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Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (March 2016)

Australia, Queensland, Travel By July 13, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

It was our last day in Australia and we were taking a direct flight from the Coolangatta airport to Changi. I was going to pick up Lia then fly back to Manila with her while Fabio was taking a connecting flight back to Turin. I went to the nearby shops to buy some make up that was requested by a friend, and for the first time, found the shop that is Typo, and subsequently fell in love with it. I will always love Typo and wish they would have shops in Europe.

We made plans to have dinner with a friend of mine from El Nido who married an Australian and living in the city. We did not make it in time for dinner though but managed to visit them at their home. We had good times over drinks and tapas. We also made a promise to come back and stay longer next time.

We had lunch and drinks by the beach the next day before packing, checking out of the hotel, and being picked up by our Uber driver in a Chrysler.

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Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia (March 2016)

Australia, New South Wales, Travel By June 25, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Sydney is a beautiful city. Australia is amazing. But so are the prices! Prices of accommodations and food are nearly off the charts, and that’s coming from someone who has been to Denmark and Switzerland. Well, they’re all expensive but still, compared to these countries, and cities like Zurich or Singapore, Italy seems even affordable.

We took the ferry at the Manly Wharf to get to Sydney Harbour, getting off at Wharf #3 at the Circular Quay. The Fast Ferry takes one on this route from Manly to Circular Quay affording one beautiful views of the Sydney Opera House from nearly all angles.

We walked along the Circulay Quay to get to the Sydney Opera House, past numerous sitting areas, shops, cafes, and restaurants.

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Perth, Western Australia (February 2016)

Australia, Western Australia By June 17, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Flying via Quantas from Singapore on my way to Melbourne, I arrived shortly before dinner in Perth for a few hours of lay-over. My friend Jo-Harri and a friend of his picked me up in a car at the airport.

I didn’t have so much time as my flight leaves at four in the afternoon. They asked me what I wanted to see or do, and as always, I said I wanted to see the museum and art gallery. I make it a point not to miss a visit to a museum or art gallery of any city I happen to find myself in. They said they knew exactly where to go.

Perth may not be as famous as other Australian cities but it sure does have its own sights and culture. It is also worth visiting, even if it takes hours and several timezones to cross the Australian continent.

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Summer and Angku Through the Years

Personal, Photography By May 10, 2014 Tags: , , , , 1 Comment

I was in Manila last week for my friend’s wedding. She and I have been friends since university and have been through all kinds of stuff! Like really, all kinds! 😛

This was taken at my bridal shower in 2006.

shower01

And she was the on-the-day coordinator for my wedding.

Ryan&Virgie_700

I move around a lot so we don’t get to see each other much. We make it a point to see each other when we can – in the few times I am in Manila each year.

This was taken outside of 70’s Bistro in Quezon City in 2012. This was the night she told me she was getting married.

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When I am Emo and I Know It

Life in El Nido, Palawan By March 26, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , 11 Comments

January 2013 was a very eventful month. And truly, it defined how the rest of the year is going to be for me. I know this year’s only been three months but it was the most difficult time of the year. So far, at least. And when things are difficult for me, I run to my refuge, back to where my heart is, to the place I call home.

Cadlao Island, El Nido, Palawan

View of Cadlao Island from Makulay Lodge

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Lia’s put a hairpiece on me. Clever girl.

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Good morning. Of Monsters and Men.

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Surf & Music Festival 2012 Day 1 – San Juan, La Union

La Union, Music, Photography, Travel Factor By November 5, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 11 Comments

Meet-up was at The Podium’s open parking lot at twelve midnight, so we were all hanging out at Starbucks as early as eleven o’clock. I haven’t been on a trip with my Travel Factor friends in quite a while, the last time we were together was the Tambaron Island trip in Bulalacao, Mindoro last May. (Click here for the blog on that.)

We left the parking lot a little after one in the morning and arrived at Sebay Surf Resort close to nine in the morning. It was a really long trip, especially since I’ve had experience with my surfer friends PJ and Gerard when we’d take Manila-San Juan in three hours, yes, 3 hours, because that’s how fast Gerard (de Sagun) drives! We didn’t mind though because our room was going to be available at noon and we spent the entire morning just hanging out, checking out the beach, the girls, the surf, the breeze, all from the comforts of the restaurant of Sebay.

photo by H from a Samsung Note phone

The last time I was in Urbiztondo for surfing was January 2011, and the last time I went on a decent surfing trip was in Baler, March 2011. I went a number of times to Bagasbas in Camarines Norte while I was based in Naga but I never did get to do any surfing there. I haven’t really surfed in almost two years – so, even though I tried to get ready for surfing a few days before this trip, I took it easy on Day 1. About an hour of riding some white water, and no paddling even. Soo…. lazy.

