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In Rota

I remember it. The first time when I sat foot in European land, I remember it so well. It wasn’t in Rome, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona or any place grand.

It was in Rota. Still, I was overwhelmingly elated. How could I not be? Given it my first time, and that it pretty much has everything atypical to European territories. In my childlike mind- I was skipping, when I walked through those narrow alleys. I was gazing at castles, when I was seeing well-designed neighborhood houses. I ate like a king, when I chowed down a plate of paella and guzzled a glass of sangria. I explored it as if it’s the greatest place in the world, when I went to the beach, parks and the streets of decorative city lamps, statues in round-abouts,  the cobblestone roads, the balconies and the windows, the small businesses,  the cleanliness and overall richness posing in simplistic shape and form.

As I write this, I remember my experiences like it was only yesterday. I remember witnessing their catholic practices during the Holy Week the first week I got there all the way to watching a bullfight just days before I left Rota. There’s a military base there and that Americans are not so hard to find. I mean, incident with them and the locals are unavoidable. They’re always hanging out in bars. I remember my glorious drinking days. I remember the night when my friends and I slept outside, by the dock, waiting for the next morning’s ferry. I also, in turn, remember my equally golden lax days there. I remember riding the ferry with the morning sun glaring at the water. I remember witnessing Flamenco dance during the fair. I remember running 3 miles on a sandy nude beach. I remember the smudge looks and friendly smiles of the locals. I remember the first time I sipped on one of those small coffee cups.

Of all my travel destinations, it remains to be the most relaxed place I’ve been to. There’s nothing over-the-top about Rota but I remember so much about it. It’s actually those little things that are precious memories to me. It was Rota, Spain that first introduced me to European culture, I remember it very well.

This is part of Flash Friday.



Victor has traveled all over Europe. He’s “well-fitted” for the kind of adventurous travels he embarks. Whilst most of his destinations are mainly European such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, etc, the other countries across oceans are not to be missed. His most recent itinerary is Cambodia. My favorite, To Visit Arizona for Miracle – The Wave at Coyote Buttes. Be prepared as he shows “sizable” impressive images in Victor Travel Blog.


Last Call…

Revisiting Rome

Thousand sophisticated words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…

For this Flashback Friday, I’m revisiting Rome. No, I didn’t fly there again. I just thought that it is only rightful to re-post, for the first time, Rome and the Vatican. It is the city I still deem to be the best in the world. During my 2 years assignment in Italy, I usually take the train and visit Rome again and again. Thousand words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…




Rome? Italy?


What about learning how to cook in Italy? That girl whit and the lover of the rad and fab took an Italian exploration in Rome, Sorrento and Florence. Her clear and crispy, stylishly-presented pictures all look like they are ripped off from magazines. She is a jaunty, free-spirited blogger. Just read her journalistic stories and look at her lovely images and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone knows how amazing food exploration in Italy is. She took that journey to another level, she learned her culinary skills while in Florence. My favorite post – How I became an Italian chef in a day: Florence Food & Wine Academy.


Last Call…

Bohol, Philippines

Our city tour of Bohol was kind of like a tuck and roll act. YES, just like what robbers do – quickly get out of the car while donning their hoods (without tripping), purposely do their clockwork mission, hop back to the car and put the pedal to the metal while constantly looking back to see if they’re being followed. NO! Me and my girlfriend, Edith, didn’t performed such Bonnie & Clyde acts, but the kind of traveling we did was not the most ethical. We would pull over, wander around, take pictures and return back to the car, ready to roll again to the next.

It’s just that there’s plenty of destination stops that we, I mostly, didn’t want to miss. I would talk to our driver in trying to pursue on hitting the best that we can cover. We, I mostly, were overtly demanding especially we added the zip-lining to our tour. You can read my Edith’s side of story on how she conquered her fear of heights … here.

We zipped by a rope above Loboc River. We also ate our late lunch on a Floating Restaurant navigating through that river.

The Floating Restaurant took a stop…

…to watch a traditional folk dance called “Kuradang”. It started with a welcome greeting of a children choir. Then it continued with pairs of male and female, portraying courtship and wedding through this interpretive dance. It ended with an altogether ensemble Thank You finish.

I really like this part of the tour. They also performed the Philippine national dance called “Tinikling”, an acrobatic dance of skipping between two bamboo sticks.

The first picture above is Chocolate Hills. It makes a visit to Bohol, Philippine an automatic MUST. Together with tarsiers, both signifies Philippine tourism so much. Tarsiers are small animals with big eyes. Philippine Tarsier Foundation saves their dropping population as they can only be found in four Southern Eastern countries.

I can tell my girlfriend particularly liked the Butterfly Garden and the Bee Farm.

I suggest trying the BUZZZ Ice Cream. *grin*

You see that’s a lot of activities, sights and senses to do in a day. We started early in the morning …

…and finished at night.

