LEAVING FOR LEMBANG

Cool and cold places appeal to me so much so that when I was asked to spend a weekend in Lembang, not an ounce of hesitation was dropped. Lembang is a tiny municipality 16 kilometers north of the city of Bandung in West Java, Indonesia. It sits at the foot of Mount Tangkuban Perahu and has an elevation…

NOT THE USUAL EL NIDO TRIP

I woke up to a gloomy, gray morning. I dragged myself out of bed, went for breakfast, and dined with the Japanese (mom) and German (dad) couple and their kids. After a cold shower, I decided to take a walk to the pier, the take-off point to all islands facing the West Philippine Sea, including…

NOTHING CAN SPOIL AN EL NIDO TRIP

It was July and the weather was unpredictable. It rained on most days in El Nido, Palawan. There was a brewing storm up northern Philippines, and that caused monsoon rains in the western part of central Philippines, where El Nido is located. All island-hopping trips were cancelled. It was frustrating. Tourists, travellers, and visitors go…

IF LIFE IS THIS INCONVENIENT, THEN I WON’T MIND

It was a long, almost six hours, bumpy ride from the Puerto Princesa airport to the northeastern tip of the long island, called Palawan. I was squeezed between the driver and a Caucasian passenger at the front part of the coaster, a backpack under my leg and my gadgets on my lap. The back of the…

CAMBODIA 2011

I was browsing through my files a month ago and sifted through photos taken from my trip to Cambodia in 2011. Funny, but it seems like I find the photos (more) interesting after five years of taking them. Did I get bored looking at them after the trip? Probably. Or is it the ‘throwback’ effect?…

KALYE BUDIN: Tayabas’ Pasalubong Haven

Cassava cakes come in different forms and tastes and there is one sweet, cheesy kind that is found in the sleepy town of Tayabas in Quezon Province, the Philippines.  It is called budin and is found in abundance in a narrow strip called Kalye Budin (cassava cake street) where a string of mostly wooden houses make and…

I WENT TO GEORGE TOWN!

It was a long weekend and I needed to go somewhere. It had to be a flying distance, within my budget, one that does not require a visa, and a place I have never been to. I went to Penang. Why Penang? Malaysia isn’t my favorite hideaway. Everything there can be found in Indonesia and Singapore….

CAFÉ CRUISING 3: A Lazy Sunday Afternoon Café

Just before I left for my three-week July holiday, I visited two new coffee shops that opened a month or so in the neighborhood.  I expect that these new ones will give an exciting competition against the three previous ones I wrote about. Here’s the second.   You won’t miss it. It’s the tiny coffee…

I AM (NOT) A FILIPINO

On a few occasions, in Mangga Besar district of Jakarta, I had been approached by people who asked for directions or tried to strike a conversation with me.  The only problem was that they talked to me in Mandarin!  I replied to them, in little Mandarin that I know (thanks to my seven-week stay in…

CAFE CRUISING 2: Amyrea Art & Kitchen

(Just before I left for my three-week July holiday, I visited two new coffee shops that opened a month or so in the neighborhood.  I expect that these new ones will give an exciting competition against the three previous ones I wrote about. Here is one.) A few meters from Jl. Boulevard Raya (Kelapa Gading)…

BALLET PHILIPPINES’ MASTERPIECES

Ballet Philippines, the Philippine’s premier ballet and contemporary dance company, staged Masterpieces: Celebrating the Tapestry of Filipino Culture and Friendship at the Ciputra Artpreneur, Jakarta, Indonesia on June 13, in celebration of the Philippines’ 118th independence anniversary. The show was a collection (like a sampler platter J) of excerpts from some of the best productions…

TIDUNG: The Cat Island

I was recently on a trip to Tidung Island, one of the hundred or so coral islands of the Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) complex off the coast of Jakarta, and one thing  that caught my attention and, probably, what makes the place remarkable is the presence of a large population of cats.  They come in different…