"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Currently 7.21.2020

The measures implemented by the government to lately to control the pandemic has allowed me to shift my attention to other aspects of my life, and to help re-evaluate my priorities.

For a time, life was all about getting things done, being in optimum performance at work, staying on top of matters regarding school, being present in family events, my relationship with C and all while trying to find time for myself and being responsible for my pet and chores. In other words, my plate was full. 

Then all of a sudden, everything slowed down. For a month, I realized that I was already under a lot of stress-and the stress trauma kicked in. I was happy with having time for myself being able to recharge and do things around the house. 

Then we went back to GCQ, and once again, I was faced with the adjustment of having to do things and catch up again with work. 

During these troubling times, I realized my therapy was writing and painting and also using whatever crafts I had on hand. Add into the mix our gardening routine, indulging in entertainment- hello Netflix, and practicing my baking skills- hello weight gain. 

It all made me realize that it's about time I did things that made me happy and inspired. 

During this time, C made sure I had vitamins and essentials to help fight off possible contact with the virus. He gave me black cumin seed capsules and face masks, as well as a steady supply of delicious calamansi puree. 

We even started a business online with high quality, Filipino-made products ranging from Natureal juices, Charles and Charlie Kalamansi Puree and offered my brother's Instapack. Also, our stocks of a new line of touch-free alcohol dispensers have just arrived. 

That, plus my disappointment in being unable to travel abroad this year to South Korea for my birthday week with my family to experience the cherry blossoms and the thought of experiencing food and places and a new culture sort of added to my yearning. But I've come to terms with knowing that it's better to be safe than sorry. 

But right now there are things that I find helpful and aides in keeping me distracted right now. 

Pentel Fude Touch Brush Pens

Here's my happy, happy brush pen set that's finally made me content with my calligraphy skills. Now I know what the fuss is all about when it comes to brush pens. The nylon tip is firm, unlike the other brands that I use, and the size is perfect for my hand. I am enjoying the original set with the classic colors, now if it only weren't for the delays in shipping goods because of health protocols due to the pandemic, I would have ordered the new colors that were just launched this year.

Veco Ziplock Pouches 

My ziplock pouches just arrived and I started labeling them for various purposes, mostly for business. I gave one to my Mom and shared the other with Q to use for their collections as well. I now want to buy a few more and then sell them as a set. 

Veco Sketchbook 

This is my excuse for a sketchbook, I thought of having this for my thesis because I used up the grid Veco notebook for the business and even noted our first [board] meeting on it with agreements. But let's see if I can really use it for my project paper this semester. If things become worse in the city, I will have to enjoy using it for watercolor and acrylic painting. 

Rainy Day Stickers 

I now enjoy printable stickers because they're easier to make with my printer at home and I still have my matte sticker supply. I've discovered that deliveries via Shopee is easy, should I order more matte sticker paper, and that I can cut them manually with my sharp scissors. I am kind of enjoying stickers on my planner, but of course, the ones I want can be pricey. I can still save for them though. 

Desert Mist Humidifier by Young Living 

I have a huge crush on a humidifier that P introduced to me last month. I was so intent on saving up for it because I knew it was rather pricey and even after a month, I had to save up for the other half. All of a sudden, I receive a surprise from C that he already paid it for me and all I have to do is wait for it to arrive. Shipping nationwide has slowed down due to limited flights. I honestly can't wait but it will take about three weeks more. I've been watching videos on the scents, how to operate it and what other things to do with it. Maybe an unboxing is in order once it arrives? 

Right now I'm enjoying time at home, having the time to complete my projects such as print photos, complete my traveler's notebooks, use up my stickers and washi and pamper myself by doing spa days where I put on charcoal masks and indulge in hair treatments. It also means there will be more content for here pretty soon. 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Destination Diary: Subic

 The whole trip was planned out three months in advance for one purpose and one purpose only, and that’s to pull off a birthday surprise for a really unsuspecting celebrant. Lucky for us, the celebrant had no idea what’s in store despite some slip-ups, from innocent comments coming from family members, to last minute mentions of various destinations in an attempt to mislead said celebrant. It was a huge ploy that entailed the participation of all of the members in our family, but in the end, it really was a success to making the celebrant’s birthday such a pleasant surprise. 

