Unmasking the City of Smiles at The Negros Museum

Bacolod has always been a romantic city to me, what with it’s glorious hedonistic past especially at the height of the sugar industry. I always equate Bacolod with mestizas and mestizos, of decadent pastries, of luxurious stews, and an old dilapidated train that used to carry sugar from one hacienda to another. That dilapidated train used to be the major attraction of the Negros Museum. Now, a decade after since my first visit, the museum has improved and it has unmasked the City of Smiles. Continue reading “Unmasking the City of Smiles at The Negros Museum”

How I Packed 1 Month Worth of Outfits in 6 Kilos

Because of the often difficult modes of transportation from the city to my hometown in Siquijor, I have always packed my bags light because I need to carry them myself. Our provincial transportation is as rough as you can get that sometimes we sit with chickens and pigs and a hundred other people. From an early age, I have carried my own bags and thus have learned to pack light and pack well that now it does not matter what mode of transportation I take. On our trip to Vietnam in August, I managed to fit 30 days worth of outfits in just one backpack weighing a mere 6 kilos! Continue reading “How I Packed 1 Month Worth of Outfits in 6 Kilos”

32 Hours Aboard Vietnam’s Reunification Express

The landscape, tranquil, brought tears to my eyes, and I was on a culinary delight sampling almost everything the hawkers aboard the train offered, including the raw meat sausage called nem nuong, without even asking what it was. I wish I could say I roughed it up and did it the way locals did, in the open air carriage with the fresh hot air blowing through my sticky face, but I was in the airconditioned cabins, sitting like the tourist that I was, no sweat in sight, and actually already writing a draft of this post.

Continue reading “32 Hours Aboard Vietnam’s Reunification Express”

Work Around the World: Vietnam

Joel and I traveled in Vietnam for 30 days. Like our travel last year to Thailand, we brought work with us. We worked full time, and traveled part-time. How do we manage to do that? Read on. Continue reading “Work Around the World: Vietnam”

Travel Guide: 3 Days in Hanoi for the Filipino Traveler

Hanoi is a good destination for weekend warriors because Cebu Pacific flights coincide with weekends, flying to Hanoi on Thursday night and flying back to Manila on early Monday morning. While we stayed in Hanoi for more than a week (and would have stayed even longer), three days should be enough to cover all the must-see places and uncover all the gems (literally and figuratively) Hanoi has to offer. Read on for my sample Hanoi weekend itinerary. Continue reading “Travel Guide: 3 Days in Hanoi for the Filipino Traveler”

Budget Guide: 11 Days in Hanoi for P28,000

Hanoi was not an expensive city to visit. In fact, even though we stayed there for more than a week, we spent well beneath our budget and was even able to squeeze in an expensive and indulgent (but truly enjoyable) afternoon at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel and some shopping. This is my budget guide for Hanoi and this post accompanies my Weekend in Hanoi post.
Continue reading “Budget Guide: 11 Days in Hanoi for P28,000”

West Lake and the Best Little Bookstore in Southeast Asia

I love to read books, and I don’t just love to read books. I also love to visit small and independent bookstores because I want to collect books and I know most bookshop owners are also book lovers. They are, in fact, book experts! So, it was a good surprise to learn that Hanoi has an independent bookstore selling English books. And that was the reason why we were headed to the West Lake on a Friday afternoon. Continue reading “West Lake and the Best Little Bookstore in Southeast Asia”

Old Quarter and Where to Stay in Hanoi

From many guide books/blogs, I always read about the 36 Streets of Hanoi, which make up the Old Quarter. Every day, for eight days, we walked the Old Quarter, from east to west, north to south, and we almost did not walk on the same street ever. I was counting up to 36 streets, and I was ready to conclude that the guide books are lying. There are no 36 streets. The Old Quarter is a maze and there are a hundred streets! Continue reading “Old Quarter and Where to Stay in Hanoi”

Hanoi Shopping Guide and My Unusual Hanoi Souvenir

Hanoi, for me, is an ideal shopping destination. In the French Quarters, you can buy luxury goods (Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Valentino). In the Old Quarters, you can buy raw materials at wholesale prices. In between, there is high street. This is not a comprehensive shopping guide to Hanoi, but this is what I thought were the good things to buy in the charming city. Continue reading “Hanoi Shopping Guide and My Unusual Hanoi Souvenir”

Gourmet Tuyo and Pasalubong Ideas from the Taboan Public Market

Bulad (which means “to dry” in the Visayan language) is a popular pasalubong item when you’re visiting Cebu City. Danggit is undeniably the queen of all bulads, but the truth is, I hardly eat danggit at all. That is because I always feel cheated that there is hardly any fish meat in danggit. One of my favorite bulads is galunggong or scad. And today, a Friday, I made my homemade gourmet tuyo using dried scad I bought from the Taboan Market. If you read further, I’m also sharing other things you can buy as pasalubong from the Taboan Market.

Continue reading “Gourmet Tuyo and Pasalubong Ideas from the Taboan Public Market”

An Afternoon at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel

The day we visited the Vietnam Museum of National History was balmy. The skies were grey, about to rain. We walked fast, past the Hanoi Opera House, past the boutiques of international luxury brands, to the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. I am about to spend money on probably my most luxurious purchase in our whole Vietnam trip, and I was quite excited. Continue reading “An Afternoon at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel”