Saturday, December 27, 2014

7 Life Lessons I Learned in 2014

Leaving the footprints behind, and creating new ones as we move forward.

Now, where do I begin?

For years, I have been asking myself what do I really want in this world, and which one's really better: the road traveled by many or the road less traveled. The year 2014 is not just about a story about how I made bold decisions and taking the less familiar route, but it is about how I fell and stumbled along the way, lost a number of significant things, and picked myself up.

Truth is, 2014 had made me more resilient and more prepared as I continued my journey on this road less traveled.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tacloban City: A Year After

The journey wasn't as smooth as this. San Juanico Bridge. Nov 6, 2014.

The weather en route was sunny and all I could see from the window were just a few patches of white cottony clouds, the green landscape of Luzon , and an endless stretch of blue called sky. I was thankful that the ground crew gave me a window seat. I had an opportunity to have a first glimpse of a place that was once battered by torrential rains on an apocalyptic level, strong winds that toppled even the sturdiest structures, and a two-storey high wall of black water that took several properties and lives regardless of social status, gender, and age. As we started our initial descent, the weather started to change. Looking out, I was only seeing a gray void. It made me think what was really in store for me in the next few months. Eventually the clouds fled and from above, everything became clearer. Tree trunks were scattered like matchsticks as if they were haphazardly scattered by a toddler. Clusters of white tents were placed randomly on a flattened area that used to be a village. 

It was drizzling and the sky was overcast the moment I stepped outside the plane. I will never forget how Tacloban City welcomed me on that gloomy and melancholic second day of March. The airport terminal, albeit still standing from its foundations, was literally torn apart. There were wires strewed randomly at the ceiling. Some hung loosely, while others were taken out for safety reasons.

On the 8th of November 2013, Tacloban City became a city of ruins. Thirteen months later, nothing had really changed, except for some establishments that have reopened for business. But it had somehow changed me on how I view things around me; a paradigm shift.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Glimpse of Guiuan, Eastern Samar

Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Guiuan, Eastern Samar

Last month, I got a message from my senior. She told me that I was one of those people from the tower who will be sent to Guiuan, Eastern Samar for a special assignment: To facilitate the take-off and landing of Kalayaan One (the callsign of PNoy's flight).

With only a limited time, I immediately packed my things and off we went to the easternmost province of Visayas.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five Misconceptions about Flying

Taxiway Charlie at NAIA

Flying, without a doubt, is the safest and the fastest way of transportation. It makes the economy of the state, and the lives of the people running at a steady pace. I couldn't imagine life without air transportation. Today, more and more people choose to fly due to lower airfare, most especially when airline tickets are on sale.

Working in the aviation field gave me an opportunity to understand on how this industry really works. More so, as a frequent flyer, I always encounter or hear a LOT of scuttlebutts about flying. Here are the five misconceptions and facts about flying.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Surfing the Internet Abroad: Globe Data Roaming


I love to travel; it keeps me sane and it allows me to discover more about myself. Going beyond my comfort zone isn't new to me and no one will stop me from discovering new places, exotic cuisines, and exploring new culture. And since everyone's on social media, I couldn't help but to update not just to humble brag but also to update my family and friends about my adventure. I tell you this, updating them through photos and other forms of media is more engaging than just a 160-character text message.

Through this, I wouldn't get tired of hunting for wi-fi spots just to upload a photo on Instagram, locate my lost luggage at the airport, an immediate access to Maps to make your way through the ancient temples in the city, or looking for hotel and restaurant reviews to make my vacation more worth it. 

Make your trip abroad a worry-free experience with Globe Telecom’s P599/day unlimited data roaming available in over 70 countries worldwide with FREE TravelCare insurance of up to P200,000! Check out this infographic and get educated. Visit bit.ly/globedataroaming for more details!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seven Things You Should Know about Saigon

Busy motorways.

