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Showing posts from 2013

A Sendoff for 2013

I remember writing in 2012 that I welcome 2013 with anticipation for all the things that it might bring.
And it did bring things in little waves.
For one, I seem to have abandoned this space, with posts less than half the number of entries last year. I could blame it on writer's block, but the truth is, I simply did not find the time to spew something out.

Tableau Sunday: Mt. Pulag

**This photo was taken back during the days when I could still muster climbing a mountain.

Life in the Brunei River

You should come to Brunei.
It won't be your usual busy place, but you should come because it's different. Brunei forces you to be calm and relaxed, and it even forces you to change your life.
I'm kidding of course. No place can change you without your permission.

Bali, Sunset, and A Sudden Happiness

I keep telling people that I enjoyed my stay in Bali and I keep getting questions in return. Why? What's in Bali? If there's one reason why you should visit Bali, the answer is in that photo. 
We could always argue that we have a better sunset by the beach in Boracay, with the finest, white sand, but Bali makes up for it with its endearing, laid back and never-pretentious vibe. 

How to Survive Out There: Entertain Yourself

People who are sent to a new place for a period of time that's not long enough to be working on a new life but lengthy enough to make them miss home are subject to a dilemma of either just waiting it out or choosing to do something with their time.  After a few weeks of staying in a new place, it just becomes impossible to stay in bed the whole day. When the hotel air suddenly feels musty, you'll know that you need something else to do.
There is only one rule: entertain yourself. It takes a good amount of practice to master the art of keeping boredom at bay.


I've been dreading the day when I finally do this, force myself to sit, and produce something. It does not help that more than a month ago I've abandoned this blog and my last words were represented by those of a sponsored post. Who does that? Guilty as charged.
So here I am, bouncing back. Things need some changing around here.

Why Choose Adult Only Holidays?

This is a sponsored post.

Even parents deserve a break sometimes. Whether they think it's fair or not, a holiday without the children is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, the kids can enjoy it just as much if you organise a holiday for them too – perhaps a trip with their grandparents to help keep their mind off the fact their parents are sunning themselves on one of the awesome adult only holidays that are available from Neilson.

Do Cheap Cruise Holidays Exist?

This is a sponsored post.

A cruise is a spectacular type of holiday. After all, waking up to new destinations every morning and exploring multiple locations in one fell swoop is certainly a great way to enjoy a holiday. But given the all inclusive nature of cruising and the enormous operational undertaking involved, it's not the cheapest type of holiday you'll ever find.

So is there such a thing as a cheap cruise? And if so, how do you find it?

Under the Bridge

For the lack of words, I am ending this blogging hiatus with a photo post.

These are images of the Henderson Waves Bridge in Singapore, taken in January of this year when I took a break from my me time in Brunei to visit friends.

I dragged my friends to this bridge telling them that if there is one thing that I wanted to see in my trip, this was it. We must see the Henderson Waves Bridge at dusk.

And so we did.

Gracias, Brunei

"I was thinking of buying an I ♥ Brunei shirt but I don't love Brunei so I didn't", said the tourist who I first met aboard the hotel mini-bus on our way to see the Regatta competition.

True. Wearing one would make you a lying endorser.

I have been holed up here for almost three months now and though I have made friends and somehow unwillingly settled in the way of life, I still could not say "love"... because "love" is a strong word. However, there are plenty of good things I can say about Brunei.

Rode a Bike in Vietnam, With A Scar To Prove

If a picture paints a thousand words, I'm pretty sure this one shows a happy lady on her bike, wearing a smile to mask a grimace.

A year and a half ago, I embarked on a challenge to finally learn how to bike at the age of 26. With the help of a friend who patiently taught me and who actually researched how to teach an adult to ride a bike, I was finally able to go around my neighborhood on 2 wheels, even braving the trail at Timberland. I also tried to bike around Manila, crossing Edsa from Magallanes to Makati, and that was probably the only day when I spit so many expletives, all aimed towards jeepney drivers.
I wanted to go for something bigger. The dream that I had in mind was to go biking in a busy place, where no one knows me. I wanted to bike in another country's busy streets. That specific country I pictured in my mind was Vietnam. 

