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Taipa, Macao
When I was researching things to discover in Macau, I was surprised to see a lot of options. As it was customary to always read a lot about the place you're visiting, I did my own share of late-night readings. I came across this article by Culture Trip, and this definitely gave me a head start on planning our quick day-trip. 

Since we only had a limited time in our hands, seeing the whole of Macau and experiencing it on a more authentic manner would be quite of a challenge. And so with this in mind, we balanced our trip as much as we can by seeing the usual tourist spots and the lesser crowded areas that are equally rich in culture and history. If you want to know more about Macau and go beyond the very rich Casino and shopping culture to opt for discovering more of its heritage, then Taipa Village is definitely one of the best places to visit. 

A more peaceful and quaint side Macau, Taipa Village is actually a few minutes away from the Venetian. We are very grateful to have run into fellow Filipinos at the hotel and they were kind enough to spare a few minutes to give us directions. Originally, we were planning on riding a bus from Venetian but we were tipped that there is actually a walkway located right next to the West Lobby of the Venetian. If you happen to be staying at the Venetian, just ask the front desk where the 'Travelator' is that would take you to Taipa Village. 
While there were other options to head to our destination, taking the Travelator was not a bad idea at all. We were able to rest our feet from all the walking that we did around Cotai and we were suddenly enveloped by the lush greenery that we never would have enjoyed if we were inside a vehicle. At the end of the walkalator, you'll be able to see this landmark and also observe some tourists heading toward the curved bath. It will not be hard to navigate from here on out, I would advise though that you wear your sunblock and carry a handy umbrella or hat if you are quite conscious of the heat.
At the end of the curved road, you will notice the difference in environment and even Architecture. There was a state of sublimity when I entered the street. I was fascinated by the chaos of texture and possibilities of story-lines, but also a strong sense of discipline and peace is found in this quaint place. The perfect destination to witness how the Portugese and Chinese cultures unite, the place breathes as a living inspiration of preserving heritage houses and buildings while adapting to the needs of contemporary life. 
Taipa Village was a former fishing village in the past. Before Cotai Strip happened through reclamation, it used to be situated between the Macau Peninsula and Coloane Island. Taipa is a balance of heritage and contemporary life, it is the perfect place to slow down and be inspired by the beautiful nostalgia it showers upon people who have opened themselves in discovering the unknowns of Macau. 
Time slows down in this side of the city. One is encouraged to walk, observe, learn, see a more genuine and laid back life in a city wrapped up in luxury, fast paced time, and glamour. Coming on a weekday, it was a new experience to see that the neighborhood was not too busy as compared to the other areas in Macau. 
Aside from the array of pastel-colored buildings, colonial architecture, churches, and temples, the cobblestoned streets of Taipa lead its visitors to a fusion of lifestyle, food, art, culture, and design. One of the things I enjoyed taking photographs of would be the everyday scenes of the locals. The hanging clothes, slippers, potted plants speak of humble, mundane, and arbitrary experiences of their owner's daily life. 
Walking the unknowns have led us to this beautiful sight. It's a perfect pit-stop for those who have walked a distance, a great place to read a book or write prose. The large trees are a living testament of the age of the place and how many stories it has kept through time. It is indeed pitstops like these that we get to appreciate the place in its purest form, free from romanticism and capitalist opinions - it is just you, the place, and the experience you both share in that specific moment.
Unlike the posh and more urbanized side of Macau, I really enjoyed the way stores decorate their windows. It has a very local and personalized aesthetic that is free from any form of strict design and visual merchandising standards. It is through this experience that one would be able to understand the local aesthetic and culture that is very much alive in this area.
A common sight in Macau: street names, store signages, and art that combine Portuguese words and Macanese words together. 
The treets in Taipa are quite narrow, so if you will be going on a walk, make sure to be courteous to vehicles by giving way and being mindful of your surroundings. Another thing to take note of would be the rough texture of the flooring, make sure that you're wearing your most comfortable shoes if you plan to walk around and maximize your time in exploring the place.
Scooters are generally found on most if not all of the houses that we passed by. It gave off another layer of charm as one would be able to create a persona or impression of the people living inside. The houses are also very colorful, most of them are either built in an apartment style not higher than two to four floors. 
The planning of this village is also quite impressive. Residential settlements are usually located on the more secluded side and the commercial side are strategically located on the central area mimicking that of a plaza. 
You'll know that you've reached the commercial area once you see that Starbucks sign, not to mention the influx of people walking around. The area welcomes you with its wide array of restaurants and cafe, all offering a fusion of Macanese and Portuguese specialties.
At the time when we already realized our hunger, we found ourselves in front of La Famiglia, one of the famous restaurants in the area serving fusion food. No food photos here though, I guess I was really starving already to even take it! 
The ambiance is very different from the chaos outside, it's very minimal and elegant at the same time. One of the things that I'm also very thankful for was meeting a fellow Filipino who happened to be our server for the day. She helped us a lot when it comes to finding our way back to the Peninsula where the Senado Square and Ruins of St. Paul was. 
While waiting for our food to be served, I managed to explore the alleys around the restaurant. To claim that there are a lot of choices to dine in would be such an understatement. I also loved looking at the variations of store facades and signage, it felt like walking along an outdoor gallery. 
It was quite of a shame that we were not able to spend a longer time in Taipa. Regretting the idea of the daytrip, we only realized that there were a lot of things to see in this area alone and a timed tour will not even be sufficient if you are a traveler who loves to experience locality. Due to our limited time, we were only able to cover half of the area. 

But needless to say, despite our short trip to Taipa, we were able to enjoy this side of our tour. We learned about the value of preserving architecture, adapting different and even contrasting cultures through cuisine and design, and enjoying the romance that come from discovering the character and very spirit of the place. If you are planning a quick trip to Taipa just like how we did it, here is a Taipa Walking Guide for you to print or follow. Note that though the place is small, taking the slow route would be the best way to tour around this beautiful village. 

I will see you on our last stop in Macau!

Happy Heyday!

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