Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Colosseum

Colosseo in Rome, Italy

Oh hi there! It's been a while, hasn't it? Nowadays, I am more engaged with other concerns in my life that spending a part of my time here in this blog becomes the last priority. I occasionally backread my posts and I can tell which of these posts that were only written just for the sake of posting. So when I am sometimes reminded that this blog is slowly accumulating dust in the corner, I just let it be especially that I know that my mind is still off to somewhere. But here I am now, hoping these rare creative juices will dust off this blog that's been left to disregard.

To continue with my posts about Rome, I am going to talk about the Colosseum. My cousin and I visited this Roman icon in October 2013. A very long time ago, I know! haha

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Things I'm Glad about Becoming an Adult

I turned another year older last month but like always, I celebrated it with no fanfare. I only asked my parents to come and visit me, as I made an important milestone in my life. That day in fact, marked my three decades of existence in this world, which also meant that it has been thirty years since my parents welcomed their eldest child, after two years of waiting. I would like to think that it is a milestone for all of us.

I was supposed to write this post before the clock would strike midnight unto my birthday but alas, I was swamped with various affairs in life. So when the mood came to me out of the blue, I readily pound on the keyboard of my laptop in order to manifest into words what has been going inside my mind when I hit the big 3 0.

Unknowingly, I find myself at this point in my life where I now refer the late teens and early twenties as children. Hey, we all reach to this point somehow. Having trudged the journey from being an awkward teen, an assuming young adult and finally to being a full-fledged adult, I realized that there are a few things I am particularly glad of.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill, Rome

Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills in Rome although today, these hills are no longer evident due to the many structures crowding the city. Palatine Hill can be accessed through the Roman Forum since the admission ticket already covers both. Always eager for good deals, I shrugged off the heat and bravely embraced the sun's shining glory, as I climbed my way up the hill.

The terrain of the hill is just easy and is favorable for a relaxing stroll, with many trees providing a quick respite from the heat. What I saw mostly was all greens and ancient ruins scattered around the place. It definitely looked rustic to my eyes and it felt like I was magically transported to the countryside!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How am I able to Travel Alone?

Yangon, Myanmar
My recent solo travel was in Myanmar last August.

Sure I get asked with this question a few times now, especially that I have been traveling alone more recently. I understand that there is that set of people in the opposite side of the spectrum, who don't exactly get solo travel. One good example is my boyfriend. When I asked him one time if he could travel alone, I immediately got a resounding "NO" as an answer. "What's the point?" he retorted like it was the most ridiculous idea in the world.

Of course, I don't hold judgment against these people because to each his own and I hope that they also reserve their judgment to those people, like me. Walang basagan ng trip. Yun lang. haha

So how am I able to travel alone?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How I Dealt with the Foro Romano (Roman Forum)

Roman Forum

It was a fine October day in Rome. Naturally, people are expected to make a beeline towards the Roman Forum. True enough, I arrived at the Forum's entrance, with a long queue already forming even if it was still considerably early in the morning. But I stayed in the queue for some time, while trying to keep my patience and pretending to enjoy basking in the sun like everyone else.

However, knowing I can have a fair share of the glorious sunshine back in my side of the world, I decided that it was not going to be worth it. I didn't just go to Rome, to get more tan and while standing patiently in the queue no less. So when a staff repeatedly announced that one could skip the queue if one would join the guided tour that they provide, I was all ears. The catch is the additional €5 on top of the ticket price.

To cut the story short, I took their bait and instead, patiently waited our tour to start under an ancient olive tree. What a joy to be had.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

United Kingdom in 8 Days

Buckingham Palace

September of last year, I incorrigibly flew to London without knowing a single soul there, except maybe the royal family and the guys from Hogwarts. But I didn't want to impose myself on their hospitality so, I decided to go about the United Kingdom on my own. It was easier that way. Okay. Okay... Let me drift away from this fanciful thought or shall I say, delusion? haha Face palm.

Well, it's true that I didn't meet anyone whom I personally know there. I was even being blunt to the Immigration Officer in Heathrow, when she asked me if I'm traveling with someone or if I'm staying with family or friends in London. Still groggy from a long-haul flight, I simply replied no each time. After a few more questions later, it's a good thing she didn't tell me to fly back to the other side of the world. It would be heartbreaking, to say the least.

