Why 2013 is a Shove Towards the Right Direction

December 31, 2013

Over the months since 2012 ended, my team has dwindled from 5 to 3 then to 2, until me and Tish remained. Together we managed to meet the research demands for the IT deployment task we belong to. It has become a routine exercise for me, and I guess same for her, that we could do our job with our eyes closed even while listening to a damn Justin Bieber song and solving a Sudoku puzzle. We were joking each other "Don't resign yet, let us wait for them to fire us" so we could have employee benefits that comes with getting laid off. One random afternoon our boss, who shows up once every three months from the States, chatted me over Gmail. He wants to see me and Tish privately. A few weeks prior, I sent the big boss an email requesting a salary increase for Tish as a reward for her years of service working for the company (5 years without a pay hike), so I was kidding her that "this meeting could be it" the day they finally would grant her a salary hike.

the writings on the wall: enjoy your freedom

Yangon’s Colonial Charms and other Street Scenes | Myanmar

December 27, 2013

I'm resting my feet in these remaining few days of 2013. It has gone through miles and miles of pavement and off-road rambling around new cities and towns I visited this travel-blessed year. Among my favorite walks of the year was along the charming colonial buildings of Yangon in Myanmar. It felt like being transported back in time albeit a few modern structures already erected, the old buildings from yester-decades still fills the streets of the city. It was a different feeling being in a country I deemed impossible to visit a few years ago because of political upheavals going on at that time. I, like the rest of the world is glad that Myanmar finally opened up and let its unique qualities be let known to all of us.

Dong Ho and Ron Cruz

Postcard Series: Flowers and Beer | Vietnam

December 20, 2013

I caught this snapshot of a group of friends just chilling out at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi during one of my morning walks. It's always great either traveling with friends or on your own, but running into new ones along the way, just as I was fortunate to have experienced during my trip here, is even better. A winter climate, a cold Hanoi beer on hand, blooming flowers and a tranquil lake to complete the setting, all makes up for a nice gathering.

Chesca Lacson drinking beer

Pay it Postcard

December 05, 2013

During my recent trip to Indonesia, I posted an FB update asking if anyone wants to receive a postcard from me. A few dozen messaged me their postal address, as much as I wanted to accommodate everyone, my budget restriction only allows me to send a few plus some to friends whom I already planned of sending one. The result was a total of 18 postcards showing scenes around Borobudur, stamped and sent via airmail. While walking around Yogyakarta I found a cozy small cafe where I sat down and wrote on it one by one, thereby using my hand again to write after years of using the pen to only sign my name on documents. There I was, again writing long sentences with my penmanship smearing all over the card, hoping it would reach the recipients in no time.
This one is for Aya, she got this after arriving from her coverage of the Yolanda aftermath in Tacloban

Post - Pablo Cateel & Aliwagwag Falls | Davao Oriental

December 03, 2013

A year ago typhoon Pablo walloped Cateel, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. It was one of the strongest storms that hit the country to date. I remember the owner of the restaurant where we had a drink the night I was in Cateel telling us over a bottle of San Miguel Light–as he joined me and Nunoy–told me of that horrifying night last December. "My brother in law who is a member of the US Navy called my wife already the day before" he narrates to us. "the typhoon was so huge that the US Navy and the US Atmospheric office started monitoring it, he warned us to get away from Davao Oriental. I was able to send my wife to Davao the day before, that morning I tied up some of the restaurants stuff, people who saw asked what I was doing, nobody thinks at that time that Pablo will be that strong"

Sophie Gianan

Nomadic Video 7: Yogyakarta

November 28, 2013

I can't wait to start writing about my trip to Yogyakarta, but little time and too much procrastination in between disallow me. However, I was able to put together in hurried state, a music video of the random footage I took in between walking around this interesting city and visiting the temple complex of both Borobudur and Prambanan. As a preview of my future blog posts about this trip of mine, here is it with the Byrd's "Turn Turn Turn" as the soundtrack.

Best viewed in 1080 High Definition.
Cameo Appearances: Tania and Carmel


Before Yogyakarta: The Arrival at Jakarta

November 06, 2013

I always worry about passing immigration since this experience in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, that it was my biggest worry for this trip to Indonesia. Since I've tried being a freelancer for a few months now, I don't have any company ID to show anymore. So as I arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 it was all I'm thinking about it. As I line up to pay for the expensive travel tax, I got distracted by this Spanish looking mestiza girl in front of me. I quickly assumed she's either going to Bali or Phuket. That's why when I saw her again with her friend lining up at the check-in counter going to Jakarta I was a bit surprised.


