Monday, September 13, 2021

Autumn or Fall: Why does this season have two different names?

September 13, 2021 0

Autumn. The loveliest season of the year. It's where the environment turns brilliant and romantic, with foliage bursting into fiery red and burnt tangerine.


But why it does have to different names? And what should be the real term for the season, is it autumn or fall?


The answer is that, it's the same.


Origin of the term


According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, both autumn and fall originated in Great Britain but fall is primarily used in the United States.

Autumn in Japan

Autumn is the older word among the two, it came to the English in 1300. It came from the Latin word, autumnus, it's unsure though where this Latin word originated.


The common term used for this season prior to autumn was harvest because harvesting of the crops happened during autumn.


Poets continued to be fascinated with the autumn season because of the changing of the color of the leaves, which also the season where falling of the leaves happened.

Autumn in South Korea

In 1600s, writers and poets began using other term in relation to the falling of the leaves - "fall". By then, the English language was expanding and it soon reached North America. Until most of the New World spoke English.


Overtime, the English language spoken in North America became diverse and it thoroughly evolved beginning with the independence of the United States. English terms spoken and used caught in the identity crisis, and fall was one of them.


Fall is widely used in America


After the American revolution where Britain was defeated, in an attempt to create their own identity, the United States developed the American English distinct from the British English. 

Autumn in Taiwan

Some of the words originated from Britain where discarded in favor of terms that were thoroughly American, one of the terms was fall.


By mid 1800s, fall was considered entirely American. Thus, today, fall, and not autumn, is the term widely used in America to describe this season.


Today, both terms, autumn and fall, are used in Europe, but autumn is considered authentic English term, and more commonly used by poets, artists and writers to describe the beauty of the season.


Now, let's set the record straight. Both autumn and fall are correct terms to describe this season. It depends on the person's mindset and taste which term to use.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

10 Most Stunning Places in Asia to Experience the Best of Autumn

August 24, 2021 0

Autumn, no doubt, is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. As what William Cullen Bryant puts it, "It's the year's last loveliest smile".


And it is.

The environment is extra poetic and charming as gorgeous foliage and warm hues form a canopy in the roadside. 


Landscapes are swathed in brilliant shades of deep red and golden yellow, like a golden sunrise. Mother nature is at its prettiest and the cool weather is perfect for long walks

Brilliant foliage of autumn season

Autumn Travel in Asia


When it comes to Autumn travel, the most popular destinations for travelers are usually Europe, Tuscany and The Netherlands in particular, and USA, most notably the New England region of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. 

Japan is Asia's premier autumn destination


However, Asia has also some fair share of natural wonders comes Fall season. China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are Asia's best destinations to see the stunning autumn foliage, where the environment is soaked in brilliant colors of deep yellows, burnt tangerines and fiery reds. 


Here are 10 of the most beautiful Asian destinations to experience a rustic Fall moment:


10. Xitou Nature Education Area, Nantou County, Taiwan

According to Taiwan news, Xitou Nature Education Area is the must-visit place in Taiwan comes autumn season. It is popular for its scenic beauty of nature and houses exciting attractions like Sun Moon lake and Qinjing farm.

Xitou Nature Education Area

This area is also remarkably breathtaking during autumn due to Gingko and Maple trees along the mountain trail. And these trees release brilliant foliage in autumn from late October to early December.


9. Kurobe Gorge, Tomaya prefecture

The most ideal country to visit in Asia comes autumn season is Japan. The country is blessed with spectacular scenery and stunning natural wonders through its sweeping vistas, wooded parks and prefectures and breathtaking trees and blooms.

Kurobe Gorge

Japan is popular for cherry blossoms travel in spring but it is also a great choice for an autumn trip due to its lush golden foliage. 


Kurobe Gorge in Tomaya prefecture is just one of its amazing autumn destinations. It's an ideal place for mountain hikers, intrepid adventurers and nature lovers.


The thick vegetation and wooded areas along the cliffsides of the towering bridges. With the scenic Kurobe river below and mountain peaks above, Kurobe Gorge is a perfect destination for thrill seekers and autumn aficionados.


8. Metasequoia Namiki Avenue, Shiga

A stunning prefectural road in Shiga, Japan soaked with more than 500 metasequioa trees, Namiki avenue is a dreamy place to visit comes autumn season.

Namili avenue soaked in Metasequioa trees

Due to its beautiful roadside scenery, it has been chosen as one of Japan's top 100 roadside sceneries. Namiki avenue offers varying wonders in every season but lovelier during Fall.


This 2.4 long avenue offers a beautiful scenery straight from the movie. Its metasequioa trees lined up on each side of the road neatly and its leaves form a canopy that makes the atmosphere a lot poetic and dreamy.


7. Asan Gingko Tree Road, Seoul

Gingko trees create a spectacular atmosphere during autumn. Not only these trees have beautiful foliage, its towering heights make the view more amazing.

Along the Asan road in Seoul, South Korea, stood the imposing Gingko trees overlooking a river. According to other bloggers who have visited this place, it's just about 2.5 hours from the downtown Seoul.


It's one of a must-visit place in South Korea during autumn so do not miss out including it in your travel bucket list!


