Plan Your Next Escape at Discovery Suites Manila

When it’s time for a getaway, you need not go far to experience bliss. Stay right where you are – Discovery Suites Manila has so much in store for you any day of the week. Discovery Suites Manila is the preferred address of business and leisure travelers. It balances the convenience of a spacious residence with the personal touches of a hotel. Continue reading Plan Your Next Escape at Discovery Suites Manila

PALAWAN | On Impulse, With Confidence, and Some Chickening Out’s

NOT REALLY A BIRTHDAY TRAVEL — AFTER ALL.

August has always been good to me, a month late birthday treat is not too bad either. Until, ofcourse, you start planning just a month before the trip. I admit, I was never the plan-by-the-minute traveller. So technically, the Palawan trip was my birthday travel treat for myself from the year younger me. I booked the trip a year before its actualization, and it nearly was not realized. Continue reading PALAWAN | On Impulse, With Confidence, and Some Chickening Out’s

Year 4 | Steady My Heart

Hey you,

This has been the most steady you’ve been for years this travel blog existed. Every year, you’ve been telling yourself to go slow with travel, and focus on more settled. Because though travel feeds the passion that drives you to “live life” as what the outside world portrays, you have long realized that it has placed some of your non-travel dreams on hold, and somehow those dreams had started to hunt you. How have you forgotten that you had them too?

Travel has driven everything in motion — too fast and too intangible to be measured that all that is left is a list of destinations scratched off; and a whole lot of “what-travel-has-taught-me-” experience. And while it has been self-satisfying, and self-nurturing, this year you felt a pang of imbalance. For years you’ve let the hands that holds your leash give in to wanderlust and forgetting to find a steady foothold on permanence along the way.

Continue reading Year 4 | Steady My Heart

How to Handle Travel Wary Filipino Family

Dear Reader,

I grew up in a family that have always loved to travel.  But when I started to take traveling regularly, I would be a hypocrite if I would say it came easy. Remember when you were told, you have to put up sh*t until you’re taken seriously with what you do, and what you like to do. Traveling was like that for me too.  So, how are you going to tell your parents that you’re off to see the world, one trip at a time?

Continue reading How to Handle Travel Wary Filipino Family

{ Sole Diaries } 50 Shades of Brown

Guimaras Island
May 2013

Eeeeek! Pardon my dusty, too dried up, and sunburnt wandering feet. How sunburnt my skin was, and how bad my skin health after the trip at Guimaras Island did it for me. Two weeks after my trip, I visited my doctor and he had to spell it out to me how bad my skin had gotten from all the sun basking I did. Needless to say, Guimaras Island visit became an unforgettable trip because not only I enjoyed it too much, but because it indirectly reminded me to take care of myself more. Sometimes we tend to neglect the most important thing, which health, and not vanity, because we want to get more of life. So I woke up, and said, “Slow down child in me. Slow down. Because the world can wait, but health can only keep up as long as it could.”

12 Basic Rights of Air Passengers

 

Here is a helpful infographic of the summary of the Rights of Air Passengers from DTI. It is based on DOTC-DTI Admin Order No. 01 or the Air Passenger Bill of Rights. You can actually save the image on your mobile phones so you can easily look it up if you feel there’s the need to.

 

Source:
DOTC-DTI Joint Administrative Order No. 1, s. 2012
PDF Format of this infographic

SUMMER TALK | Healthy Skin

Can you hear summer calling? Before hitting the beach, feeling the sand between your toes, and taking those clothes off, let us first do a round up on some tips for staying healthy this summer. And since most of us are too excited to get with the nitty-gritty details of any of these, here are tips for a healthy skin the whole summer long!

 

Stay cool with 8 glasses / day water intake.
It is the recommended daily requirement for water intake. Now a standard glass is at 240ml, and multiplied that by eight, is a whooping ~2L a day water intake. I hear you — how can someone take 2L/day of water. Now hear me out. It is vital that your vital organs to not shrivel from dehydration. Can you hear them crying from thirst? Ofcourse not. But it does not mean they do not need it.
  • Carry water canisters with you, and  refill that solid tube should you need to.
  • Use a face, and/or body spritzer to keep your skin cool when, or on days when you’re out under sun too long.

To burn, or not to burn

What’s a summer if not to show off your sun-kissed complexion afterwards, right? Few years from now, you might regret that you ever set foot out into the mercy of the sun when your skin is 5 years older than how old you really are. Concrete, sand, and water can reflect 85% – 95% of the UV rays, and you can burn even during a cloudy day. Too much sun exposure without protection  will result to sun damaged skin, early signs of skin aging, and a higher risk for skin cancer.

  • Stay out of the summer sun in the middle of the day.
  • Wear dark, woken woven clothing, and wide-brimmed hats
  • Wear SPF lotion when you go out, and reapply at least every 2 hours depending on activity.
  • Do a healthy skin care routine.
  • Do not stay under the sun at when the sun is at highest in the sky, at around 10 AM – 4 PM.
Just because it is a season of fun, and frolic that we should forget to take care of ourselves. The future you will love the younger you, if you always have health in mind as a top priority. Thankies to travel buddy Ching Lim of www.chingtheviewfinder.com for the photos! Happy summer – enjoy, let loose, but stay healthy pretties!

