Maximize and Goodbyes: Tot Ziens, Philippines!

So how would you feel if you’ve learned that you have three months to live — in your home country?

Relief. Ecstatic. Panic.

I started listing all the things* I will miss!

Spontaneous weekends with tantanmen ramen, movie theater evenings with sour cream double butter popcorn, salted caramel ice cream, double cheese milkshake, walnut crumble apple pie, crispy fried wings with garlic parmesan, sweetened avocado, ube halaya, buko shake, buko salad, munggo with malungay and chicharon, lechon kawali, hainanese chicken with unlimited rice, lechon belly. I can add more, but you get my point.

  • I guess I meant food that I’ll miss 😉

Maximize. Three months…

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Pinatubo Crater: The Beautiful By-product of a Disaster

Time. The ultimate con-artist. It can show you a paradise as if it wasn’t molded by a deadly catastrophe.

The stunning landscape of Mount Pinatubo crater was formed by a major eruption in 1991. This event claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands of Filipinos homeless.

Fast forward to 2017, it’s now one of the main tourist destinations in Central Luzon which attracts hundred thousands of visitors each year which created jobs and livelihood for significant number of locals.

My city is 3 hours away from here and I do wonder why it took me this long to do this trek. If…

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10 Ways to Explore and Capture Stunning Images of Tokyo for Free

If you think traveling to Japan is expensive, you are absolutely right. But can a backpacker on a tight budget hack the average travel spending in Tokyo? The answer is YES!

Tokyo is one of my favourite cities. It’s a vibrant metropolis packed with hundreds of things to do for travelers and locals ranging from interesting to suuuper weird.

During my recent trip with my friend Joan, we followed a DIY itinerary that avoid the need to pay entrance fees and other extra expenses. (We didn’t hold back on spending for food though :b) We…

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The Pufferfish Theory

 

There was a time when I was obsessed with catching fishes using my bare hands. This is about the time when I first caught a pufferfish.

I was around 7 years old when my hobby and obsession was catching poor small fishes swimming around the cemented walls of the main river in my hometown.

I gained expertise in knowing what types of common fishes were easy to catch. I usually didn’t bother with the fast or the boring colorless ones. I targeted the tiny little estuarine species that are slow or those that love sticking to the walls like kitang and…

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Silver Lining of a Fashion Disaster

I’m not really the fashionable type. If you catch me wearing some terrible #ootd picks and combinations, you can always blame my horrible taste in clothing and I wouldn’t have the guts to disagree with your harsh criticism because chances are, you’re right.

But there was a time when I badly needed a fashion police to arrest me for flaunting my colourful chaos inside a palace… yet this time, it wasn’t my fault. Phew!

I was responsible for the colourful top, aztec doll shoes, and the huge necklace… but not the polychromatic pants. It was mine alright, but on that day…

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The Ultimate Japanese Onsen Experience

If you fancy the idea of living like a royal in a historical Japanese era while enjoying a traditional hot spring bath…

…then look no further than Takaragawa Onsen in Minakami.

It was an experience that I fantasized about when I was planning my first trip to Japan in 2014, but due to limitations in finance and length of the holiday, I wasn’t able to fulfill it; so instead, I promised myself that I’ll make it a priority when I get back.

Two years later, I’m in the middle of the mountains in Gunma, dipping in a hot bath while…

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I Should’ve Spent That $1 Extra

 

Every budget traveler has been torn on whether he will spend an extra dollar/s for inessential things during travel.

Extra costs such as souvenirs, added convenience to the cheapest transportation option, a dinner in a highly recommended local restaurant or whatnot.

In my case, while walking around the temples of Angkor Wat, I decided to pass on a photo opportunity with local girls wearing traditional costume for $1. I was in a very tight budget and I was trying to keep my daily spending to minimum.

At first I thought it would be great to take their photos but I didn’t wanna…

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Fishing With a Shotgun

It was a simple structure made of bamboo poles lying on top of the lake. Its silhouette and reflection in the water accents the scenic view of a calm and peaceful dusk in a countryside.

For a moment, I wondered about its purpose. It must be for fishing, I thought. Maybe they tie fishnets in it for a more efficient way to catch fishes. That last part was wrong.

The next morning we saw few men walking around, each with a gun. They rode a bamboo raft to each pole and climbed up to the intersection and stayed there for couple…

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To Topload from Banaue to Sagada? Think Twice!

Going ‘topload’, or riding at the top of a jeepney is a must-do experience when you’re traveling around Mountain Province.

Sure there are thousands of jeepneys in the Philippines where you can go topload, but a thrilling local ride through dangerous roads along the edges of the mountains… with spectacular views of nature, cool breeze and unpolluted air… it will be difficult to have that somewhere else.

That’s why I strongly recommend everyone to do it at least once when they go to Batad from Banaue. But if you don’t have time to visit Batad and the only chance you have…

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