6. Fushoushan Farm, Taichung, Taiwan

Dubbed as the Switzerland of Taiwan, Fushoushan farm nestled by the mountain ranges Hehuansan and Xueshan. As the greenery turns warm yellow and fiery red, this farm becomes a picture of loveliness. 

Beautiful autumn scenery in Fushoushan farm


Visitors are also treated to a fruit-picking during autumn. Due to its high elevated location, it is a great place to do sunrise and sunset viewing. 


The farm offers dining, accommodation  and guiding services and has a strolling avenue for hikers. It has a Pine house and a tea factory.


5. Fragrant Hills Park, Beijing, China

Known also as Xiangshan park, Fragrant Hills park is a public park in the eastern part of Western Hills, Haidian district in Beijing. It is a former imperial garden during the Qing dynasty and formerly known as Jingyi garden.

Autumn scenery in Fragrant Hills Park, Beijing

It covers almost 400 acres of land, surrounded with pine-cypress forest, hills with Maple trees, smoke trees and persimmon trees. It is a huge park with lots of oriental vibe gushing around the area. Cultural relics, natural sceneries, lakes and pavilions.


During autumn, the deep red leaves of the smoke trees blanket the entire mountain, creating a picturesque scenery around Fragrant Hills Park.


4. Naejangsan National Park, Jeolla-do

This is one of South Korea's most spectacular destinations during autumn season. And it's easy to see why. 


With scenic vista, hills, waterfalls, and mountains covering the landscape, and a placid lake below. No wonder this national park is so beautiful comes autumn season.

It is touted to be South Korea's most stunning autumn destination. It offers an quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of a city life. It is located on the border of North Jeolla and South Jeolla


3. Nami Island, Chuncheon, South Korea

K-drama fans are familiar with Nami island. It is a popular fixture among Korean drama series as a filming location. My Love From the Stars, Secret Garden and Winter Sonata are among the island's best endorsers. 

Autumn canopy in Nami island

Over the years, travelers who flocked to South Korea, never missed out Nami island. In fact, it has become a novelty among K-drama fanatics.


Namiseom or Nami island looks like a half-moon shaped located in Chuncheon, Gangwon province, South Korea. Best period to visit Nami island for a spectacular foliage viewing is between late September and early November.


2. Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido is more popular as a winter destination, especially Sapporo, but it is also a great place to visit during autumn. It is pack with lush scenery, warm hues and brilliant surrounding during Fall season.

Futami suspension bridge in Jozankei Onsen

Hokkaido is located in the Northern part of the country making it the Japanese place to see autumn  earliest than other locations in Japan. 


Best recommended places in Hokkaido to view autumn foliage are Hokkaido University Gingko Tree Avenue, Nakajima Park, and Jozankei Onsen. 


Hokkaido really is one of the best autumn destinations in Asia because fall colors will peak in September when everyone is in the mood for a change of season.


1. Kyoto, Japan

Oh yes, Kyoto! When it comes to Autumn travel in Asia, nothing does it better than Kyoto. It's one of the oldest and loveliest cities in Japan, where atmosphere is so stunning and picturesque.

Daigoji temple, a world site heritage in Kyoto

It is one of the many places on Earth acknowledged by most travel researchers and reviewers as a must-visit. 


With its natural charm, beautiful scenery of nature, great food and historic environment, Kyoto is truly a picture of loveliness.


Autumn season makes it even lovelier and gorgeous. Everywhere is blanketed with Maple trees, and forested mountains hang in the background, making Kyoto a charming Japanese city to experience the best of autumn travel.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

How Safe Flying with Budget Airlines? Here’s World’s Safest and Accident-prone Airlines

August 21, 2021 0

Since the low-cost flying trend was introduced in early 2000, traveling abroad and anywhere in the country has never been this faster and convenient. What was once a six-day sea travel, can now take up to only two hours by air.


But with recent aviation disasters hounding the budget airline industry due to maintenance issues, technical malfunction, less-trained pilots, among others, travelers began to worry if boarding a low-cost airline poses more danger than with an expensive airline.


This concept however, was refuted by the Federal Aviation Administration, stating that all airline companies, whether budget airline or an expensive one, must meet the safety regulations set by the International Aviation Authority before given a go signal to operate. If an airline passes this review, there’s no reason why it should not be considered safe


Reason for Air Tragedy


There are several reasons why a plane crash occurs. It could be natural disaster, stormy weather, technical malfunction, controlled flight terrain or airline’s poor reputation on aircraft maintenance, and sadly, pilot error.


Other air disasters were attributed to a loose missile, intentional and targeted air crimes like hijacking and shooting down, and recently, pilot suicide.


Some, however, remained a mystery, like the fate of Malaysian Air Flight MH370 that disappeared from the face of the earth in March 2014.


Terrible accidents happen, and no airline company is free from any trouble while up on air, even the most stable names can be tested when the aircraft has a faulty system and with cockpit flight crew that easily panic. 


However, it still spells a big difference if an airline undergoes a safety audit, has a reputation of ensuring a high standard operation maintenance, and provide excellent programs for pilot training.


