It has been awhile since the last time I “documented” my bonding sessions with friends, so thank God for my Saturday last April 27 because it was definitely one for the books — or this blog for that matter! Haha!
It all started at lunch time when I attended the graduation party of my high school friend Talitha and her sister Jenina. From being our valedictorian in high school to now graduating from med school, Talitha is someone we’re really proud of!
Of course what made the celebration even more exciting was the attendance of our other high school friends and one of our favorite teachers — all while filling ourselves with sumptuous Chinese food from Hong Kong Chef Restaurant! Yuuum!
After that, Abby, Chona, Dexter, and I had a “spontaneous” trip to The Podium and it was such a milestone for me because…
a) it was my first time to drive along EDSA without any of my sisters! I’ve been driving since 2008, but I’ve always dreaded driving along EDSA. Whenever I had to do so, I made sure that I was always with one of my sisters… kaya big deal talaga ‘to, friends! BIG DEAL talaga, ‘to! But I’m glad that I was able to share it with yoouuu! HA HA HA
b) it was my first time to go to The Podium! Like seriously! I’m NOT an “Ortigas” person, you know?! And since it was my first time, I really didn’t know how to go there… so imaginin niyo nalang ang kaba ko while driving along EDSA! Thank God we arrived there safely! Heehee.
Once there, we also saw our other high school classmates Jez and Reg.
We stayed there for at least four hours — or at least I did because Paul finally arrived and we were off to another place…
…my Idol Tinah‘s new “home!”
Tinah‘s also my high school schoolmate but she’s one batch higher than me. We reconnected a few years ago… which all started because of our “interest” in running. Speaking of which… Although it’s not yet obvious right now, I’m planning to train for a run this coming May — and hopefully get back in shape, too! Wahahahaha!
Seriously though, I’m training for this:
I’m doing this because Malate Catholic Church has always been very dear to me — and not just because Malate Catholic School (or MCS, where I spent my elementary and yes, HIGH SCHOOL days!) is a parochial school of the aforementioned church. I’ve been a MALATEAN all my life in every sense of the word. I studied at MCS, lived and continues to live in Malate, and it’ll always be part of my personal history.
On the other hand, Malate Catholic Church IS part of our history. It was built in the 1500s (during the Spanish period), survived World Wars, but most of all, it was, is, and will always be a place where Catholics can go to and talk to Him.
Anyway, you can see that if there was a “theme” for this day, it’d be HIGH SCHOOL! My entire Saturday was filled with nostalgia, laughter, food, and of course, FRIENDSSS. Eight years may have passed since we all left our beloved Alma Mater and went on to our own separate journeys, but I’m glad that we still get to do this NOW. Wherever life takes us — Pasay, Ortigas, Japan, or Canada (literal pala daw!) — one thing remains: there was, is, and will always be a school by the church of Malate… that in return produced the “Malateans” we are today.
The heat we’ve been experiencing these days is truly undeniable and suddenly, all we can think about is it’s already summer! Like seriously, has it really been three months since the last time I heard “Jingle Bells” and marveled at colorful, twinkling lights? Oh well. Time flies sooo fast, indeed. And apparently, this post is three months overdue too! Hahaha!
It’s a good thing though that whether it’s Christmas, summer, or just about any holiday you can think of, these hotels in the metro definitely define what a “staycation” ought to be.
My family and I spent Christmas 2012 at Fairmont Makati — the newest addition to the number of properties the hotel chain owns around the world, located in the middle of the country’s business and shopping district: Makati (duh!). =))
Of course the Fairmont brand is already known for its world-class customer service but aside from that, the hotel also boasts of its “Pillow Menu” wherein guests can opt to request for additional pillows that are made of different materials, as well as give different sleep benefits — free of charge. I think that’s a signature of the hotel chain because the “Pillow Menu” was also one of the things I enjoyed when we stayed at Fairmont Singapore a few years back.
Anyway, the other things I loved about Fairmont Makati were their Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Gold Lounge, and of course, Cafe Macaron! I swear, I’m a French Macaron addict and only three brands have passed my “taste” so far: TWG, Chez Karine, and Cafe Macaron. So trust me when I say that the ones served at Fairmont Makati’s Cafe Macaron are a must-try! Wahahahaha!
LIKE and SHARE Fairmont Makati’s Facebook page HERE.
And then just a tumbling away from Fairmont (you know what I mean!) is Raffles Makati. Actually, this is both a residential area and a luxury hotel. Most of the floors are allotted to the former (so those are off-limits unless you know someone who owns a unit), and just a few floors for the latter. But of course, the hotel experience Raffles Makati gives also makes you feel like a unit owner — even their suites (yes, there are no “rooms”) are designed as if you’re staying in your own personal space… even for just a couple of days!
LIKE and SHARE Raffles Makati’s Facebook page HERE.
If our Christmas was spent in Makati, our New Year 2013 was celebrated at Bonifacio Global City — at Seda Hotel to be exact!
Before you even wonder why name a hotel “Seda,” well it’s actually the Filipino equivalent of “silk.” And according to the management, silk is “a lustrous yet strong fabric that perfectly represents our commitment to providing a seamless accommodation experience.” At least now you know!
Located in the middle of Bonifacio High Street, Market! Market!, and Serendra (just imagine what a perfect location this is!), the BGC branch is only one of the Seda Hotels located all over the country; the others are in Cagayan de Oro (Centrio), Davao (Abreeza), and Laguna (Nuvali) — although this one’s still under construction.
LIKE and SHARE Seda Hotels’ Facebook page HERE.
So the next time you plan to take a staycation, remember these three words: Fairmont. Raffles. Seda.
Now off you go and may you all have a blast this summer (or any staycation-worthy event for that matter!).
Aahhh, Syria. It made headlines in 2011 NO thanks to the uprisings that happened, which eventually led to a civil war. But of course, there will always be pros and cons in everything — especially when it comes to traveling. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to know that Syria CAN actually be a travel destination, too!
Just take my featured traveler Jeremiah as an example.
But of course, just like my other featured travelers, I first asked Jeremiah how his love for traveling started. This is what he said: “I’m not really sure when, but I’m certain that I love traveling — domestic, international, or just about anywhere in the metro. My mother always tells me that I’m the kind of person who can’t stay put in one place. I always find myself walking and roaming around, but not necessarily getting ‘lost.’ I love discovering new things and searching for things that I don’t know. For me kasi, the best way to understand other cultures is to experience them. So what I always do is make sure that I experience things from a local’s point of view.
“When I was a kid, it was really my dream to ride an airplane. Seriously, it was such a big dream that time kaya feel na feel ko talaga dati whenever we welcomed our balikbayan relatives at the airport — it felt like airplanes were just a few feet away from me. When I started working, that’s when all my ‘travel dreams’ came true one by one.”
And CAME TRUE, they did! He further shared, “The first country I’ve visited was China. We went to Xi’an to participate in the National Model United Nations (NMUN). This was the first time that NMUN went outside the United States — it was less expensive kaya ako sumama.
“Then when I started working for the (Philippine) government, a lot of travel opportunities opened for me — but not just travel as leisure, but as a member/representative of the Philippine government to official meetings of international importance because these are our commitments. So far, I’ve been to the Syrian Arab Republic, the UAE, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and Russia.
“But then again, I love traveling because I love the Philippines. Sometimes it’s hard to represent the Philippine flag kasi ‘pag nandoon ka na, hindi ka naman tatawagin base sa pangalan mo. You’ll be addressed based on the country you represent. It’s hard, but it’s also fulfilling.”
The Syrian Escapade
Jeremiah‘s Syrian escapade wasn’t really something he expected, but it turned out to be one of his memorable trips. He admitted, “My trip to Syria is one of the best things that happened to me. Going to a country like Syria is a very rare opportunity. It didn’t really enter my mind that I’d be able to go there because for me, Syria isn’t really any traveler’s first choice of country to go to — especially if it’s for a vacation or tourism purposes. That’s why the things that are currently happening there really sadden me, though I went to Syria before all that even began. Of course, I’m praying that the civil war will end soon because Syria is one of the cradles of civilizations and its culture is something that the whole world must be able to experience.
“I went to Damascus [the capital of Syria] at the age of 19 and I was still just three months at my work. It was really a challenge for me but at the same time, I was very excited because I knew that I was doing something I could be proud of.”
We’ve all heard it: work hard… and play harder. But in the case of Jeremiah, he definitely knew how to work hard AND travel harder! He remembered, “After attending to our official business, I got the chance to roam around Syria. We went to the Grand Mosque of Damascus or the Umayyad Mosque. If you’re fond of learning about the history of Islam, you’ll be overwhelmed while in Damascus. According to Wikipedia, after the Arab conquest of Damascus, the mosque was built on the site of a Christian Basilica dedicated to John the Baptist — who is also honored as a prophet by the Muslims. I took a photo of the shrine, believed to be where the head of John the Baptist lies. This mosque is also considered one of the holiest places in Islam. The Umayyad Mosque holds great significance to Shia and traditional Sunni Muslims as this was the destination of the family of Muhammad, who walked there from Baghdad. Moreover, the place where the head of Husayn (the grandson of Mohammad) was kept can be found there. Ito palang yung napupuntahan ko nun pero sobrang fulfilled na’ko kaagad kasi Damascus is really important in the history of Islam.
“The following day, we visited a number of souks (markets) and historical landmarks around the city, especially the churches. I also had the opportunity to visit the monument of Saladin. As most of us know, Saladin is a very historic figure with a chivalrous heart. He led the Muslim opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levan. And if my readings are correct, he was able to form his sultanate in some parts of North Africa and Syria.
“We also went to the House of St. Ananias in Damascus and we attended a mass in a church where St. Paul was baptized by St. Ananias himself. We also went to two churches in the middle of a desert (I believed this is somewhere near the borders of Syria and Iraq): the Church of Saint Bacchus and Saint Takla in Ma’loula. This is outside Damascus and the travel time was approximately one hour and a half. Ma’loula is an ancient and predominantly Christian village in Syria. And according to Wikipedia again, it is situated at an altitude of more than 1,500 meters. Most of the inhabitants there have preserved their spoken language — Aramaic, also known as the language spoken by Jesus Christ. It’s a different feeling to hear the language believed to be used by Jesus. Iba talaga. When we attended a mass, the priest even gave us different religious artifacts and blessed us afterwards.
“As for the food, ang hinahanap-hanap ko talaga ay yung mga lamb chops, kebab, baklava, and hummus. Anything Mediterranean is really okay for me. Yung handmade ice cream din pala nila na sobrang dami ng pistachios sa isa sa mga souks nila dun. Even though the weather was cold when I went there, I still kept on eating ice cream because of its different taste that I can’t fully explain.
“Overall, Damascus is very beautiful. With its rich history, culture, and status of being considered one of the oldest inhabited ancient cities, Damascus is a place for people who love history and have the passion to study West Asia. The architecture is magnificent — as if you were brought back to the old civilization with very unique and distinct cultural manifestations.”
Now that we’ve established the fact that traveling is a big part of Jeremiah‘s life, what makes it still interesting for him? He answered, “Traveling for me is still the best way to understand cultures and know the significance of one’s existence. You can read all the books you like about a particular place, but it’s way different when you actually experience how it feels like to be there. Just like any other thing, you need to experience it before you can fully comprehend it. Your love for traveling is something innate, thus it comes from within and it can’t develop overnight. Traveling isn’t something that you should envy. It’s your passion and thirst for knowledge — to search for a deeper understanding of one’s self, life, and culture.
“Furthermore, traveling taught me a number of realizations. Considering the fact that traveling is very expensive especially abroad, I’m fortunate that the profession that I chose to be in has the provision for traveling. Traveling taught me independence and the ability to recognize the diversity of the world and its people. It also made me understand that we’re living in a cosmopolitan sphere where borders are in one way or another irrelevant.”