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City is not just about sunlights, moons, joined forces from the gods of fortune, midnights, and high noons. It is the center of trade, commerce, and industry, making it as an important hub of Vietnam with a current population of 7.5 million people. Like Metro Manila, Saigon is a bustling metropolis sans the ubiquitous Philippine jeepneys, westernized commercial districts, and a mass transportation system (currently on the works as of this writing).

Here are the 7 things that you should know about Saigon and I hope that this post will serve as a guide for those who are planning to visit Saigon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Best Shopping Cities in Europe

Shopping at Amsterdam, Netherlands

Europe has so much to offer the visitor thanks to its history and shops. Europe is a haven for visitors intent on fashion shopping, and that means a trip to the high streets of some of the leading European cities. 

French designs and fashion are popular worldwide and Paris is a magnet for fashion shoppers. One of the top fashion stores in Paris is L’Eclaireur on the rue de Sévigné, where you will find a host of the top brands on offer. Melinda Gloss, set on rue Madame, is the store to visit for top menswear. Paris, aside from its famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, is a haven for quality shopping. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Modern Kingdom of Cambodia

The Angkor Wat sunrise!

"You are all lucky. We still have seats for you to Siem Reap. Tomorrow is a national holiday in Cambodia. Many people are coming home!", the front desk officer told us gleefully.

The early morning rush in Saigon didn't stop me from thinking about the possible scenarios after crossing the borders of Vietnam and Cambodia. I had this irrational fear of getting scammed, mugged, or worse, mulled along the way. With only 4 hours of sleep, we left Saigon at past six in the morning and made our way to a place where an ancient kingdom once flourished.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taking a Tour in Tunisia

Image by Goran Necin, used under the Creative Commons license.

Tunisia is by no means a large country but the relics of its ancient past, along with the beautiful coast and desert setting, attract plenty tourists each year. Vacation companies like First Choice fly out throughout the year, so- while not all sites can be listed- here are a select few.

Sidi Bou Said

What Bruges is to Belgium, Sidi Bou Said is to Tunisia. This beautiful town atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is a haven for local artists, while tourists come to see the narrow cobbled streets and the white-washed houses with their striking blue accents, all-in-all making a very picturesque scene.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

KLM Get friends & WIN!



It has been my lifelong dream to visit The Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam. Good thing, you can now fly to Amsterdam (via Taipei) from Manila via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines! How cool is that? For this month, they have a simple game for you and winners shall enjoy luxurious prizes!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Hidden Gems of Mui Ne

Red sand dunes of Mui Ne.


Mui Ne is a coastal town in the Binh Thuan province. It is a popular resort destination in Southeast Vietnam, most especially to Russian tourists. No wonder why some shops and restaurants are named in Cyrillic characters.

At half past two in the afternoon, we had safely arrived at Mui Ne. Since we didn't have enough energy, we decided to tour Mui Ne the following day. We stopped by at a local restaurant and apparently, the bus company that we rode also managed it. We decided to pay for our fare back to Saigon and for the Mui Ne day tour the following day. We only paid $70 each. Not bad.

After paying for the day tour and for our fare back to Saigon, Vu, the operator and manager of the bus and restaurant, told us that the day tour will start at exactly 4:30 AM. We thought it was too early but we didn't protest. The following day, we woke up at around four in the morning, and by 4:30AM, Vu was already outside the hotel waiting for us. We boarded his owner-type jeep, earphones in, volumes up, and off we went to the first destination of our tour.

Now playing: Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Mui Ne In My Mind

Mui Ne Vietnam
Mui Ne's beach!


There was a sudden jolt.

The flight to Saigon was turbulent, all thanks to the severe weather disturbance off the northeastern seaboard of the Philippines. The plane started to descend, and before we knew it, we have safely arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, after nearly two hours of flight. The sun was almost up when we finally left the airport terminal building and had our USDs exchanged to the local currency (Vietnamese Dongs). For the first time in forever, I became an instant millionaire. Multi-millionaire to be exact.

