Be A Smart Traveller

A travel blog for smart travellers like you

Pinoy dessert: Buko Pandan

Buko Panda

Buko Pandan, a Pinoy dessert that I tried last year on Christmas day. My best friend’s mum is an expert at preparing this delicacy. My first time experience eating Buko Pandan was a memorable one and the only thing I kept saying while I was eating it was “Oh my God, so delicious”. I think I got her blushed after that, but I was being really honest because it was very tasty after all!

Buko Pandan is a dessert consisting of pandan flavoured gelatin with shredded young coconut, which are mixed with cream and sweetened milk. Filipinos love it as it is sweet. During my visit to the Philippines, I noticed that most of the food there are pretty sweet, including the beverages. However, my first Buko Pandan was not too sweet; just nice for the tongue. For your information, Buko Pandan is normally served in Filipino party or “Salu-salo”.

To prepare this delicacy, gelatin is cooked along with pandan leaves in order to get the pandan flavour. But to make things easier, you can just stop by at the nearest supermarket to buy your pandan flavoured gelatin.

Your Buko Pandan Recipe:

Buko Pandan can be prepared in just 25 minutes. Below are the ingredients that you will need:

  1. 1-35 g package gelatin (pandan flavour)
  2. 3 lbs frozen shredded young coconut
  3. ½ cup condensed milk
  4. 1 can of nestle cream

Steps to preparing Buko Pandan:

  1. Cook the pandan flavour gelatin, and then pour it into a medium size container.
  2. Let it cool. Once chilled, cut it into cubes.
  3. Mix the coconut, cream, and condensed milk in a bowl. You can add more milk if you want.
  4. Once all three ingredients are well-mixed, add the gelatin cubes into the bowl and mix them together.
  5. Cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it to chill.
  6. Your Buko Pandan is ready to serve!

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Tamilok: Palawan’s Popular Delicacy

TamilokBalot may be very popular in Manila, but in Palawan, Tamilok is it’s most eaten and popular delicacy. The best part about eating Tamilok is that it can be eaten at the side of the beach or even in the jungle. For those who live in big cities, eating such dish is unusual and some even consider it as disgusting. Tamilok may look like a worm, but it is actually a mollusk. This “rotting mangrove wood worm” can either be eaten raw or fried. Try it with chilli sauce or vinegar; delicious.

According to the locals, Tamilok got its name from an incident of two Americans who saw the locals consuming this creature one day. One of them said “Tommy, look!”. After the incident, the locals named this delicacy ‘Tamilok’.

Filipino Local Snack: Balot

For those of you who have yet to try ‘Balot’, a Filipino popular snack, you probably want to try it one of these days. This fertilized 18 days old duck embryo is boiled and then sold on every street of the Philippines. Balot was introduced by Chinese traders, but then made into a local delicacy as it is cheap and easy to prepare. Balot is common in other South-east Asia countries as well, such as Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In the Philippines, the locals prefer to eat it with a pinch of salt and vinegar.

ImageThe dish got its name from the word Balot which means “wrapped” in the Tagalog language. Despite its unpleasant look, the egg actually tastes really good. It tastes like boiled egg, somehow different. Every part of the egg can be eaten, although the white may remain uneaten (depending on the age of the Balot). As for me, I tried the white; hard texture. I didn’t like it. The egg has a bad smell, which was why I almost vomited when I ate it for the first time. You’ll get used to it later once you eat it more often. But, due to its high cholesterol level, it must not be consumed every day. Consuming it once a week is advisable.

Some of you may wonder how do Balot vendors know when to get the fertilized eggs cooked. It’s simple: the eggs are kept warm in the sun and placed in baskets. After 18 days, they are then placed under the light to reveal the embryo inside. To know more on how it is done, check out Andrew Zimmern’s visit to the Philippines! 🙂

Terminal 10: The Queue to the Exit

Terminal 10: The Queue to the Exit.

Travelling by bus in the Philippines

ImageFor budget travellers, taking the bus for a road trip is certainly the most preferable as it is cheap and convenient. It may not be as convenient as the taxi, but you get to sit comfortably and pay for a bus ticket which is much cheaper than a standard taxi fare. There are lots of buses to choose from, from luxury liners to simple buses with air-conditioning and small TVs. You can also choose to travel by a cheaper bus service, but I do not recommend it if you can’t stand the country’s heat!

The express buses are normally for those who cannot afford to travel by plane although there are some middle-class citizens who would travel by bus to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the country. I would travel by bus to enjoy the view too; I should see trees and clouds, rather than just clouds. As many bus companies in the country offer charting services, travelling by bus is also a great choice for those who go out in groups for special trips. Not only will travellers get to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, they’ll also get to save more on petrol since driving in today’s world is very expensive. If you are going for a long journey, try to avoid yourself from drinking too much; otherwise, you may need to ask the bus driver to stop you here and there just for the sake of going to the bathroom. Do some research on the bus schedule prior to your departure.

Wherever you go, it is important for you to practise safety precautions in case of emergency. Here are some safety tips:

(i) Always inform your friends and family about your whereabouts

(ii) Jot down the phone number of the bus company and share it with those you trust, such as your family members or close friends

(iii) Do not expose your money or talk about it in public (money brings evil to some)

(iv) Avoid wearing expensive jewellery. Dress simple. You’re on a holiday after all

(v) Make sure you have small change with you. Coins will come in handy, especially if you need to make important calls by public phones

(vi) Don’t dress provocatively as it may draw unwanted attention. There are also some regions in the country that take dressing etiquette seriously

Travelling for long hours can be pretty tedious. Some people find sleeping enjoyable whilst some do not. Try some of these tips to keep you company:

(i) Take an MP3 player with you

ImageListening to music can entertain you while you observe the country’s surroundings, or even better, put you to sleep! Be sure to charge your MP3 player before you get on the bus. Most music gadgets these days can run for 2 hours, or more, depending on their battery life span.

(ii) Read a book

Reading book may sound boring to some, but you’ll enjoy it even more once the story gets more exciting. I am not a bookworm, but there are times when I enjoy reading novels and short stories (simply to find out the ending of the story). Reading one book won’t kill, but it would help you to kill time 🙂

(iii) Talk to the person next to you

talk on the bus

You may not be able to talk to the person throughout the journey, but this is the least that you can do to entertain yourself, especially when the journey is about to begin. A simple introduction of yourself can potentially lead you to a continuous and exciting conversation

(iv) Watch something

Most long journey buses would have a small TV in it. Whatever you see on TV, watch it! When I was on my way to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, I actually watched 3 movies in a row. I couldn’t sleep like the others. Hence, watching TV was the only thing that I had to do to keep me entertained throughout my 7 hours road journey.

(v) Play Sudoku

As most roads tend to be bumpy, drawing or writing in the bus can be pretty annoying. However, playing Sudoku only requires you think and jot down numbers on the question’s empty boxes. How hard can it be anyway? If you know how to play Sudoku, consider this idea and try it. If you have never played it, ask a friend who knows how to play it to teach you. It’s fun! If the game makes you sleepy afterwards, go to sleep; a great remedy for sleeping I would say. 🙂

Shop till’ you drop at the Red Sea Shopping Mall in Saudi Arabia!


One of the finest shopping malls in Jeddah is the Red Sea Shopping Mall which is located on the northern suburb or Jeddah on the western side of the Al-Malek Abdulaziz Road in between the King Abdulaziz International Airport and the coast of the Red Sea. It was built on an area of 242,200 square meters, with 4000 parking spots; this huge shopping mall provides you with simply everything that you need and much more! An Oceania and aquatic games city, a water fountain, a super market and a variety of goods are just some of the attractions within this mall.

50% discount from Pay half the price

Roaming abroad

To those who are afraid to roam abroad, don’t roam. You’ll only get yourself into trouble for doing that. Imagine yourself paying for your phone bill that costs more than your holiday trip. It’s a disaster! Be a smart traveller today and grab any roaming solution that you can find around.


As for me, I would like to suggest LocalSIMKad™ of your destination. It’s a great product for those who are concerned about their telecommunication when travelling abroad. I am also a traveller, so I myself want to always stay connected with the world. To me, communication is life. Without it, I feel like I am living in a world with nobody but me, myself, and I.

LocalSIMKad™ of your destination is available on This is a booking platform for travellers like you and I to book a LocalSIMKad™. The booking process is easy and user-friendly. You just need to fill out your personal and booking details. As simple as 1,2,3.