Types & Tips for Useful Travel Phone Apps

Here’s something to make those smart phones, and  other gadgets help you out with your travels. I will not be giving you a list of travel apps because phone apps are dynamic, and always gets updated every after a few months. Instead I’ll be giving you a lists of useful types of phone apps for travel. You can check out the market for the ones that would fit your needs, preference, and budget. These are types of travel apps that I’ve been using to help me ease into a positive travel experience.
Travel Organizer App.
Travel Organizer Apps helps you organize your itinerary for a trip. You can enter your flight, or train schedules, flight, and email confirmations. If you have several trips coming up, you can add the upcoming trips, and update the details as you go with your planning. I always find a travel organizer app handy when it comes to flight e-tickets, and hotel confirmations.
* Always choose an app that can sync with your email for a quick access to flight, or hotel booking confirmations. Since that might need data, or wifi connection, you can always convert your flight e-ticket, or email confirmation to PDF file, and organize them accordingly.
Map App.
A Virtual Map App is any phone application that gives you either a satellite, or a map view of your travel destination. Think Google Map on your desktop, but you have it on your smart phone.
* Look for a Map App that do not need WiFi connection, or data so you can access the map even when you’re out of any network coverage.
* Some places may not be well mapped out, so do not expect a detailed map for some places.
* If you must, download the map on you smart phone.
* Always test the virtual map before actual travel.
Packing List App.
Packing List Apps allows you to make a list of what to bring with you during travels. This is handy for specific adventure trips, or travels. One can personalize a default list for seasonal, adventure trips, or travels in a group, or the whole family.
* Always look for an app that allows you to edit the list to personalize the packing list.
* Make sure that the app has a checkbox to help you check off the items you already packed or prepared for the trip. This will also remind you the stuff you need to get done, or buy for the trip.
Expense Report App.
To give you an overview of your current expenses when your on the road, an Expense Report App will come in handy. This will allow you to list your daily expenses, and check if you’re still within your travel budget.
* Either look for one that you can also input your travel budget before the trip. It will come in handy when you want to check your current expenditure parallel to your travel budget plan.
Other Travel Apps
Foreign Travels: Dictionary; Currency Converter; Travel Guide Apps
When you’re traveling to a foreign country, you might need a dictionary; currency; and travel guide apps to help you with communication, and to make your travel experience less of a hassle.
* If you’re using an app with Audio Feature, make sure to get one that is audible.
* Test the app before your actual travel.

Documentation, and Communication: Social Media Apps; Camera Apps
You got this in the bag! Prepare, and update those that is of your preference.
* Try syncing, and/or connecting your social media accounts, and do automated posting from one social media network to another. Like taking photos on Instagram, or uploading your travel photos on Flickr, and sharing them to your other social media accounts in one go.
* Try experimenting on Camera App features, or practice which filters that would look better on a certain scene — only if you must need to.

What if you can not find something that fits your needs?

When you can not find any decent travel app that fits your needs, you can always try using note organizers, or online documents in cloud storage that allows you to personalize it to fit the needs of your travel planning, and organizing.
* Some Note Organizer Apps have very useful checkbox features that you can use for your packing list or any checklist that you might need. Some also allows you to attach files to organize it in one folder. If you’re using any Note Organizer / Notepad App, check the features if you can use them in travel organizing.
* Some cloud Storage Apps also comes in handy when keeping travel documents. Make sure that it has an option to allow you offline access when wifi connection is not available, or data use is too expensive. You can always edit, or update you travel plans when wifi connection is available on any devices anyways.
These are some of the types of travel apps out there that can help you ease into, and throughout your travels. most of the time, I do not whip out my smart phone to prevent unwanted attention. One can always check travel details at safe areas, and secure the gadget inside the bag if that is what you’re worried about. If technology fails, or gets too much in the way, go ahead, and approach a local, and/or a stranger and converse with them. Some of the best travel guides are the ones walking in the streets that may look very foreign to you.

Confessions of a Single Filipina Traveler

I sometimes question myself why I do what I do, and how the heck did I get into it so deep. But the thing is, travel is something one can not shake off, something that only one could suppress as long as one can, and one can only find enough excuses not pursue it until you run out of reasons not to.

Understand and Live With It — That You’re a Filipina traveling by herself.

Two things I am practicing to be good at. My pursuits of travel has entertained the rebel in me, and so far, the rebel is well preoccupied. Filipino traditions stems deeply in my family, and in as much as I want to feed my wanderlust, I always felt the need to lessen my family’s worries and make them understand that I am in good hands. Even if it means that these are but my own. So much as I try to be understanding of how other Filipinos look at me when they find me wandering by myself. I try to understand with that those judging eyes are of concerns, and full of questions, I try not push my familiar to the norms of the society I grew out of.
Not every Filipino family is as understanding when it comes to having their dalagitas traveling. You will meet them on the road, but do not judge them unfairly — they are but only concern for your safety. Sometimes it tests one’s patience on trying to answer those probing questions. But take it to your advantage, because after all, people are more accommodating to solo female travelers than they are of males.

Braving Up.

Of which people think I am good at but I really am not. By the time I already find myself in transit and hitting the road, I’m mentally puking my insides out from seer excitement, and the same level of fear. Even after finding myself in bus terminals waiting for the bus to arrive, on local markets searching for something to fill my stomach, or, mostly, on plane, or bus rides when I have the window to myself — I find myself asking, “Why the heck am I doing this?”
I wish I could, in words, or in photos, describe how it truly feels going out with a pack on my back. But the thing is it takes one to fill her own shoes, and step them out on that road to understand, and know how it feels — and not just bank on what others say, or what is read. For now, theory keeps most inspired, and the application is just waiting at a bend when one gathers enough resources, and has worked up enough nerves to try it, the least. How is it that we find comfort in the unknown is probably the innate nature of humans to learning, and immersing oneself into something new. When it becomes too overwhelming to shrug off, you learn to try to brave up for something you want. On this case, it’s travel.  No, travel is not only for the bravest of the brave. It is for people who are willing to push beyond their comfort zones, and those few who try to put up brave front because she needs to.