All airlines have incidents every day, but most of these troubles can be attributed to engine manufacture issues and not airline operational problems. 


However, it is on how pilots handle the emergency that determines the fate of the flight and the safety of the passengers on board.


In the past air tragedies: LionAir Flight 610 (October 2018) a Boeing 737 Max aircraft, AirAsia Flight 8501 (December 2014) an Airbus A320 aircraft, Ethiopian Air Flight 302 (March 2019) a Boeing 737 Max unit, resulting investigation pointed to technical malfunction as the main cause of the trouble, but it was how the pilots responded to the malfunction/emergency that caused the plane to crash.


Two deadliest air disasters in the Philippines: Cebu Pacific Flight 387, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 type (February 1998) and Air Philippines Flight 541 (April 2000) Boeing 737 aircraft, were attributed to pilot error due to “controlled flight terrain”. Official result of the investigation ruled on the mistake of the pilots in maneuvering the plane resulting to its fatal demise.


Why flight crew tells us to turn off electronic gadgets


Takeoffs and landings are the most dangerous aspects in flying. Boeing research shows that statistically planes are more prone to technical malfunctions during takeoff and landings than in mid-air due to sudden change in altitude.


Pilots have less time to react to problems because they are close to the ground and moving quickly. Passengers are often advised to turn off electronic gadgets to avoid interrupting the aircraft system that may affect the course of the flight.


The Concept of Flying Cheaper


Let’s admit it, some of us never really thought (perhaps unconsciously) of checking safety in flying when booking a plane ticket. 


What we have in mind is just the “low airfare” factor, the cheaper the better, we normally wait for sale seats or seasonal deals when we plan a trip. Or if we eye a possible travel destination, we immediately check the promo seat offers of budget airlines


But do we bothered checking the airline’s safety records, the caliber of the pilot, the type of aircraft used for the low fare deals before booking a flight?


For budget travelers, the only factor that has been put into consideration is: Which airline offers the cheapest airfare deal that fits our budget?


Maintenance issues, aviation audit and other safety reviews never crossed in our mind. That’s how we plan a trip. Always on the cheapest deals but never on our safety.


Cost-cutting in Budget Airlines


The budget airlines cut all corners to reduce their airfare to the cheapest, mostly they have to remove the “flying in comfort factors” like the leg room, luggage allowances, flight meals, freebies, lounge amenities and well-paid pilots.


Another perception about budget airlines is that their flights are not often on time, mostly delayed, prone to misplacing passengers’ luggage and poor customer service. We have to get what we paid for, but sometimes we never mind these inconveniences, we go for anything that cut cost.


The Danger of Budget Airlines


When low-cost concept of flying was introduced in early 2000, the once hard-to-achieve dream of exploring beautiful destinations out-of-the-country suddenly became attainable. Domestic flights, as well as short haul destinations in Southeast Asia


Airasia brought the low-cost concept of flying in Asia in 2002, and it was a huge success that other premier airlines in the region began offering affordable flight rates. 


In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific joined AirAsia in the budget airlines revolution and the flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, even created a separate segment for this trend through its domestic carrier, PAL Express (formerly Air Philippines).


However, experts in aviation warn that this concept is detrimental to travelers as most budget airlines usually have tighter schedules and with less back up, safety of passengers ultimately became an issue in this segment.


Where to check safety records


International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a type of operational safety audit that most luxury airlines needed to complete. It is an internationally recognized evaluation designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.


However, most budget airlines are not part of International Air Transport Association (IATA) so they are not obliged to take operational safety audit like International Operation Safety Audit (IOSA). And this is where all troubles came in. The next time you book a ticket, ensure to check the airline’s audit review on IOSA and IATA.


Safety in Budget Airlines


In the last couple of decades, the world had seen modernization in aviation which fortifies air travel as the safest and the fastest form of transportation.<


Aviation experts would often vouch the fact that statistically, air travel is considered safest compared to a land travel. 


The odds of a passenger being involved in an accident are incredibly small compared to a car, and the odd of dying in a plane crash is even smaller


This is largely drawn on the concept of probability. The lesser the hour of exposure, the minor incidents of tragedies.


However, air crash carries the worst scenario on fatality rate, almost 100% compared to land and sea travel. This is due to extreme impact of the plane hitting the crowd due to rapid descent.


This is the reason why we need to take precautions when booking an air ticket. For destinations that have no other alternative but to go what's available, passengers left no choice. But for destinations that have multiple airlines serving the route we need to check the safety records.


So how safe flying with a budget airline?


If an airline meets certain safety regulations, they are basically just as safe as any premium airlines. While there are airlines that scale from average to absolutely terrible with regards to safety records in flying, there are budget airlines that have never suffered a fatal crash like WestJet, Flybe, Virgin America and Jetstar according to Business Insider.


Safety Rating of Airlines


Passengers have ways to check if a particular airline follows safety regulations of international aviation authorities


AirLineRatings.com maintained a data base of airlines that have higher standard of safety. This is the only online safety and product rating website that devotes on airline reviews. 


They developed a rating system that promotes safety throughout the airline industry and awards 7-star as its highest rating.