My Mojo, Chinese New Year, and Miri

In an attempt to get my mojo back, I impulsively bought bus tickets from Brunei to Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia for this year's Chinese New Year weekend.
Rewind to one weekend before this. I spent the whole day locked up in the hotel room and in between wolfing down breakfast and grudgingly walking down the road to find dinner, I laid in bed doing utterly nothing, alternating between sleeping and mindlessly staring at the TV. The day ended with me feeling miserable and inadequate (emo, yes!).
So on that Friday afternoon, something switched and I suddenly decided to go to Miri. 

Woes of a First Time OFW

I am going to go ahead and self-diagnose. This must be how homesickness feels like. 
In the midst of this stump I'm in and instead of wallowing in this so-called sadness, I have resolved to turn things around and put this into good, and hopefully, constructive use.
I will start by saying that the guy who first said "Be careful what you wish for" was a genius.
You see, I have always wanted to experience working outside my home country, just to check how I will fare when I am alone in a foreign land. This has always been somewhere at the back of my mind, ready to jump when the right opportunity comes. Working in a global company with short-term assignments in other countries is just perfect. Saved me the hassle of actually looking for a job overseas, lining up for requirements, finding an accommodation, and having to tend to all my needs abroad. 
When the 2013 came in, the universe conspired into giving me what I wanted. You want experience? 

Saigon Walking Tour

Tired as we were from flying in late, we woke up to the first ring of the alarm and took the free breakfast from Saigon Backpackers Hostel. First we ventured into the backstreets near Pham Ngu Lao to find a decent foreign exchange but believe the travel forums when they tell you to go straight to the gold jewelry stores. They do not have neon-blinking lights with their published rates but they offer the best, so go ahead and ask. Armed with a crappy map from the hostel and sheets of Lonely Planet's Vietnam guidebook, we went out and created our own tour.

Guilty Splurge Series: Can't Stop Spending in Hoi An

Sometimes you just want to sit and enjoy the easy life, never mind the price tag that comes with it.
That was exactly what I thought when we boarded the cab from Danang Airport to Hoi An. Taking the bus will only take 1USD but who knows when the next bus will come our way? Hailing a cab was so much easier, only it comes with a meter.  
And so there we were in the backseat with our eager cabbie pointing to us the beaches of Danang, asking for our itinerary while trying to inject some of the places that he wanted to take us to. Unfortunately for him, we had our eyes set on our destination and we would not be swayed. The cabbie did not get us to pay additional dollars for the sidetrip but he did get us to pay the meter at 23USD!
Tip:If you do not wish to wait for the 1USD-bus, book a private car with a travel agency for 15USD from Danang airport to HoiAn. A couple of dollars saved will go a long way!

And as if the gods of misfortune were looking down on us, rain poured on our way to Hoi …

The Obligatory New Year Post

I'm a few days late from all the yearender and 2013 kickoff posts.The New Year is the perfect time to romanticize life and be cheesy. Kidding. :)
Though I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, I do love looking back and seeing how the year went. I look back not to scrutinize and redo things in my head, but only to be reminded how fantastic 2012 was. Despite the low points that I've mostly brought upon myself, 2012 is still one for the books. 
Here are some of the things on top of the list:
Got published.
Certified at work.
Laidback provinces.
Won free airline tickets.
Rode a bike in Vietnam and went home with a scar to prove.
Chickened out on getting a tattoo.
Chicken rice. Chili crab. Shakespeare in the Park.
Grandiose mosques.
Wept for the Phantom of the Opera.
First luxury (not!) cruise at Halong Bay.
Short-term assignment for work.
Let the photos do the talking!