We stayed in a budget hotel in Olongapo with very quick access to parts of Subic and within arm’s reach of establishments and shopping malls. Staying in town is a good choice for travelers as the center is very walkable, for quick meals and convenience stores too. But for some attractions, you will need to call a cab especially for the ones inside Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). So without further delays, here are some things to do in Subic: 

 Watch the Shows at Ocean Adventure 

Having been to Subic before, I was in charge of arranging the itinerary for our group. It was easy to call for a cab from our hotel, as the reception knew a lot of cabs willing to drive us for a group of nine people, and we didn’t take anything less than a nine-seater vehicle. 

The moment we arrived at Ocean Adventure (on a Sunday morning), we were in for a shock because there were at least ten tourist buses carrying school kids on a field trip! Luckily, a lady from the ticketing booth recommended a different schedule for our shows so that we were able to avoid the school kids during the shows. 

In Ocean Adventure, there are a total of four shows to watch. Wild World is a mix of jungle survival tips and encounters with rainforest animals such as a bearcat, fruit bat, python and scops owl. These are all rescued animals and the show educates visitors about preserving their natural habitats. 

The Sea Lion Marine Patrol show features sea lions and their mission to protect the environment and their population as they are still threatened by hunters all over the world.It’s an entertaining show for audiences of all ages, and there’s an underwater viewing window for those who want to have a closer look at the sea lions relaxing underwater. 

The Sentinels of the Sea show features bottlenose dolphins showing off their superb abilities and natural wit in keeping the ocean thriving. It’s a show in the Seaside stadium and the best seats can be occupied really fast especially if there’s a big crowd such as on weekends. 

Ocean Adventure also has a Koi Pond, Ocean Discovery Aquarium, Voyager Aquarium and a Souvenir Shop. 

Up Close and Personal at the Zoobic Safari

Pulling up at the parking lot in front of Zoobic Safari, we were surprised to find a pot-bellied pig roaming the corners of the parking lot. This we have to get used to, as the gates are wide, but the pigs are kind of low so it’s easy for them to just squeeze out of the fences to give visitors a shock.

We had lunch in the restaurant but not after having taken a group photo with the white tiger whose head is bigger than ours. It took a bottle of milk and a lot of courage to be able to come close with this gorgeous white tiger. 

Similar to Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, we took the tram to our tour stops. 

The Savannah is a quick tour showcasing ponies, wild boars, potbelly pigs, ostriches and guinea fowls. The lions in captivity can be visited and fed for a fee, as they can take raw chicken but doing so should be with caution. Even if there are cubs, they can be quite naughty when hungry. 

Croco Loco is not for those who have reptile phobia. This visit involves walking over a pit of 200 crocodiles and a chance to feed them by purchasing a quarter of raw chicken, dangling it via fishing pole and these crocs snapping at that snack. It’s enough to drive your imagination crazy. 

Finally, with a secure caged jeep, here’s the chance to come close with the tigers in their own space cooling off and becoming curious with visitors who dare go inside. With the scent of raw chicken attracting their senses, here’s the opportunity to come up close and personal with the tigers just inches away from your face! 

To end the tour, a tram will bring back visitors to the exit, coming full circle to the parking lot where refreshments are available after that tour. 

Charter a Yacht Cruise and Dive in Silanguin Cove 

Here’s the highlight of our travel, and that’s chartering a yacht for our birthday bash for one lovely birthday girl. 

The cruise started promptly at noon, as we had to carry our food to our yacht, MV Princess Regina, for the afternoon. For a party of nine people, the yacht is spacious enough as we spent all of our time aboard the top deck with salt water air, making our way via open ocean to Silanguin Cove which took approximately two hours. 

The tour comes with the captain and his first officer. Here’s where we knew what motion sickness meant, but seeing Silanguin Cove and its beauty affirmed that our trip was definitely worth it. We did all that we could to avoid feeling dizzy because we were faring through deep, open ocean but jumping into the cool water melted all our cares away. 

