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topaztravels from Cynthia Tan Poh wrote on at :
Dear Rozila,

Hi..just a short note from our trip to holy land back yesterday. Fr Nicholas Hoh was a great spiritual director. Samuel was fantastic tour leader too. Thnx Topaz from Cynthia Tan Poh
topaztravels from Sheila and Edwin wrote on at :
Dear Topaz

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.

Well, we had a wonderful time on our 13 day tour to Jordan, Holy land and Egypt.

From the very beginning to the end service was excellent. Your team made everything so easy for us. Steven, you have wonderful team... the registration process, the visa, the travel insurance not forgetting the number of calls I made about our holiday. Yumi is so patient, informative and passionate with her work, then we have Jega who was headlining the insurance- she was kind and helpful as well.

Our guide Mani, what can I say... handling and managing all of us was not an easy task. We witnessed what a wonderful job he has done throughout the tour. He is passionate with his work and gave us nothing about 100% into providing everybody needs.

Your team of people and a wonderful group of holidaymakers made a very big impression on myself and my husband so I felt inclined to email you.

Regards

Sheila and Edwin
topaztravels from Pauline & David wrote on at :
Dear Yumi

How are you? David and I returned to Melbourne last Friday after spending a few days in KL after the Historical Tour (29th Nov-11th Dec 2018). I am sure you would like a feedback of the Tour from us?

We can only say that we both had a great time and enjoyed the places,
the experience and the adventure thoroughly!! The Group dynamics was
good and Mr Manni is exceptional. He was very helpful, knew the group
that he was leading and accommodating and sensitive to their or our
needs and idiosyncrasies. And very clear in his instructions and information. At no time did we encounter any problems at the border security. We commend the arrangement and organisation by Topaz and the smooth handling on the ground by Mr Manni.

The local tour guides were very competent and knowledgeable. Consequently we learnt a great deal of the practical side of the Bible, the history of the religions and the countries as well as the situations in general of the countries and places we visited. We thought Egypt rather rough and untidy but that did not detract from the awe of the pyramids which we found most inspiring! We took the challenge of climbing up Mount Sinai at night! Probably through sheer nativity or ignorance of what the trail entails! It was gruelling and treacherous to say the least! Had we seen the trail during the day, David and I might have had second thoughts! Still we are glad we took the challenge, albeit we did not mount the last bit as we thought it as too dangerous and risky in the dark and cold!

The Dead Sea was certainly an experience! And Petra and the rock formations and the Temple were amazing and simply mind blowing! As for
accommodation, we both would rate the Ramada in Nazareth the best
during the trip. Food is pretty much the same in the three countries and tolerable in the circumstances.

All in all it was a tremendous experience and trip for David and me. We thank you, Topaz and Mr Manni for the organisation and for making this trip a seamless and trouble free one for us.

Wishing you all at Topaz, greetings of the season and a Happy and Blessed New Year!!

Kind regards
Pauline & David
topaztravels from Living & Grace Lee wrote on at :
Dear Yumi,
My wife and I have returned from our historical Holy Land tour 29/11-11/12. We would like to express our thanks and satisfaction with the tour and the very good arrangements made with the local tour guides in Egypt, Jordan and especially in Israel.Thanks to Mr. Manni who did a great job at trying to meet our needs.We have now recommended your tour to many of our friends and hope that they will experience just as good a trip if not better in the future. Thanks
topaztravels from Pilis Malim wrote on at :
Dear Roz,
We have joined the 14 Days Guadalupe Shrine Mexico on 30th Oct – 12 Nov 2018.
It was a very enjoble trip. No rushing and I can say a well organise. Peter realy took care of us. My wife has slight health problem and he accompany us to look for private clinic in Guadalajara. Local guide was excellent. Generally all the pilgrims express their satisfiction. And lastly I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to you.
God bless.

