TRAVEL: Around Taiwan (Taipei/New Taipei City) in B&W (part 1)

Traveling with my parentals is a double-edged sword. You’d love them because they’re not a killjoy and they wouldn’t say no for any adventure. On the other hand, you’d hate them because they do not like traveling if everything isn’t arranged/booked ahead of time.

A little backstory: my parents had a traumatic experience when we first went out of the country. We visited Malaysia and we didn’t have any itinerary with us; totally cool for us kids but a hassle for these adults. We were there for more than a week and we didn’t know what to do. As soon as we got home, my mum and dad said that we won’t travel anymore without booking with a travel agency to arrange everything for us.

The last time we all traveled together was in 2018. We visited Taiwan, per my mum’s request. As you’d expect, everything has been arranged by a travel agency. Despite a delightful experience, I still didn’t like it when the tour had to cut short because we’re following a strict itinerary and schedule.

Fact: I hate traveling when I’m pressed with time.

We were in Taiwan for about 5 days. We went around Taiwan, as far as Taichung, but for this post, I’m going to feature some snippets during our time in Taipei and New Taipei City.

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I love the ceiling of the Taipei International Airport.
A little aerial glimpse of Taipei at night time.
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Around Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial.
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Inside Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial.
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Witnessed the changing of guards at the Martyrs’ Shrine.
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Taipei has lots of gaming/arcade centers and this was one of them. I saw this cute couple whispering something to each other and took a photo of them.
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A nice graffiti art somewhere near Ximenting.
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Ximenting at night.
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Trying to find my luck for a local sim in Zhongshan District.
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Right outside of our hotel (Hotel B-1) in Zhongshan District).
Taipei 101
A view of the infamous Taipei 101 from below.
Beef Noodles
Local Taiwan Beef Noodles at Chef Hung Taiwan Beef Noodles at Ruihu Street, Taipei.

For some weird reason, I didn’t want to use my camera (Nikon D3200) to take photos and videos. Instead, I opted to use my old Samsung Galaxy S8 and tried shooting everything on B&W.

What I love about Taipei and New Taipei City during our visit was the cleanliness. I love how refreshing it is to see how things are highly organised and how the air isn’t as humid as it is in Manila.

If you fear that the language barrier will stop you from exploring (most people don’t speak English and would only be comfortable conversing in Chinese/Mandarin), you shouldn’t get worried. In fact, you can either Google your way to your destination or simply hail Uber if you feel a little extra (yes, they have Uber in Taiwan – how I miss Uber in the Philippines!)

I highly suggest getting their local cuisine. Taiwan is really known for its rich selection of food. I recommend going to Chef Hung Taiwan Beef Noodles shop and enjoy their Taiwan Beef Noodles + unlimited noodles and soup!

More photos (and stories about my parents) on my next blog – until then!

Travel Notes: 25 November 2018

Intramuros-Binondo, Manila, Philippines


My mum used to bring me with her to their office in Intramuros so it’s easy to say that I’m very much familiar with the area. Last Sunday, I went here with my brother to visit some of the old-but-reused buildings for their assignment. I’m delighted that I was able to go with him because it made me remember how happy my childhood was. It’s good to see that despite major developments here and there, the ambiance stays the same and that everything could still be reached easily by walking.

Head over to my Instagram and check out my new IGTV upload here featuring my weekend shenanigan with my brother!

Foulards for days! #HelpAFriend

#HelpAFriend: We have a couple of foulards (pronounced as foo-lards in English and foo-lah in French) at home and I plan on selling them. We don’t use them here — heck, I only use it as a “bag tag” to identify which one is mine. I’ve included some photos to let you all see how it looks like and how it can be tied on a bag (thanks mum for letting me borrow something out of your bag collection!)

Aside from being a bag tag, foulards can also be a great way to counter summer heat and to deal with the cold winter. It’s lightweight, made up of 100% silk and is very easy to wash and dry.

Our foulards measure 34×34 inches (about 87×87 centimetres). However, this ships straight out of Singapore, and so I apologise if the designs and stocks are very limited for now and might take a while to get delivered.

Giorgio Armani sells them for about $300 (PHP 16,200, $1 = PHP 54), which I don’t intend to do of course. Haha. If anyone’s interested, I’ll be delighted to help.