But let's not dwell on something that did not happen because shortly after that, I was making my way through the London underground, with the smallest train I have been on, ironically and oddly enough. (Train cars are supposed to be big in the Western side, right?)

Small underground trains aside, here's what was up with me while in the UK. Although I had only been around England and Scotland, I'd like to consider it to already encompass the UK just adequately.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Travel Joy Hostel, London

So I made it to London last year and a bit of the United Kingdom for a week. I know, such a very short time, given the fact that I needed to travel 16 hours by plane and subsequently, manage a 7-hour time difference. But when the impulse gets the better of me, I am willing to withstand anything even it meant, it'd be against all odds. Oh my! What a melodramatic way to start this post. haha

Anyway, after I successfully navigated my way from the airport to central London, a glorious sunny day welcomed me. Quite a surprise really, having known the infamous weather of this city. I might have packed the sunshine together with me because never it did rain in my entire stay! I even brought an umbrella, which only turned out to be an added weight to my luggage. Pfft! But the unusually fine weather seemed to support this whirlwind adventure!

Grosvenor Road, London

And without much further ado, I braved London with obvious glee and excitement! Of course, I had an essential help from my phone, which was most importantly installed with an offline map. Dropping my luggage at my hostel, I quickly headed over to the bus stop that was merely a few steps away and waited for the Bus 24 that would take me to places, I fancied to go first.

To be honest, I didn't worry that much about being in London for the first time because I reliably just hopped on buses like any local would do. Perhaps, the idea that I won't have to overcome another language barrier, made all the difference. And maybe a dose of Alice-in-Wonderland confidence sealed the deal.

Hello London!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fontana di Trevi

Trevi Fountain

Eager to squeeze in more activities, we decided to end our day at the historic Trevi Fountain after a full day excursion in the Vatican. This trip happened way back in October 2013 so chances are, I am already forgetting the little details. Like for instance, how we got ourselves here in the fountain from the Vatican. I think we took the Metro. I think...

Anyway, it's no longer important. Let's give it to Google maps or any other navigation map to handle this issue.

One thing that still resonates me up to this very day is the overwhelming crowd at the fountain! If only we could have allocated our fountain visit in another time, I'd be most likely to run away that night.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Piazza San Pietro

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

Having spent most of our day exploring the many halls in the Vatican Museums, we spent the remaining daylight at St. Peter's Square, otherwise known as Piazza San Pietro in Italian. The faint glow of the setting sun and a thin crowd in the piazza made a perfect welcome for us. And we badly needed this respite for we had been battling crowds since the start of our day.

Although the almost empty piazza means that there's no event nor the Pope was there for a mass. It was a Friday and the Papal Audience is only held on Wednesdays and sometimes, an Angelus on Sundays. Perhaps, a good reason to come back?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Getting Lost in the Vatican Museums (Literally)

Vatican Museum
A very long corridor of Roman statues and this is just a teeny-weeny part of the museum, I tell you.

On our second day in Rome, our agenda was to go to Vatican City, which is currently the smallest state in the world. This brings me to ponder that we technically did visit 7 states in Europe! Okay, not some earth-shattering feat you have in mind but.. give me a chance. I'd likely be back in Europe if something close to miracle happens.

Anyway, to reach this walled city, we simply hopped on Metro A from Termini Station and 6 stops later, is the Ottaviano-San Pietro Station, the nearest to the Vatican Museums entrance. By that I mean, you need to walk about half a kilometer. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. (No door to door delivery, Madam.)

Now, the walk from the Metro station to the entrance was pretty straightforward, if I recall correctly. Of course, there was a steady stream of people, seemingly going in the same direction and that helped a lot. Alleluia!

Perhaps, the same scenario we would have inside the museum itself?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kuala Lumpur on a Weekend

I Love KL

October of last year, Breinn visited me for a few days, in time for our anniversary. It was rather special because as the universe has magically conspired, we finally hit the 5-year mark of being together. And conversely, 3 full years of traipsing the challenging yet rewarding case of a long distance relationship. We both know, it could have been better if we were physically close but in the meantime, we are fully content in supporting each other in chasing our individual dreams. So that in that near future, when we can finally be together, we would bring all these amazing wonders, the otherwise painful lessons, and the maturity we have gained, and forge something far more remarkable than what we have now.

