Shy was at Baguio Village Inn

Shy was at Baguio Village Inn
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

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5 Things You Shouldn't Dare Miss Out in Palawan.

1. Go see the Underground River.  You'll see that there's a whole new world as you get inside that seemingly measly  mouth of the cave.  Imagination would make you see rock formations of the last supper, the naked lady, carrots, mushrooms, horses and many more.  Guides would point out where the Batman and Robin hideout is.  And you'll discover why it's important to close your mouth while all throughout the trip.  

My brother posing for a pic as we waited for our turn to get in the boat.

Mind hanging with the gang?

2. Do Island hopping in El nido and be fascinated with the different islands.  While you're at it, don't forget to feed the fishes while snorkelling around Simsu Island.  Take pleasure as you surround yourself with a hundreds of them.  Take great underwater pics of course.  Also, try swimming your way through the hole to reach the Secret beach.  Don't fret once you see 2 or 5 jellyfishes here and there.  They're the stingless kind.  End your island hopping by doing sunset watching at 7 Commando Beach.  

Setting force in our island hopping.
On our way to helicopter island.
My sister taking her pic in our first island - Helicopter island.

Had our pictures taken in Star Island where we ate our lunch.  

3.  Try their local delicacies. The tamilok actually doesn't taste like oyster with wood shards aftertaste.  After eating it, I wasn't sure watSip a mouthful of birds nest soup in Balinsasayaw Resto.  You'll realize it tastes more like egg soup.  Still waiting for my brother to post the pics.  Do grab so Chao Long and find redemption after eating the previous  delicacies I've mentioned earlier.

4. Be mesmerized with hundreds of the fireflies at night as you row your way between mangrove trees.  No pics since we missed this.  This was set in the itinerary to cap the whole trip, just arriving in Puerto Princesa after a gruelling 6 hours on the road, we were far too exhausted that a 45minutes of tricycle ride sounds like forever.

5. Work your way up the Ugong Rock Cave, and tap on the rock to hear on the sound and see for yourself why it's called 'Ugong' (Sound).  I must say that the descent is more intimidating than going up.  Acrophobics? Brace yourselves, it won't be pretty, but definitely worth the sweat.  Once reaching the top you'll find yourself sweating like a pig.  From there, you'll have to decide how to get down: do sitting/superman zipline or head your way back in the cave.  

Rapelling up the cave.
With my Mom posing as we climb steep stairs in the cave.

Publisher: Shy - Sunday, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

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10 Tips in Planning your Family Trip.

Ok, let me put a disclaimer out there that I am no expert on this subject and that what I end up with are things that I've discover along the way as I was planning my family's trips for the past 3 years.   Every year we go out in one famous tourist spot in the Philippines, and so if you do your math that would be only 3 trips that I've organized for my family.  Nevertheless I'll share them anyway in the hopes that you might find light and inspiration in planning your own family getaway.

So here goes.

1.  Make sure you don't travel during monsoon season.   I can't stress on this enough.  In our case, me and my mother had an interesting argument as soon as she realized that we'll go to Ilocos during monsoon season.  She had gone totally buzzerk.   As for me?  I was just devastated. But good thing nature was on our side because when we got to Ilocos, the sun was out there shining on us like an angel.  I guess my prayers were answered.  If you weren't lucky enough, then here are my suggestions how you could spice up your trip even when it's raining.

Oh sweet Jesus! Thanks for the Sun! :)
Aren't we a lucky bunch?  We've got the sun on our side baby. :)

2. On booking flights, let them do it.  What's hard with booking their flights?  Leaves might not be approved and so you would have to pay more for the rebooking fee, differential price for tickets, and service fee.  More money wasted.  They should at least be responsible for that part.

3.  Print your tickets days before your trip.  If you've been reading this blog you'll know that in our first family trip, we actually missed our flight.  Reason?  My brother in his awesomeness printed the tickets last minute, and got home an hour and 30minutes before our flight.  When we reached the airport we were 10minutes late and so the airline already closed the check in counter.  I can't tell you enough how pathetic I sounded as I begged the staff to let us board the plane.  

"Where is your supervisor?",  the staff gave me her supervisor and the supervisor said no to my request.

And then I figured to push my luck and requested to speak to the pilot.

"Can I talk to the pilot?"

