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”
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!”
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/)
Have you always wanted to explore Amsterdam on a bike, but feel that you’re not ready for hustling it with the breakneck-speed-riding locals? Fret not, I got your back.
Continue reading “A Dutch Treat on Wheels”
It’s going to be hard to top this adventure. What I do know is that a journey as epic as this one deserves a sequel. I’ll see you again soon, Iceland!
Song: Shooting Star by Dexter Britain
If you want to emerge a whole lot smarter after a tour in Iceland, here’s a good recipe:
1.) Grab a geologist (or better yet, a glaciologist!).
2.) Make him show you around.
Luckily, we stumbled onto GeoIceland Tours, ran by the very witty Javier — a glaciologist-turned-land-surveyor, who eventually found himself creating his own tour-guide business. From the moment we set off from Reykjavik until he dropped us back home, he rattled on facts one after the other — not just about geology, but also about history, folklore and everyday Icelandic life. There was no lull nor dull moment, I kid you not.
“So, this is how I die,” I sigh to myself.
I stare hard at the long wall of loose gravel, then shoot a look at our guide, waiting for him to say that he was just kidding and that this isn’t a part of the trail. Except that he wasn’t. And yes, this is the trail. A light kick sends a rain of pebbles tumbling down. Yup, that’s a long slide from here.
Geirmundur, our guide, patiently holds my hand as I shuffle slowly sideways, facing the wall. Deep breath, baby-step. No, don’t look down. Deep breath, baby-step. All my wits are funneled into this delicate dance, until we finally make it to solid soil after what seemed like forever. Lucky me, I live another day! And this was only Day 1.
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”
The temple of Bayon is often outshone by the mighty Angkor Wat and alluring Ta Phrom, but it was the one that drew me in. Bayon’s towers are studded by faces on each side, and I remember standing agape, trying to study each expression, each smile. It might not be not as celebrated as the other bigger temples, but this was the definitely the one that the Khmer engineers had fun building.