Okay back to the main topic before this trail of thought overshoots out of the basket. Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia, is a 5-hour bus journey from Singapore. Longer time is expected for daytime schedules and more so, during the holidays.

I have been to KL once with my brother but it was a crazy ordeal, to say the least. Having a crunch in our vacation time, we did it for only one day. We started our day early in the morning and ended it in the wee hours of the morning of the following day. You can just imagine our exhaustion!

So this time around, I was back in KL with more time to spare.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

After establishing our ground in Rome, specifically in Piazza Navona, my cousin and I confidently walked to The Pantheon, navigating Rome's ancient streets and alleys like pros (not!). As if we had other choice, since the distance between the piazza and The Pantheon is only 450 meters which means it's merely 5 minutes away. And walking was then the only alternative.

When we finally arrived at The Pantheon, the night had already fallen. Our vision was almost muddled by seeing endless historical buildings along the way, that it took a few seconds for us to realize that we were already in front of the iconic building. But time and again, the crowds had made it easier for us.

And we were glad that we made it in the nick of time as The Pantheon was about to close for the day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Arriving in Rome

Vueling Airlines at Fiumicino Airport
The Vueling aircraft that took us from Barcelona to Rome

I'm now back in my blog roll about the trip I had a long time ago, which translates for it to be running close to 2 years time. It feels like I am dragging it towards world's end and I dread that outcome where the excitement would rub off me. Dear heavens, no.

But it only takes a revisit to my locked-up photos to usher again that sense of wander and adventure of making it to another unfamiliar city in a continent, I once regarded to be as faraway as the stars in the night sky.

Let us then share this reminiscence of that not-so-distant past, reliving almost every step of the way, which even includes how my cousin and I got ourselves from Fiumicino to Rome.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Penang, Malaysia on a Weekend

Logan Heritage Building
The nicely restored Logan Heritage Building

Roughly two months into my new job last year, I had this sudden urge to hop on a plane and go somewhere far, but not so far really because I am only a mere working mortal. Who am I kidding? The urgency could have been attributed to my Chinese New Year holidays being void of any plans, that or the feeling wherein I wasn't yet ready to bury myself with the demands of work again, whichever the case. Needless to say, I booked a weekend return flight to Penang, Malaysia from Singapore, just as soon as I knew the fare won't break the bank.

Penang has been in my top nearby places that I want to visit and by nearby, I mean I can just allot a weekend for a quick visit. I know it sounds like I am doing disservice to these places that are definitely worth more than two days but being someone who needs to earn her keep on a weekday basis and has only a limited number of vacation leaves sadly, weekends provide the most ideal solution.

If you're in the same boat as me, here are a few things that can give you an idea on how I had filled my short and sweet time in the island of Penang. And moving forward, this type of post will replace my usual and not so helpful itemized-by-the-hour itinerary. To be honest, I don't make such detailed itineraries in reality anymore but most of the time, I am only armed with a list of things to do, and somehow so far, it effectively does the job.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

9 Things To Do in Argao, Cebu

By far, the most captivating sunrise I have seen in my life.

It was the spur of the moment that made me suggest Argao to Breinn. Before he could put a sense in me with my another incredible idea, soon after we hopped on a night bus bound to the southern part of Cebu. At least, there's already no turning back at that point. Although both of us had clearly no idea what we would be getting at. But it's alright. It turned out memorable in the end. I hope Breinn feels the same way too.

Here is a rundown of the things that we managed to come up in Argao, with the help of the resort staff. We came in at night and by that time, everything in this sleepy town was almost in pitch dark so, we officially started our wandering the following day.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Barcelona in 3 Days

To wrap up my already overwhelming Barcelona posts, here is another post that ties everything together into a single one since they are inconveniently cluttered in this blog. Not to mention, the consistency of my posts about this Catalan city is very unsatisfactory.