The supervisor was taken aback, but sternly said no... I was thinking, Oprah Winfrey was able to stop the plane from flying after a mere phonecall, well obviously it takes power to do that.  I realized I'm not her.... Duh.  So we had to purchase tickets for the earliest flight tomorrow.  I took pictures of the whole scene.  You can check it out here. :)

4.  Be realistic with your itinerary.  Just recently, I was making activities for our trip and I had bicycling around town, and free diving as part of our activities.  I was too eager to experience things which I haven't done before, but reality knocked on my door as my brother smirked as he read through the itinerary.  We all don't know how to swim and ride a bike.  I was in denial.  Fine, at least they know that there are these options.  Take it if they want, and leave it if they don't wish to do it.

As for me? Bring it on!

5.  Have a resting time.  Sometimes we want to pack activities in one day, making no room to just rest and really absorb everything in.  And that's really understandable because God knows when you could go back to that place again.  Once is usually enough for me.  But since this is supposed to be a holiday, try as much as possible, to give leeway just for resting.  When we were in Bohol, we spent the entire day moving from one destination to another, nonstop, and we had to do a 3hour-ride going to our final destination for the day.  As soon as we reach Panglao at 6pm, we immediately checked in and hit the bed, we were all dead this time.  So we were practically incapable of getting out of our beds and check out Alona beach at night as planned.

6.  Let go of places you can't visit, or activities you can't do.  There are times wherein we couldn't go to a destination or do a certain activity due to some reasons.  I missed riding the Hot air balloon in Cambodia, and I wasn't able to go to the Kapurpurawan rock formation in Ilocos, and it was OK.  Don't beat yourself up, and don't let that ruin your trip.  Let go and have fun.

Hot air balloon.  Missed.  They were closed then. Balloon was wet from  yesterdays' rain.

7.  Safety is top priority.  When doing family trips, I usually opt for tours since it's safer that way, as oppose to taking a do-it-yourself route.  Well if it isn't so complicated to do, then go, but if it is, then I'll go for a safer option.  Remember you will be with your family.  You don't ever want to get lost. The blame game would probably bite you in the arse.  And you know where the fingers are all pointing to - you.  Also try to research about safety tips while in a nature park or in any destinations you will be in.  Get to know about the place a little bit and find out which places you should avoid.  You can also ask locals about these info.  When we were in the Tabo an Market in Cebu, tricycle drivers were warning us to guard our belongings when entering the market since there are many thieves inside.  And so we did what we were asked.  We didn't go deeper anymore in the market.  We just bought our bulad at a stall 2 stores away from the street. 

Piles and piles of bulad inside Tabo an Market.

8.  On choosing a destination, try to ask as much info as possible from your tour guide.  It's different when you're looking at something beautiful and looking at something beautiful and know the history of it.  It gives you that added appreciation.  When my brother, friend and I went to go around the ruins in Angkor Wat, we saw humongous structures and intricately designed murals.  After visiting the 3rd temple, I just saw it as ruins of the old past. Nothing more.  When a tour guide joined us in our 4th temple, he talked about the history, pointed at the small details such as the holes punched in the huge slabs of rocks, and hands of the carved out imagines, details  that we could easily ignore if we were going around on our own.  Telling us all their importance and meanings, we can't help but be in awe of it all.  Of course we had to pay 150baht for his service, but yeah, at least our tour wasn't boring this time.

Our tour guide explaining that the upper half symbolizes Hinduism, and the lower is Buddhism- 2 religions which the  King in Cambodia practiced centuries ago.

9. Plan out itinerary with the interest of the family members in mind.  My sister loves food. It's pretty obvious if you just saw her devour that poor mushroom burger at Salcedo Market.  So knowing this, I search for the best restos in town and jot it down as one of our food destinations.  My brothers like doing something exciting, something they haven't done before, so I try to look for activities like that.  You get the drill.  

10. Capture as much memories as possible.  Take pictures, take vids.  Sometimes, impossible as it may sound, you'll forget about these nice memories as you grow old.  Immortalize it with good documentation.  You can thank me later.

I pray that you'll just have awesome time with your family.

Come on.

Let's make good memories. :)

PS: I don't understand why many bloggers don't use gif... I mean, they're friggin cute. I think using them is a brilliant idea! hahah :)
Publisher: Shy - Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

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Why do I travel?

Everybody has his or her reasons why they travel, and quite frankly they usually end up with more or less the same basic answers - explore, detach, learn, heal, and pleasure.

I've been to places in my childhood and the travel really never did struck me as a necessity.  Yes, that's what I see it now.  The world is so damn beautiful to be missed, so fascinating not to be experienced, so vast to just stay stagnant.   It's exciting really to state the obvious.  But weird enough, these reasons weren't my reason why I actually started to travel.

