Nature, Travel Stories

Taal Volcano Stories: Clean-up Drive with Starstruck Avengers LOL!

I rub elbows with celebrities.

Just kidding!

I just happened to work as a segment producer and writer for a TV network years ago, a long time ago. And those celebrities that I got the chance to interact with were not really big stars but upcoming stars. Hahaha!

Our show was a Public Affairs program that helps communities with activities and projects through the power and influence of celebrities.

Since our show has a very low budget, we couldn’t afford the big stars. Most who would agree to our very low talent fee were those who wanted exposure like new celebrities, mostly past finalists of the network’s reality show, Starstruck!

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Inspiration, Travel Stories

Don’t listen to them. Just go to the beach

Note: This is originally an Instagram post, and I just want to share it on the blog.  

A year ago, I was in pain and in debt.

I lost my father with liver cancer and I hit rock bottom financially.

It was a time when I saw a social media post of an online friend who happens to be a financial advisor. She recruits and sells insurance, and pledges to be an advocate of “financial intelligence.” She had this generic photo of a girl on a beach with a caption that says something like, “You still managed to go to the beach, and you’re in debt?” with a LOL at the end.

I don’t know if she was just making a point, or mocking a friend. Or pointing about heradvocacy.” The thing is I wanted to be believe her.

But my gut feeling was telling me to do what I want to do.

Armed with my budgeting and backpacking skills, I embarked on occasional trips to the beach. Until now, I am still at awe at how I was able to pull it off, but I did.

jomalig Island beach
Jomalig Island

The beach cleared my mind, calmed my soul. It was not just a big help in coping up with the loss. I was able to ponder on my thoughts, brought back my belief in me.

I continued writing.

My blog opened up some writing gigs and opportunities to earn extra income.

The beach, its inspiration, helped me pay off my debts little by little.

I’m getting better each day. And if ever you’ll experience what I’ve gone through, I have one advice to you – don’t believe them.

You need to detach and relax from time to time. If you feel you need to go to the beach, go.

Just do what you want to do.

Don’t listen to them.


Luzon, Travel Stories

Fiesta in Masasa: When our transient house owner fed us with good food

They were all busy.

They decorated the house with this nice pink and pastel colors. I saw some girl outfit, gowns and make-up on the sofa. We didn’t know who to talk to. We just arrived at RNV House, the transient house that we contacted a few days before our trip to Masasa beach in Tingloy, Batangas.

When one of the household saw us, she immediately talked to us with her warmth and smile.

“Ay kayo po ba ng guest, ay sige po pasok po. Dito po kayo sa room. Pasensya na po ah fiesta po kasi ngayon. Eh magku-queen po kasi ang anak ni ate Neneth yung may-ari ng bahay. Kayo lang po ang tinanggap namin guest ngayon kasi po fiesta.”

She was too apologetic. I told her that’s okay. There was a parade that morning and they were all preparing for their queen’s gown and make-up. It’s nice to see how the entire household prepare, and how they treated us like we were part of them. Chill lang.

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Travel Tips

Must have travel apps for your next adventure

Travel Apps

There was a time when we relied on maps and guidebooks on our travels, but thankfully these days there’s an app for pretty much everything travel-related. To be honest, though, there are so many travel apps out there that it’s hard to know which ones you really need. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations for travel apps you’ll actually use on your next adventure.

First up (and while it might seem like an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many people don’t even have it on their phone) is Google Maps. At one time not so long ago, the app was notorious for sending people to their destination in the most roundabout way. Thankfully, the app is way better now, and thanks to those funny cars we see driving around everywhere, we’re almost guaranteed a good map of any area. If you don’t want to get lost, get Google Maps.

Now, if you’re a frequent traveler like I am, then you’ll understand the struggle with foreign currency. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what country you’re in, never mind the currency exchange rate. Well, I’ve found that the best app for that is XE Currency. You can add a variety of currencies as your defaults, so all you need to do is tap in the figure and it displays the equivalent in all your favorite currencies. This app is gold when out on a shopping trip.

As far as translation apps go, Google Translate is hands down the best. There have been many that have tried to knock it off its perch, and all have failed. Now, you’re not going to want to translate anything too complex, but for letting the waiter know that you have a nut allergy or asking where the bus station is, this app has you covered.

Heading for the beach tomorrow, but you’ve no idea what the weather’s going to be like? You need a weather app. Now, the stock weather apps on smartphones are usually ok, but they can be temperamental. I prefer to use The Weather Channel App. It’s got way more features than I need, but that’s good because you never know when you might use them. One feature I like is the ability to create personalized weather alerts that let me know when rain is on the way.

No matter how long we plan to travel (even if it’s just for the weekend), there’s always someone at home that wants you to be contactable. And the best way to stay in touch these days is on WhatsApp. It’s better than Skype, and with a billion users, the new friends you meet on holiday will probably use it to let you know when to meet them at the restaurant. It’s hands down the best app for staying in touch.

There are times when you’re stuck in an airport lounge or sitting in your hotel room as a monsoon rages outside, and you just need something fun to pass the time. But instead of the endless levels of Angry Birds, why not try a more challenging game such as poker? Playing a few hands of poker keeps your mind active, gets you thinking strategically, and who knows, you might even win some cash to pay for your trip. Can you think of anything better than sitting on a bus to the back end of nowhere and winning a hand of cards that actually pays for your entire trip? Sign me up now! 

 

So, the next time you’re heading to foreign shores (or even just taking a weekend break in the country) make sure you’re prepared. Download the apps above to take some of the stress out of your next adventure. And don’t worry, although I’ve linked to the Google Play Store, Apple fan boys (and girls) will find the same apps in the App Store.  


