a lot of times I wanted to back out. But, I told myself “Girl, sayang ang pagpunta mo dito if magback out ka. Kapit ka lang.” (Girl, it’s such a waste if you decide to back out. Just stay strong.) After an hour and a half, we reached the registration area to register first. Then, a little walk to reach Buscalan Village.
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To experience their culture, we stayed in a homestay. It was actually fun to stay in a homestay because 1.) it’s cheap, 2.) you get a nice view of the mountains and rice fields, 3.) we get to interact with the locals, 4.) we get to meet different kinds of people with like minded spirits. Please take note that there are limited plugs available.

While talking to the locals, I found out that men still do not have tattoos. They need to earn it before being placed on their body. Locals also enjoy when tourists flock to their place. Because of this, the tourism industry in Buscalan Village is improving. But, they have to realize that they should not exceed taking advantage of the situation. They should also look for other ways to earn aside from focusing too much on Apo Whang Od.

Aside from talking to the locals, we were able to meet a fellow traveler! Her name is Jeng and what I love about her was that she did this trip via #solotravel. It’s been a dream of mine to do solo travel and I was so amazed with her. In fact, it was her first time to do solo travel! Soon though, I will be able to do it as well.

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Photo 16-06-2016, 9 59 57 AMIt was nice meeting you, Jeng! To more travels!

We then proceeded to Whang Od. As I saw her, we were starstruck. At the age of 99, she was still strong and was able to make intricate tattoo designs. I wanted one but my mother was against the idea of having a tattoo. We decided to let Whang Od draw instead. It was such a nice feeling that I was able to meet Whang Od.

All tourists should remember that she finishes her tattoo sessions by 5pm. Her rest day is every Sunday. As tourists, we have to respect her time. At her age, she needs all the rest she can get. If other tourists don’t even follow the rules, she can die of exhaustion. Also, when planning to have a tattoo, make sure to bring enough medications. My friend’s cousin got a fever on that day when Whang Od placed tattoo on him.

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whangod9Crab. It means “traveler”

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As I sat inside the bus to go back to Manila, I started to watch the videos and check the photos in this wonderful journey. Because of this experience, I learned to appreciate having no signal and just pure interaction with the people surrounding you. This gave me the chance to detach myself from using the internet and creating peace with one self. I got to experience how it feels like to live with the locals and to appreciate their culture. I was given the chance to meet the legendary Apo Whang Od and know her story. Aside from Whang Od, I was able to meet Grace as well (her granddaughter). There are a lot of things that I would love to share but it’s best that you experience it for yourself. whangod14

Photo 16-06-2016, 6 16 26 AMNo Filter Needed

Hotel Reviews, Philippines

Hotel Review: Greenleaf Hotel

June 13, 2016

Last May, I had the opportunity to go to General Santos. The reason why I had to go to General Santos was for an event called IECEP (Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines). The first IECEP event I attended was in Boracay. So, this makes it my 2nd time to attend this event. I decided to attend this event to help out in our other company and learn the ropes of the business. We were lucky enough to book a room in Greenleaf Hotel since this is where the event will take place as well.

Greenleaf Hotel is known to be a 4-star hotel in General Santos. The nice thing about Greenleaf Hotel is that it is right in front of SM. Although they say they are a 4-star hotel, I find it more to be a 5-star hotel due to its ambiance and service.

ROOM

The room that was given to us was the Deluxe Room. You can expect full house amenities in Greenleaf Hotel. They have free wifi, fresh linens replaced daily, free shampoo and soap, an in-room safe, a laundry bag, vanity mirror, etc. You also have the option to get a king-sized bed or two single beds. I am thankful that the view I had was by the swimming pool.

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DINING

There are different kinds of restaurants found in this hotel. For breakfast buffet, it is usually held in Mint Cafe. Their servings were the typical ones. I wouldn’t say that you would want to keep on looking for.

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There’s Tea Leaf Restaurant for authentic Chinese cuisine. If you want to take some drinks, head over to Zanzibar. During our stay in General Santos, we didn’t get to have the time to eat in these restaurants since we were on a budget. Maybe the next time I visit General Santos, I will surely give these places a try.

The IECEP event was held in their ballroom area. The event of the organizer knew exactly what to do. The event was organized – sponsors lined up accordingly, speakers ready to share to the audience. Even though our company only had a small booth, a lot of people went to ours to listen more on what our latest product called VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detector Apparatus) can offer to the market. Aside from VESDA, we also had Chiyu (Access Control), HeiTel (CCTV Solution) and Structured Cabling.