Regards,

Pilis Malim
topaztravels from Dorothy Kong wrote on at :
Dear Roz,
We have joined the 14 Days Guadalupe Shrine Mexico on 30th Oct – 12 Nov 2018.
Nice place but communication problem cos most people there don't understand English. I like the churches there very much especially O.L Guadalupe Basilica and other churches.
Thanks Roz
topaztravels from Jean wrote on at :
Dear Rozila,

We had a truly great experience for our trip to Italy on 8th June 2018 and all the other places like Assissi, Loreto and San Giovanni. It was a first of such a trip for myself. Had a few doubts at first when you told me that the group was shrinking and that there'll be no priest following us, etc. Was a little hesitant at first but glad I went.

It was a small group, so we were able to get to talk and to get to know the others fairly well. We also had a good guide in the person of Michele Centra. He saw to the needs of the group very well, always making sure that everyone was ok and comfortable. He was knowledgeable about the places we visited and friendly as well. We were also blessed to have a good driver, Luigi Urro who drove us around for ~ 4 days.

Stephen and Sam being together with us for the first 2 days was also a good thing. They made sure that everything was alright before leaving us with Michele.

The tour to the Vatican Museum as well as the Papal audience was nicely arranged. We did not have to wait in the long queue.

The hotels were generally alright with 3 of us to a room. Liked KLASS Hotel and Hotel Rome, Pisana the best. Black Hotel had a sloped ceiling so at times we bumped our heads but it was not a big problem. It was close to a supermarket which was convenient for us. The restaurants at the place we visited were generally well chosen.

Although we did not have the company of a priest, there were 2 English masses arranged for us for the two weekends and we were also able to go for a few other masses in Italian at some of the places we visited which was good.

Overall, it was a good trip for me. For the faith aspect, visiting the beautiful churches and the homes to some saints and miracles made me feel privileged and blessed indeed to be able to see it with my own eyes. All other parts of this pilgrimage, i.e. the members of the tour, the tour guide, driver, hotel, etc added to make it a beautiful experience.

Thank you / the team for organizing it.

Overall, my family and I truly enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you,
Jean
topaztravels from Thessa wrote on at :
Dear Rozila,

We have joined the 11 Days Italy trip on 8 June 2018. Thanks for all the update for our tour, it’s was really very exciting, good journey, had good tour guide and most of all thanks to Topaz agency without you people we would not been having nice holiday.

Thanks again.

Regards,

Thessa
Tan Beng Lay @Janet wrote on at :
Thank you Fr.Damian and Stephen,our Directors,for an excellent.blessed 15 day Tour of Medjugorje and Eastern Europe.It was very well organized by Topaz and we enjoyed every moment of our 15 days spent at the pilgrimage which includes the historic visit to Aukswicks. concentration camp and Salt mine iin Poland.Some of the local tour guides were very knowledgeable an passionate about their jobs But most important of all our spiritual director and Tour Director are very helpful, caring , considerate leaders which makes life for us senior citizens enjoy our pilgramage to the fullest. Hope to join Topaz again in the near future! God bless!
topaztravels wrote on at :
Greetings and blessings of our Risen Lord be with you as well as your family.

First and foremost, let me (on behalf of our Sabahans pilgrims) congratulate to you, staffs of Topaz, Fr. VA Michael and Jeffry (Tour Manager) for the job well done. Let me elaborate further.

Transportations:-
Transportations both by Air (Emirates) as well as land on all the 3 countries were good. For the Holy Land as well as in Egypt, WIFI were provided in our buses. Condition of the buses were good and readily available or waiting for us. For air travel, Emirates provided wide bodied jets that made our trip a memorable one.

Accommodations:-
Hotel accommodations provided were good with a little exception at Cairo Pyramid Hotel where we experienced leaking at our hotel rooms (not mine). Mr. Jeffrey was quick to apologise the next morning and enquired if pilgrims wished to change to another hotel. However all of us decided to stay put as it was another final night of our trip. The good gesture and quick thinking of our TM (Tour Manager) deserves a pat at the back. (It is recommended that your good office may inform the hotel concerned to repair those leakages for future pilgrims or move to other hotels).

