Northern Sights


If anything on my Facebook news feed is to be believed, it is that everyone and their mother have been to Ilocos.  Everyone but me.  And so, with a hiatus from work and school and with a new camera on hand, I decided to go on a four-day trip to Ilocos Norte and Vigan.  Alone, obviously.


Endings and Begginings


Endings are never easy.  Not even the ones that you fervently hoped for to end: a toxic relationship, a difficult mountain hike, a senseless war.  Everything must surmount some sort of obstacle in order to get where you want to: the end of it.  Deciding to end my job as a banker was easy.  It was the actual doing it that took 10 years.  In those 10 years that I have been working, I always knew that banking was not for me and that eventually, I would have to resign.  But things got comfortable and ironically, that made it more difficult to leave.  When people ask me why I resigned, I tell them precisely that.  The ending that was 10 years in the making, as I would like to call it.

Sweet Bali High

BALI, Seminyak, travel, Ubud

I probably haven’t been travelling lately or perhaps the times have caught up with me.  I was recently in Bali with my friends and on our second day we planned to go to some spa for a massage after a long day of sight-seeing.  I asked our driver, Ari— a good-natured guy whose English accent can rival any call center agent working for a European account, if he has an idea on good spas around Ubud.  He mentioned one as what he can think of as reputable and I should have agreed right away because when I mentioned, “any other else?,” poor guy was caught off guard and started handing me his iPhone: “Here, you can take a look at Google”.  There you have it girls and boys, the universalization of travel.  If this was years ago, Thomas Friedman could’ve gotten an island tan if he went to Bali instead of India and might have ended up with that same conclusion: the world is flat indeed. But I digress. If anything, Bali has rekindled my love for traveling which was almost lost because it seemed, for a while, every place is the same.  The key, I reckon from this trip, is to just let things be.  Sometimes, the more you struggle with finding what’s better or what’s new makes you miss the goodness that just clearly surrounds you. So, did google found us a good spa? No.  We found a spa ourselves just by walking around.  As any self-respecting traveler should. 

Baler is a Beauty (even if photographed on an iphone, on an overcast day. sorry.)

baler, lukso-lukso, summer, surf trip, trip, vacation
View from Ermita Hill.  Obviously, my iphone didn’t do it any justice.

There have been numerous trips and travel opportunities that have not pushed through in my quarter-life– trips that are so well-planned, detailed and dreamed on for days but then something happens and then one thing leads to another and then, the trip ended before it even started.  I believe this happens to most of us, and it doesn’t even have to be out of town travel.  It could be simple trips or quick get-together with friends that goes awry after you have exhausted time (and sometimes money) to plan it out.  And then there are things that you don’t plan for, things that are just of the moment and then it all falls into place.  Is careful planning a jinx in itself? But before I further discuss this and bore you to death, let me just say that our summer trips here at QLT for this year are rather unplanned and yet they turned out to be the most fun we’ve had.  But then again most of our trips are unplanned AND fun.  What am I even saying? Yeah this is just regular stuff.  I might actually bore you to death.

Or not.  Because we went to Baler.  You cannot be bored at Baler.  You just can’t. 




Eat Pray Love  movie image Julia  Roberts

Copyright 2010 Columbia Pictures

While all of us would agree that to travel is a joy, packing for it is another story.  If we could skip that part and just magically have a backpack or luggage neatly organized as we go out the door than that would be great.  However, unless you are a billionaire and/or Mariah Carey who have a personal assistant to do everything for you, packing things for a trip is a cold, hard truth in one’s life.  Of course, packing will be fairly easy if we could just stuff our whole house in a bag but since we consider lots of things, i.e. size of your bag, the health of your back and airline luggage weight regulations, we have to be smart about it.  I am now convinced, after years of living out of suitcases (and backpacks), that packing is a science and also an art. It just doesn’t happen– it has a formula and at the same time you have to be creative about it.

 I discovered a couple of wonderful posts in the blogosphere about this human dilemma and so I share them with you.  I could, of course, do my own post on how I pack my things but these posts from other bloggers are just so nicely photographed, I think you deserve to be seeing them instead of my amateur pictures (and I don’t own photogenic travel stuffs like say, a Louis Vuitton luggage).



Not really a fan of preppy Lilly Pulitzer anything, BUT what she said makes sense. (Photo via theheavenstartshere)
Almost forgot that I have this blog up and running in the vast expanse of the internet.  It is pretty miserable that I haven’t posted anything for the last month because whenever the temperature goes up I become a totally different person.  I lose interest in writing and more interested in reading because you can do that while sipping mai tais on a beach (I have yet to imbibe Ernest Hemingway’s genius of writing intoxicated). I also become more focused on having all the joys of my travel for myself alone, and yet, there I was seeing all updates from all corners of the social network from everyone, everyone except everyone who actually reads this blog.  And so this question: So, what have you guys been up to lately? I ask because we are on the last dog days of summer and I am pretty sure most of you have been doing a lot of traveling and discovering of new places.  This entire conversation would work if you just leave a comment on this post and answered my question.  But it can also work as if I am just talking to myself (because, you know, I do get to read this blog because uhm, I wrote it) and I say this: “I went to the beach!”  Then detailing what happened…to myself.  (Although hopefully my voice reaches real people because otherwise the clinical term for my condition would be schizophrenia).  
While I wait for anyone to care to share their summer exploits in this post, I will just go ahead and write about mine.  I mean, that’s the point of this blog, right? So the next posts for the following week will be about where I (and my quarter-life friends) have been to lately this summer and also wonderful discoveries like packing your bag in a really organized way and even DIY waxing.  They might be totally boring if you don’t know us OR if you don’t like to travel, though. (or if you’d like to leave your body hair alone).
‘til then, happy travels!

Gone for the weekend in Hong Kong (The Lazy Girl version)

city super, Dim Sum, Gone For The Weekend, Hong Kong, ikea, Tim Ho Wan, travel, trip

Ah, Hong Kong!  A cultural melting pot of East meets West, with great shopping, good eats and good-looking people.  It’s a big city with people running around, streets that are gloriously confusing and a vibe that can only be exciting.  Having said that, a 3-day jaunt on “Asia’s World City”, seems like a taxing endeavor especially when you are going to do it all by yourself (i.e. good riddance, boring tour packages!).  However if you are well-traveled and have been there once or twice before, it should be fool-proof, right?  Probably true.  But sadly, not for us  We admit that once we’ve been to a place before, we tend to be pretty stubborn in our ways.  And lazy.  Big time.  This could be due to too much sun and salt water exposure.  Or  you know how you seem to be good at Physics and you think you got it so you end up not studying for the exam and then when you take the exam you “surprisingly” fail? Well, that’s kind of what happened on our Hong Kong trip (And I really thought I was good at Physics!). So we end up missing the last cable ride to see the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, not having time to see Takashi Murakami’s exhibit at Gagosian Gallery in Central HK and (gasp!) having our dinner at Mc Donald’s (a first in our international jaunts, mind you. KFC is of course another story).  When will we ever learn that in big cities like Hong Kong getting from point A to B will take a lot of perseverance and time?  This is a whole lot true when about thousands of people are also wanting to do the same things as you are planning to do and  you are taking mass transportation– because you are not on said boring tour package.  Such are times when an itinerary is kind of important and time is sort of golden (aren’t I the epitome of adulthood?)