Push Back

Today I got into a heated exchange with a stranger at the mall. I was standing in front of the counter, when a man pushed me and mumbled “paharang-harang.” (“You’re blocking the way.”) The younger me would have shrugged it off and let it go to avoid confrontation. Instead, I called him out and said…

Top 13 Travel Moments of 2018

“Why do you love Japan so much?” she asked right after the food arrived. My conversation with Saori, my new friend, started with the places I have visited over 15 trips to her country. I have made several Japanese friends, but she was the first to throw me that question. It took me a moment…

Top 10 Songs I Listened to During Travel in 2018

I was humming a completely different tune before my flight to Australia, but upon the recommendation of a friend, I watched The Greatest Showman onboard. The musical’s soundtrack got stuck in my head for several days since the flight. In fact, while we were in Brisbane, my friends and I would randomly burst into song,…

First Tokyo Blossoms

TOKYO, 2017. When my sister moved to Tokyo for work 5 years ago, it was as though I won the lottery. Suddenly, I had another reason to travel to Japan and a place to stay for free. True enough, I found myself on a plane to Tokyo twice a year, exhausting all the days that…

One Thing at a Time

FUKUOKA, 2018. In Japan, there is a saying that goes, “ikkai ichi dousa,” which translates to “one thing at a time.” I learned about this when I mentioned to a Japanese friend that I could count in one hand the locals I had seen eating while walking. “We take food seriously,” he said. When asked…

Inversely Proportional

I’ve been organizing my travel photos over the past couple of days, and I realized: I HAVE VERY FEW PHOTOS OF MYSELF. 😱 Okay, fine, granted, I don’t have the most photogenic fez 😆 but still. On average, I have 1 photo of myself per destination. In many cities that I visited, I didn’t have…

Out of a Black Hole

FUKUOKA, 2018. Finally finished the screenplay for a horror film that I had been writing for days. And I feel relieved. I am a huge horror fan, but I realized this: It’s one thing to watch a horror movie; to write it is another. It didn’t feel good to be constantly imagining demons, spirits and…

Scared Shortless

BIRI ISLAND, NORTHERN SAMAR, 2012. Our last stop was the site where Magasang and Magsapad rock formations stand. My friend Ces and I climbed to the top of the cliff and watched the sea slam the rocky shore with one giant wave after another. Biri Island lies where the San Bernardino Strait meets the Pacific…