I remember back in the 90's when there would be rolling power outages during the height of summer, the nights were tirelessly long and achingly boring. There was nothing to do but make little wax figurines from the melting candle while tirelessly fanning oneself from the heat. On some nights, a few months after our aunt left for the States, my older siblings would bring out the Monopoly and Scrabble to break the monotony of those dull nights. Truth be told I was never partial to board games, I had played my fair share of snakes and ladders, but I was always a spectator during those epic market and word battles. As I grew up, board games took a backseat to other more entertaining avenues: the internet, consoles and eventually game apps. Needless to say our collection of Monopoly and Scrabble was relegated to the dustiest part of our room and stayed there even during power outages. Lately there is a growing phenomenon of board game cafes, the most famous is Ludo in Quezon City. Ludo is bringing back the allure and nostalgia of these boredom busters into vogue. Just recently another board game cafe popped up in my neighborhood, Dyce n Dyne, and for the first time in quite some time I had a few hours of simple fun and great comfort food.
Back in 2012, my brother and I were walking somewhere in Hong Kong (I think it was Nathan Road), he was looking for 'chops' to give as a souvenir for a friend back home. While wandering the streets of Hong Kong, we stumbled into this quaint and unassuming eatery and had a perfectly good lunch. The thing that I recalled about that lunch was its simplicity: choose your own ingredients of meats, vegetables, dumpling and feast. Our lunch somewhere in the streets of Hong Kong was the rough equivalent of a Filipino-style carinderia and I really enjoyed it.
After all of the walking, my last stop was Mt. Cloud Bookshop, I just couldn't leave the city without saying good bye to my favorite bookshop. The thing about this bookshop is the rarity of its books, if I missed buying it now I most likely wouldn't see it again. And I was practically debating whether I should buy that book by the Kunzang Choden. In the end I just bought a tote bag with Mt. Cloud's shop and settled on the belief that I would most likely see another interesting book the next time I drop by.
Before taking this trip, I was already apprehensive, I knew for a fact that it was the end of either January or the start of February that the famous flower festival--The Panagbenga. Without any alarm I woke up to the sounds of festivities, the whole parade bonanza of deep basses, chiming xylophones and an orchestra of sounds. What I saw was the start of the month long festival, flowers and representations of it scattered the street while people from all walks lined the street. You'd think Pope Francis was back but he wasn't and the sights were interesting to see.
The thing about festivals is they have a tendency to block out major roads and cause heavy traffic. For a visitor on limited time and with practically no working knowledge of the city except it's four landmarks: Mt. Cloud, SM Baguio, Session Road and Burnham Park, I figured I would just follow the throng of people and trust whatever good grace Google maps in guiding me to the market.
Taking a page from Anthony Bourdain's show, I asked myself "what can I do in Baguio given my 24 hour stay?". My last visit in Baguio had me visiting familiar places and trying out new things, given that my last trip was a decade ago. Since I didn't really have that much time, I decided I would pick out my favorite or at least the best places, and work my way from there.
This may sound or come off as sappy but for a long time I was single. There were some tries here and there but nothing ever came out of it. So for a long time Valentines was just another day for me. There was this one time my sister and I spent the whole day watching romantic movies, another time...probably that's it. It wasn't until a year ago when Tricia came into my life that Valentines became an extra special day. I can still remember looking for that perfect gift for her and planning that special trip in Intramuros with her. It was all great and on our second outing we took a food trip around Makati.
I never imagined that I would be able to sustain this blog, much less make it last for a year. I never dreamed that I would enjoy writing on this blog and sharing all my experiences for the world to see. In celebration of Manila Traveler and Bookworm's one year anniversary, I picked out the top 10 best experiences I had for this year. Making this list was certainly not easy since all of the places I went to from the previous year were certainly fun and enjoyable.
*click/tap the pictures to go to the article
*this list is not ranked
I love mornings, despite being one of the many millions who find it difficult to get up and go to work or at least find the time to fit in exercise in their routines, the mornings are great. As a teacher I find that waking up at 5am on the dot (even when there's no work), helps me get ready for the day. The mornings of late have been cold and breezy, the heat is still bearable and there are still jeeps that can fit me in the most humane way. Mornings for others is the best time to get the morning coffee run, being a non-coffee person, I would opt for something sweet to jolt me out of my somewhat half-awake and half-dragging self. Though when I went to Epic in Kapitolyo, I wouldn't exactly call it early morning, the upside of going to a coffee shop at 9 am is that there's barely anyone there. Perfect for killing time, getting some quiet time, and just trying to think up of things to write about the place.
Last May I signed up for Google's webmaster program. It's basically a site wherein website and blog owners can use to track what articles are getting the most number of searches. Up to now I am still amazed how the statistics of my blog entries have changed, for a time (a very long time) it was Exile on Main Street. But now it has changed again, so click on to see what are the Top 10 most searched articles on Manila Traveler.
*click/tap the pictures to go the entry
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.