January 12, 2019

an intro for twenty nineteen

I think I forgot how to write. Worse, I let myself abandon the idea of writing. Some days, mostly when I am under the weather, I would tell myself that I am going to write something. But ever since I let myself bask into microblogging tools, I instantly think it would take too much time for me to write. So I go on my phone and constantly tap, tap, scroll, scroll. It never ends.

Here I am, sitting and listening to jazz on a January afternoon. So what's the agenda for today's blog? No idea. I think I will just go on and on just like the old days. There is something in letting the words come out of your head. It calms me down. And this is exactly what I miss.

There are several reasons why I have been blogging for quite a while now: I want to have something to write down my thoughts by which I think I have written mostly about my day; just like what you write in a diary. At some point, I used blogging to connect with other people and brands. I was part of a blogging community back in Davao. It was great to be part of a community, know bloggers whose very passionate about writing, and work with brands, as well. Also, I think I have made my blog more interesting with my book reviews. I loved receiving books from authors and in return, I would review them here (and on Goodreads). Ever since I wrote about my adventures and this will never change. Speaking of adventure, I guess I have traveled everywhere but never really had the chance to write them down. And I will forever be proud of the recipes, mixtapes, arts, and crafts that are in this space. I was everywhere, and I think that's what being in your late teens and early twenties is all about.

I want to make something out of this blog. No, I am not making this a commercial space. But, I want to make something more of how it used to be. I hope my 2019 will have more time for writing down my thoughts, travels, and everything else.

This year, I will be twenty-nine. Not sure how to feel about this. Should it suppose to make me feel pressured since this will be my last year of being in my twenties? Being thirty scares me but I think it should be fine if twenty-nine isn't too intimidating. This morning I stumbled upon a phrase that says "Life is not a race." This is true. Sometimes my mind says to take it easy but also, it constantly asks me, "what's next for you?"

But then we should just let life unfold. Just like this cliche: it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. I guess this year will be more of always taking the high road and just enjoy the ride.

More thoughts to come. xx

July 6, 2018

Backpacking Diary - ThaiCamViet 2018 - Cambodia to Vietnam

Going from point A to point B should be easier by plane but cheaper by land. For some of us, we want to save as much as we can on transportation and indulge more on food, shopping, etc. This was the mindset we had for our Angkor, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam trip. We opted in for a land trip from Angkor to Phnom Phen and finally Ho Chi Minh. During the day. It took us about six hours as compared to an hour or so plane ride. But we were in for the experience!

We had a view of Tonle Sap which is a fresh water lake in Cambodia.

A few stretches here and there and then it was time for another long ride. The ride was not bumpy at all so it was not a problem to sit on the tail of the bus where we met a fellow traveller who was on her way to Phnom Pehn. She knew we were headed to Vietnam and so, since she is a Vietnamese, she has mostly given us tips on what to do and what not to do when we arrive in Ho Chi Minh. As well as Phnom Pehn, actually.

From then on, we had assumed that Phnom Pehn is just like Manila - harsh and familiar (except that it was our first time so there was no familiarity, at all). To be honest, it was the unlikeliest place I have been to. Unfortunately, we did not give this city a chance to be discovered (and hopefully liked) within a few hours of our stay.

We walked around the hotel's neighbourhood and found a Chinese restaurant. The food was amazing! My rice and pork bowl felt like home. Seriously!

We spent a few hours eating and talking about life - in general. We went back to our hotel and since we are not going out anyway, we had another pint. The moon was beautiful that night.

We spent the night away on the rooftop bar of our hotel mostly talking about our future endeavors. Although we may have chosen to stay in, it felt like it was a perfect time to actually sit and wind down after days of being out there. It was the time to stay still as another adventure begins the next day.

Then - we started to think that the hotel room was a bit spooky. Just for fun. And then we snoozed...

Now we are off to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!

Phnom Pehn, thanks for the easy night!

And then our Vietnam journey begins...

June 12, 2018

Backpacking Diary - ThaiCamViet 2018 - Cambodia

Siem Reap to me is rich in history. Just like any other city in the world but this one is one of the places I have been to that makes me indulge into reading history books.

It felt to me that it was a must to visit Siem Reap if you are wandering around Asia. Though it was a small city, having only three nights is not enough for me (at least). Sure, you can visit the temples of Angkor in one day but it is not enough to grasp everything there is to see in that compound let alone the whole city. 

I arrived in Siem Reap at night and could not wait to meet my best friend and the adventure that awaits us. The tuktuk ride from the airport to the hostel felt so familiar - the crisp and fresh evening air that brushes against your face, the bragging sound of the motorcycle on a highway as if it was the only vehicle on the road, the open fields in between luxury hotels, and the smell of a bonfire on the front yard of some houses, it felt like it was home. 

Lok Lak - this was the first food I ate in Siem Reap. It was basically just braised (though not sure) pork and rice. I think this was mostly what I ate during our stay in Siem Reap. We stayed a few steps away from Pub Street so basically it was difficult to sleep at night when you are surrounded by loud music everywhere. I remember they played Usher's Yeah but they also played John Denver's Country Roads. So it was not too bad. 

We witnessed the sunrise at Angkor Wat and then visited a couple of temples around Angkor. Here's a list of temples that we visited: Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Pre Rup and Ta Prohm.

We saw a few tourists who carried books around the temple. My best friend told me that some people stay at least five days to see everything and the book might include a history for each temple and some glimpses of the bygone empire. I never really had the chance to read about the temples or even documentaries to explain what happened in such an amazing place before my trip. But after this trip, I drowned myself with some documentaries and therefore I came to know that the whole compound was once a modern town from centuries ago. And some more interesting facts. Such is their water management and irrigation system which is believed to be the reason why it is abandoned - due to failure of maintenance and climate change.

Witnessing both sunrise and sunset was an amazing experience in Angkor. I am glad to witness a whole day of a beautiful distraction from the city life that I am used to. And I am going to treasure this day forever. I've had blisters around my feet (from walking too much and wearing the same sandals since day one in Thailand) and it was getting too uncomfortable to walk around, but seeing the whole day end with a golden sunset, it was all worth it. 

This life has too many complexities that sometimes we forget to step back and take another route. For some reason, unconsciously, we kind of like going around the same circle. But I am glad that I took that trip and always grateful for my best friend for coming along, for the strangers we have met, for the friendly tourists who took pictures of us, for the chance to visit another place, and for those moments that make us humble.

By having visited Angkor and witnessed its uniqueness, we celebrated this small victory over a small pint of beer. Actually, two... and then some.
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