To Travel Like It's The End Of The World: YOLO 2012!

I once said that my 2011 felt like one long, extended beach trip, but that I hoped 2012 would be a little bit crazier, more adventurous. After all, the world was supposedly going to end in 2012. Now that we've survived December 21, 2012 (and celebrated it with an End of the World Party and Mayan-inspired accessories), it seems mankind has been given a new lease on life. But the fact still remains - You Only Live Once. And 2012 was the year of the YOLO state of mind - all the surf trips, the road trips, the concerts and parties, even the staycations and my chillax Laos trip, and of course, our epic Seoul adventure were all witness to that. We only have one life to live, and I want to spend mine on the move, exploring strange places, meeting strange people, eating the strangest food, then coming home, only to do it all over again. So here are my favorite photos of 2012 - have a happy new year everyone! And as always, to my epic travel buddies of the year - the Samsung YOLOs, Carms, Eds, Jen and the Korea Girl Group members, what a year it's been! Here's to more legendary trips in 2013! 

About the Filipina in Flip Flops

It all began with a short solitary swim to an empty stretch of beach in a lonely island, many years ago. Since then, I've come to realize that traveling for me is a creative experience - an opportunity to tell stories about strangers, strange places and strange moments through words and pictures.

While I spend most of my days putting my Integrated Marketing Communications degree to good use at a corporate job in Manila, I spend many weekends, national holidays and much-needed vacation leaves traveling, or writing about traveling. For a few years, my double life of nomad and corporate sellout yuppie left me feeling a little torn, confused, and slightly distraught, but lately I've started to discover the beauty and magic that make transient travel both fleeting and unending at the same time. Things may change in the future, but for now I'm quite happy with the truce I've found between my two realities: cube-dweller and nomad.

Send me an email: 
Like my Facebook Page: 
Follow me on Twitter: @lostluna 
Follow me on Instagram: filipinainflipflops
Check out my Pinterest: daeneluna 

Christmas in Manila, Philippines

I was inspired by the photos the couple behind Everywhere We Shoot! took for their project with the Samsung Galaxy Camera, so I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood in Ortigas Center one night to take a few photos, and do the same thing before I went shopping at Power Plant one Sunday morning.

The Christmas season is a splendid time to visit the Philippines - the weather isn't too hot (though the past few days have been scorching while the nights aren't as bad, thankfully) and you are reminded of the holidays everywhere you go. It's impossible not to get into the Christmas spirit in the Philippines.

Travel Tip: Fly to the Philippines at affordable prices! Find the cheapest airfare flights online with sites like FlightHub.

If spending Christmas by the beach is more your thing - well, with our 7,000+ islands, we have that in the Philippines too! I haven't got any pictures of "Christmas in the Sand" though (my parents require me to be home during the holidays and the only traveling I do around Christmas is from Manila to my hometown in Batangas), but here's a song to get you in a sun, surf, sand, and Santa mood. Merry Christmas everyone!

(Also, more pictures under the cut!)

Colbie Caillat - Christmas in the Sand

5 Travel-Inspired Gift Ideas

Among friends, I'm known as the one who likes to travel. A lot. When meeting with friends I haven't seen in a long time, I'm asked "So where is your next trip?" as much as I'm asked "How have you been?". So I figured that this Christmas, it was about time I gave my loved ones something that could help me pass on to them my love for travel, and something that they would remember me by. It also got me thinking about some wonderful travel-inspired presents I've received from friends in the past. So here are some travel-inspired gift ideas for travelers and soon-to-be-travelers alike.

1. A Custom-made Tour

Last year I got a really cool Christmas present from Mark, who planned and prepared what he called "a cultural and culinary day tour" of Chinatown in Binondo. Needless to say, I was extremely touched by his thoughtful gift and all the effort it took him to prepare it. You can do the same for your friends, but if you don't have enough time to plan your own trip, you can avail of the entertaining and insightful tours of Walk This Way by Carlos Celdran and Old Manila Walks by Ivan Man Dy.

The Sights and Sounds of Hongdae, Part 1: An Afternoon Stroll

I'm sending good vibes your way with this post!

I had my first encounter with Hongdae in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the place then. Hongdae is vibrant, creative, unpolished and a little bit rebellious - in other words, it is everything that is crazy/beautiful about youth. I guess it helps that there is a large student population in the area because of Hongik University.

When I get really busy and ultimately very stressed about one thing or another, or if I want to feel inspired, there is nothing more I would want than some quiet time in a quaint coffee shop, enjoying a plate of waffles with ice cream, maybe some hot chocolate on the side while I write, just to take a break from everything. If that's not feasible, I daydream about places like Hongdae and look through my old photos of the place to help me remember.