The factors used by the website to draw the top list are based on a comprehensive analysis utilizing information from the world’s aviation governing body, crash data, results of audits conducted by the governing body of aviation, the international civil aviation organization, fatality-free record for the past 10 years and whether the airlines are on a banned list of countries.


Airlines that have done the International Operation Safety Audit (IOSA) are 4.3 times better on its safety record than ones that do not have


IOSA uses internationally recognized audit principles and designed to conduct audit in a standardized manner. Airlines are re-evaluated every two years.


If an airline gained an endorsement from Federal Aviation Authority, it is awarded with a full seven star. 


FAA endorsement is per country and not per airline company. The ban from FAA arises on the country’s inability to follow international aviation standards for aircraft operations and maintenance


Regardless of whether an airline company meets with international safety standards if its country of origin failed to adhere to the standard, potential risk to safety is considered too high by the FAA.


Let’s find out which airlines received highest ratings for safety. But first, we need to know the different types of aircraft utilized in commercial flights.


Types of Aircraft in Commercial Flights


Aircraft units are not solely produced by aircraft manufacturers. Large parts of an aircraft component are sourced out from specialized suppliers that support the requirements of these aircraft manufacturers.


There are five types of aircraft used in commercial flights. Airbus and Boeing are the most popular. They supply majority of commercial airlines in the world especially the long-haul flights. While Bombardier, Tupoloev and Embraer concentrate on domestic and regional airlines.


McDonnell Douglas DC once supply aircraft to commercial airlines (Cebu Pacific once maintained several domestic routes with this type of aircraft), however, recently only few airlines have this type of aircraft in their fleet.


AIRBUS – Registered in The Netherlands in Europe, Airbus is one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers which most commercial airlines in the world sourced out their fleet. It is headquartered in Toulouse, France.


Airbus also has three subsidiaries in the USA, Japan and China. Currently, this type of aircraft has a product line-up of 14 jet types ranging from 100 to 525 seats. Airbus aircraft is recognized for its comfort, economy and versatility.


BOEING - It is the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft in the world. They also design and manufacture its own units, rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems.


It is a U.S company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. They employ more than 158,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries, making them one of the most diverse and innovative workforces anywhere in the world.


BOMBARDIER – A global transportation company based in Montreal, Canada. They operate two businesses: Aerospace and Rail Transportation. Bombardier Aerospace is the world's third largest civil aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus


It is considered a leader in the design of innovative aviation products and services for the business, regional and amphibious aircraft markets. It's aircraft and services are seen in a number of different markets including: Business aircraft - Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft families; Commercial aircraft - new CSeries program, CRJ Series and Q-Series aircraft families; Amphibious aircraft - Bombardier 415 and Bombardier 415 MP aircraft; Jet travel solutions.


EMBRAER – This is a Brazilian company with its main headquarter located in São José dos Campos, Brazil. It is one of the main aircraft manufacturers in the world and focusing on specific market segments with high growth potential in commercial, defense, and executive aviation.Since 1996, Embraer has produced and delivered more than 1000 ERJs to more than 37 airlines in 24 countries. The three markets that Embraer manufactures: Commercial Aviation, Defense system and Executive Aviation.


TUPOLOEV – A Russian aerospace company, headquartered in Moscow, Russia. It develops and manufactures both civil and military aerospace products such as aircraft and weapons systems. 


The company is also actively developing missile and naval aviation technologies, with more than 18,000 Tupolev aircraft produced for the USSR and the Eastern Bloc.


On March 27, 1977, Pan American World Airways Flight 1736 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 4805 both Boeing 747 passenger jetliners collided in the runway of Los Rodeos Airport, now Tenerife North Airport, in Tenerife, Canary Islands.


All 248 people on board the KLM had died while Pan Am recorded 335 fatalities and 61 survivors. It had 583 fatalities combined, the deadliest in aviation history. Resulting investigation on the accident pointed on the miscommunication between the Air Traffic Controllers and pilots of both flights while maneuvering a takeoff.


The second deadliest air disaster in the world is the Japan Airlines Flight 123, a scheduled domestic flight from Tokyo to Osaka. The aircraft was a Boeing 747SR


On August 12, 1985, the plane suffered a sudden decompression just 12 minutes after takeoff. The incident was the result of in-flight structural failure due to improper maintenance leading to rapid decompression.


It plummeted to the Mount Takamagahara, killing 520 people on board, however, it had four survivors, all females. The survivors seated on the left side and toward the middle seat rows 54-60 in the rear of the aircraft, the only part of the plane that remained intact after the crash. It was considered the deadliest air disaster in the world by a single flight.


The world’s deadliest mid-air crash happened on November 12, 1996. It involved Saudia Flight 763, a Boeing 747 aircraft, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, an Ilyushin II-76, in Northern India. The two collided mid-air killing a combined of 349 people on board.


Turkish Airlines Flight 981, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft, crashed on March 3, 1974 shortly after takeoff from Orly Airport in Paris, killing 346 people on board. It was the second deadliest single flight disaster in aviation history.


The deadliest air disaster involving Airbus


One of the Airbus aircraft models considered to be accident-prone is the A320 type. A narrow body airliner with a sitting capacity of 100 to 299.


