Manila Minorities
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House of Open Doors: The Manila You Don’t Know

MANILA, Philippines — Guidebooks paint two-dimensional portraits of Manila: Intramuros here, Chinatown there, traffic everywhere. Online accounts reveal all her glaring flaws: she’s noisy, highly disorganized, a little suffocating, and totally insane. Yoshke Dimen takes a leap of faith in this sorely misunderstood megacity in search of her good side and finds that only those…

Zhangjiajie
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Conversions

ZHANGJIAJIE, China — He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously,…

Maxine Casaclang

Drive

When I woke up, I found her driving the car downhill. My friend Maxine and I came from another friend’s wedding, where I had too much to drink. On the way to the hotel, I passed out, leaving Max on her own, navigating around an unfamiliar territory at midnight. “Where are we going?” I asked,…

Bonfire Closeup

OC

When I was 11, I was playing with candles alone on the porch of our home. At one point, I went to get a drink, leaving a lit candle on the window sill just above a bamboo bench. When I came back, THE BENCH WAS ON FIRE. I was able to extinguish the flames but…

Fridge Magnet Souvenirs

Turning It Around

After being conned by a taxi driver, we felt like our mood was dampened a little bit. It just left a bitter taste, you know. But when we were looking for souvenirs (to give to friends), we stumbled upon this small shop manned by this guy. His items were half the price of the others.…

Cappadocia

Hello, Thirties

So I’ve entered new territory: the 30s. When I hit 20, I was just about to graduate college. Still, I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to be: a screenwriter, a diplomat, a geologist, a social media marketer, a traveler. And over the next decade, I tried to do a bit of everything until I…

2015 Travel Moments

Top 10 Travel Moments of 2015

I’m writing this in between shivers. Inside this heaterless apartment in Tokyo, the winter cold offers itself as the perfect excuse from not doing anything at all. But it’s the last day of 2015 and the heat coming from my laptop provides the badly-needed warmth. Just like the mountain of blanket that buries me, my…

Top Travel Songs 2015

Top 20 Songs I Listened to During Travel in 2015

Nothing proves just how important music is to me than travel. I can’t imagine 12-hour bus rides and 5-hour airport layovers without it. Music makes trips more enjoyable, moments more memorable, and transfers more tolerable. It’s been a great year in music. From Taylor Swift’s surprising 1989 to Justin Bieber’s even more surprising Purpose to…