While searching for a cab, a frail-looking man probably in his early 50s, approached us. He claimed that he was a cab driver and even showed his ID to us. Because we were so exhausted brought about by the delay, we immediately hired him. Normally, the fare to downtown Saigon costs 210,000 dong. However, our cab driver charged us 200,000 each. Multiply it by 3, the total fare was 600,000 dong. Upon arrival at the hostel, we tried to haggle the cab driver to charge at a lower rate. Apparently, he wanted to press charges against us because we were too nosy. He started to raise his voice and we got afraid. We gave up and he sped off.

The first thirty minutes in Saigon was a bit traumatic, but I don't want to disappoint myself. Without a doubt, those scammers are scattered along the busy streets and murky alleys of Saigon waiting for its next victim.

But, I believe Vietnam is more than that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Great Indochina Adventure: Prologue

Vietnam Cambodia RM Bulseco


Hey, everyone! Look who's back! It's been a while since my last post.

I'm finally back in Tacloban. Back to work, back to controlling planes. You know what I really hate about going home from an awesome trip? It will take me forever to finally get over with it - the scenic Angkor Wat sunrise, the sand dunes of Mui Ne, and the delicious taste of Pho Noodles. And as the famous song of Nelly Furtado goes, "Why do all good things come to an end?"

Several months ago, my travel blogger friend, Robbie invited me to join him in his Vietnam and Cambodia trip. Since the fare in and out to these destinations were cheap, I immediately said yes. It was like hitting two birds with one stone - two countries with just one round trip ticket.

But the road to Indochina was rather bumpy. Literally and figuratively.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Travel Destinations for all the Family



Sometimes it can be difficult for the family to decide where they want to go for their next vacation – everyone wants to go somewhere different! If this applies to your family, then it is worth looking around for a little inspiration. Why not consider a few of these destinations? All of them can be reached easily with the help of the United Airlines website.

Why a family vacation?


Never underestimate the importance of the family spending time together. It is a great way for everyone to unwind, have fun and spend quality time together, creating memories for the future. With everybody having such busy lives these days, it can be hard to coordinate a family vacation, so when the opportunity arises you need to take it. The destination you choose will depend upon how long you have for your vacation, and remember to factor in traveling time. Going from the US to Europe can mean a flight of up to ten hours, depending on the destination, and this can be a long time for young children.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Packing for a Party: Fun on the Road



There’s nothing like a vacation with your friends where you can really let your hair down. Visiting a top party destination like Ibiza, Magaluf or Cancun gives you the chance to mingle with literally thousands of other people who are out to have a good time, with gorgeous beaches on which to chill out in the daytime and hot clubs where you can dance through the night. In a place like this, you’ll want to look your best, and you’ll want to have everything planned so you don’t run short of anything you need. That way you can just kick back and focus on enjoying yourself.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

7 Travel Destinations in Mindanao That You Shouldn't Miss

Samal Island.

I was born and raised in an island named Mindanao - a land of promise, and a land where different colors scream unity in diversity. Most of the Northerners fear Mindanao. Terrorist attacks, bomb scares, and other inhumane acts are everyday occurrences in this island, they say. Truth is, we live harmoniously and peacefully, and those turmoils only occur sporadically, just like any other places in the world. Apparently, the sensationalized news of some mainstream media groups had deeply concealed the beauty of Mindanao.

In this day and age, social media had made Mindanao more visible not just to the whole country, but to the whole world as well.  Thankfully, some Northerners proved to their fellow men that there is so much to see on our island.

Here are the Top 7 travel destinations in Mindanao that you shouldn't afford to miss.

Ready? Well, here we go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seven Facts About Me When Traveling



I travel because I want to see and feel the world. It makes me feel alive in every possible way! In this day and age, people have easy access to social media, thus making our world smaller and more accessible. Also, more and more people can now afford flying to different places, all thanks to the cheap fares provided by low-cost carriers. I started traveling around the beautiful island of Mindanao during my college days and it had really opened my mind to a new perspective about how I see the world; a paradigm shift.