It has more than 30 recorded accidents. One of the deadliest being TAM Airlines Flight 3054 that had overshoot the runway in Brazil due to pilot error, killing 175 people on board and 12 ground crew.


AirAsia Flight 8501 that crashed into the Java sea on December 28, 2014 was also an Airbus A320 type that malfunctioned mid-air, killing 162 people on board when it plummeted to the sea.


Resulting investigation pointed to technical malfunction that made the system entered the stalling condition forcing the plane to nosedive.


However, it was how the pilots responded to the malfunction that caused the plane to crash. After thorough investigation, it was found out that Airasia pilots are not trained to do an upset recovery when the flight system entered a stall condition.


One of the safest budget airlines in the world, a subsidiary of Cathay Airways


Accident-prone Aircraft 


Boeing 737 Max topped the list as the accident-prone aircraft type followed by Boeing 747.


In 2019, the aviation authority grounded all Boeing 737 Max units around the world after two of its units crashed in the span of just five months, the Indonesian Lion Air that plummeted into the Java sea followed by the Ethiopian Air that slammed to the farm field of Addis Ababa just minutes after takeoff.


McDonnell Douglas DC-80, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 followed next. In Airbus family, the reported accident-prone aircraft type is the A320 with close to 10 fatal accident recorded. 


The Safest Aircraft?


So far the aircraft type that has the cleanest flight records are Boeing 717, Boeing 777, Airbus 380 superjumbo, Airbus 220, Airbus A319, Embraer ERJ-145. All have zero fatal accident. 


Safest Budget Airlines


The following list is based on AirlineRatings.com review. These budget airlines have passed the stringent IOSA and have excellent safety records.


Air Arabia – UAE based airline with headquarter in Al Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, it earned a perfect seven-star rating due to its high standard safety record. As of 2017, it has no fatal crashes involved.


Wizz Air  – This is a Hungarian budget airline headquartered in Budapest. It is regarded as one of the safest low-cost carriers in Europe.


Westjet Airlines – This is a Canadian budget airline founded in 1996. It provides flight around the North American region and the Caribbean. It is the second largest air carrier in Canada behind Air Canada


Vueling Airline – This is a Spanish low-cost carrier headquartered in the bustling city of Barcelona. It is considered as the largest airline in Spain by fleet size and number of destinations


Volaris – A Mexican low cost carrier and the country’s second largest airline that flies non-stop within Mexico and the United States. It is considered the cheapest way to travel around Mexico and the safest.


JetBlue Airways – A major American low cost airline based in Long Island City, New York and the sixth largest airline in the United States.


IndiGo Airlines – A major budget airline in India and considered its largest airline by fleet size and passengers carried. It is also known for its punctual departures and arrivals and great customer service.


Hongkong Express Airways – This is the first low-cost airline in Hongkong fully owned by Cathay Pacific Airways. It is considered as one of the world’s safest budget airlines. It serves domestic and international flights and earned excellent reviews from satisfied passengers.


Frontier Airlines – One of the major budget airlines operating in the United States based in Denver, Colorado. It serves flights domestically and internationally. 


Flybe – This is United Kingdom’s largest domestic airline founded in 1979. It has been regarded as one of the safest budget airlines in Europe, however, it suffered a major blow when coronavirus hits the world. Flybe collapsed its operation and announced in March that they will stop operating and grounded all its flights.


Accident-prone Airlines


From the safest airlines to the most dangerous according to AirlineRatings:


Tara Air – AirlineRatings just gave it one-star (out of 7) rating on safety due to its multiple fatal crash in 2010 and 2011. This is a Nepal-based airline.


Nepal Airlines – it has seen nine fatal accidents over the last eight years. But we must remember that flying on a largely mountainous region like Nepal entails a lot of danger. Nepal Airlines fleet are banned to fly to any European Union members.


Ariana Afghan Airlines – This is a flag carrier of Afghanistan and has just five aircraft in its current operation.


Bluewing Airlines – Based in Suriname, a very small nation in South America. It is also banned to fly in the European airspace.


Kam Air – This Afghanistan based airline only managed to get a score of one star in safety. It is banned to fly in the U.S and European airspace due to safety records.


Trigana Air Service – This is an Indonesian airline which suffered 10 hull losses and 14 accidents and found itself banned from the airspace of the US and Europe.


SCAT Airlines – This is a Kazakhstan-based airline and has a very poor safety record. SCAT does not operate with an internationally recognized safety audit certificate however, it has no record of a fatal crash since 2013 and the airline has been making huge improvements on safety.


World's Safest Airlines


The Top 20 Safest Airlines in the world for 2020. These premium airlines are standout in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft according to AirlineRatings Editor-in-Chief: Geoffrey Thomas.Flag carrier of Taiwan, one of the safest airlines in Asia


Qantas – the flag carrier of Australia. Qantas is considered the world’s safest airline for eight years in a row. It has no recorded fatal accidents that resulted to death since the commercial jet era.Air New Zealand – the flag carrier of New Zealand.

EVA Air – EVA stands for Evergreen Airways, is a second largest airline in Taiwan. It has no recorded hull losses, accidents, or fatalities since its establishment in 1989.

