“Some places we stay in forever. Some places are mere stopovers. Just like Hong Kong.” That line opened Hello, Love, Goodbye, the Philippine movie that broke box office records of all time. Ki and I made our stop at Hong Kong the previous year. Much of the movie was shot in places we had visited. We should’ve been the movie’s location scouts. A location tour usually followed the success of a movie or TV show (think Sex & the City in NYC and The Sound of Music in Salzburg). Done the other way gave us a sense of deja vu while watching the movie.
Female energy – girl power, as my favorite band of all time proclaimed – pervaded my visit to the Louvre Museum. Although the artworks I saw were created by men, their female subjects exuded different facets of the fairer sex. Among thousands of pieces in the world’s largest art museum, ultimately, these women depicted in sculpture and painting left a lasting impression on me.
A midnight arrival in a foreign city left no elbow room for screw-ups. Six hours after setting off from Mandalay, the bus conductor assured us of a hotel drop-off. We heaved a sigh of relief and gratitude as it was a dark and rainy night in Bagan. The short but muddy walk from the gate to the lobby was the end of our long journey. Or so we thought. The lone receptionist at Amata Garden Resort could not find our reservation. A mistake was soon made clear. We were supposed to be at Ananta Bagan. Ananta, not Amata.
Den Haag (The Hague) and Haarlemmermeer, the Netherlands
June 6, 2019
“Are you a seaman?” The unexpected question nudged me awake from my jet lag stupor. As a male solo traveler bearing a Philippine passport, I couldn’t blame the Dutch immigration officer for profiling me. If anything, our countries had a maritime connection. I chuckled a no and he let me breeze through. Why did I even worry about my first entry to Europe? This was how easy-peasy it was.
March 26 – 27 and 29 – 30, 2018 / January 4 – 5, 2019
For most non-residents, Dumaguete was its famous seafront boulevard and promenade. Running through the heart of the city, Rizal Boulevard had long been the place to be. Casa de Gobierno, the seat of the Spanish colonial government, once stood at this scenic coast. That piece of heritage burned down in the 1930s.
It was my first long-haul flight in almost 40 years. I had forgotten how much of a drag 15 hours could be in cramped economy class. Even with a three-hour layover. But props to my agent, Pro Flights Travel, for putting me on a Qatar Airways seat with business class level legroom. It was not beside the emergency door either. Nine hours from Manila to Doha was less interminable.
Balai encompasses both house and home in meaning. So does Balai Princesa. The homiest boutique B&B in Puerto Princesa offers more than a roof over our head and ambiance for our Gram. The warmth and comfort provided by its service make it a home.