Anyway, if you find yourself in Barcelona for about 3 days, this can be sort of your reference that can give you an idea on what can fill your visit. But this would not be very extensive because I think I am past that age when I can easily cramp my days with too many activities and me, super dead tired in the plane on the way home as a result. Everyone of us ages, right? That's why, it's always wise to make most out of everything, the circumstances and ourselves, while we are strong and able so that someday, we can't question time on how it slips from our hands, leaving us with only what if's and regrets.

So, if you're having second thoughts on booking that ticket to Barcelona or to any place for that matter, please throw those doubts away. By doing just that, you are doing yourself a favor, that I can guarantee. ;)

Even if my Barcelona trip happened over a year ago, the experience never fails to bring back the gratifying memories that I forever hold precious in my life. Nothing can steal them away from me, except of course eventual poor memory due to aging. hehe

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Barcelona Food Diary

My cousin and I may not be the real deal foodies but experiencing a bit of the food culture in Barcelona was something to look back to with a happy mind and of course, with a happy stomach. And here are a few photos of the food and drinks that sustained us while we were hopping places around Barcelona. This is in sequential order, starting from our first meal of the day, then our lunch and lastly, our dinner during our short stay of 3 days.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Playa de la Barceloneta

We made the most out of our last full day in Barcelona by chasing the last rays of the sun on a beach even if it meant walking in what it seemed a marathon distance. That's me talking after hustling my day since the early morn.

From La Rambla, we fancied getting to the beach on foot, not even hundred percent certain if we were headed to the right direction to begin with. It was only instinct that dictated us, to further march on. But as you can see, we made it to the beach alright. It would be a big disappointment if it weren't so. The calories we burned! Lethargy was clearly imminent.

While extremely delighted after seeing the great blue sea, I readily laid my scarf on the sand, kicked off my shoes and my cousin and I just lazed there until the sun finally gave way to the moon. This idyllic situation made all the distractions we ignored during this quest, somehow trivial and of inconsequence.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

La Rambla

We're back in Barcelona! I mean not at this moment. I could only wish. But this post is one of my countless long overdue posts which go back to 2013. I know. I could never be good at this. Taking it slow is the name of this game, I suppose.

So, in that sunshiny afternoon on the 16th of October, 2013, we joined the exodus of people along La Rambla. We just got back from Montserrat and we chose to spend our remaining time of that day, ambling in this long pedestrian-only stretch. I had nothing in mind as I contentedly soaked myself into the bedlam of the various scenes around me, like the pop-up stalls which were more touristy than not, the restaurants, the row of historic buildings on both sides and the other interesting sights that I happened to lay my eyes on. But my cousin had a specific thing in mind. The first time we walked here, we were out of luck because it was already nighttime and what she's looking for could not be found. This time around however, we were constantly on our toes and we almost lost hope after having covered a considerable distance. But we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and in this case, the light at the end of La Rambla. 

Join me in retracing our steps towards our main goal on that fateful day.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Montserrat Monastery

Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery is located high above the rugged mountains of Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain. We made a day trip to visit this fascinating monastery which took us away from Barcelona for the meantime. The visit required us to be up early, head to the market that's yet about to open, fill our stomachs with an energy breakfast and buy our take-away lunch. If there's one thing we couldn't let happen, it is us getting hungry. :p

In this Euro trip, we had no concrete plans for the activities that we intend to do each day. We only had a list of things or places, spread throughout the days that we were in a country. And since we were only two, it was easy to tweak our agendas as we went along. As a matter of fact, flexibility had brought us to the monastery in finality. It was when the Filipino couple we met in Park Güell highly recommended it to us. They had nothing but only good words about the monastery and in those words, it's almost as if they were indirectly saying, we shouldn't miss it for the world. And boy, we were glad that we didn't!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

La Boqueria

How many fruits can you identify? As for me, not all of them for sure! I have no idea what those reddish brown bunch in the front are, neither the green ones on its left, the yellow ones seem to be pears but I may be totally wrong. The only thing I am certain are the strawberries! Kidding aside, I can also name those in the rear of course, for they happen to be tropical fruits. A girl from the tropics only accomplishment in this amalgamation of colorful juicy goodness.

