A tale of two Vietnams

Last November 2017, I was in Hanoi and Cat Ba island in the province of Hai Phong. I have always wanted to write about my time there, but (insert excuses here). Life happened, but fret not this time because I’m making sure I’m going to make time to write something about Vietnam.


Hanoi’s Old Quarter


Through the waters of Cat Ba Island

On October 12, 2018 I flew to Ho Chi Minh City. To say I loved Vietnam seems like cliche, but I will say that it is one place that’s always been interesting for me. I suppose it’s the romantic in me. Maybe it’s the melodramatic Venus that’s always looking for something to be teary-eyed about. I’ll give you a short background.


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Busy HCM

My interest with Vietnam started when I watched YouTube videos of Ms. Saigon and how it always pulled at my heart. Then last November 2016, as if the world conspired to bring it to me, the 25th anniversary performance of Miss Saigon was shown in selected local cinemas. Without a doubt I bought my ticket and I cried myself out watching the show. From then on I was interested to see this historical place where hearts were broken, spirits were shattered, and lives were taken.

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Malapascua, take me back!


After having my fill of Cebu City, I was ready to take the bus and head way up north to see Malapascua. I’ve heard a lot of things about the place, especially the thresher sharks. Oblivious of what I may find, the first thing I saw when I reached Malapascua was the coast lined with small houses. From afar it definitely looked like any small Philippine village. At 4 in the afternoon it looked sleepy, with the seawater receding gently and not long after the light would slowly turn warm.


First glimpse of Malapascua

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Queen City of the South

My first visit to Cebu wasn’t really a vacation, so I promised myself to come back. The first time I was there, traffic was so horrible because it was Christmas and I felt kind of miserable when I unexpectedly got stuck there for Christmas Eve. I knew all my friends who came to visit Cebu City had a nice time being there and I really wanted to feel that. I didn’t want to be able to remember Cebu City as the place where Colon street was horribly crowded with gift shoppers or be reminded of my frustrations as I walked from pier to pier looking for a boat home. This time around I was bent on experiencing the city. Continue reading

Anilao – a breather from Manila

When clinical clerkship duties already feel overwhelming, I close my eyes and imagine the sea. I remember the sound of the waves, the cool breeze in contrast with the bright warm rays of the sun, the sharp broken pieces of dead corals battered and eventually ground to powder form, and the varying shades of blue created by the water and the horizon as it meets the sky. Continue reading

Tropical Fishes of the Philippine Seas

In all my snorkeling trips at Balayan Bay of Anilao and Bauan in the province of Batangas and at Misamis Occidental in Mindanao, I have accumulated several pictures of fishes. I have planned for so long to make a sort of “database” that lists their common names and scientific names (haha sorry it’s one of my compulsions and passions). Finally I got the chance to do it and here is the preliminary list 😀 Continue reading

Picture Perfect Nagsasa Cove

Three years ago I and three other friends first visited a place so picturesque it felt like looking at a life-sized postcard. The water was so clear, as though percolating through hundreds and hundreds of rocks and pebbles had given rise to such purity.

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Mindanao’s Hidden Treasures

I have always been on a lookout for water wonders, the kind where the sea is a clear turqoise blue shade and brimming with living creatures but at the same time not tourist-laden. In the Philippines, it is impossible not to find one.

There are a lot more beautiful places in this country than what we already know of. There is Boracay, El Nido, Anilao, Malapascua, and Coron – all these places have already found their way into so many blogs by backpackers and adventurers. No one will contest to their awe-inspiring beauty, but beyond these there exists unspoiled beauty. Continue reading

Looking Through the Window

Outside my window, I saw a most unusual occurrence. Lightning hit this house across me and a fire truck was there doing what they can. It made me think – why and how. Why didn’t that bolt hit me, as if by some strange chance, striking me on the exact time I step outside the door? How did it even happen, did it rain while I was at the hospital? Is there a plan for everything, like fate or destiny? Or do we live our lives randomly according to every decision we make. Continue reading

Today I argued with three people

Today I argued with three people but it felt like I picked a fight with the whole world. It doesn’t matter how trivial the topic or how reasonable my argument was, in the end a conflict is a double-edged sword. It makes me feel like I’ve stabbed myself too. After the boiling emotions concurring with the frustrations and physical exhaustion inside me comes the downward spiral of negativity – it starts with anger and ends with self-pity.

So what I did, after the last and 3rd argument I picked with a guy I liked, was that I cried. It was a selfish miserable cry but it made me feel better. Made me see how stupid I could be. Then I decided to write it down so I can remember that on this day at this night, I thought I was miserable. Also I painted it on Paint 3D. There down below.

Hope to feel better!



Just like any other student in a coffee shop, he pulled out his notes and manual. I know the feeling! I just had been liberated from a 2-month stint of nauseating daily study routine. Today was the first time I was in a coffee shop just because it was an interesting place. I even made a sketch of the artsy mug with golden yellow flowers.
It started to rain really hard so I decided to stay. We were sitting beside each other, me browsing through a sketch book by this Londoner while him still intent in deciphering his biochemistry module. When he had his lunch at 2 pm, I started to pry.

