Travel: 48 Hours in Taiwan

Where would two hours take you? Given Cebu’s current situation, you could be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a Friday night—a rainy one, if you’re that unlucky. Or you could be flying through the clouds to Asia’s secret gem, Taiwan.

With a visa-free program until 2019 and more flights to Taipei, this quaint island north of the Philippines is now a quick getaway option—perhaps even better than the currently more popular Hong Kong and Singapore.

What Taiwan lacks for in terms of theme parks and other commercial tourist destinations offered by the latter two, it makes up for an enviable currency exchange rate—perfect for those who want to indulge in the night markets and food scene the country is best known for. But make no mistake: Just because it doesn’t have Disneyland or Universal Studios doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. In fact, you’d be pleasantly surprised at how different Taiwan’s appeal is.


Travel: 50 Hours in Singapore

Two days are barely enough to explore a foreign place, yet somehow I’ve found myself taking the shortest of trips to two destinations within the span of a year.

It’s not like I’m some crazy rich Asian who can jet off to a neighboring country for a weekend on a whim. Crazy, definitely. Asian, undoubtedly. Rich? I’ve partaken in so many Yee Sang tosses that I’ve made a joke out of them already, because what prosperity? Really though, in Taiwan‘s case it was for work, and for Singapore… well, I wanted to make it home in time for the season finale of Game of Thrones.

Also, two days is slightly more practical than flying to Singapore just to satisfy my cravings for authentic Laksa and Hainanese Chicken, and go back home—an idea that really had been simmering in my head for the longest time.

Since I now seem to be well-versed in the art of short vacations, yes, I was able to make the most out of those 50 hours—Merlion optional.


Travel: Siargao

“Am I going to die today?” was a question I asked myself every day I was in Siargao.

It’s hard to believe that a place as stunning as Siargao Island could pose any real danger, and while admittedly it is a possibility (just like every other place in this planet. Constant vigilance, y’all), most of my worries were all in my head.

Doesn’t mean they’re any less true though, when you’re in a tiny AF pump boat going to Sugbo Lagoon and the dark clouds and foreboding fog make the surrounding rock formations look like f*cking Lian Yu. Or when you forget to go behind your surfboard once a strong wave hits, and your surfboard hits you on the head. Hard. (Also: Idiot.)

But, as Syrio Forel told us to say to death, Not Today! And thus, the tale of how I survived my second trip to Siargao.


Travel: South Korea

“Summer in Korea?” I wonder. “What would I do during summer in Korea?”

Having grown up and lived in a country with summer-like weather most of the year, I initially didn’t see the appeal of traveling just to experience the same season. At the same time, I’ll be the first to admit that Korea was never really in my list of top destinations to visit. When the Korean craze swept the nation in recent years, I remained mostly indifferent to all the K-pop, K-drama, K-everything that everyone went crazy for. Besides, I had also heard that Korea is best during the other seasons of the year, but never really summer.

Still, who could resist the lure of discovering a new place? Philippines AirAsia had recently introduced once-a-day direct flight from Cebu to Incheon, so there was no excuse not to check it out at any moment’s notice, no matter what time of the year. As the trip drew nearer, it had also become a personal challenge of sorts to find out the lure of Korea; also to discover what it was really like there, considering the significant population of Koreans in the Philippines. A cultural exchange, if you may.

Dining, Travels

The Sweet Escape: 10:31 by Chef M

When it comes to good food, distance is no issue. I’ve been known to make the drive over to nearby Mactan Island for some great Asian fusion, and recently a few friends and I even headed all the way to Sogod for German noms at Borussia. So, you see, as long as the food is worth it, I’m all in.

A recent work event (a successful one!) brought me to the shores of Bohol for several days, and my stay happened to coincide with the opening of my friend Wyvren‘s new restaurant 10:31 by Chef M in Tagbilaran City. No reason not to drop by, especially when it’s super near the port and I was already there anyway.


Staycation: Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu

Even though the Philippines enjoys a tropical climate all year long, there’s still something special about summer. It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed the mandatory two-month break from school for the season so you’d think I’m used to it by now, but for me, summer’s never really complete without a trip to the beach.

That said, with the past few months being extremely stressful with work and family obligations, I panicked when I realized June was upon us and I still haven’t gotten a dose of Vitamin Sea. With my brother being overwhelmingly tired about everything we’ve had to deal with and bemoaning the fact that he hasn’t had a proper vacation, I decided to hit two birds with one stone and planned an intimate beach outing to cap off the summer.


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After Mum vetoed the original idea of an island hopping, I switched tactics and booked a stay for us and our friends at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu, a.k.a. one of my favorite places. It’s a perfect place for a staycation, as it’s far enough from the city but it’s just a 30-minute drive away, and the beach is gorgeous. I’m no stranger to the resort, having been there several times over the years, but it was always somehow work-related and I never got chances to enjoy it with my brother. Until now.


Travels: Hong Kong + Macau

With the blistering heat in Cebu, it’s hard not to reminisce about the sweet, sweet coldness in Hong Kong and Macau this time last month.

I’ve always cherished traveling, and while I’m grateful work provides me with numerous opportunities to do so, it’s been quite some time since I’ve gone away for an actual vacation. An invitation from the great people at the Marco Polo Hotels in Hong Kong was the impetus of such a getaway.