My Top 25 Most Unforgettable Travel Moments of 2013 (Part 2)

Something beautiful popped up in my Facebook news feed in April last year. It was a link to a Bored Panda post featuring 22 places that are hard to believe really exist. Instantly, it became a bucket list. When I reached the bottom of that page, I promised myself that I would visit all of these…

Top 20 Songs I Listened to During Travel in 2013

In another life, U2’s Beautiful Day or the Beatles’s Across the Universe would be my travel anthems. But in this life, I love *pop* just as much as I love any other genre of music. Perhaps even more, to be honest. And while it’s productive to use travel time to reflect and make life-changing decisions,…

My Top 25 Most Unforgettable Travel Moments of 2013 (Part 1)

You won’t find Paris on this list. No, you won’t; I have yet to set foot on Europe. You won’t find Rio, either; South America has to wait a couple more years. And Egypt and Jerusalem? They’re my dream destinations, but no, I still have a long, long way to go to get there. There…

Sketchy Intentions

CHANGSHA, China — My five-hour wait for the next train had barely started when an old woman entered the terminal and stood in the aisle between me and a couple fast asleep in a sweet embrace. It was five past two in the morning in Changsha City, China. We were the only people in the…

Five-Hour Connections*

MALACCA, Malaysia — We stepped out to the garden almost at the same time. And almost at the same time we placed a bottle of softdrink on separate tables. “Would you mind if I smoked?” I asked politely. “Absolutely not, I’m here for the same reason,” he smiled and introduced himself. His name is Aurelien,…

The 2AM Call

BATANGAS, Philippines — She stood by the road just across our house in Batangas and waited there. She had stayed with my parents for almost a month, and it was time to head back home. The bus would be leaving at 3am, and she needed to catch a jeepney that would take her to the…

Scars and Mirrors

He comes bearing change. The little boy stretches his arms forward as he tiptoes toward my table with utmost caution. His cupped hands carry a couple of bills under a small mound of coins. His mother, the cashier-slash-waitress at the small eatery, watches him do the delivery from behind the counter. “Thank you,” I tell…

Layers

Outer Cover. TAAL, Philippines — It took two teenage boys to get the sacks of rice from the back of the pickup truck into the building, a shelter exclusively for abandoned or abused little girls . From the passenger seat, a middle-aged woman emerged and walked without looking at either of them. Until that moment when…