Having said that, what are his future travel plans? Jeremiah said, “My dream destination is Maldives. However, I’m still hoping that I can visit the following countries someday: Nepal, Bhutan, North Korea, Ukraine, and Argentina.”
Lastly, he leaves us all with these travel tips: “Research on the history of the place. Experience culture through food (particularly street food). And as they say, EAT WHERE THE LOCALS EAT. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to get lost.”
An escapade-worthy answer, indeed!
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
Last week, I got into a fight. So let’s skip the “love” part first. Haha!
It wasn’t really a physical fight, more like a “war of the words” with a person who has no purpose in life whatsoever. Excuse the negative comment at this point because he didn’t have the right to insult me. Yes, it’s a “he.” An old male person who has totally lost my respect and who I decided to completely write off of my life forever. I’ll call him D.O.M. — stands for Deranged Old Man! Period.
What happened? In the first place, we’re not close. At all. I don’t give a damn about him and his life and I don’t talk to him — so you can say that he has no right to comment about me and lecture me about what I should do with my life. He’s not my parent, he didn’t raise me, heck like I said, I avoid having conversations with him because doing so would just be a complete waste of my time. Besides, at his age, the life he’s living isn’t really something worth emulating so maybe he should comment about his own life first and the way he should live it. So when he called me something offensive behind my back (at least he thought I didn’t hear him), he totally crossed the line. All those years of trying to ignore him all boiled down into one bloody exchange of words. Swearwords included. Damn. Call me someone who stooped down to “his” level, but whatever. Minsan, nangyayari talaga yun sa buhay. #GalitNaGalitLang talaga ang naging peg ko.
Who he is and what he said that ticked me off, I will not disclose to you anymore. What I’m willing to tell you is what he commented on: my unemployment once again.
Yes, I’m unemployed once again. But before you judge me (like what D.O.M. did!), at least know the story first.
D.O.M. thought that I’m not good enough, that I couldn’t keep a job because of lack of skills or whatnot, and that I’m not destined for any greatness in this life — WITHOUT knowing anything about what really happened. All he knew was that I was at home that day. All he was, is, and will forever be = one judgmental person.
Well EXCUSE ME, I know what I’m capable of and I know how to make the most out of my skills — I’m just unlucky these days career-wise, that’s all.
The truth: our team got laid off. Hence my career-hunt AGAIN for the past few days. Wish me luck!
You see, we can’t really get EVERYTHING we want. I want a writing job (bonus if it pays well!), along Ayala Avenue, with normal office hours AND a team composed of great people.
Guess what? I got all that and more in my latest job. For the first time, I even found myself calling it a long-term “career” and not just another day job because I loved everything about it so much, I already saw myself working there for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, God has other plans for me and my teammates. So after working there for years and months (them); 17 days (me), we all had to say goodbye to our beloved company and to each other. #LongStoryMadeShort #StillCoping :’(
So yeah. Right now, I’m JOBLESS, I’m MONEYLESS, but I can still feel luuurve all around me. (And it’s not just because Valentine’s Day is around the corner! Hahaha!)
Love for writing
About six months ago, I was writing a draft post entitled, “The Question I Still Haven’t Found The Answer To.” At that time, I think I was referring to what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I kind of wrote that there will come a point in your life when money won’t be a major factor anymore. There will come a point in your life when PURPOSE will be what you’ll finally seek for. I’m not saying that I don’t need money because I do. I really do. Heck, who doesn’t? I don’t think even Bill Gates will ever say that he doesn’t need it. Because he will, maybe for his business and not his personal life, but he needs and will always need money.
The point is, I’m just more drawn to another thing these days: PURPOSE. The kind I’d be willing to be paid less than expected because I know that I’m doing something worthwhile. I found that purpose in WRITING.
I admit, I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know that it’s something I believe I’m good at and enjoy doing both at the same time!
So I can say that I’ve Already Found The Answer to The Question. I now know that I want to write, write, write, for the rest of my life. The only follow-up question is WHERE???
Now, that, I still haven’t found the answer to yet again. So help me God! Wahahahaha!
Love from my family
I’ve already said once, twice, for the nth time that my sisters are truly my biggest IDOLS and INSPIRATIONS. And that when all else fails (i.e. experience retrenchment), I’ll ALWAYS have THEM! And that — THAT is something no one, as in NO ONE, can ever take away from me! True THEN; true NOW. Click HERE and HERE. Haha!
Love FOR and FROM Paul
Just because I’m experiencing bliss in my love life, my work life should suffer? Ganun-ganun nalang, Universe?! Well, I refuse to give in to that whole you-can’t-always-get-what-you-want thing in this department. I want HAPPINESS in both my love life and my work life!
And so far, everything’s getting better and better everyday just because Paul‘s always there by my side. So thanks, hon! I love you!!! :*
Aahhh. Blogging truly is still “therapy” to me. Imagine, I’ve been trying to control all my emotions this past week and writing has been my answer. It truly never fails me.
When I decided to create this post, I didn’t really have a main point (so I apologize for the ramblings!). All I wanted to achieve was feel a little better and unload myself of this “excess baggage” I’ve been carrying lately. I say, mission accomplished! Thank God for WordPress!
But most of all, thank God for LOVE. ♥
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals
*superheroes bit by eight-legged creatures not included!
It’s that time of the year again — a time for year-ender posts (at least for bloggers!). It was exactly a year ago (December 29, 2011) when I posted my first year-ender on this blog, and I just realized that the universe heard my plea. When I said that I wanted to be “amazed” this year (inspired by the movie New Year’s Eve), I think I got more than what I asked for!
Last year, I wrote this:
“This coming year, I also dare ALL OF US to be AMAZED!!! I don’t know… be amazed by EATING. TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS. PRAYING. TRAVELING. LOVING. WRITING. Actually, ANYTHING. As long as you get to have your own interpretation of the word “AMAZING,” do it! Just. be. amazed!”
Eating, taking photographs (hello, Instagram!), and praying are already givens. They’re practically part of my everyday life, so I’d like to focus on the remaining three: traveling, loving, and writing.
Let’s start with TRAVELING.
During the first half of the year, the travel bug was at work in my life because that was the time I decided to TRAVEL just because I could! Hahaha! I don’t know what happened, but I just suddenly found myself traveling to Brunei in January, Bohol and Cebu in April, Vietnam and Cambodia in May, and Hong Kong (for the nth time!) in June.
I have a feeling that it’ll be a long time before I can do THIS again, so I’m grateful that I was given the chance to do so in 2012.
Aside from my own travels, I also launched my 2012 blog project (yehesss, “launch” talaga!) wherein I featured “people like you and me — who just happen to have ‘wanderlust’ as their middle names” every month. To know what I’m talking about, CLICK HERE. Haha! So to my featured travelers this 2012 — Minnie, Danica, Pia, my sisters, Cara, Joanna, Carol, Anthony, Arlene, Gian, Rema, Madel, Bianca, George and Angelo — I want to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! for sharing your travel stories and making my blog project a success! It was as if we also went to the places you’ve been to through your words and pictures. I love and thank you all!!!
This 2013, I’ll still feature travelers but it won’t be a monthly thing anymore. However, I still hope that you’ll read and enjoy them as much as you did when I was still doing it every month. Heehee.
Let’s move on to WRITING.
This is the part where I talk about my “chosen career” (as opposed to the “default” one). @_@
2012 has been a roller coaster ride for me career-wise. In May, I decided to leave my first full-time job after working there for two years and nine months. Three months after that, I landed my next job wherein I was finally able to pursue my passion for writing. But I believe that God has a better plan for me, so that “next job” lasted for only three months. I’m still thankful, though, that I was given that “experience” because I did learn a thing or two from it. In fact, I’d like to share with you my favorite “assignment” during my short stint there: FOOD REVIEWS!!!
(excerpts from “Family-friendly Restaurants”
found inside BC Magazine Philippines’ November 2012 issue)
This 2013, I still hope to pursue this “chosen career” of mine, BUT I’m hoping that I’ll also
have the luck to be given the chance to pursue my “default” one. Take a hint, my dream job! (Universe, are you listening again? Hehehe.)
And to end this post, let’s talk about LOVING.
I don’t know how to start this without being cheesy and mushy. Alam naaa!
Okay, this is a continuation of what I wrote on my year-ender post last 2011:
I wrote THAT in December 2011. And even though I didn’t really meet Zac Efron in person this year, I still got to have my very own Paul — who I met nine months after telling the world that I wanted to be amazed!
(pagbigyan na ang cheesiness at mushiness! Wahahahaha!)
I love you, hon!!! ♥
So yeah. Universe, excellent job! Consider me MORE THAN amazed!
I, thank you. ♥♥♥
This coming new year, I hope that I’ll continue to be GRATEFUL and AMAZED.
I wish the same things for ALL OF YOU.
Happy 2013, my dear friends!!!
“Save the best for last,” they say.
And that’s exactly what I’m doing here as I conclude my 2012 (travel) blog project — by featuring two of the most well-traveled people
in the country I can think of: George and Angelo.
No specific country or place will be highlighted in this post because as you’ve seen in the title, THE WORLD itself is the focus. From Africa to North America, Europe to Asia, my featured travelers surely went and will go there!
Best of all, the photos you’ll see in this post were ALL taken by themselves. And despite not being professional photographers, I definitely had a hard time choosing which photos to include here not just because of the number of albums (they’ve been to A LOT of places!), but because of the endless great shots that truly captured each and every place they’ve traveled to.
So I’ll stop rambling now and share with you what George has to say about TRAVELING… and why it’s always better when he’s with his “better half,” Angelo.
“I never counted the countries I visited; even if I would, I would’ve already lost count. I just remember places and faces and even if I revisit, something novel will emerge or I will simply make it happen,” George answered when I asked him about the number of countries he’s been to. And it’s true. If you counted the countries he has traveled to, you would’ve lost count too!
But like most people, George‘s first take on traveling happened in the country. He shared, “I first ventured out of Manila when I was four or five years old (1981 or 1982); we went to see Mayon Volcano. It was a great experience just to leave but then one had to endure long hours of land travel and as a child, I never looked forward to this. I can’t remember if I successfully articulated in my consciousness that passion for travel; what I know is just that I was glad that we left and that I went to a place that I’ve never seen before.”
It wasn’t until a few years later when he found himself traveling to Japan — his first international destination. “I first ventured out of the country when I was 9. It was a dream come true because I grew up being fascinated by Japanese pop culture and anime. Godzilla, Voltes V, and Daimos amongst many Japanese cultural artifacts have become indelible memories. Tokyo Disneyland was so surreal.”
And thanks to those childhood memories, Japan — as it turns out — is now one of George‘s favorite countries to visit.
That AND Spain. When I asked him about his favorite countries, this is what he said: “Spain and Japan are the foremost countries that come to mind. The diversity of experiences and cultural depth have always inspired me and my soul mate [Angelo]. I’m not so sure if it’s the historical/cultural connection but I guess it all boils down to what I learn regardless of repeat visits.
“I’m just drawn to the rich art scene in Madrid, while Barcelona breaks the boundaries of art. Think of Gaudi and one will just want to stay. On the other hand, Valencia has exquisite and modern architecture (Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences). Spanish food (eating authentic paella should not be dismissed), markets, and the warmth of the Spanish people are always worth looking forward to.
(photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay)
“On the other hand, the paradox of the modern and the traditional core is the contradiction that defines Japan. For me and Angelo, Japan has become an annual journey. I don’t even know where to start. I guess the historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto so much so that it’s named UNESCO World Heritage City; it’s only second to Rome. We also make it a point to go to Japan not just to welcome the new year but to spoil ourselves with all the fukubukuro (mystery bags) in all our favorite Japanese stores and signature labels. With such significant discounts, we shopped like hoarders to our hearts content. Never mind overspending in this time of the year. The food — need I say more? The precision/attention to detail in all aspects such as gift wrapping makes Japan what it is. More importantly, the civility and strict order that defines Japanese society are truly remarkable and exceptional.”
(photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay)
As a seasoned traveler, those two countries must be really special to stand out among the number of countries they’ve visited… and still counting. Having said that, how does “traveling” still affect them? George admitted, “Traveling is empowerment and a liberating activity that must be experienced; imagination becomes a reality and it is essential precisely because it’s education. It removes you from your shell of ignorance. My work and ministry as an academic have been largely enriched by this. Creativity, innovation, and inspiration at work and my relations with other people have largely been nurtured by my travels.”
More thoughts on traveling: “There are times that you have to venture on your own (business trips) but the better half and I have always valued shared experiences and yes, we discuss the lessons that we’ve learned simultaneously as we discover the people, places, and the cultures we experience.”
all photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay
Seeing those shots, it makes you wonder, “What’s next for these two?” Well George said, “Nepal. Simply because I haven’t been there. You always want to visit an unchartered territory. The unfamiliar excites me.” In fact, he recently posted this on Facebook,
“Thanks to National Geographic, Gelo and I will welcome 2013 on a spiritual note which is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism and by the grandeur of the Himalayan peaks — most notably, Mt. Everest. A lifelong dream that will finally become a reality.”
National Geographic? Mt. Everest? A dream turned into a reality? By the looks of it, there’s no doubt that 2013 will be another great travel year for these two! As George put it, “I look forward to equally interesting journeys next year.” And so do we!
Lastly, George leaves us with one, but very useful travel tip: “Research, research, and more research so you will welcome, appreciate, and enjoy the unique absurdities that will come your way. Just go and be modern-day global nomads.”
Once again, I’d like to say thanks to Sir George (and his partner, Angelo) for sharing with us their travel adventures. It’s truly an honor!
As for all of you, it has been a wonderful year sharing with you the different travel stories of “people like you and me — who just happen to have ‘wanderlust’ as their middle names!!! ” May all of us embark on interesting journeys this coming 2013 as well!
To repeat what George advised,
“Just go and be modern-day global nomads.”
The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project… signing off.
Happy New Year in advance, everyone!!!
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
Can I just say that I miss blogging?
When I started my (travel) blog project for this year, my aim was to make sure that I post at least one blog entry per month. And since September, I think that has been the case! So thanks to my featured travelers for making this blog still “active.” Haha!
So it’s already December, huh? Honestly, I’m not even sure if I can still complete my blog project even though I have one month left! But yeah, a lot of things have happened in the past few months. Some are “bloggable,” some are not. And for the things that belong to the latter, let’s keep them that way. *insert evil laugh here*
But to make the long story short, I’m currently in search of finding the right “career” for me. Yes, I’m unemployed once again. It has been that way for more than two weeks now, actually. So please pray for my “work” life.
As for my love life, well…
Well, I think it’s about time to say THANK YOU to all those who “prayed” for it. Wahahahaha! But seriously, if there’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that good things come to those who wait… and in UNEXPECTED ways. Who knew that I’d meet my boyfriend this year? WHO KNEW?!?! (Hindi niyo ‘man lang ako sinabihan! Hahaha!)
Kidding aside, I think it’s about time that I introduce to all of you my boyfriend, Paul. ♥
As for our “love story,” can we just reserve the mushiness for February? I’m just glad that my Christmas 2012 won’t be as “cold” as I expected it to be! THE LADY IS IN… love. Definitely.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your December!!!
No man’s an island, indeed. So when you plan to have your very own getaway to an island like Maldives, make sure that you’ve got your friends with you!
Or better yet, the love of your life — as is the case with my featured traveler for the month of November: Bianca. ♥
Born and raised in Zamboanga City, and eventually transferred to Manila when she was 16 for college, “traveling” always had a special place in Bianca‘s heart. She said, “As a kid, my mom made sure my brother and I were both ‘exposed’ to life outside of Zamboanga. Traveling for me is, as my mom said, an exposure. It widens my horizons to other kinds of history, cultures, places, people, etc. I also consider traveling as a therapy and sometimes, an escape. When I feel that pressure and stress are already getting the worst of me, I just want to pack my bags and take a break!”
So far, she has been to at least eight countries. Bianca shared, “The first place outside the country I’ve been to was Hong Kong. Then eventually, I was able to travel to Malaysia, Thailand, China, South Korea, Maldives, the USA, and Singapore. Hong Kong and Thailand are my usual travel destinations — I’ve been to these two places for as much as I can remember.
“When I travel, I don’t limit myself to the country’s capital city. In Thailand, I’ve been to Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chang Mai. In the US, my mom and I went around California (L.A. and San Francisco), Florida (Orlando and Jacksonville), New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. I’ve lived in Beijing, China for nine months. While in Beijing, I made side trips to Shanghai, Inner Mongolia, Xi An, Luo Yang, Shao Lin Si, Hang Zhou, Su Zhou, Nan Jing, Xiamen, and Shi Shi.”
But even before she studied and lived in China, all this “love” for traveling started when Bianca actually celebrated her debut. “I was 18 when I chose a vacation to the USA over a grand 18th birthday party celebration in a five-star hotel with 200 guests,” she admitted. “After graduation from college, my love for traveling grew even more. I loved the idea of spending time with my girl friends in strange lands, where no one knew us — and where we didn’t give a care in the world that someone might recognize us!”
From Maldives, With Love
Bianca and her husband got married last 11/11/11 (nice date, huh?) and chose to have their honeymoon in the Maldive Islands. “I initially wanted to go to Europe since I’ve never been there,” Bianca mentioned. ”But then my mom said that Europe isn’t a honeymoon destination, but a shopping destination! So, nahuli ako ba’t gusto kong mag-Europe — not for honeymoon, but for shopping!”
Her three-day honeymoon trip with her husband happened at Irufushi Island, but started in Male. “As soon as we landed in Male, I immediately felt like a VIP! Someone was there to meet us, who then took care of our luggage and walked us to our car — which transported us to the Hilton Irufushi Resort’s waiting area,” Bianca said. “And waiting area for what? Well it’s the waiting area for our sea plane! When we got to the reception area, the assistant handed us cold towels and welcome drinks with fresh flowers as decoration, and offered complimentary massages. There, you’ll find a wide assortment of healthy snacks, Evian bottled water (you can get as much as you want!), sodas, wines, and a whole lot more!
“You need a sea plane to get to your island, and riding one was truly an unforgettable experience for me! When we got to the island, a butler approached us and introduced himself to us! And for a second I thought, ‘Why would we need a butler?’ We’re on a honeymoon!
“The beach literally blew my breath away! It was so quiet and peaceful — and of course, clean! Our villa was no exception! We had our ‘personal’ cabana and beach front as well. ’Personal’ in the sense that no one else could stay in that respective area which was reserved specifically for us!”
Having had the time of her life (with the love of her life, nonetheless!) in Maldives, what advice can she give to those planning to have the same kind of trip? Bianca advised, “Some people are more adventurous and don’t prefer to make prior arrangements. I’m different, I want everything set to the last minute because I don’t want to waste time when I’m abroad thinking of what to do or where to go to.
“Making prior research about your destination can be very helpful. By doing this, you’ll know more about the must-see places!
“Bring a lot of CASH! You’re already abroad, so might as well make the most out of it! When you’ve got cash, you can do anything and buy anything!
“Unless you’re going on a honeymoon (where a hotel room MUST be the highlight of the trip), you might wanna check out boutique hotels rather than the more expensive ones. You’ll be out all day shopping or sightseeing, and the only time you can go back to your hotel room is when you wanna sleep or take a bath!
“Last but not the least, keep on dreaming! You might just get to your dream destination someday!”
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
“Traveling is one big, interactive, history lesson. It opens my mind. It removes biases and misconceptions against places and people. And surprisingly, it also makes me appreciate my own country and people,” my featured traveler for this month said.
And since it’s October — my birthday month (ehem!) — what better way is there to celebrate it than talk about one of my loves: THE UNITED KINGDOM!!! =))
That’s why it’s truly a privilege to introduce to you this month’s featured traveler because she didn’t just “travel” around the U.K. — she actually experienced living the English life! *inggit* So my dear readers, meet my friend (and fellow Lasallian!) Madel and read carefully… because I guarantee you, this is “one big, interactive, history lesson” about the U.K. that you wouldn’t want to miss!
As always, the first question I ask my featured travelers is about the time they first caught the travel bug. And in Madel‘s case, this was how it went: “I started to appreciate traveling at a very young age. Before my seventh birthday, my dad brought me (and my mom) to the U.S. where I really enjoyed myself. We visited a lot of places that were very enjoyable to young children — Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World — to name a few. So as a young girl, that experience gave me an idea that traveling brings you to wonderful, ‘magical’ places.
“However, my awareness and deeper appreciation for traveling actually started when we toured Europe in 2002. At that time, I was still in high school and we just finished taking up world history. The tour allowed me to relate the beautiful sites I saw through the history lessons I learned. With this, my appreciation for traveling definitely deepened.”
And “deepened” it did! Madel has already been to at least 15 countries (including the Philippines). “At around seven years old (1993), my parents and I traveled to the U.S. My next trip was at the end of my first year in high school (2001) at Assumption, where I got to visit Japan as an exchange student and traveled alongside with seven other students and two teachers. This trip was a special experience because I got to live with a Japanese host family and be fully immersed in the Japanese culture and traditions. Exactly a year after this trip, we went to Europe (2002). We joined a tour organized by Trafalgar Tours. It started in London, England, and continued by bus to Belgium, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France. We then ended our trip by visiting some of our relatives in the Netherlands. In the summer of 2007, we visited Australia and passed by Singapore before going home. From 2011 to 2012, I studied in the United Kingdom. During my year abroad, I also traveled a bit, touring Spain and Portugal for a week.”
Even before Madel decided to pursue her graduate studies in the U.K., she already toured England (e.g. Stonehenge and Lake District) and Scotland (Edinburgh). But when she finally became an official student at the University of York, that’s when she got the chance to visit more places in the U.K. with some of her friends: from England (Oxford, Sheffield, London, Bristol, Brighton, Leeds, and Manchester) to Wales (Cardiff)!
So what will Madel miss the most about the U.K.? Well, here are some of them:
“It’s the place to be! Honestly, I really wanted to study in the U.K. after seeing London in 2002. It’s very beautiful and full of history. Also, you’ll never be bored in London because there are so many palaces, parks, gardens, museums, and shopping places to go to.”
“I was so lucky to have been in England during the Olympics. I remember that I used to watch the Olympics not even dreaming that I’d be able to watch it ‘live’ someday because I knew it was impossible. However, by some lucky twist of fate, I studied in England in the exact year the Olympics was in town. Although I wasn’t able to watch the opening ceremonies live (that would’ve been a dream!), I did watch a semi-finals football game in the historic Old Trafford in Manchester. Although the competing teams were from Egypt and Japan, my friends and I happily cheered on our chosen teams — with flags and banners to match.”
“This is the beautiful city where I lived in for one year. It’s very scenic because of its medieval history. There are walls surrounding the city. There’s also a beautiful York Minster that’s the focal point of this city. Unlike London, York’s still predominantly British. And because of this, I had some first-hand experience of how it is to really live amongst the British. What I discovered is that the British are very courteous and friendly. People always say ‘Thank you!’ to bus drivers before leaving the bus. Also, when you walk into any of York’s street shops, store keepers greet you and sometimes, even engage in a good conversation with you. Also, the locals often call you ‘love’ (for example they’d say, ‘Hi, Love!’ or ‘Thanks, Love!’) — which I find very endearing.”
