Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amsterdam: Your "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" City

One city that offers two different, yet equally entertaining experience to its visitors, that's Amsterdam.

It's very funny that I had just one full day aside the Keukenhof visit, to explore Amsterdam. Having my flight to and fro Amsterdam, I thought I'd have enough chance to visit the place in between my flights to somewhere but, my body caught up with the schedule and my eyes voluntarily closed and I slept during my stay in Holland. As it would have been way too weird not to visit Amsterdam, I've decided to tour the city alone on my last full day in Europe and dang, it would have been a miss on my end if I didn't push through with it. Amsterdam's crazy beautiful. 

The canals are absolutely beautiful, they give the city the uniqueness different from the other cities I've visited in Europe. They are like streets, with boat tours and privately owned boats sharing the water to navigate the whole city( I even saw one guy that day, sailing his own boat along the canal and I thought it was so cool, it looked like he was driving a sports car. Well, probably, owning a boat in Amsterdam, and not the king of the streets, the bicycle, is much like owning a Ferrari in a city full of Toyota Corolla).

But owning a bicycle in Amsterdam is necessary too when living in this city. I am so sure this guy owns a bike he can use when navigating real streets in Amsterdam. Because, who doesn't own a bicycle here? These wheels are dominating the streets, no wonder bike theft is the number one crime in Amsterdam. 

Aside from the awesome transportation, of course, Amsterdam offers beautiful neighborhood and city squares. Dutch houses are scientifically designed to survive thru years even if their soil is soft. Yes, the houses together with the water level of the dams are designed to sustain forever. Pretty amazing isn't?

And then after my eyes have feasted on the beautiful structures and neighborhood, the sky turned dark and Amsterdam became excitingly different. Of course, there's this one thing which is legal here that I needed to at least get a taste of, but don't worry, I didn't indulge. Some devilish cupcake with an ingredient I'm certain I couldn't get from anywhere else legally. 

And as the sky grew darker and darker, the happy lights went on with streets full of men admiring the displays on the windows. Of course, taking photos was prohibited, but seeing the district completed my authentic Tourist experience of the city of Amsterdam. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jason Mraz: Everywhere

The album is out and I am loving it. And let me present to you my most favorite song in the album. It's EVERYWHERE. Dang, this song is sooooo good - the lyrics are heart-warming; the melody is catchy and oh boy! Raining Jane and Jason Mraz' collaboration is exceptional. I am excited to share with you this AH-MAZING song.

If I wasn't a ghost
I couldn't walk into you
If I wasn't the snow
how could I fall for you?
If I wasn't a songbird
how could I call to you?
If I wasn't a fly on the wall
I wouldn't know all about you

I'm everything in everywhere
Can you see me in your own reflection?
I'm deep within the molecules of the air that you breathe
And all the subatomic supersonic spaces in between
I'm everywhere
I'm reaching out in every direction
I believe I'm in the water too
'cause you act just like you need me
I'm everywhere

If I wasn't the fire
how could you stoke me up inside?
If I wasn't a party
how could you be the life of me?
If I wasn't a camera
how could you be so photogenic? Yeah I said it
If I wasn't the hands on the clock
how could you know that the time was right, tonight?

I'm everything in everywhere
Can you see me in your own reflection?
I'm deep within the molecules of the air that you breathe
And all the subatomic supersonic spaces in between
I'm everywhere
I'm reaching out in every direction
I believe I'm in the water too
'cause you act just like you need me

I got a mind like a spy on a satellite checking you out
I'm like a fly with my infinite eyes
I can see with all my senses and I'm coming to get you
I'm invisible, expendable
and omnipresent

I'm everywhere
can you see me in your own reflection?
I'm deep within the molecules of the air that you breathe
And all the subatomic supersonic spaces in between
I'm everywhere
I'm reaching out in every direction
I believe I'm in the water too
'cause you act just like you need me
I'm everywhere
I'm everywhere
I'm everywhere
I'm everywhere

Official Jason Mraz FB Page:

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I have watched the movie and liked it. I was planning a trip just like Julia Roberts’ in the movie (and in the book) and was searching for best places to go to.  But little did I know, I would end up experiencing everything in Rome.  In awe, that’s actually my first reaction when I first set foot of Rome (and I was not even near the tourist spots yet, just the normal neighborhood). Visiting Rome was like visiting a museum. From the entrance, one would see beautiful yet unknown work of art and when one finally reached the center, then that famous piece would take your breath away. Walking along the streets of Rome felt that way. The small alleys and streets of its neighborhood would give you the relaxed feeling away from the hustle and bustle of urban cities. Then when you reached the Vatican or the Old Roma, oh my, you'd be lost for words to describe the feeling of being there. If you’d force me to explain it in one word, that would be BLISS. I was in bliss roaming Rome. My smile was permanently fixed on my face during those three days of being part of the city and I would tell you why, it’s because of three simple words: EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