We spent a few hours diving here and there, and we found out that even the yacht crew couldn’t resist jumping overboard because the water was just so inviting. Not to worry, we were anchored safely. And as for someone like me who was afraid of drifting away, I tied the rope around my left leg as I was wearing a life jacket while admiring the shores of the cove. Getting any telecom signal in Silanguin Cove is next to impossible, so it was easier to focus on giving the place some undivided attention. If you’re someone obsessed with staying online, this might drive you crazy for a few hours. 

We headed back before sunset and the beautiful view of the lighthouse and surrounding islands made for an adventure one for the books. We had dinner at the Yacht Club Hotel after stepping back on dry land, but even after going back in our hotel rooms, I still couldn’t shake off the feeling of motion sickness as I stood in the bathroom ready to brush my teeth. 

Duty Free and Outlet Store Shopping 

Subic is known for many outlet stores and duty free stores. A handful of favorites are Harbor Point, Puregold, Royal Duty Free and some outlet stores such as Nike, Adidas and many more. Coming over in January still lent an air of leftover Christmas bazaars so we were able to score a few deals on footwear and some other items. 

Unwind in Binictican Suburbs 

B’s aunt is a resident of Binictican, a private neighborhood in Subic where we spent the time enjoying lunch and unwinding, talking about the possibility of monkeys coming up the backyard from the rainforest, and the usual horror stories among cousins as well as funny travel stories from our own personal experiences. 

With the rest of the natural light spilling in from the wide windows, I spent the afternoon reading books piled up high and had a good nap on one of the mattresses positioned on the floor. Here’s where I had one of the most restful naps because of the humidifier spewing relaxing essential oils throughout the whole home. 

There are other stuff we wanted to do in Subic, but with limited time we were able to at least spend some time unwinding, plus pull off a surprise for our birthday girl. 

Where to Stay: Save- New Kong’s Hotel

Rates start at Php 1,440 for Standard Rooms

Where to Stay: Splurge- Yacht Club Hotel 

Rates Start at Php 11,000 for Upper Deck Room


·  When visiting other nations, we are responsible for our own behavior and should observe proper customs as the locals do, as we are only guests in their country.

·  Be responsible travelers by disposing of trash properly and being courteous to those you meet, especially the elderly and locals. 

Note: All input are based on my personal experiences in Subic, Zambales. Our group made arrangements prior to our travel dates. This is in no way, a sponsored post.

*Photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy A50.

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Sunday, 5 January 2020

Travel Review 2019


It was a weird year for me, overall.

Weird because there were many surprising things that happened but were nonetheless pleasant; some twists and turns in 2019 served me right for my career growth.

But sticking to the niche of this blog, I’m surprised that 2019 has actually been a jam-packed year of traveling for me. It’s just that some of my travel stories didn’t make it to the blog because:

1. We’re valuing privacy and security and have opted to be shush about our whereabouts and,

2. If you’ve noticed, we’re choosing more tame itineraries that don’t involve whaleshark diving and cliff racing anymore because we’ve somehow become titos and titas of Zamboanga already. Our travel themes have somehow shifted from extreme to leisure. You can hear us talking about unplugging and detoxing already.

So here are the quick stats for 2019.

8- I left home eight times in 2019 for those personal travels. Including the official travel counts will undoubtedly increase and I can’t be bothered to count that too.

5- Of these are road trips. I’m surprised that people can withstand road trips that include crossing oceans just to get to island resorts.

In January, I spent New Year’s Day in Lakawon Island staring at the sunset wondering what’s to become of me and a huge task assigned to me in the workplace. Luckily, it all pulled off thanks to responsible people I can count on.

In April, C wanted to go to Samal Island so we made our way to Davao and Bukidnon and visited relatives in Balingasag and Jasaan. 

June was another out-of-town road trip to Cebu and Bohol with a special mission that involved taking my grandmother to Cebu in order for her to get home to Leyte. C drove us safely across with a crazy route, from Zamboanga to Dapitan to Cebu and we went as far as Bohol and vice-versa. Again full of stories but I didn't curate anything for the blog. (I'm still thinking about it though.)