The University of York
“I feel really lucky to have studied here. Originally, I hadn’t planned on going to this University. But by some lucky twist of fate, I landed a spot here. The University of York is amongst the top 10 Universities in the U.K. and top 100 in the world. This is despite the fact that it has only been in existence for less than 50 years. Recently, it has also received the top place in the ranking of the youngest universities in the U.K. Our professors are also amongst the best scholars in the country.
“Our University’s also very modern and beautiful. It has one of the biggest man-made lakes in Europe. It’s also famous for its ducks and swans — which walk freely on the university grounds. Truly, it was inspiring to study in a campus as excellent and beautiful as this!”
Sweets and Pastries
“England’s well-known for its sweets and pastries shops! Inside you’ll find traditional candies like toffee and mints, as well as traditional pies, cookies, and cupcakes. I love them because I have a sweet tooth. But to be honest, some find these things too sweet.”
Now that you’ve learned a thing or two about the U.K. thanks to Madel‘s own personal experience, “what are her travel tips,” you may ask? Well, she shared, “For people who are very interested in seeing the world, I suggest that you consider joining tours rather than going around a city on your own. These are the reasons why:
“First, joining tours allows you to see many places in one go. Our tour of Europe is the perfect example! In as little as two weeks, we visited seven countries! Although we had a strict schedule to follow, the tour brought us to all the key places with enough time to go around, take pictures, and buy souvenirs.
“Second, joining tours will save you a lot of time, headache, and even money. I know that there’s a misconception that tours are very expensive. But on the contrary, tour companies usually have more efficient ways of going around cities (using their buses). They also have good arrangements with their partner hotels — which are usually the luxury hotels in the area (they probably get the rooms at a much cheaper rate because they buy in bulk). Hence, you’ll not have to worry about hotel bookings, understanding public transportation, and not knowing how to speak the local language.
“Third, tours mean tour guides! And honestly, nothing beats the knowledge of these locals! Apart from knowing the history of their place by heart, they usually also have funny anecdotes and stories about the place or tourists who have visited the site. This is one of the things which I enjoy the most. It also makes me remember a place even more. And last but not the least, joining tour groups gives you the chance to meet really nice people (of different nationalities). They can even end up as your lifelong friends as you share many wonderful experiences and photos together!”
I actually agree on that! I, personally, prefer booking tours for hassle-free travels! Hahaha! But enough about me… after 15 countries, where does Madel plan to go to next? “To be honest, my next dream destination would be somewhere in the Philippines. I actually envy people who have seen so much of our country. I’d love to go to the underground river in Palawan. I’d love to have my picture taken beside the Chocolate Hills. I’d also love to visit Batanes where life seems so simple and peaceful! There’s so much to experience in our own country! That’s what I plan to do this coming year.
“Although if there’s a place outside of the Philippines that I’m eyeing now, it’s China. I’ve made many Chinese friends back in York and I’d love to visit them in their country.”
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
BERMUDA. Aside from the infamous “Triangle” that comes after this place’s name, what else do you know about Bermuda?
In fact, rephrase that. What SHOULD you know about Bermuda?
Well, that’s the goal here — to answer that and more. Much, much MOOORE!
But first, let’s get to know our “tour guide” in Bermuda and our family friend — September’s featured traveler, Rema!
She has been to the Philippines (of course!), Australia, the U.S., Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, the U.K., China (Hong Kong and Macau), and of course, Bermuda! So how did all of this traveling started for Rema? When did she “catch” the so-called travel bug? “Well, since I was a kid, I’ve always referred to myself as ’gala,‘ ‘layas,‘ or ‘makati ang paa’ — all of which means that I love to be always on the go and not stay in the house. I have this ‘up for anything’ attitude and ‘anywhere the road takes me’ kind of view in life. While still living in the Philippines, I’ve already had my fair share of travels within the country and I went to Australia to visit my family before starting my ‘career journey’ to Bermuda. One of my deepest desires is to really travel and as they say, the rest is history.”
And in Rema‘s “life history,” Bermuda now occupies several chapters — if not an entire book — in her story. She shared, “I’ve been living and working in Bermuda for five years now. Wow! Even I can’t believe it everytime I say it. Time really flies fast when you’re having fun. Most, if not all of the expats here, will tell you that they’ve come to Bermuda for only two years and found themselves staying longer. In my opinion though, Bermuda’s not for everyone. If you’re a city boy or girl, it may be difficult to adjust to the lifestyle — but luckily, I’m a country girl. Born and raised in Bulacan, I’m a ‘probinsyana’ through and through — so Bermuda’s so right up my alley. The ‘Rock,’ as we call it, has about 64,000 people — both expats and locals included. Pretty small, no? But people here know how to make use of their time and resources. From the various summer activities to house parties during the winter, there is something to do in Bermuda after all.
“Being on this side of the world, I can’t help but take advantage of traveling.”
Life in Bermuda
Let’s start with the basics first. So what should we know about Bermuda? Rema answered, “Bermuda is a British territory in the North Atlantic Ocean (yes, our money has the Queen’s face on it). The main businesses of the island are Offshore Finance/Investments and Tourism. The island has pink sand beaches (thanks to pink algae) and aquamarine waters. The island looks like a wide horse shoe and we only have East and West sides. Also, the island doesn’t have cities or suburbs. What we have are parishes — and there are nine of them.
“We drive on the left side of the road and there are only two lanes, thus the small cars and mopeds. One household is allowed to have only one car to limit road traffic. The main kinds of transportation are mopeds/scooters, cars, and buses. And of course, I drive a moped for that’s what it means to truly experience Bermuda!
“There are also a lot of churches and different religions. There are six catholic churches in Bermuda so when we do our visita iglesia during Easter, we’re always one church short — doesn’t stop us from pushing through with it, though. The various churches have a lot of volunteer activities for the poor. One that I’m actively involved with is the Soup run by The Salvation Army.”
As for food? Rema declared that “Bermuda’s famous foods are codfish, fish chowder, and potatoes. The island has mixed cuisine: American, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Jamaican, and just about anything with just two or three restaurants for each kind.”
Now let’s go to the fun part: the tourist sites! Rema said, “Since Bermuda is mainly a tourist attraction, everywhere’s a must-see. By living there for five years, I think I’ve been to almost all of them.” Having read that, here are some of her recommended tourist destinations:
“Some of the famous beaches are Horseshoe beach and Elbow beach. These are located on the west side of the island, while I live on the east side (since there’s less traffic). There are beaches here and there, and people have their own favorites.”
“There are two lighthouses on the island, each on the east and west sides. I love Gibbs Lighthouse, which is on the west side, as it gives me a more aerial view of Bermuda whenever I climb the top.”
Dockyard and St. George’s
“Dockyard’s on the west side. From the name itself, it used to be Britain’s largest naval base outside the U.K. During summer, cruise ships dock there and people take the ferry to go to the town and do some sightseeing. On the other hand, St. George’s is on the east side. It used to be the city of Bermuda. But until now, it still boasts of a lot of tourist destinations such as shops, restaurants, forts, and beaches too.”
The Swizzle Inn
“This is the island’s famous pub and restaurant, and of course there are only two branches. You guessed it right — one on each side. This is a favorite among locals and expats alike — open seven days a week. And during the summer season, it even offers live bands at night. The famous drinks in Bermuda are called Rum Swizzle and Dark and Storm. All very yummy! Bermuda’s very famous for its rum — gold, black, white — name it, Bermuda’s got it!”
Other “Happy Hour” Destinations
“Bermudians and expats love their happy hours! During summer time, when the clock strikes five, people will come running to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess (one of Bermuda’s largest hotels) for happy hour. This lasts until 9PM, then people either get dinner or go straight to Lemon Tree for more ‘happy hour’ until 12 midnight.
“Lemon Tree is a small cafe that is next to a park. During happy hour, they open a portion of the park for everyone. When the clock strikes 12, people in Bermuda still continue to party… Next possible destinations could be Pickled Onion, Cairo, or Cosmopolitan — all are nightclubs with plenty of drinking and dancing.
“Pickled Onion or what we call PO, closes at 2AM, while the other two close at 3AM. After that, it’s time to go home… except of course when people still go crazy and have pool parties, or just go to a random beach for a swim. I’ve to say that it’s a really good cure for hangovers! When winter comes, we still do happy hour but not as extensive as how we do it during summer time — especially since it can be really quite cold in a subtropical island like Bermuda.”
But after traveling around (and living in) Bermuda, where else does Rema plan to go to? She admitted, “I’ve always wanted to go to Greece! I honestly don’t know why. There’s something with the white houses overlooking the water (not that I haven’t seen enough in Bermuda) that interests me.
“And guess what? Next week, I’ll be traveling again. A friend of mine is getting married in Ireland and because I want to take advantage of my visa, I will travel to Europe once again. I won’t just be in Ireland, I’ll also visit Germany (Cologne) and Spain (Ibiza) and yes… Greece! I’ll be there for a week to visit Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini! I can’t wait!”
Well, Rema deserves it! After all, traveling FOR HER is this: “Traveling and meeting new people open your eyes to the world. It is indeed big and it is indeed worth experiencing. For those of us who have traveled, the experience is beyond explanation; the lessons you’ll learn will be a part of your life forever. You’ll meet people from all walks of life — some you will envy, and some you will pity. But mostly you’ll just be grateful for where you are, who you are, and who you want to be.
“I became less materialistic. Some of my friends might argue but I believe that even though I still want a lot of things, they don’t really matter that much anymore. I realized that there is something more important than material things, and you’ll just learn how to let go of them. I’d rather travel than have a brand new pair of shoes or clothes. Life’s short, so live it well. There are too many places to see, too many lessons to be learned.”
Speaking of lessons learned, seasoned travelers always have one or two (or more) that they get to impart to other travelers. As for Rema, here are hers — or what most of us know as TRAVEL TIPS! “Grab a map and go! Nothing’s stopping you. I like planning things, and I’m proud to say that more often than not, I follow them (I also think this holds true for traveling!). If I plan a trip one or two years from now, I’ll do it. Some people might change their minds, reevaluate their plans, but me? I’ll definitely push through with it. There’s something about being on the other side of the world that makes me push myself to do things I’ve always wanted to do (that I couldn’t do before). So yeah, I just grab a map and go.
“Follow your dreams and do what you want. Each of us has only one life to live, so live it with no regrets.“
Well, I couldn’t agree more!
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
I know it’s still too early to tell where my “chosen” career will take me, but I’m glad to share with you that I don’t regret fighting for it and eventually experiencing it full-time.
To tell you the truth, my aptitude test in high school actually “advised” me to take Communication Arts (or those related to it) in college. But since I was still a clueless 15-year-old back then, I ignored the test result and decided to take a different “route,” listening to others’ opinions about where they saw my personality fit. Hence, my never-ending “defense” during job interviews that ask me why I’m applying in print media (yes, the chosen career path) when my background deals with Foreign Service/International Relations and History.
But hey, that’s already water under the bridge. And please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I regret taking up Consular and Diplomatic Affairs in college and History in graduate school. NOT AT ALL. If anything, I’m still thankful that I was given the chance to “pursue” those courses because I learned A LOT of other things, albeit very different, from them. Besides, I met some of the best and interesting people during those years (hello, college and graduate school friends!!!). But I guess when you’re really passionate about something, nothing can ever stop you — not even degrees and diplomas.
