September 19, 2016

Project Pilipinas: Pinatubo Virgins

A couple of years ago, I launched a passion project called Project Pilipinas.  The goal was simple:  help spread information about the beautiful places in the Philippines by posting about my past travels within the country along with some useful information (how to get there, how to go around, places to stay, tips, etc.).  So hopefully, when researching about the Philippines, some random Googler (be it foreigner or local) will come across my blog and be encouraged to visit all those places.  Read more about that project here.

This article was originally posted here.  Some of the information have been updated for accuracy.

"Manong, malayo pa ho ba? (Are we there yet?)”

I shouted through the rumbling of the engine while trying not to inhale the dust swirling around us as our all-terrain vehicle (ATV) sped through the ash-covered road.

We were in Capas, Tarlac -- on our way to the now-famous crater of Mt. Pinatubo.

May 01, 2016

Calaguas Island: The Boracay of the 80's

The moment our boat docked by the shore of Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas Island, it took all of our willpower not to jump into the water headfirst. 

I mean how can you resist these waters that give the hashtag #nofilter an entirely new meaning?

"Calaguas is located in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte. It includes the major islands of Tinaga Island and Guintinua Island, the minor Maculabo Island, as well as several other minor islands.

Most of the islands are under the administrative jurisdiction of Vinzons, while the minor island of Maculabo is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Paracale." (Read more here.)

With its crystal clear waters and powdery white sand, we all agreed: It's the Boracay of the 1980's.  And a plus (for me anyway) is the lack of signal on the island.  It made for a full weekend of being totally unplugged--enjoying the island without the distraction of social media and unnecessary calls or messages.

March 13, 2016

Entering the magical world of Harry Potter

Never mind that the voice-overs on all the rides were in Japanese or that the hallways were too crowded, there wasn't room to swing a Kneazle.  We were in Hogwarts!  HOGWARTS!!!

Okay, Koryn, hold your hippogriffs.

January 31, 2016

Discovering the City of Himeji

To say that it is Japan's most spectacular castle seemed like a sweeping declaration.  But with almost every article describing it as such, I thought the Himeji Castle was worth a visit during our trip.

And it was.  Because more than the castle, it was the whole city that charmed us and made us wish we could stay longer.  But since we had limited time, we just made do of that one day we had to explore the second largest city in the Hyogo Prefecture.

January 03, 2016

Neon Lights 2015: Two days and six stages of music, arts, and a night with Damien Rice

The inaugural Neon Lights Music and Arts Festival in Singapore.

Several months back, the boyfriend and I created a list of musicians whom we would save up and spend for should they visit Asia.  Being the legit music geek, his list was waaaaaaay longer than mine which included Damien Rice.

Coincidentally, a few weeks after the talk, he found out that the Irish singer-songwriter was scheduled to perform at the first ever Neon Lights Music and Arts Festival in Singapore.  Boy, you should've seen his excitement!  He practically spent the whole night researching on festival tickets and searching for flights. As if he wasn't giddy with anticipation already, Rachael Yamagata was later on added to the festival lineup.

Needless to say, last November 2015, we found ourselves at the Fort Canning Park in Singapore, cozying up on the grounds along with 10,000 other enthusiasts, enjoying the massive celebration of music and arts at the weekend festival. 

December 26, 2015

An experiential guide to a DIY Batanes trip: Itineraries, expenses, tips, and observations

Batanes - Check!

For the longest time, Batanes has been in my bucket list.  However, it's less accessible compared to the other provinces in the Philippines primarily because flights come in only three times a week and the airfare is thrice the usual cost of domestic flights.

But this year, the boyfriend and I decided it's time to finally tick that item off in our bucket list.  And contrary to the long-running belief, there's actually a way to visit Batanes without breaking the bank!  After much research--with the help of friends who have been there (a couple of whom are actually from there) and the ever-reliable Mr. Worldwide Web--we were able to organize a low-cost, DIY Batanes trip.

November 04, 2015

Breathtaking Batanes: The Island of South Batan

This is the trip that made me realize that sometimes, we have to disconnect to stay connected--connected with ourselves, with the person beside us, with nature, and the things in life that really matter and bring us unadulterated joy.

For someone who's active on social media, I was actually happy that the whole time we were in Batanes, we were hardly able to go online because of the poor signal in the province.

There were times when we would sit a good 20 minutes just staring at the sloping emerald hills, the blue skies, and the goats and carabaos that peacefully grazed the lands.

On our third day, we explored the island of South Batan.  And like all the other places we visited in Batanes, each location we stopped at took our breath away.

July 19, 2015

Breathtaking Batanes: The Island of Sabtang

It is a place so untouched, you feel like you've been taken a few years back in time when life was so simple;  A time when the village people got their food straight out of the fish nets and used wood for cooking;  A time when the virtue of honesty was at its strongest and served as the fundamental guide for everyday living.

I almost regret not scheduling an overnight stay on Sabtang Island.  Nevertheless, our one-day experience on this island of roughly 1,465 people* is one of the most unique we've had.

And it started right away when we boarded the faluwa--a kind of boat they use to transport people and goods from one island to the other--at the Radiwan Port in Ivana.

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