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 but not quite. The word most vivid in my head is “ampan.” Sachi’s old house was uprooted, wrecked  with hundreds of houses and trees during Pablo. I witnessed how she almost did a karoshi (I’m just exaggerating) to amass funding for the building of their new nest. She is your perfect […]
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 and I pakyaw-ed a tricycle for the island tour. This time around despite my sleeplessness, I asked for directions, rode tricycles with the locals,  paid the minimum fare, and devoured a deliciously fried native chicken leg. My first day in Siquijor—travel-wise—was rather unproductive. I slept the entire afternoon away. I […]
February 7, 2016

Wanna Make Your Blog Popular? Travel the Philippines and Praise or Bitch It

Here in Cebu, local travel bloggers often meet fellow travel bloggers from Luzon or Mindanao for dinner or beer. We would talk about places, travel plans, and other fellow travel bloggers who succumbed to click-bait articles and listicles such as “Five Reasons I Hate Davao City” or “20 Photos from the Philippines, #7 will shock you.” [READ: 12 Months of Beaches around the Philippines] Most Filipinos fall easy for this kind of writing. One time, while having barbecue dinner at Larsian, the hot topic was this Polish travel blogger who bitched the Filipino street food [read my reply here: I’d Rather Eat and […]
March 4, 2016

Why You Should Stop Calling Us Exotic

He stands out like a sore thumb. He is 6’6″. I am 5’5″ taller than most Filipinas, but I stand like a dwarf beside him. He is white. I’m a dark-skinned Filipina with small eyes. A very odd couple. I know. We were walking around Borobudur (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) last December, without knowing it was a holiday season for locals as well. In almost every corner, a local Indonesian or a group of students would stop us and ask him for a photo. Most of the time, I played the photographer. Moments like this make him extremely uncomfortable. Yes, westerners are […]