All posts by ishg

The Lifesaver That Is Mövenpick Boracay

** This is a looooong-overdue post, from my journal entry from almost exactly a year ago, when we first brought my then 9-month old son to the Philippines. Hopefully, when a COVID-19 vaccine is available and things clear up for travel again, we can come back and create memories in Mövenpick once more.


Here I was in Boracay, one of my happiest places on the entire Earth, and I was downright miserable. Things were awry starting from when we got to the island. The supposedly “premium” transfer airport-to-hotel service we book was so awfully coordinated, that a DIY would have gone much smoother. The hotel I booked was also nothing like I expected. Is there nothing worse than being greeted by cockroaches in the bathroom for 3 days straight? My morale was dangerously spiraling down to zero. I definitely needed a break from this vacation.

Enter Mövenpick to the rescue. After my husband (sanely) talked me out of wasting money by rebooking another hotel, we decided to find a compromise and “splurged” on a day pass on one of the fanciest hotels in Boracay. At 2k pesos with 1.6k pesos consumable, I actually found the day pass rates downright reasonable for a hotel of this caliber, for the refuge and facilities they offered.

Continue reading The Lifesaver That Is Mövenpick Boracay

20 Alternative Ways to Travel In The Time of Coronavirus

Three years ago, I wrote 25 Travel Goals to Set For the Year (for Those Who Can’t Wander Very Far), back when I just quit my job to move to Germany, and had to think of ways to satisfy my wanderlust without breaking the bank. I thought I’d update that list to keep up with what every travel-addicted kindred spirit is probably struggling with right now: how to feed that same wanderlust, when you’re not exactly allowed to travel as far as you’re used to.

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Digital Detox for the Girl Who Can’t Step Away From Her Phone

Drug Dealers and IT are the only people who call their customers “users”. – Daniel O’Leary

It is quite impossible to dodge all the foreboding articles lamenting that people nowadays spend too much time on their phones. All this time online is supposedly going to bring our society to ruin, melt our brains, turn us into slaves of evil robots — pick your Armageddon ending. While I do concede that having too much of anything can turn out badly, is all screen time bad though?

Continue reading Digital Detox for the Girl Who Can’t Step Away From Her Phone

Ribe: A lesson on Vikings and Hygge

Since we were gluttons for punishment, we set off for another long road trip, barely a week after we had our first international excursion with our 7-month old son. This time, we were off to the north to Ribe, the oldest existing town in Denmark, founded in the early 8th century.

To be honest, I wouldn’t know the difference between 8th century history from 18th century history, but I do know a charming old town when I see one. The drive through the fields was utterly soothing, although my husband didn’t really appreciate the very low speed limit (As for me — yay, somewhere I could drive!).

Continue reading Ribe: A lesson on Vikings and Hygge

To Vancouver, A Letter

Dear Vancouver,

You are utterly unfair. How dare you have beautiful beaches, after already laying claim to one of the most bewitching mountain views I’ve ever seen while standing in the middle of a city?!

That’s all.

Love, Ish.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to use the rest of this post now to absolutely gush all over Vancouver.

Continue reading To Vancouver, A Letter

Baby Meets the Flip Side in Toronto

I haven’t seen anyone from my side of the family in over a year, and it was starting to show. Me throwing jealous looks as my husband jokes around with his siblings around the dinner table, me counting all the holidays I haven’t spent Filipino-style, me insisting to follow the lone Filipino food truck I’ve found around food festivals. Of the 10 years I’ve spent living abroad, I have never been homesick — that is, until now. Maybe it’s all those postpartum mommy hormones that are to blame, but I was now reaching new levels of brooding, and it wasn’t pretty.

Maybe that’s why I was desperately counting down to May 10, like I was gasping for air after holding my breath for so long. It was the day we were to fly to Toronto, for my then 6-month old baby, Tobias, to finally meet the Filipino side of the family for the first time. Continue reading Baby Meets the Flip Side in Toronto

Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight

It’s every flyer’s dreaded sight: that parade of babies through the priority boarding queue, threatening to crush any dream of peaceful sleep during the flight. I confess, I used to cringe whenever I would see a family with a baby settling within a 10-row radius from my seat.

Now, I find myself on the other side, the bringer of the ominous boarding infant. I braced myself long and hard, and obsessed with every detail to prepare ourselves for Tobias’ first long-haul flight. I even dressed him up in an adorable tiger onesie, to make it at least a bit impossible to stay angry even if he makes a scene. Continue reading Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight

Creative Ways to Learn a New Language

Have you tried every app, book, site or workshop out there, and still feel like you’re butchering your target language whenever you speak? I’ve been there, feeling like I should apologize to every native speaker for forcing them to listen to my atrocious interpretation of their own tongue, even after months of taking classes.

So you’ve hit a plateau. This might actually be where things get interesting. If the old formulas no longer work, then it may be time to set your sights on the unconventional, to take approaches you’ve never tried before. Reframing your mindset might just be what you need to send the gears whirring again, to rewire your brain to finally make that new language stick. I’ve got a few ideas — shall we start rewiring?  Continue reading Creative Ways to Learn a New Language

10 Ideas for a Wanderlust-y, Travel-Themed Wedding

An event as momentous as your wedding warrants your personal touch. Think about it –it’s an occasion wherein your closest loved ones from both sides come together, most meeting for the first time, to celebrate precisely the fact, that the two of you are together. How much more personal can that get?!

For Daniel and I, we knew we had to work in TRAVEL as a theme for our wedding, as it laid deep in the core of how we’ve met and how much we’ve grown with each other. We also knew that we’d rather save up for our future home, rather than go overboard with the expenses, so that meant DIY all the way. The craft-crazed kid in me cartwheels.   Continue reading 10 Ideas for a Wanderlust-y, Travel-Themed Wedding