Wednesday, December 31, 2014


"Lai Yiu-fai... we could start over." - Happy Together (1997)
We could start over. It is one of the most powerful and moving dialogues that I've heard in the movies. Ok, forgive me for being a film geek, but please indulge me. It's from a 17 year old Hongkongnese film, set in Argentina. A couple, living out the waning days of their relationship, planned to visit the breathtaking Iguazu Falls. In the end, in a heartbreaking scene, we get to see that only one of them made it. But there it was, in that tragic-somewhat- bittersweet-ending is a glimmer of hope. That whatever happens, we can always start with a clean slate.
A day before the new year, it is always good to know that we can always start over. 
And yes, Iguazu Falls was breathtaking. Happy New Year, All!

#iguazu,  #argentina, #brazil, #southamerica


Friday, December 26, 2014


"What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land." - The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Viva el Sur. Hello South.
And so it begins. I didn't know what to expect, but the quaint city of Quito in Ecuador, some 9,500 feet above sea level, and the highest capital city in the world, literally took my breath away. Had a little high altitude sickness, but the beauty more than made up for it. 
It was breathtaking.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


One thing that a traveler must really find time is to research and take preventive shots or vaccines before they go on their adventure. I must admit that I'm quite stubborn when it comes to vaccination. I was doing a lot of jungle trek in Southeast Asia before and some of the places that we visited were infested with Malaria. I was lucky that i didnt catch the virus, but it would have been so bad knowing that I didnt even have travel insurance for that leg of my journey.

This time, I'm not taking any chances, knowing quite well that some of the countries that I will be visiting is high risk with yellow fever. Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe liver disease with bleeding.

Upon checking, some countries require all travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country. Other countries require proof of vaccination only if travelers have been in a risk area.  I think even the Philippines will not allow entry to travelers coming from a yellow fever risk country.

For that I had to get a yellow card, a certificate issued and approved by the World Health Organization, given as a proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination. In Manila, the only authorized agency is the Bureau of Quarantine, which is located at the back of Manila Hotel.  I had to brave my way Metro Manila Traffic, and it took me 2 hours from Ortigas to the Manila Port Area. Tip, really come in early. I arrived 2:45 and I almost didnt make it. When I arrived, the guard said that the vaccination is close already, they close at 3pm, and I know that i had 15 minutes left, so i had to talk my way. I mean, I really didnt want to go back the following day and brave the 2 hour traffic again.

Once there, it was relatively fast and easy. All you have to do is fill up a form until the nurse calls you in for the vaccination. It took me 10 mins to do everything, then I just had to pay for the vaccine. I paid 2,000 Pesos, roughly $45. I'm not sure if it is expensive, I havent paid for a vaccine before, but what the heck, a reasonable price to pay for your peace of mind and preventive health.

After paying, they issued me this yellow certificate the folds nicely and is the size of a passport.  Vaccination complete.  Off to another adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2014


The last few years I've done some amazing travels that unfortunately I wasn't able to document here in the blog. Indulge me and let me backtrack and share some of them with you.

December 2012 was my first time in the US, and for some reason, before that, I wasn't really that excited about going. But everything changed when during the last quarter of 2012, the opportunity presented itself.

I was free for 2 weeks just before Christmas, and I haven't seen my grandma in years, she lives in Los Angeles, and I felt that it was a perfect time for me to visit her and give US a go.

I made this crazy itinerary, San Francisco - Los Angeles - New York - Chicago and back to San Francisco to catch my flight back to Manila. And yup, all in 2 weeks.

Cut to, I actually did it, spent a great time in all these great American cities. From Chicago I was supposed to get a flight back to San Francisco, but this crazy idea hit me - why not cross the eastern coast to the west by land travel. I really love train travel a lot and read that California Zephyr of the Amtrak is one of the most picturesque train travel journeys in the world.

On a whim, I got the ticket, but only did I find out that it would require 52 long hours.

Since there was no turning back, I had no choice but to get in the train and travel 2 days from east to west.

The train travel turned out to be the highlight of my US trip, crossing different states, and marveling at the most beautiful winter that I've seen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


During our last two days in Malaysia, we opted to go North and do a quick stop over in Georgetown, the capital of Penang, a World UNESCO Heritage Site.

We took a sleeper train and arrived really early in Butterworth where in we had to wait for a ferry that would cross us to Georgetown.

Penang proved to be another highlight of this Malaysian trip and it was a pity that we didnt have enough days to explore the town. It has this distinct charm that I haven't experience before in Southeast Asia. I'd love to spend a week here knowing that it can recharge my creative juice.

The street scene is a great find for photography enthusiasts. It is very vibrant and is just full of that local flavor.

We even stumbled upon a Camera Museum that is a great treat for photographers.

Too bad that we had to cut the stopover short as our bus heading back to Kuala Lumpur had to leave in the afternoon. But again, I'd say that this overnight side trip was well worth it. Hopefully, I'll get the chance again to spend more time in Penang. Soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I was excited to go back to Kuala Lumpur, knowing that I missed a lot the last time that I was here.

Our hostel was near Chinatown and the Chinese influence was very apparent from the food to the look of the downtown. I stayed in a different part of the city before, and I must say that this part was more charming and I really did get to enjoy it a lot.

It was an early second day in Kuala Lumpur as we headed to the sacred Batu Caves. Foreign and local tourist find their way in Batu which is less than an hour away from the capital. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old.

That night,  we took a sleeper train on the way to Penang. I'll write another entry about it cause there were so many things to talk about that charming city.

That afternoon, we caught the last bus going back to Kuala Lumpur. The next morning, we just took it slow and explored the capital.  It was so difficult to explain, but I just love the eclectic vibe that the city brings. We also visited the iconic Petronas Tower. 

Eight days seems so short but we were able to visit a lot and we were able to explore the two sides of Malaysia. Seriously, it felt rushed and I'd want to do this trip again but maybe I'll spend more time in Penang, and I'll try to Visit Ipoh and Malacca, another Unesco World Heritage Site. Overall, it was a great summer trip.