Just Like That Passion Pit Song, 2015 Was A Good Year

Nine countries (six of them finally outside of Asia!), countless memories, and with all my trips combined, at least an entire month out of 12 that I was on the road, traveling. While I always try to write these year-end posts with optimism, always try to end the year on a high note, this time around, there is little effort needed to try and put a positive spin on the year that was - because oh my gosh, has 2015 been good to me. Hashtag blessed.

2015 actually started on the road - in Seoul, Korea, where I spent my first ever New Year's away from home. And it was a blast! There would be three more trips to Korea towards the end of the year. Because Seoul is officially my favorite city.

Next came a long weekend of eating in Singapore and another food trip in Taiwan (my first time there - and I really must come back!). Nom nom nom. Good times.

And then there was the mother of all trips - the adventure I said I would take before I turned 30, which I did! Our nearly month-long cross-country adventure in Europe took place in June. I've yet to write about any of it because I just don't know how to start - there's so much to rave about! All the beautiful places we went to, all the history we experienced, the food we ate, and of course, the company - the amazing travel buddies on the trip with me.

I can talk about all the tourist-y places, the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum and the Gaudi buildings, but I doubt I'll do a better job than Wikipedia or Lonely Planet. I can write about all the food we ate, but my friend Rissee would certainly be much more credible in matters of taste (see what I did there? Haha).

Instead, every now and then when I find myself daydreaming about our trip, I would be going back to those little moments - Ics, Rox or Rissee behind the wheel as we drove around Provence and Tuscany in our rented car; walking around Paris with Mabs to go to that church that housed the remains of an incorruptible saint; doing burpees by the bay in Barcelona with Ics and Ris; going for an early morning solo run in quiet Rome, and seeing the coliseum before the flocks of tourists came; exploring Avignon with Ris on an early morning run; sitting back and enjoying the view in our quaint and incredibly adorable B&B in Chianti; surprising Mabs for her birthday in aforementioned B&B; going on a beer tour in Prague and meeting other people from our hostel; trying out funny brownies (that had no effect on us whatsoever, hmp) in Amsterdam with Ics! The list is nearly endless. The best travel moments are always bittersweet, aren't they? They exist in one's memories to remind him of a happiness felt in the past that he will never be able to recreate again.

Someday, maybe I will write about all of them. For now though, here's a video of our epic trip, edited by our resident (nutty) videomaker Mabs, also known as All The Cray We Had In Europe, Told Through A Passion Pit Song About The Year Rissee and I Were Born:

My travels this year would've been more than enough to fill up this year-end post, but the amazing thing is, so many other things happened beyond those trips, serving as further proof that 2015, the year I turned 30, was a year on steroids.

Career-wise, I'd have to say I had a pretty amazing year. It wasn't easy, it wasn't always fun, but it was definitely fulfilling. Working with the team who launched a great campaign, with a powerful message that I personally believe in and live by - I couldn't have asked for a better corporate gig. I could only hope for even greater things in 2016.

Then there's the rekindling of an old passion, explored in a new way. I pretty much abandoned this blog in 2015 - but not because I stopped writing. In fact, I abandoned this travel blog because I was writing - it's just that I was writing something else.

The idea came to me some time during the summer, but really, it had been stewing in my head for a long time - it was only then that all these little bits of details came together to finally make sense. It stayed as random notes and doodles on my notebook for a little longer, until I attended a few writing classes towards the latter half of the year. It took the month of November - and the push of NaNoWriMo - to help me accomplish something I had never done before, but had always wanted to, always dreamed of doing. By the end of November, I had written draft zero of my first novel.

There's still a lot of work that needs to be done - and editing, as I am finding out, is a little bit of a bitch - but I'm optimistic. I already wrote 50,000 words, there's no turning back now.

Just as there is no turning back from 2016 - another year of possibility, another year to do that which brings us joy, another year to explore places we never thought we'd go to. There is not much else to say except I can't freaking wait. Let's do this. 2015, you've been so freaking amazing, and 2016 will be just as great. Hashtag positivity.

Travel to India: Tips to Stay Safe

From the ancient era, foreign travelers have come and explored India in different ways, its natural beauty, rich culture, astonishing architects; Indian cuisines are prime attractions of the travelers. India is considered one of the significant historical countries where almost each state has carried historical data and historical relic. To make India trip safe, travelers should contact real estate agents, or they can meet property dealers or property brokers to get a house in a safe place.

Actually recent day’s property business has been emerged sharply; there are a lot of people who are involved in this business and deal with property. Currently people prefer to buy a well finished house where they would get all kinds of facility, from car parking to security, each and everything has been available. In busy schedule, buyers do not want to take extra burden or responsibility, so readymade housing complexes and apartments are convenient options for them. In this case they would be offered two options one well furnished room and without furnishing room. In case of furnished room, they would get a complete house, where necessary furniture and essential stuffs are there. And non-furnished room, where buyers have to set up and decorate their house as per their choice and budget.  A lot of property dealers who are ready to assist the buyers in this area.

 Features of the house:

Property brokers are the middlemen who maintain the communication between buyers and sellers. They have played important role in negotiation. In India, a lot of modern housing complexes are being built which have equipped with modern facilities and amenities. Interior and exterior design of the housing apartment is completely new and trendy. Its modern look, contemporary arrangements make the complex different. Real estate agents are giving buyers numerous options, according to requirements and budget, buyers can avail their house, 2BHK, and 3BHK houses are available in the market and once you contact property brokers, they would help you to negotiate the price of the house, even you would get legal advices from them also. Generally across the India, buyers would get various alternatives such as small apartments, spacious apartments, low budget housing complexes and luxury complexes. So all you need to do is to contact convenient property dealers, speak to them and try to explain you preference, now it is their responsibility to seek an apt and suitable house for you.

Builders profile:
Across the country there are a lot of small and giant organizations who are building the housing complexes, some of them are eminent builders who have been working in this sectors more than forty years. Their work, innovative idea, and sincerity are globally acknowledged. They have already shown their work of art by creating outstanding housing complex or commercial space.

So if anyone is planning to visit India or stay in India, but do not understand how to get a convenient house, is requested to contact Indian real estate agents, they would help him/her to obtain a house in suitable place. Visitors are requested do not need to worry, as Indian real-estate companies are giving you top quality apartment which not only best quality but also you can stay safe and secured.

Easy Tips How to Stay Clean and Fresh at Long Trips

It might seem to be a little bit complicated task to do, but by keeping up with a few tips, every girl who loves to travel for a long period of time and without such luxuriates like shower or a normal amount of water, can still look clean and fresh. Really, when do you even have a normal amount of time to do that, then you are traveling with a huge backpack on your bag in the middle of Asia? So use these few little tips how to keep your personal hygiene as good as at home and thank me later!


To always keep your hands clean and hygienic, have a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you. It doesn’t require any water and it does its work instantly. If you are traveling not alone, then encourage other people to use sanitizer too. This is how everyone will be squawky clean and won’t pass bad germs for others. Of course, every time then you have a chance to use water, clean your hands with a soap.  


Since your hands now are super clean, then focus on your whole body. To keep it clean use an amazing invention for all the travelers: wet wipes. It will definitely freshen up you a little bit and will remove all of the dirt on you. To avoid sweating, always wear some loose clothing from thin material, like a cotton dress. Of course, use deodorant to avoid the bad smell and stop all the sweating as well. All combined – makes your body clean and fresh.


Hair is probably the very first part of your body which shows your lack of shower. To keep that dirty image of you go away, invest in a big bottle of dry shampoo. Spray it on your hairline at the same moment then you start seeing greasiness and you can live without a shower for at least some time and still look clean. You can get such shampoos at local drug stores or in bigger markets. Another way to clean your hair is to use baking soda. This excellent hack to use from our grandmothers is really going to work. Soda will absorb all oils from your hair in a minute. On the other hand, if you just don’t care how your hair looks like, put some fashionable hat or a hair band and cover oily hair for at least that time then you will be able to use a proper shampoo.


Finally, don’t forget that terrible stink from your mouth can betray your lack of hygiene too. Of course, don’t you ever forget to bring a nice and brand new toothbrush and a toothpaste with you, and don’t dessert your daily routine of cleaning your teeth. Otherwise, have a minty chewing gum with you and eat it right after the meal. Minty pastilles will also do the same trick.
To prepare for a long trip, you also need a nice place to shop for all the items I just mentioned before. One of my primary places to visit is Target. Back there I can shop for absolutely everything I might need for my trip. The best part is that Target also host online shopping service which delivers your purchases to you. Moreover, a huge bunch of Target online coupons with free shipping give many great discounts. So definitely start your trip at Target and get the best items for your hygiene there too. And don’t forget to pack your good mood, because if you miss it somewhere, no hygiene products will help you!

