Thursday, October 25, 2007


Somebody in Hong Kong sent me an email inviting me to join an on-line group that would enable you to track down your travel around the globe. You would be basically asked to identify which countries in the different continents have you traveled to so far.

For the past year or so has seen me doing some traveling around the world. But when I answered the questionnaire, the on-line forum said that, I have only visited “three percent” of the world. A paltry amount don’t you think?

Three percent! That’s how I stand in today’s global economy. Does that matter?

To me who relishes the thought of doing business and attending meetings in various part of the world, that matters. So far, all my travels have been on business. There is only visit which I considered personal and that was in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong where I treated my family to a vacation.

In other countries I have visited, it was all for either work or for advancement of knowledge. My visit to the United States in 1994, a month after my marriage was to attend a workshop in Johns Hopkins University and to visit major sights such as the United Nations office in New York, the halls of Congress and the White House in Washington, D.C. My visit to Europe- London, Amsterdam, and Munich on the other hand were all for work.

My visit to Vietnam in September 2007 was in compliance on the other hand for my requirement in the Masters of Law degree program of the University, where I am currently enrolled in. While in Vietnam, I saw firsthand a socialist country that was proud of its history of struggle and war.

Doing work in a globalized setting is not an easy task. I have journeyed to Hong Kong just to attend an hour’s meeting, and come back to Manila a few hours therafter.

I have also traveled to Europe for a span of 5 days, 2 days of which were spent almost in the air.

If there is one secret I have learned to kick off the jet lag after a long haul flight and with a meeting to attend to in the next hours or so of your arrival is this – a really good hot shower after a flight.

This will ease the tension and freshen you as if nothing happened at all.

The next three percent ?

By next year, I shall be celebrating my 40th birthday. It’s a birthday that I have been anticipating for, as I intend to travel on that date with my family to a land I have long been yearning to visit – China.

China has always fascinated me. Its history is older than Europe, and its mystery has yet to be fully explored. On that day, I hope to be scaling the Great Walls and see for myself this wonder of the world.

Of course, that visit to China will not be the end of it. I also want to visit St.Petersburg in Russia, Switzerland, France, Italy and Greece.

Perhaps when I do get to retire from my work, I look forward to traveling with my family and explore Egypt, Turkey, Norway, Canada, Spain, Portugal and all other countries.

Munich, Germany

Monday, October 22, 2007

Random Thoughts from Munich

Its Sunday and this is my second day in Munich, capital of the ancient land of Bavaria and said to be Germany’s most loveable city. I have not been able to see most of the sights though, as snow fell today. It is negative 2 degrees.

Munich is said to offer such a rich combination of Germany’s fascinating history, culture and hospitality.

It is in Munich that one will find the Residence Museum, the residence seat of government of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. It is one of the most important palace complex in Europe with over 130 rooms. It also houses the Treasury of the Wittelsbachs, founded in 1565 by Duke Albrecht V. The Treasury has collections of priceless enamel, rock crystal and ivory work, crowns and royal insignia and unique goldsmith.

In Munich, we can also find the Nypmphenburg Palace and the well-known Marstallmuseum. The history of the palace dates back to 1664.

Munich however also has secrets of its so-called dark past. It is the birthplace and headquarters of the Third Reich of Hitler. It is here where Hitler began his destiny with the so-called “beer-hall putsch.” It also served as the headquarters of the notorious Gestapo of the Fuehrer.

Munich like Berlin and Frankfurt also holds significance in Philippine history, as it was one of the places Jose Rizal visited and stayed in.

Jose Rizal was in Germany from 1886 to 1887. It was in Germany that he published his novel – Noli Me Tangere. In Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, Rizal wrote of German traditions, the thick forests, the romantic Rhine river and the numerous castles he had seen in the course of his trip. Rizal spoke and wrote in German fluently. During the course of his stay, he took shelter for one month with the family of a German Pastor.

While the snow has prevented me so far from visiting the rich history and site of Munich, this has not prevented me though from doing other things which I have long wanted to do, e.g., writing for my blog through this entry, listening to classical music and opera on radio, enjoying breakfast and a hot cup of coffee without the fancy trimmings of starbucks, and just reflecting on what life has offered me so far.

Finally, it gave me the opportunity to partake of a luxury which I have long neglected – sleep and just to let the hours move by without the noise of work bothering me.

How I wish my family were here with me though. With them here, it would have been perfect. They would surely enjoy the coldness of the air and most likely yearn for a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle in the foothills of the Alps. The castle which was built by King Ludwig II is the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

I am certain though that soon they will be able to go with me in visiting this beautiful city. And when that time comes, I will make sure that they see what I have failed to see and not just the view from a window pane.

Till the next entry… its now 11.16 pm and 5.16 am in Manila. Time to catch up on the luxury……

Munich, Germany.
21. X. 2007