We spent more time hanging out with friends at San Juan Surf Resort, drinking Pinacoladas from Sunset Buckets (a cousin of the Boracay Bucket). The above photos are from my friend Ayie’s camera. Thanks Ayie!

I spent so much time hanging out with friends that I wasn’t dressed yet by the time Up Dharma Down came onstage. Never mind the bath, we quickly changed into shirts and shorts and headed to the concert area. We weren’t gonna miss Up Dharma Down!

UP DHARMA DOWN

Ean Mayor [drums and loops] 
Carlos Tanada [lead guitars] 
Armi Millare [keyboards, vocals] 
Paul Yap [bass]

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

Up Dharma Down was the first band to come onstage after DJ David Ardiente‘s set and the crowd was just starting to trickle in.

Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

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Milk N Honey Bar Tour with The Discoball, Gaijin and Taken by Cars at Saguijo Cafe

Music, Saguijo By October 7, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I really had no plans of going out last night because I feel I have gone out enough times already this week but when I saw the line-up for the gig, I just really had to go. I’m a fan of The Discoball, who happen to also be my friends, and where they play, I just really have to go too. If I’m in the metro at least.

When I saw that Taken by Cars and Techy Romantics were also in the line-up, I asked a few of my friends that I knew were also “fans” if they wanted to come along.

I’ve only been back in Manila three weeks and I haven’t quite gotten around to seeing all of my friends, and it was such a joy to have an unintended mini-reunion at Saguijo. (P.S. The last time I was at Saguijo for some band-lovin I think was back in 2008 though I was there for some bazaar some time much more recent).

Bee Eyes was playing when we arrived. Two of our friends were already seated at a table outside. We busied ourselves with catching up over beers and a pinacolada while waiting for The Discoball to play.

Milk and Honey Bar Tour at Saguijo Cafe

Milk and Honey Bar Tour at Saguijo Cafe

Milk and Honey Bar Tour at Saguijo Cafe


THE DISCOBALL

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Simizu Island, El Nido, Palawan

Life in El Nido, Palawan, Photography By September 22, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Shortly after lunch at Entalula Island, we noticed that rain clouds were fast approaching. Afraid that the rain clouds will get to us and spoil all the fun with all those photo ops, we quickly boarded our boat and headed to our next destination – Simizu Island.

We, somehow, outran the rain clouds and found the beach, sunny and completely empty! All the other boats filled with tourists have also already boarded their boats in pursuit of another sunny destination and we had the entire beach all to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon.

Lovely still wanted to go to Vigan Island (also known as Snake Island) on this trip but we spent hours doing all kinds of things much to the entertainment of our other friends Janice and Lors who were just there sitting under the shade of trees, that before we noticed it, it was already four in the afternoon.

Here is a panorama of the beach: 

SimizuIsland_Panorama

Simizu Island, named after the Japanese diver who died in an underwater cave exploration, has always been one of my favorite destinations. I cannot count how many times I have been here, though I was surprised that I did not see a lot of photos of it when I went through my archives.

The island is popular for 1. picnic lunches on the beach, and 2. snorkeling and fish feeding.

Indeed, when I first snorkeled here in 2005, it was absolutely breathtaking! The sheer number and variety of fish were overwhelming. Through the years though, the effects of the El Nino phenomenon, coral bleaching, and extensive tourism have taken its toll on the coral life on this island, and that first snorkeling experience became just a memory that have never, even to this day, been replicated. I would now say that the best snorkeling experiences can be had at the snorkeling sites in Coron (North Cay Island, for example) and Balicasag Island in Bohol; lowered expectations for El Nido.

Snorkeling in Simizu Island, El Nido, Palawan
Snorkeling in Simizu Island, El Nido, Palawan
Snorkeling in Simizu Island, El Nido, Palawan

My very first camera was a Pentax Optio WP point-and-shoot camera that I bought in 2005. It was waterproof and I could take it to depths of 1.5 meters. I took it with me on every beach trip until 2010, when it took its last underwater video in Balicasag Island. I found these photos (above and below) and video clips from my May 2007 visit to El Nido.

Snorkeling in Simizu Island, El Nido, Palawan

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Entalula Island, El Nido, Palawan

Life in El Nido, Palawan By September 21, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

It was a 4-day-long weekend and we planned on going to San Vicente, Palawan to check out the long beach BUT we were told we were going island hopping that Saturday, and we never say no to that.

It turned out to be a very beautiful sunny day!

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan

Pinagbuyutan Island, El Nido, Palawan

The sea was calm and I took photos of Pinagbuyutan Island (also known as Ellis Island, above) and Miniloc Island (below) as we were passing by.

Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan

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