The Unconventional Trip Prep



If there’s one thing I learned about travelling, it’s the value of creating guidelines. I only realized it this year after having traveled here and there for ten years. Better late than never! I figured this out while thinking of my upcoming trip and reflecting on what I did two years ago. These reminders are not hard and fast rules. They simply exist to guide me in the journey based on what I want to get from it and how I want to feel. We all probably have something like this in our heads. This is the first time I am consciously making the effort to create them.

  1. Have fun! 

    Even when things don’t go according to plan.

  2. Write at least 1 entry (at least 5 lines) every day.

    Reading my past journals have served me well over the years  that this is a no-brainer. I just have to get my lazy tourist ass to do it.

  3. Wake up early and get some quiet time

    Crucial stuff if I want to get some writing time and great shots before everybody wakes up to photobomb my pics.

  4. Engage

    With locals as much as possible!

  5. Exercise.

    Coz #abs. Coz #croppedtop. Coz #bikini.

  6. Be brave

    I always have to remind myself of this.




Aside from making sure  I have something to wear, I try to ensure that I have done the following to make my trip comfortable, convenient and memorable:

  1. Unlock phone, research local sim and instructions on how to call, apps
  2. Prep Camera- batteries, storage space, photo list
  3. Learn the Language – esp basic phrases via  Youtube, Duolingo and Memrise
  4. Familiarize Self with  Transit – trains and buses



I research writers of the country I’m visiting and download their works for me to read on the plane. Last time, I was able to borrow some books about Venice but I think they were not so good. My plan is to download a few short stories because as you may have observed, I am a lazy reader.


To immerse myself in the language, I add songs from the country I am visiting. The more genres I have the better. You never know when you’ll feel like having a concert in the shower or when you’ll be in need of a slow jam for long train rides perfect for thinking about exes, boyfriends and whatnot.

Aside from that, I always have my staple playlist that I will listen to wherever I am. My non-FIlipino songs include those by Yuna, Mariah Carey, Sara Bareilles, BTS, 2NE1, Tofubeats, various artists of Reply 1988 OST and Rurouni Kenshin OST. Just so you know, I have a lot of OPM and KPOP songs on mine. My OPM list will have Eraserheads, Zia Quizon, True Faith and 80s/90s songs. Which reminds me, I need new OPM songs. Any suggestions?


Scents and smells increase the memory of an experience. During my last trip to Italy, I chose a solid perfume in Rose scent from L’Occitane. For next time,  I will opt for a lotion and body mist. The lotion so that the scent lasts and body mist for quick application.

Ang that’s how I’d plan my trip, IDEALLY.


August Challenge: Reflections After Italy

I barely wrote anything for the month of August except a few notes and postcards. It sounds like a huge transgression not to journal everyday when you’re in one of the most popular countries in Europe. But I was busy dancing, partying, drinking wine, eating gelato and cherishing moments for the most part of the month. Nothing bad about that!


Kababayang Pilipino Cultural Performing Arts Group NEWBIES!

Around a year ago, I made a decision to join a dance workshop. Amazing things happen when you get off your lazy ass to do something. Yes, things like finding yourself on a performance tour in Italy. I danced everyday at the Latium World Folkloric Festival. Our schedule was hectic. Mornings were spent on preparations, make-up, parades followed by afternoon rehearsals then application of make-up again, after which, we get shuttled to other towns for another parade and performance. We performed in Rome, Fondi, Bassiano, Paliano, Velletri, Capri and Cori. It was during this tour that I saw the Happy = High Energy Theory at work! We would sleep for 2-3 hours a day but we had enough energy to Morning da Nayt (that means to party) after an evening show! I tried catching my z’s on the bus most of the time. This  is probably normal to touring professional performers but it’s definitely new and wonderfully insane for a girl who once had two left feet!

Tourists everywhere in Rome

After the festival, three fellow newbies and I went on to Firenze, Bologna e Venezia! Our bodies had had enough of the craziness. We collapsed on the couch/bed and slept for the entire afternoon on our first day in Firenze.

