(Travel Diary) The Historic City of Silay


I usually try to schedule an out of town trip during summer. In the Philippines, school break falls on the months of April to May so I have come to associate summer = vacation. Now that I am working, I maintain that association by going on vacation trips during summer.

In the summer of 2014, I went to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Guimaras and Iloilo in the Visayas area of the Philippines with my high school friends, Cez, Thomas and Galembs. Our trip lasted for four days. Our entry point was Silay City in Negros Occidental, then our exit point was Iloilo.

The next travel series I will share are what I have to come to call as “BIG trip”. It stands for Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras.

Balay Negrense, one of the famous old houses of Silay.
Balay Negrense, one of the famous old houses of Silay.

1st stop: Silay City

Bacolod is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental but its airport is located in the province of Silay, which is about a 30-45 minute ride from Bacolod City. Silay City is one of the two museum cities in the Philippines, the other one being Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. It has been referred to as  such due to the number of preserved Spanish houses in the city. In the airport, we were even given a map which detailed where all the Spanish houses were situated.

From the airport, we decided to proceed first to El Ideal Bakery, of the most must try’s in Silay, to eat breakfast. The restaurant-bakery is is also housed inside an old Spanish residence! Continue reading

Refreshing


DSC05333

Wading in a stream.

Walking in the fi

Walking in a field.

Simple life is refreshing.

Check out “Fresh” theme at Daily Post.

The Walls of Ancient Seoul


DSC02419

The old walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

DSC02246

Living quarters at Changdeokgung Palace.

DSC02375Getting lost in Bukchon village.

Stunning photos of “Walls” at Daily Post.

Finding my Footing


I was browsing thorugh my drafts and I found this unfinished post. I wrote this in May 2013. I wondered why I never got to post this. So here’s a sort of flash back Friday post:

Last night my brother told me, “Should I go out of the country next year?”. He then followed up with, “What should I do about the promotion offered by the company?”

I just replied, “Do what you think will be best for you. If you feel you like doing something, then try it.”

There was a time when I have also been bothered so much by such questions. I was very envious of my peers who are already leaving the country to get their PhDs. I felt bad seeing pictures of people who  were able to travel to different places. I was jealous of people who already know what are the things they are good at. I was too consumed by the so called “quarter life crisis”.

I don’t know how  but thankfully I am slowing easing out of the stage already. These days, I am less bothered by how far my peers has achieved, how many places they went too and whether they are now rich by mastering their craft. Instead, I have diverted my energies on trying out different things such as finally booking a ticket to go the place that I want to and enrolling in a course even if  I am not yet sure if it’s the track I want to pursue. I now don’t feel so bad that I haven’t achieved yet the things that I want to do when I was 23. I have now appreciated the investments I have made to secure not only mine but my brothers’ future are as well. In short, I have finally found my footing and I am now in betters terms of myself as far as capacities and experiences are concerned.

The path towards this state was not easy and I am not even sure how I came to such kind of peace and understanding. However, one thing I have always acknowledged is that every one of us is unique but at the same time share certain universal traits. By understanding individual differences, I realized that is no point in competing with anybody. When we strive to improve, it should not be because you want to beat someone but because you know you are lacking in certain areas. And by acknowledging that we share certain universal traits, I realized that despite status differences, people still seek the same thing… happiness, acceptance, contentment.

Whoa. I was thinking  of these things when I was 23. But I feel happy that I still feel the same way I felt two years ago. You  don’t compete with anybody but yourself. :)

Five!


A Thoughtful Paper turned 5 today and WordPress was kind enough to remind me!

Achievement unlocked!
Achievement unlocked!

So, it’s been five years of blogging at WordPress and eight years of blogging for me! Hurray! It’s been difficult to sustain this  blog particularly with all the activities for school and work. But blogging has been a very good way for me to de-stress and there isn’t a better way to document all my experiences! I didn’t intend for A Thoughtful Paper to be a travel blog and I still don’t intend to. But since travel occupies a third of my life today, the blog sort of turned into my travel diary.

Blogging at WordPress has been and is still a good experience. I get to meet a lot of people though  admittedly, I am guilty of not visiting my followers’ blogs as often as they visit mine. But thank you my dear readers and friends for constantly dropping by and for leaving comments. I may not voice out  my appreciation as often as I should but you guys make blogging a lot more fun and insightful.

I look forward to more years of blogging, sharing experiences and meaningful discussions!

 

Photo Essay: Baler (Part 2)


If photos and travel stories were food, mine were probably moldy already. Thankfully, travel stories never grow old! I talked about my Baler trip earlier last year. Allow me to finish my photo essay before my memories go down the drain.

Day 2 in Baler

My friend agreed to wake up early to catch the sunrises. Unfortunately, it was raining so bad in the morning so just went back to sleep. At around 9 AM, the tricycle driver who toured us around the town fetched us again for our visit to the Ditumabo falls. The falls is about a 3o-45 minuted drive from Sabang beach. From the tricycle stop, we had to trek again for another 30-40 minutes.

Waiting ares of drivers.
Waiting ares of drivers.

It was one of the most difficult treks I experienced. We literally had to cross very rocky streams. I didn’t get much photo because  I requested our driver to secure my cam. As we got closer the the falls, thankfully the trek became easier and there were fewer streams and rocks to conquer.