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SERVICE

I would have to applaud Greenleaf Hotel for a wonderful service. From the moment we checked-in in this hotel til check out, everything went smoothly. When we were checking in, even though some of us were not yet in the area, they allowed to give us a room in order to take a rest and the process of downpayment can be made when the payer arrives. When we checked out, it was kind of slow since there were a lot of guests during that day and it was hard to avail of a taxi to transfer us to another hotel.

Another plus factor for me was that the staffs knew exactly what they were going to do. Everytime they greet you, they will show a smile on your face to welcome your day with a bang! I would love it if people were that courteous and full of smile. It makes our life enjoyable and a happy one.

I can’t wait to experience Greenleaf Hotel again. This time, it will be for pleasure!

Philippines, Travel

The Famous BenCab Museum in Baguio

June 3, 2016

Aside from the different restaurants, cool weather and beautiful ambiance Baguio City offers, there is also a beautiful museum where one can appreciate art. This is no other than The BenCab Museum.

BenCab Museum is owned by Benedicto Reyes Cabrera. The artworks done in this museum was not only the works of BenCab. There were other artists involved in this museum to showcase their work. As you enter the building, you will notice that there are 4 floors comprised of different galleries. Artworks done in the gallery was not just focused on paintings. There were also sculptures, drawings and prints. At the top of the building is their restaurant, Cafe Sabel. One can appreciate the beautiful view Baguio City has.

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GENERAL INFORMATION

open every Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm

120php for adults, 100php for students, 80php for senior citizens

* Address: Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan,
Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Tel /Fax: (+63 74) 442 7165

How to Reach BenCab Museum:

Via public transportation: Take the jeepney terminal near Baguio Market. Ride the jeep to Asin Road.

Via private transportation: From Baguio City, it will take you 15 minutes to reach BenCab Museum. Below is the map to the museum.

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Philippines, Travel

Swimming With the Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu

March 31, 2016

Is it possible?

That was my first reaction when I found out that you can swim with the whale sharks in the Philippines. Later on, I found out that it is actually safe to swim with the whale sharks, known as butanding. Good thing my friends and I decided to attend Sinulog Festival. We decided to fit in our schedule to watch and swim with the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu.

To swim with the whale sharks, you have to ride the bus or bring your own car to Brgy. Tan-awan in Oslob, Cebu. The journey may take you 3-4 hrs depending on the traffic conditions. If you have a private van/car with you, more or less it can take you 2 in a half hours to reach Oslob. Also, the feeding happens every 6am-12pm. So I suggest you leave early to reach the designated time to swim with the whale sharks. We decided to leave Cebu City around 530am and reached Oslob around 8am.

When we arrived Oslob, the first thing we looked for was a resort where we could park our car and accommodate our needs. Each person had to pay 600php (100 entrance fee of the resort + 500 to swim with the whale sharks). Inclusive of the lifevest, snorkeling goggles and snorkel. There’s an extra charge if you want to rent their underwater camera so I suggest you bring your own. After paying all the things needed, off we went to the main entrance for the swimming of whale sharks.

Before you can start swimming with the whale sharks, you have to listen to the briefing first. They will tell you the do’s and dont’s when swimming with the whale sharks. Here are the following reminders one has to remember:

1. Don’t put on sunblock

2. Stay far away as possible from the whale sharks

3. DON’T TOUCH THE WHALE SHARK

4. no flash photography

5. ETC.

 After the briefing, you will have to wait for your designated boat and off you go!

Once we arrived on the site, we were in awe! We saw 2 baby whale sharks but they actually look like grown whale sharks! Since the current was too strong, I wasn’t able to have a decent picture with them. If you don’t know how to swim, you can wear a life vest. You are only given 30 minutes to swim with the whale sharks so use your time wisely!

Truth be told, swimming with the whale sharks is a controversial issue. Whale sharks are supposed to be swimming freely and looking for their own food. Instead, they depend too much on humans to feed them. In this case, this tends to not be a part of their natural habitat. From what I’ve heard, there are some tourists who actually touch these whale sharks. This just goes to show that they are not being a responsible traveler. As a responsible traveler, you have to make sure that you still get to respect Mother Nature at its best. Although it is a controversial issue, I still decided to swim with the whale sharks. To swim with the whale sharks is a part of my bucket list and I wanted to experience first hand. Now that I was able to experience it, it would be first and last experience.

Swimming with the whale sharks is a memorable experience. At the same time, we have to be responsible tourists. We become to be responsible tourists by making sure we follow the rules or not swim with them at all. As much as possible, we would want Mother Nature to be at peace.