Stay in love.

Most of the time I do not have a road map, and just make one as I go. I know, I am a terrible traveler by that alone. I know that it sounds stupid, but I’m counting on my stars to align, and point my way as I travel. So I am much as an dreamer, than I am an idealist. And sometimes, it gets bad on the road, and going off solo can be tiresome. Ask any traveler you know, they will tell you traveling can be draining but they will also tell you that it is more rewarding than it is.
Stay in love — with yourself, family, and friends, and be humbled by your blessings, and the gift of travel. I know it sounds cliche, and to stand-offish. But one has to draw inspiration from somewhere right? For now it is that. I may never be as open as others are with their hearts on their sleeves. The best that you can wring out from me is that one needs to be inspired, because traveling is only glorious in perspective — at some point. And the rest you need to get your mojos refilled somewhere, somehow.
We may not be single for the rest of our lives. Even with foreign culture’s influences we will always be a Filipina — culture, skin, and all. And our type of travels may change because travel lifestyle is relative to ones status quo. We may not always as brave as most people are in the same lifestyle as ours but we can get by with just a gentle push from our alter ego.
So you’re a single Filipina who loves, or would love to travel — EMBRACE IT!

 

Why Our Types of Travels Change

Stepping back and looking at how my travels last year went, I must admit to find a big difference: I threw in more careless carefree trips up my block. I occasionally got spur of the moment — spot a destination, roughly estimate an overall budget, check if travel fund has enough on it to get me by, mental-list must visit spots, and then set off. How I did I ever became so careless carefree?!
Early half of 2013 though, I’ve been more comfortable in slow paced travels. Going off, and taking charge of my time, and how long I stay at a place. I find comfort in longer stays, and less hurried transits from one destination to the next. I go for really comfortable accommodation than I’m used to when I still have enough budget for it. I honestly can not say that those are smart moves for someone who works to fatten both her savings account, and travel fund at the same time. But if something feels so good at  the moment, it can’t be that bad right? There have been slight, and obvious differences on how I looked at travel now, and how I pursued it before. So why do travel types changed?

Grew In or Out of It. Is when planning is innate, and somehow you woke up one morning, and forgot it under the sheets. When you just want to  see pass the planning stage and just want to jump from destination dreaming to actually being there. Yes. A few of you may have felt this too. When you’ve been travelling for so long or when traveling becomes second to breathing, sometimes the passion is still there minus the Mrs. Strict Planner, Mr. Packing Guru, or Ms. Detailed OC voices constantly speaking. Or it could be the opposite, when you realize that you’re want more security and self-assurance by kicking out that carefree habit, and start off a planned trip with well-researched, and spotless itinerary.

And Better Our Skill. Somehow. Getting inspiration for travel are open  goods for the picking. The same that you find in exotic charmed market of lined up vendors. We learn from what we read, what we were told, and from our own experiences. We learn to lessen up our load, and do a not-more-than 7 pound carry backpack, or subconsciously just grab the essential outfits with calmness when asked to pack for only 5 minutes for a spontaneous trip. To dress, and impress, and let not traveling kill our inner fashionista’s, or to pack a month trip for less than 10 pound pack. We tend to shed off our skin for a new one after each travel — like a snake would  when molting because that is just how it goes. It’s because we learn from previous trips, and it betters us in our travel decisions, and routines.

Silently or Openly Challenged Self. Our type of travels never stagnates and collects grub in a puddle. It is moving — it is intangible and reflects the kind of people we are. So we once in a while — amp it up.  Sometimes we just challenge ourselves to lengthen our trips, and/or intensify our experiences with adventures. Challenges ourselves to conquer mountains when we thought we could not do, or take on a month long backpacking, when we’re used to weekend trips. Sometimes travel is pursued to test one self, and one’s capacity, and ability to conquer more than the four walled rooms we have.

Finding Comfort. And when the routine seems to be too much to handle we allow a more subdued atmosphere, and force ourselves to relax. To find comfort by lessening physically draining travel adventures, or booking  expensive hotel room for restful nights. We call up travel agencies for package tours because  having someone take care of travel details can sometimes be less stressful. Admit it, that in as much as our type of travels reflects our personalities, sometimes we throw in something far from what we are so used to in our travel routines. Hey! Don’t let anyone tell you there’s something wrong with that. Anyone who does, does not know what they are talking about. Mostly.

Grew Up and/or Status Changed. That the passion is there but our lives, routines, and priorities have changed. Sometimes, we set our priorities to a future life that we would like to have. And everything else fits in as if the pieces were just waiting for a mold for it to take shape. And a few would be blessed to be married to travel when finding a better half loving travel equal if not surpasses their own. Our backpacks may changed to luggage of half full of children’s clothes and toys, some can be more of business trips, or finally that long term backpacking dreamt of, or this time planning travels, and packing is now with another person in mind. All these simply because our travels has change because our lives have.

 

 

Though our types of travel may change, it does not change the fact that we just love to travel. Whether it may have changed from backpacking, to glampacking, from mountaineering, or beach bumming to packaged tours — just remember that travel is not a generic cardboard box you get from somewhere. It is different for everyone, and definitely comes in different forms in one’s lifetime. What I am saying is be comfortable on the travel pace you have, and the kind of trips you prefer at the moment, and always welcome changes in perspective. Like our personalities, our travel styles are unique to one’s own, and change in perspective, and outlooks is not bad if it means growth.