I have been a fan of Italian cuisine all my life. I remember being asked when I was thirteen about my favorite food and I would immediately tell them it’s Italian cuisine – pesto, alla puttanesca, carbonara, and Bolognese.  I didn’t even like vegetables when I was younger but mix it with pasta or put it on a pizza crust and boom, you’d see me devouring my food on my plate or tissue perhaps. That’s how much I love the cuisine. It’s probably because of how simple the ingredients are, but how magnificent the combination would taste after. Or I just simply love tomatoes & cream? Either way, I love the cuisine, period. Of course, I really didn’t know what authentic Italian Pasta taste like before my trip to Italy. Asia could have added some of our available spices and ingredients that would have deviated from the authentic taste of the cuisine. But in any case, I had high expectations and pretty much I did not get disappointed with the original and classic. Oh boy, those dishes I have tried were soooo good. They were like pieces of heaven for normal people to experience.  I would always visit Italy whenever I have the chance; one of the reasons is always the FOOD. Fantastico!

Have I visited enough churches prior my Rome trip? Of course I had. From Paris all the way to Austria, I have entered too many church doors and said a little prayer. But in Rome, it was a different experience. The Vatican’s a different experience. I have actually cried a little from the overwhelming feeling I could not contain for the unbelievable chance to visit the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Paris has been the reason for visiting Europe and I have told in this blog a number of times that I would come and visit the city in this lifetime. That's one goal I intended to attain and have attained. But Vatican? Never in my entire life have I imagined I would have a chance to visit the Holy See. And that chance I took?  It made my first Europe trip a memorable one. It felt like I have freed my soul or my soul felt home. Spiritually, it felt good. 

Whenever I'm being asked which place I loved the most of all the cities I've visited, I would immediately say it's Rome (with a contented smile on my face). Why? What's there not to love about this city - it has rich culture and history dating back Roman Empire; all of the city-it's neigborhood and tourist spots are breathtakingly beautiful; it offers the cuisine my tastebuds are in love with; generally, Italians wear that addictive smile and are eager to help out others; because it seems time runs so slow in the city and you actually enjoy it; because the city offers you an experience almost void of urbanity but still appreciate it; and because you will feel you belong in this place. The list goes on and on about what I love about this city. I maybe too dramatic if I tell you all that I fell in love with Italy because of my visit to Rome and I've only visited Rome. Can I say, it was love at first sight? Because it felt exactly that way. I have promised myself that every chance I'd get in the future to visit Europe, there would always be another city in Italy that I'd visit; Venice, Naples, Milan, Bologna, Sicily and much more. Hmmm, I think I better start learning the language so that I would feel more at home when I'm in the country again. 

Rome, thank you for welcoming me and making me feel a whirlwind of emotions (from simple joy to utmost happiness, or simply bliss) from my tummy to my heart and deep down to my soul. 

Until next time, Italia. 

Related post:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Barcelona: Warmth & Happiness

It’s been awhile since the last time I had the chance to write about my trip last spring (I kinda like using the 4 season reference instead of the 2 seasons in Southeast Asia). Anyway, reality and routine have gotten me back to my ordinary exciting life and here I am sitting on my computer chair, trying to relive this experience. On the day my sister and I flew to Barcelona, we were a bit tired from flying (the night before, we flew back to Amsterdam from Munich) and from lack of sleep. But I wasn't complaining because at that moment, flying meant another chance to explore a new city. As this was needed to be pushed through, well, we pushed it through. We almost missed our flight due to not waking up on time. But then again, us, being expert on catching our flights, made it to the last minute before the gate was closed (literally, we were the last passengers to check in).  Side Story: Normally, we would check in online but with Vueling, one needed to choose the seat, and at that time, the premiums were the only ones available. They cost around 40 Euros each so we didn’t avail them, hence we weren’t checked in online. Luckily, since they were the only ones unoccupied, they were assigned to us without any extra cost. HAHAHA

When we arrived, the first thing that I noticed was it was hot. I smiled because this time around I had the correct set of clothing (but I still have my coat and my tights with me for emergency purposes). We were excited shedding some layers off. The weather’s one of the positive factors of our stay in Barcelona.  The sun’s good and so the pictures. No wonder, I had too many photos of the places since the lighting’s perfect.

