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A visit to Thailand

/ 12:17 PM September 13, 2011

I am so happy to be back from Thailand and enjoying the comforts of home.  I really enjoyed the sights and learned a lot  about Thailand that I could share with  people specifically about tourism and flyovers.

Thailand has superb  hotels and food. The hotels  are world class and the food is great with a lot of variety unlike in many hotels here in the Philippines. What really  impressed us was our visit to the king’s palace where they preserved the belongings of the king and the queen in a  house  made of hardwood.

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King Rama had 77 concubines and was well respected by the people.   The Thais have so much respect for their king and queen whose  pictures are displayed all over the country and adorned with flowers.

Our stay in Thailand was basically filled with hotel and restaurant visits but the best hotels that we  visited were the Siam Kempinski Hotel and the Renaissance, sister hotel of Marriott Hotels, both in Bangkok.

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Some of these hotels are in  shopping malls like the last hotel that we stayed in, the Pathuwam Princess Hotel. The MBK mall is part of the edifice of the hotel.

Hotels in Thailand are reasonably priced. That may be one reason there are many  foreign tourists like the Russians, Indians, Chinese and others.

Thailand is a Buddhist country. About 90 percent of its people are  Buddhists.

One of the best attractions is the Rose Garden. We toured the garden’s organic farm, tasted some  of the produce and watched the elephant and crocodile shows.

I would like to thank again Ricky Tio for the invitation and  Consul General Bobby Joseph –  my mentor in tourism –  for leading the group, and Honey Loop of the Philippine Star for being a gracious guide.

* * *

The flyovers that I saw  in Thailand  are different from ours here in Cebu City. Bangkok’s flyovers are multi-layered. Some are  considered “skyways.” Their long  flyovers have four lanes, with two going in each direction.

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Our flyovers, in contrast, are short with only one lane going in each direction. Flyovers are found all over the world but not the  short two-lane type we have in Cebu City.

Proponents and critics  of Rep. Cutie del Mar’s  two flyover proposals  can visit Thailand to  be honest in their statements instead of misleading people about flyovers.

It is true that the short flyovers proposed for Cebu City are realistic but they are useless because they won’t  solve our traffic problems. As a matter of fact, the flyovers will worsen traffic in the city.

Bangkok has long  flyovers yet  still has bad traffic. I think the best argument for President Noynoy Aquino to suspend the construction of flyovers here is that the people are his boss and they are only  asking that the government consult them before implementing something that may not even work.

Funny how  urban planners with master’s degrees are nearly unanimous in saying that the proposed flyovers won’t work while  politicians  insist on a  project that  is not backed by a study; they want it  just because funds are already allocated.

I think it is best to wait for a transportation  master plan is made before we implement anything at all. Is it costly?  Yes, of course, because our city has not been planned properly.

There is a need right now to bite the bullet. If road widening is better, then let’s convince  lot owners to contribute  by not making it difficult for the government to appropriate their properties; not making their properties too costly for the people to use.

We all have to sacrifice in order to make our city beautiful and livable.

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