Eid-ul-Fitr Traditions Across the World





As we find ourselves at the end of Ramadan, now is the perfect time to look ahead and consider what the future will bring. Regardless of our faith, equality and generosity are things we should aim to include in our daily lives. Of course, every faith has its own traditions, events and special occasions – for those who frequently travel the world, it is important to ensure that you are fully clued up and aware of the cultural traditions in the countries you will be visiting. 

In Islam, the Holy month of Ramadan is one of the most important times of the year. It is a time for fasting, prayer and reflection, and is observed in many predominantly-Muslim countries. However, once the month of Ramadan comes to an end, it is time for Eid-ul-Fitr.
Eid-ul-Fitr is another important occasion in the Islamic calendar. It is a festival of celebration, commemorating the end of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast, and is a time where Muslims across the world join together to celebrate.

Although there are certain traditions that are common throughout the world on Eid-ul-Fitr, there are many others which can vary by country and region.

For those who are planning to travel or visit these places during Eid-ul-Fitr, it is important to ensure that you are aware of the customs and traditions of the particular area you will be visiting. Not only is this an important way to be respectful and considerate of the local’s faith and beliefs, but it is also essential to guarantee that you don’t fall foul of any localised laws or customs.

To get started, here are some common traditions which take place on Eid-ul-Fitr.
On the morning of the first day that Eid is celebrated, Muslims will bathe and dress in their best clothes before visiting their local Mosque for congregational prayers. Following the prayers, the traditional greeting of “Eid Mubarak” (have a Blessed Eid) will be used to greet friends, family members and other Muslims.

Many Muslims will then spend the day visiting loved ones, eating traditional dishes and sweets and spending time together. In addition, children are commonly given gifts at Eid.
When it comes to traditions by country, there are understandably certain variations and differences in the way that Eid is celebrated. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are a few traditions from around the world.

Indonesia
Indonesia is home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population – the largest Muslim population in a single country. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that Eid-ul-Fitr is a significant occasion in Indonesia! During the festival, locals participate in parades, watch fireworks and go shopping for gifts for their loved ones. When it comes to food, traditional dishes like Rendang (a spicy meat dish) and Brongkos (a traditional soup dish) are usually enjoyed.

Tunisia
Eid-ul-Fitr is a real celebration in Tunisia, with many people spending the occasion enjoying time with their families. The youngest members of the family will be given money or small gifts like toys, and traditional Eid cuisine like biscuits, Kaak (a type of cake) and Baklawa (a sweet pastry dessert with chopped nuts and honey) will be eaten.

Morocco
Traditional Eid breakfast foods in Morocco include delicious treats such as cookies, Baghrir and Melwi (types of Moroccan pancake), washed down with refreshing mint tea.

India
Although Islam is not India’s main faith, Muslims throughout the country celebrate it in a number of different ways. Women wear traditional clothing and decorate their hands with henna designs, and the night before Eid, many Indian Muslims go out shopping. In this country, a traditional sweet Eid dish is Sheer Khurma – a milk pudding with dates.
As the month of Ramadan draws to an end, make sure that you are fully clued up about Eid-ul-Fitr and everything that this special occasion means to Muslims around the world.

2017: The Love Monday Movement in Review




It truly has been a year like no other.

Usually I would write my year-end posts by recounting my travels from the last twelve months, some work milestones and a few personal anecdotes. But I will remember 2017 as a year of personal pursuits.

This time last year, Love Monday Café was just an idea I had scribbled on a notebook, written in emails to myself and put together on a few Pinterest boards. It’s been a great journey, bringing it to life, and throughout the process my emotions have ranged from truly inspired and encouraged to downtrodden and defeated to grateful and fulfilled. Somewhat surprisingly, a value I learned from my corporate life was what kept me going throughout the year: resilience.   