On a lighter note, some of you here wonder how I travel - the things that I usually carry and the preparations I do prior my trips. I guess it's about time to share seven fun facts about me when traveling.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cebu Food Adventure: Season Two

Cebu Food Trip
Uswag, Sugbo!

I had fond memories of Cebu.

Three years ago, I went to Cebu with some of the seasoned travel bloggers here in the Philippines. First time to meet them in flesh, first time to visit the Queen City of the South. We explored the beautiful islands of Malapascua and Bantayan. Three months later, we went back to discover more places in Cebu and this time, we went south. We conquered Osmeña Peak, the province's highest peak, swam with the whale sharks of Oslob, and experienced the laid back life of Dalaguete, the quintessence of calm.

It's really great to be back at the Queen City of South last month. Here are some of the things that you shouldn't afford to miss when you're in Metro Cebu.

Yes, I'm talking about the FOOD that you SHOULDN'T MISS! Get ready for the part two of my Cebu Food Trip. Part 1 is here... and that was uhm... two years ago?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Delicious BBQs and Giant Burgers of Outback Grill

Outback Grill Davao
Nomnom madness


Amid the plethora of barbecue places in Davao, Outback Grill never fails to stand out. Located at Bacaca Road, right beside Zoofari, one could simply assume that it's just another barbecue house. Honestly, I felt the same way too. But upon entering, the vibe was totally different.

So as their food!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

DAVAO DINING: Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop

Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop
Healthy vs. Delicious

I have this notion that to eat healthy, one must endure the unpalatable taste of it. Plus, 'healthy' food products are more expensive than the ordinary yet delicious food available in the market.

Apparently, there is this small restaurant along Circumferential Road that offers healthy yet delicious food, as what my peers had told me. My family and I would always pass by this restaurant, Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop. I have heard and read reviews about it but I didn't have the time to check it out.

Luckily, in our fourth and final day of Davao Food Appreciation Tour 2014, Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop was in our gastronomic itinerary.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Found My Chew Love in Tacloban

Chew Love Tacloban City


I settled in Tacloban City last March and since then, I have been searching for good places to eat and to stay in this quaint city of Eastern Visayas. Eight months after Super Typhoon Yolanda wreaked unimaginable havoc to this city, Tacloban is now officially back to business and it is slowly returning to its normal vibe, so to speak.

There's this one particular restaurant in P. Gomez St. that really caught my attention. It was love at first sight.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My First Pintados-Kasadyaan 2014 Experience

Pintados Tacloban 2014


I've been here in Tacloban City for four months already, and so far it has been an eye opener to me. The developments were slower than anticipated, and the wastes and debris left by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) can still be seen along major throughways of the tiny peninsula of San Jose and downtown area of Tacloban.

But that doesn't stop the Taclobanons to celebrate the 28th Pintados and 19th Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals. Besides, they have organized this festival since 1986 in honor of Sr. Santo Niño.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The White House Dining Experience

The White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge
Nom nom nom.

For some, it was just an ordinary night. But for the Davao Food Appreciation Tour 2014 participants, it was a night to remember. We were all gathered in a dimly lit room, seated at a long table like King Arthur and his men. But, instead of planning for our next fight, we were there for one important mission: to eat as if there's no tomorrow.

The White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge apparently knew our weakness - FOOD.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Of Long-Term Travel

The rough road.

I was browsing my social media accounts when I read this particular email. It goes like this:

Hi Renz!

I know you don't personally know me but I have read your travel blog for quite some time. I have one question for you though: Have you ever considered long-term traveling?

Now, here's my take about long-term traveling:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Audition: The Amazing Race Philippines Season 2

the amazing race philippines season 2


For those who didn't know, The Amazing Race has always been my favorite show and I'd always look forward to watch the upcoming seasons. I have always been a fan of this show since Season 3 (I was only 12 or 13 that time). Ten years later, the show still didn't fail to surprise me. The Amazing Race is still AMAZING - full of twists, unexpected results, and real drama.