Why Taking Pictures In Museums is Prohibited

I’ve always been a museum nutcase. Excursions to museums was a favorite during my grader years. I must have liked it so much, because, now, I would try not to miss visiting a museum if time allows. Museums are like banks that holds treasures of history, and creativity for me. It houses artifacts, and are home to masterpieces from famous artists of their time, and of ours. It’s kinda like a structure that contains the past in the present, and preserving them for the future. And other museums are now interactive. More than a place for learning, it is also entertaining, and engaging. But do you ever wonder why some museums do not allow picture taking inside? Don’t you just hate that?

NO PICTURE TAKING ALLOWED
Taking pictures inside some museums is prohibited for some reasons. Some, and not all museum, a certain area, or specific artifact/s may have high restrictive photo policies because:
1] Intellectual Property. Some museums have very specific intellectual property rights agreement with their donors, and lenders. These museum is to provide the restrictive policy, and it is easier for them to carry it out to an area, or gallery, or the whole museum as a no picture taking area to safeguard their contract.
2] To Conserve the Artifact. A rule of the thumb: Never take photos of paintings. Whether if it be oil, watercolor on canvas, wood, a sculpture, or what. And also on artifacts that has surfaces that are sensitive to light exposure. Ahem. The very same reason behind why museums keep a low lighting, or those fancy light fixtures that are not directed straight on or to the object.
3] Revenues. Museums has a way to control distribution of an image of an artifact through their catalogs, or postcards at their gift shops. A friend once asked me, why I bother buying him a postcard when I can get a picture if allowed. Keeping the postcard industry, and getting the Oh! Mr. Postman something to do are two of the other reasons that I do.
4] Prevention. Some may be done with a purpose to do harm, to reproduce, or other motives than just to take a souvenir shot. Hmmmm.. I know. I think I may have watched too much museum-breaking films. 
5] Causes Traffic. The more you loom over the art, the bigger the crowd that you seem to have formed. Maybe you have not noticed, but you’re not the only one inside the museum. And yes, they are paying visitors too. And no, they do not have the whole day that you may have.
6] and Lessens Art Appreciation. I like guided tours when visiting a museum for this reason because one might miss important details on an artifact, and it would be nice to have someone point it out for you. The more time we spend adjusting our camera settings, the less we try to pry on an objects details, and less time to study, and appreciate them.

So, okay, if you can take better photographs, and okay if you can work with low lighting, without flash, and still get an awesome shot. I get it. You must be one of those talented people out there. But with all due respect to the museum industry, or the postcard business, and your, uhm, credibility should those shots be seen by others who know better. It is always smart to ask if it’s okay to take a shot, or be sorry, and be called for because of ignorance.
There have been cases, when invited as a blogger versus than just a random traveler checking out the museum that photographs were allowed to be taken for documentation purposes. I have been lucky to visit a few museums lifting the restrictions and allowed us to take photographs inside, and around the place. And believe me when I say, how the little kid in me jumps around like crazy every time. If you happen to be lucky like that — still take the flash off, limit your shots, and, nicely, ask to what areas are allowable.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Ask if it is allowed to take pictures, or what areas are prohibited or restricted.
+ You can take a souvenir shot in front of the museum building or facade, or at the lobby. Most museums have a photo wall that are good backdrop for your souvenir shot.
+ They do have pamphlets with museum information. Usually I just take a picture of that one, and put it back. I do not what more papers stacked up, and getting those only increases their production demand for it. Unless they are useful for scrap booking, a photo of it is good to go.
+ Do not let photo restrictions stop, or hinder you to enjoy the museums! Come on now.
But most of the time —  like when I am traveling alone, and have no one take a photo of me — I aim the camera down and take a photo of my feet, and of the surface I am on when I  find myself in a museum where taking pictures is not allowed.

On Traveling With The Boys

I did not, so much, mind being the only double X chromosome bearing human in the group. A good friend, J, was not so keen to hearing that thought during the planning stage. Neither was I. It was my first time to be traveling in an all male group. But I was comforted at the thought that I trusted these guys next to my brothers, and close male relatives. 
With Peter, Karl, and Geric
When traveling in such, understand that trust is a mighty thing to lean on, and a good thing my family already knows the guys. I was both excited, and anxious for this trip. Excited because it has been a long time since I’ve been with college friends on the road, and anxious because I know how, uhm, evil-minded these guys can be. After all, you hang around with your kind. I’ve known these guys for nearly a decade, and we already know our pet peeves, wired minds, what – not’s, and those inner-you’s only a few would get to see. Okay — they are equally nice guys as they are, uhm, good looking. But from day one the plan was born, I knew I had to be one of the boys with them. 
When traveling with the boys expect:
1] Rough conversations on a guys perspective —- on MOSTLY everything! Be okay that your voice will be heard, but generally they are calling the shots in the conversation. Unless it’s, uhm, about-girl-stuff topics that they would know a female opinion. Don’t get easily irritated by it. Irritation is a heavy baggage to carry in on a trip. It is actually entertaining how differently guys look at a lot of things.
2] Some. Secret. Jokes.
3] Determination. They could scour nearly the entire neighborhood relying on virtual mapped out city when the sun is nearly rising high peak, on foot, and hungry. Go ahead and ask the local passerby where the nearest breakfast place is. Remember the sociobiological fact that guys NEVER ask for SIMPLE directions — IF they can help it. Being a female in the group, you are duty bound to do that  having “poor” navigational skills ( society has assume us, females, to have ) as an excuse. Society after all is less suspicious on questioning females than they are of males.
4] Photo bums. Just when you’ve found a good backdrop, nicely framed, and you’re ready for the shot, they would not miss a chance to ruin it. Be cool with that. Those photos actually leaves you laughing when you’re going through the images from the whole trip.

