Nov 16, 2010

The Silk, The Lunch and The Bund

Our day-long guided tour of Shanghai gave us a glimpse of what Shanghai used to be and what it is now... a place where quite literally, old meets new, traditional meets modern and east meets west. Except for the language barrier we encountered occasionally, everything else in Shanghai has become cosmopolitan... diverse...

lunch package courtesy of Great Wall Tours

Jiangnan Silk Factory
We had the chance to see how silk (used to be called "soft gold") is being made and why this oldest known textile is considered a luxury and enjoyed only by royalties in the olden times.

making a silk quilt
trying our hands on stretching silk to make quilt

Cruising on the Huangpu River (The Bund)

Cruising on the Bund (Huangpu River)

Cruising on the Bund (Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the background)

Buildings on the Bund (Pudong side):

Shanghai World Financial Center - tallest building since 2008

"SWFC can survive a massive 8 magnitude earthquake. There are fireproofed floors for escape; a dozen sets of obstacle indicator lights to warn low flying aircraft, as well as two wind dampers to reduce wind acceleration by 40%. In addition to lightning conductors covering the building, its glazed glass skin also protects against lightning and looks good too."

Jin Mao Tower - used to be the tallest; now the second tallest building

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

"This 468 meters (1,536 feet) high tower is the world's third tallest TV and radio tower surpassed in height only by towers in Toronto, Canada and Moscow, Russia."

Nov 15, 2010

Nanjing Road

I've read it's called the "Oriental Paris" or "shopping paradise". Nanjing Road, all of 6 km., is said to be the longest shopping district in the world. We tried to walk about half the length of it (east Nanjing) while trying to see what might be interesting to buy...

For shopping tips:
East Nanjing Road - for traditional shopping
West Nanjing Road - for luxury brand shopping

at Nanjing road

towards Nanjing road
Tom and Jerry on your left... Tom and Jerry of Cartoon Network (?). LOL!

along Nanjing road

at Nanjing road

Shanghai Museum

We met up with Tom by 930am at the hotel lobby and then proceeded to drive to our first stop: the Shanghai Museum which houses an extensive collection of ancient art. It's a must-see for those who love history and who appreciate the intricate beauty of ancient artifacts from bygone eras.

I think we took hundreds of pictures of bronzes, potteries, and furniture --- enough to make our own museum catalog. :)

Shanghai Museum grounds

Tom our tour guide in front of Jerry
that's our tour guide, Tom, in front of Jerry and smiling at the camera

In front of the Shanghai Museum

Nov 9, 2010

A Catholic Cathedral in China

My feet were sore by 3PM and we were getting late for the anticipated Sunday mass so we headed back to Xujiahui. The Xujiahui Cathedral (St. Ignatius Cathedral) was just a few blocks away from the hotel and it happens to be the largest and best known Catholic church in Shanghai. It was built in 1904 and has a Gothic style that reminded me of Notre Dame in Paris. Awesome site! And for a communist country to have something like this is surreal.

We got there before mass started at 430pm. Since it was my birthday, it was very timely to be able to hear mass and say my thanksgiving prayers for another wonderful year that passed and for more blessed years ahead. The children's choir who sang melodious songs in Mandarin, reminded me of my boys back home. I felt truly blessed.

St. Ignatius Cathedral, Xujiahui, Shanghai
the facade

The view in front of St. Ignatius Cathedral
the view in front of the cathedral

Back to our hotel room, I plopped right on the bed due to exhaustion from all the walking (and shivering in the cold). My socks were no match to the trauma of walking the expanse of the expo site. The socks bore holes where my big toes rubbed against the shoes! Jerry and I cracked up.

And then came a knock on our door. We wondered who it could be at this time of the night... It was room service. And the man brought in a big slice of delicious brownie that had this message: Happy birthday! (Aww...)

