Monthly Archives: November 2010

One Year Old, Baby!

More walks this 2011!

Well that was an interesting year!

You know, I’ve been whining about growing up through blogging since I was like what,ย  17? But this is the first time that I have a reason to blog other than the pains of identity crisis, school hang-ups and unrequited love.

I can’t believe that a year has already passed. When I put up my first post, I was afraid that I might forget all about it like my other accounts. But there is just something about my experiences after graduation that pushed me to develop this blog into a more relevant one. I mean, what will I do with all my photographs and my reflections if I’m too tired to write them down my journal at the end of the day? And look, I bought a domain!

Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Bangkok and Palawan; there’s also Taipei and occasional vents about life and drama –the year with my blog has been nothing but amazing. In a few days, it’s gonna be my first continental-cross, and it’s going to be cold…really cold. We’re off to the Hague yo! Just the perfect way to celebrate Cole Walks’ Birthday.

Thank you, my dear reader, for stumbling upon and traveling with me. I’ll do my best to make the succeeding years be worth your reading more, meaning I’ll save up!

While we’re at that, here are some outtakes from my adventures. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Walk and Talk

Sii-Roy-Haa-Sip Pii! Or My Pathetic Attempt to Speak Lao

Aha!

I know, I know, I told you guys that I will be going back home for good. But two words, my dear — travel writer.

So I guess I’m back. And really, it has only been a week but all the work, extra-job activities like taking up my Masters online and my Digital Natives project, I feel like killing myself already. Not that I’m complaining, things have been amazing for me this year and I’m ready to battle it out. Opportunity doesn’t present itself, so once you find it, nurture it.

It was like fate –I went back to Vientiane at this time of the year and during my arrival was the celebration of That Luang Festival and the 450th year of Vientiane.

Pha That Luang is this gigantic golden stupa built in the center of the capital that symbolizes Lao nationalism. That Luang Festival, on the other hand, is one of the largest (if not the largest) festival in the country; a religious event held in and around That Luang, monks from all over the country gather to accept offerings from the people. An international trade fair, where almost everything can be bargained half the price, also takes place all day and night. It’s a week-long event with cultural shows and street food –lucky to be here, yet again.

Last year, I wasn’t allowed to enter the festival because I was wearing jeans. Apparently, you can enter the premises, watch the shows and shop, but not go around the stupa unless you’re wearing sinh or the ever-so-beautiful Lao skirt. But of course, locals cannot possibly control everyone, so they put up a rent-a-skirt stall just to wrap around your waist –then you can see That Luang at large.

This year, I wore my sinh but the student volunteers who served as security asked me to button-up my sweater because I was, they said, wearing a shirt with a relatively low neckline. Unfortunately the buttons of my sweater are placed chest down.ย  I just couldn’t get everything right, could I? Good thing I got the strap of my camera bag as cover-up. Bottomline: Dress conservatively.

Very few photos for this week, it was night time so I found it hard to shoot. But the more important thing is to see how gorgeous Pha That Luang is and plan to see it for yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

My Favorite Shot of Pha That Luang | Nov 2009

Pha That Luang Festival 2010

I'm losing my grip ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

There’s another interesting thing going on in the country, let me tell you. From November to more like March, Weddings are left and right. You see, August marks the start of Khao Pansa or Buddhist Lent.ย  During this time, it’s sorta frowned upon to hold weddings because everyone, in principle, must be at peace and merry-making doesn’t exactly show that. Even nightclubs close their doors earlier than expected. Come October is Ork Pansa or the end of the Buddhist Lent, and they celebrate this by holding the Boat-racing Festival –which also translates to: it’s Wedding time again! And if you’ve read my Lao Wedding Tribute –you will know for sure why I am panicking.

Some Reflections

Responsibility starts when fending for yourself starts. I think I became very OC with my place because I want it to be clean and smelling fresh all-day –cos I want it to be worth the pay. I even bought cleaning materials, air freshener and scrubs for my place.ย  I walk 15-20 minutes everyday to work, depending on my pace. Whenever I arrive at the lobby, I’m all sweating and my makeup is slowly coming off. It’s a good thing I straightened my hair back in Elbi because now I wouldn’t have to worry about humidity destroying my bob. But whatever, I must walk to shed off my “holiday weight” and to save. As I walk to work, I’d like to believe I am in New York City where walking to work is lifestyle. Coping mechanism, that is.

