October 7, 2016

CORRUPTION IN LAOS | How to Have a Nasty Encounter with Policemen in Laos

DISCLAIMER: This first appeared on my column Down South on TV5’s Interaksyon.com. Included a lot of photos here! This is a personal experience. Corruption in Laos is real. Corruption in my own county is effing real.  A glass wall divided us. That must be sufficient as a border for the immigration officer to pocket the 5000 kip in plain sight. He asked for it without any explanation or receipt in return. On the other window, Tobias had to negotiate with another IO on the conversion of $25. 450 000 Kip was too much payment for his visa on arrival. We […]
April 19, 2016
Leave Everything Behind and Travel the World

Hoi An, Vietnam | Work. Save. Travel. Repeat.

The past two weeks or so have been like an exciting jigsaw of days and ideas and trial and error plans that have often turned out to be the worst decisions, but at other times have pleasantly surprised us. It’s been a detailed board game of buses and hostels and modes of transport and destinations we’ve set out and reserved for ourselves to find and reach. As each step of the journey is ticked off and achieved, each bus made in time, street navigated, and budget accomodation located without too much struggle, there’s a sense of achievement and autonomy akin […]
January 15, 2014

DOWN SOUTH | Who Did You Spend 2013’s Last Sunset with?

Inside the tunnel-like tent, it was hot. So Nanay in her 70s chased the shade running scarce in the treeless lot at Cebu South Road Properties. She sat on a kid’s stool in the tent’s shade with her sunglasses on. The younger ones huddled at the big tent in the center of the city of temporariness and karaoked. A man announced there would be a mass later on. The altar, to my personal amusement, would be the very place where the TV and speakers were. A foreign visitor sang “Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy,” […]
April 23, 2013

Travel Essay | The Grand Parade: The Uncaptured, the Uncapturable

Sweat trailed downward like small translucent rivers on the dancer’s darkened face, his eyes reddish, his face painted gray, his lips black, his breath ragged. His brows furrowing, he eyed the contingent in front of them. He touched the corner of his right eye lightly. By the look of it, he stopped himself from ardently rubbing it. Curiosity got the better of me, I stopped framing him in my camera, crossed the short distance, and asked “What’s the matter?” “Ang pintal man gyod,” he paused, his brows furrowing again, “di body paint. Baratuhon ni. Hapdos sa mata,” he supplied. So […]