Wow! I realized it has been more than a year since I posted my last article here in my blog site. Time flew so fast and the next thing I knew, it is year 2018! A lot has happened since then — great things which I never thought of, I was able to experience. My 2017 ended with a bang, to say the least, as I got to travel outside the Philippines for the very first time with my family. Our destination: Dubai, UAE.
Well, as much as I want to tell of my one-of-a-kind experiences in Dubai, it will have to be for another time. This blog site anyways was intended to share my thoughts and insights on the importance of financial planning in helping Filipino families achieve their financial goals, as well as my experiences as a Financial Adviser.
So for the meantime, allow me to look back and chronicle an awesome experience which happened back in March of this year. I, together with my wife and my mother-in-law/Senior Agency Manager, had the privilege to travel to Taiwan for FREE courtesy of Sun Life Grepa Financial. This all-expense paid trip was my first in Asia as my other qualifications with the company from previous years has brought me so far to local destinations (Misibis Bay, Palawan and Balesin Island, respectively).
Prior to experiencing Taiwan, honestly I had very little knowledge and interest about this country. What I imagined is a place with not much to offer and not a lot of beautiful places to see. In fact, I fancy a visit to Japan or maybe South Korea more than a visit to Taiwan. However, those negative perception of mine immediately changed into excitement when I saw for myself the splendor of this picturesque island nation. First of all, the weather was pretty cold, which is always to my liking. Secondly, Taiwan is a clean and green country as you would hardly see any litter lying on their roads. The country was able to preserve its lush forests even in commercialized areas which makes it a haven for nature lovers. And last but not the least, Taiwanese people has a pretty much laid back lifestyle as they are mainly farmers and factory workers. You will be amazed in the fact that since they are very hardworking people, you will not see a lot of them loitering on the streets as they are either tending to their farm lands or working inside huge factories, which by the way seem to outnumber the entire population, especially in the countryside. Overall, I would say that my Taiwan experience was one of those eureka moments, a serendipity of sorts.
Upon arrival, we immediately headed to the iconic Taipei 101. This famous skyscraper’s elevator system has top-of-the-line technology that can lift you up from the ground floor to its observatory decks in about half a minute. The observatory decks are located, by the way, on the 87th, 88th and 91st floors!
Other famous landmarks we visited later that day included the Presidential Office and the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, which is the most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan.
We left Banqiao Caesar Park Hotel (our delegation’s official residence in New Taipei City) very early as Day 2 turned out to be a long one with lots of activities. After almost a 2-hour bus ride from the hotel, we boarded a train and traveled for a couple more hours to get to Hualien, a town situated on the east coast of Taiwan. It was such a long journey that even before we get to see the places listed in the itinerary, it was already lunch time. LOL 🙂
After giving our tummies a fill, we were off to Taroko Gorge where this majestic Eternal Spring Shrine (picture below) is located. It is one of the major picturesque points inside the Taroko National Park. Aside from the waterfalls, on top of one of these mountains is a memorial for war veterans.
Later that afternoon, we went to the Hualien Stone Sculpture Park, which is the very first museum dedicated to stone carving in the country. Along the way, we also got to enjoy this magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean from this part of the world.
After having our breakfast in the hotel, we were off to our first destination: the Yehliu Geopark. It is one of the premier destinations in northern Taiwan and home to a number of unique geological formations.
Another natural beauty that we got to see was the Gold Waterfalls (picture below). According to an article, the water appears as a beautiful gold color as a result of the combination of regular rainfall in this mining area and the abundance of heavy metal elements deposited in the riverbed.
Other places we visited include the old town of Shifen where we had a unique experience of flying lanterns with our hopes and aspirations written on it, and a visit to Raohe Street night market which is popular among tourists raring for a taste of local and exotic food.
First off the list was a visit to the National Revolutionary Shrine (picture below). This place is dedicated to the war dead of the Republic of China. Worth-witnessing here is the changing of the guards which happens every hour.
Afterwards, we got to see the Confucius Temple and the National Palace Museum, which has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Then, we transferred to the Sun Moon Lake area where we had our fellowship night. Our theme was rock-inspired so I finally got to wear this leather jacket and arm sleeves to make me look like a certified rock star! LOL again 🙂
We checked-in to the Fantasy Palace Hotel the previous night and after just a few hours of sleep, we were back on the road for the Sun Moon Lake tour.
Sun Moon Lake is in the foothills of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. This place is so captivating, making it an ideal backdrop for pre-nup shoots. In fact, we were able to witness a couple, probably newly weds, having their sweet time and their pictures taken in this magical place.
After having lunch at a local restaurant and doing last-minute shopping for “pasalubong”, we proceeded to the airport to finally catch our flight heading back home.
Incentive trips such as this is just one of the perks that a Financial Adviser like me get to receive every now and then. It is indeed a noble and very rewarding profession. I just feel so blessed that I got to see and experience beautiful places and enjoy it for FREE ever since I joined the life insurance industry in 2015. I could only dream of these when I decided to become a Financial Adviser for Sun Life Grepa Financial but through patience and lots of grace from the Almighty GOD, they became part of my reality.
We are always one decision away from realizing our dreams so if you believe you deserve to succeed in life, YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM IT!
(For inquiries on how to become a Financial Adviser, please get in contact with me through email: Walter.Sanosa@sunlifegrepa.com.ph or through mobile 09470721495.)
To GOD be all the glory!