For Filipinos, it is impossible to audition for this show because firstly, one has to be a US citizen. I believe it is still difficult to audition for The Amazing Race Asia if you're only a Philippine passport holder. Boom. But as years went by, more and more countries acquired a franchise of this show, and one of them is our beloved country, Philippines! Dreaming of becoming one of the contestants of the show is now possible.

Now, are you up for an adventure of a lifetime?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Claude's Le Café De Ville Experience

Beautiful interiors of Claude's

On the second day of DFAT 2014, I skipped most of the restaurants during the day since my family and I were at Villa Mercedes, celebrating mom's birthday. Good thing, I had managed to squeeze my blogger duties at Claude's. I've been a resident of Davao for more than two decades already yet it's a shame that I haven't tried their authentic French and Mediterranean cuisine!

Hence, I took this opportunity to finally try Davao's premier and only full-service restaurant offering authentic French and Mediterranean cuisine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Jumpseat Experience: Inside the Cockpit of A330-300

Cleared for take-off.

Last May, I availed a free flight to Davao from Tacloban (via Manila) through our yearly DFR (Domestic Familiarization Route) privilege. For those who didn't know, Philippine Air Traffic Controllers are entitled to have two free domestic trips plus one emergency every year. Well, at least we have this cool privilege from giving air traffic services to airlines.

As a new ATC of the country, it was a humbling experience to be there.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Sand, and the Waves, and You and Me

Life is Here.

The last time I went to the beach was two years. Say what? TWO FREAKIN' YEARS?! That's quite long considering that I live in an archipelagic state. If I were in Mongolia or any countries in Central Asia, going to the beach at least once a year is considered a big blessing. Due to my busy work schedule, I wasn't able to visit any beaches near my area (ehem ehem).

I know, such a bummer!

Friday, May 23, 2014

(DAY 1) Gastronomic Adventure: Davao Food Appreciation Tour 2014

Ceviche!

I used to be an organizer of this gluttonous event in Davao. I admit it wasn't easy but the experience was fun nonetheless. Last year, I didn't attend the event due to my busy schedule. This year, I didn't let it pass and decided to join as a participant. I was really looking forward to be part of this food tour since the line up of this year's food tour was new.

And besides, I really miss everything about Davao - the people, the food, the culture, and its laidback lifestyle.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

3 Festivals Worth Seeing During ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2014’



In 1990, Malaysia saw an annual increase of nearly 3 million tourists — results of its recently debuted campaign, Visit Malaysia Year (VMY). Intending to draw tourist attention to the distant Asian land, the country labeled an endangered species as its mascot and fervently broadcasted its planned events, highlighting festivals and exhibitions to catch an interested eye. The campaign was a wild success and the country went on to host two more VMY campaigns, one in 1994, and the other in 2007, each better than the last.

If asked, would travelers say it was the colorful festivals, natural wonders or cultural heritage that drew them in and effectively made Malaysia the tenth most visited country in the world?

Now, some 6 years later, the country is at it again. Set to launch Jan. 1, “Celebrating Malaysia… Truly Asia” beckons to travelers: Are you ready?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Calle Z: Tacloban's Homegrown Favorite

Calle Z Café

During my day-off, I tend to become unproductive. I'm that type of person who just stays inside, doing nothing but to eat and sleep all day. Since it's the last day of my day-off, I decided to break this sedentary lifestyle of mine and eat something from Jollibee. It's been weeks since the last time I ate Chicken Joy!

Uhhh, no. Truth is, I just want to get out of the control tower and explore a bit of downtown Tacloban.

After the 20-minute jeepney ride, I went inside and discovered that the lines were long. There were no seats available during that time. Of course. Lunch time. Add the fact that it's the only Jollibee branch in the whole city. What are you expecting, Renz? While waiting, the attendant asked for my orders. After that, she gave me a piece of paper and waited for my turn. Three minutes later, I went outside and ditched my original plan. I was like, "There's more to life than Jollibee's Chicken Joy!". I've been staying here in Tacloban for almost two months already yet the only restaurant I know here is Jollibee! Sucks to be me.

I suddenly remembered Glen's Facebook post about Calle Z. According to his post, the restaurant is famous for their Bulalo. Mmmm. So I asked kuya trike driver about the restaurant's location (Foursquare told me that it's somewhere near Real Street, but locals > app).

Me: (with my faux Waray accent) Mano, maupay na kulop. Hain ang Calle Z?

Manong: Huh? Calle Z?

Me: (Trying to construct a Waray sentence, but it seemed that my Waray skills had failed me this time) Uhm, sikat po sila sa kanilang Bulalo. Pwede po bang pahatid doon?

Manong: (Sensing that I'm just a poser) Ahhh! Calle Zaragoza! Nakikita mo ba yung dilaw na building? Doon yun. Tapos may traffic light sa intersection. Kaliwa ka lang. Nandoon lang yun! Malapit lang.

Me: Ah okay, salamat po!

I followed his instructions, hoping that he was right. I have yet to prove that locals > app.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FEATURED: #Wanderer Series



Hey guys! How's summer treating you? Well, I have been busy for a while. You know, I need to prepare my mind for the upcoming exams for my Aerodrome rating here in Tacloban Control Tower/Approach Facility and I'm feeling excited and nervous at the same time!

In the mean time, I got featured in an international travel blog! Haha! Surprise, surprise! Neeko has been a good blogger friend of mine for quite some time and it was so nice to him to have me featured on his #WANDERE Series. The #WANDERER project collects travellers’ perspectives from around the world. With his permission (thanks mate!), here's the complete post.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Flight to Remember: AME4542

Fuerza Aerea Española

Weeks ago, we received a note coming from the Spanish Government. The Foreign Minister of Spain along with his cohorts will be visiting Tacloban City for one day, utilizing the Spanish Airforce's Airbus A310. That note didn't really catch my attention until the day of its arrival. Heck, I did not expect that I'd be the one who would handle this aircraft - from giving initial instructions during its initial descend up to its landing clearance.

It was such an honor to handle this VIP flight. Indeed, it was a first in my career as an Air Traffic Controller. And with that, my experience got even featured here! Thanks Darryl for the feature! Great write-up!

Now here's the article, lifted from the blog of Philippine Flight Network:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Travel Goal: The #30BeforeThirty Project



I have made a travel bucket list a few months ago and one item goes like this: visit thirty countries before turning thirty. I got this idea from Patty Laurel's blog when I was still in college. At first, the idea seemed farfetched due to lack of resources. Back then, I thought traveling was only exclusive for the rich and famous. But since I already have a job that pays really well, and thanks to the occasional promo fares of some airlines, I might give it a try. I am turning 24 this year and I only have six years before finishing this goal. Procrastination at its best! I have only visited two countries so far namely Singapore, and Malaysia.

Well, I guess I have to start planning my grand trip before I turn thirty and grumpy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Singapore Diaries: Epilogue

The Finest Country

February 12, 5:25PM


My journey started in Plaridel Airport, Bulacan. My flight was scheduled to leave Manila at around 5:30AM the following day. Luck has been on my side when I saw a bus bound for Pasay City. That would be less stressful since it's nearer to the airport. The rush hour traffic wasn't really bad too! Since I have eight hours to kill in NAIA Terminal 2, I did some catch-ups with my closest friends, scored more than a hundred fifty in Flappy Bird and reconfirmed my ticket.

I tried to sleep, but I couldn't. As the schedule of my flight drew nearer, I couldn't help but to feel excited and nervous at the same time. It seemed that all known species of butterflies and birds were fluttering inside my stomach. Traveling abroad in the Philippines is considered taboo to some especially in a country ruled by strict yet unnecessary immigration rules and processes. At three in the morning, I met up with my travel buddy, paid the terminal fee and passed the immigration process.

Little did I know that my second international trip would be a blast.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Guide to Winter Sports in Asia

Photo source

Mention winter sports in a casual conversation and the chances are that the countries that will come up for discussion will include Canada, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, the United States and various Scandinavian countries. Yet there are many superb places to be found in Asia for winter sports.