This is our Day 2. Our Day 1 includes a church, exotic animals, a beach and an underground cave. Our third day is a Sea Tour in Balicasag Island, Dolphin Watching and Virgin Island. Hope you can understand now how we did it the tuck and roll style. It’s not like we didn’t stop and smelled the flowers. The picture below is a man-made forest.

With me, I have no problem with the exhaustion. My girlfriend, Edith, she surprised me in dealing with me, for enduring her challenge of going through her ziplining adventure, and catching up with the speed of travel engine I’m always prepared for. I extra love her for it.

Last Calls…



I’ve only been following this blog for about a month. I just can’t resist. It isn’t just because we have a lot of common, esp. Italy. A post after another, I get more and more impressed with her travel destination posts. Do check her Italy posts, her 7 Super Shots entry,  and her submission to Travel Challenge: Leading Lines. A visit to her blog is A Day in Paradise.


I feel the need to squeeze these …our food.

By the way, I want to thank all who viewed my post on Balicasag Island, that post has never left my Top Posts.

This post is part of Flashback Friday.

Flashback Friday: A-Z

Greetings my beloved fellow bloggers! You are cordially invited to …

Participate to a one-time challenge post – Flashback Friday Challenge. :D

What is Flashback Friday? You might ask. Well, you can click my bar titled – Flashback Friday. Most of my Flashback Friday posts are successful. It’s my way to look back at my travel destinations. I get to revisit places I’ve been to. I get to redo my old blog posts and compose them in a different approach i.e. providing more pictures, expanding an old post, talk more about it, etc.That’s exactly what I want you to do. Look back a travel destination you’ve been to, or you blogged before, and find different approach, areas or ways to (re)compose it.

You have from now to the second week of January to compose a Flashback Post to your blog. I will make a post featuring Flashback Friday submissions on the second friday of January. You can link your submissions here on this post.

One of the different approaches I got is using other challenges. I have used Aisa’s Travel Theme Challenge, Jake’s Sunday Post and Weekly Photo Challenge in the past.

You can blog your own Flashback Friday however you want it. Right now, I’m using Frizztext’s A-Z Challenge for my Flashback Friday.


Point at a picture and you will see a caption. If you are interested or have a question about any of these photos, just ask away. As always, don’t be shy to say hi. :D

VIGAN (part deux)

Authentic, it’s the perfect word to describe Vigan. It’s almost automatic to call as such for what it sets out to be. But not so fast, if or when you get there, you’ll be amazed on how Vigan stretches that perfect description.

Evidences of the colonial times still exist and modernism hasn’t spread all over the place. Calle Crisologo is the main attraction. It’s a famous cobblestone street lined with antique and souvenir shops where people can walk through history with the old and in disrepair houses. Boarding on a carriage, as one of the many stops, me and my girlfriend, Edith, toured Former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino’s old Syquia mansion.

Vigan is genuine and true to its root. One major influence from the Spanish colonization is Catholicism. Certainly committed in keeping history and traditions, Vigan lives up to that area of expectation as well.

Our last stop was St. Augustine’s Cathedral. The views here are not only incredible from the outside but also from the inside looking out. We climbed atop the belfry and got rewarded with the bird’s eye view of the town.

Pottery industry still runs as good business. You can ask the carriage driver to make a quick stop to a pottery market. Maybe you can buy one like I did. Livelihood in Vigan sure is basic. You don’t have to physical see the authenticity of Vigan, you can just feel it from the atmosphere and from people. Life is simple there, and it’s highly visible. The garden part of the tour was an off-set for anything Vigan, but a pleasant stop nonetheless.

Authenticity is written all over Vigan’s restaurant’s menus, its antique looks and their bucolic way of living. Vigan and the rest of Ilocos region has their own culinary style and tastes. They pride for their distinctive quality of food. Vigan’s one of a kind empanda is my most craved food of all my travels. See my post here. Also, don’t miss going to Baluarte where the zoo offers plenty of animal interactions unlike others. Vigan remains pure and unerring. The Baluarte Zoo is not abused and rules are highly respected by its visitors.

Plaza Burgos

Tourism certainly has not been swayed and exploited by too much commercialism. It is untouched by corporate world, not congested with big companies and no big cheese walking around. I hope that, like their ancient houses, everything stays as it is. It’d be nice to know for Vigan to remain… with valued, and appreciated well-kept authenticity.

- A fellow blogger, who I met before, recommended Grandpa’s Inn. We certainly enjoyed our accomodation. -

This post is part of Flashback Friday.


Here’s to a very memorable blog post I know. Also a flashback post, Photo Flashback, this time last year, Kate presented these remarkably fine portraits of a Brazilian family she visited living simply and peacefully in a rural location. Kate Anthony Photography may not blog as much as everyone else. But when she does, rest assured that her blog posts and her impressive images are done with sheer brilliance and excellence.

Last Calls…


MY Favorite Italian Music

Some of you may expect something obscure, an acquired taste, serious or substantial musicians. With emphasis, these are MY favorite Italian music.

An Italian co-worker sang over and over something of a significant to Neapolitan culture. He even explained to me what was the song all about. Back then, I didn’t pay “that” much attention. