All Blog Posts

  • Marcia Adam’s Tuscany Tagaytay

    Today marks my first month in Denmark and I am missing the Philippines, so let me share a memory from back home. Marcia Adam’s Tuscany is like a secret garden of aromas and chiaroscuro. The place is so beautiful. This is the first time a place shut me up when I was hangry.  

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  • Remembering is reconstructing

    My grandfather passed away weeks ago at 85. It was the first death in my father’s side. After the funeral mass, while walking from the church to the parking area, my seven-year old nephew asked Tita Ai, why do people die when they get old? I was fighting back tears that have been struggling to gush out since […]

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  • Simple make-up tutorial

    Good morning. If you have different shades of lipstick – preferably approved by the DOH-FDA – then you can play with those to use on your lips and cheeks and even eye lids. You can even try a layering of lipsticks. Results can be surprising. For base, BB cream works wonders, but not if you have […]

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  • Road trip to Baguio

    Baguio, Summer 2016. What to do, where to go.

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  • Casa de Cutab, Camiguin

    If you are in search of a quiet paradise this Summer, check out the white sand beaches in the island of Camiguin, south of the Philippines, and stay at beachfront Casa de Cutab Guesthouse in Sagay. I was surprised when owner Grace Cutab shared about this Casa. In 2012, after we organized a series of anti-violence-against-women […]

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  • The Strange Library, best buys at the FullyBooked sale, and a raised wand for Snape

    My wish list last holidays for the office exchange gift contained only one item, but a long one: ‘Haruki Murakami book except 1Q84, Norwegian Wood, Colorless Tsukuru, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.’ It must’ve given my Secret Santa a migraine. The minimum price was 300 pesos, and the […]

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  • Hello, 2016

    Hi! I forgot I have a blog. The last time I posted here was September 2015. For the most part, I was offline reading books, attending meetings, showing up in the office for work, chatting with officemates and friends, driving, doing freelance work, and lately furnishing our new home in Makati City.   For the […]

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  • Just before sunset in Gion, Kyoto: yukata, samurai, and glimpse of a geisha

    Gion is born out of the medieval ages of Kyoto, Japan. This district is home to ladies of arts called ‘geisha,’ whose old ways of serving tea and performing ceremonial acts inspire one to move in a delicate balance and sophistication. Gion’s streets can be wide and narrow, uphill and down, illuminated and fading. Every turn has […]

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  • Laughter keeps couples

    They say that laughter is the best medicine, but did you know that laughing is a secret aphrodisiac that can lead to a longer and happier relationship? Researchers have discovered that the therapeutic effects of laughter also translate to relationships, adding more positivity in your interactions with your partner in areas such as physical intimacy […]

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  • Sleeping in a century old house in Kyoto

    There’s a townhouse in Kyoto, just 5 minutes away by bus from the Kyoto station, that’s a hundred years old. Floors are creaking, rooms are small, and tatami mats are respected like the old values of Japan. This house is called Hostel Haruya.

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  • All Colors

    Bakla in the Philippines remains a derogatory term, truth be told. It’s synonymous with weakling, cowardly, parlorista. Vice Ganda may be tolerated in the country’s public airwaves and conquer blockbuster ticket sales, but “his kind” is mostly seen as no more than that—an entertainment, comic relief, a joke in the human evolution. In academic discourses, […]

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  • Osaka-Kyoto Notes

    If I were to write a quick note to friends planning their first trip to Osaka or Kyoto, Japan, this would be it. This isn’t comprehensive. In fact, I’m writing point after random point, with no clear outline in mind – just typing away in the middle of the night, in a Kyoto townhouse that […]

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  • Free spirits who began life at 30s

    My summer reads included two biographies – “Art Lover” (Peggy Guggenheim) and “Dearie” (Julia Child). These were 70% off because a Bibliarch branch in Pasong Tamo was closing its store last April – a sad affair, but a great chance to read about two strong women who began Life in their 30s.

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  • Fling off the heels, drink wine in your hotel (and some suggestions what to do in Macau)

    Three languages populate the signages in Macau: Chinese, English, and Portuguese. English with a thick Chinese accent is used in many places – I was lucky to have a travel buddy who’s had four Chinese bosses in the Philippines and in Singapore, so he did most of the talking in stores, food stalls, restaurants, bus […]

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  • Cotai, Macau

    Cotai Strip is the gambling highway of Macau, if not Asia. Las Vegas would surely not relinquish the throne to Macau, but the stream of money and ‘high rollers’ into Macau, especially Cotai, over the last years has been relentless. In fact, some time ago, it surpassed Las Vegas’ sales. Out of curiosity, a trip to […]

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  • Underground River and the Tamilok Challenge

    The one thing you’ll notice among travelers who come out of the Underground River is that they’re in their best behavior, as if they’d been in contact with forces greater than themselves. An entire day is allotted to the Underground River Tour, not because it’s far, but because of the long queue. Is it worth it? Yes. […]

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  • Puerto Princesa

    Palawan remains, to me, the most beautiful place in the Philippines. Recently, CNN named its beaches one of the best in the world, attracting foreign tourists this year, including Bill Gates. One of our tour guides in Puerto Princesa said Gates and his family went to Amanpulo and El Nido – two of Palawan’s pride […]

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  • A day at Villa Escudero

    My first time in Villa Escudero was almost two decades ago, when I was turning 13. The second time was in 2014, when I turned 30. Here’s where my father’s sister, the beautiful Tita Cora, married a gentleman from the Escobar family (I was maid of honor). Our stay seemed to have left quite an […]

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