Saturday, 12 October 2013

Taiwan with Myron: Taipei and Taroko Gorge

Who would have thought that we would find ourselves in Taiwan 2 more times within 12 months of my first visit to the country? Without over-thinking each trip, we found ourselves drawn back to Taiwan repeatedly to discover new experiences and relive good ones from before. 

Our second trip to Taiwan was a graduation gift to my youngest brother, Myron. The plans were put together within a week, reservations hastily made through Agoda, and plane tickets cheaply purchased care of Air Asia flying out of Clark, Pampanga.

Me, Karen, and Myron at the Cimu Bridge in the Taroko National Park

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Greeka Kouzina

If you’re looking for a new place to eat, a new Greek place just opened along P. Guevarra in San Juan. It’s a little out of the way, but that just makes it all the more charming for a dinner date or eating adventure. Take some time one evening, look this place up, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Photo Collage credit to Kim Chupeco

It’s called Greeka Kouzina, and it serves a good selection of in-theme salads, skewers, wraps, and entrees. Prices are reasonable off-hand, but you will realize how much value you get for your money once they serve the large plates and side dishes that come with your order.  

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

August: Lagen, El Nido, Palawan

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

The Lagen Island Resort in El Nido is touted to be among the best in the Philippines. For a country known for its long stretches of white-sand shores, the clearest ocean waters, and among the most diverse marine wildlife, that is a lofty reputation to live by. And with a rather steep price tag, our trip to Lagen was preempted with pretty high expectations. Are you curious how the trip stacked up against the anticipation?

Karen and I went to Lagen with her mom and sister. It was our birthday gift to her mom from last year, and we were really looking forward to the trip.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Manganiyar Seduction

Karen and I chanced upon this show in a brochure during our Penang, Malaysia Trip. We were glad we went out of our way to watch it!

We didn't understand the words, but the music and heart in the performance kept us captivated all throughout.

"The Manganiyars are a caste of muslim musicians who traditionally performed for the kings of Rajasthan in India . Over the years their patrons have shifted from the kings to a person who could give them a meal. Their repertoire ranges from ballads about the kings to Sufi songs written by various mystics. They also sing songs for various occasions like birth, marriage, rains, feasts etc. Even though they are classified as folk musicians their traditional music is classical and it clearly indicates the roots of classical music in India . However the rawness of the folk and the complexness of classical music is what makes their music so special. They live in the deserts of Rajasthan and are one Muslim community who also worship Hindu Deities."

"The Manganiyar seduction was first created for the Osians to open the film festival in Delhi 2006. The success of the show got the show on the road.. This project allowed roysten to collaborate with the Manganiyar musicians for the first time. The concept creates a dazzling union between the Manganiyar’s music and the visual seduction of Amsterdam ’s red light district. The sets are a combination of the Hawa Mahal and the Red light district of Amsterdam. It can also be compared to a magic box. 43 musicians are seated in 36 red-curtained cubicles arranged in four horizontal rows one on top of the other; and the concert begins when a single cubicle lights up and the first singer begins his song. Soon another cubicle lights up and then another thus creating a dramatic and astounding build-up of musical instruments and voice as young men, women, children and the elderly of the Manganiyar community take you into a world which is even beyond yours or their own. The Normal practise is to take and use music for theatre but here Roysten reverses the process and uses theatre to create magic in music."

Monday, 9 July 2012

Going to Penang? Find David Yeoh.

Once in a while, I come across a travel experience, or meet someone in one of my adventures that I just have to share with other people. This time, I just have to share about our tour guide, David Yeoh. He was the reason our trip to Penang, Malaysia, turned out so well, and I highly recommend his services to anyone and everyone going to Penang.

Take note, though, he is in high demand. While we were with him, his phone kept on ringing with requests for tours, so I suggest that you book him well ahead! Read on to learn more about our experience with David after the jump!

July: Penang, Malaysia

Karen and I decided to get adventurous. Backpacking, for people who new nothing about packing light. But we kept up with the challenge and, with some trepidation, set out for our first Malaysian Trip.

Leaving Manila with only the stuff on our backs

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Travelling the Philippines

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

How much of the Philippines have you seen? This cool website let's you plot all the places you've been to, and gives you a grade for it too! I got a C.. Time to strive for a better mark and keep on traveling!

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!
Created by Eugene Villar.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Planning July - Penang, Malaysia

(Update: We have just come back from our Penang trip and it was a blast! Check these two links for an entry on our trip and our amazing tour guide, David)

Karen and I are planning another first—what would be our closest foray into backpacking—when we travel to Penang, Malaysia sometime in July. We will be staying in a 3-star tourist hotel and are bracing for what we, in quite derogatory humor,  term as an “adventure.” 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

May: Boracay

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

Do you ever get the feeling that you need to rush when you’re on vacation? As if time away is never enough (well, it almost always isn’t), and there’s just too much you want to do? I get that feeling often, and sometimes realize too late that I’ve rushed my vacation away. 

Boracay is, in my limited experience, a good way around that tendency. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

A False Sense of Entitlement

From time to time, I do a bit of philosophizing about life and country. These are, perhaps, my most inspired entries, though maybe not for everyone. You have been warned, read on at your own risk. =)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Flashback 2008: ZESh in Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

Recalling a trip from four years ago feels like entering the twilight zone; seeing pictures of ourselves, yet not quite believing how much we've changed since--kilograms gained, years aged, experiences that have grown us one way or another. 

And yet, for everything that has come to pass, the real good things have thankfully remained the same. The same good friends,  the same happy times, made even richer by time spent and joy shared since.

So for whatever lapse I may have in recalling the finer details of our trip, may the fondness of these memories nonetheless tide us over with a smile.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Flashback 2010: Coron, Palawan

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

Nestled in the midst of limestone formations which jut out from the sea; and forest cover yet untouched by man, Coron exudes a prehistoric ambiance where a dinosaur sighting does not seem so far-fetched. One feels closer to nature, more attuned to the environment, genuinely engaged in the beauty of this planet. And all it takes to visit is a few hours plane-ride from Manila. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

April: Taipei, Taiwan

Our trip to Taiwan was, in many respects, a way for Karen to introduce me to a huge part of her identity. All her relatives on her mother side (with the exception of her grandparents who are in the US) live in Taiwan. Although her mom has migrated to the Philippines, both Karen and her mom continue to have strong Taiwanese pride, evidenced in their taste for food, fashion, music, and even office supplies. 

March: Palawan Underground River

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

My Christmas gift to Karen last time around was a groupon voucher for a 3 day trip to Sabang, Palawan, which is home to the world’s longest navigable subterranean river. The place was recently acknowledged as one of the 7 new wonders of the natural world, and we thought it might be a good idea to pay it a visit before it gets too crowded. 

The voucher included a 3-day, 2-night stay at Sheridan Resort, the underground river tour, and a mangrove forest tour, and a half hour massage for two. For the price of the voucher, we were expecting a decent resort, but nothing luxurious. We were pleased to find the place well above our expectations, with excellent rooms, amenities, and service. 

February: Singapore

Erica moved to Singapore for work in February. She was given a hotel room in the Mandarin Hotel, along Orchard Road for a month while she looked for a suitable place to live. She was nice enough to allow us to stay with her for a 5-day visit. It was Karen’s and my first time in Singapore. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

December (almost January): Diving Anilao, Batangas

(Planning a Vacation? Come to the Philippines! Feel free to get in touch if you need help planning your trip!!)

(Disclaimer: photos were taken from previous trips. We only took videos the last time out)

Karen and I held off any trips outside the Philippines until after we got married. Though the idea seems restrictive on first thought, I am glad we did it. Now we have so much traveling to look forward to!

We have resolved to try to travel at least once a month this year, whether within or outside the Philippines. Nothing extravagant, mostly on long weekends or by taking 1 or 2 vacation leaves from work at a time. This trip counts as our trip for January!

Our good friend Nicco, and his girlfriend Erica, took us to their family’s dive resort in Anilao, Batangas last December. Although I’ve tried diving a couple of times before, this was the first time I really enjoyed it. And that is mostly because I got comfortable under water, and was able to control my movements and buoyancy well enough.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Honeymoon-ing in Paradise

We went to Baros, Maldives for our honeymoon, for what turned out to be one of our most relaxing vacations to-date. 

Going there was a bit tiring, requiring transit through Singapore (in our case), with the total travel time aggregating about 10 hours per way. But the distance and time it took was well worth it!

Our Adventure Begins

I suppose: experiences and memories are valuable, only because they are ephemeral. We try to hold on to them as long as we can, all the same. In this virtual corner, I hope to build my little box of adventures and mis-adventures. My home on the net, if you will.

Feel free to share them vicariously and may you, as we will, feel the yearning of happiness past and excitement of happiness yet to come. =)

Because I'm starting this late, I will probably jump here and there in telling my stories--please pardon the less-than-linear narrative.


The frame of my stories will always be from a joint perspective, between me and my wife, Karen. It therefore fits quite well, that my first few posts should be about our wedding!

In a way, the wedding turned out differently from what we expected. We knew it would be a big day for us, but how things turned out far exceeded what we anticipated. To put it briefly, the long preparation was well worth it!

Live High

I begin my blog, lest my memories get confused with dreams, dreams get buried by mundane trappings, and the good things in life be forgotten over time..

Live high, live mighty, live righteously. Take it easy. It's laughter we're making after all.