SMTOWN at COEX Artium Virtual Tour, Part 1: Celebrity Shop, Official Goods and Merchandise

58, Teheran-ro 87-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Directions / How to get there:
Take Seoul Subway Line 2 (Green Line), get off at Samseong Station, Exit 6. COEX is directly connected to the subway station.

My friend and I got to check out the SMTOWN complex at the Coex Artium during our recent trip to Seoul for the new year holiday. It will only officially open on January 13 so we didn't get the whole experience, but there was already plenty to see when we went.

The complex is made up of 6 floors:

1F - Welcome Stage
2F - SUM: Celebrity Shop, Artist Goods, Artist Picks, Gifts)
3F -  SMTOWN Studio: Music Video, Photo, Recording, Hair & Make up, Vocal, Dance
4F - SMTOWN Liverary (lol): Cafe, Music, Media, Books, Special Goods
5F - SMTOWN Theatre: Hologram Theatre, Community Hall, Interactive Amusement
6F - SMTOWN Theatre: 3D Printing

I took a whole lot of pictures so I'm cutting this virtual tour up into two parts. On this post I'll be sharing pictures of the celebrity shop and the official goods they sold. Enjoy!

2014: Of Greatest Hits and Encore Visits

I honestly don’t know where my year went. One day I was cramming my 2013 year-end post at home in Manila, and the next thing I know, I’m sitting in a cafĂ© in one of my favorite areas in Seoul writing my 2014 year-end post, which is exactly what I’m doing right now. It’s the last day of the year and I’m spending it in Hongdae, at least until we head out for a big New Year’s Eve party somewhere else in Seoul later. I’ve never been away from home during the holidays, so this New Year’s trip is a milestone, and it’s been a great one so far! 

More on this trip in another post, though. For now, I’d like to look back on the year that was, because I don’t think I’ve really had any time to reflect on how I spent it. Between so many changes at work, finally turning my tiny matchbox of a house into a home, getting into a new hobby / business venture, and taking so many random trips, it’s been a whirlwind of a year! It’s been pretty exhausting too, and I got sick for nearly a week this month (right when all the holiday get-togethers, parties and dinners happened! Friends, please don’t forget me! Let’s catch up in January) as a testament to the toll the year has taken. So this trip away from everything as the year ends is much needed, and I’d like to think, well-deserved.

I kind of feel the same way for all my trips this year, actually. Six holidays and two business trips and I didn’t plan a single itinerary for any of them. My trips this year were all pretty relaxed, fairly spontaneous, and all of them were repeat visits. And what I loved most about them was how unhurried all these trips were – there was no urgent need to get to anywhere quickly, and to pack a day with so many things to see and do, because technically, I had already been to these places. It was just about revisiting old favorites, without the pressure of getting nice pictures taken or finding anything “blog-worthy”. It was all about soaking up a place and living in that travel moment. I wonder if this is what it means to mature as a traveler?

I look forward to discovering new places in 2015, though. We have a big trip planned, an epic one I’ve been waiting to do for years, but it would be nice to do a short backpacking trip to an exotic place some time in the year too. Nepal or Sri Lanka, maybe? This year’s trips were all in cities and fancy hotels and resorts, so I would really love to be climbing temples and walking through dirt roads with my huge backpack again in 2015.       

And as far as the big elephant I’ve been ignoring in this post goes, yes, I do hope to blog a whole lot more in 2015. Too many things happened this year and I honestly just wasn’t able to find the time and I guess the drive to do it. And I have so much to write about! I’ll work on it. Next year will be a better blogging year, I promise!

Closing this out with a few pictures from my trips this year. We’re gonna head back to our hostel in a bit to take a disco nap before we head out for tonight’s festivities. Hopefully it’ll be an epic night! Have a happy new year everyone! Friends, let’s run into each other next year, in a tiny airport in the middle of nowhere, on a dreary red eye flight home, in an untouched, pristine beach, or at sunset in an ancient ruin. Dinner in BGC is fine too. Haha.   

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