In the course of our Asean Book Publishers Association’s reception hosted by the Vietnam Publishers Association, we were treated to see the famous Halong Bay.

It has been declared to be a world heritage site. Through a vehicle whose speed could not go beyond the 20 km per hour, it took us nine (9) hours to reach our destination from Hanoi.

We checked-in in one of the four-star hotels prompting one of our companions to jokingly ask me and my companion (Atty. Dascil) whether we were gays as we were assigned to check-in in a room with a matrimonial bed.

An error could have been committed because the host thought I would be with a female companion which was originally so. We therefore had to change our otherwise romantic room to an ordinary room with two separate beds.

After checking-in, we were treated to a dinner by the owner of the hotel who we learned is the owner of several businesses like the charcoal business.

To dispute the perception of being gay, my companion joined the virility tour of our group which was right at the basement of the hotel.

My companion, however, remained an observant but never a participant.

The following morning, we took a boat with a dragon decoration at the front. In fact all the boats have dragon decorations at the front. (I learned that Halong means “where the dragon descends”).

Legend would state that the islands were created by a dragon. As it ran towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses; as it plunged into the sea, the areas dug up by the tails become the islands.

Although it was just a legend, sailors often reported seeing a marine creature known as “tarsiq”. The military suspects it as a spy submarine while the eccentric believes that they have discovered their own version of lochness.

At the boat we held our impromptu meeting and that it was resolved that certain committees of ABPA would be established.

We visited one of the caves which has ninety (90) steps. Thanks to our host we had sumptuous meals inside the boat while viewing the various islands amidst the emerald colored waters of the gulf called Tankin.

We learned that it has more than three thousand islands similar to China’s “Guilin”

On our way back, the representatives of the member countries rendered their respective local songs. The Philippines through Atty. Dascil appeared to have rendered the most number of songs including “Anak”.

Malaysian representative sang the Midori

We gave as a token to the driver a local wine from Laos which contains the body of a cobra.

On our way back, we saw once more an array of colorful multi-story colored buildings as influenced by French designers.

Thank you, Lord for allowing me to see the place.

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