And this time around, I swore that I will be serious in studying written and spoken Lao. It’s difficult, but then again, nothing’s easy. Okay, I haven’t gotten to the writing part yet…I mean they are scripts for crying out loud, it’s like they are being drawn and I don’t know how to draw. Okay, I’ll stop making excuses.

And oh, if you’re wondering what the title means –it’s 450 years. Hah! I know numbers!

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Snappies, Walk and Talk, When In Laos

Destination: Palawan

Filipino by blood and by heart, but haven’t even been around the beautiful provinces her country can offer. After my Palawan-Halloween-Weekend, I promised myself that as much as I love crossing borders, island-hopping in the Philippines should be part of my itinerary in my quest of exploring culture, one country at a time. And BECAUSE it is just as fun –and hurts my wallet less.

A random night-out with my friends, Kamille and Angela, gave me another reason to be impulsive. Gela booked me a ticket to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, under five minutes. What can I say, it was one of the best (impulsive) decisions I’ve ever made.

It was Todos Los Santos weekend, which means everyone will be battling it out to vacation spots and cemeteries. I never been a fan of Halloween or going out-of-town during this time of the year but since I put up this site, I figured it’s time forย  a change and embrace every opportunity to travel.ย  It was given that traveling during the weekend would entail heavy traffic. So, if you want to avoid the excruciating traffic jam, you can stay at home and watch what’s scary on TV. Otherwise, you can beat cars (or not) with your patience. Gela and I left Los Banos at 1PM, and uhh, our flight was at 5.35PM. Paranoid much?

Hello, Puerto Princesa City (PPS)

The capital of Palawan, PPS is home to various tourist attractions and protected areas. Does Underground River ring a bell? Although we didn’t visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, we explored Honda Bay aka Island-Hopping and an emerging tourist destination, Brgy Simpocan. Out of the ordinary? Oh yeah.

We arrived at PPS around 7PM and the first thing we did was to have a nice Filipino dinner with Gela’s good friends from the United States, who are in PPS for their internship. And what’s a weekend without nightlife? After dinner, we chilled at a reggae bar called Katabom. If you’re looking for laidback environment but all alcohol requisites are met, Katabom is the place to be. PPS has a long strip of bars and restaurants with live bands and good food –the nights are never boring in PPS.

The next day was dedicated to Honda Bay, famous for its island-hopping and activities such as snorkelling. Five islands in a day? That can be pretty tiring, but it was all good. Jumped, floated, burnt our skin, picture-taking with a bunch of starfish, became beach bums, spent less than PHP1500… it’s the perfect weekend getaway.

I can’t swim but after our island-hopping madness and I got home in one piece, breathing normally, I was up for anything. For our last two days in PPS, we had a camping trip by the beach in Brgy Simpocan. It’s around a 2-hour rough-road ride up and down the mountains, so a 4×4 vehicle is crucial. Serene, peaceful and relaxing –you literally own the beach. Brgy Capt Boy Macasaet expresses his plans of developing this area into one tourist attraction. By the beach and hidden, hmm, anyone who’s into camping and soul-searching together with the sound of the big waves will definitely fall in love with Simpocan.

Enough of the chit-chat… Here’s Palawan for your eyes only!

 

So you see, this is my first Philippine entry. I’ve been to provinces but my blogging life hasn’t even started back then. I would love to explore more and perhaps revisit some of my favorite places like Sagada up North and Cebu City down south and Camiguin in Mindanao. The thing with traveling within the country that I appreciate isย  we discover more of our own roots –with friends to find the coolest places and getting lost in the way and ultimately, helping the country’s tourism business. Oh well, in time. My career as a travel writer has just begun.

PS A big THANK YOU to Matt, Justin, Ginelle, Billy, Cory, Elyse, Kat and Ray for an adventure-filled weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

14 Comments

Filed under I Heart RP, Snappies, Walk and Talk