5] To know them better. It is true when they say that the best way to know a person is to travel with them. There, I’ve said it. 

But despite all the roughing up, expect that you will still be the lady asked to wait at the sides when they look for other means for the travel. And even when my stubborn streak won on commuting versus taking a private transport, they were cool enough to let me have my stubborn way. It is good knowing that you have someone to trust with your safety, and life, other than yourself. Traveling with the guys is having to know that some guys never shake off the boys in them — but are gentlemen still. 
P.S. You travel with people whose thoughts resonates your own. 
 
P.P.S. You just have to be quick to be the first one to virtually drop a bomb, or better yet an asteroid on them. Ahahahahahahaha.. Yes. I was not quick as a fox to scurry off Peter’s evil intentions then.
P.P.P.S. I found the coffee buddies I can depend on, whatever time of the day is. These are gems in a pile of rubble. I love them down to the very netrophils in their bodies. 
You might like to read DUMAGUETE CITY related posts here:
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A good holiday is one that is spent among people
whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.” -J. B. Priestley 
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How Filipinos Celebrate Halloween

I was commuting on the way home when I overheard a young family talked about the wife’s mother arriving early from a trip. When they called her, they learned that the reason for her early arrival was that she had a dream of her late husband — and that she just have to visit his grave, say her prayers, and light a candle there come Halloween.
I am bad at delivering scary stories,  so I do not have ghost stories, or dark tourism to share. I can only paint you a picture of how Filipino families celebrate Halloween. It is an interesting sight that you only get to see during this holiday. We call it Undas in Filipino, and from a region with Bisayan dialect, it’s Kalag-Kalag.
Aside from scary costumes on Halloween parties on events, and offices. It is before the year ends when you see vendors lining up on the streets near the cemetery to sell candles and flowers to light and adorn the graves of loved ones who passed away. Families will make their way to the cemetery bringing food, and large umbrellas and setting up sitting areas near the graves, or at the family mausoleums and stay there for a couple of hours, or until the next day. It is chaos — of good kind.
This year, granny asked us to visit her parents. It has been a while since we visited their mausoleum. Being the constant companion of granny when we were young, I was made to lead the way. This time we do not have papa to guide us, and with granny and the trusted house help staying at home — it’s high time to let the great grandchildren of these couple find their way to them in the old public cemetery that was like labyrinth in memory. We visited it yesterday to check if it’s clean, and well-kept, but more so to avoid throngs of people. 
It is also nearly 6 years since papa’s passing. I would visit his grave, and take photos of it to share with my siblings away from home. It has been like that, and my siblings would wait for photos to be uploaded, and look forward for updates, and news from home. I’m always home around these times. This year was no different. We visited his grave early this morning before the sun was high up, and before tents from other families were set up. They will be staying at the grounds of this cemetery for 2 days the most. And the gardens will be filled with laughter from families of jokes told, and recounts of events passed, children running around,  of colorful flowers on the tomb stones, and the flickers of candles on these graves. It is the marry of the dead, and the living.
You get a few days in a year to celebrate loved ones who passed away, the lives they lived, and the ones they left behind. Even at an early preschooler age then, granny would get me to accompany her to visit her  parents, and every relative who passed away. Filipinos, being family oriented, shows how important family is, even as we commemorate our dead during Halloween.

Of offering prayers, remembering them with stories of the past, and leaving lighted candles, and flowers on their final resting places — this year, we found just ourselves. Traditions, and practices handed down, and are now expected to carry them on. I am saddened at the thought of that — it means time, and more is, and will be passing.

Traveling in Twos | Finding Your Travel Buddy

Dear Reader,

One important decision to make when planning a trip is who to travel with, especially when you finally decide to travel with someone. After all having a travel companion will enhance the travel experience more. But looking for a potential travel buddy — be it good friend, family member, someone you are in to, or in a relationship with, can be difficult because you have to consider some factors, and even the character, and personality of the one you are travelling with. Let us start with:

Travel Type & Style, and Budget
Let us cut to the chase, and hit it where it will hurt the most. If your partner is  a luxury traveler who expects 5 star restaurants and would love to stay at luxury hotels, when you plan to try, and eat street food at every street corner and bunk at backpacker’s lounge, or dorm-types accommodation  —- there are going to be problems. You do not want to feel being the one always compromising your travel experience to please someone else.  Neither do you want your travel companion to have a bad experience because it might make, or break whatever relationship status you have.