Semi-Burnout in Melaka

October 27, 2013

I went to Melaka directly after we arrived at Kuala Lumpur from Myanmar. Which begs the question what to do after Myanmar? Melaka was unfairly put to a spot wherein it has to at least keep up with the highs of both Bagan and Yangon in Myanmar. If i came here a different time, I would probably have more fun and desire to take photographs. Still, I did a lot of walking around streets littered with old and historic structures mixed with the modern ones (a replica of Marina Bay Sands hotel in SG is currently being constructed near the waters of the straight of Melacca) , trying out local dishes here and there. It wasn't bad at all really.


#Project Jomalig Island

October 26, 2013

Jomalig Island with all its natural gifts, is often overlooked and, for most people remains unknown. Perhaps this is because of its strategic location dwarfed by the bigger Polilio group of islands and the feeling of isolation it presents as it faces the vast Pacific Ocean. Travelers who are prepared to brave a six hour boat journey from Real, Quezon are rewarded with a pristine island, visually untouched by outsiders. It is a fact which is both a boon and bane of the island.

Salibungot Beach in Jomalig Island
We have the whole Pine-laden Salibungot Beach to ourselves

The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate in Old Bagan, Myanmar

October 20, 2013

During the budget hearing (held over FB group chat) of our planned Myanmar trip late last year, nobody mentioned about "staying in a posh hotel" which is the kind of talk nobody mentions among the company of fellow backpackers. I was just happy to be going to Bagan, Myanmar that sleeping at the foot of a random temple seems like a sound plan to me already. However, everything changed when a marketing person read the signature on the email sent by Ron–one half of Flip Travels website–asking for their rates for a group of 10 travelers. Without solicitation we were offered a free stay for two nights at this hotel with a renaissance-age sounding name called The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate.

Mishi Magno

For a Backpacker, Swanky Means This

October 14, 2013

We headed to the surfing town of Bagasbas after our overnight camping at Calaguas Island, immediately we located this still-closed bar during the height of the morning sun. A lone staff by the name of Restituto (I forgot his name, but let's call him that for I'm sure he'll change his name to Bebe Chittybangbang someday) was sweeping the floor. He eyed us looking lost and in dire need of a shade. He instantly connected with Lauren and Sharlyn like they're long lost BFF's or something. Restituto was constantly admiring Lauren's backpacking attire - which consists of a yellow dress, a fedora hat and high heeled shoes. 

The view from the lounge area slash Karaoke joint is just lovely

A Rush of Water at Lake Balanan

September 28, 2013

Just when I was starting to smell the fresh air emanating from Lake Balanan the van we were riding abruptly stopped. Engine off and all I can hear was the swooshing sound. We all got off and stared ahead at the part of the road which was overran by the rushing waters. All hopes of seeing Lake Balanan momentarily went to dust that moment. Should we walk over this rampaging currents and risk getting swept away to the ditch on the other side? Fortunately a kid who saw our predicament pointed to us to a trail beside the road leading to Lake Balanan.

the quiet lake balanan near Dumaguete

A Hawksbill Turtle Sighting at Mantigue Island

September 25, 2013

An underwater version of a metropolitan city can be found in the waters of Mantigue Island. Measuring four hectares in diameter and located three kilometers off Camiguin Island, the island has now been groomed as an eco-tourism destination. Today, the Mantigue Natural Park's lush forests houses different species of trees and plants. A localized tourism management program setup by the local government, makes this island a model for nature preservation. Mantigue is manned by a few families belonging to the island's original settlers, who were trained to oversee the island, the forest, and serves as tour guides. It's a simple case of people-empowerment, while at the same time safeguarding the island from falling into the hands of misguided and greedy questionable island "developers".

a Hawksbill turtle seen in Mantigue Island
Journeying James swimming with the Hawksbill. Photo Credit: Ferdz Decena of Ironwulf

Postcard Series: Inside a Philip K. Dick World | Biri Island

September 23, 2013

The stunning rock formations found in Biri Island  appears otherworldly.  It reminded me of science fiction novels written by Philip K. Dick. Out of sight from my local guide, I sense an isolation outside this sphere, with only the sound of the crashing waves as evidence of being on Earth. I was trudging upwards when I saw my local tour guide waving his hands, motioning his intention to take a picture of me against what he says was "an amazing background". In these rock formations, these picturesque photographs are commonplace sight to behold. 

Bagan’s Temple of the Rising Sun | Myanmar

August 31, 2013

There's no way we would've missed out witnessing the daily handling of the torch from darkness to daylight. The idea was to stand somewhere atop a temple and greet the sunrise with awakened eyes. However, in rare instances where reality overtakes the expectations of imagination, what I saw was more gratifying and romantic – even without reciting a line from a Nicholas Sparks novel. Even If I nibble the breakfast of the most obnoxious man in the world that morning, I'd still categorize the major part of what I experienced that day as something I should keep in my memory vault. 

Gay Mitra

Pink Manila Hostel: A Nomadic Pranksters New Hideout

August 21, 2013

I missed the discussion about the Ottoman Empire (over a case of beer) the previous night. Thank goodness as even I consider myself a bit of a nerd, I can only go as far as the boxer rebellion. My friend Gaye who initiated that out-of-nowhere topic, was staying at Pink Manila Hostel for a couple of nights when I invited myself to join her hang out by the pool. The sky was overcast and the road was drenched in puddles of rain when I arrived at the Vito Cruz area. Around early in the afternoon I came about this seven-floor building with the Pink Manila Hostel sign. I entered the gate and was met by stare downs from metal pumping 3-sets-12-rep-160-pounder-bench-press junkies. I momentarily feared about walking into a trap. 


Cool Beans Library Cafe: Where The Gore and Anti-Hipster Club Meet

August 15, 2013

Somewhere along the line of our conversation, the topic came upon a fork and swerved left straight into true crimes territory. A dozen serial killer names and mind blowing murder descriptions later, we decided to name our group as the Gore and Anti-Hipster Club. The founding members are; Lot, Reese, Karl and myself. You probably have an idea what we'll do if we come across a bunch of hipsters. Anyway, I’ve known these people for quite some time. We all got connected through our madness-filled blogs at the now defunct Multiply site. Kindred souls when it comes to literature, the beatnik culture and the prose that goes along the lines of Kerouac’s mad people’. And what better way than to reconnect with them after a number of years, at a place called “Cool Beans Library Cafe” , which is located at Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.


Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

August 14, 2013

Quietly situated in the hills of Antipolo is a relaxation haven called Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa. As seen from the Zen lounge, the bright lights of Ortigas and Makati seems like another world away. The endless myriad of human activity on that far-away world was a stark contrast to the tranquility I was experiencing as I sat on a wooden bench. Soon, I let go of my worries and allowed the vibe of the place to bring forth a silent occupancy of my senses. In a wave of free-flowing karmic urge, the same thing was happening inside a packed MOA arena, as our Smart Gilas boys, freeing itself with fear - have finally ended a spate of unfortunate beatings against the South Koreans, with a FIBA-World clinching victory.

Spa Therapist. Photo property of Luljetta's

Monkey Filled Stairway to Taung Kalat Monastery, Mount Popa | Myanmar

August 03, 2013

The temperature that morning must have felt like 40 degrees Celsius when our group boarded two vehicles heading to Mount Popa. The plains of Bagan was unforgiving during that time of the year where the sun seems to be closer than any place on Earth. The thought of a side trip to a place thousands of feet above sea level seems like finding an oasis. As I sat at the backseat of the car, as it roll over burning-like asphalt road, flowing fire disguised as wind blows across my face. My eyes were almost tearing because of the scorching heat. I listened to the small talk between Chef Jana who was seated beside me and Melo who was at the front passenger seat, for a time before the two of them fell asleep and I was left to watch the passing dried farmlands, trees and twigs at the side of the road. 

