Sunday, December 7, 2008

Made in Macau

at the Grand Emperor Hotel

It's been more than a week since the Macau trip, and I can still remember the highlights of my recent adventure. The first thing I enjoyed was the fine weather, which I felt the moment I stepped out of the airport. Coming from a tropical country, the cold climate's definitely a treat!

We stayed at the Grand Emperor Hotel. I was really impressed with the accommodations. We checked in at two adjacent rooms, each with a flat screen TV. Hehehe! The hotel also exudes Russian glamour manifested by carriages situated infront of the hotel, paintings of royalties on the walls, and guards standing by the main entrance. If you have enough to shell out for accommodations, I'd recommend the Grand Emperor Hotel. With its strategic location, you won't have a hard time going around town.

After settling in, first challenge for us was to look for a church where we could hear mass. Since there are few Catholics in Macau (and probably the rest of China), it wasn't easy finding one. Too bad the mass was over when we finally found one. We simply headed to Largo do Senado to have dinner. Largo do Senado is said to be the focal point of the city. It is where travelers start their Macau adventure. This also leads to the Macau Museum and St. Paul's Ruins, which is one of the main attractions in Macau. Aside from the impressive tiled paths, Largo do Senado has shops where tourists can buy imported and local goods, especially dried beef, candies and other Macanese delicacies.

Our second day was spent to visit the very famous The Venetian resort and hotel. Before leaving for Macau, a lot of people were telling me that I shouldn't come back without visiting The Venetian. At first, I was puzzled why people are raving about this hotel-resort. When I got the chance to set foot on this establishment, I finally understood why. The Venetian is more than just a hotel. It is a hotel, mall, and casino rolled into one. The interiors are consistently designed to emulate the ambiance of outdoor Venice. Even the food court feels like the European alfresco. There are intricately designed walls, bridge over waters, complete with gondolas and gondoliers who serenade passengers with Italian songs. Our gondolier, Celeste, is a Filipina! The ground floor of The Venetian is filled with everything casino - electronic slot machines, poker tables, and the like.

The next day, we went to St. Paul's Ruins, the Macau Museum, and the Macau Tower. St. Paul's Ruins is one of the remnants of the Portuguese rule and influence. The original facade of the church still stands and serves as a reminder of the efforts of the Portuguese to Christianize the Macanese residents. More of Macau's history can be learned from the Macau Museum. Though relatively small, it does not compromise the information that one can learn about the city's history, culture and lifestyle. Moving on, the view from the Macau Tower is breathtaking, but scary at the same time. Hehehe! I'm no acrophobic, but when I realized I was standing on glass floors, I nearly panicked.  For extreme sports enthusiasts, you can actually bungee jump from the Macau Tower.  Being the highest bungee jump in the world, you'll get a certificate if you do so.  I actually wanted to, but the fee is as steep as the tower.

At night, I walked around the city with my camera and captured the colorful lights displayed by the hotel-slash-casinos. There were a lot! Afterall, Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia. If I were fond of casinos, I would have spent the nights in them.

Overall, I enjoyed traveling to Macau. I am happy to be able to experience their culture, marvel at sceneries, and indulge in the cuisine. Though I encountered some difficulty with the language barrier, being able to communicate without really speaking the vernacular was something worthwhile. Also thanks to the Filipinos we met at times. They really helped us a lot!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back, but if given the chance, I would.

Click here to view the pictures.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Travelers For Travelers enables Wiqet for 18.000 members

Amsterdam - Travelers For Travelers (TFT) is the first travel community using the Wiqet Voice & Photo Player. During travels we all want to make lots of pictures and afterwards we like to share these with friends. By using the Wiqet Player you will not only be able to share your photos you can also tell the story behind them! Wiqet is a perfect way to make the profiles of the TFT members (+18K) more personal.

How does the Wiqet Player works? Well it’s easy. You upload your photos (up to 49) into the Wiqet Player. Choose with each photo to zoom in/out or rotate. After uploading your photos, you can record a voice message with your computer. Within the Netherlands you can also use your (mobile)phone to record a messages. This will soon be also be available in other countries. After recording your messages you can ‘drag & drop’ your photos to make sure they are in the right sequence. You can play a Wiqet just like a video (press play) and also use options such as ‘sent to a friend’ or use the html code to put it in your own site, blog or community (like MySpace or Hyves).

Check out this profile as an example:
http://www.travelersfortravelers.com/member/Erik_Nijhof

Especially for websites where people want to meet up with each other, such as TFT, the Wiqet is a welcome tool to make the profiles more personal. You do not only read something about a person and see some photos. Now you actually hear his or her voice message! In each Wiqet the logo of TFT is displayed transparent above the photos. It is easy to use the Wiqet anywhere on the web. When the Wiqet is placed on MySpace, Facebook or on any other website people can easily, by clicking the logo, link back to the website of TFT.


Wiqet (http://www.wiqet.com) is developed by Wiqet Media. Everybody can make a Wiqet on www.wiqet.com and send or place it somewhere. Websites can make use of the Wiqet Webservice. They can integrate Wiqet as a tool and offer it to their users.

Travelers For Travelers (http://www.TravelersForTravelers.com) connects locals and travelers. We just launched our site and in a year time more then 18.000 travelers from more than 226 countries became a member. TFT is a community that makes it possible for travelers and locals to get to know each other online and visit each other in real life.