Another motivating factor were my friends and family, who continue to support my crazy self and my crazy ideas. I can only imagine how frustrating and worrying it can be sometimes to be friends with an ENFP, and I’ve never been so much of an ENFP in my life as I was in 2017. So a lot of love and a thousand thanks are in order to all of you who have been with me all these years!

There’s a lot to look forward to in the new year when you’re coming from a year of first steps and new beginnings. I’m excited. There’s still so much I want to do. Bringing ideas to life and – excuse the cliché – turning dreams into reality can be quite addicting. It’s not always easy, it’s not always going to work, but doing it is always worth it, no matter what happens.

I also feel a new perspective coming to life throughout all my experiences in 2017: a preference for simpler things, a penchant for minimalism, a different set of priorities. I’ll write more about it once I’ve put them all together in a more coherent way in my head.

If I’m being honest, I struggled writing this year-end post. Not because I had nothing to write about - there were plenty. But everything I wrote would sound like some sort of cliché, the kind of repetitive, formulaic story written about in a Thought Catalog article or on some motivational or inspirational blog with questionable credibility: I was a girl who quit her job and gave up her career to pursue a far-fetched dream.

Except it isn’t a cliché. Because it’s been a deeply personal and one-of-a-kind journey, and I lived it, and I have the entire 2017 to look back on to remind me of it, and I will continue to live it in 2018.

I guess it’s still a little hard to believe sometimes. I really did it! I really took the plunge and did it, and it’s been a whole year since of taking plunges, breaking through obstacles, and moving onward to pursue my purpose and my passions, with supportive and loving friends and family around me.

So what more could I ask for in the new year? Not much else, really. Perhaps health, a level head, and a lot of heart so I can make the most of the good graces that have been given to me. Excuse the cliché, but there’s no other way to put it: hashtag-blessed. Happy new year!



















Dream Destination: New Delhi, India




My travels have taken me all over Asia, having explored amazing places like Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, and of course, my home country of the Philippines.

But there is still so much of Asia left for me to explore, and one that for now remains a dream destination is the area of South Asia, in particular, India.

Its capital, New Delhi, seems like a magical place that can leave any traveler in awe of its history, culture and food.

Among the numerous destinations within New Delhi that are worth visiting, I’ve listed my top dream destinations here. If you’ve been to any of these places, I’d love to hear what you think of them in the comments!

Of course, researching about a travel destination should include a hunt for the best places to stay in that city. The Imperial Hotel Delhi is one I’ve found that’s in an excellent location in central New Delhi. Definitely worth checking out.

On to the list of my dream destinations in New Delhi! Let me know what you think of them in the comments section.


Humayun Tomb


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the tomb of a former Mughal emperor, which was commissioned by his first wife. Designed by a Persian architect, it was built in the mid-1500s and is the resting place of several Mughal rulers.


While not as universally known as the Taj Mahal, the Humayun Tomb has the unique distinction of being the first ever garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent. Some would even claim that its construction inspired other architectural marvels in India, including the Taj Mahal itself. Its beauty and grandeur is definitely not to be missed by a traveler in New Delhi.  



Lodhi Garden


Originating for the mid-1500s, this historic garden complex also houses the tombs of several rulers.

Entrance to the Lodhi Garden is free, and the massive park is a favorite among locals. If you go on an early morning visit, you will find joggers, yoga practitioners, and other fitness aficionados all around the area. The park is also an ideal spot for having picnics. 


India Gate


Formerly known as the All India War Memorial, this impressive structure was built to commemorate the over eighty thousand Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

Built in 1931, the monument is over 40 meters long and has several inscriptions, including the names of over 13,000 fallen soldiers. Interestingly, one of the names on the gate belongs to that of a female nurse killed during combat in 1917.


Where to Stay in New Delhi

As to be expected, there are numerous hotels to choose from at India’s capital. In particular, you shouldn’t have any trouble visiting any of the destinations I mentioned in this article if you’re staying at the Imperial Hotel Delhi given its central location.    

Have you been to New Delhi, and how was your experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Happy travels!  

The Best Honeymoon Places in the Philippines





There is an old saying among lovers, “Love is the food of life and travel is the dessert,” and this fits perfectly for the time right after getting married. On one hand, your wedding signals a new beginning, a new phase in life; on the other hand, it also paves the way for added responsibilities. Now, this is where a honeymoon becomes significant, it is a phase where you can enjoy your time with your wife or husband to the fullest before you fulfill those responsibilities.

If you’re planning yours in the beautiful country of the Philippines, then you can head over to Philippinestravelpackage.com as well as other online resources out there and check out their best tour packages for couples. On top of these, you can check out the destinations in this article since they can complement the tips and pointers that you can get from the said resources and therefore, achieve a honeymoon that is just one for the books.

Boracay Island

Boracay Island is the most famous beach place in the Philippines and it has become the “go-to” destination of honeymooners for its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, romantic environment, friendly locals, vibrant nightlife and sparkling sunlight, just to name a few. Because of these attributes, Boracay is heralded by many as the Ibiza of Asia. The suggested activities here are scuba diving, parasailing, and kite boarding.



Vigan, Ilocos Norte

If you like long road trips, romantic evenings, outdoor adventures, and the likes, then Vigan is the place to be. While there, you can enjoy its historic and culturally rich streets, particularly Calle Crisologo, a district that made a name for itself for its old white houses, calesas, cobblestones, and so on. Stay there till nighttime and watch the streetlights bath the whole place with elegance, grandiosity, and romance.

Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte

After your Vigan escapade, you can head a bit further north to Vigan. While there, you stay at one of the resorts and other accommodation facilities in Saud white beach and visit its neighboring attractions. Then, you can trek and experience (up-close and personal) the Kapurpuran Rock Formations, breathtaking rock formations that looks sea of sand. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes if you choose to go here. Afterwards, you can go to the Blue Lagoon and dip in its bright waters and then head straight to Bangui, a place that is known for its windmills and dramatic sunset.

Palawan

The province of Palawan, which is popularly known as the Philippines’ last frontier is known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, particularly its municipalities of El Nido and Coron. The two are post-card perfect and are known for its limestone formation, clear water, lush-green forests, blue skies, white sand, and many others. Because of these, it is no wonder that international travel magazine and Internet-based reviewers recognize the whole province as one of the most breathtaking provinces in the world. Also, due to its sheer beauty, taking a bad photo is close to impossible.


El Nido, Palawan

El Nido, which is located on the northern region of Palawan, is an ideal spot to enjoy lagoons and coral reefs. The authentic hospitality of its local will not fail you as they will welcome you with open arms. While there, you can go kayaking, scuba-diving, snorkeling, have cave tours, and enjoy romantic dinners.





Coron

Coron is a dreamy destination that is secluded in the natural treasures of Palawan. It boasts of jagged escarpments, superb vegetation, and lush landmasses. The mere sight of Lake Barracuda as well as Lake Kayangan can leave you and your partner enchanted.

Batanes

Batanes gained notoriety for being the greenest place in the Philippines. Its lush-green hills and rugged cliffs perfectly complement its lighthouse, stone houses, and blue skies. While there, you and your partner can be swept away by the island’s sheer natural beauty and strong waves. You can walk its rolling hills and feel the wind or watch the waves pound the cliffs. Simply put, the natural beauty of Batanes is just one for the books.

Tagaytay

If you reside in Metro Manila, then Tagaytay City is one of the nearest places that you can visit on your honeymoon, you can get there in three hours or less. It draws honeymooners from Manila and elsewhere due to its exquisite sceneries and cool climate.

Located in Cavite, a high altitude province, you can head over in a heartbeat and take pleasure in your intimate moments. The city is tranquil and serene and surrounded by forests, grasslands, mountains, and so much more.

Subic bay
Located off the west coast of Luzon, Subic Bay is one of the most vibrant and exciting honeymoon spots in the country, particularly in its Northern Region. If you choose this place for your, make sure to include White Rock Waterpark, Magaul Bird Park, and Pamulaklakin Forest Trail, Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure and so on, in your itinerary.

Baler

Baler, Aurora has made a name for itself for being one of the best surfing destinations in the Philippines, however, bear in mind that on top of this, it boasts of a unique charm that is simply unlike any other. It is enriched with exquisite mountain sceneries, rocky mountains, and large as well as strong waves, among others. The scenery is simply relaxing and are perfect for honeymooners who want to sit back, relax, and enjoy their post-wedding activity.

Sagada

Sagada is great outdoor place that is perfect for newly-weds who want to enjoy their honeymoon and enjoy the beauty of nature. While there, you can enjoy some of the finest draws that it boasts of like Bokong Waterfalls, Mt. Kite Plan, Sumaguing Cave, and Echo Valley

Since your honeymoon is arguably your most important post-wedding event, it should be done in a place that will perfectly complement your preference, personality, and more. So choose from the list of destinations that were elaborated above. For sure, you will find something that will give you satisfaction, even if you’re a picky traveler. Do you have honeymoon destination that you want to share our readers? Then drop us a message on our comments section.

2016: My Personal Bubble in Review




Most year-end posts will probably start by saying 2016 has been a shitty year in general. And I totally get it – I don’t think I’ve ever felt this disillusioned about the world we live in.

But I’ll let other, more credible, knowledgeable and entertaining people talk about that (I recommend Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s season ender for starters). For this post, allow me to retreat to my own personal bubble.  And if I had to define my 2016 personal bubble in one word, it’d be this: purpose.  

At the risk of sounding like the product of a motivational lecture or self-help book (it wasn’t), this year, more than any of the years before it, I took great strides in trying to find my personal purpose. On top of that, I finally did something – something big – about it, by finally deciding to make my personal purpose my daily purpose.

I feel this post is going to sound incredibly cheesy and pretentious if I keep waxing poetic about the things that happened this year without sharing the straightforward version of it first. Basically, in 2016 I got promoted and moved to Vietnam, and after six months, I decided to quit my job, quit corporate, and move back to the Philippines.

It’s been a long time coming, and far from being a spur-of-the-moment thing. I feel like 2015 in particular had a lot to do with my decision to finally take such a big step. Last year was nothing short of stellar: great accomplishments at work, one epic trip to check off the bucket list, and the rekindling of an old, dormant passion.

I left 2015 feeling satisfied and accomplished with the path I had taken – but also ready to do something else, to finally listen to that tiny voice that had been so patient with me since I graduated university.

That voice that remained silent while I ventured into “adulting”, i.e. into a fast-track ride up the corporate ladder. The voice that didn’t object when I aimed for stability while simultaneously wanting to enjoy life’s simple and great pleasures (i.e. The Great Paradox of My 20s: working my ass off + travelling as much as I can to as many places I can + spending money + saving money for a car and a condo, etc. I don’t know how I managed to pull it off, either.) The voice that grew loud as I approached my mid-20s, becoming known as My Quarterlife Crisis, but gradually grew silent again as I moved companies for better jobs and better benefits, continued travelling, and moving from saving for a car and a condo to paying for insurance and investments.

That voice came back in 2016 with a different approach. Actually, it started rearing its head in 2015. Life was going well, and my path seemed clear. But it was also becoming clearer and clearer by the day that this path was not the one I really wanted to take.

A lot of this has to do with my job, but it really goes beyond that. That’s content for an entirely different post though. For this post I’ll jump right into recounting the year that was in less abstract ways.

I got promoted to marketing manager and moved to Vietnam in June. Living in another country is a great experience I’d recommend everyone experience at least once in their lives. I can’t say it taught me to be more independent and to rely on myself more – I’ve already learned plenty of that living alone in Manila since my days at university, while my family remained in the province. If anything, I learned the opposite – it was a humbling experience, learning to ask for help, and relying on the kindness of strangers and new acquaintances. Living in another country did teach me to become more responsible though.