UST Mountaineering Club

The Nomadic Pranksters Goes to Bagan

July 25, 2013

A few more hours under the guidance of Moe Hitler, the irrepressible tour proprietor we hired in Yangon, and he would have succeeded in mind controlling us to join a cult. Ron - in particular bore the brunt of the emotional torture under the, well - in fairness to Moe, was an unintentional attempt at a dictatorship ruling of our group. When Moe orders you to "Take a picture of that temple" you ask him "how many shots?" "panorama or portrait?". During our whole day of going around Yangon, cute baby Luna wasn't Gaye Emami's daughter. She was, during that day the own flesh and blood of Moe Hitler. But hey, you take the crazy with the good and we cannot deny Moe was such a character himself, an Asian version of the late Dennis Farina. We were all dog-tired upon arriving at Yangon from the long travel and lack of sleep, somehow he made our Yangon trip a more memorable one than expected. 

The Simple Life at Alibijaban Island

July 15, 2013

(updated June 2020 with travel guide)

It didn't take much effort getting there. Us having to endure a six-hour bus ride is nothing compared to the bare living conditions on the island. As seen from my outsider's point of view, the scarcity of everything I couldn't live without, flashes right in front of my eyes. It was an initial impression that proved to be inaccurate  a mere hour into our stay there. We were greeted by a middle-aged woman whom everyone simply calls as "Kapitana", while to some, who have strict odes about current politics prefer to call her "Ex-kapitana". It doesn't matter whether she won or lost in the last barangay elections, what stuck out to us then was her hospitality and eagerness to cut the rope of unfamiliarity between her and the two visitors who came to Alibijaban island. 

the white sand beach of Alibijaban Island

A Gastronomical Roundabout at La Union Without Dr. Hannibal

July 11, 2013

During our recent weekend stay at the Circle Hostel in La Union, we were not only duped into getting ourselves drunk by agreeing to play a seemingly harmless, but super fun drinking game called "random games, random games" (you don't say it aloud with a poker face, you chant it out like the other half of the Bushwackers). We were also hogtied, dragged into a van and was forcibly fed with weight-watching battering and diet killing, sumptuous and delicious meals. Its safe to say that it was a case of kidnapping nobody wants to file any charges.

Urbiztondo Grill - Photo by: Kaiye Pallarco of the Two Broke Girls

Drinking Games Cuckoo-but-Fun People Play at The Circle Hostel

June 30, 2013

The days of traveling and staying in exclusive resorts like suburban home owners not giving a hoot about  their neighbors, are long gone and for good riddance. The concept of 'hostels' providing not only as a cheaper alternative for accommodations, but also as a medium to interact with and befriend fellow travelers is becoming a social bridge that connects travelers. Slowly, the word uneasiness and strangeness among guests of any hostels are replaced with shared conversations, laughter and for some, a glass filled with a mixture of alcoholic drinks there is: rum, vodka, beer and what-haves.


First Sundown in Bagan | Myanmar

June 26, 2013

After witnessing a thousand sunsets in my life, I've gotten used to it. Even the one which set directly across our office window, I often have taken it for granted. It warrants only a momentary pause "oh look at that fiery round sun", then I'm back at my computer desk. Not soon after, any remaining flicker of daylight is replaced by striking strobe lights from bumper to bumper cars and nearby buildings. The neon sign of "In God We Trust" attached to the roof of a condominium, creates a dragging longing for daylight. Still, I rest at the thought of the sun rising and setting again the next day. I'm definitely sure of that. I tend to overlook that the sun's clockwork cycle is what makes it possible for life to exist on this planet. Upon closer inspection, it is the most beautiful natural phenomenon which happens everyday. That moment between day and night, the short minutes which dusk spans, if I'm prodded with a choice. I would say is my favorite time of the day.

Levy Amosin

I Don’t Want to be Buried in a Sunken Cemetery | Camiguin

June 24, 2013

The sky was raging and in the process of a quick transition from intense blue to fiery red. At the edge of the sea, the sun was sliding down like curtain dropping after a circus show. Our boatman told us to hurry so we'd catch a glimpse of the last remaining cross of one of the many buried gravestones. Most of which were already covered by coral reef, the bones of the buried has since been transferred to another cemetery inland. Well, the site of what is now known as the "Sunken Cemetery" used to be above the sea. Until a series of eruptions from Mt. Vulcan Daan in the 1870's eroded the parts of Bonbon in Catarman town thereby swallowing the cemetery and tucking it underwater.

