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
Banaue and Hungduan, Ifugao, the Philippines
February 28, 2015
Who would travel ten hours by bus to Banaue only to miss seeing the postcard-famous Batad Rice Terraces? This tourist, apparently. Fresh from a butt-busting bus ride, my friends and I were herded off by jeepney to People’s Lodge and Restaurant for a meet-up with tour guides. A blind date, as it were. They recommended less touristy rice terraces, although Batad was scribbled in the itinerary as a come-on. We could not tell whether it was our limited time or a web of lies that denied us a stop at Batad; instead, we spent our precious half-day in town at Hapao Rice Terraces.
People’s Lodge and Restaurant @ Banaue, Ifugao
Baguio City and Tuba, Benguet, the Philippines
February 21, 2015
The best vacay was not a place; it was time. Exactly what my BFF Ki needed: Time. Although he wanted to wake up in a different city, he actually needed “just one day out of life,” as my favorite vacay song went, away from the pressures of a sales job. He decided to drive to Baguio at the eleventh hour; we literally left at 11PM. With the connection of three expressways (NLEx, SCTEx, and TPLEx), travel time from Manila had been halved. In only four hours, we could feel the nippy Baguio breeze on our faces.
Ki and Me @ Safari Lodge, Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City
Busan / Chuncheon / Sokcho / Seoul, South Korea
October 22 – November 1, 2014
In my travels, seeing the beauty of the world was a given. The beauty of humanity? That was the cherry on top. In my first trip to Korea, I experienced no lack in genuine hospitality. Kindness was most disarming when least expected, and it was my most precious take-away. At the departure lounge for my return flight, I posted my gratitude on Facebook:
A friend said I conquered Korea, but it was Korea that conquered me. Coming from a K-hood, I thought the country was just a bigger version. Indeed, my Korean experience was bigger – in memorable firsts (1st fall colors, 1st summit climb, 1st studio recording, haha) & in K-style hospitality & kindness from friends & strangers alike. Language barrier be damned, we connected in more profound ways than words. That’s what travel is: both visitor & visited connecting in this shared space. To realize that the world is for sharing.
Clockwise: With Wowie and Her Home-Cooked Brekky, My Travel Mates Cindy and Melds, Wowie and Our Pasalubong Mug, and With Sis. Loreta @ Busan
General Santos City, the Philippines
March 29, 2014
There could never be a more intimate place for family bonding than in the cramped cab of a tricycle. We were shoehorned with our knees knocking together inside the four-seater, and we were not even tall people. The motorized tricycle was considered a poor man’s taxi. Poverty aside, we did not have much choice. In General Santos City, taxis were hard to come by, and the taxi driver we eventually got kept asking us for directions. So off we went on our day-long DIY GenSan tour on a trike.
Tricycle Tour @ General Santos City
Nami Island, Chuncheon, South Korea
October 26, 2014
Gamsa hamnida to Winter Sonata. If not for this Korean soap, Nami Island would have slipped under my radar. The show was wildly popular in the early noughties that even its dreamy island setting shot to fame. Although I never caught an episode, the island would become a non-negotiable item in the itinerary of my first SoKor trip more than a decade later.
Walking the Street of Gold @ Nami Island, South Korea
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed 31,527 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
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