asia · philippines · travel

Wow, Siargao!

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!”

asia · travel

A Pagoda Safari in Bagan

Sulameni temple

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”

europe · travel

Iceland: Water, Water, Everywhere

Thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, it is now common knowledge that Iceland is laden with volcanoes. The second thing that in abundance is less obvious: water. The country is an island after all. Given its combination of unique geographical gifts (perched on a hotspot, on top of the American and Eurasian continental plates, way way up in the North), Iceland can be quite a hotbed of earth-porn, so to speak.

Solid

The glacial lake of Jökulsárlón
The glistening Jökulsárlón

For a girl who grew up tropically-oriented, to be lost in a Land of Ice is nothing short of magical.
Continue reading “Iceland: Water, Water, Everywhere”

europe · travel

Rocking the Golden Circle with GeoIceland

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.

faxafoss_ish2

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.

Continue reading “Rocking the Golden Circle with GeoIceland”

gibberish · travel

30 Lessons I’ve Learned From Travelling

1.) Bloom where you are planted.
Whether fate takes you to a beach, a mountain, a bustling city, or an isolated shack in the middle of nowhere, make use of every opportunity thrown your way to be an even better, stronger and more enlightened person than when you first came.

2.) Travel light.
Leave behind as much belongings behind as you can; packing is a good lesson on prioritization and improvisation. Also, leave behind your prejudices and grudges. Every destination has a lesson to teach you, and it doesn’t help if you let your past disappointments get in the way of meeting your future happiness.

At the Jungfraujoch rail. Dawg, stick your head out that window!

3.) Sometimes, destinations will disappoint. Have fun anyway.
That rustic, peaceful paradise you were looking forward to might not have been as isolated as you’ve hoped. Timings might suck. Loved ones will bicker. Having a sense of humor might just make the difference between what could have been a total disaster or what could have been your best travel story.

4.) It’s always about the people. Always.
It’s great to check off seeing the Statue of Liberty, and other famous landmarks in the world. But one sure-fire way of missing out is to close yourself off to making new friends, or maybe even to getting to know your loved ones in a whole new light. More often than not, your go-to travel stories will mostly be about the funny experiences you’ve had with wacky personalities you’ve bumped into, and the enlightenment you didn’t expect them to share with you.

Solid friendships found in Greece

5.) Learning a bit of the language goes a long, long way.
That teeny bit of effort into learning how to say even just ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’, and ‘Delicious!’ in the local tongue has a mighty pull on the heartstrings. It has the power to instantly put a smile on a person’s face, and that could pave a way to a warmer welcome than you had expected.

Continue reading “30 Lessons I’ve Learned From Travelling”