Do You Wanna Make Tea at the BBC: Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin

June 22, 2013

In my case can I just drink tea here for a few mornings while I sat by the pool and stare out at the sea? Such was the cozy environment of Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin and it's a good thing Cebu Pacific had us accommodated here during the Blogger's Tour of Camiguin. The last time I visited Camiguin was in 2010 and we just rode a jeepney across the island for the whole day. This time, I was able to stretch my tired legs while having a calming massage at its in-house Cabana spa after a long day of exploring the island. BBC is made up of mostly tropical materials like bamboo, helping it retain that island feel. I noticed also how the post-modern interiors meshes well with local architectural designs and the location facing the calm waters of Bohol Sea, makes this a fine secluded base for those wanting privacy.


Group Selfie at Katibawasan Falls | Camiguin

June 20, 2013

During myself and Tina's birthday trip to Camiguin in 2010, we were not able to visit Katibawasan Falls because we spent the whole afternoon lounging under the red hot sun at White Island. We drank red horse and feasted on the swaki (sea urchin) that crawled over Lot's tattooed back. It took three years for me to get another chance to visit the island province courtesy of an invite from Cebu Pacific and the Tourism office of Camiguin. 

Celine Murillo

T@ttAwards 2013 Finalist for Best Travel & Food Blog

June 16, 2013

I never expect the Globe T@ttAwards to shortlist this blog again for their annual social media recognition. Last year it was a finalist for the "Visualizer" category. This year Nomadic Experiences is mentioned in the same breathe with four other impressive blogs under the "Best Travel and Food" category. At a time when I am starting to feel burn-out with travel writing and updating this website, this news comes as a meaningful shove towards the right direction.

Young Thanaka Faces in a Timeless Place | Myanmar

June 06, 2013

Finally. I smelled the dry air and feel my skin slowly burned to a crisp, by the merciless sun which shone over Bagan. I've mouthed the word "wow" many times at the many temples, stupas and pagodas stretched out in front of me. Each second I savored and filled my head with unforgettable images not only of the place, but of its people. I was particularly endeared by these young children we met on our first morning in New Bagan. The previous night we arrived wasted from the almost 36 hours of no-sleep traveling from Manila - layover in Kuala Lumpur - whole day in Yangon and the 8 hour trip to New Bagan.

Levy Amosin

No Meat, No Frills, No Strangers at the Veggie Resort of Ambay

June 03, 2013

"It's a vegetarian resort, plus they don't serve alcoholic drinks" I told a few friends as I try to invite them to visit this resort in Botolan, Zambales called "Ambay". My carnivore and beer drinking friends can't hide the smirk on their faces at my prodding to come with me. "What are we going to do there, more importantly what are we going to eat?". What seems to be a great concern to them, It became a source of wonder which drove me to visit the place with my friend Kara early this summer.

There's no off-key Karaoke singing in here. Thank God

First Inter-Galactic-Connecting Flight

May 29, 2013

Travel often becomes the source of many firsts. New experiences, though incomparable to being sandwiched between Michelle Rodriguez and Arci Munoz, it still resonates in your head long after the moment it happened. Just like that border crossing which my brother and myself did coming from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2011. Those sort of things becomes memorable as you continue exploring the world. Our trip to Myanmar afforded me the opportunity to fly to a city (Kuala Lumpur) and then connect to another flight to Yangon, Myanmar (killing a few hours in between). Nothing milestone-ny in that undertaking, but I remember during the few times I get to travel outside of the Philippines, It always fascinates me everytime I would see that "Connecting Flights" signs at the airport.

Luna watching cartoons mid-flight to KL

What is #ProjectJomalig Island About?

May 19, 2013

Project Jomalig aims to introduce infusing together, the joy of traveling and creating strong ties with a local community in one-go. It is projected to create a sustainable program through long-term commitment and cooperation from travelers and local community leaders alike. In this case, the island of Jomalig was chosen because it tops the recent DSWD's list of "Malnourished Towns in the Philippines".


Postcard Series: Jomalig Hoops | Quezon

May 19, 2013

Unlike our football-crazy neighboring countries, the Philippines is a nation mad about Basketball. Kids, even from far flung island of Jomalig knows who Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are. You could see them imagining themselves in Game 7 end-game situation, counting down 5 seconds, 4, 3, 2 before launching a shot that would clinch a championship. While it remains a dream to see a Filipino basketball player in the NBA, kids will continue to shoot balls in makeshift hoops such as this one made of old cooking pot and salvaged timber nailed on a coconut tree. Jomalig Island's #HoopDreams

Self Portraits in Bagan, Myanmar

May 14, 2013

God dammit there's a bunch of selfies in here. I muttered to myself while I was looking at the photographs I've taken in Bagan, Myanmar. But hey, I've seen dozens of Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac's self portraits while they're in some exotic locations. I figured, I also deserve some self-deprecating images, with the timeless Bagan temples dominating the background. It certainly looks better than the thousands of "selfies" shots taken in the bathroom, bedroom, conference room and even the frigging train. 

