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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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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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

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

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

Accidental Tourist

November 28, 2015 – the day I first owned a DSLR camera. Also the day I became an accidental tourist at C5 of Metro Manila.

The drive from Bonifacio Global City to UP Diliman took more than an hour because of heavy traffic that I decided to test my newly purchased 2nd hand/pre-loved DSLR, a Nikon D60.

It’s a very old model. I realized that since I am a newbie and still starting to learn, I can work with not brand new cameras as long as they are still in very good condition. I found my camera through the help of a photographer-by-hobby-engineer/entrepreneur-by-profession friend. He gave me the link to a website and I purchased the camera from a hobbyist and former surfer now seafarer. The seller bought it from Dubai at around 2100 Dirhams (about 25,000 Pesos). Continue reading

The Unethical & Illegal Existence of “Dolphin Island” at Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park

It can be recalled that a few months ago I emotionally wrote a blog about how much beauty I saw underwater near the sand bar of Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park, which was dubbed as the “Dolphin Island”.

I reiterate that during the time when I learned that the dolphins here are dubiously being rehabilitated, I instantly recoiled from the idea of visiting the place due to a fear of encouraging people to visit it too. I however still went due to curiosity. This place was so near my hometown and not once before have I heard of it. Now I know why I never heard of it mentioned so openly among tourist forums and websites. I realized maybe I was really meant to be there and to see the place so I can understand why it was a little bit shady. 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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