My Best of 2013

A quick rundown on what made my 2013.

1. Bzzzzzzt. Definitely one of the highlights of my year, was the time when I got my first tattoo. Have long planned to get one and I remember to being so excited for this day. Of course, I felt nervous, who wouldn’t? I mean, it’s technically an open wound. But, after just a few minutes and buzzing and needle-work, I finally had my tattoo! It was all worth it. Truthfully, I’m thinking of getting another one really soon.

2. Boracay Escapade. I’m truly fortunate to have the chance to visit Boracay twice. It was truly a wonder & sight to behold. There is something for everybody, whether you’re laidback, adventurous or party-frenzy person, in Boracay. I will be back soon, when I get my bikini body to flaunt (I’m not giving up on that).

3. First Backpacking Trip. Yes, my first international & first backpacking trip rolled into one. This was, by far, the most exciting part of my 2013. I’ve learned a lot and it makes me want to travel more. Vietnam & Cambdia were definitely the perfect destinations for a first-time backpacker.

4. Quitting my Job. Some people say that it was a stupid thing to do, and I agree. It was stupid, but it just felt so right. I had my reasons in doing so, and I had no regrets. I got to focus on myself and to the important people in my life.

2013 had its ups and downs. It was both a great and, at times, a bad year. But amidst all the difficulties I faced, I’m happy and blessed to welcome another year, another year to make the most out of life, and another year to achieve my dreams.

I don’t intend to ask 2014 to be a great year, I will make it so.

Holiday Movies

As the song goes, it is the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are here again, and, yes, a lot of holiday movies are now shown in HBO or Star Movies. So I’ve thought of sharing my list of holiday movies that I never tire of watching.

1. Home Alone – Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin who was left home accidentally as his family heads on to a Christmas vacation. He is left to fend for himself and defend their home against burglars. When I was young, I was truly impressed by Kevin’s ingenuity and cleverness in planning the traps against the burglars. Kids and kids at heart will surely love this film.

2. Love Actually – I should probably mention that one of the reasons why I love this movie is because of Rodrigo Santoro and, of course, Alan Rickman. The movie follows the lives of eight couples dealing with their love lives during Christmas in England. Yes, the movie was quite too long, too cheesy. And yes, it could probably do without the additional cast members. But nonetheless, this is truly a heartwarming movie that just screams LOVE.

3. The Dog Who Saved Christmas – A retired K-9 dog named Zeus who attempts to foil an attempted burglary, pretty much like Home Alone. I really have a soft spot for animals, especially being a dog-owner. This movie just never fails to crack me up when Zeus starts to drop Christmas ornaments and using home utensils against the burglars.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas – It’s two seasons rolled into one! Halloween  and Christmas! Who wouldn’t want to watch the Pumpkin King take over Christmas to make a spooky holiday? With ingenious animation and clever story line, this is surely a movie that everyone will enjoy.

Help is Needed

It has been four days since the devastating 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu. Since then, countless cries for help has been ringing around social media and the news. Now’s the time to answer their cries and help them from the rubble.

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Visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aboitizfoundation?hc_location=timeline

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Visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ayalafoundation?fref=ts

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The Philippine Red Cross – Cebu Chapter is also accepting help, in cash or in kind for those affected by the earthquake. Their office is located at Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City 6000 Philippines, right across Red Ribbon and Rose Pharmacy and right beside the Rizal Memorial Public Library and Joven’s Grill. Visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineRedCrossCebuChapter for more information.

Exploring Vietnam & Cambodia

I officially survived my first backpacking trip! The all too new experience was so much fun. But of course, no matter how much we prepared and researched, there will always be glitches and unexpected things that could happen. We just had to accept them as they come and charge it to experience. By the way, great thanks to the blogs & people who offered advice for our trip.

Vietnam and Cambodia offers different things, but there is surely one for each traveler. Vietnam in its fast-paced metro life, and Cambodia in its laid back provincial-like atmosphere. Evidently, there are more things to explore when I get back to these countries. And as a first time backpacker, I am proud of myself for having accomplished such feat. As much as I would like to share my whole experience, I am going to share some things that I deem essential for a backpacking trip.

Do your research. When going to a place the first time, it is very important to do a research, like the climate, acceptable behavior and clothes. Get to know your destination, and know simple words or simple phrases such as “Thank you”.

Plan your itinerary. Trips would be much fun if you have an itinerary prepared. However, allow yourself some changes in the plans. You’ll never know what unexpected things might happen. Welcome the change, you’ll never know where it can take you.

Get a map. Maps are truly important in exploring a new place. It’s not necessary that you get the big-ass map, just one that would suffice your needs. This would be helpful especially if you want to do your own walking-tour (like what we did), or simply for you to not get lost (we don’t want that to happen).

Hanoi Backpackers' Hostel

Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel

Go for hostels. Ditch the luxurious stay in hotels, instead, go for backpacker hostels. This is a sure-fire way for you to get to know fellow travelers, and maybe have some friends to accompany you on your trip.

Tuktuk driver in Cambodia

Tuktuk driver in Cambodia

Ride public transport. Reserve the taxi ride on far-flung places. Whenever possible, take the public transport. When in Vietnam, ride the motorcycle, but learn to haggle for the price. Don’t get on the motorcycle unless you and the local have agreed on a price. Same thing in Cambodia, agree on a price first before you get on the tuktuk.

Know the Vietnamese terms for the places you want to go to. This is specific for those planning to explore Vietnam. We had trouble in locating some museums as locals don’t understand the English language that much. The perfect way to do is to have Vietnamese names of the museums on hand, and show it to the locals. Also, be very careful in the symbols that you used, one wrong symbol and its a completely different thing.

These are just some of the things I learned from other travelers and from my experience. Just remember that no matter how much you prepared for a trip, be prepared and accept the changes that come along the way. Leave some room for adjustments. As what they always say, “Expect the unexpected.”