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There’s much to see in the US; this is a given. But tourists will (arguably) almost always focus on what they (regularly) see in Hollywood flicks – e.g. Times Square in New York, Rockefeller Center (still in NY), those steps in Philly/Philadelphia where fictional character Rocky supposedly did his exercising, Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory (still in Los Angeles), The Strip in Las Vegas, and so on…

And though there’s this place that may already be well-documented (perhaps particularly by non-Filipinos), I’d argue that – particularly for those who aren’t exactly tourist-y – there’s this place in the US that’s worth checking out because it isn’t necessarily as well-trodden. Yes, it’s also been used for location by films like Point Break, Inception, The Usual Suspects, The Craft and The Karate Kid; but even in these films, the place wasn’t really sold as a standalone “product”. This makes this area… less “abused”, if you will.

So we head to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

WHERE’S IT AT

PCH starts in Southern California at Interstate 5 south of San Juan Capistrano; ending at US 101 in Leggett in Mendocino County.

If coming from San Francisco and then heading to Los Angeles, the coastal drive is via Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo; and then via 101 to Los Angeles. Visitors can take the PCH/Highway 1 and go to Malibu and Santa Monica.

The coastal drive is around 500 miles. It can take 10-12 hours without stops.

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But – as it is one of the most scenic drives in the world – you may want to drive slow. And if you want to really, really enjoy the trip, spend a night or two along the way.

WHAT’S THERE

There are lots of places worth a stopover.

Muir Woods
Start at the fringe of SF, where – just beyond the city – lies a a forest almost reminiscent of the woods of Lothlórien (yes, where Galadriel resided; in The Lord of the Rings). Here, you can find Redwood trees that are over 500 years old. So – can’t afford to fly to Middle Earth (i.e. New Zealand) but keen to experience something… ethereal? This is a good place to start.

Half Moon Bay
Heading out of SF (I’s say about 30 minutes south of the city) is Half Moon Bay/Spanishtown, one of the oldest settlements in San Mateo County. If you’re fond of small town appeal, this one’s worth a visit, indeed, as the aim here is to preserve its past (beautifully), giving you that rustic sense.

Monterey
Here you can check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, or Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Big Sur
Considered a destination in itself. Big Sur is a designated American National Scenic Byway. When you see it, you’d understand why – e.g. wildlife-watching (say, whales and elephant seals), cliffside waterfall (in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park), and so on.

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To reach Big Sur, travel over the Bixby Bridge, one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world. Measuring 714 feet long and 280 feet high, it is one of the most photographed bridges on the West Coast (and even the world).

Santa Barbara
If you think everything here is… just views of the coast, fear not. We have the likes of Santa Barbara, too, where visitors can shop, wine and dine, and so on. If you happen to be in town when there’s a wine fest, you’re in luck; otherwise, you need not worry, as there are a number of award-winning wineries you can check out here.

Dana Point
Considered as the “Whale Watching Capital of the West”, you’d get your chance to see the marine mammals in their natural habitat here. So even if you don’t intend to swim in Doheny State Beach, the Salt Creek Beach or Baby Beach, this is worth considering.

Venice Beach
Heading closer to LA, you’d see Venice Beach, a somewhat… quirky location if ever there is one. Start the walk there from Santa Monica Pier and then discover this… area full of, well, Bohemian people. Yes, people watching is a must here – e.g. check out the people working out in Muscle Beach, birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US, and where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train out in the open; the skater boys; the artists selling their crafts; the abundant recreative drug users; the health buffs; the surfers braving the cold waters; and so on…

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This one’s truly a must-visit.

To fully enjoy this trip, remember that it is not a race. So… take it slow, and you’re certain to be rewarded.

WHY HEAD HERE

It is unlikely you will get lost on this trip; there are just two roads all the way down: 1 and 101.

But you may lose network signal in some areas.

