Makati, the Philippines
August 24 – 25, 2014
Granted, a hotel is fancy and convenient, but for an extended stay, a big family, or a no-frills staycation, it can be pricey and unnecessary. There are digs that combine the ambiance of both home and hotel: the apartment hotel, which offers the downtown location and luxuries of a hotel and the homey comfort and privacy of an apartment. I had the privilege of enjoying such a staycation at one of the well-appointed units of Alcoves Apartments, located at several high-rise condominiums in Makati.
Alcoves Apartment-Hotel @ Makati
October 20, 2013
Over the sea grows the moon bright. We gaze on it far, far apart.
There couldn’t be a more opportune time for a night of nostalgia than on a full moon. In Chinese tradition, the moon, unreachable yet inescapable, arouses retrospection, and, especially in mid-autumn, it inspires reunions. How apt then that the moon was a perfect orb on the chilly October night I would rekindle a long-lost friendship separated by distance and a decade.
Moon Over Suzhou @ Pan Pacific Suzhou
October 20 – 21, 2013
It took a few turns before it dawned on me that I was lost in a complex labyrinth of rock. I could not even retrace my steps to where I had entered. People who could help me could not understand me; those I could ask were just as clueless. I broke into a sweat despite the autumn aftie chill. I didn’t mind losing my way, but I did mind missing the appointed time given by our tour guide to regroup. I couldn’t be the idiot that held up everyone’s schedule. Finding the exit was a fluke after I had been running in circles like a hamster on a wheel. By then, what I had feared happened. I was the last tourist on the bus. As I got on panting, the whole group erupted into applause and cheers. I turned redder than Chairman Mao.
TTT and the Prettiest Photobomber @ Lion Grove Garden, Suzhou
General Santos City, the Philippines
March 27 / 29-30, 2014
Land as far as the eye could see – that was the view from the plane making its final approach to General Santos City. In an archipelago, it is uncommon to see so much land, such horizon-hogging terrain uninterrupted by the sea. It stretched out beguilingly, unending and inexhaustible. No wonder then that my mother’s uncle had claimed a slice of this vast open country long before I was born. Mom and I made this trip to Mindanao to visit his descendants, most of whom we had not met.
Touchdown @ General Santos International Airport, Tambler, South Cotabato
Manila, the Philippines
May 18, 2014
My grandfather must have turned in his grave. He was the first Filipino Baptist minister in my hometown in the 1930s; fast forward to about 80 years later and his daughter – my mother – declared she wanted to do a visita iglesia in Manila. As a PK (pastor’s kid), Mom could count with one hand the times she had been inside a Catholic church. Perhaps because of this blog, she finally caught on to my fondness for religious art in these colonial era churches.
Wedding @ San Agustin Church, Manila
Tarlac, the Philippines
May 1, 2014
My friends and I had to count years before we found the time to take this road trip. Our plans for a rustic R&R in the lupain (farmland) of our haciendera friend Perfy always fell through, our free time never in synch. Conflicting schedules aside, there was never a reason urgent enough to drop all other plans – until my BFF, Danson, came home for a month-long vacay after seven years overseas. Thanks to a non-working holiday, all five of us crammed into Vang’s car and drove to Victoria, Tarlac on Labor Day.
Bestie and TTT @ Isdaan Floating Restaurant, Tarlac
February 23 – 28, 2013
The red brick terminal exuded that retro vibe. In the absence of connecting tubes, passengers deplaned onto the tarmac. Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport was decidedly quaint, a throwback to the airports of old before the age of glass and steel. I had landed, not only in a remote kingdom, but in the distant past.
Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Nepal