If you ever find yourself in Seoul and are looking to be inspired, take the train to Hongik University station and spend an afternoon taking a leisurely stroll around the area, camera at the ready. You'll chance upon one-of-a-kind boutiques, quirky cafes and some pretty cool street art. It's exactly what my friends and I did - on the last day of our trip, we took one last walk around the neighborhood we called home for our five days in Seoul. You'll find some of the pictures I took below, plus a lovely little song to get you in a pleasant mood. (Incidentally, the band Busker Busker is an indie group from Hongdae who recently gained mainstream success.)

Qqoogo the Quirky Artist, Hongdae

Posing with charisma!

I met her at the Hongdae Free Market. Her work caught my attention, and she seemed so nice and pleasant, talking warmly and animatedly to the people looking through her items. She was even game to pose for a picture with her quirky glasses!

The Korean Mystery Lunch: Gamjatang at Onedang (a.k.a. how to order in a Korean restaurant without an English menu)

Smile, keep an open mind, trust the friendly ajumma, hope for the best, prepare to laugh at the worst, and you might just be rewarded with a surprisingly good meal.

Disclaimer: results may vary per situation, but that's just part of the fun.

Where to Stay in Seoul, South Korea: Hongdae Guesthouse

Hongdae Guesthouse
159-6 Donggyo-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-816, South Korea 

In a Nutshell:
Easily accessible by public transport, spacious room with adequate amenities, accommodating staff, and affordable rates

Rating: 4 / 5 

Autumn in Seoul, My First Fall

The romance of autumn entices even those who have lived their entire lives in a tropical country, blessed with the abundance of beaches, clear blue skies and sunshine, but greatly deprived of the warm hues and gently falling leaves of autumn. Which is why, when my friends and I set the date for our trip to South Korea, we made sure that we would experience Seoul in all of its autumn glory. I'd had a taste of the season during my first visit there, but I still longed to experience its true allure. 

Thankfully, our nearly year-long wait and meticulous planning paid off - we had an amazing five days in Seoul with the backdrop of a beautiful autumn, my very first fall. 

Below are some pictures I took from the trip which captured the feel of autumn best - may they remind you of your own autumn memories.

Travel Soundtrack: Road Trip Songs from Foster the People and Lonsdale Boys Club

It's a lovely Sunday afternoon, and I just came back from having lunch and watching a movie with the family. The weather was nice today so I decided to drive with the windows down and the music up on my way home from the mall. I've got a beach trip with the family over the long weekend and these two songs would be really nice to drive to on a road trip. Contemplating though if I should just ride with the folks going to Kota Keluarga - gas can be expensive! Anyway, here are two song suggestions to add to your road trip soundtracks. Enjoy whatever is left of your weekend, and make it count!

Foster the People - I Would Do Anything for You Lonsdale Boys Club - Light Me Up

Blog Makeover + Korea Craze

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

After much thought, I have finally decided to commit to redesigning this blog. It’s going to take a while, so some links might be broken and there might be an element or two that’s out of place while I tidy up the layout. This will also probably be my last post until the blog is fully-functional again. I’ve just come back from a trip with friends to Seoul, and prior to that, we watched the EPIC Big Bang concert in Manila, so I’ve been Korea-crazy these past few weeks. Some pictures below! 

Watch out for Filipina in Flip Flops, reloaded, coming soon! 

Pictures, top to bottom: Nami Island, Super Yummy Korean Food, Ris & Mabs at Bukchon, Big Bang in Manila, TOP, G-Dragon and his badass jacket

Luang Prabang, Laos: A Lesson on Goodbye's and See You Next Time's

I do quite well with goodbyes.

A person who thinks herself a traveler has to be. More often than not, a place she visits is a place she leaves eventually. Saying goodbye is a necessary part of the adventure, like shoddy toilets, delayed flights and occasional homesickness. It’s just part of the experience.

Getting My Blogging Groove Back

Or trying to, at least. I don't know how other bloggers do it, how they can be so damn consistent when it comes to posting on the regular*. I've always been...flighty when it comes to my writing. It's not a love-hate relationship per se - perhaps it's more about how I have one too many commitment issues (only about writing). Or maybe I just require a certain mood, a certain feeling, a certain environment, to get me writing. I celebrated my birthday yesterday and decided to take today off to rest, so I'm at my favorite coffee house and it's practically empty (so I feel less guilty about overstaying. I just love it here so much, I can't help it!). My schedule is clear for the day, and more importantly, my mind is clear and free of work and social calendar matters, so I thought it was time to post something. 

When I lurk around my favorite travel pages on Facebook, I always see these travel photos with travel-related quotes on them and they always inspire me, so I thought I'd get my creative juices flowing by making a few of my own. So I edited some of my favorite travel photos, and there you go. Here's the first one. More to come, I guess. 