But who cares, really, when you can put that gadget down and just enjoy what nature has to offer. And in the end, this is why you ought to head to these parts of the US – to see nature, experience small town living, and basically take it slow before getting swallowed again by the hustle and bustle of city living and, yes, life for that matter.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

Travel

Surrounded by art

Heading to Niagara Falls in NY in the US? The waterfalls may be the main attraction;buut there’s more to see in Niagara Falls than the body of water. Go IG crazy with a quick visit at Art Alley NF.

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When heading to Niagara Falls in the state of New York in the US, the three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge (between the Ontario, Canada and, yes, the US state of New York) may be the main attraction. This isn’t exactly surprising; heck, everyone who saw 1980’s Superman (before he got grumpy and too dark – even if he stayed yummy – with DC’s re-imagining of the alien boy scout) will want to see the… grandeur of the location. For that matter, Hollywood has repeatedly “told” us (via the likes of 2003’s Bruce Almighty, 2014’s Tammy, 2016’s After the Sun Fell, and 2016’s The American Side) that it’s a must-visit.

When you get there, though, it is but… a body of water.

Sure, it is grand. Perhaps made even grander by the power of illumination, with the waterfalls enveloped in various colors when the sun sets. But truth be told, there’s more to see in Niagara Falls than just the body of water.

Case in point: Art Alley NF.

Located a few minutes from Niagara Falls State Park, Art Alley NF is a public mural project located at 425 Third Street in Niagara Falls, NY.

Credit for its development goes to Seth Piccirillo, the city’s community development director, and Rob Lynch, one of Niagara Falls High School’s art teachers. The two established the roadside inlet in 2016 to house 19 murals from local artists.

Think of San Francisco’s Clarion Alley, and you’d get the idea of what this is. Sans the angst, political activism, et cetera…

The location used to be a vacant lot blocked by a wall. It was blasted down by the city’s Department of Community Development to make way for a walkway lined with the murals.

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Street art enthusiasts ought to like this; or at least IG aficionados.

Though I say that again, when in Niagara Falls, NY in the US, don’t just stick to the body of water (you can check this in a just a day); instead, be surrounded by art with a quick visit to Art Alley NF.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Traveling as a broke college student isn’t impossible

To be honest, any of your trips will require some money, because all the blessings of our civilization have some monetary equivalent in one or another currency. However, it is extremely important to understand that travel expenses can be reduced to some minimum that can be quite easily obtained or earned anywhere.

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Photo by Capturing the human heart. from Unsplash.com

Traveling without money or traveling at minimal cost is quite possible. This is verified by the great experience of many students. To be honest, any of your trips will require some money, because all the blessings of our civilization have some monetary equivalent in one or another currency. However, it is extremely important to understand that travel expenses can be reduced to some minimum that can be quite easily obtained or earned anywhere.

It is possible to extract the necessary funds both before the trip and during your journey. The most optimal and most often used option is to make money before the trip. Earning during the trip itself is difficult and requires certain mental costs, language proficiency, ability to negotiate and sociability.

How to reduce costs while traveling?

1. Transport

The most basic way to reduce transport costs is to use hitchhiking. It is the cheapest way to travel across the country. In many ways, it may not be a convenient and comfortable way of movement but it greatly reduces your costs. 

If you need to use air travel then there are ways to find cheap air tickets. Many companies often arrange various promotions, layout promotional fares, making substantial discounts on their flights. You can find special services for monitoring such actions on the Internet. You should subscribe to them and follow the layout of messages. This is inconvenient when you have limited dates but if you are looking for tickets in advance, you can quite easily stumble upon a direction suitable for you and buy a cheap ticket.

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There are cheap bus companies selling their tickets via the Internet as well. They can also be purchased much cheaper if purchased in advance. There are such companies in the USA and Europe, and there are many more in Asia.

2. Overnight stay

To get an apartment for an overnight stay you can use many well-known services such as CouchSurfing, where you are looking for people in a particular region, and you can spend the night or stay for a while. These people also often play the role of guide for you, showing the city, and telling valuable information about it.