Hello, rocks and streams.
Hello, rocks and streams.
Easier trek.
Easier trek.

Continue reading

(Seoul Diaries) Discipline is a Way of LIfe


Upon arrival in Seoul last October, the first places/things my friend Me-an and I agreed to look for was food and money changer. So upon depositing our luggage in hour hotel in Jong-no, we went straight to Myeong-dong. Upon getting off the subway station, the first restaurant we saw was McDonalds. We agreed to just eat there because we were already so hungry.

Thankfully, ordering was a breeze. The staff at the counter understood basic English and I was still decent enough to understand that “in-here” means “dine-in”. Ha! I was also amazed at the presentation of the cheeseburger. It was a far cry from the way cheeseburgers are served here in in the Philippines!

After I was done eating, I immediately stood and about to head to the door when Me-an stopped me. She said I have to pick-up the wrapper of the burger and the glass where I drank from and throw it on the garbage. I looked around and realized there was a “self-service garbage disposal counter” and people were indeed throwing their own garbage. I thought what a neat practice it was, something I was not used to seeing in the Philippines.

Continue reading

Reward


I am not into parties, branded bags, shoes, clothes, jewelry etc. etc. So, how do I reward myself?  TRAVEL!

DSC05556
Somewhere in El Nido.

As this quote says: “I would rather own little and see the the world than own the world and see little of it.” :)

In the outskirts of South Korea.
In the outskirts of South Korea.

See how others define “Reward” at Daily Post.

That Place Called El Nido


El Nido is probably in the travel bucket list of every Filipino, if not at least on the list of hardcore travelers. And it is for a variety of reasons: it’s the Philippine’s last frontier, it’s gorgeous, it’s untouched by urbanity, etc. etc. Despite these, El Nido remains an elusive destination for most us due to rumors that it’s an expensive destination, it’s very hard to reach and so on. Is El Nido too good to be true then?

El Nido: too good to be true?
El Nido: too good to be true?

I had the change to test how true these rumors are when  my friends and I booked a ticket to Palawan during the Cebu Pacific Independence seat sale last year. With sufficient time to save and plan, I realized El Nido is a very manageable destination for a budget traveler like me. Two weeks ago, the dream travel finally came true, and my friends and I saw ourselves in the fine white sands of El Nido.

Never say no!
Never say no!

Continue reading

Palawan and the Rule of Thirds


Of the basic photography techniques, the “rule of thirds” is my favorite. It’s one, if not, the only technique I bother to familiarize, practice, and painstakingly try to polish. If perfectly executed, it can bring a photo into a whole new dimension.

For this week’s photo challenge, I did not take new photos (when did I, anyway?) but instead share some of my old shots where I tried to employ “rule of thirds”. These photos were taken during a travel to Puerto Princesa, Palawan last December.

One of my stops in the city was a butterfly garden but it was not the butterflies that caught my attention but a dragonfly. I rarely saw dragonflies now in Metro Manila. :(

DSC03958
Rarity.

Puerto Prinsesa is known as well for its beaches. I had a chance visit the islands around Honda Bay, one of which is Starfish Island where I took these:

Waiting is the name of the game.
Waiting is the name of the game.
Freed.
Freed.

The “rule of thirds” is a such a joy to practice right? I could probably post tons and tons of practice portfolio. Hah! But for more astounding photos employing the technique, check out Daily Post.

Radial Symmetry


There are several kinds of symmetry, one of which is radial symmetry. Echinoderms a.k.a. sea stars (or the less technically correct term starfish) exhibits this kind of symmetry. Trusty old Merriam-Webster defines such as “the condition of having similar parts regularly arranged around a central axis”.

???????????????????????????????

Some flowers also have radial symmetry, case in point:

20140812-DSC00785

Imagine if human faces have radial symmetry. Heh!

Check out Symmetries at Daily Post.

Depth


I couldn’t just let January pass by, right? The week is seeking depth. And so am I.

IMG_0829.JPG It would be so wonderful if depth involved such colors or the creatures…

IMG_0830.JPG They can be lurkers and predators but it could be worse than having no companion at all… in a place so deep and cold. Visualize Depth.

2014: Impulsiveness and Adventure


These words properly sum up my year: impulsiveness and adventure.

And both are double-edged swords. If handled improperly, these can produce effects contrary to the expectations of the doer of the action. So, did my impulsiveness brought something good? I guess. Because if not, I would not have reached the places I went  to or did the things I really wanted to do. I realized sometimes courage is not only trait one needs to dive into a goal, a certain degree of impulsiveness is also required. For me, it’s the latter that brings out the “now or never attitude”. I know  my impulsiveness will take its toll sometime and I have to control it as I grow older. But what better time to experiment, make mistakes and enjoy youth than now?

So, cheers to a year full of adventures! I might lie low for 2015 because  I have big plans for 2016. But who knows where my impulsiveness and wanderlust can take me next year?

2014: Baler, Rizal, Bacolod, Iloilo, Guimaras, Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete, Siquijor, South Korea, Tagaytay, Palawan. 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the year worked out according to your expectations. If not, high five to another year and chance for creating a difference!

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Blessed Christmas to Everyone!


image

Wherever you are
Whatever walk in life you are in,
I hope you feel loved
By family, by friends
Or at the very least
By our Savior who gave up
His life to save us all.

A Blessed Christmas to you. :)