Spiritual Director (Fr. VA Michael):-
Our SD Fr. Michael was very accommodative and was with us everywhere. Indeed, his presence, besides celebrating Masses was an inspiration to all of us. Being a Charismatic priest, his Mass was most uplifting. Besides he was able to get along with all the pilgrims. Thank you Fr. Michael especially for blessing our religious items purchased during the pilgrimage.

Tour Manager (Mr. Jeffrey):-
Mr. Jeffrey has shown his total professionalism in handling us, tour guides, hotels, immigration or airport clearance as well as providing vital information to all of us (especially 1st timers). He was ensured that everyone is accounted for before we moved or at any place to ensure safety. He had liaised with all those concerned very professionally to the point we have nothing to say but a big thank you. Both Fr and TM made a good team as Jeffrey always assisted in preparing Masses.

Tour Guides:-
All our Tour Guides (TGs) were very professional as well as knowledgeable in their respective fields. They were patience and well-mannered and information given were all well received by pilgrims besides responding to any questions or enquiries brought up. Two (2) of our guides even provided us with souvenirs. All these gestures may be simple and small but brought us to understand them more.

Pilgrims :-
All the pilgrims were very accommodative to everyone and could get well with each other. Josephine Chang was very helpful especially in getting pilgrims to participate in the Mass (Liturgy) while Fr. Michael was commendable in selecting prayer leaders for DM, prayers etc.

Others:-
Two (2) bottles X 500 mls drinking water provided (1 in the morning and one 1 in the afternoon) all during our pilgrimage are commendable. Adapters as well as toiletry bag were also very useful during our pilgrimage.

Spiritual Formations
By this pilgrimage, our spiritual lives have been uplifting. Visiting all these places have brought life to all what we read during Passion Sunday and the Easter Triduum as well as others.

Conclusion:
Indeed bro. Stephen, we have greatly benefited from this pilgrimage and wish to join other trips in the future if our Lord wills them.

God bless and please loop this to Fr. Michael as well as Mr. Jeffrey and Josephine Chang.

Thank you.

Michael Lai, Sandakan, Sabah
Freda Tsen wrote on at :
Hi Topaz Travels,
I joined the holy land trip on 14/4/18.
Overall, I m satisfied with the arrangement from accommodation to food & transportation.

I am pleased with the coach which provide us wifi & charger.

I like Fr. VA. Michael who is our spiritual director and the homilies he gave. I felt spiritually uplifted.

Our tour manager, Mr.Jeffery is friendly and helpful.

I will recommend Topaz to all my friends and wish to travel again with Fr. VA. Michael & Mr. Jeffery for our next trip.

God bless.

Freda Tsen
topaztravels from Veronica Ong Soo Lee wrote on at :
On 4th May 2018 at 4.05PM send the following message to the topaztravels email on 13Days Jordan Holyland Egypt Pilgrmage 15Apr 2018.

I am writing to say that I enjoyed the pilgrimage with Father Michael and Jeffry.

Jeffry was a good tour group leader. The nitty gritty like immigration and border checks, checking in at the hotels, time schedules, buses, were all taken care of without any hitches. He was friendly and helpful without being intrusive. I would be happy to travel in a group with him in future.

Father Michael was also fun to be with. I enjoyed his homilies and jokes.

I hope to join a Topaz group to the Balkans or do another pilgrimage in the future.

Veronica Ong Soo Lee
Edmund Loh wrote on at :
Thanks Rama and tour guides Mr Talal (Jordan) and Elias (Holy Land) with Ahmad (bus captain) for an amazing time!

My mom and I had a good 10 days there.

Edmund and Therese
Theresa Arul wrote on at :
Dear Mr Stephen,

Firstly I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Topaz for arranging my pilgrimage to the Holyland. Our tour manager Mr Raymond was kind and was willing to help us always. It was not easy as it was a big group to handle with all kinds of characters.

Anyway, Mr Raymond did a great job. He was always warm, genuine and kind to everyone.



Here are a few suggestions for improvement in the future.

1. Since the group was divided into two - we should have two spiritual directors or priests. Fr Valentine was very approachable but it is a fact to everyone that Father was in Coach 1 most of the time. Coach 2 did not have the privilege of having a priest with them at all times.