So in between finishing articles/blog entries/writeups, perfecting my copy-editing skills, commuting my way to events, interviewing celebrities, assisting in photo shoots, and most of all, meeting deadlines, I feel lucky that I still get to smile at the end of every work day. Sure, it still gets stressful at times, especially when my multitasking skills are put to the test (meet deadline this, meet deadline that), but you know, no job is really easy — not even the ones you’re starting to fall in love with. I didn’t say that my current work is easy peasy. In fact, it’s actually a combination of stress and happiness. Hahaha! Why? Because the good thing about it is there are different tasks at hand, so there’s really no room for boredom. One day I’m working on an article, the next day I’m on my way to a hotel or mall to do something that’s still work-related. Everyday’s a new day. Calling it “the daily grind” isn’t really the right way to describe it.
I’m not saying, though, that this is already the career I see myself doing for the rest of my life. Like I said, it’s still a bit early to tell where this’ll take me. And the rest of my life? Pressure much!!! All I know is that if you’re reading this and you’re someone who’s still in high school and still have yet to decide on what you want to do in life, I say think about it really, really, really hard. And when you’re ready to make a decision, make sure that that’s what you’re really passionate about. ”Passionate” in the sense that it’s something you’ll still enjoy doing even for free! But if you think that you’re like me — someone who realized what she wanted to do “later” in her college life — well, being another cautionary tale isn’t as bad as you think.
If I may say so, today’s world has been more “encouraging.” As The Holstee Manifesto put it, “if you don’t like your job, quit.“ Just make sure that you have a back-up plan. I’m not encouraging you to be unemployed — trust me, it sucked, sucks, and will forever suck. Anyway, we know of doctors being business practitioners, lawyers being novelists (chick lit at that!), even corporate executives being professional bloggers. So there’s really NO EXCUSE to let go of what you want to be doing — as opposed to what you should be doing! Take me as an example (but whether you see it as something good or bad is completely up to you! Haha!). I should be working for the government or an embassy, and yet I’ve always wanted to be in print media — so here I am, finally part of an editorial team. Heehee.
Of course I’m still open to practicing my default fields, but for now I’m just enjoying my chosen field. I may still have a looong waaay to gooo but at the end of the day, what’s important is I feel like I’m in the right place. So when work doesn’t really feel like “work” anymore, alam naaa! Try your very best to hold on to it and be better at it Every. Waking. Day.
Because when that happens, that’s when stress will be finally replaced by BLISS. And for us who need to work to live, work to feel self-worth, or just WORK in the broadest sense of the word, shouldn’t that be more than enough?
You’ve seen the title. THIS is already a third attempt to compile a list of not just “the most this, the most that” kind of men, but a combination of everything: talent, looks, fortune, brawn, and the most important of all — brains! Combine them all and I believe that’s the true definition of “HOT!” (Sorry, Paris.)
Of course, these are just some of the popular ones. So for those who make the cut IN REAL LIFE, cheer up! And of course, keep it up! Hahaha!
But yeah, I gotta start naming names sooner or later, so here are they are:
THE HOTTIES FROM FARAWAY LANDS
#10 Dominic Lau
(Faraway Land of Origin: Hong Kong/The United Kingdom)
This British-Chinese VJ-slash-model-slash-host’s love for music can be traced back to his university years. After all, he graduated with a degree in Commercial Music from the University of Westminster in London! Currently, you can catch him on E! News Asia as he delivers the latest AND hottest celebrity news straight from your TV screens. No doubt he’s dubbed as Asia’s “Ryan Seacrest.” Idol-worthy, indeed.
#9 Nick Simmons
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United States)
I came to know of his existence thanks to his family’s reality show: Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Having said that, YES, he’s the son of Gene Simmons (from the rock band Kiss). But aside from having a famous rock star father, Nick‘s famous in his own right too! He graduated with a degree in English Literature from Pitzer College in California and according to Wikipedia, he’s “a comic book writer, musician, and voice over actor.” Yeah, well, you should’ve heard him sing during his parents’ wedding on their reality show. The guy CAN sing! Heck, hearing him talk is already music to my ears! Last but not least, he’s funny! Now, now. You can never go wrong with humor, can you?
#8 Oli Pettigrew
(Faraway Land of Origin: Hong Kong/The United Kingdom)
He may be born in Hong Kong, but he’s currently residing in Singapore. You might’ve spotted him at some high-profile events, but I first set eyes on this British model/host on AXN’s Sony Style. Of course, he also holds a degree in Corporate Communication — with honors! And if that’s not enough, I believe you can still catch him on Cash Cab Asia (not to mention listen to his adorable British accent!)
#7 Matthew Atkinson
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United States)
The “small screen” may be his current specialty, but I don’t doubt that he has what it takes to be the lead on a “bigger” screen someday. But while we’re still waiting for that to happen, watch him on Jane by Design. Trust me, you won’t be able to get enough of that smile AND those dimples!
#6 Ryan Lochte
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United States)
Fresh from the 2012 London Olympics! Aside from graduating with a degree in Sport Management from the University of Florida, this Olympian already has several medals to his name! And even though the swimming portion of the current Olympics will soon end, this Olympian’s not yet done collecting ‘em! Talk about a “gold” rush! Haha!
#5 Colin Egglesfield
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United States)
Tom Cruise? Naaah! There’s more to Colin than just being an actor and former model. He actually hold’s a pre-med course from the University of Iowa and paying for med school was the only reason why he got into modeling in the first place (at least that’s what Wikipedia says! Hahaha!). Not to worry, though. He may have given up his dream of being a doctor, but he sure played one very hot lawyer in the movie Something Borrowed! How’s that for a career change?!
#4 Matt Bomer
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United States)
Let’s drop the bomb right away: he’s gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’ve to admit that I was surprised when I first found out! But moving on, he still earns a spot in this list because aside from graduating with a degree in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University, he and his partner also father three sons (through a surrogate). Now that’s what you call BOMER diggity!
#3 Harry Styles
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United Kingdom)
British? Check. Hot body? Are you blind? Of course, check! Killer smile? Check. Music career? Big check AND cheques! There’s definitely only ONE DIRECTION for this lad to go to: SUCCESS! And yes, that’s check! check!! check!!!
#2 Chris Hemsworth
(Faraway Land of Origin: Australia)
There are simply no words for this man. How can you not include the god of thunder in this list? Well, that’s just it. You cannot not include him! And since we’re already used to seeing those rock hard abs and bulky arms of his, I’ll leave you with this picture. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to see an Avenger holding his real-life baby! *all THORgether now* Awwww!
…and of course, THE HOTTEST of ‘em all:
#1 Benedict Cumberbatch
(Faraway Land of Origin: The United Kingdom)
“Stop boring me and think. It’s the new sexy.” The famous character he plays once said on his equally famous TV show. And I agree. Brainy, indeed, is the new sexy! A drama graduate at the University of Manchester, he further trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. And judging from his interviews, the guy’s not just intelligent and talented, I can say that he has tact and respect for women, is a gentleman, and knows how to keep fit too!
Oh yeah, consider me SHERLOCKed.
And there you go! Don’t worry if your “hottie” of choice wasn’t included here. There’s always room for Vol. 4, you know?
Yes, you’ve read that right! GREECE, RUSSIA, and TURKEY are this month’s featured travel destinations!
As for the featured traveler, well, I can assure you that he’s 100% Filipino (just in case you misread the title and thought of the last word’s homophone “roots” instead of what it actually is! But then again, maybe that’s just me! Hahaha!)
So I’ll cut to the chase and finally present to you August’s Traveler of The Month, who also happens to be my childhood friend — Gian.
But first thing’s first! What does my featured traveler think of TRAVELING itself? Well, he said, “I think of it as education outside the classroom. Traveling is a learning process.
“First, I get to know myself more especially when I’m confronted with different situations. It brings out the street-smart in me.
“Second, it provides me the opportunity to see what I’ve read in history books. As a matter of fact, I just travel to see historical sites. Every time I see a site or landmark, I just can’t help but be amazed with it.
“Third, it enhances my social skills as I interact with people from all walks of life. I enjoy talking to locals because it shatters my stereotypes and impressions. It allows me to have a deeper understanding of who they are — their culture, opinions, disappointments, dreams, and aspirations.”
Very well said for this soon-to-be attorney! Traveling, indeed, is a big part of Gian‘s life (aside from law school, of course!). Proof? So far, he’s been privileged to visit the following countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, France, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, China (Hong Kong and Macau), Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand. But he’s not just any traveler! Last May, he and some of his friends participated in the International Labour Organization’s Youth Employment Forum, wherein they were awarded by the Director-General of ILO himself, and was of course held at — you guessed it right — Switzerland! In fact, that didn’t even have anything to do with law school. They simply did it because they are passionate advocates of youth empowerment!
So yeah, you can say that he’s a traveler with a cause!
And just like anything, there’s always a beginning — even when it comes to traveling! So when exactly did the travel bug “bite” Gian? He admitted, “I started traveling just recently. It was three years ago when my family decided to go to Hong Kong and see Disneyland. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, that trip didn’t push through and that made me quite disappointed. So when we went back to Qatar, I thought of a wonderful idea: to visit the neighboring countries in the Middle East. And eureka! I found out that Egypt’s only a three-hour flight away from Doha, and I thought that visiting that place was a perfect time to revive my childhood curiosity about history — and that’s pretty much the beginning of my travel escapades.”
Gian traveled to Greece with his whole family (a.k.a. his mom, dad, and younger sister). He shared, “It seemed like they hired me as their tour guide. I explained the history of almost everything we saw.
“Traveling with them was very comforting especially during nighttime when we got the chance to have long conversations. But the downside with this is it’s also difficult to travel as a group because I have to think of my mom and little sister since they can’t walk as much as I do — which makes it difficult to visit everything we plan.
“We went to Athens and visited the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Agora (where Socrates used to hang out!), Temple of Dionysius, Roman Agora, and the Greek Parliament (where we saw the changing of the guards in their funny uniforms).”
Unforgettable moment in Greece: “When I saw the Acropolis in Greece, my reaction was unexplainable and I almost cried when I first set my foot on it. The word ‘fascinated’ is an understatement. I felt like I was back to the era of Greek civilization!”
In Russia (and Turkey), Gian was with his dad. “We’ve been partners and backpacking buddies since our Cairo trip. My dad has been an OFW for almost 20 years and we seldom had quality time with each other. So this trip was also to catch up for the lost years of my childhood.
“We went to Moscow and went to these places: the Kremlin, the Red Square, the tomb of Lenin, St. Basil‘s Cathedral, and some other Russian Orthodox cathedrals and parks.”
But it might surprise you to know that he almost didn’t go to Russia! Gian remembered, “At first, I was hesitant to go to Moscow because of my impression of Russians — as depicted by Hollywood movies. But alas, Russians were very helpful to us even though most of them couldn’t even utter an English word. My trip to Moscow was very challenging as a backpacker. If it hadn’t been for the Russian words and phrases that I brought with me, we wouldn’t have survived. Everything was written in Cyrillic, so I was decoding almost every letter of the street signs just to look for our accommodation.
“Also, the food in Russia was very expensive. One memorable experience I had in Moscow was when I asked for ketchup (in sachet) at McDonald’s and the lady charged me 24 rubles (or about 32 pesos!).”
“Turkey is a melting pot of cultures — this is where the EAST meets the WEST. And the food was to die for! A gastronomic experience at a very cheap price! My fine dining experience in Manila is just as good as what I ate while walking in Istanbul. The Turks are absolutely known for their prowess in their cuisine!
“In Turkey, we visited the Hagia Sophia (one of the 7 wonders of the Medieval World), the Blue Mosque (part of the 7 wonders of the Muslim World according to Nat Geo), Topkapi Palace (where the Sultan kept his concubines), Dolmabahce Palace (the former seat of the Ottoman Empire), and then we had a cruise at the Bosphorous strait — the body of water connecting Asia and Europe.
