TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Lotus Lake in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Very Little that we knew about Kaoshiung when we were crafting and planning to visit Taiwan, we included Kaoshiung city in our itinerary ONLY as our exit point to the Philippines. I just checked the map to look for the southernmost city of Taiwan where we could exit back home. My primary intention was to to experience the High Speed Rail of Taiwan from North to South.

I’ve become so passionate about Train Travels since I’ve got to experience High Speed Trains in Europe. I was missing the experience, I wanted to rejuvenate the experience without breaking bank account. I’ve discovered Taiwan as an alternative. Surprisingly, the overall experience has gone beyond what I expected!  🙂

Lotus Lake is a place to be. It is a popular destination in Zouying district, Kaoshiung City. It is one of the best landmarks in Kaoshiung if I may say from personal experience. Yes! intstagrammable worthy collections of lakeside Pagodas are waiting for you

Nonethelss, If you are looking for a peaceful trail, waterfront resting spot, and great wildlife viewing in the park’s woods and wetlands, Lotus lake should be included on your bucket list. The park has a 1.6 Kms boardwalk to enjoy the gigantic statues.

Getting there by Train:

  • Take a metro/subway from Kaoshiung Main Station to Ecological District Station, NT20
  • Take a bus ride from Ecological District Bus Station to Lotus Lake Bus Station, NT12

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Maokong Gondola in Taipei, Taiwan

Maokong Gondola cable car ride is a must-try experience if you are planning to visit Taipei. You will surely enjoy the 4.3 km.s long cable car ride with four stations all the way to Maokong Peak. We ourselves were even surprised of its length. The stirring one way Gondola ride will take 20 to 30 minutes to reach the 4th and last station at Maokong where numerous tea plantations and tea shops are located. It was an exhilarating experience! 🙂

Getting there by Train:

  • From Taipei Main Station Blue Line to B15 (Transfer Station)
  • From B15 (Transfer Station) to Taipei Zoo Station
  • Metro Fare NT30

Gondola ride stations:

  1. Taipei Zoo Station
  2. Taipei Zoo South Station
  3. Zhinan Temple Station
  4. Maokong Station

How much is Gondala Ride?

  • NT120 one way 4 stations

TRAVEL GUIDE | Affordable Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off

When we visited Taipei, we originally planned to explore Taipei city’s top destinations via Metro/Subway. In fact, we already had the lists of our DIY (Do-It-Yourself) destinations. As we browsed google, Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus popped up on our screens, it was a good deal, we then agreed to grab it since it was our very first time we would experience sightseeing by double decker bus! The experience was absolutely perfect! It is highly recommended.

How much is Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off?

  • NT300 for 4 hrs
  • NT500 for 24 hrs
  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

Note: If you avail of the pass with Gondola Ride, it is not part of the route, you have to go to Gondola site yourself, the great news is you can get to Gondola ride in 10 to 15 minutes via Metro. 🙂 The Gondola Ride is a must-visit cable car ride in Taipei 🙂

I highly recommend Package no.3, if you are going to book a ticket from Klook

  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

To avail of the FREE Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions)

  • Take a selfie photo at Taipei Main Station with Klook banner of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus in the background, it is located at Taipei Main Station’s Visitors Information Center
  • You also have to post your selfie photo on instagram with hash tag #TaipeiDoubleDeckerBus
  • You can claim the toy at the bus, just present your selfie photo on instagram to the usherette, you can also have a selfie photo with her if you wist to. 🙂

Taipei Top Attractions Lines

  • Blue Lines – bus route heading to National Palace Museum, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins
  • Red Lines – bus route heading to Taipei101, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins

Taipei City Top Landmarks

Taipei 101
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
National Palace Museum
Presidential Office Building
Taipei Main Station
Taipei Old North Gate
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Where is the starting point of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus?

  • The starting point is at Taipei Main Station (M4 area outside TMS)
M4 – Taipei Main Station Taipei Sightseeing Bus Starting Point

“Being excited keeps us alive” – Yapak Pinoy

Hard To fill “About” Page

“About” is the hardest page to fill. All I recalled was I registered this blog with wordpress as Banahawtribe back in 2009. I changed it to Yapak Pinoy few years later, no real identity at all.

I registered with wordpress to document my travels. I may be bored those years, so I tried to find ways to do something that I could be busy of, let us call it a diversion.

Probably, I was also aspiring to nurture my creative writing skills.  I was not really into traveling, I was into drinking alcohol with friends; partying and bar-hopping. I just woke up one day, I wanted to blog. I must be very bored 10 years ago. 😊

Who would not be bored when you were living all alone in a village somewhere in Quezon City as a caretaker? Travel interest and travel blogging have become my therapy to boredom and being alone.  Let me clarify, alone but not lonely.  😊

I may have been to several travel destinations prior to the birth of Banahawtribe’s blog in 2009 but I had no intention of blogging. My blogging started when I joined a group of travelers, I joined them as a solo traveler in Coron, Palawan in 2008.