If you do not have the ability or desire to use Couchsurfing, then you can sleep in a tent and there is nothing wrong with that. Putting a tent in the center of any city, of course, is not the best idea, but if you stop in front of the city in advance, even on the highway, you can easily find a place to sleep. This is the same tourism as if you went hiking in the mountains. 

However, if you need comfort, and you cannot use Couchsurfing, you can find cheap guesthouses or hostels on hotel booking sites, like booking.com. The minimum price for hostels in Europe and Asia is $ 4-5 per night. It is still spending but you can earn some money while traveling by freelancing or selling your writing pieces to companies like Pro-Papers if you are good enough and have a great passion in writing essay.

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Another option is to spend the night in a monastery, both Christian and some other (for example, Buddhist).

3. Nutrition

You can buy cheap food in large retail chains, like American Walmart or French Auchan. In such stores most often there are locally produced products from this distribution network. There is no brand markup on it and therefore it is much cheaper. Use it and avoid additional spending in such expensive countries like Norway and the USA.

In various religious institutions, temples, monasteries are often free dining. For example, many people like eating in a Sikh temple – in India or some other country. In Buddhist monasteries, orthodox charity canteens, etc.

Taking food with you and carrying it in your backpack is another great idea. If you are traveling to expensive countries, you can stock up on food from home. If you have the necessary utensils, a gas burner, a stove-stove, you can cook very cheap food by your own instead of spending money on the purchase of ready-made dishes, even if in cheap public catering. Cooking yourself will be cheaper.

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NEWSMAKERS

Taiwan holds first trans-specific Pride march

The trans community of Taiwan converged in the first-ever trans Pride march. The gathering aimed to spread awareness on issues that are specific to the trans community, including the need for the Taiwanese government to remove “sexual reassignment surgery” from the list of requirements for transgender people to change their gender markers.

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN – As the country holds the 17th annual Taipei Pride parade, the transgender community of Taiwan converged in the first-ever trans Pride march. The gathering aimed to spread awareness on issues that are specific to the trans community, including the need for the Taiwanese government to remove “sexual reassignment surgery” from the list of requirements for trans people to change their gender markers.

The main event of Taipei Pride is themed “Together, Make Taiwan Better”; but to date – and akin to other LGBTQIA developments in Western countries – trans-specific issues continue to be relegated to the sidelines when discussing concerns of the LGBTQIA community, making trans-specific gatherings important.

The first trans march was held in San Francisco in 2004. And then, just as it is now, it continues to be a gathering pushing for the creation of a space for the diverse communities in the LGBTQIA community to unite and achieve the social justice and equality the LGBTQIA movement sought out in the beginning.

Pride, as a whole, has devolved into a corporate/money-earning stunt/parade; so that marches for trans and lesbians are now the more political versions.

As it is, the annual LGBTQIA Pride parade in Taiwan – first held in 2003 – attracts over 100,000 participants. Last year, 130,000 people joined the event, boosted by the passing of same-sex marriage legislation. It is the largest commercial Pride gathering in Asia, ahead of Tel Aviv Pride in Israel, which is the largest in the Middle East.

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Taiwan LGBT Pride Community, the organizer of Taiwan LGBTQ Pride parade, holds the parade on the last Saturday of October.

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Travel

Religious Harmony Act of Singapore amended to list sexual orientation as protected ground against discrimination

On October 9, 2019, the Religious Harmony Act of Singapore was amended to specifically list sexual orientation as a protected ground against religiously motivated hate speech, violence and discrimination.

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Photo by Joshua Ang from Unsplash.com

Earlier this month, on October 9, 2019, the Religious Harmony Act of Singapore was amended to specifically list sexual orientation as a protected ground against religiously motivated hate speech, violence and discrimination.

This is the first time that a legal or policy document in Singapore included the words “sexual orientation”, indicating that public morality, peace or public order, which have often been used to prevent LGBTQIA people from organizing public events or founding organizations, are not a justification for violence and discrimination.

A couple of months before this development, the Ministry of Social and Family Development also stated explicitly that protections against intimate partner and domestic violence are inclusive of LGBTQIA people, who are at a high risk of such violence with often frightfully little recourse.