Personal, Philippines

Enchanted Kingdom Escapade

March 8, 2016

When going to different countries, there are a lot of theme parks you can visit. For instance, the famous DisneyLand and Universal Studios in the United States of America. There is also Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan  known for the Harry Potter attraction. In Korea, there’s the famous Lotte World and Everland Theme Park. When visiting the Philippines, you can definitely visit this theme park called Enchanted Kingdom.

Last Friday, my cousins from the province went to Manila to celebrate our cousin’s debut. We decided for an out of town trip to Enchanted Kingdom. Enchanted Kingdom is located at San Lorenzo South, City of Santa Rosa, Laguna. We had plans to leave Quezon City around 9:30am so that we can start early and make full use of our time. Instead, we were able to leave around 12pm and I drove all the way to Santa Rosa, Laguna. Around 2:30pm, we finally arrived Enchanted Kingdom.

As we went inside the theme park, the first ride we went to is EKstreme Tower! EKstreme Tower is a thrill ride where you get to see the view of Enchanted Kingdom. This will take you to the top for a minute and a sudden drop at 76 kph. I’m a big fan of extreme rides because there’s the feeling of adrenaline rush and pumps up your system. Although I love riding extreme rides, I still get nervous and scared. That’s the beauty of these rides – when you get to endure these kinds of rides, you can endure anything in life.

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The second ride was Anchors Away. Anchors Away is my favorite ride among all the rides in Enchanted Kingdom. It’s a pirate ship where it swings back and forth and can reach up to 70 degrees.

If you want to get wet, there’s the Log Jam and Rio Grande Rapids. In Log Jam, you are seated in a dug-out log, takes you up and down a lift and splashes you with water. In Rio Grande Rapids, you are seated on a raft and traversed in raging waters. After riding these water rides, we went to Flying Fiesta to dry ourselves. You can expect your clothes to start drying in Flying Fiesta due to the rotation speed of the swings.

The famous rollercoaster, Space Shuttle, cannot be missed. This turns 6 times – 3 times forward and 3 times backward. In all the rollercoasters I’ve ridden, this is the only rollercoaster where I get to open my eyes and enjoy the ride.

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There are new rides like Air Race and Disk-O-Magic. Air Race is an acrobatic plane where it makes acrobatic stunts that will surely make you feel dizzy. There are certain times the planes will do a 180 or 360-degree turn. In Disk-O-Magic, this takes you on a spinning and rotating motion. You are seated like riding a motorcycle while there’s protection at your back so that you won’t fall off the ride.

enchanted kingdom 2016 (8)Disk-O-Magic

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There’s Rialto where you get to watch and experience 4D. In all fairness, Rialto has improved. Before, it was all about the chairs moving to the direction of character in the movie. Now, there are “real life experiences” to make you feel YOU are the main character of the movie.

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If you want some horror feels, you can visit Kubot: The Aswang Khronicles. This is a walk-through experience where you get to feel chills and feel scared by Kubot. A Kubot is a kind of aswang where they squeeze the victim’s internal organs. I am a huge fan of horror films. But to be honest, I cannot stand if the horror theme park is walk-through. Just get your heart ready if you get gulatin. Take note: 75php for entrance.

There’s the Dodgem a.k.a BUMP CARS! This is such a classic but this never gets old. Kids and adults would surely enjoy this ride. Get ready to bump other people!

Listed below are other information needed for the theme park:

Ticket Rates

500PHP – regular, unlimited day pass (weekday)

600PHP – regular, unlimited day pass (weekend/holiday)

250PHP – junior, unlimited day pass (weekday)

350PHP – junior, unlimited day pass (weekend)

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Philippines

Cebu Taoist Temple

February 17, 2016

January 18, 2016

It was time for the friends and me to go back to Manila since Sinulog Festival was done. Before heading off the airport, we decided to roam around Cebu City one last time and savor the moment. The first stop we did was the Cebu Taoist Temple located in Lahug.

To reach the Taoist Temple, you will have to enter a village. This village is where prestigious people live in. And when you see the temple, it resembles the Great Wall of China. Due to the resemblance of the Great Wall, I felt like I have been to China already.

What I love about the temple is how clean and serene the place is. Non-worshippers are allowed to visit the place but they will have to follow the rules. One rule is that you are not allowed to make any noise once inside the altar. There are people praying to their loved ones. You are also not allowed to take any kind of photography inside the altar. When you are wearing shorts, make sure you have something to cover your legs before you get in the altar.

Truly, this kind of temple is a gem in our country.

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