Also, I already said this on Facebook, but again, thank you to all those who greeted me on my birthday. I'm ever so grateful! Here's a song for you - I woke up to it playing on MTV yesterday and thought how very cool it was to wake up to my birthday with such an appropriate song. I want the world to celebrate, cheers! 

*"Posting on the regular", oh lord. I haven't heard that since the 90's. What is wrong with me.

Airport Daze & Other Drabbles (Laos Musings, Part 1)

Note: I've never actually kept a travel journal, and would only write about my travels after I got back from them. But the Laos trip was different - there was plenty of time to think and write, so I did: at the airport, the cafe, on a boat. I had meant to edit my little drabbles from the road and put them together in one neat post, but there's something more raw and real about reading through the actual words I wrote while I was on my trip, so the stuff you will read below is mostly unedited, and nearly exactly as I had written them on my laptop, my iTouch or my phone while traveling around Laos. 

Contrasting, 04 May 2012, NAIA 

I am sitting beside a man having a video call with his family. I gather that he’s bound for Singapore, most likely to go to work there. I can sense in the way he holds his phone in his two hands tightly, in his intent gaze on his wife and daughter on the screen, that the airport is the last place he’d want to be in at this moment, that he would do anything to come home and stay there. 

I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to leave. 

There’s always a little tinge of guilt that taints my excitement to travel, right along that question that nags me more often than I would probably care to admit – why am I so eager to leave? Why so eager to go away? The guilt is especially tangible this time around, while sitting beside this man, who I’m sure feels exactly the way my dad does, because he too works away from home. 

The thing is, it’s not that I long to travel so I can escape – maybe I do, to escape the daily grind of everyday corporate life, but certainly not to escape home and the people I love in it. If anything, travelling makes me long for home, and how does that saying go again, about how distance makes the heart grow fonder? 

In a perfect world I would have a career that lets me frequently fly across the world on business-mixed-with-pleasure trips, a friend and family member in every corner of the globe and a home with every one of them, and the man beside me will be able to provide for his family in the comfort of his own country. 

But life is never quite as practical as the humans who live through them seem to be, or perhaps it’s practical in ways we are not always able to see. Doing something you love and doing something for the one you love can sadly mean two different things, and perhaps in those two is how we, the man beside me and I, are different.  

Airport Daze, 05 May 2012, LCCT 

I’ve had my fair share of flights in ungodly hours, of back-to-back, no-sleep flying from one destination to another, and this trip to Laos is no different. I left Manila in the evening on a Friday night, arrived past midnight the next day in Kuala Lumpur, and now have time to kill at the LCCT before my morning flight to Vientiane. I was wide awake at one point, but now everything feels a little surreal – it’s freezing inside the scarcely-populated terminal, the cold seeping through my jacket while it rains buckets outside. My eyes are threatening to fall shut, and it’s only the fast and free WiFi plus MGMT’s “Boogie Down” that’s keeping me up. 

Two Caucasian guys just sat a few rows across from mine, one holding a tiny green guitar (a banjo?), the other carrying a regular–sized one, and a book. I wonder what they’re doing so far away from home. 

I’m so sleepy that I don’t even long for a bed – just my seat on the plane so I can doze off even before takeoff. But it’ll still be a few minutes before boarding time, and Jen isn’t even around yet. 

Even with the lack of sleep however, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This is the life – sitting sleepless in airports, amid strangers, with nothing but the thought of a strange new destination keeping you afloat.

Snapshots: Vintage Luggage, Hacienda Isabella, Tagaytay

I see things like this and imagine how romantic traveling must've been like in the old days. But there's also something quite romantic about setting off with just a backpack, wearing your brightly-colored fisherman pants and flip flops, hoping the rubber straps on them won't break because it's the only pair of footwear you have with you. Ever seen "Before Sunrise"?

Snapshots: The Leather Craftsman, Hua Hin, Thailand

We found his shop in a tiny mall on our only night in Hua Hin, Thailand. He sold all these lovely leather goods which he all made by hand. Cool stuff.

Snapshots: Our Little Lao Friend, Luang Prabang, Laos

She bravely approached us as we passed by her mother's store, and started whining when we said goodbye. Adorable.

Snapshots: It's Not Easy, Being A KPop Star, Singapore get hoisted meters and meters above a stadium amidst girls screaming in a myriad of languages. I guess it's kind of badass too. Good for you, SHINee! (I can't believe I didn't fly out for MGMT but I flew out for you! Haha.)

Snapshots: Pool Envy, Singapore

I was in Singapore for a packed week-long training session, and this was our view from the breakfast buffet.

Snapshots: Forgotten Surfboards, Baler

Emil and I found them while exploring the resort we stayed in. He was looking for hot girls, I was looking for cute guys, this is what we found.