The reason why I planned on visiting Barcelona was because my friends told me it was beautiful- well, come to think of it, what’s not beautiful in Europe? Heck, one of my friends even told me that his highlight of their entire Europe Trip was being inside Sagrada Familia. So, I chose Barcelona over Athens as sister told me to choose only one. But I didn't regret that decision because Barcelona's amazing. Here are the reasons why:

1. Perfect Weather. Damn, I was on the verge of cursing Amsterdam's weather because it was really freezing cold at the time I was there and it was only Spring. Good thing, Barcelona's weather was perfect for defrost. I got the chance to remove some layers and expose some skin. HAHA

2. Challenging Vision and Execution for both Classic and Modern Architecture. The first two weeks of my trip was meant for seeing all the Classic Architecture such as Baroque, Gothic, Neo-Classical, Romanesque. When I visited Barcelona, I was shocked to see very detailed and challenging designs. It even made Barcelona a happy and colorful city. 

3. Beaches are everywhere. I always take pride of the beaches in the Philippines. Because, come on, they are breathtaking and beautiful. But usually, you need to travel (at least 2 hours) from Manila to get to experience the beach (Our country being an Archipelago).  So, I was damn happy to visit a beach, a few minutes away from the city center. I took off my shoes, walked along the shores and took time in admiring how the españois spend their time on the beach - some having a picnic, some having a stroll, some playing beach volleyball. But one thing's for sure, they're having fun. 

4. Food is mouthwatering. Though some Filipino Dishes are Spanish inspired thanks to the 300 years of being a colony, eating authentic Paellas and Tapas is something one must do in Spain. Damn! Our three days were spent rewarding our tired body with food that made our eyes flutter. Sooooooo good. 

5. Sagrada Familia. This place needs to be one good reason for visiting Barcelona. Its design is very intricate and it's a dream worth seeing. It is still under construction but I will for sure go back to Barcelona to see it again once it's done - though I am not sure if this lifetime will allow me to see it complete. 

There are much more good things about Barcelona such as the Cava, the Sangria, the Cerveza San Miguel,  the Empanadas, Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Desigual, Jamon, and the People. But these five are my top five good points of Barca. I will for sure go back to Barcelona, without the Bus Turistic, with a swim suit, and a sun block.
One more thing to add. I found my childhood favorite ice cream in Barcelona - Maxibon!! Damn, I was giddy when I saw it on the streets. It took me back to the days when saving money meant eating my favorite ice cream. 

Barcelona, I will be back for sure. 

Related Post:

Monday, July 7, 2014

All of Me

I just need to share this song to everyone even if most of you already know this. I have been hearing this song even last year but the first time I really listened to it was two weeks back. And damn, the song's AH-MAZING. Heartfelt couldn't even describe it perfectly. It's a song that would stick forever. I am joking with a friend that this is the song for weddings for this year. The melody is so simple, yet the lyrics are captivating. And for many days now, I've been listening to good covers and of course the original. Be in love with the song, 'cause, I have. 

Here's one amazing song by the legendary John Legend, All of Me. 

by John Legend

by Boyce Avenue

by contestants from the Voice Kids Germany 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back Into Perspective

 Six months have passed since I made this blog site live and share fleeting moments and information out in the public. Coincidentally, this entry is the 100th entry and for days now I am thinking about a good topic to write about. And suddenly, it clicked: I am going to write about what life has been and if I am on track to what I promised to be (wrote about it on my first entry- click here.)

Six months have passed, have I improved on being the person I wanted to be? A person with a bold mind, a braver heart and a selfless soul. I can say that I am still a work in progress as it’s not an easy walk to be the ideal self when living the reality. Challenges, routines, reality, and problems are there to make this life interesting.

I told myself that I want to be a person with a bold mind to understand others beyond spoken words. I gotta say that during the past months and until now, I would still rely on spoken words to realize and accept things. I guess, I just don’t like to make assumptions that in the end would ruin me. Maybe ruin is a strong word, but assumptions could lead to bad outcomes. At the moment when I wrote about this goal, I was thinking about having a deep connection with the people close to my heart. And with this came a goal to feel with them without the need to utter the words to explain things. I gotta say that it had improved on that aspect, but with other things in relation with work and many other relationships I have, spoken words are still important to me as they make the scenario clearer.

Secondly, I told myself that I want to be a person with a braver heart. Ironically, this year made me realize that sharing the love with others other than my family and friends is not an easy task for me.  Realizing it made me work on this aspect of myself. Love in all aspects needs to be explored without any bad premonition. For the past months, I kept telling myself that I need to let everything flow and just feel it. And right now, I can say that I CAN SAY YES to this and welcome it  (along with the challenges and feelings I might encounter along the way ) with open arms and mind.

Lastly, I told myself that I want to be a person with a selfless soul. Helping others in need is something my mother used to do every time she had the chance.  Right now, I am living in a country where poverty is almost negligible. How will you extend a help to a rich country? Well, I could say that thank goodness for organizations such as Red Cross and UNICEF, I could just wire extra money to help those in need. I might be in the actual site helping the kids but at least I know that whatever I share, I share it to make them smile at least for a moment.

I am a work in progress but at least it reminded me of what I wanted to be. A little reminder is all I need to get back into perspective. 

Into Perspective