But beyond all the learning, the more fun bit was all the exploring – discovering my new city, my new neighborhood, and playing tour guide to visiting friends and family! The sepanx that would kick in after guests left was a pain, but the fun few days they spent with me were worth it. You guys know who you are – thank you for taking the time out from your lives to come over to visit!   

Being expatriated meant travelling became a bigger part of my life than it already was – it wasn’t entirely for the better, however. I don’t think I’ve ever been severely exhausted from travelling the way I was for a couple of months this year. It was just physically and mentally draining, flying from Vietnam to Manila and back again several times with such short days in between. Add to that the business trips and weekend trips I had to take to Singapore. I have no regrets, but I won’t deny that it was physically taxing.

To paint a picture, two examples: first, a weekend I spent in Singapore with friends to watch a concert (iKON saranghaeyo! LOL). The time in Singapore and the concert was epic – food, drinks, dancing, quality Kpop. Recipe for a perfect weekend! But the journey to get to Singapore to spend 2 full days there was a complicated one – I had to fly from Vietnam to Manila about 2 days prior for a last-minute trip (visa issues), but my flight to Singapore was going to be from Vietnam. Which meant I had to fly from Manila to Vietnam and arrived Friday afternoon, only so I can repack my luggage and get ready from my flight from Vietnam to Singapore early morning Saturday. Then I had to fly back from Singapore to Vietnam early morning on Monday the week after.   

Second example: a whirlwind trip back to the Philippines, in which I flew in from Vietnam and arrived Friday morning, had to work at the Manila office for the whole day, then drove to Batangas that night for a beach trip with family.  The drive to the beach the next day was about 4 hours (thankfully I was just a passenger), and then we had to go back a day after that, on Sunday. By early Monday morning I was driving myself back to Manila so I could spend another day at work in the Manila office before my flight back to Vietnam that night.

The truth is I’m recounting these instances as a note to myself more than anything else – because while it was necessary at the time and I don’t regret it (I discovered then the lengths we go just to see family and friends, even for a little bit), I hope for a life when I never need to go through that kind of stress again.   

So yeah. While I loved living in Saigon, the constant travelling also took a toll on me. That’s not to say I lost my love for travel this year. I had some pretty good trips, and visited two countries for the first time: Australia for a dear friend’s wedding and Japan.

Port Fairy, where the wedding was held, was a lovely little town, the kind you’d see in Hallmark movies, and I’d love to come back someday to rent a cottage for a couple of days and do some writing. Melbourne meant just one thing to me: brunch. LOL.

Osaka was a-mazing. Kyoto was quaint. I’d love to go back again, and soon!

Despite all the changes, one thing remained the same this year: my love for Seoul. I went on a spring trip to my favorite city with friends before I moved to Vietnam, and also marked the end of my stint in Saigon and the start of a new chapter in my life with a trip to Seoul early this month. I don’t know how things will pan out next year with my life in general, but I’m hoping there’ll still be a trip or two to Seoul then.  

I think that needs more emphasis – there hasn’t been a year in my adult life that’s as unpredictable as the coming one. 2017 is bound to come in with a whole bunch of surprises, but it’s all part of what makes it so exciting. If I need to survive surprises, both good and bad, to live a life that lets me fulfill my purpose everyday, then so be it. So bring it on, 2017! And thanks to all the friends who continue to support me all the way.

I’m too lazy to make a collage of photos to mark this year (my little brother is waiting for me, because we have a Mortal Kombat X tournament tonight) so I’m posting a photo of me taken early on in 2016 instead. Know that this was not how I looked on a regular basis this year (in fact I looked the exact opposite, haha), but please allow me a rare decent selfie. Happy new year!  


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