“Moreover, Turkish people are very nice, friendly, and GOOD-LOOKING! They have a tourist police who managed to help us with everything we needed to roam around the city. Istanbul is a fantastic place to visit. I can say that it’s on the top of my list. I was overly fascinated with the beauty of all the mosques and the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.”
Now that you’ve seen Greece, Russia, and Turkey through the personal experience of my friend Gian, what kinds of travel tips does he have in store for all of you? Well, here goes…
Prepare by at least learning the language. “When you are knowledgeable about their language, locals appreciate the effort and they become extra kind to you.”
Read about the city you’re planning to visit. “It adds flavor to the experience when you know something about the country. It can be about food, history, culture, or even politics — but try to be sensitive at all times.”
Know the routes. “The best way to visit a city is through public transportation. Get an online copy of the metro station maps. Know where the bus stops are and how much money you have to allocate for transportation.”
Don’t keep your money in one wallet. “You should put some of your money in hidden pockets. Traveling won’t always be a perfect experience. Beware of pickpockets and don’t be an easy prey by acting like a local. Also, always bring photocopies of your passport and visa/s in case the originals get lost. Don’t forget the contact number of your embassy for emergency purposes.”
Be adventurous. “Stay out of your comfort zones. If there’s something you can try in a particular country, try it as long as it’s legal. Enjoy the food. Visit the sites that they are known for.”
Maximize your time. “Plan your trip very well. Research where you can stay and eat at very cheap prices. You can always have fun by not spending too much.”
Be an ambassador of goodwill. “I’m always mistaken as Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, or Chinese but I always tell them that I’m Filipino. Always be proud to be one. Tell them good things about our country. Be genuinely nice and friendly to everyone because foreigners will remember you not just as an Asian, but as a Filipino.”
Love, love, love that last tip! And I’m sure Gian will always put that tip to use as he pursues his other travel plans. “I plan to visit Madrid (for another competition), Paris, and Vienna within the year. This December, I might also avail of the visa exemption granted to permanent residents of Qatar to Georgia (a former member of the USSR).
“But overall, my dream is to go to the Hague, Netherlands (legal capital of the word) and eventually take my masters of law degree there through a scholarship. The thought of becoming a scholar someday thrills me! I just can’t wait to live there and go to other European cities that I still haven’t visited yet.”
Whew, right? Well, best of luck to you, Gian! And we also wish you more HAPPY TRAVELS to come!!!
P.S: You can help send Gian and his partner to Madrid and support their advocacy by voting for them! You can do so by clicking this link.
Their entry is this: THE 1K PROJECT: Entry from the Philippines
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
“Call Me Maybe”
by Carly Rae Jepsen
by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa
And for some reason, they both have something to do with A PHONE. Hahaha!
On a serious note, it got me thinking why these songs are hits… And I guess just like every song, it’s because people can relate to their lyrics. Not to mention, groove to their melodies!
But let’s start with “Payphone.“ How exactly can people relate to it? Okay, the music video’s out of the question. The whole concept of it and its relation to the song are still a mystery to me! This version is actually better, in my opinion:
But anyway, if you’re going to ask me, the part that really got my attention was this:
“If happy ever after did exist, I would still be holding you like this. And all those fairytales are full of s*it; one more f*cking love song, I’ll be sick… I’m at a payphone.”
And it wasn’t just the “happy ever after” and “fairytales” that made me press the replay button again and again, it’s the way it was written — in second conditional (excuse the grammarzilla in me) and with straight-to-the-point-no-excuses swearwords! It’s as if the writer really tried to express both the LOVE and PAIN he/she felt, feels, and will feel! And for me, he/she succeeded in doing that exactly.
As for “Call Me, Maybe,“ how do people relate to it? Hmm… To make it easier, let’s make the question how do I relate to it? Hahaha!
Well, I’ll let you in on a secret: Ms. Jepsen‘s hit song is actually one of my fantasies when I travel! You know, go to a foreign place, spot that kind of guy, approach him, give him my number even though we both know it’s craaazy, but then what’s done’s done, so the ball’s already in his court and it’s up to him whether or not he’ll do the next move. Call me. But maybe. Tapos ang kanta!
That. And well, the song’s truly catchy! Even YOU can’t deny that! Mwahahahahaha!
And there goes another rambling from yours truly. =)) To end this, I just want to say that I also found myself WATCHING these. Enjoy!!!
my fellow Lasallians‘ take on “Call Me, Maybe”
Alex G‘s sweet rendition of “Payphone”
I wish she stuck with the original swearwords, though.
Instead of changing them to “it” and “stupid” respectively… If you know what I mean!
Signs that Mika Chiong is in love: she keeps staring at that person’s name and number on her cell phone; she then starts writing a novella based on her current situation; she doesn’t mind whether or not he’s British (haha!), all that matters is he is who he is! And worst, she starts rhyming.
“Not Necessarily Love”
by Mika Chiong
I never thought I’d meet a guy like you,
Someone so friendly and hated by few.
In fact, rephrase that;
You’re not hated ’cause you’re nearly perfect,
And your presence makes other people elated!
I’ve always liked you, like most girls do;
But it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be your boo.
Oh yes, we’re friends, if you can even consider that;
Things just get complicated when I start to get sad.
Sad in the sense that here I go again;
I don’t think I can survive another case of unrequited love.
I once fell in love, and all I felt was pain;
This has to stop for it’s starting to make me laugh!
My thoughts are kind of hazy but
When I think of the words “I love you,”
I start to act like crazy!
How can I be sure that I already “love” you,
When I haven’t even heard you say that “four-letter” word
Even to a few?
On the other hand, this ain’t just a crush;
And before I fall hard and feel like
Some sort of trash,
I want to say thanks for making me feel
This kind of “love” rush.
All this time I just
Needed a little inspiration;
Not necessarily love, but enough to
Make me write this whole presentation!
This is bad. Really, really bad. Not to mention, downright PATHETIC. Yes, I’m calling myself pathetic. Just this once. But I’m pathetic, nonetheless.
Now you know I really got it bad! Hahaha!
So when exactly did I realize that my “love” for him was finally being preceded by the preposition “in”? That moment I saw THAT picture.
More importantly, to whom am I “in love” with? Asa kayo! Syempre hindi ko sasabihin noh! FOR NOW.
And last question, why am I blogging about it? Well, it’s like what I said before. Sometimes, I just can’t keep my thoughts to myself. And blogging serves as my outlet when that happens. It makes me more connected to and reflect more on my feelings, you know? So here I am.
Here I am attempting to feel more connected to and reflect more on “the love” I’m feeling right now. And there’s no better way to do that than talk about it.
But you know, I once talked about love. Not that I’m an expert on it, but I did talk about it. Once.
So what exactly did I say? Well, I said that love indeed comes from all sorts of things and from different people from all walks of life. It may be love in the form of friendship which is a feeling that puts me on high, and it can also be love for family which in my opinion, is one of the greatest gifts God ever trusted upon me. Speaking of God, there’s also a form of love which I dedicate solely to Him. If you love Him, then there’s no need to further explain. You should already know how it feels because I know I DO. And last, but definitely not the least, is love in the form of a relationship with the opposite sex (or the same sex for others). For me, this is the most complicated form of L-O-V-E.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s just my opinion. Why complicated? Because if it’s love NOT returned, it’s like a venom ready to kill you slowly. You may not feel the hurt from time to time but when it reaches your heart at some point, you’ll be dead right then and there! There was a time when I felt like giving up already. ”Was” being the operative word. What I did was to just try to look on the bright side. If I fight the venom, then I’ll still be able to live my life and start a new one. That’s when the other forms of love enter. They’re like the anti-venom for all of my miseries. If one didn’t work out the way I hoped it would, all I have to do is tilt my head back on the other side.
It’s also like playing tennis. It’s either you hit the ball with a forehand or a backhand, either way, if your ball’s OUT, at least you know you have both of your hands to do it all over again and score a point. But then again, for tennis players, LOVE MEANS NOTHING (at least during a rally). I researched the term and I found out that it was derived from the French word l’oeuf, the egg, symbolizing nothing.
Then it made me wonder… is love really nothing if it goes only one-way? I once said it’s not. It’s not nothing! As Andy Roddick put it after losing a match to Roger Federer, “It was frustrating, it was miserable, it sucked. But besides that, it was fine.” And just like how my previous unrequited love felt, yeah it sucked, but in the end, it was all worth the pain!
Now, the question is: is the current one still worth the pain? I’d like to think so. Besides, aren’t there sayings that say (how redundant) “no pain, no gain” and “all’s fair in love and war”? Ha! Now it’s really confirmed that I got it “worse” since I’m already quoting random shizz. Wahahahaha!
Oh well papel. If all else fails, this experience can always make me “stronger.” Why not?
And I’ll always have Snape to take inspiration from! (If you didn’t get what I just said, you obviously didn’t read or watch the last installment of Harry Potter! So READ and WATCH IT!!!)
Ay nako, tama na nga ang rambling.
Sa totoo lang, ito lang naman yun eh. Or in English, it all comes down to this:
“Without the fear of how it might end… I guess I’m ready to love again.”
Tamaaa! Unrequited or not, choosy or easy, I’m ready to love again. So universe, bring it on! Let the love begiiin. Paaak!
With love, love, luuurve,
But aside from that, one of the things that made that day blog-worthy was how we all looked like with our blue-and-red ensemble! =))
See? How can you not “document” a day like that? Hahaha!
And oh! If you’re wondering WHERE this took place, it was at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche restaurant:
“…Corniche offers an exceptional breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet spread and an extensive all-day a la carte menu. The buffet selection is composed of Asian, Western, Japanese, salad, and dessert stations, all meticulously prepared by culinary experts. Featuring signature cakes and pastries for dining and take-out orders is a cake shop at the Corniche entrance.”
That’s pretty much it. I just had to make this quick and simple. So again…
Happy Birthday, Carol!
May you enjoy your day (even though I know you have exams in law school!)
We love you.
I love you.
“I’m sorry if it took us awhile to go back.” He said during that night. Or something like that.
Well, apology accepted! After all, we’ve waited three years to see him again! (By “we,” I’m referring to me, my Ate Fai, and the rest of his loyal followers since his Idol days!)
So who exactly am I talking about? Why, David Cook, of course!
It’s true, it did take him awhile to come back to Manila because when he first played for his Filipino fans, I still haven’t found my first full-time job, my sister just got married, and he shared the stage with his runner-up, David Archuleta! In fact, I documented that epic concert in my previous blog, which you can check out by clicking HERE.
Indeed, a lot of things have happened since 2009. And now that we’re in 2012, these happened: I just resigned from my first full-time job, my niece is about to turn three years old soon, and David Cook (DC) finally decided to have a concert of his own! But one thing remains: my undying love for his angelic-yet-powerful rock voice!
And speaking of his “angelic-yet-powerful rock voice,” have you gotten yourself a copy of his latest album This Loud Morning?
Well if you still haven’t, I suggest you go get one as soon as you can and turn to tracks like “Right Here, With You,“ “Fade Into Me,“ and “4 Letter Word.“ Why? Wala lang, those are my favorite tracks kasi! Eh nagbabakasakali lang na pareho tayo ng taste in music! Wahahahaha!
But seriously, DC‘s voice never fails to put a smile on my face! If only I could describe his voice by using an adjective that is used to describe looks, “gwapo” would be the appropriate one! Oh wait! I did describe his voice like that once, twice, or thrice. Whenever I listen to his songs, bigla nalang ako mapapasabi ng “ang gwapo talaga ng boses niya!” Hahaha!
