August 17, 2017

ONOMICHI TRAVEL GUIDE | Things to Do in Onomichi 2017

ONOMICHI, JAPAN | ONOMICHI TRAVEL GUIDE | While Pim stood by the baywalk’s railing, an old woman, all smiling, passed by and said something in Japanese and gestured towards the camera. With my poor Japanese vocabulary bank: suka, honto ni, wakaranai, kawaii—words I learned from years-long of reading manga, watching anime, and interacting with the Japanese on Skype, I reckoned she was asking if we wanted her to take our photo. I smiled and uttered thank you; and she went on, all smiling. I did not expect her friendliness. Crumbs of details on places from my previous conversations with the Japanese stuck in […]
January 29, 2017

DOWN SOUTH | I Travel, I Eat, I Got Diarrhea

Last week, I was on a boat of mixed races: Filipino, Chinese, Korean, French, Belgian, and perhaps other races that I overlooked or forgot to ask. It was a happy, odd mix, I would say—a boat of strangers that sometimes ended up as Facebook friends or more often than not, started and ended as strangers. Our boat crew was admirable: they took our pictures, provided a rough course on swimming for those who could not swim, complimented us when needed, taught us Coron’s history, and fed us. Adobo at Malapascua Island, Cebu, Philippines Aside from maneuvering the boat, our captain […]
January 13, 2017
Sinulog Festival 2014

RAPPLER | Sinulog: To Flow with the Current

This narrative and photo essay was first published on Rappler.com on January 19, 2015.  CEBU, PHILIPPINES—“Every year, my Niño comes back,” shared a middle-aged man holding a small replica of Sto. Niño. His must have lost its cross before, now replaced with a rolled-up chocolate wrapper. He was one of the passengers I saw holding a Sto. Niño on our flight back to Cebu from General Santos last Friday. Our flight was packed, and so was Mactan airport. I thought Cebu would not be as crowded as it used to be, with Pope Francis’ visit and Typhoon Amang hovering over […]
November 25, 2016

RAPPLER | The Ceiling, the Cross We Look Up to

This essay on Magellan’s Cross, and by extension on faith, first appeared on Rappler. Blue is for travel and career. Yellow for health. Red for love. Pink for happiness. Green for success. Nanay Claudia—who stood somewhere between 4’6″to 4’9″—explained the meaning behind the colors of the candles she was holding on her right hand. A green plastic bag filled with candles dangled on her left arm, a black bag belt wrapped around her waist. She talked to me in English (quite good, I would say), thinking I was a foreigner, a dark Korean or Japanese perhaps, whose travel itinerary to […]