This is not to say that LGBTQIA Pride has finally completely landed in Singapore.

Singapore is one of the 68 countries around the world where same-sex relations are still criminalized. The country still has Section 377A of the Penal Code; and although this is rarely imposed, and is facing a number of challenges in the courts, those who engage in homosexual acts may be sent to jail, so that its existence makes LGBTQIA criminals purely for who they love.

Over a year ago, a survey showed that 55% of 750 Singaporeans support the ban on gay sex, with only 12% opposing the antiquated Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, which states that a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years.

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Singapore’s media industry also still blatantly prohibits positive depictions of LGBTQIA stories and characters, just as the the damaging practice of conversion therapy is openly pushed by some of the religious and conservatives, along with other forms of discrimination.

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Travel

Top 5 places to visit in Los Angeles

While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

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If you plan to spend some time in Los Angeles you might wonder where you should go first. There are a lot of amazing places in LA so it can be hard to choose. Make sure you have your accommodation booked click here for some ideas and then think about what you want to do.

Below you will find five of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

The Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet. This incredible destination is visited by more than one million people every single year. When you arrive at the Observatory you will understand why.

One of the very first places in the country that was dedicated to science for the public, entrance is free. This is all thanks to the former owner who in his will gave the land to the city of Los Angeles.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet.

When you’re at the Observatory enjoy the shows that take place at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium. You don’t have to pay to watch the shows but it is encouraged. The good news is you don’t have to pay very much. You can also enjoy a few presentations and talks at the Planetarium. There are also events held throughout the year so you might be lucky to catch one or two of them.

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Finally, you might want to take a look at the incredible view that the Observatory allows you. Just make sure you climb to the very top of the Observatory so you can take it all in.

The Beautiful Beaches

Los Angeles is home to some beautiful beaches. In fact, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are found here. Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people. Alternatively, you might want to head to Santa Monica as it’s the ideal location if you want to relax and unwind. Santa Monica has been used as the destination for many different movies so it’s likely you’ll recognize it if you’re a movie fan. 

Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people.

You might also want to indulge in a spot of celebrity-spotting while you’re in the area. The beaches and the nearby sidewalks are the ideal locations to spot many celebrities who call this part of Los Angeles their home. Don’t forget to make your way to the Santa Monica Pier where you’ll find a wonderful carousel that you just have to jump on.

The Walk of Fame

You simply cannot spend any time in Los Angeles without visiting the Walk of Fame. This internationally-celebrated destination is one of the most popular places to visit. Spanning an incredible 1.3 miles from the East of Hollywood to the West, you will find more than 2,500 stars on the sidewalk.

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When the Walk of Fame came to fruition in the 1960s it was originally meant to help redevelop the area and it appears that it has. The Walk of Fame sees up to 10 million people from all over the world visit this iconic location.

This part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

Many celebrities have been nominated for a star and many of them have had their names and their palm prints embedded in the sidewalk for eternity. Why not take the opportunity to have your photograph taken with the star that represents your favorite actor or singer?

Please note, this part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

The Getty Museum

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art. Found in Brentwood and look over the city of Los Angeles, the Museum offers you an experience of a lifetime.

Take a trip on a hover-train from the parking lot to the very top of the mountain. Enjoy the garden that spans an incredible 134,000 square foot and take your time walking around the area.

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art.

Don’t forget to spend at least an hour walking around the Getty Museum. Some of the exhibits there are truly phenomenal and will take your breath away.

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The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic structures. Located up in the mountains, the sign was part of an advertising campaign that told the locals about a housing development that would provide many homes. However, it seemed that the 43 foot tall and 30 foot wide letters became iconic in their own right.

Unfortunately, the development of the homes fell victim to the Great Depression but the sign remains there to this day. Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”? The city removed the “Land” from the sign and created what we can now see from many miles away.

If you do plan to visit the Hollywood Sign please make sure you respect the locals. Refrain from parking in their driveways or opposite their homes. They will be grateful that you made the effort.

Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”?

As you can see, Los Angeles is quite a remarkable place to be. It is full to the brim of incredible places to visit and stunning sites to see. It’s so easy to fall in love with this truly vibrant city that has something for everyone. Visit the Griffith Observatory, spend some time on the beaches and visit the Walk of Fame. Lastly, take a trip to the Getty Museum followed by a visit to the Hollywood Sign. Trust me, by the time you get to the sign you would have already fallen in love with Los Angeles.

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Travel

Tired of the Mykonos crowds? Visit Paros instead!

There is no denying that Mykonos has changed a lot over the years. If you think it is a little too busy for your liking now, you might want to go somewhere else. Paros might just be your new perfect destination.

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Photos from Unsplash.com

Everyone has a holiday in the Greek islands on the travel bucket list. The islands if the Aegean Sea are all so different and they call many types of travelers back over and over again. One of the most popular islands is Mykonos. With its famed beaches and amazing nightclub scene, it attracts religious holiday-makers back who are happy to visit no matter how popular it has become.

However, there is no denying that Mykonos has changed a lot over the years. If you think it is a little too busy for your liking now, you might want to go somewhere else. Paros might just be your new perfect destination.

All Walks of Life

One of the best things about Paros is that it attracts people from all walks of life. Both the young and the old love to visit here and marvel at the stunning beaches and picturesque towns. Other islands like to play up a certain niche whereas Paros is happy to sit back and simply be. If you are someone who likes to do a little bit of everything on your holiday, you won’t have to compromise here.

Privacy When You Need It

Trying to find the perfect villa Paros can offer you is easier than you might suspect. This island is packed with perfect getaways which you can rent for complete privacy. There is something truly wonderful about being able to escape back to your villa after a long and busy day. BlueVillas offers a fantastic selection of private villas which you can take advantage of. They range from the ideal villa for a honeymooning couple to large complexes suited for big groups of friends or bug families.

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Whether you want to be right in the action in the middle of town or somewhere a little more secluded, you will be able to find it. Take the time to find the right villa for your needs and you will find that everything else for the holiday just falls into place.

History Lovers

If you are heading to Greece to indulge in a passion for its history then you are going to want to check out Paros. This is one of the best islands for getting in touch with the Ancient Greeks and you are going to be spoiled with choice for things to do.

The first thing you should visit should be the amazing archaeological museum. This has exhibits dating back to the Neolithic age and can tell you lots about what life was like on the island throughout history. You should also make sure to check out the Panagia Ekatontapiliani church, a 4th century Byzantine church and a destination you should visit even if you are not that big on history. Also make sure that you visit Paroikia for the 13th century castle which offers fantastic views.

Nightlife

Some people love to jump in and out of bars on their holiday. If you are in the mood for a party when you are away, you can definitely find it on Paros. This island really knows how to hearken back to the days when Greek tourism was uncomplicated and cheap.

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You will be able to find plenty of things to do on Paros from foam parties to all-day dancing on the beach. Head to either Paroikia or Naoussa for a good time that never stops.

Hit the Water

One of the best ways to see the Greek islands is from a boat and Paros is no exception to this. From the sea, you will be able to navigate your way around the coast and discover some amazing hidden nooks and inlets.

If you are into water sports, you will also find that Paros is a haven for all types of activities. With kitesurfing, kayaking, windsurfing and more, you could easily spend an entire holiday out on the water having a good time. Don’t forget to check out some scuba equipment too; the underwater sites are just as amazing as those you can find on land.

Having a boat also allows you just that little bit more freedom. If you want to head across to Antiparos, the island next door, you can explore at your leisure with your own boat.

Consider Paros Today

Paros has a timeless quality about it which many enjoy. It often feels like you are stepping back into the era of quiet Greek tourism before the islands became such holiday hotspots. If you feel like the more popular islands like Santorini and Mykonos are just getting too crowded for your liking, Paros might be able to offer you something special. Take a look at what the island has to offer you and consider heading there for your next holiday. You never know what might make you fall in love with the place.

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