Caught in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand. May 2013.

The great thing about Memories is how they fade. How, after a while, they cease to shine and they no longer captivate you so completely.

But the problem with this Memory is it refuses to fade. It shows no signs of tarnishing even after all this time. Months have gone and you still walk blindly into the glare of its light. How then do you cover your eyes?

Or are you even supposed to? Thailand’s got a hold on me, and we just can’t let each other go.

Thailand post soon! ;)

Asia, Travel

Caught in Bangkok

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Baler Dreamscape v.1

Baler, Aurora. taken with a Canon Rebel G and expired Fujifilm Superia 400. June 2013

Baler has effectively become one of my happy places. It’s best known for its adrenaline-pumping surf, but I what I really love about it is how quiet and relaxed the whole place is. It’s like the moment you breathe Baler air all the tension in your body gets sucked away and you have zero problems the whole time you’re there.

I hope I get to visit before the year ends. I’m definitely wishing I’m there now. <3

Philippines, The Abstract and the Ordinary, Travel

Baler Dreamscape v.1

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There’s something very surreal about the lahar planes of Tarlac. It almost looks like salt planes, but it’s really volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo’s historic eruption more than two decades ago. Rolling through it in a 4×4 with the ash swirling all around you, vast planes and lahar mountains looming ahead, feels like a scene cut out of a dream. Something you don’t see in your waking moments. Definitely something you don’t see everyday.

Philippines, The Abstract and the Ordinary, Travel

Pinatubo Dreamscape

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Philippines, Travel

The Second Time Around

Four years ago I hopped on a rickety G Lizardo bus with doors held by rusty hinges, seats that felt like hardboard, and creaky windows that let the full force of the cold mountain wind through. It traversed the winding, unpaved roads of the legendary Halsema Highway, weaving through patches of galvanized iron villages, yellow-green rice terraces, and gaping, rocky cliffs alike. The destination: Sagada, a small town nestled in the heart of Mountain Province, Philippines.

I remember stepping off that bus as it parked in the town center, giving the place one look, and feeling my heart dip five inches. This is it? I had thought. It was a cluster of cement structures seemingly thrown together wherever there was space. And it wasn’t even cold. At first glance, it didn’t seem to be the quaint little town I was expecting would meet me; it looked like any other town in the country only it was sprawling and it had trees. But man, was I mistaken. It only took several minutes and that first walk towards our inn to have the rug pulled from under my feet, in the best possible sense. Right at the top of road, the rest of the town loomed, the narrow, snaking streets and low buildings lining its sides garlanded by lush greens. The mountains in the distance were crowned by clouds and a sky so blue, it was almost screaming in its blueness. By the time I put down my backpack, inhaled the scent of pines from the forest below our balcony, and gazed as the landscape unfolded in front of me, I knew I was in for something- I just didn’t know then how great it was gonna be.

Fast forward to 2013. No adventure has since topped Sagada, and the yearning for that blood-pumping action could no longer be contained. Along with several friends, I finally went back, and steeled myself for whatever the place held for me this time. You know the cliche “Love is sweeter the second time around”? “Sweet” in this sense would be a gross understatement.

We took the same route going there that I took in 2009. The roads were a little more paved. The cliffs looked a little less deadly. But the cold wind blowing in the zigzag was the same. As it would turn out, the route was one of only five things tying both trips together. Everything else that happened in this second round was Sagada pulling the rug from under my feet again – in the best possible sense. Continue reading

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Events, Travel

The Dark Side of Travel

 

Last month, I had a really good teaser of the life I wanted. I was on the road for all but one week, and I loved every moment of it. Loved it so much, in fact, that I was completely unprepared for the crash that greeted me when I got back.

I honestly thought I was prepared to go home. I had blueprints to put to paper, plans to put to action. I had clear, achievable goals. Until they all crumbled into pieces. Despite these “runway lights” guiding me back home, I found myself afloat. Until now, two weeks since I got back, I still can’t seem to find solid ground. There’s just this myriad of things I can’t deal with, whether by choice or by force. And I think until I do, I will stay unsettled.