Thank you! 💕

Travel Notes: 1 November 2018

Cainta, Rizal, Philippines

On this day, when we remember what a great man my grandfather was, I’ve had the chance to be with my cousins, aunts and grandma. Finally, our busy schedules have aligned today, and as a bonus: I was able to speak to my dad on the phone albeit short. He’s travelling to France as of writing. I’m wondering what Tatay has been doing up there and whether he’s proud of what I’ve become today. I mean, who knows? X

Travel Notes: 26 October 2018

Pasay City, Philippines

The sun is setting

And you’re right here by my side

And the movie’s playing

But we won’t be watching tonight

I have no words to describe this week, but let me tell you than I am happy. I don’t think I am in the position to complain about anything, even though I feel empty; consciously know that there is something lacking in me. I am tired—beyond exhausted—but happy and content. To remind you how beautiful life could be, here are some photos I took on our way to the City of Dreams Manila in Pasay City for the #PFIP2018 5th Gala Night.

Have a good weekend, people! x

Travel Notes: 20 October 2018

Quezon City, Philippines

It was Becs’s idea to meet up here at Marindo, a newly opened restaurant located at the heart of Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. Conveniently located at the G/F of Manhattan Garden, it’s not that hard to find but caveat that there are no parking space available except the open parking outside.

They were operational since 6 October and serves Indonesian-Malay menu. I MUST try their Laksa, even if it meant skipping my diet for the night, and boy, it did not disappoint for something worth PHP195 ($3.61). I’ve also ordered Vegetable Fritters for PHP90 ($1.67) for everyone (not in the photos) which was surprisingly good and it reminded Japan’s Okonomiyaki but less savoury which is what I like. ($1 = PHP54)

The first I’ve noticed was probably the clean vibe that Marindo exuded and I have to give it to those white walls, clean utensils and Instagram-worthy lighting which only some restaurants have. They operate on a self-service set up and you have to pay as you order, so please do not expect this to have a fine-dining set up.

Some of the best people I’ve known for roughly 9 years, albeit my first time to meet Marvz with Kiefer today. Thanks for Jeric, too, for still going all the way to Cubao from Cogeo even if it was already late. If it wasn’t for Becs‘s business (go check @powercasesmnl!), this wouldn’t be possible. Look at what I’ve ordered from them too, and it costs way cheaper than your Starbucks Venti drink! It was seeing everyone last night, and I think I should do this more often now. X

Travel Notes: 19 October 2018

Makati City, Philippines

Let’s all admit it – we never like how bad the traffic could get on Fridays and how humid it could be in the afternoon, but there is something about Makati Central Business District (CBD) which makes you love it as it is.

I visited Makati today after attending some brotherly duties at home. I had this sudden itch to feel the city vibe that only Makati CBD exudes. Although I weren’t able to roam that much, I still found myself in awe whilst at the elevated walkway near Paseo de Roxas and Greenbelt. I think it was just a great timing as there were few to almost no passers-by when I took these shots.

I didn’t bring my camera with me because I want to test the camera of my new phone – and it did not disappoint at all! For edits and colour play, I have created this new orangey preset from Lightroom. I’m sure this will work on natural lighting and I will continue using this until my eyes could not take it anymore.

Indeed, it’s a good way to get my weekend started and to end a busy work week! X

September music suggestion with Spotify and Spotify Premium

And August has ended – just like that! We’re finally entering the “-Ber months” and it means 2 things in the Philippines: one, the traffic will go from bad to worse because of the early Christmas sale and shopping madness; two, Jose Marie Chan will be all over the malls and parks. If you’re curious to know about his songs, you can check this Spotify playlist.

September

This month’s music suggestion, brought to you by Spotify and Spotify Premium, will feature artists you probably have never heard of. This is my way of reminding myself that there’s more to life than listening to my usual pop songs. Don’t get me wrong – I love pop songs and listening to one makes me happy instantly, but it’s about time I step out of my comfort zone and continue discovering new artists and songs to listen to. If you’d notice from my August music suggestion, most of the songs I’ve included were a little slow and soft. I don’t know, but it reminds me of the time when R&B was such a hit in 2000s.

Here’s the line-up of songs for your reference:

  • Diddy Bop (feat. Cam O’bi & Raury) – Noname, Cam O’bi, Raury
  • Inner Child – SATICA
  • B.O.M.D. – Clairo, Danny L Harle
  • Rebound – Brian Puspos
  • I Know The Answer – Rendy Pandugo
  • Your Eyes (feat. Jay Park) – Hoody, Jay Park
  • Mornings – RICEWINE
  • 4EVER – Clairo
  • Dead To Me – Kali Uchis
  • Poolside Manor – 88rising, AUGUST 08, NIKI
  • Like You – Hoody
  • Perfume – Roy Blair
  • April – Mondo Gascaro
  • Easy – Mac Ayres
  • Best Part (feat. H.E.R.) – Daniel Caesar, H.E.R.
  • Grey Luh – Berhana
  • Hunchback – Sobs
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos – Clairo
  • Sunflower – Rex Orange County

Out of the line-up this month, my favourite song to listen to would be Easy by Mac Ayres. The song reminds me of how easy it is to love somebody. Loving should never be complicated, although sometimes what we feel towards another person is something words could never define. With its slow beat, my mood can turn from frantic to calm in no time.