2. My aim from the very beginning was to climb Mount Sinai to the summit. Jeffery the tour manager for coach 1 did the Mount Sinai climb with the pilgrims. However, upon reaching the final camel station, Jeffery made the announcement that since we did not have enough time, all pilgrims must descend the mountain climb and we cannot go to the summit. Jeffery announced that if we climbed the summit it would take another 3 hours and we will miss mass, breakfast and we will be unable to leave Sinai at 10 am as scheduled. My husband - Moses, inquired if those who are willing to forego the breakfast and mass but want to climb the summit, will it be possible. Jeffery said cannot go to the summit as everyone will be late. When Jeffery started to walk down the mountain, the guides also told everyone to go down and most pilgrims followed suit. I was most unhappy as I always wanted to reach the summit of Mount Sinai.

Then I saw Father Valentine sitting very gloomy at the camel station looking very sad. I approached him together with some other pilgrims and asked for his blessings and permission if we could climb Mount Sinai since we only have another 750 steps before we reach the summit. Father very boldly and confidently said 'GO'

Dass another pilgrim had already started his attempt to reach the summit as he took the camel to the camel station when the rest of the pilgrims were walking towards the camel station. Apparently, Dass had waited in the camel station for one hour and when no one came, he decided to ascend to the summit by himself.

The four of us - Moses and myself from Raymond's group, Ron and Francis from Jefferey's group started the climb to the summit. Anyway, we knew that Dass was already at the summit and we had a mission to meet him. Any how the whole group would have to wait for Dass as he already started his ascend before Jeffrey made the announcement at the camel station. Thus, the five of us - Moses, Ron, Francis, Dass and myself reached the summit of Mount Sinai. Reaching the summit - was the most beautiful experience ever - which I will forever treasure in my heart.

I think the Mount Sinai climb must be arranged more systematically. The bedouin guides were giving long breaks in between the ascend.



3. In the future, all elderly pilgrims must be accompanied by an adult. For example Uncle Edward seemed to be alone most of the time and the other pilgrims had to keep watch at him. Not that he asked but nevertheless we felt that we should help. Though I understand that his sister and grand niece Marissa was in the same bus. But somehow, Uncle Edward seemed to be alone. During the Mount Sinai climb, Uncle Edward came without proper clothings to shield him from the cold.



4. I also wanted to to have the essential oil / perfume demonstration, but one of our pilgrims Michael Perreau made the decision for the whole coach 2 (Raymond Bus) to forego the demo and go to the Pyramids early. But Coach 1 (Jefferey bus) had the privilege of having the demonstration.In this situation, I guess pilgrims cannot make a decision for others - the decision by tour manager should supersede all others.



Otherwise, all in all our trip to Jordan, Holyland and Egypt was wonderful. Thanks Mr Stephen and Mr Raymond.

May God Bless you and your families abundantly.
Jeannie Cheng wrote on at :
On 13.12.2017 at 1436hrs, Raymond Boey send the following message to the what's app 12D Holyland -Fr Val group chat:

"Dear Ms Jeannie Cheng

With reference to your comment in our Topaz website that I am an "incompetent tour manager". Have checked with my lawyer and he advised that I demand that you withdrew that statement within 7 working days or I will see you in court."

My response:

I withdraw my statement posted in Topaz website :

"...an incompetent tour leader like Raymond Boey.."

Submited to Topaz website on 19 December 2017 at 2218hrs
Hilda Frank wrote on at :
Hi Topaz Travels,

I joined the pilgrimage to the Holyland which departed from KL on October 16th October 2017. It was very well planned by Topaz, I had a wonderful experience as your local guides were very well chosen and loved all the places we visited.

My only suggestion to Topaz is that please choose better hotels going forward. Two of the four hotels were really not what we expected. They were maybe just 3 stars, especially the hotel at Petra. They were not the cleanest and for breakfast, they ran out of coffee, mugs and we had to wait for a while before they were replenished. For future trips, it is very important that we stay in better hotels. I really look forward to going on more trips with Topaz.