My current Facebook profile pic Garnered 55 likes :))

PNKY Café: A Traveler’s Must-Pit-Stop in Baguio

May 08, 2013

The fine October weather in Baguio calls for a must-sit-in-a-cafe somewhere. But, somewhere random is not just what we had in mind. Lauren have heard of this joint from our friend before, so we decided to head straight here upon arriving at the city of Pines. Coming from a Travel Massive event we spend the rest of the night waiting for the day's first trip out of Manila. Ten hours later we were in a mood understanding of the 'walkers' in Walking Dead, only we were looking out for real food. Determined to satisfy our hunger, PNKY Cafe became our first pit-stop for the day. 


Biri Island’s School of Rock | Northern Samar

May 03, 2013

The waves were a little rough on our way to Biri Island from the port of Lavezares. I started to get dizzy midway and even envied the boat's youngest passenger, an infant boy, who slept the entire trip. His young parents perfectly shielded him from the splashes of sea water. I covered my camera and counted the minutes, knowing that each one that passed meant a half-kilometer shorter swim to safety. That is, if I could swim and save myself if the boat capsized. We passed through the northern part of Biri, but the boat continued until the water calmed and the clouds above us dissipated, revealing a bright sky. The boat begins to sail smoothly, and the threat of rain has vanished since we set sail. The infant boy awoke with a short cry. He stretches both his arms and feet, while I patted my legs to prevent cramps.

Biri Island travel guide

A Capiz Road Trip Capped by a Round of Gold Eagle Beer

May 02, 2013

The day after the Sinadya sa Hilaran Festival in Roxas City, we went on a road trip towards the municipality of President Roxas. It presented me an opportunity to further explore the province of Capiz. My first trip to Roxas City happened only because I was heading for the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo. With the exemption of trying out diwal shells and chilling at Bay-bay beach, I wasn't able to go around the province. This time, with the company of fellow travel writers and the tourism officers of the city, we were able to cover a long stretch of highway kilometers and hillside terrain for some nature and food tripping.


5 Peaks for First-Time Hikers

April 07, 2013

If you're hearing the call of the great outdoors, give in. Great is not often associated with it for nothing. But I have to tell you early on that it's not just about seeing breathtaking views and cool winds caressing your face. There's a lot of physical and mental challenges involved - sore muscles, agonizingly steep and slippery trails, itchy plants, mud, blistering sun and all those discomforts associated with communing with nature.

With these realities, ample preparation must be undertaken to maximize your hiking experience, avoid accidents and to ensure your safe return. Work on your endurance by running, playing other sports, climb several flights of stairs with a backpack, learn about the place you're going so you can bring adequate supplies and equipment, and always let someone know of your whereabouts. Lastly, when you go to the mountains, leave no trace behind. All garbage must go back down with you.   

Now, the fun part. Here are five hiking trails around Luzon to get you started. I've tried each trail and can attest that it will offer a good sweat, minimal panting for the physically prepared and of course - eye-popping views. All can be completed within a day - out and back. 

Taken at the ranch in Mt Ampacao, from here, the summit is 30 minutes away
Taken at the ranch in Mt Ampacao, from here, the summit is 30 minutes away

Harley-Davidson Comes Roaring in the Philippines

March 31, 2013

"I'm hip about time" says Wyatt nicknamed Captain America, in the classic film "Easy Rider". Since watching that movie, I've associated Harley-Davidson bikes to that hippie culture of the 60's. It's the closest thing I've been to the world of motorcycles' pop culture equivalent of Bob Dylan. A few years later I picked up Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. It was a great read, mainly because of HST's masterful prose and uncanny wicked humor. Still, the idea of possessing a Harley or riding one, seems like an exclusive thought to me. I imagined big, burly, bearded, smelly guys would only ride it. Unless, you walk around with a young Dennis Hopper aura. However, through the years, the brand of Harley-Davidson, while maintaining its iconic branding and association to the 60's hippie counter-culture, has also developed a connection to mainstream bikers. So, much that it has finally come roaring into this country of ours. 


