Defying Murphy’s Law

Busan, South Korea

October 22 – 25, 2014

Murphy’s Law had caught up with us even before we left Manila. Anything that could go wrong DID go wrong. Cindy, in charge of online airline booking, inexplicably unticked baggage options for Melds and me. With unwieldy suitcases (“fridge” to Cindy) in tow, we had to queue anew at the cashier and cough up twice the fee. At Busan, our port of entry, an airport bus conductor who had just carried my girlfies’ luggage stopped short at mine and blurted out, condescendingly at that, that men should carry their own. Melds knew enough Korean to translate for me. Not that I was expecting a hand from an adjussi like him, but he did push a button.

Touchdown Korea with Melds and Cindy @ Gimhae International Airport, Busan

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Life’s a Beach

San Juan, Batangas, the Philippines

April 28 / May 1, 2015

Archie starts to knead my bare back. I partly bury my face into the cushion to shield my eyes from the refracted glare of sunlight against a swath of white sand before me. As Archie untangles every knot of stress below my nape, so I throw each care to the sea breeze gently ruffling my hair. Such is la dolce vita. Stretched out luxuriously in a wooden cabana, I close my eyes to savor the moment before it becomes a memory all too quickly.

Massage on the Beach @ Playa Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

Massage on the Beach @ Playa Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

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Oppa in Gangnam

Seoul, South Korea

October 28 – November 1, 2014

Two billion hits in YouTube sealed the deal. Of course, I had never heard of Gangnam before the video shot off the charts worldwide, but Gangnam Style brainwashed me into putting the trendy district into my itinerary in Korea. When my friend said our hotel was located right at Gangnam, I did the dance of joy with an imaginary horse and lasso. Images of Psy’s viral video played on repeat in my mind. My sole/Seoul agendum was to see the place that inspired a pop culture phenomenon.

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Light Up La Union

San Fernando City and San Juan, La Union, the Philippines

April 11 – 12, 2015

It is high time for La Union to step out of the shadow of its more popular neighbors. Its day in the sun has come, and the beacon that shines on it emanates from Poro Point, an erstwhile American base on a peninsula within San Fernando City. The province does not lack in sights and delights, after all.

Sillag Festival 2015 @ Poro Point, La Union

Sillag: Festival of Lights 2015 @ Poro Point, San Fernando City, La Union

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That Thing Called Final Destination

Sagada, Mountain Province, the Philippines

March 1, 2015

That indie romcom That Thing Called Tadhana – Tagalog for destiny – inspired me to trek the mountains of Sagada (sorry, not sorry to the recent “spare Sagada” online movement). As our group emerged from the rock art-adorned Latang Underground River, the guide pointed at a vertical wall of limestone we would be scaling up. Wooden coffins protruded out of niches seemingly beyond reach from any direction. It left to the imagination how the Applai tribe had hauled unwieldy log coffins up steep rock faces to inter them into narrow crevices.

Coffin in a Cliff @ Sagada

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Fields of Gold

Bhaktapur / Pokhara / Kathmandu, Nepal and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

February 25 – March 1, 2013

The low-hanging sun and a blanket of yellow flowers conspired to set a Pokhara hillside ablaze. This field of gold, one of enchanting natural beauty, was comprised of mustard plants, their flowers looking every bit as bright as the sauce squirted on hotdogs. Miles away in Bhaktapur, the dusty, sunny valley was similarly touched by Midas. I was reminded that it took mustard seed faith for me to realize my dream of visiting Nepal, and that dream bloomed before my eyes like a mustard flower.

Mustard Field @ Pokhara, Nepal

Mustard Field @ Pokhara, Nepal

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Deep Down in the Depth of Sumaguing Cave

Sagada, Mountain Province, the Philippines

March 1, 2015

Airplane turbulence aside, there had been very few instances, if any, in my travels when I feared for my life. I usually perished the thought of perishing on my journeys; otherwise, I would never embark on one. That sense of trepidation, however, came over me as I stood transfixed at the jagged jaws of Sumaguing Cave, aka The Big Cave, in Sagada. Stalactites and chiseled boulders protruded like menacing teeth around the black hole that dropped deep into the mountain. Would I offer myself to get swallowed up by this monster of rock?

Me, Cindy, Melds, Sham, and Sukwoo at the Jagged Jaws of Sumaguing Cave @ Sagada

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