A lovely corner in our 800 year old apartment in Florence (Firenze)
On our flight home, I was finally able to pen down some thoughts and here are some of them:
  1. It is alright to be an introvert (I’m supposed to know this already but try being in a tour with 25 other people!)
  2. As an extension to point 1, get at least a few minutes of alone time before “diving into” the day and enjoy pockets of silence
  3. Balance points 1 and 2 with enjoying the company of others and learning from them —FUN!
  4. Don’t be lazy with photos —debatable but when you’re with a bunch of Filipinos, you’ll be glad that you made an effort to pose well!
  5. Focus and calm yourself before the show
  6. Learning the language before going on a trip helps BIG time —Yaay! It really made the experience better for me that I was able to understand many words and knew how to ask for things. Asking for dentifricio at a farmacia in straight Italian … no problemo!
  7. Get lost and enjoy it
  8. Do what you’re too chicken to do if you were at home — For me, it’s to bike in the city. I swear you will feel glorious!

And that’s it for now. There’s more stuff but they are for me to mull over. Ciao!

One of our meals in Bologna


This was not intended to be a food entry but a general sharing of what I did in Davao. It seems though that nothing else comes to mind when I try recalling my Davao adventure but those of food and eating.

A trip to a Philippine city is never complete without sampling local street food. Coconut water with evaporated milk was my favorite thirst quencher. I’m quite a fan as it was only singko per cup! I had proben or fried gizzard on sticks and crispy fried chicken skin. They were delicious with chili sauce. There were also healthy options– sliced fruits such as papaya, mangoes, guavas and the refreshing root crop singkamas. M, one of my amazing friends and a most gracious host, took us to an unassuming kebab place in one of our dinners. It had an open air layout and plastic tables and chairs. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to worry about my money when ordering Persian food.


Being a most hospitable/bordering on OCness friend, M also had her bedrooms all prepped with beautiful floral curtains and pristine white sheets. She had us munch on amazing durian pie which she bought from Koronadal. With durian, one can never be a fence sitter. It’s either you love it or you’re disgusted by it. I absolutely love the scent and taste of durian and I was in durian land! The pie was so rich. The filling probably consisted more of the fruit instead of the usual fluff: cream and sugar. Her mom cooked  pancit and I loved it with the squeezed calamansi and fresh celery. It was also my first time to taste durian flavored coffee. Really, I was in durian land. 

The next day, the whole barkada went to an old house turned fine dining restaurant  upstairs (Claude’s) and casual dining downstairs (Cellar de Oboza).  We ordered Filipino comfort food kare-kare, beef salpicao and the house pancit. We also had shrimps in crab fat. Mr. Leading Man* was a little disappointed when the iced tea he ordered turned out to be bottled Nestea. Of course we expected it in a glass at least. I tasted better rice too. I mean who goes wrong with rice? I did like how the kare-kare was presented and the fact that it had puso ng saging with the usual vegetables.

photo by E Sena

photo by ESena

We didn’t have enough time (and honestly no car and diminishing funds!) to go wakeboarding so we decided on going to the beach instead. Sam’s quick call to her cousin got us to a humble but very sufficient cottage in Kaputian, Samal Island. The caretaker made sure we had that videoke on and the refrigerator working. Of course, we made sure he had his favorite drink too. We had a great time singing our hearts out, night swimming and talking about all sorts of things. We slept soundly and comfortably in the cottage’s “attic”. Before our bus left Kaputian, we had buko and nangka iced candy.

photo by ESena

We were famished upon our return to Davao City so we headed off to Hukad and had comfort food again but I really only appreciated the crispy pata. When it was time to order dessert, everyone opted to share a serving of halo-halo except of course Mr. Leading Man and I. It wasn’t surprising that we were both the only ones to finish our halo-halo either. We love halo-halo. Yes we do.

I know I barely scratched the surface of what Davao City had to offer. Good. A lot of my friends seem to be moving there so I have even more reasons to return. Until the next adventure!

*so i finally settled with this “screen name” for the boyfriend. haha. and he found out that im blogging. grrr. hehe.hi.