Enthralled by El Nido

I found my paradise in the Philippines.

Spellbounding Siquijor

A brave girl's first ever solo trip was to this mystical island.

The Quiet Charm of Cagbalete Island

Outdoor serenity at its best.

The Rugged Beauty of Islas de Gigantes

The off-the-beaten rockin beauty of Northern Iloilo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015: When I Turned Dreams Into Reality

Like last year, I am once again late in writing my year in review. I've been wanting to write this before the year ends but something happened that I can't get myself to write. When I woke up this morning - first day of the year, I told that feeling inside me to fuck off and went to the computer to bleed.

Without further ado, here's how my 2015 went:

Spring in Korea: The Land of Vanity and My Oppas

I am no exception to those who have been hooked to Korean dramas (Koreanovelas). I actually don't know how many I've watched already. You know those fairytale-like stories and dreamy oppas, we ladies secretly wished they'll happen to us haha! Maybe that's why it is addictive.

Gwanghwamun Gate of the Gyeongbokgung Palace
Last spring, I finally had the chance to visit Korea! Surprisingly, I loved spring so much! The chilly wind with some rays of sunshine, the blooming flowers and the excuse to always drink soju because it is cold haha! I loved everything about it.

spring is my new favorite season :)
Those things that we saw in the Korean dramas, they are true! It ain't a bore to hang out at night and drink with your buddies because hot Korean guys are around hahaha! Needless to say, I loved Korea.


Summer in Palawan: Spend Time with People that Matter the Most

For my Dad's 60th Birthday, we decided to celebrate in Puerto Princesa. It has been my siblings and I's tradition to treat our parents annually on a summer trip.

Well hello again, Underground River! 
I love taking them to places. It is now their time to relax after working hard for so many years just to provide for us and give us good education. I'm always glad seeing them happy like this. :)

Honda Bay island hopping
While doing your own thing and working towards your dreams, don't forget your parents and your family. Everyone can leave you but they won't. No matter what happens.


Autumn in Europe: Because Dreams Do Come True

On my last year's post, I mentioned about why I lessened my travels. It is because I wanted to save for something bigger and to focus on that goal. And this was it! All my sacrifices and perseverance paid off. I can't tell you how ecstatic I am the moment it started to come true! :)

Fallin' in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
I met all the goals I set for this trip. It was amazing how everything fall into place one by one. It's like all the stars have aligned for me. It sounds cheesy I know, but that was how it really happened.

the Eiffel moment is real!
My first and last European country is France. I was able to get a good deal for a round trip ticket to Paris. I loved this city. The romance, the joie de vivre - I felt it! Oh and the joy I felt when I saw the Eiffel Tower up close, it was inexplicable. :)

I was able to try those decadent Belgian chocolates while on a 7-hour layover in Brussels en route to Prague. To-die-for!

Belgian chocolates! when in Brussels :)
I got my Schengen Visa from the Czech Embassy because that was where I stayed the longest. I spent 7 days in their country. I've always dreamt about going to Prague and the whimsical town Cesky Krumlov. I was never disappointed. They are as splendid as I imagined them to be.

The Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, Prague
Wroclaw is not as famous as other Polish cities like Warsaw and Krakow but I found it fascinating so I added it to my itinerary. Plus, it is not that far from Prague. I enjoyed my time there so much!

the charming city of Wroclaw, Poland
Another favorite city of mine during my Euro trip is Rome. It's not as orderly and glamorous as the other European cities but I loved it! The history, the art, the food - all of it! I originally planned to stay for just 3 days then it became 5 days. :)

standing in front of the Colosseo in Rome
Having the chance to see His Holiness and being blessed by Him was one of my most memorable experience throughout the trip. I was teary-eyed. Seriously.

blessed to see and hear the Pope's blessing in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
Just like Wroclaw, I chose a less popular city in Spain over Madrid and Barcelona. I went to Sevilla. I liked it because it is laid back, not very touristy and it gave me a glimpse on how we are similar to them. This short visit made me want to come back and explore more of Spain!

rainy stroll at Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain
To be honest, I didn't like Lisbon that much. But when I went out of the capital, I found interesting things and places which made me fond of it. This country of discoverers and navigators has a lot to offer. Just get out of Lisbon!

appreciating the old and new in Lisbon, Portugal
Contrary to Lisbon, I loved Porto so so much! It is stunning. It is not only beautiful in the eyes but it has something in it that made it feel magical. JK Rowling got inspired to write the first chapters of Harry Potter in this city because it really has that entrancing charm.

I left my heart in Porto...
My month-long trip to Europe were the best days of my life. Going there alone and experiencing everything for the first time on your own was liberating. I wouldn't trade anything for that.


Winter in Hong Kong and Macau: Where I Started and Where Things Ended

I still have some leave credits left at the office, so why not use all of them? Before the year ended, I embarked on a week-long trip to HK and Macau.

in Harbourfront, Kowloon, Hong Kong
My first international trip was in HK 5 years ago. So I thought, why not? 5 years is already a long time. Though Nepal really was where I wanted to go. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it for the food trip and shopping!

night stroll in Macau
If I hesitated going back to HK, all the more going back to Macau. I didn't like anything about it. But my companion wants to see it, so okay fine. It's still the same. I still didn't find anything I liked. It's just that place where rich Chinese people flock to, to spend their overflowing money at the casinos.

***

Definitely, the highlight of my 2015 was my Euro trip. I wished for it in the lantern in Chiang Mai and when I saw shooting stars in the desert of India, I whispered it to the sacred mountain of Tawi-Tawi (Bud Bongao), I earnestly prayed for it every chance I get. The universe heard my wish and the Lord answered my prayer. I'm so thankful to you, 2015!

For an ordinary girl like me, it wasn't easy to achieve so I am very grateful that it finally happened. Paulo Coelho was right. When you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Thank you, Universe! :)


Lessons from 2015:

  • Just go for it. No matter how unattainable you think your goal is. Take chances. A lot of it. You will never know, if you won't try.
  • Do it now. You will thank yourself for doing the things you really wanted now. Don't delay your dreams. The future is promised to no one.
  • Don't be scared to be alone. Me-time. It is one of the best things you can give to yourself. A time for just you and only you. It may sound selfish but it will actually make you wiser, stronger and more independent. You will realize that you can be happy without attachment to anyone or anything. After all, happiness should come from within yourself. And I think loving yourself once in a while isn't selfish.
  • Give time to the people you love. 2015 also gave me the opportunity to travel with my family, friends and significant other all on different occasions. Solo travel is life enriching but sharing unique experiences with your loved-ones is also priceless.
  •  Always do a Reality Check. When everything is rosy and all your dreams are coming true, don't forget to look at everything and everyone around you. Do you still have time for them? Sometimes, we were too happy and excited we become blinded we didn't see anything else.

2015 had been amazing for me. I can't thank God enough for the blessings He showered me throughout the year. But of course it's not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes a part of your life will be roses, other parts will be thorns. But I am standing still. I chose to be and will always be a wildflower. ;)


Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all places people thought you never would.