They say that in order for a heart to heal you need to detach yourself in the familiar and immerse in the unfamiliar.  That's when you need to pack up your bag and go to another place to either work or play.  Just get out of your comfort zone, and pray that by the time you come home, you'll be okay.  Well that's what I did.  Of course traveling isn't the end all and be all to heal yourself, there are many ways to do so, but this is one thing I know that did.  

Now when I try planning for a trip, I seem to know where I want to go next and somehow bookmark it in my brain because I know that I'll get back soon after I'm done with the trip I'm planning on.  For other people, they would contemplate about it as soon as they step home again.  Whether or not coming up with the next destination dawned to you earlier, there will still be that next destination.  I think it's safe to say that traveling is like a drug to me- it's addictive, it requires money, it makes you ask for more, it gives you a certain high, an anxiety if you can't have any of it for long periods of time, it is just divine.

So going back to the question, why do I travel?

I started traveling to appease my broken heart, but reasons changed when my heart had grown fond of it.

Now, I travel because...

I like to learn and experience new things,

I desire to marvel at God's creation and I want to see the best of it before I die,

I feel the need to travel because I probably wouldn't be able to travel often when I start my own family (at least that's what I think),

I'm interested on meeting local people and talking to them about banal things.  I know it's so simple but there's something about it that makes you feel that you're a part of something large - humanity.

I want nature and the wild to surprise, shock, intimidate me.  The feeling of being around danger, and coming out of it unharmed, alive, and even smiling.  Now that's cool!

I am curious to know how these weird and awfully sounding exotic food tastes like.  Will I like it?  Will I not? Will I take more home?  Or will I puke?  Will I get diarrhea or disease from this?  Whatever it is, at least  know.   And at least I can tell my grandchildren that I've eaten brains, insects, frogs, crocodiles, and some sorts, and they'll think I'm cool.

And I know you've may or may not about heard these answers before.  But really whatever reasons you may have, I assure you that by the time your trip is over, you wouldn't see your world the same way again.  You needed to just go on with your own journey for you to understand.

Those are my reasons.


Why do you travel?

Publisher: Shy - Friday, March 15, 2013
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Palawan Preparation: El Nido and Puerto Princesa Adventure

So 5 days to go before our Palawan trip. Ohhh, I've been waiting for you for years now, and it always exciting to know that I'll finally be stepping on the best beaches of the Philippines. This is just nature at its best right here. 


I wonder if being in the beach for 5 days could dampen my enthusiasm. I'm afraid I'll get bored in the last days of our trip.

Wait, is that even possible when you are in paradise?  

That should probably be the worst or more like unlikely thing that could happen.  But I brushed that possibility by just trying to enjoy the beach in the most varied ways possible.  Take for example, snorkeling, island hopping, taking underwater pictures, doing an early morning jog along the long stretch of powdery white beach, kayaking, and what else? hmmm, I've practically done many things with the beach, played with the one nearby my place.  It's just a smaller version of the one that we'll be visiting, but there is always a moment of serenity in that nook that I have in Isla Reta.  And it never fails to bring me to heaven.  Everything just stops and I just feel myself floating in my own dreamland.  I sure pray that I can create many moments in Palawan.  Most times, when I do pray for it, I get more than I expect and wish for and a bit more.  And I pray that this time would be the same as with any other trips I had.  I know that nature would just awe us again this time around.  Making moments as we try to experience it firsthand.  But much more than the wonderful places, it's always the moments I have with my loved ones are the ones which stays with me forever.

And so I can't wait to see our reaction and how we take in nature's wonders.  Hmmm, I could only scratch on that emotion for now.  I'm pretty sure we'll be amazed as we get inside the Underground River and the darkness swallowing us as we go deeper inside the cave.


Or I could only imagine how my sister would irk as she get her first swallow of tamilok, which is a mangrove worm, turned into a special local delicacy.  

And for some locals or tourists who prefers the extreme and all-things-quirky?  They would go down the mangroves or beachside in search of a dead mangrove root, grab the worms out of it, wash it in a bowl of water a few times, then dip it in kalamansi or lemon juice, sprinkle it with a bit of salt and swallow it raw.

Just like how it should be enjoyed. :)


I can't wait to do our first kayak with my sibling.  I could only imagine us kayaking alongside the jagged wall of Cadlao Island, and just be in awe as to how small we are and be humbled by all that.