In October I accompanied C to Manila and we (covertly) spent a few days immersing ourselves in the mountain city named Baguio. Our goal: detox. My goal: hoard succulents.

August is the highlight of my travel year though. It took us six flights, three cities, two countries and sooo many temples that I can’t again be bothered to count all of them in both Bangkok and Siem Reap

To end the year, my family went to Molave as an excuse to end the year and see the cold springs for ourselves-and we weren't disappointed. 

2020 has got to be another year of promise.

2020 plans for travel have yet to be cemented until after May, I’ve already planned out my vacations for the next six months, and for impromptu invitations, I always have to check with C and my family though- for reason number 1 and 2. And it’s always good to have company when traveling just in case something happens.

In summary, 2019 was about learning to slow down and unplug. I’m pretty grateful with the experiences this year, but I do know that there will be more to come in 2020. It’s a new decade after all and I trust the next chapter because I am the author.

Thank you for sticking with my travel stories. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead! 

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Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Destination Diary: Zamboanga del Sur

If you’re looking for a quick escape that’s still close to Zamboanga City for the year-end, Zamboanga del Sur is the best choice. Only about six hours away from the city, this itinerary is a two-day, one-night escape that’s very accessible and enjoyable for a family on a quick road trip.

Eriberta Spring Resort, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur

1. Stop By Eriberta Spring Resort in Mahayag 

Now this is an understated jewel in the region. Located in Mahayag, Eriberta is owned by a family friend. Only an hour away from Pagadian, it’s set to be a go-to destination for people who want to unplug from city life. Because there’s weak signal for most telecoms in the area, it’s a great place to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Mini Falls in Eriberta Spring Resort

Accommodations are very affordable at only Php 800 for a cottage that can be occupied by 2-4 persons. Entrance fees are at only Php 50 per person. There’s a restaurant that can take orders which is very convenient for breakfast with a basic selection and instant coffee.

On February 14, the Infinity Pool and newer cottages shall start accepting guests that can accommodate up to 100 persons. However, reservations should be made two weeks in advance especially during the summer.

Mini clear pools in Eriberta Spring Resort

Most guests were Chavacano, because it’s really nearby and a good choice for a stopover on the way to Cagayan de Oro, especially during the year-end.

Mini Waterfalls in Eriberta Spring Resort, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur

If you’re someone who wants to unplug, go to Eriberta and experience the cold water spring to rejuvenate your tired body and soul from all the year’s activities. The trip will be worth it.

Eriberta has some fun stories for us, ranging from scary to the plain crazy. As for us, we’ve found another stopover and maybe we will be back before you know it. 

2. Dine at the Vine Cafe in Molave

After all the swimming and soaking, we decided to explore the rest of the area and get in touch with civilization (areas within cellular coverage), and came across Vine Café and Bed and Breakfast.

It has eleven fully furnished rooms and a café and bar on the ground floor, which is also an events place for the young. The establishment was also popularized by travel vlogger Kulas of Becoming Filipino. The interiors reflect a cozy bed and breakfast, and there’s a wide menu for meals and snacks too.  We ordered mostly comfort food and heavy meals, so that wound us up for our next stop. 

3. Experience the Christmas Icons Lights Display in Tangub Plaza

Maybe it was curiosity that led us to Tangub, but it was still a worthwhile stop during the evening. The city plaza has become an attraction for families who want to look at the Christmas Icons Lights Display. It is an annual display where replicas of popular monuments around the globe are arranged, decked with lights making beautiful showcases at night.

A walkable replica of the Cascada Monumenta

The replica is made of Capiz Shells
Capiz shells were used in the walk-in replica of Cascada Monumenta 

Each display charges an entrance fee, ranging from Php 10 to Php 20 depending on the size of the display. We spent a lot of time in the tulip garden display which mimicked the thousand roses display in Cebu.

Replica of a Holland flower garden with lit flowers

After walking around and admiring the displays, there are vendors selling cotton candy and peanuts and a corner offering meals and barbecue. 

