Tales of Taiwan: Of History and Heritage

FOR every traveler going on his or her first solo adventure to a foreign land—with locals speaking a different language, and streets and signage emblazoned with unknown characters—the fear of getting lost will be ever present. But as they say, it is only when one is lost, that one is found.

And so, from April 11 to 14, I decided to immerse myself in this great unknown. But surprising as it may seem, I always found my way in the end—and believe me, emerged wiser and better from my journey.

My destination: Taiwan.

While the closest neighboring country of the Philippines up north, Taiwan, unfortunately, remains to be one of the most underrated Asian destinations among Filipinos. Currently topping our must-visit list these days are Japan and South Korea, besides perennial favorites, Hong Kong and Singapore.

But after seeing and experiencing the country—particularly its capital Taipei—for four days, I can say that it is high time Taiwan gets the attention it so fittingly deserves.

Let’s begin by appreciating the rich history and precious heritage of the country through these iconic tourists spots—all found in Taipei.

National Palace Museum

On top of the must-visit places in Taipei, Taiwan is its National Palace Museum that houses over 2,000 articles some dating 4,000 years old. Of these, 80 percent were transferred from China’s Forbidden City by the late President Chang Kai-Shek in a mission to preserve the Chinese heritage. Some of the most notable exhibits include those featuring jade, bronze and pottery.

Taking of photos is not allowed inside so here's me outside

The Red House

The Red House is a Western style, redbrick building erected in 1908 as Taiwan’s first public market. But after going through cultural transformations in 2007, it has established itself as a major location for the development of culturatis and creatives. 

New Noise artist Wei Ling Chang

Millions have visited this landmark to view thousands of arts- and literature-themed events in its movie theater, live house, and exhibit venues. New Noise artist Wei Ling Chang is one of the many artists who proudly display their unique, and handmade creations inside The Red House.

Martyrs’ Shrine

The shrine of the National Revolutionary Martyrs of the country is another example of a perfectly preserved establishment that reminds the Taiwanese, and teaches tourists about history. It was built in the 1950s to honor the country’s founding father, Dr. Sun Yat Sen and his followers that led the revolution.

Inside the shrine, 18-year-old honor guards execute their duty after being selected by the Taiwanese government.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Inscribed on top of the late, great Chiang Kai-Shek, are the words “Ethics, Democracy and Science,” which served as his pillars of leadership. His memorial shrine was completed in 1980, five years after his death. 

Majority of visitors come from mainland China
About 5,000 tourists come to visit here in a day, mostly from China who, wish to discover more about their former Chinese president.


This story was originally published as part of my "Tales of Taiwan" article for The Manila Times. 

Up Next: Tales of Taiwan: Of Eating and Enriching

The tour I joined was ably organized by Edison Tours, one of the leading travel agencies in Taiwan.


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