My Own Private Pool: A Biri (Island) Rock Preview

March 10, 2013

I was waiting for the sunset, hoping I could take some photographs of the rock formations against a fiery red sky. I decided against it when I saw this natural pool below the Macadlaw rock formation. I put down my backpack and set up the tripod, stripped my shirt and slowly waded into the pool. At a short distance away, I could hear the waves wailing as it crashes into the rocky barriers, each sending a powerful stream of saltwater flying up in the air. I turned around and planted my feet, my sun-burned body wholly dipped in the clear blue water. I stared ahead towards the sea and counted each apparition of stunning white splashing water, each getting bigger and higher until it comes down on me like raindrops. 

Turning Artsy at the National Gallery and Fartsy at Masuki | Manila

March 03, 2013

The last time I set foot at the National Gallery of the Philippines was way back in early elementary. The memories are almost gone of that long-ago field trip. If ever I stared at Juan Luna's The Spoliarium I might have done so for only a split second. Not so, during one afternoon last October, when together with Lauren and Christine off we went to the National Gallery for some art and culture cultivation experience. I stared at it for minutes, studying each details and comparing it to what I've seen in history books. The real painting is immensely imposing, covering almost all of my line of sight. Juan Luna spent an agonizing but creativity filled eight months finishing it. The result was just spectacular, its something we could always be proud of and is very fitting to be the first piece of artwork to greet visitors at the National Gallery.

Christine Fernandez

Breitling Bop

March 01, 2013

One of the highlights of the recently held Hot Air Balloon Festival was the participation of the Breitling-sponsored aerobatic team from Dijon, France. Seven Aero L-39 Albatros jets took to the sky and performed a number of mad aerial stunts, rivaled only by the crazy Navy pilots from the movie "Hot Shots". The crowd, already amazed by the hot air balloons that took off just after sunrise, lets out 'oooohs and ahhhhs' with an exclamation awe each time the jets would fly as close to each other, almost colliding before flying into different directions at the last second possible. They give a real hardcore meaning to flirting with disaster.


Sinadya Sa Halaran Festival | Capiz

February 28, 2013

The runway of Roxas City airport almost leads out to the waters of Sibuyan Sea. The way the plane maneuvers in preparation for its landing, makes this as one of my favorite (and a bit scary) landing spot. As I looked out the window and saw the dark blue waters almost a spitting distance away, the plane makes a hard turn in the air at a very low altitude. I felt throbbings inside my chest. As the wheels touches the ground and I hear the brakes grinding the plane slowly, I heave a sigh of relief and started imagining myself drowning in fresh seafoods again

Aph Cruz

Running, Huffing and Almost Collapsing

February 27, 2013

After covering the Sinadya sa Hilaran festival in Roxas City from morning until the nighttime fluvial parade, I crashed on my bed with an almost sapped energy. The next morning I woke up same time as sunrise. My plan was to walk around, eat breakfast, go back to the hotel, freshen up and check out. I haven't gone too far when I noticed this oval track stadium just a stone throw away from Nesta's Hill Top Hotel. The sun has just risen enough to expose the white clouds against the blue skies. The scene inside was enticing, the greens of the center field encircled by the red rubbery terrain of the oval track has 'running' written all over it. "I must run here" I told myself. A few people where already inside, some were fast amassing laps under their belts while others were walking, stretching or doing arnis exercises.


Spontaneous Hey Ho Baler Weekend

February 10, 2013

When I was a kid a spontaneous trip to the beach means going to Matabungkay or Punta Baluarte in Batangas, when I reached puberty it became Puerto Galera until it became Pundaquit, Zambales and more recently Baler became a popular endpoint for that spur of the moment "are you bored? let's go to the beach" kind of sprees. I've almost next to nothing memories of Punta Baluarte anymore and images of a still un-crowded and resort-free Talipanan beach in Puerto Galera remains in my head, same with Pundaquit in Zambales when my older brother first took me there back in high school, I can still vividly remember its long stretch of white sands with only a few huts scattering far out from each other. Places have a way of converting itself, until you realize the one in your head is more preferable than the present state.