December 17, 2013

Project Rebuild: Sending Christmas to Bantayan Island

Last Sunday, I headed to Bantayan Island, located in northern Cebu, at three in the morning to give the P32, 000 cash donations and little gifts for the kids I would surely meet along the way. Bantayan Island is the first site of our modest Project Rebuild, an initiative to […]
December 8, 2013

Palompon after Yolanda (Haiyan)

  In one of the rooms at Palompon Elementary School, these words were framed: Nobyembre Paglilingkod | Pagmamalasakit Ang pagmamalasakit at paglilingkod ay kusang pagbibigay ng ating sariling kakayahan na maaaring material, moral, at ispiritwal sa ating kapwa lalo na sa mga kapus-palad at nangangailangan. 
December 4, 2013

Twenty Days After: Post-Haiyan Lives at Tacloban

The highways are already cleaned up. The debris in the pictures are from the coastal streets especially Magallanes and the one by the public market. Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is conducting a “cash for work” program. People—around 6000 of them—are paid P500 a day. They shoveled dirt, put them on a […]
November 21, 2013

Project Rebuild for Haiyan Survivors

To donate, click here or directly deposit it  through Paypal under the email backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. More than food, survivors need shelter and livelihood to start their life anew—after Haiyan claimed and orphaned thousands of lives, damaged billions-worth of properties, left thousands homeless and jobless, traumatized those who survived. We will help them […]
November 14, 2013

Sun.Star | Portrait of Bohol after the Quake

“Ingon sila silot daw nis Ginoo nato. Pero para nako, grasya ni,” Tatay in his ’50s claimed after taking several gulps from his glass of tuba. “Daghan kaayog grasya naabot human sa linog,” he further shared. The tuba vendor scooped a spoon of lilong doused in native vinegar and spiced […]
October 7, 2013

Badian: A Sea, a River, Friendship, and Yes, Love

Photos of and in Kawasan Falls and Terra Manna Badian Cebu June reminds me of sun-, sea-, river-kissed skin, of beautiful girls supporting my silliness, of falls jumping, of marine beauties, of Camiguin, of Terra Manna. June reminds me of distance suspended. Once more. June reminds me of not my here […]
September 26, 2013

Camiguin in Memories

I feel the need to write Camiguin sooner than expected. More often than not, I let my trips sleep for a year or so before browsing through the notes again and letting memories resurface. And the strongest senses of Camiguin in my head are the overwhelming presence of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, […]
September 23, 2013

Lovely Photos to Convince You to Visit Siquijor

Revisits offer new perspectives. For several reasons.  First, time. It’s been three years since my first visit. Three years could do and change a lot to a place or to a person. Siquijor has changed. I am changed.  Second, the mean of transport. Pressed for time, my friend from work […]
September 17, 2013
Sambawan Island, Biliran

To Sambawan Island in Images

An excessive dose of stupidity and an excessive reliance on kind hearts: that is how I reached Sambawan. I was in Ormoc, Leyte fooling students that they could take the ambiguous “travel writing” (in the Philippine context) as a career. Sleepless and restless, I answered several wise questions from students. […]
September 9, 2013

The Everyday at Cateel Davao Oriental

If I were having a gourmet dinner, Cateel was the main course of my recent Davao Oriental trip. Sachi was such a great host. She rarely comes home. So she was sincerely excited to explore her hometown, visit relatives, and talk Mandaya—their own dialect that has a trace of Bisaya […]
September 8, 2013

Us Kids at Aliwagwag Falls, Davao Oriental

Let me start with a confession. My little story “Tubod”—a story about water—won a Palanca (1st prize on Cebuano short story), and the awarding was held in Manila on September 1st.  It was my first try to join a major literary contest. Yes, I did not expect a win. I […]
September 5, 2013

The Everyday at Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental

August 29, 2013 Today: I woke up at five and observed how Amihan kids practiced in the morning before they left for school. Three boys were assigned to prepare breakfast. A group of boys has its turn to prepare meals for everyone. I had coffee at the small place where […]