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I forgot to bring a jacket. The air was thick with the distinct smell of an air-conditioned vehicle. A slightly smaller yellow bus, three vans, and some private Pajeros were in front of our bus, the biggest among the rest. I took the number of vehicles as premonitions and folded my arms to fend off the cold. “So, we are still waiting for three more, and then we can leave,” […]

“Blog Post Type: Cities Less Traveled” “A nail that sticks out should be hammered down,” a popular Japanese proverb, encapsulates how the Japanese live their lives: everything, everyone should conform to the norms. With this rigidity, a culture of paradox arises especially in Tokyo. This megacity houses some of the most distinct subcultures, some bordering on bizarre and fetishism. When you find yourself in the crossroads of Shibuya, it is […]

Blog post: Planning a Trip to a City | Nice, France Nice la Belle or Nice the Beautiful has a truthful ring to it. This second largest French city pulsates with life, energy, and beauty. Its mild Mediterranean climate captures the attention of its neighboring countrymen. There is the turquoise Cote d’Azur, the coastal landmark of Nice. But aside from this summer capital in the fifth most populous city in France, […]

A city is sometimes reduced to an image or an icon. In case of Seattle, the futuristic and sci-fi-looking Space Needle becomes the global representation of the city. There is nothing wrong with an icon, really, but it can be dangerous; at times, it can lead to misrepresentation. Seattle actually has some quaint and artistic hotels that will make you enjoy the present instead of worrying about the future. When […]

Cruising magazine published my photo essay on my encounter with the phenomenal Whang Od. The essay, just about 700 words, was hard to write especially I already wrote an exhaustive essay on Whang Od and Her Village. To read the whole essay, you can buy Cruising #GoingPlaces at any bookstores nationwide. I included some parts here as a teaser. *** About Jona Branzuela BeringWhen I'm not traveling, I teach, garden, […]

A trip to a massive and historical land like the United States of America deserves a trip to its birthplace: Philadelphia. In the recent years, the city has made impressive efforts to revive its historical and cultural significance. Its labyrinthine neighborhoods contrast one another. In front of postmodern high rises are 18th century national landmarks, along with gourmet restaurants standing alongside fast food paradise. Photo by Dan Rose via Trover.com About […]

Anaheim – Hipmunk City Love/Top Cities Summary of a City Guide Blog Post #3 Anaheim’s image has long been judged as the home of Mickey Mouse and his cohorts, where everyone wears the brightest smile and the most colorful costumes. But Orange County is more than Disneyland. The real OC is outside the imagined realities of imagined characters. Of course, you are free to come here, enjoy a ride or […]

New York, NY – Hipmunk City Love/Top Cities Project Best Of Hotels #9 New York is a city that has become a character on its own. It is highly romanticized. There is the New York Joan Didion loved. There is the New York Eula Biss loved and hated. There is the New York Jan Morris finds storied. There is the New York romanticized in movies. And yes there is that […]

Blog Post Type: Planning a Trip to a City Munich is a city comfortable with its contradictions. It is as conservative as it is open-minded. It is as old as it is new. These contrasting characteristics please the locals and the travelers alike. From the view deck, Munich looks and feels like an ancient terracotta city, especially when it is bathed in the late afternoon light. But once you walk […]

A different kind of silence settled on Paradise Street. Gone were the neighbors’ motherly morning nags; the handsome neighbor’s roosters, however, insisted their cockiness. A carpenter pounded the roof across from my place. On normal days, he would not fail to shout “Hi, Ma’am” while pedaling his trisikad across the oval-shaped neighborhood. A Vietnamese rose ignored the early April heat and bloomed throughout the day. I contemplated why it was […]

Blog Post Type: Planning a Trip to a City Romans do not make light of their coffee, as they must be some of the most true-blooded coffee aficionados out there. When you grow up with nothing but the best coffee culture in the world, your taste buds desire nothing else. Here are five cafes in Rome that capture the ambiance, taste, and preference of a real Roman coffee aficionado. Photo by Prins […]

Bangkok is a city full of contradictions and surprises. A preferred destination in Asia for its affordability, rich traditions, and awesome street food scenes, the city can be shockingly crowded. The well-received floating markets, palaces, and temples are best explored during weekdays to avoid the massive number of tourists that normally pours on weekends. Now, what to do with your weekends? Weekends are best spent with some of Bangkok’s little […]

A city can be a representation of a country; Toronto is Canada’s. This city alone houses about 200 unique ethnic origins, making it one of the most heterogeneous cities in North America. Plus, it is the center of the country’s finances, politics, and culture. It has its own versions of Queen West, Chinatown, Little Italy, and more. It is the home of some of the best festivals: Pride Toronto and […]

“Blog Post Type: Best Of List” Cities have particular characters to live by. The moment you walk around or drive around Austin, you notice the signage “Keep Austin Weird!” This is the kind of Austin that unconsciously grows in you. But what makes Austin weird? Or how is weird defined here? Perhaps it is the little ways: encouraging independent food trucks, enlivening its live music traditions, supporting local products. Perhaps […]

Blog Post Type: Summary of a City Guide Catalans know and love their coffee. Wandering around the streets of Barcelona, you would come to notice that only few enter the globally recognized coffee franchises, and you might wonder why the Spanish find it hard to drink coffee when traveling abroad. It’s because their cities (like Catalonian) serve the best coffee. Their local cafés perfectly understand how coffee should be roasted, […]

Blog Post Type: Planning a Trip to a City There is a debate between the city and the country. It is alright to hate cities, some say; but it is blasphemy to hate the countryside. Where does Austinbelong in this argument? This city is the 11th most populous metropolis in the United States, yet it is also the city that has a plenty of state and national parks nearby. So, perhaps […]