With this product, I do not have to roam anymore. What I get is what I pay. I can make and receive calls abroad, without having to pay for any roaming charges. This SIM card is affordable; much cheaper than roaming! The rates follow the country of destination local rates (it is a local SIM card that’s why). I can make calls like a local, even though I am just a tourist! 😀 is currently organizing its 50% Promo Campaign at Malaysia’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). This campaign aims to promote three of its popular destinations, which are Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.


Spend RM30 on a single receipt at any of these stores to redeem 50% off on LocalSIMKad™ Indonesia, Thailand & Singapore:

(i) SIM Emporium (Souvenir store)
(ii) The Zon (Duty Free)
(iii) Dimensi Eksklusif (Perfume & Cosmetic)


You’ll also notice these girls there. They are called the “Pink Babes”. I heard you have to grab a sticker from their T-shirts to get 50% off on a LocalSIMKad™. Sounds pretty easy, huh? If I were you, I’ll definitely head down to LCCT now. Since I’ll be flying to Thailand soon, I might as well get one for myself now 😀

Check out the video below:

Hundreds missing whilst 283 killed from Typhoon in the Philippines


A strong typhoon hit the Philippines recently, which resulted to blocked roads and severed communications. Hundreds went missing whilst 283 were killed by the strongest typhoon of the year. Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island yesterday, but then weakened as soon as it moved west.

The catastrophic event also hit the southern island of Mindanao, and caused landfall on Tuesday. About 300 were missing. While rescue teams are on a mission to search the missing victims, thousands were placed in shelters. Domestic flights were also suspended on Wednesday. Apart from that, schools, town halls, and clinic were also closed; they became shelters for surviving victims.

Some of the things you should know about Jounieh, Lebanon

Jounieh (Arabic جونيه, or Junia, جونية) is a coastal city which is located about 16 km north of Beirut, Lebanon. It is well known for its seaside resorts and also bustling nightlife, as well as its old stone souk, ferry port, and a cable car that takes passengers up the mountain to the infamous shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. There is a small hill named Bkerké above Jounieh and not far from there stands the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.

For your information, the residents of Jounieh and the surrounding towns are amongst Christian Maronites, making Jounieh the largest Christian Maronite city in the world. If you do visit Jounieh, don’t forget to stop by the bay of Jounieh, which is considered to be the most beautiful bay in Lebanon.

Coming to Jounieh? Make sure you have a comfortable stay while you are there. Here is a list of some of the hotels in Jounieh that you can check in:

1.      Reston Hotel

This hotel offers a high quality service and it is a harmony between the romantic and the luxurious. In fact, this four stars hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the area.

What it offers:

24h Front Desk and concierge, Free Wireless Internet in lounge, 24h Room service, Daily housekeeping, Airport pick-up and drop off facilities, Taxi service, Tour operator, Car rental, Laundry and Dry cleaning service, Breakfast area, International Restaurant and Banqueting facilities.

2.      Aquarim Hotel

This hotel is ready to offer you both luxury and comfort. Located in the heart of Jounieh, the Aquarium Hotel is just a short distant away from the popular shopping areas, attractive tourist sites and nightlife entertainment places.

What’s hot here?

Aquarium Hotel offers you a beautiful pool, which is located by the sea. Sit tight and relax!

Churchill Rooftop Pub/Restaurant that offers you excellent food and beverages, so you can get together with your friends and family at night after your tiring exploration around the city.

3.      Madisson Hotel

Located 100 meters away from the sea-shore and just 3 kilometres from the Casino du Liban, this hotel offers you nothing but convenience and comfort during your visit to Jounieh. It is also 20 minutes from downtown Beirut. What’s cool about this hotel is that you don’t have to worry about finding a parking each time you come for a visit. 


Fitness centre, Jacuzzi, Sauna, etc


Horse riding, Scuba diving, Skiing, Tennis, Golf, Hiking, etc

Pizza Hut delivery, straight to your hotel room in Saudi Arabia

American fast food restaurants are famous in Saudi Arabia. You can find Pizza Hut in Sultana Street and Al Hazim Road. You should try the Arabian version pizzas as they taste different and trust us, you would like the food offered in all these fast food restaurants. Just make a quick order and wait for you pizza to be delivered straight to your hotel room.

Sit tight, relax and perhaps have a Shisha 🙂

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Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany



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