I tried to send an email to a blogger who was organizing a trip to Coron, Palawan. I asked him if I could join the trip as a solo traveler, he  welcomed me to join and the rest was history. Since then, I always joined their travels. 🙂

During our trip to Coron, I’ve met some newbie bloggers, we had fun in the course of our trip. We had been exchanging ideas about blogging our amazing trip. I decided then to register a travel blog with wordpress. 🙂  Today, some of them are known and popular multi-awarded bloggers. 🙂

Traveling became a passion, Blogging became a hobby

From then on, my local travels had been intensified, I was on fire! I became so passionate about travel, to explore different places and cultures as well as to discover my own country. It came to a point that I aspired to explore the entire Philippines; all provinces and all its beautiful islands. I did everything even if it would cost me to find and to switch new jobs. 🙂 For every new company I worked for, I made sure I could  go travel with my colleagues and friends outside mainland Luzon. I had been so easy to get, I was always on the go! 🙂

With my burning desire to fulfill my travel goals, I made it to explore Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. I am very grateful to have had good friends from Visayas and Mindanao regions who I have been travelling with until now.  I was born and raised in Southern Tagalog Region of Luzon, thus my movement has been limited to Metro Manila and Southern Luzon.

Banahawtribe to Yapak Pinoy

As its root word banahaw implies, it pertains to Mt. Banahaw. It is because  I was born literealy at the foot of Mt. Banahaw in Quezon Province where I had my Elementary and High School education in the thriving municipality of Tayabas, now City of Tayabas. The former cabecera or the former capital of Quezon Province during the Spanish time, also known as “La Muy Noble De Tayabas”. The word tribe from its obvious definition as human social group, I came up with Banahawtribe. 🙂

In 2011, I switched the name of  my blog from Banahatribe to Yapak Pinoy. While I was active blogging, I was also very active on Facebook posting my travel memories. A friend from US suggested  to change my FB name to Yapak Pinoy. I did apply the same name to my wordpress blog. 🙂

Yapak PInoy levels up to International Travels

It is on the natural prompting of man that if we are doing something that we are passionate about, we thirst for more, we want to achieve something higher, to get to the next level. I decided then to level up on my travel goals. 🙂 Though I already had my very 1st travel abroad in Bangkok, Thailand back in 2007, I wanted to level up, to explore more countries as many as I could.

Leveling up to international travels; those dreams and aspirations however were easier said than done. We could always cheer all we can, Go Go International, You deserve it! 🙂

Travelling abroad is always associated with budget (money). I am not a believer of one day millionaire! I could not spend all my hard earned money for the sake of travels. Travel for me is something I allot some budget for. 

Gratefully, I have childhood friends, family friends, High School classmates, and Former colleagues who opened their arms to accommodate me on my International Travels, their generosity and hospitality were second to none! My travel expenses abroad were cut by 50%.

If I were a member of privilege few to begin with, I could have traveled the world in a very short period of 1 year. I happened to be not, I work hard to earn for a living! Generally, most of my international travels are DIY – Do-It-Yourself. We normally booked our international flight as early as 1 year in advance to get a low airfare for as low as Php 1000 for one way and around Php 2500 for round trip. 🙂

Today, I am still in pursuit of exploring more countries; My bucket lists are still filled with dream destinations. I am in no rush, I just believe,dream, and survive! There is always time for everything! If I am dreaming, keep me sleeping! 🙂

As of 2019, Below are the International Countries that I have traveled to:


Hong Kong SAR
Macau SAR



Yapak Pinoy’s Professional Life

Honesly, I do not know exactly if my professional life has relevance to “About” page. I have been working for 26 year now since my college years. I’ve worked for various industries of different capacities and positions.

For decades, my career life was an interesting journey like my travels. Presently, I am working for IT Software Development company for almost 6 years now.

Monetizing the blogging hobby

I had to shut down this blog for two years for other blogging/writing  platform where I could monetize my blog. In other words, I transferred all my blog contents from Yapak Pinoy to other income generating platform.  😊 For a short period two years, I was able to fund my other travels by blogging on the other site.

This year of 2019, I restored Yapak PInoy back online so I can keep track of all my travels. 😊 As the saying goes, “once a blogger will always be a blogger”. No way I can monetize this website as there are already millions and millions of bloggers nowadays.


TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Cigin Island in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Cigin Island is a growing tourist destination in the south of Taiwan, it is situated in the city of Kaoshiung, the 2nd largest city of Taiwan. Cigin area is a small island which is just 15 minutes away from the harbor of Kaoshiung city.

When we visited Taiwan, we included city of Kaoshiung in our itinerary. We had Kaoshiung as the final leg of our 7-day adventure in Taiwan. We entered in Taipei and exited from Kaoshiung on our way back to Philippines.

Topping the list of our Kaoshiung adventure was Cigin Island where we almost spent our entire day biking in Cigin island. Biking is the fastest way to navigate each point of interests in the entire island. Walking is advisable as well, while biking is full of fun!

