Around the World in Teacups

It's summertime in the Philippines, which means it's about time we all do some traveling! I've just gone on our annual family trip to the beach and have only recently gotten back from Myanmar with Mabs, which means I won't be going away again anytime soon (until June, when we head out to El Nido, Palawan. Super exciting!).

In any case, I recently attended the Traveling Teacup Event by Lipton, where they shared plenty of ideas on how to experience the world in the comfort of your own home, with only a teacup in your hand and five unique drinks inspired by different countries around the world. So if you're staying home for the summer, read on for some tasty recipes from Lipton Philippines that will surely add some worldly fun and flavor to your summer staycation!

 Read on to find out how a cup of tea can whisk you away to these exciting destinations!

Life in Flip Flops: Summer Road Trip to Subic Bay

Last summer I drove to Subic Bay with Carmeli and Mabs for a quick getaway to the beach. We didn't do much except lie around in our picnic blanket, take an occasional dip in the warm water, eat chips, and read through Carmeli's many issues of Cosmo. It was a great way to escape the city for a day, and the drive was a breeze - this, considering I literally had no sleep the night before (I had two engagements I couldn't get out of that ended way later than I expected - okay, I partied).

I particularly enjoyed driving into the sunset as we headed back for the city, recharged and refreshed, with some good music playing in the background (a bit of KPop and Michael Alvardo's "Slow Love" for good vibes). Nothing like a relaxed drive across empty roads and pretty scenery after a day at the beach with life-long friends.

7 Essential Travel Skills

Traveling isn't only a great adventure, it is also a momentous, potentially life-changing undertaking. Whether you're going on a simple week-long excursion to a neighboring country or spending a year of round-the-world travel, it's important to equip yourself with skills that will help make your journey more meaningful and memorable. You might already possess some of the skills listed below, while others you might learn along the way.

In your trips so far, what skills have you found especially useful?

10 Must-See Temples In And Around Old Bagan, Myanmar (+ A Fairly Relaxed 3D2N Bagan Itinerary)

Two nights spent in transit without a decent bed to sleep on, two flights across three countries, hours at the airport and a nearly 12-hour bus ride - everything was worth it when we climbed up our very first temple in Bagan to catch our first sunrise in mystical Burma. 

We spent our 3 days in Bagan, Myanmar exploring thousand year-old temples, moving from one place to another on foot, on a horse cart, and on rented bikes. The experience was magical, and I wish we could've stayed longer, but as it always does on short term travels, the real world, my desk at the office and 200+ emails waited eagerly for my return, so 3 days (net of transit and a short stay in Yangon, the Burmese capital) were all I could spare. Regardless, it was enough for us to explore the main temples in and around Old Bagan fairly leisurely, with afternoon naps and daily dips in the hotel pool on the side (we stayed in Bagan Thande Hotel, which was at the heart of Old Bagan. Review coming soon!)! Read on and discover the ten must-see temples in and around Old Bagan, and a fairly relaxed 3 days and 2 nights itinerary that covers all ten temples (and a few more).

The Beautiful Burmese: Portraits of Bagan Locals, Myanmar

In my previous travels I've enjoyed taking photos of beautiful scenery, quaint streets, mundane details of everyday local life, even marine life, but I've always felt lacking in my skills when it comes to taking photographs of people. I always attempt to take photos of the interesting individuals I chance upon when I'm on the road and have posted about my efforts once or twice, but I've always felt that I could be better at it. So before my recent trip to Myanmar, I told myself that I would make a conscious effort to take photos of the interesting individuals I would meet in my exploration of mystical Bagan.

I couldn't have chosen a better country to take on this personal challenge. The people of Myanmar are lovely - simple, sincere, and friendly, they are a joy to photograph. In the dusty orange-brown landscape of Bagan, the locals' bright and warm smiles stand out with their thousand-old Buddhist temples in the background. Monks in their red robes, men confidently adorning their longyi (it takes a real man to wear a skirt), women with thanaka on their cheeks and flowers in their hair, and children with smiles in their eyes. Below are a my personal favorites of the photos I took of the beautiful Burmese people, with a little bit of a story in each of them.

Flashpacking for Females Part 2: Practical Items to Pack for the No-Frills Female Flashpacker


They're not exactly bare necessities - you can definitely travel without them, but the practical items you'll find below can definitely make your trip more comfortable and help keep you looking fresh and presentable even while on the road. In my few years of traveling, I've come to find these items especially handy when we rough it out on long land trips, back-to-back flights and when we stay in hostels and guest houses.

What practical items do you carry around with you at all times during your trips?  

On The Way To Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang (Laos Musings, Part 2)

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.

Underwater Love: Photos from the Best Snorkeling Spot in Batangas, Philippines

At least once every year for nearly a decade now, my family stays overnight at Dive and Trek in Batangas - although it might as well be called "Snorkel and Eat", if I was being accurate about our main activities there.

The best thing for me about Dive and Trek is how accessible the rich marine life of the area is to a non-diver - even a non-swimmer, at that. You can easily jump off the resort's dock - with or without a life vest - and already view schools of fish and colorful reefs!

Jump in and read more about the world beneath the surface at Dive and Trek resort after the cut!

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