“Hi, what course are you enrolled in?”
“Chemical Engineering.”
Ooh fancy, must be smart. He goes back to eating and I look at my phone.
“What year are you currently in?”
He was not prepared that he had to raise his hand trying to signal me to wait while he swallows the piece of pork steak and rice in his mouth. “This is my…” looks up as if he were counting it from the ceiling “…6th year.”
“Oh but…”
“I stopped for 2 years.” He read my mind.
“Ah I see. But currently you’re?”
“3rd year? Cool.”
Then we went back to what we were doing.
“Why’d you stop?”
“I went to Australia.”
“You were from there?”
“No, my aunt lives there. I went to visit then she made me stay.”
“But you’re from here?”
“Uh huh.” Smile from both of us. “Are you studying here?”
“Ah no” fuck I graduated way earlier than him. “I was done 2012, but in Manila.”
“Oh.” He smiles and goes back to eating. I go back to my sketch book.
“So when do classes start now? I mean it was different before…”
“August, then there are no sem breaks but you get a month off Christmas break.”
“And is that better? Did you ever experience the old academic year?”
“Oh yeah, I like the new one more.” He chuckles a little.
“Well…” I join in with a smile.

That was the end of the conversation. The guy was cute, clean look, fair-skinned, and a little chubby. We didn’t even exchange names. At some point I was curious about how old he was but I didn’t ask anymore because he was studying. When the rain stopped, he said he’ll be going. I smiled and bid him luck on the exam.

I thought he’d probably be 23 at most. I’m 25. It got me thinking, what’s the worth of that 2-year age difference? Does it make me wiser than him? Sure I’m 25 but what value are those years? How do we measure the value of years, months, days, or minutes? Am I wiser by virtue of age? Am I supposed to be twice more mature? I doubt it.

Most of my years I spent in a simulated environment we call a campus. It’s like a cocoon. You live in your own world. Yes sometimes you participate in the real world you hear about in the news, etc. etc. but most of the time you’re in a sphere that rotates on its own amid the independent revolution around a bigger sphere. So if someone asked me if I was mature because I’m older, I honestly would just shrug.

I shrug because I unknowingly let the world pass me by. I shrug because I’m not sure if that was right or that was wrong. I shrug because I’m uncertain of what all those years were worth. I shrug because… because what else can I say? I don’t even have the right words for it.

Today was different though. I’m drinking the same beer, but I feel different. Hopefully something happens. Something with value. Starting today.

The Traveling Doctor

While traveling solo around Cebu – from the North to the South of the province, I’ve been to conversations with several backpackers on hostels I’ve stayed at. Some of them have traveled for 7 months to several years all over Asia or the whole world. I can’t help but admire them all and have thought to myself if I could do that too.

I really love traveling. You wouldn’t be reading all the things I’m writing in this blog if I didn’t. Sometimes I feel like it’s not just the destination, but it’s also that feeling of moving through places that makes me ecstatic about traveling.

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Tagaytay Hits

Tagaytay is such a well known place, so famous that I never really was so interested in going there. I’ve passed by it a few times during bus rides to Batangas, and I always thought the glances I get of Taal Volcano was already enough. This time however, I went mainstream hence I have a touristy picture of Taal Volcano, yay!! 🙂 Continue reading

On Commitments and Distances

…The time spent apart makes you appreciate the days spent together. It is a test of faith and it makes each one stronger. And probably the greatest realization in a love separated by such a distance is that at times you’ll have to think and say to yourself that if it was for nothing then you might have easily dropped it, but you didn’t cause you can see a future with him. You feel the sadness but you have to keep yourself sane, and both of you have to be strong. So in a way you learn independence. In the end you still hope to have him by your side but you know you are a strong woman who can handle life on your own.

For the Love of the Game

It all started with a book. I got it from booksale for P30 and the cover showed this handsome blonde guy with carved abs and smoldering looks

At first I was only hooked on looking at handsome European footballers…

… but when I started watching them in their games, holy ****! I wanted to throw my shirt off. Continue reading

The One That Got Away

“…the one you first kissed, the one you first loved, the one you lost your virginity to, the one you put on a pedestal… the one that got away.”

This just hits the right spot and my heart does ache. I wanted to write something similar but all I have been right now is a big jumble of extreme emotions. Now this article returns to me, after having first read it 8 years ago, and it speaks the same thoughts I want to convey at this moment.

I hope it’s not too late for me. I hope I learn – about love and life, enough to make me not lose someone. I don’t want to have someone that got away.

“…I guess it’s that person with who everything was great, everything was perfect, but the timing was just wrong. There was no fault in the person, there was no flaw in the chemistry, but the cards just didn’t fall the right way, I suppose.”


By: Mark J. Macapagal, The Manila Times

In your life, you’ll make note of a lot of people. Ones with whom you shared something special, ones who will always mean something. There’s the one you first kissed, the one you first loved, the one you lost your virginity to, the one you put on a pedestal, the one you’re with …and the one that got away.

Who is the one that got away?

I guess it’s that person with who everything was great, everything was perfect, but the timing was just wrong. There was no fault in the person, there was no flaw in the chemistry, but the cards just didn’t fall the right way, I suppose. I believe in the fact that ending up with someone, finding a long time partner that is, does not lie merely in the other person. I can actually argue that an equal part…

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