Getting there by Train & Ferry:

  • Take a Metro/MRT from Kkaoshiung Main Station to Siziwan Station – NT20
  • From Siziwan Station, walk all the way to Gushan Pier (5 Mins walk)
  • Take a Ferry from Gushian Pier to Cigin Island – NT30
  • Bike Rental at Cigin Island – NT100
  • Foods ranges from NT30 to NT200

7 minutes walk from Love River to Kaoshiung Main Station

Walking at Gushan area from MRT/Metro Siziwan Station

It may appear on the photo that I was the only person walking, we arrived very early in the morning around 7AM, but in reality Cigin is touristy travel destination. 🙂

Gushian Pier 2

Ferry is packed with tourists all over the world, I highly recommend to go to Cigin island early in the morning

BIKING at Cigin Island

Cigin Island is the place where we enjoyed the most in Kaoshiung City

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PingXi Line in Taiwan

To explore Metropolitan Taipei always comes first to our mind visiting Taiwan. Well, Taipei highly efficient transportation systems can get us around Metropolitan Taipei in a day or two. We can just simply utilize its state-of-the-art train networks and efficient bus transportation system to roam around the city to visit its top destinations, but how about sparing another day exploring a historical place rich in Taiwanese culture and nature wonders northeast of Taipei?

Exploring Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PngXi Line in Taiwan should be part of your itinerary in visiting Taiwan.

Shifen Old Street is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan. It is situated in PingXi area or PingXi railroad, the railroad was originally built to transport coal. It was completed in July 1921.

Before we visited Taiwan, we knew nothing about PingXi Area or Shifen Old Street. We just planned to stay in Taipei for 4 days and the next 3 days down south of Taiwan in Chiyayi city and Kaoshiung City. When we were already in Taiwan and had already explored the destinations of our interests in 2 days, we were thinking of where else to go. We tried to google and to look for blogs, we found Shifen Old Street. We spared a day to explore the famous Shifen Old Street. It was an awesome experience!

Getting there by Train:

PingXI Line DIY North of Taipei  – Shifen Old Street Lantern Flying, Shifen Warerfall, Xing PI, and Jungtong

  • From Taipei Main Station to Ruifang (Regular Train) – P72, NT42, US$1.38
  • Transfer to PingXi Line to Shifen Station(One Day Pass for PingXi Line & Sheniao Line) – P135, NT80, US$2.58
  • Lantern Flying in Shifen – P253, NT150, US$4.8
  • Taruko Express Train from Ruifang to Taipei Main Station = P128, NT76, US$2.45

Please see the railway guide below: 

Shifen Train Station & the Skyway in Shifen area

The sky way stretching in Shifen area really caught my attention. The old suddenly appeared to be modern. Despite the contrast, Shifen Old Street is a very romantic place.

Lantern Flying At Shifen

I also had my fair share of Lantern Flying. I initially thought of wishing to win a lottery. I wrote different wishes on the lantern. 🙂  

Shifen Waterfalls

It is a 1.5 kms trek from Shifen train station all the way to the breathtaking Shifen Waterfalls. A well paved path way is waiting for you. Trekking is like walking in the moon.

Jintong, the last station in PingXi Line


Taiwanese Cuisine: No Travel will ever be complete without the food

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to VILLA ELMA, Lucban, Quezon

If you want to commune with nature away from the noise of metropolitan, Villa Elma is the perfect weekend getaway for you.I am a native of Quezon Province, however it was also my very first time to visit the place this weekend.  I was not even aware it ever existed. Let us call it an astounding hidden getaway!Villa Elma is located in the town of Lucban in Quezon Province. Many of you may have heard already about the world renown “Pahiyas Festival”. Yes! It is where Villa Elma is also situated, its address is at A. Mabini St, Lucban, Quezon.

What to expect at Villa Elma?

  • Expect the unexpected, the downhill walk/trek is full of surprises
  • Communion with nature; breathtaking view of Mt. Banahaw
  • It is a good place for family bondingthe cool breeze climate, ecological balance is at its best

When is the best time to visit Villa Elma?

  • If you enjoy crowd – go during summer or holy week
  • If you are after to bliss and you want to enjoy the nature as it is yours, go during off-peak season – weekdays and non-summer days

How far is Lucban, Quezon from Manila?

  • 3 hours travel time form Manila, 123 kms.

How to get there:

Commuting by Bus

  • Go to Jac Liner/Jam Liner/DLTB Bus Station in either Araneta Center in Cubao or LRT Buendia in Pasay, Bus Fare to Lucena as of 2019 is P250
  • Take a bus ride to LUCENA – signboard must be LUCENA, advise the driver to drop you off at Jollibee Lucena diversion
  • Right beside Jollibee Lucena Diversion is Jeepney Terminal going to Lucban, advise the driver to drop you off at Lucban Public Market
  • Take a trycicle ride to Villa Elma

Driving your own Car

  • Drive all the way to SLEX and g all the way south to Calamba exit, it has a signboard from your right to Lucena, the easiest way is to use google map and wayze You will not surely get lost using these apps. Traveling has been very easy nowadays with the aid of technology

"Just go if you feel like going"

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