Category Travel Southeast Asia

Tropical Paradise

Despite being born in the Philippines, I haven’t really had the chance to travel around my own country that much.  I guess its the same as most other nations, many of my friends haven’t even seen their own country’s landmarks.  So many travelers from around the globe travel thousands of miles just to see sea turtles in my country, while I fell into the trap of choosing destinations that allowed me to check off my list almost all of Southeast Asia.

So, after quitting my job recently in Shanghai, I decided that I will take a break and go back home to be with my family.  My boyfriend also wanted to come visit, so we made a plan to travel for a bit.  I chose Dumaguete because I had been to the Apo Island marine sanctuary ten years ago with my mom and fell in love with the corals there.  And on the map we saw that Bohol and Cebu are not too far either, so we flew in to Dumaguete and flew out from Cebu.  In between we took a 5 hour bus ride to get from Dumaguete to Cebu.

I must admit though, that the travel in this journey was indeed one of the most painful ever. Lol. We ended up enjoying snorkeling in Apo Island a bit too much and came home with a really bad burn.  The worst part was we didn’t realize how bad our skin was feeling only until evening, it was like a gradual roasting.  By the next day we could barely get out of bed – and this was also the day we had chosen to take the 5 hour bus ride to our next destination.  The bus arrived late, of course… and when it came, all passengers scrambled to save a seat – because reserved seating does not exist yet.  I was high-fiving myself in pain from the bad sunburn, hot humid weather, and all the other passengers pushing each other to get on the bus.  Luckily we were welcomed into Cebu with a very nice garden hotel, and we were able to book through the hotel a Bohol day tour for the next day which was very convenient.

Scroll down below to see some of the photos we took on our trip.

Twin Lakes Dumaguete Philippine scenery Philippine sunrise Philippine coast Philippine beaches Zamboangita Visayas sea turtle Dumaguete to Cebu Montebello Villa Baclayon Church Bohol Bohol Church Bohol Church 2 Travel Photographer Amanda See Photography Travel Diary janeamandasee Bohol on the road Butterfly sanctuary Garden Green Chocolate Hills Bohol hills Philippine Sea

Accommodations:

Dumaguete – Kav’s Beach Resort. Details here.

Cebu – Montebello Villa Hotel. Details here.

Swimming with Dolphins

Just last week, we went to Apo Island near Dumaguete in the Visayas region of the Philippines.  Our main goal was to see the famous corals of Apo Reef, which I had seen 10 years ago and still remember to this day how beautiful it was when I was still in my teens.  Colors of gold, purple, different shades of blue and green used to fill the bottom of the sea in the marine sanctuary of the island, but recently two typhoons had struck the island and destroyed the beautiful corals in the Sanctuario.  Despite this, marine life is still very busy and bustling underwater, and we got the chance to spend a day on the opposite side of the marine reserve, where we saw countless huge Pawikan turtles and had a good day swimming with the dolphins.

More than a weekend in Bali

Every year I say it’s a year of firsts – first time to do this and that, or go someplace new.  Despite growing up in the Philippines, I never had the chance to visit Bali before.  Although I know my country has similar things such as rice terraces and beautiful coastlines, coming to Bali still seemed very fresh to me.  My now fiancee took me here on our first trip together, and the pictures below were what we saw in our few days there.

Bali 2 Bali 3 Bali 4 Bali 5 Bali 6 Bali 7 Bali 8 Bali 9 Bali 10 Bali 11Bali 1 Bali 12 Bali 13 Bali 14 Bali 15 Bali 16 Bali 17

Cambodian Charm

Being single and financially independent in your 20s has some really fun perks.  It would take a really long post to name every single perk but just to say, one of my favorites is that you get to travel alone or with friends and have really memorable fun.  In a sense your travels allow you to explore who you really are. Call it self research or meditation next time you’re justifying why you travel.

It was a first for me and my friends to travel to Cambodia.  We planned it out to fall exactly on one of the national holidays so we could have a nice holiday without worrying about taking leaves.  Sharing with you a story, one of the most memorable nights we had in Cambodia was one when me and my friends went to a hippie outdoor market.  There were delicious food, nice bands playing, and people dancing anywhere they wanted to.  At some point we decided to try some space cake, thinking it couldn’t possibly be strong… three of us shared one small slice of cake and by the end of the night we were swaying to the drumming sound in our heads.  I can still remember how the ride back to our hotel went when we had to pass by miles of pitch-black dark fields in a tuktuk, and we couldn’t control ourselves from laughing.  We were completely gone. It was one of those nights I will never forget.

Scroll down below to see some of the photos from our trip:

Buddhist Monks Cambodia Travel photography floor patternAnd yes, we did the shameless “meditating in front of a temple” pose.Phnom Penh Cambodia capital Asian marketplace Market Cambodian food Fruits common in Southeast Asia Budda shrine Southeast Asian young students Cambodia Palace Ethnic music friends Above: how can you not have fun when you’re with awesome friends; Below: an attempt to show off my flexibilityself beach life by the sea Asian food Sihanoukville Sihanoukville Cambodia Asian pickled snacks yellow Cambodia Sunset

A Little Taste of Thailand

When people say Thailand, my initial thought is to travel to the beaches that it’s most famous for.  Perhaps it was largely due to Leonardo de Caprio’s blockbuster hit “The Beach” more than a decade ago.  I’ve been to Thailand many times before, and I still recall on my first visit when I was about 12, that my family and I went to this beautiful resort for meditation.  It was extra special because the whole place was built on a stilt house on top of a river, which at night was very relaxing because you could feel the little waves crashing underneath as you sleep.  In the daytime we would eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes the monks would pass by in a boat really early in the morning and you could give them some food.  It was a lovely memory.

Since then, I’ve been back to Bangkok but it hasn’t been the same.  It feels like I’ve come to an extremely busy junction where I have to look right and left four times before crossing the street.

Anyway, my most recent trip was with my mom and friends from college, it was a half and half trip.  The first half was spent with my mom relaxing in Chiangmai and catching the lantern festival, where we lost each other in the crowd and ended up panicking trying to look for each other.  In the end she released two lanterns and I none… although I was really looking forward to releasing my first lantern there.  The second half of the trip was with a bunch of friends from college. I think there were 8 of us at the time, and it was super fun because we roamed around the streets of Bangkok and rode elephants and stayed in shady hostels, you know the whole thing where you just have clean fun while you’re still young.

Scroll down below to see those memories from that fun trip.

Lemongrass tea Thai herbs silk making herbs Elephant making Clay ceramics Pottery making silk factorySky full of starsLantern festivalChiangmai lantern festivalChiangmai lanternThai SpaThai interiorsLush greenThai massagePink sunriseairport sunriseThai childrenBuddhist templePad thaiGrand Palace ThailandThai embellishmentGrand Palace Bangkokmake portraitsTrain thailandTemple groundsBuddhismSukhothai BangkokThai foodDamnoen Saduakthailandthai riverboat ridevendorfloating market bangkoktop view floating marketthai travelFloating market