My Top 20 Travel Moments of 2011 (Part 2)

It’s already February and here I am still counting down the best moments I had while traveling last year. Late, I know. But haaaaaay. When you got too much on your plate, you will learn to munch on them bit by bit so you wouldn’t die of overeating. So let’s continue. Here’s the second half…

My Top 20 Travel Moments of 2011 (Part 1)

You might be thinking: Why the hell am I posting a year-ender countdown in mid-January? All I can tell you is that I had been too busy with work lately. But better late than never, aye? Too busy or too lazy. Take your pick. 2011 was my most travel-heavy year ever. Considering that I am…

Batangas: Rediscovering My Hometown

“You’re the weirdest Batangueno I have ever met!” declared my friend Andre after learning that I didn’t know how to swim. We were on the way home. “Wow, jumping to conclusions,” I objected. “Well, for starters, you don’t have the accent,” he explained. “Batangas is known for beaches and dive sites; you don’t even know how to swim. Batangas produces the best beef in the country; you dislike beef. Batangas is home to kapeng barako; you’re not a coffee fan. You haven’t even been to the Taal Volcano.” Hmmm. As hard as it was to admit, he was right. (Except…

I Prefer It Free, Sorry

The other week, my self-esteem was crushed by a small piece of paper. I was fixing my bag outside a convenience store in Tagaytay City when somebody gave me a piece of paper with a short note on it. Without looking at the stranger and the paper, I pocketed the note and expected the guy to leave me alone. Unfortunately for me, he was there for business. “Massage, sir? I can massage you, sir, while you’re here in Tagaytay,” the stranger said. “No, thanks,” I declined. “I’m on my way back to Manila.” I was still busy trying to put…

The Vanishing Coins

Mystery solved. I intentionally left several P5 coins on the side table in my room, pretended to be asleep, and kept half an eye on them. For months now, I had always found myself looking for missing coins around the house. I entertained the idea that an unseen, paranormal force hiding inside our house’s walls was responsible for the coins that seemed to disappear from where I left them. I even considered seeing a doctor because I thought my usually reliable memory was failing me. But that all changed when I decided to set up a trap to catch the…

Twice I Heard Death

I was 10 when I heard it for the very first time. No one would look after me at home so my mother brought me along with her across the street to a neighbor’s. My mom offered a crying shoulder and a helping hand to the family. As she did some chores in our neighbor’s…

Tales from Behind the Wheel: Quick Lessons

I don’t own a car. To get from one point to another, I use public transportation, usually MRT and tricycle. Sometimes, I take a cab and when I do, I take the passenger seat. It has been a habit to engage the driver in a conversation for two reasons — so I won’t get sleepy…

The Paradox of the Freedom Islands

A month ago, if a foreign traveler asked me where the nearest mangrove forest lies, I’d probably tell him to take the bus to Quezon or fly to Palawan. If one asked me to take him to a place where he could go bird-watching aside from UP Diliman, I’d probably drive him out of the city to Pampanga. If he asked me to take him to a place where he could see dolphins, I’d tell him to head over to Batangas. I just didn’t know any place within Metro Manila where anyone could bond with nature. Recently, however, I learned…