Etihad Airways – the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)</li><li>Qatar Airways – the flag carrier of Qatar.

Singapore Airlines -The flag carrier in Singapore</li><li>Emirates – This is a state-owned flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates based in Dubai.

Alaska Airlines – the fifth largest airline in the United States, headquartered in Washington

Cathay Pacific Airways – The flag carrier of Hongkong

Virgin Australia – an Australian airline and one of its largest in terms of fleet size.

Hawaiian Airlines – flag carrier of Hawaii, the largest commercial airline in the US.

Virgin Atlantic Airways – A British airline founded by Sir Richard Branson.

TAP Portugal – flag carrier of Portugal.

Scandinavian Airlines – flag carrier of Denmark

Royal Jordanian Airlines – flag carrier of Jordan

Swiss International Airlines – flag carrier of Switzerland

Finnair – a flag carrier and largest airline in Finland

Lufthansa – officially known as Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany

Aer Lingus – flag carrier of Ireland

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – flag carrier of The Netherlands


The Safest Airline In the World


Qantas is the safest airline in the world for eight consecutive years now. Qantas, stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, is the flag carrier of Australia.


It is the world’s safest airline due to the highest standards of training for its pilots, who are mostly top guns. When you pay for a Qantas ticket, it’s like you are paying for its best paid pilots.


Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era and so with Hawaiian and Finnair.


Qantas is the most experienced airline in the industry and has been the leader in the development of future Air Navigation System, the flight data recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance, automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in the cloud using RNP.


Always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.


Commercial Airlines in the Philippines


So, with the top 20 list of the world’s safest airlines rated by AirlineRatings, many might have wondered where the Philippine flag carrier, Philippine Airlines ([PAL) , stands in safety issues. It has no mention anywhere in the article despite all those flag carriers of other countries topping the list.


As of this research, PAL listed as 30 safest airline in the world. After careful evaluation and feedback from the airline and aviation industry, AirlineRatings.com upgraded PAL’s rating to a 7-star score, which is considered a perfect score rating for safety records. While PAL’s domestic and budget airline, PAL Express, also earned a 7-star rating on safety.


PAL has been awarded by Skytax, a London-based rating organization as World’s Most Improved Airline for 2019. The Airline Passenger Experience Association in the United States also awarded the flag carrier of the Philippines with a 4-star global rating for quality service.


Apart from PAL, Philippines has two other commercial airlines: Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia, an affiliate of the Airasia Group based in Malaysia.


Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia focused its operations on the budget airline market. They maintained Airbus and Boeing aircraft types in their fleet.


And here’s good news to travelers! Apart from PAL and PAL Express, AirlineRatings.com upgraded the safety rating for Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia to 7-star because they have completed the IOSA!


The Fleet


Below are the types of aircraft utilized in the commercial  flights of the airline companies in the Philippines. Philippine Airlines: Airbus A320, A321, A321CEO, Airbus A330, Airbus A350-900, Boeing 777


PAL Express</strong>: Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Bombardier Q400 NextGen


Cebu Pacific Air</strong>: Airbus A320-200, Airbus A320neo, Airbus A321neo, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A321XLR, Airbus A330-900neo


Philippines AirAsia</strong>: Airbus A320-200, Airbus 320Neo, Airbus A321Neo


All Commercial airlines operating in the Philippines have achieved full compliance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) joining a rooster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the international standards governing aviation safety


In addition, PAL, Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia are not part of the banned list of airlines prohibited to fly in the U.S and Europe’s airspace.


This is to conclude that it is safe to fly with Philippine-based budget airlines!


Sunday, July 11, 2021

5 Outdoor Travel Ideas from Reba and Wu Lei We Can Take To De-Stress

July 11, 2021 0

The pandemic virtually forced us to stay at home. With nothing much to do other than wait for the world to reopen its door for leisure again.

However, as traveling slowly reopens,  adventurers at heart start eyeing destinations and activities how to make the most of the outdoor life after a year of home quarantining.


Though, things are no longer the same as before where we are free to explore the places anytime we like, we can still enjoy adventure as long as we are mindful with the health protocols and coronavirus guidelines set by the government.

Me at one of my nature trips pre-pandemic

Outdoor adventure is such a relaxing escape. It brings tons of benefits to our mental state and helps us breathe life comfortably. 


The calmness of nature and the refreshing view of the greenery fill our system with the vitality needed to go through times of uncertainties. An excursion to the mountain, trip to the countryside or simply chilling among the verdant trees in a botanical garden allow us to reboot from stress.

In addition, the natural beauty of the environment gives our soul a time to rest. It heals emotional and mental troubles especially during this difficult moment of our time.

By staring at nature alone is a gift to our sanity and vitality. It gives us a sense of balance, stabilizes our inner self and energizes our physical strength. It's a great diversion in life.

Here are five outdoor travel ideas inspired from the recent Weibo posts of our favorite C-Drama couple, Dilraba Dilmurat/Dilireba (who played Changge in The Long Ballad), and Leo Wu/Wu Lei (who portrayed Ashile Sun in the same series). 


Nature trips we can consider comes weekend, to help us slow down a bit. And take a breathe from all the muddles brought by pandemic.

1. Cycling Road Trip -  This is one of the favorite outdoor pursuits of people who love to hop in a bike. According to a cycling aficionado in her blog, "there's a feel-good factor that can be reaped from riding a bike on an outdoor adventure. It makes you smile and feel better because it is outdoor and you can bathe on the fresh air and sunlight".

Leo Wu during his recent biking road trip

Taking a cycling road trip in the countryside energizes the physical strength as you pedal through the breezy atmosphere. It also offers the best opportunity to see the environment in its natural beauty. 

2. Visit the nearest lakeside - A weekend getaway to the lake offers an opportunity to connect with nature and chill. Being in a scenic atmosphere gives us a different level of relaxation. And that's all what we wanted during this difficult time. 

Leo Wu pedaling his way through the scenic road and lakeside

The peaceful and tranquil surrounding of the lakeside provides relief and sanctuary from the chaos of the world. More over, a trip to the lakeside does good to our lungs because the atmosphere around the lake has negative ions and at its purest compared to the city air.

Qiandao lake in Zhejiang province, China

3. Chill in a mountain resort - Ah, mountain resort, who would not want to be in this tranquil place at this difficult time? Indeed, nature resort gives our body and mind an ultimate relaxation. It's a great opportunity to unwind and go off the radar for a time.

Reba chilling in a scenic surrounding

4. Dine in a Garden Cafe - Imagine relaxing in a tranquil environment, surrounded with lush tropical plants, while enjoying meals or a cup of coffee with a French toast? It's one of life's greatest comforts. 

Reba chilling in a garden cafe 

Dining Alfresco, with a view of perfect blooms and all the elements of nature, is a breather, a relaxing escape, a comfortable food getaway. 

It makes the dining experience more special and relax. Nothing beats outdoor dining in a time we all need to take a reset in life to forget the terrible things in the environment. 

So, relax, chill, and sit comfortably in a garden cafe, and enjoy an afternoon tea.

5. Walk around the nature trail - It does not have to be a rigorous mountain hike or a laborious  nature trek. A simple slow walk along the nature path soaked in verdant plants is enough to invigorate a mundane weekend.

Reba taking a nature walk

Immersing in nature is one of the ancient remedies to reduce stress and restore vitality. It does not necessarily to be very far from home, a public park with a huge portion of land shrouded with lush trees is enough to experience this comfort.

Wu Lei during his recent biking expedition in the countryside

Nature walk offers a quieter more peaceful life. It relieves anxiety and distress, as noises we can hear are only chirping of the birds, water running from a stream, rustling of the leaves and gentle swishing of the breeze.

Dilireba taking a walk in a quiet trail

A nature walk is very therapeutic. More and more people in some parts of the world take part in the so-called "forest-bathing", which involves a leisure walk around the forest or wilderness. 

Smelling the fresh blooms

It found out according to a study in Japan, that "forest-bathing" or a nature walk increases immune function and lower pulse rates and blood pressure. It also provides us with a happy hormones.

Reba doing some "forest-bathing"

So, just like what Dilireba did in her recent Weibo post - taking a nature walk and taking a whift of fresh blooms - schedule a trip to nature, mini-forest, a public park or a botanical garden near you and do some leisure stroll to calm your tired spirit and invigorate weary thoughts.

Walking along the scenic path and looking around the trees and flowers can do a miracle restoring our depleting energy and helps us recover from life's tension. The alluring view of nature alleviates distractions from the mind.

Our fave C-Drama couple, 
Reba and Wu Lei, 
taking off from their busy schedule to be with nature

Indeed, outdoor adventure is a therapy, a great stress reliever. Start planning a weekend escape from these five ideas from Reba and Wu Lei's latest outdoor trip. 


Who knows, a nature trip might be just want you needed to de-stress.


Photo credit: Wu Lei (Weibo) and Dilireba (Weibo)


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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Travel Wanderlust: A Visit To Stunning C-Drama Filming Locations

June 24, 2021 0

It's been a while since my last travel adventure. The pandemic effectively cut off everything about my travel plans, so I have not posted any articles from an actual leisure trip in almost two years. 


However lately, while watching the travel vlog of Chinese heartthrob, Wu Lei (Leo Wu), who portrayed the irresistible Ashile Sun in the recently concluded C-Drama, The Long Ballad, on his recent outdoor cycling adventure to Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province, China, I became interested in writing a travel feature again.

Chinese heartthrob, Wu Lei, on his recent cycling adventure trip


Although borders are still close and international travel for leisure is still off the table, we can actually start planning our next trip as early as now, set the budget and do some research on gorgeous places to visit.

Eternal Love shot in Xiangshan Global Studio


Since I am kinda hooked recently to C-Drama (Chinese TV and web series), I am fascinated with the breathtaking scenery of the C-drama filming locations. And like most fanatics who became interested on a Korea travel after becoming addicted to K-drama series, I am also interested to explore the C-drama filming locations.


C-Drama filming locations


If you are frequently watching historical or costume series of C-Drama, you will notice the locations are mostly in tranquil villages, beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes and quaint towns that recreate the life of an old world.


