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.

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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?

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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!).

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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”

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”

Spotlight on Dresden

In terms of tourism, Germany is much like its treasured National Mannschaft — you can’t pinpoint just one star football player, exactly because the greatness lies instead on each individually high-functioning member (or cities, in this case). Berlin has its Film Festival, Munich its Oktoberfest, Hamburg its Elbphilharmonie, and so on.

Dresden is probably one of the most-underrated European cities. I would boldly say its the prettiest German city I’ve ever seen so far. During my maiden visit to the East, Dresden’s elaborately-decked palace grounds, wistful Altstadt (Old Town) and ever-graceful Elbe did not fail to make the cross-country drive oh-so-worth it.  Continue reading “Spotlight on Dresden”