** 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
The words “Sapporo in Winter” evoke for me images of pristine powder snow, just the type to drive the biggest skiers to tears. For others, the very same words may as well mean burning your hard-earned money on a Japanese bonfire. At the top of my list was to waddle to my heart’s content in Hokkaido’s velvety snowfall, but I knew a trip to Niseko would be way beyond my means. Fortunately, we soon found out that a tight budget should not get in the way of enjoying a thrill-filled holiday in Sapporo. Continue reading How to Enjoy a Winter Vacation in Sapporo Without Breaking the Bank
Love it or hate it, 2016 is definitely a year to remember. It was when I felt the wind getting knocked out of myself, as it seemed that one by one, the world seemed to veto the principles I thought were universal. It was the year when I realized, more than ever, that there is much to the world that I have yet to know, more perspectives that I have yet to comprehend, more life experiences that I have yet to open my heart to. Continue reading What a year! Top 12 Highlights from the Rollercoaster Ride of 2016
A lot of magical things happen when you play it by ear. One moment, we were thinking what movies to marathon for the long weekend. Four hours later, we’ve just booked tickets for a far-off island gem in the south of the Philippines.
Siargao’s not exactly the easiest island to go to. Leave it to Filipinos to be blessed with beaches at their disposal, but still need to hop on a plane, van, boat, tricycle, to get to the best ones. But as with any far-flung beach, it was worth all the cartwheels through logistics. Continue reading Wow, Siargao!
The sound of chimes ushered me in, as if on cue, as I approached my first temple in Bagan. I hesitate a bit, unsure if I was even allowed to go inside; there were hardly any other people around. I take a step forward. Then another. I take off my slippers and walk into the brick arch that revealed the temple of Sulamani. If this was a movie, there would be a gust of wind and a grinning shaman, bathing in heavenly light, waitingon the other side to bestow on me eternal wisdom. But there was no shaman, only a small family on their way out. There was still a hint of mystery in the air, nonetheless. Continue reading A Pagoda Safari in Bagan
It might be apt that the city to capture your heart in Vietnam is in its center. My first visits to the S-shaped nation were to its opposite poles, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. While there was definitely more than the pho that kept me warm inside in the bigger metros, it was hands down Hoi An that swept me off my feet. Continue reading The Radiance of Hoi An
Luang Prabang was the cure for the restlessness that has been tugging at me for a while now. It was a pull back to being grateful for all things simple, carefree and beautiful — a getaway well needed and much appreciated.
Shot in Luang Prabang, Laos
Song: Fudge by Gillicuddy (freemusicarchive.org/music/gillicuddy/)
One big perk of living in an archipelago is that surprises ALWAYS await. A new island, a new beach, a new destination comes out of the blue, daring you to call into mind another place that is as breathtaking as where you are now. It makes you shake your head in disbelief, as you ask yourself, ‘How could I have not known this before?’
Song: All Smiles All Day by Dexter Britain
Dumaguete is an excellent home base to explore the jewels of Negros Oriental. Here are links to some of my trips wherein Dumaguete was the jump-off point:
- Apo Island – where you can swim with giant turtles and laze away at tranquil beaches
- Oslob – where you can swim with the whale sharks, snorkle at lively reefs and enjoy a majestic shower from a waterfall
- Siquijor – where you jump off and dive from a waterfall, scour peaks, and chill to the island’s pace of life
Have you ever had one of those days when you already knew everything was going to be epic, and then the day turns out to be even better for reasons you didn’t see coming your way? This was one of them. Continue reading Adventures in Oslob
Glorious. That’s how I shall remember everything that went on that day. From my first step on Apo Island’s rocky surf, to my first peek underwater, only to see a giant turtle casually snacking at the aquatic greenery. Simply glorious. Continue reading A Day Trip to Apo Island