All in all, it was a good time spent with my family and a road trip where memories were made. Plus, more stories to tell. I’m leaving you with a few reminders and observations too and greeting you all a Happy New Year! Here’s to more adventures in 2020! Thank you for your continued support!


  • When taking photos inside the displays, be mindful of taking turns and respect elders. Don’t destroy the display just for the ‘gram.

  • Be responsible travelers by disposing of trash properly and being courteous to those who you meet.

  • Bring cash with you, not all establishments and vendors accept cards. Small denominations are convenient. 

Note: All input is based on my personal experiences in Zamboanga del Sur. This is in no way, a sponsored post.

*Photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy A50.

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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Destination Diary: Davao City

It’s my first time to actually post a blog out of a request for a travel itinerary for Davao City. Though it makes me happy to know that my advice is a factor in helping out people decide on what to do in a given city. So, thank you to friends and readers alike who find my travel guides helpful, you know I love receiving feedback from you!

Earlier this year, we headed on to Davao via Bukidnon through the BUDA Highway after spending a night in CDO. My brother’s argument was that we had to take the longer route first. True enough, this strategy would help us with our itinerary later on.

Olivia Sands Uraya Beach Resort

Indulge in the Beauty of Samal Island

Davao City’s LGU made it very easy for visitors to make their way to the beautiful attraction that is Samal Island. Through Sasa Port, which is only a ten-minute drive from our condo unit, everything in Sasa Port is organized. It only cost our car Php 250 with four passengers for the fees. Then all we had to do was to queue up behind the rest of the vehicles crossing the sound to the Island Garden of Samal, and after ten minutes, we were already entering the island after having paid Php60 for four people for environmental fees.

Samal Island has many beautiful resorts, ranging from the super affordable, to mid-range and the splurge-worthy.

For the super affordable, we first went to Kaputian Beach. With the help of Waze, it was a smooth ride. We paid the entrance fee of only Php 15 per person and settled down. However, we were immediately struck by boredom and decided to look for another resort with a little more privacy. Again, a few searches and suggestions from our dear friend Google led us to a mid-range resort called Uraya.

Now Uraya was very new, as it was on its soft-opening when we chanced upon it. Though a handful of people already knew about it, there were already families picnicking on the shore and couples doing their prenup photoshoots in Uraya. How new is new? There was still digging and construction ongoing beside the kitchen and the chef was also the waiter. But all is good because these were all minor observations because the beach is definitely worth it.

Olivia Sands Uraya Beach Resort, Samal Island

What I liked the most about Uraya is that it’s very clean, and I hope that the cleanliness is maintained. There’s also a nice dock that stretches to the ocean floating. Imagine that it’s set against blue waters reflecting clear skies, plus the white sand on the beach is spotless. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to Uraya. Not bad for only Php 150 per person. 

But we didn’t stumble upon Uraya immediately though. We thought of first trying our luck in the Pearl Farm but to tell you honestly, we didn’t make it past the gates because day tours were not allowed and a night in the resort would cost Php 24K! It was double the rates of a standard room in Conrad Manila!

The Pearl Farm is a high-end resort that offers dining options, watersports and offers unique experiences for all its guests. However, that time, it wasn’t for us who were on a budget during our trip. Perhaps we can enjoy the Pearl Farm the next time.

Guinness World Record for Monfort Bat Caves

Visit Monfort Bat Caves

Also not to be missed in Samal Island is the Monfort Bat Caves. It’s a good experience for coming up close with a whole colony of fruit bats! For only Php100 per person, all you have to do is attend a short orientation and watch the bats’ activities in the caves.

One of a number of bat caves in the Monfort Sanctuary

The Monfort Bat Colony is the largest colony of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bats reaching approximately 1.8 million, earning a Guiness World Record. A visit is recommended for families, kids and a group of friends to learn more about the importance of bats in the ecology. However, visitors can stand only so long before a headache sinks in caused by the stench of guano. It’s a good immersive experience though.

If you’re going around the island by yourselves, Waze can help you out. 

Experience Roxas Night Market

Back in the city, we were fortunate to be able to book a condo unit through AirBnB (hello Avida Towers!). Our AirBnB was so accessible as it was only ten minutes away from Sasa Port and only a three-minute walk to Roxas Night Market. Unbelievable right?