This, among other wonderful yet curious things in the famous market, La Boqueria. Yes, we visited a market in Barcelona! How can a market be such a draw to tourists and visitors? This idea was a bit strange for me back then. When back home, a market is where you get your fresh produce (depends however at the time of day) at a lesser price than grocery stores in malls. Then, a market as an attraction? But make no mistake, I love markets. I find the thrill in going to local markets, the fact that you can do a bit of haggling, the vendors who already know you well (this applies to my mother) and just simply the buzz all around you. Of course, getting a more bang for your buck is always a good thing these days.

Maybe, that's why La Boqueria appeals to the passers by. The familiar hustle and bustle common in markets, yet you'd see the uniqueness and certain differences. And it's right smack at the center of La Rambla. Its history goes back to the 13th century. How can you not be intrigued by it?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Parc Güell

We continued getting physical after our "tiresome" Camp Nou experience. What else? But a hike into the mountain! err I mean hill! To adhere to our adrenaline rush, we chose to scale Carmel Hill where Park Güell is located. However, this park is not your typical park where you can lounge on the grass, have a picnic, and watch the world go by. It requires you to break a sweat instead. Being a hill with uneven terrains mind you, ascents and descents are a given. But aside from this physical challenge, we were also treated with out-of-this-world (but in this world anyway) structures along the way, like the photo above.

Perhaps, the main reason for us in heading to this park is to witness again the works of Antoni Gaudi, after seeing his brilliant work in Sagrada Familia the day before. Yes, he is really a legend in Barcelona. And yes, I was just feigning on the adrenaline rush. Apart from these mind-boggling yet interesting structures, an overlooking view of Barcelona at the top was just as breathtaking.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our Camp Nou Experience

Més que un club. More than a club. This is the first thing you'd see, if coming from the stadium's museum, as you make your way outside. The only word of the FC Barcelona motto I understood that time was club. When in fact, it means that it's more than a club. But it wasn't the only faux pas I had done because to begin with, I am not a football fan nor a fan of any sports for that matter. I even quipped to Breinn that FC stands for "feeling close". I know, I am just hopeless. haha

My early recollection of football or soccer in my side of the world (because we are heavily influenced by America) was during college. I have a friend who was in the varsity team of my university and I remember clearly the black and blue bruises she got after practice. The university canteen is also facing the soccer field and in some few instances, I switched my attention to the players in the field. The expanse of the field that the players had to run back and forth was so daunting for someone like me who has no sports inclination whatsoever.

I have been always a wimpy kid, attributed by my countless scars in my arms and legs. I stumble easily even on flat surfaces and my endurance into anything physical is poor. With this realization early on in life, I never bothered to get my hands into sports. And I can go on and on self-deprecating when it comes to this aspect of my life. :p

However, this does not stop me from doing the Camp Nou experience. So how was it for me who almost had no clue on what she's getting at?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Port de Barcelona

After Sagrada Familia, my cousin and I went around more of Barcelona, perhaps trying to make sense of the bizarre familiarity. Or has it only been an illusion? It might have been just because we were delirious after our overnight train from Paris. Of course, knowing how to count in Spanish by heart isn't something of great importance. Besides, the Catalan language is more widely used here, being the capital of Catalonia.

I don't know if at the end of this post, I will be able to figure out something. Or I won't. But maybe, it's already irrelevant, now that this Barcelona visit already happened over a year ago! I think my backlogs are chasing me like a mad man.

Before this imaginary mad man catches up with me, here are photos of the marina during our first dusk in Barcelona.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Travel Roundup

I guess I will never tire of sky photos. If only I could choose window seats and fly during daytime all the time. But alas! Reality kicks in when I only have to settle with budget airlines that fly in the wee hours of the morning. So if such rare opportunity comes up, most likely, my face will be glued on the window. (Reminds me to proactively put on sunblock next time.)

I took the above photo on my way home during the Christmas holidays. Yes, I am back to the daily grind sooner than I would like but anyway... In 2014, I felt like I weaned on travel partially. I have only been to relatively fewer trips but it's not that I am moping about it. Certain circumstances that cause eventual priority shift just happen. In life, we gotta roll with the punches and come out stronger than ever.