I guess you just really can’t deny “talent” when you “hear” one! ♥
The last time (also my first time) I was in Bohol was just last April. I was with two of my college friends, we got left by our original flight to Cebu, our flight from Manila to Tagbilaran was delayed for two hours, and to top it all off, our luggage went to Cebu instead of Bohol — so go figure. In fact, I wrote a very looong blog entry about it. Hahaha!
And then last Friday, I was supposed to go to Bohol again for my cousin Brian‘s wedding… I booked a flight with another cousin, Charlene, with her husband Ryan.
So we arrived at the airport before lunch since our flight WAS SUPPOSED TO BE at 2PM. But then again, it got delayed for two hours… and then it eventually got cancelled. CANCELLED!!! To think that my first trip to Bohol was already jinxed! How malas could I be?
The Sunset Limitation Experience
The reason why our flight got cancelled was because of LIMITED SUNSET. Tagbilaran’s runway isn’t equipped with lights and whatnot needed for a plane to land — hence, it’s not fit for night arrivals! Okay, understood. But as to why our flight got delayed in the first place, that still remains a mystery! Kaloka diba?!
Luckily, our airline that time was Philippine Airlines (PAL). So to turn our kamalasan into something good, our cancelled flight was exchanged for a new flight the following day — with a free overnight stay and buffet dinner at Diamond Hotel to boot! Malas ba? Well, hindi pala!!! Wahahahaha!
It was then that Ate Cha, Kuya Ry, and I met the bride’s friends: Minnie and her husband Dao, and of course my roomie that night, Ate She!
And since most of us are part of the bridal entourage (Ate She was in fact the Matron of Honor!), just imagine if we all didn’t make it to Bohol in time! Whew.
Magrereklamo pa ba kami? Even the transfers to the hotel and back to the airport were shouldered by the airline. So really, THANKS PAL!!!
Meet My Relatives
Of course, with weddings come family reunions! ’Nuff said.
(photobooth photos courtesy of Artline)
Miss Bridesmaid and The Newlyweds
This wedding was actually my fourth time to be a bridesmaid. The first time was waaay back in high school (I think!) and I don’t even have a picture of that! But after that, I made sure to document every dress I wore — just in case I collect 27 Dresses and be my very own Katherine Heigl! Chos!
Anyway, back to the real reason why I was in Bohol in the first place! Of course, CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEWLYWEDS!!!
I wish I took more photos! But I was so caught up with all the happenings, so I’ll just rely on my relatives’ pictures when they finally upload them! Haha! But overall, I say Bri and Mich‘s wedding was a blast! And that whole sky lantern thing at the end? Totally epic! As Katrina put it, “It’s just like the movie Tangled!”
Again, Bri and Mich… Congratulations!
May you live happily ever after! ♥
More than a year ago, I wrote the “prequel” to this blog entry. But you know, once a milk tea drinker, always a milk tea drinker (except of course if you’re lactose intolerant, but you get what I mean!). So here I am, more than a year after, sharing with you the milk tea places and other drinks I’ve tried that I haven’t included in the prequel (which by the way, you can read by clicking HERE).
I do have a disclaimer, though. The pictures I used in this entry are entirely borrowed from Google, so I don’t take any credit for “taking” them (no pun intended). After all, I just wanted to show you the brands’ trademarked cups or whatever. What I do take credit for is my recommended drinks. I can assure you that EVERY DRINK I mention here has been tried and tested by moi. So let’s make this short and simple again, shall we? Here are my recommendations:
Try their Royal Milk Tea
2. Bubble Tea
Try their Strawberry Milk Tea
3. Cebu Pacific’s In-flight Milk Tea
You can only choose from two flavors, original or taro,
but both taste good!
4. Jamba Juice
Try their Strawberries Wild
5. Gong Cha
Try their Earl Grey Milk Tea
6. Happy Lemon
Try their Matcha with Adzuki Bean Mousse Spin
7. Moon Leaf
Try their Wintermelon Milk Tea
8. Pao Pao Xiao Chi
Try their Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese
9. Tea Farm
Try their Caramel Milk Tea
Homemade Milk Tea!!!
I usually use Twinings‘ English Breakfast Tea (which is the exact same tea that Queen Elizabeth II drinks, by the way — so this is definitely recommended! Haha!), any fresh milk available in our fridge, plus some sugar and ice.
Those are basically my “ingredients” and the “recipe” would actually depend on YOUR taste, so you can just adjust it to your liking. But here’s mine:
Step 1: I add hot water in my mug (which is about 16 fl oz) until it looks already half full.
Step 2: I then leave 1 tea bag of Twinings‘ English Breakfast Tea in my mug to steep. Wait for around 2-5 minutes, depending on how strong you want the tea flavor to be.
Step 3: Of course I remove the tea bag from the mug! But if you’ve already done that, add 5 tablespoons of milk or depending on how creamy you want your milk tea to taste. Stir.
Step 4: Now this is the tricky part — the sugar level. I usually put 2 teaspoons of sugar, but this will again depend on your preferred sweetness level. More stirring.
Step 5: I put lots and lots of ice! Hey, I just happen to love iced milk tea! But this is entirely OPTIONAL — you can always have hot/warm milk tea!
The last step: KEEP CALM and DRINK UP!!!
And that’s it! But just remember, TO EACH HIS OWN. So please don’t blame me if you don’t like the things I mentioned in this post! Okay? Great!
If you have other milk tea recommendations,
don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments section below!
Christianity. Islam. Judaism. Israel… These are just some of the things that come to mind once we think of the Holy Land.
As a Roman Catholic myself, I’ve always dreamt of visiting Israel and taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But because that stays as a dream for now, it’s very fortunate to have my featured traveler for this month who will share with us her very own inspiring travel experience…
And I’m talking about my high school batchmate, Arlene.
As of press time, Arlene has been to 20 countries. She said, “I see to it that every year I can travel in spite of my hectic schedule. I consider it as my prize for all the hard work I’ve done in a year. Also, traveling helps me to de-stress and reflect. After every travel, I feel recharged once I get back to Manila.”
Traveling is indeed a big part of Arlene‘s life. However, she admitted that she doesn’t really remember when the travel bug bit her. “My earliest fondest memories were already of traveling. When I was young, we already used to travel a lot, especially during vacations. We frequented local places like Iloilo where my parents were brought up, Boracay, Roxas City, Palawan, Pampanga, Tagaytay, Batangas, and of course the summer capital, Baguio. I never miss Baguio during summer maybe because my siblings and I consider horseback riding as one of our favorite sports along with swimming.
“I love to see new places and people. It was my dream to know every language, even Bisaya or Karay-a. I consider ‘language’ as a souvenir I take from every trip. I make it a point to learn a little of their language. My mom also collects souvenirs like stones, sand, leaves, or whatever it is she can take with her then she writes the date and displays it in our home.
“We couldn’t afford international travel at that time, so we limited our trips within the Philippines. Nevertheless, we had so much fun. Our country owns some of the best places in the world!”
Going to The Holy Land
When Arlene visited the Holy Land last February, she was with her younger sister Analyn, mom Leonisa, and Aunt Lina. “It was our gift to my mom because her dream is to walk where Jesus walked. And out of four siblings, I was lucky enough to be chosen as their guide!
“It was priceless to share this experience with the people I love — with the people who share my deep faith in God. The only not-so-good part was I was the ‘porter’ since I had all the strength to carry their luggage!”
Whether she carried her family’s luggage or not, it was sure that Arlene‘s “holy” trip was worth it. She recalled, “Our first destination was the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where we saw the Jordan river, Dead Sea, Mt. Nebo, mosaic city of Madaba, and the Treasury — where the movie Indiana Jones was filmed.
“After Jordan, we went to Israel — the Holy Land — and it really was a ‘holy land.’ Everything was green. You can feel it in their very fresh air and everything was preserved. It was an indescribable moment. You can go there by car or bus. The immigration checkpoint before you pass the border was really strict. It made us all nervous because their police always carry heavy weapons. We watched our every move as we didn’t want to cause trouble, especially not in that place.
“The first destination stop in Israel was the place where Jesus was born, Jerusalem. I felt like a character straight out of the Bible! I saw the houses, their dresses, and their faces. You’ll get involved, and I don’t know why, but I just felt like I was a few steps closer to Jesus because I was in His place, where He lived, and where He spent more than 20 years of His life.
“It was already a surreal journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. We traveled through Haifa, Israel’s second largest city. Next up was Mount Carmel for Stella Maris Church, Ceasarea, Jaffa. After that was Ein Karem for St. John The Baptist Church and Visitation Church (where Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth). We finally proceeded to Bethlehem for the Nativity Church and Manger’s Square (where Jesus was born), Milk Grotto, and Shepherd’s Fields (where the Angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus).
“Our full day tour in Jerusalem included the Mount of Olives for sites like the Ascension Chapel (where Jesus ascended into Heaven), Pater Noster Church (where the prayer ‘Our Father’ was translated in different languages inscribed in the Church and outside), Palm Sunday Road (Jesus‘ entry to Jerusalem), Dominus Flevit (where Jesus wept upon seeing Jerusalem’s destruction), and Gethsemane Gardens for Basilica of Agony. We then continued to Mount Zion to visit St. Peter Church in Galicantu (where Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed), Last Supper Room (institution of the Holy Eucharist), King David‘s Tomb, Dormition Abbey (where the Blessed Virgin died in her sleep). At this point, I was almost overwhelmed and I almost couldn’t imagine that we’ve been to so many places. We had an itinerary straight from my wildest dreams!
“The non-stop activities could be tiring, but I was caught up with the almost magical moments that came one after the other. I couldn’t take pictures fast enough. Actually, I wanted to document the whole thing!
“The most unforgettable place in Jerusalem for me was the Yardenit River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and Via Dolorosa — the 14 stations of the Cross. Our itinerary included the renewal of our baptismal vows in the Yardenit River. The water was so cold and even looked dirty so we were surprised that as we filled our souvenir containers, it ran clear! As for Via Dolorosa, that’s where we did the Visita Iglesia. We left the hotel around 4 in the morning, so we avoided a large crowd. Members from the group recited the prayers for each station and I led the eighth station. It was such a great feeling to experience those things in the places where they actually took place. I promise to go back there as much as I can. It feels really good to be that close to God and embrace my faith.
“As for food, one reason why I love to travel is because I lose weight and that’s 100% sure. I only love Filipino food aside from chicken, spaghetti, and pizza — which other countries can prepare, but with different ingredients and different tastes. But I loved the pita bread that looked like big pieces of communion bread. They were tasty, but I found them hard to eat.
“Overall, my trip to the Holy Land was truly an experience I will never forget.”
It sure is unforgettable! And judging by the life-changing experience the Holy Land gave Arlene, no other place must be able to top that! “As of the moment, I don’t have any plans to travel abroad because of my busy schedule — but my priority is to go around the Philippines. I’d love to see all the places in my own country.”
But still, she has this advice for fellow people with wanderlust: “Bring your passport all the time, pack light (you need space for your souvenirs), and please save for a Holy Land trip — I assure you, every centavo is worth it!” Rest assured, I’ll definitely take note of that!!!
And if that’s not enough, I’d like to leave you with these beautiful words Arlene mentioned in our interview. I hope it will inspire you as it inspired me! ”Traveling is putting yourself in different scenes. Traveling is my best friend. It never fails to give me new learning, more realizations, and reasons to be happy in life. When I travel, I always go home with a new motto or belief that pushes me to strive harder. Traveling makes my mind, body, and soul rested and it feels great. Parents always say that it’s only education that can’t be taken away from you. I say please add ‘travel’ to that saying because memories last forever!”
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.