And so this was how I ended my 43rd birthday :)

Surprise from Marriott Xujiahui :)

World Expo 2010 Shanghai

During the 45 minute drive from the Pudong International Airport to our hotel at Marriott Xujiahui at high speed, Tom regaled us with bits and pieces of information about the World Expo that Shanghai was hosting. We were all ears as we were there for the Expo after all. He mentioned about how the new elevated highway from Pudong airport was built in 3 years in anticipation of the surge in visitors for the expo. It shortened the road trip by half the time.

On the day of our tour, we were on our own. We spent the entire day walking to different country pavilions and marveling at the sights. We went inside a few but were not able to see the "hot" pavilions because the queues were too long! The China pavilion alone had a 5-hour waiting time and we only had 72 hours in Shanghai!

It was amazing how the huge expo site used to be farm lands (according to Tom). Despite its size, visitors were crowding the walkways. I was glad the weather was cool or we wouldn't have covered much of the sights if it were warm.

The theme for the expo was: "Better City, Better Life" so I was wondering how the activities in the Philippine Pavilion tied up with the theme. While other countries showcased innovations in science and technology, ours highlighted various shows that include "vocal music, folk, rock, solos, ensemble and street-style performances on special stages" and hydrotherapy (hydrotherapy???). And, answer this.... How in the world did Oishi's Marty's vegetable chicharon become part of Philippine pride? I'm still confused why I saw these snack products being displayed in the pavilion. Sana lechon na lang. (?!) :P

Anyway... the expo has since been concluded (last Oct. 31). I hope our pavilion will be a lot better in the 2015 World Expo in Milan.

Here's the official link to the expo:

To the Expo
on the way to the subway leading to the expo site

Clean subway
the clean subway

Paparazzi mode
paparazzi mode

Tired feet

Nov 5, 2010

Marriott Courtyard Shanghai

8 degrees!!! That was the ground temperature announced by the plane's captain as we were approaching the terminal for landing at the Pudong International Airport. Eeep! Our home airconditioning never went down below 16 degrees and I still had to use a blanket! I sure hope I packed enough to keep warm.

As we reached the exit of the arrival terminal, our guide named Tom (great guy from Great Wall Tours), met us. He spoke good English although I strained just a bit to make out some words. Soon enough, we would find out that a lot of the people you'd meet in China did not speak English. Cab drivers, sales people, restaurant attendants were some of the people whom Jerry had to use his limited Mandarin skills on. So imagine our relief to have English-speaking tour guide and hotel front-desk managers at the Marriott Courtyard in Xujiahui where we were staying at.

Our hotel room was clean and was relatively well-maintained. It was a good choice for us because it was near enough (walking distance) to the commercial area (shopping), if I could brave the chilly weather. :P

The complimentary daily hotel breakfast had an extensive array of food choices but we got mostly the Chinese dimsum for authenticity. Heh... And my, how that pleased my Chinese hubby!

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
the room

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
the toilet and bath

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
the bar

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
the bar

View from Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
the view from our room

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
two Jerrys on my birthday :)

Marriott Courtyard Xujiahui, Shanghai
ready for the day's itinerary

Muji, Chelsea and My Ninja


We flew to Manila via Cebu Pacific's 12 noon flight last October 29. I had mixed feelings because while I was excited to see Shanghai with the hubby, our flight schedule did not make it possible for us to get Jake from school. My only consolation is seeing him as a ninja for his school halloween costume party. Really cute! I had several pics of him wearing it just before he ran off to his car pool service.

Ninja for Halloween

We had 8 hours before our flight to Shanghai so Jerry and I checked in our luggage early and took a cab to Bonifacio High Street to drop by Muji. It reminded me of Ikea but it had more apparel than house furnishing and stuff. It is a pretty cool place with a lot of interesting things to tinker with, if not buy. Jerry ended up buying a pair of off-white sneakers.


Oh... and I happened to see Charlie Cojuangco too, lining up by the counter. I think I saw some hangers in his basket, if I'm not mistaken. He was with a lady. Hehe... Now I'm beginning to sound too showbiz.

Anyway, with enough time for an early dinner before heading back to the airport, we stopped by Chelsea at Serendra to have an order of salmon on baked potato and asparagus, split into two. Yum!