1. I’m becoming arrogant

Not in the sense that I’m better than everyone else; I’m still insecure as hell. It’s more of, I inadvertently developed this tendency to minimize everyone else’s concerns. It’s becoming hard for me not to find some of these concerns petty, even if I know they’re a big deal to some people. I now suddenly have this urge to just call everyone out on their bullshit, tell them what a HUGE waste of time it is, and please there’s so much more to life than flimsy decisions you regret every other day depending on your mood, and fucking Facebook. Continue reading

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Asia, The Abstract and the Ordinary, Travel

Portal

Changi Airport, Singapore. October, 2012.

It starts with the first stamp; when you’re finally cleared of all the roadblocks and allowed into your flight. That thumbnail of ink on that small squarish sheet becomes your doorway to unknown, unlimited possibilities.

Then comes the wait, wherein your mind starts to shift. Letting go of walls, taking in the space, pushing back the boundaries. You find your brain ablaze, your senses on the first few revs to overdrive. Suddenly everything is interesting and everyone pops. Why does that guy keep rummaging in his suitcase? Where is that lady going, she’s been walking round and round for half an hour? What are all these people thinking right now? Where would they be in two hours? Ten? Thirty-six?

Finally you take your seat, settle down. If you haven’t yet, then you definitely feel it now, the pull of a destination. You fasten your seatbelt, peruse the magazines, set your cell phone and music player. You build your temporary cocoon, your medium of transition from the comforts of home to the waiting adventures.

Then the plane starts moving, racing up the runway. The speed eludes you, but permeates you all the same. It tucks itself into your cells, and without you noticing your muscles tense, you yourself ready to leap and fly. Your hairs on end, your heart pounding with the rhythm of the concrete beneath. One final tug of gravity, and your sky-bound, gliding in the clouds.

The hours that follow are for coping. Now that you’ve been thrown into the air, your system adapts to the landing. Your brain’s transition is complete, and you’re more than ready to take on what comes next. Your muscles relax, your mind relaxes. Bring it on, you say.

Then you step into the actual story. New land. New faces. New thoughts. New feelings. They all come pouring in, like sunlight on those tall glass windows lining up your path. And you yourself are new, having undergone that mid-air transformation; looking out with new eyes, touching with new skin.

They say the journey is half the destination. I say the journey is a destination all its own.

*Lifted from my Tumblr as part of my “blog centralization process”. Hee.

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Philippines, Travel

Escaping Summer Heat

We’re at the heart of summer in the Philippines, and with temperatures averaging 39 degrees C a day (hotter than freakin body temperature!), it’s no surprise my mind is getting slowly fried. All I’m consumed with now is thoughts of the ocean, or the cool mountains, or anywhere away from the searing city, longing for some kind of escape.

This here is Kiltepan Viewpoint, in Sagada, Mountain Province. It was taken one sunrise in May, some years ago. When I think “respite” my mind immediately wanders to this spot, with this view. I can pretend I’m walking through clouds, breathing in the frosty mountain air, the cold breeze caressing my face. And boy, will I pretend! Coz right now it’s all I have. *tears*

For more of my “escapist” photos (and a whole bunch of other works), head on to my newly minted portfolio. It’s in its baby stages, but it’s slowly and surely getting there. Follow me too, if you’re on the network. I’d love to see your work! :)

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People

Because True Love is Eternal

Yes, this is a lame excuse for the epic lateness of this post: that true love is timeless anyway, so it doesn’t matter that it’s three freakin’ months late. It’s still relevant. Right? Right?? Yes! Haha.

Reg is the first of my college friends to get married, and it was pretty exciting. Not only because I loved weddings to begin with, or because me and some other friends were going to play roles in the actual ceremonies, but because I know Reg’s history. I know what she’s been through, love-wise and all that jazz, and to see her find a man who is truly worthy of her was just… *fireworks popping from the heart* I don’t have the right word for it. <3 It’s amazing, to say the least.

So of course, despite her and her then husband-to-be (they’re now married yay!) Rico, being all the way in Singapore, we just had to fly our butts across the ocean and celebrate. Continue reading

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