Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Olà Espana!

Retiro ParqueRetiro ParqueView from Analina Roomwith Bahar and TimPlaza MayorMuseo de Jamon
Geppetto ShopPalacio RealMadrid's alleySeafood PaellaRestaurant near Plaza MayorMadrid
MadridMadridMadridMadridPalacio RealMadrid
Plaza MayorMadridMadridMadrid's Bid for 2020 OlympicsMadridMadrid

Spain is relatively more affordable than any other parts of Western Europe. If you like long walks, you will surely love going around especially in Madrid. It’s best to visit the city during autumn, the temperature is cool at around 15 degrees Celsius during daytime so won’t get bothered with striding under the sun.

Fortunately, I was able to visit Madrid during the last leg of my business trip. I must say that this is one of the nicest cities I have visited. Madrid lived to my expectations. Despite of being modern, century-old structures were preserved very well which makes the city lively day and night.

One of the favorite places I have walked around is the Plaza Mayor. At the entrance of the plaza, there is this huge foyer where a lot of restaurants are scattered everywhere. Since rice was not served during my previous trips, I devoured a plateful of authentic seafood paella!

Going back to the streets, I saw this very interesting shop named “Geppetto” (named after the Pinocchio’s father). All the stuff that were being sold are made of wood –wall clocks, chandeliers, and toys. Although the item are a bit pricey, the details of the carvings make it a good buy.

After some long walks, I went to Parque del Retiro as suggested by my friends. With the lush of greens, I laid down at the grasses with feeling awkward. There are a lot of people who read, jog and stride at the park. The park has a huge lake where boats are available for rent. A picnic would be nice if I just had some company.

For the foodies, a must try is the Museo de Jamon. True to its name, they offer a very wide variety of hams that you didn’t know it even exist. You can have it served as a sandwich or as a tapas.

There are a lot of cheap accommodations in the city that can match the budget of a backpacker. I stayed at Analina Rooms and it cost me P1623.00. They offer a modest room with a lovely balcony ala Romeo and Juliet-style. It is situated at the middle of the city so all the city spots are just a walking distance.

If I will have a change again to visit the continent, I will make sure to have a stopover in the city or explore the livelier Barcelona. Their diverse culture makes it interesting as we derived most of ours from these country. If you plan to go there, make sure prepare your Spanish vocabulary or bring along a Spanish-English dictionary as I had a hard time dealing with this barrier.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Look Back to 2012

As I have put in my Facebook status, my highest ups and lowest lows happened in 2012. Nevertheless, it was a very great year.

Looking back to the year that was, it had a blast on the first until the third quarter. I had carried well my work-life balance; met new friends, reconnected with the old ones and lived every day to the fullest.

Highlight of my year was I had to travel alone in different destinations. Getting to see Eiffel light up in the dark sky was amazing. Getting to see the Alpine mountain and experience its chilly side was different. Watching the sun as it rose behind the Angkor Wat temple was stunning and swimming with the Badjao kids in Tawi-Tawi was a totally different experience.

However, every up have its lows. The last quarter of this year was a big blow to me. Personal problems came in and I was almost shattered. Morale was very down during those times that I had to take a month-long leave to recuperate back. Plus one more punch in my career just when the year was about to end.

But still, I am very thankful for a very wonderful year. Everything that happened was an eye-opener in every aspect of my individuality.

Being an optimist, I can see 2013 will be a lot better than 2012. I have learned a lot last year and at least I gained more wisdom for my decision makings this time!

Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I know I neglected this blog for a couple of months already so it's time to revive the the chronicles of a backpacker.

This time, it will be on a one notch higher, backpacking from the dynamic cities of Europe and to unique and lively South East Asia.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where the Hell is Matt?

I first saw Matt's video in 2008 and since then, I followed his escapades. Lately, I checked on his latest video where he danced with some of our Pinoy folks in Quezon City.

I'm dreaming to make my own video like this soon. :-)

Funny bloopers too.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


When my phone got snatched 3 weeks ago, I had so much frustrations which made me decide to buy a Kindle. It doesn't hurt much on the pocket and bookworms will surely love it. Hindi rin siya mainit sa mata.

True enough, I fell in love with my new baby. It doesn't have the frills of the iPad or the chic features of the Galaxy Tab but having this is really worth it.