Snapshots: Unfortunate Timing, Seoul, Korea

Would've wanted to explore this store we found while we were walking around the Bukchon Han Ok area, but it was closed. Maybe next time. 

Snapshots: Butterflies, Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang

There were so many butterflies gliding around, forming these graceful flowing lines all around us outside the gates to Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos. It was so hard to take proper pictures of them though!

Snapshots: Wasabi Kit Kit

It's so elusive, I was starting to believe it was an urban myth. 

Snapshots: Skew U! Kapitolyo, Philippines

Angus Beef Tapa meal for PhP 98 at Skew U! Check them out in Kapitolyo. 

Snapshots: It's Always Happy Hour Somewhere In The World

It's already past 1 am in Manila on 6th June, and I'm putting up my post for 5th June. Late I know, I couldn't catch a break at work and had a great dinner with some friends I haven't seen in a while, so I went home later than I expected. But I'm still posting this because I figured, somewhere elsewhere in the world, it's still Tuesday, just like at any given time, somewhere around the world, it's happy hour. Hence the Beerlao photo. 

Does that make sense? 

Also, local beer and shirts with local beer brands for designs - I'm definitely not the first traveler who's been caught up in their strange allure, but I'd still like to explore why they're so fun to buy. Remind me to write about that another time.

Snapshots: Beef Maki Mi

Another tasty treat to help you keep warm and fuzzy on a cold rainy day. :)

Snapshots: Tom Yum, DeKa Restaurant

It's been rainy and gloomy in Manila the past few days, so a warm bowl of spicy Tom Yun sounds like a good idea for a late Sunday lunch.

Snapshots: Alms Giving Ceremony, Luang Prabang, Laos

We had to wake up early for this, but we didn't mind. More about Laos soon. I should really find time to write, but I had to come to work today. -_-

Snapshots: Backpacker, Angor Wat, Cambodia

I wonder when I will witness a sunset in Angkor Wat again. 
It's nearly the end of another work week! I can't wait for the weekend. 

Snapshots: Filipino Grilled Street Food, Banchetto Night Market

Had a long day at the office today, so I thought I'd have a good dinner. So I dropped by the Banchetto Night Market near Robinson's Pioneer and bought some of my favorite Pinoy street food. Best way to wind up some long hours at the office.  

Snapshots: On The Road Back to Manila from Surfing

It's been rainy all day, so this photo seems appropriate. I'm so tempted to put emo song lyrics in it and post it on Tumblr. It's that kind of picture. 

Snapshots: Before Trekking to Mt. Pinatubo

More Pinatubo pictures. I'll try to write more about our adventure soon!

Snapshots: Korean Street Food, Hongdae, Seoul

I got heaps of new Korean dramas from Mabelle yesterday, and I kind of spent the entire day today just watching them. I know, it's been a lazy weekend, but I haven't just been home for a chillax Saturday and Sunday in over a month! Even wanderlust-driven travelers need a break from traveling from time to time. And since I've been watching Korean dramas all day, I've been craving Korean food. Here's a picture from our trip to Hongdae nearly two years ago. We're coming back again this year - I can't wait!

Snapshots: Chitdara 2 Guest House, Luang Prabang, Laos

It's a lazy Saturday, and I can't seem to find it in me to write. It's been a long, but fun week, catching up with my best guy friends! It was strange to not be around them for a week when I was in Laos, having gotten used to them nearly everyday at work. But now that I'm back I realized how much I missed hanging out with them. I had so much fun just talking about stuff with them over beers last night (and the night before that). 

I'll take it easy today, but hopefully I'll be able to write tomorrow. The weekend is just never long enough!

Snapshots: Bogart Watching The Sunset

The unofficial mascot of Dive N Trek resort. :)

Snapshots: Bali Sunset, Indonesia

A nice sunset view from Legian, Bali. But I'm still loyal to our local beaches. :)

Snapshots: A Lost Island, Coron, Palawan

A beautiful remote island somewhere in Coron, Palawan. I would really love to go back to Coron again, and maybe visit El Nido too. Palawan beckons.

Snapshots: Flip Flops, Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines

From our graduation trip to Bantayan Island, Cebu. Good summer times.

Snapshots: Flower Girls, Boracay, Philippines

There have been days of rain in Manila lately, which makes me think that summer is slowly closing to an end. So I thought I'd post a week's worth of summer pictures to celebrate the season one last time, before it's over this year.

Snapshots: The Baguette Lady, Luang Prabang Local Market, Laos

I miss those baguettes for breakfast. I ought to whip up a typical Indochina guest house breakfast one of these weekends.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive

© Daene Luna. All Rights Reserved 2007-2020.

This site uses cookies to help deliver services. By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies. Learn more.

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP