Tag Archives: animals

Treasures from Out of the Blue

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
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Prowlin’ and Chowin’ in Chiang Mai

Zabb-e-lee cooking class

It was a strange feeling — heading to Thailand and knowing that I didn’t come here to saunter at the beach, nor to hit the flea market. Instead, I was making a beeline for something far away from the waves and the skyline — onto the mountainous state of Chiang Mai.

If Bangkok is the kingdom’s Fashionista, and Phuket, its Party Animal, the Chiang Mai would be the Flower Child. With a laid-back cool, it bids you to take things slow. Ever so gently, you find that you’ve turned from the bucket-bearing all-night-reveler, to that morning person who gets up to bike along the rice fields. Continue reading Prowlin’ and Chowin’ in Chiang Mai

Spotting Rudolph in Nara

I think I just found Santa Claus’ holiday lair (or at least where his reindeers escape to get some R&R).

I must admit, Nara was nowhere near my go-see radar. That was before a little bird told me that it was home to free-roaming wild deer, who didn’t mind being doted on by humans (that is a lot, we’re not exactly the world’s cutest species). On my return to Kansai, we hopped on the JR for a quick day trip to Nara.

Nara turned out to be a nice alternative to Kyoto, if you are all for immersing yourself in the rustic, nostalgic side of Japan, but are a bit wary of getting caught in the tourist stampede. Only a handful of people stepped off the train with us. As we strolled through the cafes lining the path that led to Nara Park, it almost felt like we were the only excursionists around. Continue reading Spotting Rudolph in Nara

Pinch me, I’m in Maldives!

Giddy much?

We went home with faces a little browner, hearts a little bigger, and memories wealthier. It seems so unfair to take so much and give back so little to a destination that has made you really happy, but Maldives is simply generous like that. Its giving is effortless, even, as natural as a pristine paradise can be.

Spotted: baby black-tip shark swimming on the shallow reef.
Spotted: baby black-tip shark swimming on the shallow reef.

Okay, so maybe the lavish water villas and mind-blowing infinity pools are a tad over-the-top. But the real opulence lies under the water. Underneath, it’s a busy city that doesn’t care about full-board amenities, service charges and the like. Big fish, little fish, predator, prey — everyone’s bustling to and fro, engrossed with their day to day, oblivious of the man-made spas above them. Here, life is simple — work, eat, exercise, build a house, try not to get eaten. Most of all, have fun. Well, it certainly looks like they’re having hoards of fun, the way their fins are wagging. Continue reading Pinch me, I’m in Maldives!