20 songs. 1 hour and 6 minutes total run time. I don’t know what can go wrong whilst listening to another chill playlist. I also want to know your thoughts after listening to the playlist and you can do so by posting comments or directly sending a message to me – would appreciate all of these to help me improve! X

August music suggestion with Spotify and Spotify Premium

 

My go-to album would be Starboy by The Weeknd and my go-to artist is Ariana Grande. Sometimes, if I feel nostalgic, I listen to R&B songs from ’00 and the 90’s.

I have always believed that the best way to get to know someone is by knowing their choice of music. Somebody’s music choice actually tells a lot about his/her personality, and through this, I want to show to people, who will most likely just accidentally stumble upon my blog, to get to know me.

When music streaming services weren’t available yet, I used to create playlists, download the songs (.mp3 files) and upload them to Angelfire for everyone’s use. I would share it to my blog readers, friends, and even my family who would like to update their music library with new songs.

For this, I will regularly upload entries here moving forward and build links on Spotify to share my playlists but why did I choose Spotify and not other music streaming services?

One, its availability here in the Philippines. Two, it gives me the option to select the music quality I would like to stream and/or download. Three, it’s only 129 Pesos per month – compared to other music streaming services, this is where I really get my money worth. Four, if you’re a student, you can actually avail a discounted rate of 65 pesos per month only. Fifth, and the best part, no ads and unlimited skips!

August - Spotify playlist cover
You can also follow my Spotify profile for more details about my music choice here: https://spoti.fi/2MbCJMn

As someone who exclusively listens to pop songs and has a go-to playlist, here’s an advice: please, do not be afraid to try new songs and create your music playlist. For my August recommendation, here’s the line-up of songs for your reference:

  • After the Rain – Willow Stephens
  • And So It Goes – Robert Flack
  • Bloomingdales – White Boiz, Anderson Paak, Thundercat
  • Don’t Waste It – AUGUST 08
  • Everytime  boy pablo
  • Fall in Love – GoldLink, Ciscero
  • Feel Like Makin’t Love – Roberta Flack
  • History – 88rising, Rich Brian
  • I Like U – NIKI
  • Long Gone – Phum Viphurit
  • Lover Boy – Phum Viphurit
  • Loving is Easy – Rex Orange County
  • Midsummer Madness – 88rising, Joji, Rich Brian
  • Scared Money – NxWorries, Anderson Paak
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go (remastered) – The Clash
  • Suede – NxWorries, Anderson Paak
  • Sunday – Forrest, Biskwiq
  • Turnin’ Me Up – BJ The Chicago
  • Why Not Me – Forrest, Biskwiq
  • Your Soul – Forrest, Biskwiq

A total play time of 1 hour and 20 minutes, I hope these 20 songs will not just be another update of your music library but a way to feed your craving for new music, your soul and help you get through the coming weeks or so.

I also want to know your thoughts after listening to the playlist and you can do so by posting comments or directly sending a message to me – would appreciate all of these to help me improve!

PS. people from the Philippines, especially Metro Manila and adjacent provinces, I know it’s been raining cats and dogs for the past days and weeks, so please take care and do let me know if you need help so we can coordinate with people who can help you out. Thanks!

#FridayObsession: Win a ticket to the 1st Philippine Big Bad Wolf Book Sale

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I’m obsessed with journals and stationary. Even if I won’t even use or write anything on it at all, I still feel the value and the need to buy one from time to time. If you’d ask me why, I don’t even know at all. My main motivation to visit the 1st Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is to find some good journals and books to bring with me this 2018.

If you’d be able to go to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, what’s something you’re obsessed with and get it from there?

Let me know your #FridayObsession and you might win a Preview Pass (each pass is good for 2 persons) to the 1st Philippine Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Share this link using the buttons below the post – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, WordPress.
  2. Write your best answer to the question.
  3. Don’t forget to include the following hashtags #TheGodonghae #RTL #BigBadWolfBooksPH.
  4. Make sure your post is public to be seen.
  5. Wait and pray for good results (lol).

3 lucky winners will be announced and contacted on Monday, February 12, 2018.

Note: The Preview Pass is valid only on February 15, 2018 (Thursday) from 9am to 11pm.

Special thanks to my friend, King and his team from RTL – Digital Research & Consulting Company for making this happen. See you all there!

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The Big Bad Wolf Books, the world’s BIGGEST (and most affordable!) book fair, is having it’s 1st book sale in the Philippines. The event will run from Feb 16 to Feb 25 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. With over 2 million new books and a whopping 60-80% discounts on most items, it surely is the place to be after Valentine’s Day! Shout out to BookXcess!