Singapore

Singapore – The One Stop Solution to Cultural Experiences and Shopping

Most vacationers are looking for your run-of-the-mill experiences like fun attractions, relaxation, and partying. But there are few who look for more. They want to experience the culture of that place. They want to explore places where culture comes alive.

Shopping is an integral part of any culture and this should be experienced too. If you too are a unique traveller like that, the only place you should consider is Singapore. This melting pot of various cultures and shopping haven, never ceases to amaze tourists. So, pack your bags and open your heart to an experience that is life-changing.

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Guest Post, Indonesia

Essential Bali travel tips: what to know before you go

Note: This is a guest post by Amilia Anderson

Fear of the unknown is rife in people who have never travelled to Bali before. An equal number of good stories and bad stories continually circulate about this magnificent island. Below is a list of travel tips for anyone who has never travelled to Bali before. They will assist you in being prepared and making sure you have a fantastic holiday on this magnificent island.

Pack a decent pair of walking shoes

The footpaths in Bali are not exactly structurally sound. Although wearing trainers can be quite warm in the humid environment your feet will be thanking you.

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Guest Post, United Arab Emirates

Ten landmarks of the UAE that define the Arabian Peninsula!

The UAE has seen a significant transformation in its landscape with full-throttle development, towering high-rises, world-class beach resorts, and much more. The UAE is one of the hotspots for tourists from different parts of the globe for a wonderful holiday and city break. There are several landmarks in the UAE that are instrumental in labeling it as a luxury destination.

If you look carefully, there is much more than just skyscrapers, loads of shopping, and sandy shores. There are plenty of destinations in the UAE that offer cultural fans several things to do. Explore the country’s glorious Bedouin past in the beautiful desert nights or visit the forts that have at one time been the guarded coastline before being dominated by the glitzy and glamorous high-rises. We have listed some of the things to know about UAE when you visit this fabulous holiday destination.

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Travel Stories, Visayas

Ridiculous! This Cebu Hostel is requiring 3 valid IDs,ONLY for Filipino travelers

It was already late at night when I arrived in Cebu.

I didn’t realize that it was hard to get a cab at the airport, so I used Grab. It was actually my first time to use the app. Yes, after years of making waves in the Philippines, it was only a few months ago that I’ve tried it. I didn’t even download the app on my phone. I sought the assistance of a Grab personnel at the airport to book a car for me. I know, I am so oldies. Hahaha!

So that’s it. I got on the car and told the driver my hostel and the address.

When I arrived at the hostel, it was already like a few minutes before 11PM. With all my huge backpack and all, I went straight to the reception. 

I told them that I booked online. While the reception dude was looking for my booking, he asked for my ID. So I gave him my company ID because my driver’s license is already expired and left it at home. You know, I wasn’t able to renew it since I don’t have a car anymore.

To my surprise, he told me about their policy of requiring 3 valid ID’s for guests availing the dorm type room. Oh my, they’re even worse than banks for requiring identification. Aside from my company ID, I only had another one which is invalid because it’s an ID for a membership. 

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Luzon

“Puno ng Walang Poreber” in Jomalig island

I noticed Victor, our habal-habal driver, was smiling when asked about our next destination.

He just said, “Dun tayo sa puno ng walang poreber.”

“What? Seriously?”

Apparently, he was. There is a tree in Jomalig that is named as “puno ng walang forever.” Hahaha

On the way to the location, I was thinking, asking where did they get this idea? Then I remember, this was popularized by a love team on a TV show. Walang Poreber means that there’s no forever in love. That if you have a better half, you’re gonna break up soon. Hahaha! Too much bitterness, right? I don’t know but the younger generation always use this phrase a lot. So even after the TV show ended, the walang forever mania continued.

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Beaches, Luzon

How to get to Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas

If someone asks me for a recommendation of a weekend getaway destination, I would always include Batangas.

You know the usual beach like Laiya and Nasugbu. But if you want a complete experience like having to ride a boat and experience the island life, I highly recommend Tingloy, Batangas. It’s the only island town in the province. Here, you could find the island’s most popular beach which is Masasa.

I’ve been to Masasa years ago. When I was still in college, we had to shoot a travel show for a production project. Since, we have a friend who knows someone from the island, and we really wanted to shoot an island destination, we decided to go to Tingloy.

That time, Tingloy was not yet a tourist destination so I was able to experience Masasa beach in its fine and unspoiled glory.

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Thailand, Travel Stories

The Scorpion Lady of Bangkok

It’s true, you’ll meet a lot of people and new friends when you travel.

But there are times that you’ll just encounter a person whom you didn’t become a friend, but will leave an indelible mark in your memory.

Just like this woman in Khao San Road in Bangkok. We just finished having a foot massage that night when we decided to stay for a while and drink some beer.

Chang, a Thai beer, was surprisingly good.

It’s not so strong like beers here in the Philippines. It has a mix taste of fruity apple in it. We chatted for a while. We were thankful for our new Pinoy friends in Bangkok for showing us around the city. We were having a great time until a strange woman approached us. She has this weird hair and all. But hey we were in Bangkok, our minds were open for anything new, so it was okay and fun that she talked to us.

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Food, Mindanao

Knickerbocker of Zamboanga City!

We toured Zamboanga city the whole day. Yes, we were tired but still excited for our dinner, especially me!

After staying in our hotel for a few minutes to freshen up (naks!), we headed to one of the city’s popular restaurant, the Palmeras Restaurant which offers wide array of Filipino dishes.

Food was served, one dish after another. If you were as hungry like us, you would expect us to feast on the food immediately. But you’re wrong, we are bloggers remember? So we still took some photos, lots of them before anyone could touch the food. Hahaha!

For me, I simply snapped a photo and then that’s it. But you don’t have any idea how my fellow bloggers took some shots. There was lighting, proper plating. Just like in a studio photoshoot.

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