Mt Batulao, Philippines

i think this look really suits me
Mt Batulao is probably one of my favourite hikes. Everything was perfect (except the part where my phone dropped in the water) – the weather, the gorgeous surroundings, and the perfect company. 
i have very lovely and beautiful memories here, particularly the few minutes where we lay on the grass against the rock, plugged in our earpiece (splitters and all) and bounced our heads along to the croonings of tdcc, etc.
 golden rays of the morning sunshine
hush whispers of the dawn
crazy people who brought wigs and all along with us LOL
we stopped by a home in the first leg of our journey. the girl waved back shyly. we watched them feed the pigs. gave them a polaroid. i wonder if they remember us.

motivational selfies

loveeee the ridgeline
this is so beautiful
i loved this hike because i loved how evident the undulating terrains were, the ridgelines, and how relatively easy and relaxing it was. 2 hours for this view!

just a sliiiight steep tricky part where you haul yourself up using the rope
on hindsight it wasn’t that difficult
but in that moment i do recall myself wincing a little at its steepness

yummmmm the terrains

q t

yay ascended!!! peaked!! CELEBRATING WITH ICECREAM!!! Both mine wheee

mi cielo! mi gordo!

not gazing at each other, but looking outward in the same direction (cheesy but hehehe am cheesy at heart)

Because we finished Batulao so early, we headed to Mt Talamitam

because we ascended mt talamitam too on the same day and we deserve more selfies


one of the last photos cz took before drama happened
before i walked with Russell too quickly and we lost track of cz
the mismatched paths and the return
the darkening sky and the setting sun
couldn’t find him, the sun had set
i had no torchlight, i stumbled upon the stones clumsily in the dark
we went for awhile, russell and i, hoping to find our way back to the car and hoping cz would be there
u-turning upon reaching an unfamiliar zone
me trying to laugh and gasping for breath because russell moved faster than i was, feeling bad for being slow
a villager pointed us the way
the sound of rushing waterfall
walking further towards light
a shout
and you

we laugh, putting the pieces together
how we mis-crossed paths
a household helped us, gave us some time to use his toilet
we gave them a polaroid

played music in the car, headed back
what a day, what a memorable day

such good memories. am amazed that 4 days, a mere 4 days can make such lovely memories i replay over again at times. loved it.

Pico de Loro + Monolith

Pico de Loro, which literally translates to Parrot’s Beak, is one of the three peaks in Mount Palay-Palay mountain range (officially, Mt Palay-Palay National Park) in the municipalities of Ternate and Maragondon, Province of Cavite. The other two peaks are: Mataas na Gulod and Palay-Palay. Though Mataas na Gulod resembles more like a parrot’s beak, mountaineers call the monolith beside it as Parrot’s Beak for some unknown reason. 

Pico de Loro – Parrot’s Beak
We woke up early in the morning, took a cab to the bus station, and took a bus. I had read many guides before this on how to get there, but I sadly didn’t compile / note them down. It’s not difficult though! We asked the hotel reception and they gladly directed us.

sleep-deprived but OK GO


scared of edge 😥
deceptively paved steps. I find going up the monolith rather heart-skipping for me, and probably one of my heart-pounding moments of the year.
finally ascended THE monolith!

how it looks like from our side

my feet were glued to the ground when i first reached the windy top. i glued my butt to the ground as well. i briefly imagined the strong wind hurling my tiny body into the vastness of the rocky earth. i breathed in and out 30 times. my butt could feel the slight rattle of the rock from the wind.
here, we met Russell and friend, who became our driver for Batulao the next day. Such fate :’)
he pointed out a guide, who would go over to the other side, to take a photo of the monolith, with a small tipping fee.
how it looks like from the other side
the ‘2 sides’ to Pico de Loro

descending the monolith:
going down was slightly less scary, but still rather alarming
We went down and around in Russell’s car after.



russell insisted on a selfie

actually, i am glad he’s an azn camwhore like me

I asked Russell how he had learnt to swim. “Oh,” he said, “my province didnt have a pool nearby, so whenever it flooded, the kids would go out and that’s how we learnt how to swim”

We talk about floods for awhile. “You know, I found it so funny when Singaporeans got so angry when Orchard Road flooded.” He continues to laugh. 

yay! love crossing paths with strangers who leave footprints later on

got forced to eat balut -.- WORST FOOD TASTING SENSATION EVER

the crunch of the bones, the bit of black feather still stuck in my braces… 😥 i could not bear to look at it, i could not, i could not

but i admit i googled the pictures later 


We spent the rest of the evening trying fresh oysters (:O), drinking a little at his little rooftop, under the open sky. loved loved such places. calm and quiet and peaceful to think.

nighttime in makati we ate corn and wandered

The grass is greener in the Philippines!


How time flies.

My first time in the Philippines! It was a quick 4-day weekend trip. My last lesson in NIE ended on a Thursday afternoon. I went home, grabbed my backpack and headed to the airport. My 40l backpack and my now-very-much-aquainted-and-highly-dear-to-me-clack-clack-hiking-stick, my chargers and I left. Always hesitant to tell Gramma, I told her I was going for a sleepover. I came back grinning sheepishly that Sunday – tadah! By which she already knew I had gone abroad (and back!).
I can sense them getting used to it though. It makes me quite delighted.
Manila! It was a beautiful 4 days and as I listen to Rachel Yamagata now (always stirs swaying EMOTIONS in me) and I’m glad I went ahead, as I’m glad for my company
I didn’t write then, but some things I do recall:
1. My surprise at the paperbags used in Makati
What a good idea! So pretty too! My initial thoughts exclaimed indignantly
Later I was questioned: Is it necessarily (biodegradable =) more environmentally friendly? Cost? Waterproof – feasibility?

me acting cute

2. Meeting Russell!

home-cooked adobo

the fire video – that disappeared 

when i think back, i still find some bits funny

eating balut – worst thing in my life



3. Oh right, my phone zapped the last of its life in the river that clumsy cz fell into
iCloud, magical icloud did save some photos though
last few pictures it saved before it crashed

Balkans – End

The Balkans are a fascinating, very diverse region in Southeast Europe which had to deal with a lot of conflicts in recent history – the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the resulting Yugoslav wars made it almost impossible to travel the region from 1991 to 2001.

A lot has changed since those darker days and most of the countries are back on track, the reconstruction is in its final stages and the tourism is on the rise. Changes can also be seen in the countries which haven’t been affected by the wars – Bulgaria became part of the EU, developed it’s infrastructure and is seeing an economic growth, even though this growth decreased recently.

Learnt so much about the Balkans during the trip. I find it so rewarding knowing that this was a region previously so foreign, so completely unknown to me. But now I know just a little teeny bit better.

Yay! Done with this!

Plitvice Lake

My favorite part is always the conversations – with animators, with artists, with war survivors, with people who are nostalgic about Yugoslavia / Communism / Tito times, with those passionate about their crafts and passionate about life, who grew up in environments different, yet not so different from mine, who gasp at my norms (no chewing gum?!) and challenge the notions of my own. And getting more questions, and obtaining answers to questions I didn’t know I had.

so serene

It’s a little different, you know, trudging through a plain of white in solitude
it’s probably one of the most calmi

frozen in time

 Understanding nature and lakes a little better

Zagreb, Croatia

Ah, the lasts. I have to admit I’m trying to clear these posts. I didn’t draft anything in particular for Zagreb.
I don’t really like it. When I feel like I wrote nothing, I feel like I took nothing away.








Spending time in the museum was interesting. Also, Zagreb was prettier than I envisioned.