Roxas Night Market is the place to be for Davaoeños after a long day that takes away the guessing for cheap eats. I think we went back to the night market for at least a couple of times, as there were rows and rows and rows of food from deep-fried, tasty desserts, barbecue, puso (rice wrapped in leaves), grilled seafood, to summery mango desserts and dimsum.

Food choices in Roxas Night Market, Davao

I love that it’s clean, safe and definitely has many food choices for people who just can’t make up their minds (I’m one of those haha). For a group of four, the most damage can hike up to about Php800, compared to eating in a pricey resto. Here, it’s affordable and very satisfying. Yum, right? 

Be A Chocolatier in Malagos Garden Resort

Oh Malagos.

Malagos is synonymous to Willie Wonka for me, as during my first time staying here, I chanced upon production day in the chocolate processing plant and the aroma of chocolate wafted throughout the whole garden.

For a start, Malagos is not just a garden resort but has also made a name for itself in the international chocolate scene as it supports local cacao farmers and constantly showcases its chocolate products abroad. For first-time visitors, a self-guided day tour can be availed of at the front desk for an entrance fee of Php 200. A map shall be given to you and you can make your way through the butterfly garden, the chocolate museum and other sites along the way.

Museo de Mariposa, Malagos Garden Resort Self-Guided Tour

The butterfly garden is a peaceful stroll along the garden as each guest is immersed in how to pick out flowers and shrubs that attract butterflies, and an exhibit is open to all visitors. I particularly liked the handmade book about paru-paru superstitions, too bad I couldn’t bring home a copy of it.

The highlight of this visit has to be the Chocolatier Experience, learn how to make your own chocolate for only Php 450 per person, both kids and adults can do this. Malagos chocolate is 65% dark chocolate and they have been exported all over the world. The cacao is grown on the farm and the chocolate factory is onsite. While waiting for your chocolate to be packed, you can sit at the cafe and enjoy some chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and classic chocolate cake. 

Enjoying chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, and a chocolate shake in the Malagos Cafe

Here’s some advice, store your DIY chocolate in the ref immediately, avoid leaving it in any hot areas so that your chocolate won’t melt. The finished product is also a good gift to share with family and friends. 

Finished product of our Chocolatier Experience in Malagos Chocolate Museum

Eden Nature and Adventure Park

We arrived in Eden Nature and Adventure Park right before lunchtime and just in time for the buffet. For only Php 700 per person, we were able to refuel in time for the tour around Eden Nature Park. Meals prepared in Eden are all grown organically in their farms. Outside, there are shops showcasing flowers and plants for sale and other products from the park.

Posing in the Giant Picture Frame in the Flower Garden, Eden Nature and Adventure Park, Davao

There are so many activities to do in Eden such as going on a tour, swimming, fishing, and skyriding. We opted for the guided shuttle tour around the 40-hectare attraction that took 45 minutes. With three stops, we were also able to take photos in the various gardens. Tour guides can also teach you fun poses in each stop. Tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis so it pays to be early.

Acting silly in the Cultural Village at Eden Nature and Adventure Park

What I really liked about Davao is that it's accessible to many attractions and makes a worthy stop for a road trip. That, plus there's endless options for food whether it's save or splurge. After Davao we made our way back to Bukidnon and finally stayed with family in Balingasag and Jasaan before staying in Cagayan de Oro.

That's it for my Davao travel guide, and from a more personal note, thank you for sticking with me throughout the various travels I take. Keep the comments and the love coming, you know I love hearing from you, my readers!


·  When visiting other nations, we are responsible for our own behavior and should observe proper customs as the locals do, as we are only guests in their country.

·  Be responsible travelers by disposing of trash properly and being courteous to those you meet, especially the elderly and locals. 

Where we stayed: AirBnB 25th floor Avida Towers Hosted by Prosperty Property (AirBnB) with a view of Samal Island

Note: All input is based on my personal experiences in Davao City. Our group made arrangements prior to our travel dates. This is in no way, a sponsored post.

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