One only need consider the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in Russia's deep south and on the Black Sea coast, to recall that winter sports are enormously popular throughout the world, even in countries that don't get much, or indeed any snow or ice. The Jamaican bobsleigh team may spring to mind.

For winter sport enthusiasts looking for something a little different, here are few places in Asia that may be attractive.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Glimpse of Tacloban City

Tacloban City
Maupay!

Hey, everyone! Today's my first day-off in Tacloban and a great way to spend it is to do some personal errands - laundry, grocery, and get my pay slip (yey). I had a chance to see the current state of the city which was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda four months ago. Surprisingly, the alleged reports of the mainstream media were very far from what I have seen a while ago.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Road to Tacloban: Day Zero



After months of waiting, I am finally here! Tacloban Tower/Approach Control is my first facility assignment and honestly, I really don't know what's in store for me in the next couple of weeks. I am sure that the lecture will start soon and I have to review the local aerodrome procedures, the standard phraseologies and strip markings, and all the essential things I have learned during my ATC training last year.

Right now, I am staying at the quarters of the control tower. Life here is simpler than Manila, and I am loving every bit of it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Journey Continues

Live life to the fullest. Samal Island.

I have always thought that my life would be defined by a cycle - work, sleep, and eat, or lack thereof. I remember that when I was still young, I often dream of visiting exotic places and immerse myself into new cultures. I would always read travel magazines and watch some shows of National Geographic Channel just to have a glimpse of what the world really looks like. 

We used to live near the airport until I was fourteen. Seeing those planes flying to their respective destinations made me think about traveling and exploring different places, but I immediately scrapped off that idea, thinking that activity is only exclusive for wealthy people. I wasn't even a member of an affluent family in the first place. That notion changed for good when I decided to give traveling a try.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Singaporean Nightlife

The City Lights

Like any other major metropolis in the world, Singapore has a lot to offer even at night time! You might as well check some of these places I have visited in Singapore during night time.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Singapore Airshow 2014 Experience

Singapore Airshow 2014


As a die-hard fan of the aviation industry, attending a major airshow has been on my bucket list. Just last week, the dream went into reality when I became part of this momentous event. I didn't expect that I'd join this event most especially that I have an unpredictable work schedule. To cut the long story short, I traveled all the way to Singapore with my friends who are also into this obsession passion and had a blast!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Singapore Diaries: Day Tour



Touring Singapore in one day was truly a bad idea, but I had no choice since I only had a limited time. The only reason why I went to Singapore was the much awaited Singapore Airshow 2014. Visiting some tourist spots of this country was already a big bonus. Thus, I still kept my hopes and energy high throughout the day. On top of that, I haven't had enough sleep prior this trip.

Now, let's start from the very beginning. *cue music*

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Singapore Diaries: First World Impression


Singapore Chinatown
Singapore's Chinatown

I have heard so many things about Singapore - the law-abiding citizens, the hefty fines, and its cleanliness. True enough, Singapore has lived with its reputation of being the garden city as the city-state's filled with trees and other flora along the sidewalks, major thoroughfares, and even inside their airport! Although, it was not enough to just listen to my friend's testimonials about the city-state. I have yet to discover and all those things right before my eyes!

I was glad that my trip to Singapore wasn't called off. Aside from the fact that it's my first time to visit this country (well, not anymore!), the Singapore Airshow 2014 was the highlight of this trip, and that made my second out-of-the-country trip memorable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Singapore Diaries: Prologue



Like any other travels, going home will always be the hardest part. I still can't get over with my recent trip in Singapore and there's no remedy to it at all! That was exactly how I felt when I came back from my Kota Kinabalu adventure almost two years ago. Anyway, hola! I am finally back. It was a good thing that I came home without paying any hefty fines in Asia's finest city-state, Singapore.

Now, where do I start?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Planespotting in Manila



It's the month of February and that means I am going to celebrate Valentine's with my first love - aviation! Yesterday, after my duty, I went to the PPSG (Philippine Plane Spotter Group) HQ located at Multinational Avenue, Parañaque near the end of NAIA's runway 06 to meet up with my #ProjectSingaporeAirshow2014 friends (gee, what a long sentence). By the way, we're going to Singapore this February 13-16 to attend the Singapore Airshow 2014, plus a little bit of side trips. It's going to be my first time in Singapore and I'm going to make the most out of it! I can no longer contain my excitement!

Now back to the topic. Since last year, I have posted a few entries about my planespotting activities in Davao International Airport (ICAO: RPMD). It sure is an exciting activity most especially if there's a high volume of air traffic. But I admit that it gets boring if (1) there's only one or two arrivals/departures, and; (2) all aircraft are of the same type/model - example, the famous and best-seller Airbus A320-200. It was my first  time to spot in Manila with my DSLR. Without minding the scorching heat of the sun, I went near the perimeter fence and took a lot of photos... as if there's no tomorrow! Heh.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Big Davao Fun Sale



I am a proud Davaoeño and almost everyone of you here are aware of it. I practically grew up in this sprawling metropolis and I have witnessed its growth since then. Back when I was still a kid, the only shopping destinations I knew were JS Gaisano Ilustre, Victoria Plaza Mall, and Gaisano Mall. There were no SM or Ayala Malls that time. As years went by, the population increased and businesses and investments flourished. To make the long story short, several establishments sprouted like mushrooms in order to address the demands of the people.

With a total population of 2 million, Davao has grown big and is preparing for something bigger this March and April 2014. Brace yourselves, guys. The Big Davao Fun Sale is coming to town!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Simple Tips For Solo Travel



There are many benefits to traveling alone. You can learn a lot about yourself and get some great experiences and memories. According to Travel and Leisure, the change of environment can help to clear your head and may be the perfect “dose of momentum” needed to help you deal with any challenges or changes in your life.

Traveling provides the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, often with different backgrounds, yet similar struggles, providing a unique perspective on what is truly important. Once you’ve decided to make travel a priority, how can you make it a reality?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Of Living and Working In Metro Manila

Ayala Triangle
Makati City, Philippines

I used to wake up at five in the morning, braved the running, cold water from the shower and occasionally fought indolence. There was no time for breakfast because I have to leave the house at around quarter to six to catch up the early ride to my work station. A carton of milk and a bite of biscuit was already enough, or so I thought. And as always, the 6AM traffic jam is always unbearable most especially on weekdays. It seemed like people magically come out of nowhere and instantly fill the jeeps, taxis, and buses. And by the time I finish my work, I'd go home and experience the same stress ALL OVER AGAIN.

That's how I'd like to describe my life in Metro Manila and I didn't expect that I'd survive that way of life for almost two years!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Albert Dock: Top Reasons to Visit



As one of the most iconic areas in the whole of England, the Albert Dock certainly doesn’t fall short when it comes to reasons to visit. If you are planning a trip to Liverpool at some point over the coming months, you’d be foolish not to stop by this incredible heritage centre that occupies 1.25million sq. feet of space, which includes various entertainment attractions, restaurants and bars to keep you occupied from the morning, right through until the evening. Take a look at the Liverpool Travelodge hotels so that you can base yourself in the heart of the city, and, if you need some reasons to visit, read on!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random Shots: Plaridel Airport

Plaridel Airport


Upon learning that I'm going to be permanently assigned in Tacloban Tower/Approach Control facility, I together with my five other classmates who were also assigned to different provinces of the Philippines such as Kalibo, Busuanga, Subic, and Tuguegarao, will temporarily stay in Plaridel Tower. We still have to wait for our travel orders and some important documents before leaving Manila.

It was also an opportunity for me and my favorite toy (ehem, Canon EOS 1100D, we meet again!) to bond here in Plaridel. I have almost abandoned it during my training last year and my parents seldom used it.

Well, it feels so great to be reunited again with my favorite toy in the world!

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