Actually, most of it are just shot in China's two biggest film studios - Hengdian and Xiangshan Global studios. However, there are some instances when filming takes place in beautiful villages and mountainside. 

Li Bingbing as Nichang in Forbidden Kingdom shot in Hengdian


There are locations that are not just film studios, there are actually scenery. The production team sometimes will recreate actual atmosphere to suit the story. For example, The Long Ballad production team planted thousands of seeds to recreate a prairie or grassland and erected 2,000 tents to shoot the Ashile tribe scenes.


Most of the locations boast a breathtaking sight of nature, spectacular countryside scene, mountains, lakes and a bed of beautiful garden. 


1. Hengdian World Studios. Located in Hengdian, Dongyang, Zhejiang province. It is operated by Hengdian Group owned by Xu Wenrong and it is the world's largest film studio. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Asia with a recorded visitors of 20 million in 2019.

Aerial view of Hengdian world studios


It recreates Imperial Palace buildings, pavilions. Around 70% of Chinese TV series and films are shoot in Hengdian studio. Even the K-drama, Empress Ki, was shoot there.


It has 21 filming lots spread across 30 square kilometers. The tour here not only for drama memories but also making each one's wildest film fantasies coming true.

The scene takes you back in time, to the ancient world of imperial dynasties of Qing, Sui, Ming, Tang and Qin as the area is filled with glittery palaces designed to recreate the atmosphere of the country's vivid past.


It has also a theme park called Dream Valley where visitors can watch plays, live shows and movies. One of its grandest buildings is the replica of the Imperial Palace building.


Most scenes of The Long Ballad were shot in Hengdian 


Popular films and TV series shot there are:

  • Forbidden Kingdom (a blockbuster Jackie Chan and Jet Li film collaboration released in 2008)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee film which won Best Foreign Film in the Oscar awards in 2001 starring Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat)
  • Empress Ki (Korean historical drama)
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Mulan (2020 Disney live action film starring Liu Yifei)
  • More than 70% historical and costume C-Drama series are shot here. The Long Ballad, The Untamed, Legend of Fuyao, and many more.


Famous replicas in this outdoor film studio:

  • Guangzhou Street and Hong Kong Street 
  • The Palace of Emperor Qin
  • Palace of Ming and Qing Dynasties
  • Qing Ming Shang He Tu
  • The Dream Bund
  • New Yuanmingyuan
  • Dream Valley


Entrance fee: 400 yuan per person. Operating hours: 8:00pm to 5:00pm


What to do at Hengdian World studio:

  • Watch live cultural performances, shows and movies at night time at Dream Valley
  • Experience an ancient costume dress-up just like the characters in historical films and series
  • Stay in film set hotels
  • Tour around the magnificent imperial palaces, princely pavilions and replicas of old oriental streets
  • Dream bund area allows you to experience the old Shanghai

How To Get There:


It takes 4-hour travel via land from Shanghai and Jiangsu. There's no airport in Hengdian town, the nearest area with international airport is Hangzhou which is two and a half hours travel to Hengdian. But there are hotels, restaurant and shopping centers around the town.



2. Xiangshan Global Studios. A film and television studio located in Xinqiao town in the Xiangshan county, Zhejiang province. Measured at 78,000 square meters or 194 acre, it is a popular location of C-Drama historical series and films, however a bit smaller than Hengdian world studios.

Xiangshan Global Studio

Most popular films and series shot here:

  • The Return of the Condor Heroes
  • The Legend of the Condor Heroes
  • Nirvana in Fire
  • Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom
  • The Flame's Daughter
  • The Longest Day in Chang'an
  • Legend of Qin
  • Chinese Paladin 3
  • Sound of the Desert
  • Journey to the West
  • The Warrior's Gate (film)
  • Sacrifice (film)
  • The Four (film)

3. Yunnan mountain and ethnic village - Located in Yunnan province, this place is also famous as film location of historical series. Yunnan is in the Southernmost part of China bordering Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Tibet.

Yunnan village


It is mountainous and mostly covered with beautiful lakes, great for nature excursion and meditation. Best travel time at Yunnan is during Autumn and Spring. Its mountains are covered with cherry blossoms at springtime.

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces


It is also home to many UNESCO world heritage sites, its most famous is the cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.


Yunnan mountainside and its ethnic village are famous as film locations of most C-drama historical series.


4. Zhangjiajie National Park - famous as the filming location of James Cameron's Avatar, it is located in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province. The best time to visit this place is during Spring or Autumn when the weather is beautiful. Recommended visit is two days to make the most of your time.


5. Wulong County, Chongqing - This area is most famous as a film location of Transformer: Age of Extinction. It is located in Chongqing  province and can be reached through Chongqing North Railway Station. 

Wulong County, Chongqing


The best travel experience in this area is through Wulong Karst landscape which comprises of natural bridges, fairy mountain and Furong cave.


Its three natural bridges are the largest natural bridge group in Asia. These three natural bridges lie north to south, crossing over the Yangshuihe Gorge and connecting the mountains at the two sides. Wulong mountain is famous as a cinematography landscape of most wuxia and xianxia C-drama series.

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