I've got my itinerary already lined up and itemized, activities highlighted, expenses calculated.  It's after doing all these did I discovery that I'm quite OC with trip planning.  Down to the last detail baby.

Now everything is almost all set and ready.  I'll just probably wait and enjoy the ride when it happens. :)

Publisher: Shy - Friday, March 15, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

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The Fault in our Stars: On Life and Love

"But Van Houten, the marks humans leave are too often scars... "

The Fault in our Stars talks a lot about the many ironies of life, and love.

It is bitter-sweet.

You'll laugh and cry.

On Life 

These life lessons were plotted in the lives of teenagers suffering from terminal cancer.  The story was more or less what I was expecting judging from the situation.  I know this would teach me that I should live life to the fullest.  I was right but I went ahead reading it anyway because it really is an easy read, except for the parts when the protagonists, namely Hazel and Augustus, got into poetry mode.

I learned a number of ironies in the stories too: That there is the struggle of the terminally sick trying to live life to the fullest, encouraged and supported by parents who seemingly lost their own sense of living because of them;  That it's ok if you have cancer, they got this thing called cancer perks which somehow makes you feel you're lucky for being sick, free movie pass, Yeah! Go cancer!; That having cancer in your balls is funny and tragic at the same time.  You laugh after reading this, but then you would feel guilty for laughing because you know it was rude to laugh at a guy who ain't got no balls (hahaha)...seriously, it's wrong people.  Somehow the author tries to put lightness to the situation by injecting humor.   Some people buy it, although others who experienced cancer first-hand or who has a loved one who got cancer may or may not find this funny.  Hey, to each his own.  Like what my friend, Jean de La Bruyere said, Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.  But what Mr. La Bruyere miss out on is that once something bad happens, you just can't help but to feel pain.  As per the book, "That's the thing about pain... it demands to be felt."  But you can only mourn at a certain time.  Life won't stop for you.  You need to decide to stop, and be ok.  Push away that pain and pull yourself back together and move on.  In this book, however, the story ended tragically, like Romeo and Juliet.  They're star-crossed lovers, with the only element holding them apart is death.  But they got their love story alright.  They experienced true love.  Something people would die to have, and have died without having it.

On Love

But I think what made this book special is the love aspect.  Let's admit it, everyone is a sucker for love.  And mind you, it's not just any other love, it's true love we're talking about.  I think anyone would want to experience how it is to truly love and to be truly loved in return.  True love and you mix it with death is a deadly combination for a tear-jerker story.  I know, I know there's nothing new about it, but it more or less works.  And it throws people in a very tragic situation that they can't help themselves but to cry.  Story lines speak of situations like "I spent my dying days loving you", or "hey, you don't know about this was what I did for you, I hope you liked it.".  Ok, ok, so maybe I'm ruining it for you.  Try reading the book and you'll understand what I'm talking about.  You really need to sink your teeth in to the book so you could get to see the complexity of emotions revolving around the characters.  Well maybe emotions aren't that complex.  It's just downright heart-wrenching.

So what did I learn about love? I believe true love is selfless. And is not only shown through words but is cemented by actions.  Someone who is dying showed me what true love is, and it's always is refreshing to see it unfold in the story.

My Thoughts

One line that lingered and really struck a chord in me is the line that we often leave scars behind.  We inflict pain on people and people inflict pain on us.  Hazel thought of herself as a bomb. Not because she's hot, although she was depicted to look like Natalie Portman, no.  She said that she's like a bomb waiting to explode.  So she wanted to be less exposed, to maintain her victims to a few close relatives.  So she wouldn't cause scars to many people once she passed away.  But more than leaving scars, I believe that we are equally capable of planting seeds.  Seeds of wisdom and inspiration, so when you're gone you somehow leave something for them to be thankful for.

It may cause them momentary pain, but your legacy remains.

Publisher: Shy - Monday, March 04, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

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Indochina Dream

I was in the car slumped at the back, and seated along with my nursing classmates.  We were off to our first class, and I was bored and beaten as I just got out from my 8hr graveyard shift, when suddenly this song was played on the radio.  I was awakened.  Listening to this made me feel so excited, and just instinctively as with breathing, I started imagining what the best days of my life would be.  My mind took me to exotic countries doing unimaginable things a  conservative traveler wouldn't do.  These scenes and situations got into my brain clip after clip after clip, one on top of the other.  I knew then, that I have planted a dream.  That tune of excitement rings the same tune of my dreams.  

We only have one life to live.

We might as well ROCK IT!

Publisher: Shy - Friday, March 01, 2013
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