Thank you.
LEONARD SELVA GURUNATHAN wrote on at :
Note to webmaster
I sent an earlier incomplete one accidently,if it is submitted kindly ignore it

I went for the 26Nov till 6 Dec Pilgrimage.
I was in the Raymond Bus Group

I came back with wonderful memories from the pilgrimage and also enlightenment on the surroundings where Jesus embarked on his mission

Just a few points I would like to point out.
In my humble opinion the Belly Dance item can be replaced with a testimonial and sharing session to end the pilgrimage. It would be a meaningful touch to the ending of the pilgrimage.

The huge number in the group due to merging of two teams ( 90pax)also affected everyone and everything related to the pilgrimage. It should be avoided at all cost.

I would like to Thank Father Valentine for handling two groups with patience and also celebrating mass with us.

Other than this I would like to highlight the Israel Tour Guide Eric whose prompt answers through out the Israel pilgrimage portion might have sounded political but was very biblical to me. And I loved that , it s a pilgrimage and his conviction based on the bible and in the sayings of Christ made me realize how truthful God's word are set in motion.

His personal testimony( which he shared in the bus) of believing in the word of God as the truth after the discovery of the Qumran Scrolls( the Dead Sea Scrolls) , further amplified my veneration of the Holy Scriptures in me. It was so unfortunate the Qumran Scroll Centre was closed on our visit.

And when we were praying the Our Father led by Father Valentine at the place where Jesus taught the Our Father, Eric's requested us to pray for his people to accept Christ like him , made me realise that he was just not being a guide but also as a participant in our pilgrimage.
Thank You Eric. You might sound strict but u reminded me many times that we are pilgrims and not a tourist on a journey. I needed that reminder.

Topaz thank you also for the ample advice and warnings in Malaysia about Mt Sinai as my sister was present at your briefing for the Mount Sinai . my family decided not to climb after considering it from many angles.

Finally for Raymond our Group leader, thank you for teaching me patience . I know you had your hands full , but you took it calmly and be of help as much as you can. And thank you for sharing on how you accepted the Lord. oh yes and also thank you for looking out for pipe organs in the churches we visited for me to play. Thank You
Jeannie Cheng wrote on at :
This is the what's app message I received from Raymond Boey of Topaz at 1435 on 13.12.2017:
" Dear Ms Jeannie Cheng

With reference to your comment in our Topaz website that I am an "incompetent tour manager " . Have checked with my lawyer and he advised that I
demand that you withdrew that statement within 7 working days or I will see you in court ."

My response : I withdraw my statement " an incompetent tour leader like Raymond Boey.... "
Jeannie Cheng wrote on at :
I withdraw my statement , "an incompetent tour leader like Raymond Boey..."
Jeannie Cheng wrote on at :
I am a Singaporean who joined the Holyland Pilgilmage from 26.11.2017 to 6.12.2017. As this was my first Pilgilmage, I am not sure what to expect. However, in my humble opinion a group tour should not exceed 25 participants which would be a reasonable size for an incompetent tour leader like Raymond Boey.

The Holyland is full of uncertainties and danger and instructions from the tour leader to cross the border was unclear. When some members were having problems with the Israeli immigration , he not only did not step forward to help when I request him to help, instead told me off that he has had enough! Well, it is now clear as he was serving notice, he is not really interested in leading the tour. Topaz should really reflect on this and never let such incidents repeat for similar situations. We were blessed that we all return home safely as our group size was 43, impossible in my opinion for 1 guide to manage!

Also that was no free time for Jerusalem old city even though the internary specify so. Most of the time, we were given 10 minutes to view and take pictures ( minus the Mt Sinai climb). Perhaps, the tour could be plan for a longer time to cover all important sites instead of touch and go.

On a positive note, I am pleased with the fact we have a fantastic and committed Spiritual Director, Father Valentine who made our tour much more enjoyable and fruitful. I would also like to thank my tour mates who co-operate fully to avoid any delays. We had to wait for the other group of 48 for masses as we had only one priest for 90 Pilgilms!