Monday, December 18, 2017


It started as a dream. Being a Waterbaby and growing up in a little Archipelago, the Maldivian Islands has many times crossed my 'Bucketlist' list. I mean - the crystal blue waters; the luxurious resort islands, which marked their freehold on a lone island; and the chic water villas standing on stilts being showcased on every ad got me sold! I just had to see that for myself.

And all that I saw. I was blessed to fly to Male for work and accompany Couples for their Honeymoon. Before landing onto Male, you take in a view of the atolls beneath you. These countless ring-shaped reefs contrasting it's turquoise-coloured inner circle against the dark blue ocean. It was a Maldivian dream come true!

Despite all the beauty Maldives can boast of (I once saw a baby shark and sting rays at our hotel beach) I wasn't exactly caught off guard or swept off of my feet. Because I know what our very own Philippine Islands has to offer. Perhaps just a little bit more tourism boost and environmental protection measures. Perhaps, just like the ads, it was overrated.  

However, there are still some truths. The significance and what this bunch of Islands mean to me has long changed since it became my last layover. Honestly, I haven't seen much of Maldives in the couple of times I've been there. Until in December 2016, days before Christmas, I flew with an amazing crew and tagged along with two of my lovely colleagues-turned-friends on a hot and sunny beach day.

Although exhausted after work, our awesome threesome (Egypt, Romania and the Philippines!) dragged us for a one day excursion. This was the first and only time I went to a Resort Island, that is the Club Med Kani, in the Maldives. We took a boat ride from the main Hulhulé Island to Kani. And Paradise it was! We had a huge buffet waiting for us, water activities to be played, photos to be taken and memories to be made. Also, Disney's Moana was a hit at that time! It was clearly a day to be thankful for. 

As I was watching the sunset from the edge of a jetty, I remember asking myself what if all of this were gone? And in my thought, I'll be happy. No regrets. Only gratefulness in my heart. Grateful because I got to spend a day in paradise with Salma and Raluca. Grateful to witness dolphins jumping next to our boat ride home. Grateful because I got to live this moment. I say, the world is my playground and I was (literally) on the swing of happiness. And as life is measured by moments upon moments, I have a lifetime of this moment that took my breath away to last. I took it as a gift. Life is a layover. Enjoy it.

Shukran! Mulţumesc! Salamat!

Club Med Kani:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I first met Rita on a Sunday, at Church. Saw her from afar, her hair neatly tucked away from her face, sporting a sleek, casual outfit and running shoes, as she greeted everyone around her with a smile and peace. She was simply glowing amongst the crowd. That left me wondering who she was, where she's from or what she does, only to find out moments later that she was indeed a good friend of my Tante Marilou.

I had very minimal knowledge of Deutsch at that time as we got into conversation. But it felt so light and so natural chatting with her (auf Deutsch!). I had nothing to be intimidated about. She said, she was once just like me, an Ausländer who moved to Germany, learning the language, seeking greener pastures. 

I thereby learned, Rita is a lovely lady from Lithuania whom I'd closely liken to Lady Diana. Strong but sensitive. Classy but cool. Refined but not restricted. And with a passion for beautiful spaces and delectable pastries! The kind of all-around (Ladyboss) woman I aspire to be.

She truly inspires me every time we talk and reminds me to look into the future with a new light. This was my very first Frauenabend (Ladies' Night), where she invited us along with her closest girlfriends, who are also every bit their own Ladybosses. Everything from the table setting, to the decorations, the presentation and the cake (oh the cake!) had a touch of 'Rita' on it. So, it would be unfair not to share that lovely evening. As well as celebrating this wonderful woman today.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Split : Brač & Hvar

Our Croatian Series continue! Ning and I didn't waste a minute, as you will find us on-the-road again from Plitviče heading South towards Split, a town along Croatia's historical and coastal region of Dalmatia. We were chasing the sun and the warmth Croatia has to offer. We arrived just when the sun began to shed light over the Town, the little Cafés and Shops just started to open up welcoming another torrent of tourists and the Ships and Ferries docked by the Pier greeting us. My kind of vibe. We were on foot in search of our Hostel which gave us an ample amount of time to rummage through this small town. The Split Garden was an airy and peaceful home for our 3-day stay. We were at a perfect location from the City Center. Away from noise, but close to the party zone and just a walk away from The Diocletian's Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage. What sets this town apart, from being a very hip and modern tourist place that it is today, is it's fortresslike complex and sprawling remains of the Roman Empire which we are lucky enough to enjoy this day. Truly you get the GOT feeling. It's the place that gave life to the series. Though I have to admit, it's a shame I haven't seen any episode of it.

Being an #IslandGirl and #Waterbaby myself, the Croatian Islands are not to be missed. We have unpacked and packed again for an island adventure and were aboard Jadrolinija off the Adriatic Sea.

After an hour ferry ride from Split, we arrived at the main town of Supetar in the island of Brač. We were greeted by friendly locals who let us try their fresh produce of the day. Croatia is also producer of our favourite home goods such as Olive Oil, Honey and Lavender. When asked about where we are coming from, we proudly say the Philippines, then we get the wide eyes and cheers for having come so far. Hell yeah, We bring the Asia in Croatia! That said, our traveling wasn't over as we had to take another bus ride heading South of Brač to Bol, where we aim to reach the Zlatni Rat or Golden Cape. Zlatni Rat is famous for it's white pebbled beach, windsurfing activities and spit of land which formed a pointed shoreline. I was looking down at the white buildings with orange-bricked roofs bestrewing the bottom of the mountains. The landscape surrounding us made us gasp in awe. With the mountains behind us and the beach before us, it was perfect to lay down and take everything in.

The following day was spent at the island of Hvar located just below Brač. That took us about two hours on a ferry from Split. Staying at the open air deck of the ship gave us darker skin with a tint of red cheeks, the best views of the deep blue water beneath us and the lush green landscapes to our sides. Catch and Release by Matt Simons playing on my iPod. Our ship finally docked in Stari Grad and our wandering began through a walk in the woods. We'd stop by for pictures of unique flora and hints of the beach. When we arrived at the inhabited area of this quaint little town, souvenir shops, little cafés, small boats and pastel-coloured buildings welcomed us. This place felt as if it was held back in time.

Croatia shows very strong Christianity, as evidenced by the presence of a Cathedral in the City, Churches on the Island and debossed crucifixes on limestone walls, which are vague to even notice. It was quiet and there were barely any tourists on this beautiful island. We came upon the Trvdalj Castle, a fortified Renaissance-era building which served as the Summer home of the Croatian Poet - Petar Hektorović. The home was filled with his poetry, mostly in Latin, carved on it's walls. 

Our walk lasted for an hour until we stopped at a perfect 'camping' spot. We found a smooth, even rock by the sea to lay our towels as makeshift sunbeds and the pine trees served as umbrellas. The opal-blue beach all to ourselves! We had our own little paradise while snacking away or getting lost in a book. I, meanwhile, swimming the waters of the Adriatic Sea.

The closure to this Sojourn was the flaming sunset on our ferry and the double rainbow painted from the sky to the sea. Crazy. Beautiful. Our last night in Split was spent over dinner with a warm and hearty Diocletian Risotto.

Ning and friends and I, recently had homemade Raclette, Tiramisú and Glühwein at her flat which turned to a night of spontaneous Jam Sesh singing to our favourite acoustic songhits. English and Tagalog. Current and Old School! And I'm glad for this, for friends who make home away from home...