With its e-ink features, it won't stress your eyes reading for a long period unlike the famous tablets in the market. This has also an anti-glare feature which lets you read clearly even under the sun. Weighing only 8.5 ounce, you won't get numb or ngalay while reading.

Kindle Touch is thin and small, it's the size of a ballpoint pen which can also fit directly in your pocket. I must say that this device is good for travelers because its battery can last for 2 months (my first charging lasted for 3 weeks though). One thing that I love here is the drag and drop feature, you don't have to open any applications to synchronize those books in your computer.

Well, it doesn't have games or applications but who cares when you really love reading, right? This has been my companion while riding MRTs and it's funny how fellow commuters would glance and take a read Murakami in my Kindle.

I bought my Kindle via sulit.com for only Php 5790 and it comes with thousands of ebooks that can be downloaded from a dropbox account. Sulit, right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It took a year to plan this trip. If it’s not because of weather, our individual schedules don’t permit.

Last April 2012, my family hit the road from Baguio City to Batad in Banaue. It’s a very cold morning and as we ascended in the province’s high roads, sea of clouds appeared before us while the sun’s rays are prying in the horizon. It’s a blue moon experience to witness as such.

With the help of the GPS, we got lost a few times but it was fun. There’s even a shortcut that led us a kilometers of dirt road which pretty much you can already write your name in your car windows legibly. Though we got lost, we still managed to find our way out to the highway.

From Baguio, we navigated through the Ambuklao Road which en routed us to Nueva Vizcaya before we reached the province of Ifugao around 1 in the afternoon.

Our main itinerary is to stay in Batad where the rice terraces have a better view compare to the one in Banaue town. Since I already contacted a tour guide before our trip, she met us at the town center to buy stuff (don’t forget to buy Gatorade or any energy drink to keep you hydrated during the hiking).

From the town center, we took of our excess baggage and left it in our car. Our tour guide always reminded us to pack light considering the 3-hour trek we need to endure. Jeepneys are for hire to the saddle point where you will start hiking down slope until you reach the community in Batad.

The trek was tiring if you’re not used to long walks but for sure you will forget the pain and blisters in your feet once you see the view.

“WOW!” That’s what we all exclaimed when we reached the community overlooking the view of the Batad Rice Terraces. Of course we took the opportunity to get some pictures just before dusk.

After resting for a few minutes, we walked through the narrow stones to go to one of the baluys where we spent the night. It’s a good experience to stay in these comfy houses. We are five in the group and stayed inside one of the baluys yet it's still spacious.

One of my experiences here is to have a taste their native rice wine – tapuy. It’s a sweet concoction that I almost drank a medium-sized bottle if I didn’t share it with a new found friend from Finland who happens to visit the place for the 3rd time. It's also a nice sleep enhancer. :)

We have to wake up early the next morning to witness the majestic rice terraces before sunrise. It’s where you can view at its fullest.

Early after lunch, we need to head back to Banaue and endure the painful trek up to the mountain and reach the saddle point. Fortunately, they approved my request to stay for a while alone in the town center to wait for my night trip bus ride to Manila as they head to Ilocos.

If not during market days, Banaue is a sleepy town but there are stores where you can buy souvenirs and banaue cookies (good native cookies). When I got tired taking pictures and buying some stuff, I went to a coffee shop where I sipping their native coffee with the view of the Banaue Rice terraces. I also met some travelers from Arizona who are doing volunteer works in Thailand before I hopped in to the bus.

Going to Batad is a nice experience and I recommend you to see it before it deteriorates although the government is helping to restore this UNESCO World Heritage. I spent only a fraction of my budget since everything in Banaue is affordable including the accommodation. For the jeepney ride, better if you can share it with a group so you can divide the P4000 charge. Buses plying to Banaue costs around P550 and their terminal are located in Lacson, Manila. Bring jacket too because the aircon bus is too cold!

For the baluy accomodation, contact Kadangyan Lodges at (63) 9175010134. For tour guide, contact Irene Binalet at (63) 9169848380.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Mom's asking me when I plan to go out of town so she can hop in. I guess, she succumbed to the call of the travel bug. Well, if she decides to come with me, I have to tame down on some adventures so she can catch up but thinking of it, this would be a good idea to travel and enjoy the world with the greatest person in your life.

I'm excited!

 The Temper Trap - Down River .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine