Viva Mexico! The Video

For the first time…the video came before the photos.

Mexico was just awesome. I got the chance to spend a few days with one of my sisters — (fyi, I have 5 older sisters plus 1 brother, all from the same mum and dad!). Our days started early and we had a great breakfast spread every day.  I particularly loved the super sweet papayas we had every morning, and the fresh guava juice which was a refreshing change from the typical OJ.  It felt to me like we were treated like royalty since really good service and hospitality is hard to come by in the US.  But hey I’m from the Philippines, one of the countries where hospitality is a big thing that drives tourism so my perspective might be biased.

One great thing that came out from my experience was that I’ve loved Mexican food more through the trip.  It was here I got to try the móle, a savory chocolate sauce which is a specialty from Puebla, and some really fresh and crispy tacos in Coyoacán.  I’m already drooling now as I’m remembering our time there.

Before I dive into all of my experiences in Mexico, just check out the video first and see our journey through Taxco, Cuernavaca, Xochimilco, Puebla, Cholula, and of course Mexico City 🙂

A Song for Tea

Right in the heart of San Francisco, I found a gem of a shop that carried precious tea from China and Taiwan.  Unlike how we describe wine through different terms like being full-bodied, fruity, etc.; I still cannot put a finger on how to describe my green tea experiences in life.  Let’s put aside all the different teas of the world for now and just focus on the humble teas from China and Taiwan.  I could relate it to fine tobacco in that only connoisseurs who really take the time to go through the different kinds of leaves and how they are processed get to appreciate the beauty of it.

It’s not the same as getting a bag of widely distributed Earl Gray tea and knowing that every first steep or cup would taste the same, because the flavor is measured to taste the same.  When you’re dealing with rolled tea leaves, sometimes the flavor comes gradually and only gets stronger after having a first rinse.  Thus the phrase “good things come to those who wait,” applies well here.

Although it does take a little more effort and time to prepare Chinese tea leaves compared to easily dipping a tea bag into a hot cup of water, it only makes sense to enjoy the slower process of it. The art of slow living… as some may call it.  Song Tea SF Tea shop San Francisco Tea ShopOn the table Song Tea interiors Tea Lifestyle Lifestyle PhotographyIf you fancy doing a tea tasting or want to get some good tea in SF, head on over to Lower Pacific Heights and visit Song Tea & Ceramics at 2120 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

Weekend Camping Trip to Yellowstone: the Video

Hey guys!  I’ve just released a short video of our camping trip to Yellowstone.  Please forgive me if the video quality is not yet that great, I’m just starting to do more and more videos – investing in equipment and knowledge, etc.  It’s a work in progress, but I’m happy to share the memories we had from the trip.  Enjoy!

A First to Yellowstone

Oh give me a home where the buffalos roam and the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. – Bing Crosby.

I got the inspiration of this song from my brother in law, who thought about it after seeing my pictures from Yellowstone.

Where do I even begin?  I’m completely new to camping, and although for the past two years I’ve been stalking wanderlust boards on pinterest that are all about the “great outdoors”, I’ve never really set my foot out on dirt.  So when the opportunity came that we were invited to join a few others to go to Yellowstone over the weekend, we quickly grabbed it.  Although I would have preferred to stay a little longer, the 2.5 days we had there was great as an introduction.

All 8 of us flew in to Salt Lake City, and from there we drove about 7 or 8 hours to reach Yellowstone.  To add to the charm, we used an RV which would semi-qualify as luxurious: it came with a shower and a proper lavatory, plus beds which fit exactly 8 people.  Along the way we grabbed whatever food we could possibly survive on, and though it’s now banned to start a fire in camp, we still managed to have fun and bond over other things.  We saw bisons, geysers, canyons, forests, elks, cubs, the list goes on.  Imagine me saying that last sentence like it was a common thing. Yes, there still exists a place where animals are free to roam and nature is open to do it’s own wonderful thing.  I’m already wishing I could go back and stay there for longer.

Now I understand why people are drawn to camping and hiking ~ it’s because our brains are forced to go on survival mode, and we make the most of what we have.  No showers, no mobile connectivity, no real food, no clean sheets and most certainly no deep sleep… it all doesn’t matter.  That’s when you realize the beauty of what you really came there for – to inhale those deep woody scents and get back in touch with nature.

Salt Lake City Salt flat Bonneville Salt flat Into the woods Camping truck woods AutumnFishing bridgeForestYellowstoneNational parkgirl reach the topbisonsYellowstone National parkGrand canyonsWaterfallsLandscape PhotographyArtist Point YellowstoneTravel photographerTravel photographyStrange thingsMammoth SpringsMammoth YellowstoneLandscapeLandscape photographerabstract treeMountain rangeOld FaithfulGeyservisual textureSunset at YellowstoneNature photographyGeyser poolCampers

Chicago…not just another big city

Truth be told, I had no expectations of Chicago to begin with.  Under the radar – it’s not one of those places you’d see often in magazines or hear about in travel forums, but I was still surprised at how much you could do in this city.

People seem genuinely nice, which is apparently something common among people from the Midwest (although in the map it seems closer to the East).  Even when my good friend from the west coast, Sabrina, came to the city, she also found it surprising that the people were so nice.  Beyond what you’d normally expect in the US.

During my time in the city, I got the chance to experience attending some events I had never tried before.  First there was the Taste of Chicago, which is a big festival of food and music held in the park and attracts thousands of attendees. Other than that there was also mealsharing with a handful of people at someone’s house (mealsharing is a website that connects people and lets you host and attend meal gatherings).  And going to a full-moon fire jam near the beach where hundreds of people gather around a circle and firedancers dance to the beat of tribal music within the circle (it happens every month during the full moon and a lot of locals in the area didn’t even know about it).  Who would’ve thought random people could be so connected in such a huge city, right?

In case you didn’t already know, Chicago is said to be the main inspiration for Batman’s Gotham City.  The first film was even partly shot in this city, not just in New York.  I hope that gives you an idea of how big the city is, and how high the skyscrapers go. Check out the photos I took below and find out what Chicago is really like, if you’ve never been.

sunset skyline sunset city metropolis fun chicago travel Mahalo Chicago Shedd Aquarium aquarium chicago sardine fish travel photographer drone photo garden chicago Garfield Park Conservatory Peggy Notebaert Museum Cultural Center Chicago Chicago art museum Cinderella Dome Minimal Architecture beautiful Chicago skyline Trump Building Cool grafitti Chicago Grafitti street art chicago Chicago foodie traveler chicago travel photography chicago from above city travel photography