Talk it over with your potential travel buddy about your preferred style of travel, and the budget you have in mind. Asks how much they are willing to compromise, and be honest about how much you’re willing to compromise as well. It need not be serious discussion, you just need to set each others expectations prior to the trip.
Dependence
The one thing that really gets on my nerves when traveling in a group is to be the one always on the lead — as if the whole travel greatly relies on me. I do not want that, not when I happen to be traveling with just two. Questions like where and what to eat, where, and how long to stay, to asks how much the bus fare is, or to walk extract information from locals can be decided by anyone. I do not want to kick myself for having overlooked the fact that I am traveling with a mute, and someone without brain to even decide whether a soda or water is preferred (no pun intended).
There will always be people whose travel style matches yours, that’s fine. Actually more than fine. However, if you are traveling with someone who needs to be always with you, you need to be honest in saying that you also need some alone time, while he or she can check out the local bookstore, or coffee shop.. The best travelers are a mix of both — someone who is excited to share new experiences together, but who also won’t freak out if you ask for a few hours by yourself. Don’t always assume your partner will be okay with any situation you have in mind, even if you two are perfectly matched cookie cut out. Talk about it before committing to travel together — set each others expectations on the lowest possible level you could.
Flexibility in Planning
How obsessively compulsive is your travel buddy when it comes to details, or planning? Some travelers likes to enjoy blind traveling — just showing up to a place and living in the moment. While some needs every moment of every day written in an agenda book.
Also talk about some “what if’s” when you are already on the road, and there are changes in itineraries, failed travel plans, or mishaps — you will find yourself in a conversation like, “What if when we get there and the dolphins are resting, so we need not stay there too long, can we move on then? I hate to put pressure on those dolphins by waiting for them.” kinda thing. Discuss what your ideal amount of planning is, and see if you can reach a compromise without giving the other some headache. Remember that both of you will be experiencing it together, and as individuals as well.

You might like to read more about Traveling in Twos:
Part 1  Finding Your Travel Buddy
Part 2  How Will It Be On the Road

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The man who goes alone can start today; 
but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
-Henry David Thoreau
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6 Things Women Say and What it Means To a Girl Who Travels

I saw this photo quote about 6 Words Women Use in social networking sites and thought of giving this a twist — the Pinay Travelista style. Okay. I do not just go around speaking the first words that pop in my head, but someone suggested that I should write without thinking. I honestly, do not know how well that would go — so I must apologize as early as now, but what the heck!

I have to rearrange them to my liking, though. Photo credit to Karen Veloso, my trusty mate in trying to find the keys that holds the answers to the questions about life (READ: My everyday girl talk medicine)

FINE. A word to end an argument, or when you both are trying to decide or is on to something and time is running out or someone’s not just into an witty combat. Usually uttered when she’s  right, you guys need to move on to another topic, and you need to shut up, or she can make it a very uncomfortable travel with her.

Do not underestimate her inner mean-girl, she can make your life miserable for the next travel days. But she will try to calm her inner demons, let it slip, and try to perky instead. The girl who travels knows that nothing spoils a trip than a sour grape that leaves a bad taste in the mouth, she forgives quickly, and does not dwell on petty things. So do not, by all means, push it, mister. Just because she ended the argument by letting you point the directions, doesn’t mean you’ve already taken over the reigns.

THAT’S OK. To buy some thinking time before deciding how and when to let you  pay for your mistakes.
Okay. this sounds like, the girl is a wildcat ready to dig her feline nails in you. But it’s not that really. The girl who travels knows that traveling with an extra emotional baggage will dampen the whole if not parts of the experience. Here’s the thing. Sometimes something pisses us off, but it is okay to let it go because we know (by instincts) that once you get burnt by the rushed decisions you made, the power reigns will be back on our hands. Let us admit it, between couples there seem to be the power struggle even beneath the calm water surface. The girl who travels lets you get off the hook for travel sake, just make sure you won’t get bitten by your own, uhmm, evil minions?

NOTHING. The calm before the storm. It means you have to be on your toes because arguments begins with nothing usually ends with “Fine”.
The answer to a probing question when a guy finally finds something off with her actions. She says this to brush off the case and let whatever little things that bothers her get into something bigger. Yes, we do not always get into fights just because. Ask what it is, and understand her argument. Try not to feed fire with fire. Because the girl who travels will swallow little nothings just so you it won’t spoil your trip. So when something is really off, ask her nicely, and talk it over. It’s not like she can read your thoughts and that you could read hers, so if you guys do not have secret superhuman powers like that — initiate a conversation.

LOUD SIGH. This means you’re an idiot or on the way to being one, and she wonders why you guys are still standing at where you’re at, when you can be somewhere else other than being stationary and bored.
She needs only a fraction of time to stop and take a rest, she would rather be moving. For her, rest is sitting by the beach watching the sun go down, laughing with the locals at the sari-sari store during your soda break, or on the bus on transit where she has a window view, and your shoulder for a cushion. But when done with the tired look in her eyes, grab her backpack, and let her take a mandatory break. The girl who travels knows not when to take a rest when her restless soul is on the move, she will appreciate the sweet break even if she refuses to, and her gives this “I’m okay, let’s move on” lines. Remind her that she is no supergirl, give her a breather, and be a gentleman. 
GO AHEAD. Is a dare, not a permission — she thinks that you should NOT do it. But if you have to, give it your all.

The girl who travels does mean what she says. This could be a warning call to not test the waters with her. It means that you should not push through with whatever you are thinking. But if you must – give it with your best shot! And because she is out to experience the best things life can offer, when said with a big smile on her face when you’re standing off a cliff ledge — it means she knows you’re capable of taking a jump, she’s trying to check how high your courage-and-guts-meter goes, and she would love to see you try it. She would put up a front, and dare you for any stunt, and would not back down if you throw the dare back at her. For the girl who travels knows what fun is. Indulge her.


5 MINUTES. If she’s packing her bag, or getting dressed for a trip, she means 5 minutes.
A girl who travels will not wait for anyone, even you. She would make sure that the train will not leave without her. So when she says 5 minutes she means 5 minutes or even less. She will run for the bus with you, and actually find that amusing and would heightened her excitement because time for her is a quintessential element in her travel — respect that. But leave a grace period for her, because a girl who travels may run for the bus, but she will also stall enough to get herself made up for you. After all, a girl who travels is, uhmmm, still a girl. Besides, it’s you that we are trying to look good for  — so zip it!


So what I am trying to say here is that the girl who travels, thinks and acts as any woman would in a given situation or circumstance. The only difference is both of you travel together — and no one wants to have a bad travel experience. Though, I will have to give a full disclosure: that not every girl who travels will fit the above description, after all, these are unique individuals that has a zest for life beyond the boundaries of her familiars.

They (a collective unnamed of know-it-all people) say, to really get to know someone, you have to travel with them. But to really go beyond the just-the-surface-of-company’s-sake-travel-buddy? I would have to say, travel with them for longer periods of time. Why emphasis on time? Uhm, like wine it gets better with age — like any relationships be it platonic or romantic ones, we get to know the real person the longer we spend time with them. It would save us the trouble deciphering words, as if there’s always a secret code hidden in them. 

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“If you like her, if she makes you happy, 
and if you feel like you know her—then don’t let her go.” 
― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle
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Why I Travel Early

We were very excited to take on the Hudyaka 2012 invitation. 1.] It was a festival of the whole ZaNorte province — all the cities and municipalities in one festive dance of merriment, 2.] another excuse to be on the road, and 3.] we really wanted to try out the new Iligan City – Oroquieta City ocean fast ferry.
Oroquieta City is where my mom hailed from, and when I told her I’d be off to Dipolog and will be trying out the new route, she was excited for me. After all, it means lesser travel time for us during visits to her hometown. And my grandparents death anniversary is around the corner, she may want to take this route herself.

Unfortunately, the 12 noon scheduled 1H and 30 mins. trip from Iligan City to Oroquieta was cancelled.

Reschedule it or have it cancelled totally and get a refund. — we did not have the luxury of time!
Here are the reasons why I travel early:
..and if you decide to join me in my trips, you would not wonder my my biological clock is set every 4-5AM for my everyday wake up call.

Delayed, and cancelled flights and trips.
Force majeure is a chance occurrence in which neither party has any control — an event described in legal terms as Act of God, and with that, it is hard to point at anyone for the blame. And sometimes, there’s nothing else that you could do when the voice from overhead speaker announces a late arrival of your plane. So I always put a considerable grace period and leave the itinerary lose for the transit day.
Less Traffic.
There are less vehicles on the road and pretty much a smooth ride — a moving vehicle heightens up my excitement! <– redundant! IKR?! But that’s exactly my point. Because it means I’m getting somewhere.  And beating the commuters is my top priority. I’ve been pushed through a bus window to save seats during my preteen days during hectic travel times when my mom would take us back to her hometown a lot of times. I think I have had enough of that. And I do not think it is a pretty sight for a 20-something year old female to climb into a bus through it’s window. Hmmmm.. (Actually considering) I think, I could still make that work. LOL! 
Daylight Time.
My rule of the thumb when I travel by myself — is get there by the earliest possible time I could, with daylight. Navigating around to find a  decent place to stay in the evening is pretty difficult. You might end up taking an accommodation just because it was the first, and closest thing you could find. And because I want to go around a place before calling it a day, maybe catch the sunset  there that would be good for my whole trip.

Early Birds Always Gets a Solo Chirping Act.
LOL! I do not know if that made sense. It’s just that I feel like there’s too much to do than waste it on sleep. As long as I have a good 4-5H sleep, I am good to go the next morning. Actually 4H is already a luxury for me. Waking up early, I get to do things on my own or with a few other people who feels the same way. I have never regretted waking up early, but I did, more than a few times, for staying in late.
So prior to purchasing the tickets, I had to air something out.  If I had my way of things, I would have preferred traveling early, even it meant early wake up call, and more time on the road. That got me a title from travel buddies, Jam & Xy-Za — I was a slave driver. LOL! I beg to differ. I guess, it’s because I look at travel like life itself — I only get one chance at it. I would never know when I get to do another adventure on the road. So, I use what I could, and stretch it out like a pizzaioli would with a pizza dough — to develop the gluten in the dough (???), and to achieve desired size. Let’s just stick to what is desired, I guess.

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Feeding My Love Affair | A Traveler’s Guide To Spending Diet

From the start (only He who knew when), I knew I could never work in an office — I would get bored with paper works, be uncomfortable in corporate attire, and the office work routine will be the end of me. I knew that I need to be interactive with my line of work, be it human, animals, plants, or with the dynamics of community building. I need to see progress in lives of the living.

That is my ideal profession.

But for now, my reality is:


I write. Professionally? No, that would take mastery and skills, and I would have to be regarded in that field. But I do write for a living though. 
I manage. Seriously? Yes, what started as a virtual assistant position has turned to project and team online management only a day after being hired because boss thinks I’m better off doing that. Today I’m working on setting up this project and team management online account for the employees of a  school smartphone apps based in Australia.
My only confession? I was not “programmed” for these. I am, kind of, a biologists, and soon to be nurse. I have yet to take that exam, and render my service to care for the sick. My calling has never faded one bit — I know one day I’d be doing code blue in my pristine white uniform. But right now, I am in a field of work that technical skills online, and my knack for word weaving has saved my pockets from running dry.
GOLDEN RULE: Draw a line of spending — and for crying out loud, I know it’s hard, but stick to that!
Here’s a Short Guide to Spending Diet:
Smart Shopping.
Take what you need and leave those that you want confined in your thoughts, under your bed in your head  and keep it there. Admit it. You have more than enough of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, make-up and other stuff. If you have 30% from your total wardrobe that has not been used (at least once) in 3 months — girl, you’re hoarding. Which bring me to another point that would be good for fund raising.
Garage Sales.
Carry the clothes and let not the clothes carry you. You can dig up great finds from garage sales, and at cheaper priced tags. And if you happen to be in dire need of a large amount of sum to get a travel project going — host one yourself. Bring out all the unused clothes and bid farewell to them, and let the new owner do them justice.

Couchsurf. Hostel. Tent Up.
Learn to use your charms and work up that couchsurfing contacts. These are people who understands your lust for the roads because they themselves has that one too. Hostel and other backpacker’s lounge are a welcome. Be open to these kind of accommodations, if you’re pretty adventurous on that, you might find interesting experiences along the way. For outdoors, you can bring a tent with you, saves you the trouble to find a decent and cheap place to stay. A minimum fee would be required, if not at all free — ask around, and smile when you do so.
Say Hello To Sari-Sari Stores and Local Vendors
This could be difficult for someone with a sensitive stomach, but nevertheless, you will be fed, and it will be a lasting satiety until next mealtime. Ask the locals where they eat and how they find the food there. 
Low Cost Hydration
Bottle up for the long term. Get yourself a water canister for the road and refill it when you need to. Not only do you save ~10Php or more, you lessen your plastic bottle use. But if you must buy a bottled water, get a 1 or 1.5L. A lesser evil than getting a couple of plastic bottles that will soon be inside garbage bins anyways.
Walk.
Help Mother Earth breathe more easily – walk. It  lightens up her load from a lesser carbon footprint off of you, and it saves you a few extra change for something else. It is good exercise for the heart, builds stronger relationship with whoever you’re with, and is good for the environment. 


I am a single, female traveler, I can work anywhere I want as long as I have a decent internet connection with me, a laptop, and a coffee filled cup to keep me awake. It may not be what I intended for but for the love of travel, I found another alternative to feed it other than day jobs most people have. I would like to say that I am doing okay. I, honestly, do not have much. But to fed my love affair for the roads, it’s people, culture, and the better person I get myself from it — I just have enough.

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“The struggle for existence leans to where favorable variations 
would prevail and others would perished.”
– Charles Darwin
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Finding Pinay Travelista

It would be nice to start off as how traveling started for me. But no, if we’ll start there, I will be constantly apologizing for poor memory — kasi I’ve been and always known I’d be travelling for as long as I could remember. There are a  few things in life that I was sure of, and isa ito. So eto, kung bakit naging travelista ang babaeng lalampa-lampa, lapitin ng disgrasyaayaw sa maraming tao,  and as if hindi pa sapat yung mga yun — hindi naman marunong tumawid ng kalsada. So why do I bother calling myself a travel blogger pa? Why do I travel pa, if half of the time I have to constantly worry if I’ll make out unscratched. I would rather be saying, “I woke up and realized I was living in a box. And the world beyond my frame doors had my white, black, and grey areas overtaken by colors and I never stopped doing lakwatsa.”  But I didn’t see it and it didn’t go that way. Sana ganun lang ka simple, but — simpleng kumplikado ang buhay.

Continue reading Finding Pinay Travelista

On Travelling and Plastics

Taking travelling a little bit greener is much easier than you think. Using less plastics on travels are helpful and less bad conscience bearing when travelling.

Here are some useful tips to travelling green by just dishing out the unwanted plastics:


Go green when shopping I always pack a foldable bag with me for the just incase — “somehow” my things don’t fit back in the bag. LOL. I’ve been using this helpful travel shopping bag I got as one of the prizes I won from Possibly Pinay. I get to fold it and secure it with the attached tab and fastening — keeping it in its’ folded shape. And when buying those pasalubongs, you can ask for no plastic bags if you don’t need it for packing. I would just ask the baggage counters to not pack it in if I have a bag with me or a car waiting outside.



No to Sachet-Package Products. My toiletries, if I can help it, does not have any products packed in sachets. I hate that. I have these shampoo/conditioner containers for my travelling kit and all I’ve been doing is refilling them with the products I used.  It’s a good thing that we purchase family sized products because I really don’t see the whole essence of sachets. It only lessens the space occupied in your bags but it is not environmentally, and even not economically friendly.




No or Less bottled water. The secret to it is bringing a water canister with you. Just fill it up and it will actually save you some but just doing that. And if you must buy bottle water and if only you can, buy the large bottle, and use that for the whole travel time.


No to drinking straw. When eating out, ask for a glass instead of a straw. It may add up to the washing up of dishes but that versus the longevity of the plastic straw in our landfills of anywhere else, makes extra dishes load way-better-less-evil. 


Recycle. If you can’t help it and when you’ve accumulated plastic bags or bottles. Learn how to recycle. Fold the bags neatly because you might need them when your pack you stuff back.





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There are too much plastics in the world today. Do yourself a favor and get rid of it.”
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Pilipinas, Tara Na

In celebration of the beautiful Philippines, the Department of Tourism, together with various artists worked on Pilipinas, Tara Na (Philippines, Lets Go), supported by Smart Communications and Perceptions, Inc. There were three versions of the songs, and finally, the videos are out for the public too. Here’s sharing and hoping to encourage you to travel and get to know our beautiful homeland. 







NOTES!
+ Get this on your travel music folders/list!


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Tayo man ay iba-iba,
diwa’t puso ay iisa” – Pilipinas, Tara Na

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