So One Direction. Ever since I got “infected,” I’ve written two 1D-related posts on this blog (HERE and HERE). If those weren’t enough, I even acquired my very own “fangirl stuff,” which includes 1D‘s debut album, their two official books — One Direction: Forever Young (Our Official X Factor Story) and Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction, their first concert DVD, a baller, a fan magazine, and still counting…
So when Ms. Dyan Zarzuela of Candy magazine asked me if I could share my 1D “fangirl story” with her, of course I didn’t think twice! There’s no better way to proclaim to “the world” my 1D devotion than with the help of the Philippines’ #1 teen magazine, Candy, right???
The feature was short, but definitely sweet. As for the interview itself, I kind of got carried away! Hahaha! But if you get to read it, you’ll definitely UNDERSTAND how and why I got “infected” in the first place! So I decided to share it with yoouuu!
And now I’m warning you… what you’re about to read from hereon was pretty much how I gushed about 1D!
The video that made me become a 1D fan.
I’ve to be honest… my Direction Infection wasn’t a “love at first sight” thing. In fact, I kind of overlooked their “What Makes You Beautiful” music video the first time I saw it on TV. But on MARCH 21, 2012 (yes, it’s pretty recent; and yes, I know the exact date! Haha!), THIS video made me see 1D in a whole different light:
“ONE DIRECTION Teaches You to Speak British!” was THE video that made me a 1D fan!
The top 3 things I love about 1D.
First, they’re BRITISH — which is kind of a giveaway already since I’m a self-proclaimed Anglophile! Heehee.
Second, their STORIES. All One Directioners know that 1D was formed thanks to The X Factor (UK), but when I read their latest book, Dare To Dream: Life As One Direction, it was as if I was able to have a deeper connection with the boys and realized that yes, they, too, were just ordinary humans like most of us who once upon a time had big dreams… and were able to make them come true!
Last but definitely not the least, their MUSIC. Of course! 1D‘s album is actually what I play ALL DAY on my iPod! And I repeat, not just their hit singles, but the ENTIRE ALBUM — no kidding! I love the fact that each song in their album is distinct from one another. For example, “What Makes You Beautiful” sounds very current, typical for a boyband… but when you reach the last track, “Stole My Heart,” I actually get some kind of an 80′s vibe or something! I can’t really explain it… all I know is that 1D‘s music isn’t something people should take for granted or worse, underestimate.
My fave 1D member.
HARR-EH!!! Yes, Harry Styles is my favorite 1D member because I love his (husky) voice, I love his megawatt smile, I love his hair, I love his green eyes, I love that he loves cats, I love his personality (such a self-proclaimed cheeky chappy!), I love his “Isn’t She Lovely” audition on The X Factor, I love the fact that he’s close to his mum, I love that he doesn’t think age matters (hahaha!)
Oh let’s face it, I love EVERYTHING about him!!! ♥
Things that make a real 1D fangirl AND things that a real 1D fangirl would never do.
A real 1D fangirl is someone who…
…knows all 1D‘s songs by heart.
…has a Facebook wall/Twitter feed full of 1D news/stuff!
…gets her hands on every possible 1D merchandise — whether it’s from the U.K., Australia, America, or just any part of the world (guilty as charged! Haha!)
…smiles at the thought of 1D. As simple as that.
…supports not just her favorite member, but ALL the members!
…will name her future sons Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, and/or Zayn! =))
A real 1D fangirl would never…
…bash/trash-talk any of the boys’ girlfriends/love interests (no matter how much that sucks!) </3
…buy a pirated 1D album/CD/DVD. It’s just plain wrong… not to mention ILLEGAL.
…compare the boys to other artists. Simply put, the boys are unique in their own ways. 1D IS 1D; they’re incomparable. (Spoken like a true One Directioner! Hahaha!)
…outgrow the boyband. 5, 10, or more years from now — even when they’re already classified as a “middle-aged men” band! There’s just NO CURE for this Direction Infection!!!
And actually, I once had a Facebook status talking about my decision to resign from my job:
“I contemplated… and changed my mind. Fight ’til the end! Ika nga, use all possible ‘lifelines!’ You’ll be surprised that even One Direction played a big role in this decision-making… That’s HOW MUCH they’re influencing my life right now! But then again, only a REAL FAN GIRL will understand why.”
Believe it or not. But yes, BELIEVE IT!
My friends actually found it “different” that I decided not to resign from my job because of 1D. Obviously, the boys weren’t the only reason BUT they were one of the major factors.
First is very obvious. How else would I be able to afford 1D fangirl-ing stuff and merchandise if I didn’t earn my own money? At my age, I already pay for my own “wants” and asking money from others isn’t just an option.
Next, they inspire me. To WORK HARD, that is. We think that being a celebrity/superstar is all glitz and glamour. True. But it also takes a lot of hard work. We all witnessed THAT (hard work) during the seventh season of The X Factor (UK). We all STILL see that while the boys are busy traveling the world, satisfying each and every fan… while enduring being away from their families and not having the same kind of privacy when they were still ordinary British boys. Why do they do those? Because that’s how DEDICATED they are. Because that’s how they’re grateful for all the support they received, are receiving, and will receive from their fans!
But going back to my status, I’ve to say that the “fight” is over now. I did use my so-called “lifelines,” but my decision to finally resign eventually became a “need” instead of a “want.” I may be unemployed now, but I’m not rushing anyway. It’s because when I land my next job, I don’t want it to be just another job — I want it to be where I can finally have a “career.” Besides, I already have sufficient time to focus on my graduate studies now. And guess what? I still get to be my fangirl self and get my hands on 1D merchandise — thanks to my ever supportive family members! Harharhar.
Like I said, only a REAL FANGIRL can get me! Enough said.
Ooh, while we’re at it,
why not grab a copy of Candy magazine’s latest issue?
Available wherever magazines are sold for only Php100.
Today, I just claimed my same old brand new school I.D. from the university registrar:
About two weeks ago while I was in Hong Kong, I accidentally dropped my bag with its zipper open. So go figure. Apparently, I missed picking up one of its contents — my old (graduate) school I.D. — which I only found out after two days when I was in Manila already! Kaya lost I.D. kung lost I.D. talaga! x_x
Of course I had to request for a new one (with my old picture and signature), which cost me almost Php700! I know, I know. I could’ve avoided spending Php595 for my I.D. and another Php100 for an affidavit of loss if I hadn’t dropped my bag just like that! Tsk. That’s why it took me a lot of convincing if it was still worth it to get a new school I.D…
…which brings me back to GRADUATE SCHOOL itself!
For yearssss (and I’m not exaggerating the “s”), I’ve been trying to finish my Master’s Degree. No, I’m NOT failing. In fact, if there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s that I’m already done with my coursework — and I’m happy to say that I passed all my subjects! Yay!!!
The reason why I’ve been delayed is because of TIME. Aside from the fact that I never had a “full load” academic term, my laziness gets in the way of it all! Hahaha! But seriously, when I had my first full-time job, I just suddenly found myself enrolling in ONE ACADEMIC TERM per year. Hence the delay. And hey, it wasn’t easy to juggle work and (graduate) school! Period.
Still, I was able to take (and pass!) all my subjects. So now, I’m left with only two things: COMPREHENSIVE EXAM + THESIS! Not so easy to be a “master” now, eh? @_@
And since I’m also unemployed as of press time (haha!), I’ve no choice but push through with my comprehensive exam. I still have to pass certain documents to be permitted to take the exam NEXT WEEK (!), but yeah…
As for my thesis, I’ve always thought of it as “a bridge I’ll cross when I get there.” The problem is, I’m already thisclose to THAT bridge and I still don’t have any idea what to do with it!!!
Okay, one of my professors suggested that I do something about diplomatic history… which I readily obliged last year (my “ONE ACADEMIC TERM per year” in 2011:
That was the paper I did in one of my subjects — Historical Methodologies — which was supposed to “prepare” me for thesis writing. Unfortunately, my fickleness is kicking in again and now I’m not sure if I still want to go with South Korea… Waaahh!
But like I said, I’m currently unemployed. And that really doesn’t give me any choice… So my battle plan is to use TIME itself again. If “time” is what delayed me, I think that it’ll also be the one to help me. How? By doing it ONE STEP AT A TIME. So this term, I have to deal with my comprehensive exam first!
Having said that, maybe I’m not a lost student after all…
Maybe I’m more like a
wonder wander student! Wahahahaha! And as J.R.R. Tolkien put it,
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
And right now, holding on to those words is good enough for me. So help me God!
St. Augustine once said, “The world is like a book. Those who don’t travel read only a page.”
Well, if the world was indeed one book, then my featured traveler for this month would already be near the last chapter, if not in the sequel already. Why? Simply because he’s been to ALL CONTINENTS, except Antarctica — but even Antarctica isn’t slipping his mind! He plans to go there, too — hopefully SOON!!!
And that person — June’s featured traveler who will wrap up the first half of my 2012 blog project — is none other than my friend Anthony.
He has been to 25 countries (including the Philippines): four in the Americas (North and South respectively), two in Oceania, one in Africa, four in Europe, and the rest, in Asia. In fact, two more countries will be added in his list this year as he plans to visit Japan next month AND Burma in September! Cool, huh?
But before knowing about the African country he has been to, let’s take a look at how his interest in traveling started. Anthony shared, “My first travel as far as I can remember was in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China way back in 1994. It was followed by an American vacation four years after. From 1999 until 2005, my passport was never stamped for several reasons. First is school, second is — I guess — it’s expensive for me to travel since I’m from Davao, and third, I really never thought of traveling then.
“My addiction to traveling started when I was in college. During my college days, I was learning a lot about other countries and that made me interested. The next thing I knew, I was bookmarking travel-related websites here and there!”
And TRAVEL was exactly what he did! Luckily, our featured continent for this month (Africa) is one of Anthony‘s favorite places. He said,“Whenever people ask me my top three favorite visited countries, I usually say Brazil, India, and South Africa. Brazil for the Caipirinha and drinking marathon, India for its food and intact culture, and South Africa for having Cape Town.”
The South African Story
Anthony traveled to South Africa with one of his closest friends named Daby. “This South African trip was supposed to be with her cousins and siblings but because of certain unbelievable reasons, they all canceled. If you travel with her, the best thing to bring is a camera. She drinks thrice of what I can, and the only way to remember events is by checking out the photos the following day.”
Anyway, they both went to two South African cities: Johannesburg and Cape Town. Anthony recalled, “South Africa geographically is on the southernmost part of the African continent. For the flight, it took 15 hours (or maybe more) to get to Johannesburg via Hong Kong. South Africa is the richest country in the whole of Africa. Its economy is two times larger than the Philippines, so it’s not surprising that 1 South African Rand is equivalent to 6 Philippine Pesos.
“Actually, I find South Africa expensive. But according to locals, city centers are really expensive and the suburbs are cheaper.”
But between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Anthony felt more drawn to the latter. He remembered, “Cape Town was really unbelievable. It’s the best place I’ve been to so far. I was able to try their food called ‘pumba.’ It’s a warthog and it tasted like baby back ribs, but it’s a little bit expensive. I also enjoyed our wine tasting tour, but that gave me a hangover after.”
As mentioned earlier, Anthony‘s not yet done with traveling the world. Aside from Japan and Burma, he has other dream travel destinations. He admitted, “I actually made a list of countries that I would love to visit. It’s so long but the ones on top are Nepal, Egypt, Argentina, Peru, and Turkey.”
As for his travel tip, he has only one: “Spend less to see more.” True that!
All in all, Anthony considers traveling an investment. “Traveling is where my salary goes. I invest in it a lot because I think that it’s something that will remain with me for as long as I live.” Well, I couldn’t agree more! After all, memories will always be GREATER THAN material things! Riiight?
So thanks to Ton for “touring” us to South Africa! And of course, thanks to YOU for reading THIS and my other “Traveler of The Month” features!
As always, KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON!
This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.
You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.