Friday, August 27, 2010

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: A Three-Day Saigon Itinerary Plus Dining Tips

Le Loi Street in a frenzy. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Taken from the photo archives of Virgin Media.
Saigon is the old (and I should say, romantic) name of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The country's population has swelled in this rather small urbanized city in the past decade. I asked a local why this is so. He said succinctly, "In Saigon, more jobs." Most of Vietnam's foreign guests choose hotel and backpacker accommodations within an area (street) called Pham Ngu Lao. I find it quite eccentric that the heart of Saigon's accommodation capital is severely lacking in good dining options.

I was prompted to create this post by earthjewels. She enlisted my help for her planned three-day Saigon getaway. I do not claim to have the best of suggestions, but I believe my travel guide will offer an unhurried way of relishing what this Asian Dragon has to offer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thai-Style Eggs with Shallots: A Great Way to Serve Hard-Boiled Eggs!

Have you ever tried serving eggs as a main dish? The photo you see above is one of our family's main dish favorites! My hope is that it will also be yours. :)

Inspired from Thai-flavored dishes with a twist that appeals to the Filipino palate, this hard-boiled egg dish is sure to delight you and your family. Surprise them with a twist to the regular breakfast ingredient!

8 to 10 hard-boiled eggs
oil for frying
bottled tamarind paste (or Knorr sinigang mix)
soy sauce

Philippine Passport Renewal and Application: Hell's Queue!

Queue on the First Floor of the DFA Office
It was the 6th of July 2010 when I made that trip to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) along Gloria Macapagal Avenue near SM Mall of Asia, husband and daughter in tow. Instead of having our passports renewed through an agency, we decided to do it ourselves. We spent a total of 6 hours and 45 minutes in the DFA spending nearly half of that time standing. Whether it was a good decision or not is for YOU to conclude :)

Nowadays, it no longer makes sense to course your Philippine passport renewal or passport application through agencies or third parties. Why? That is because the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) requires a personal appearance. Yes, that means you need to bring your children with you if you want them to renew their passports or apply for new ones. Interestingly though, the guards will NOT let any minor or adult enter the premises if they are just accompanying the person needing a passport renewal or application.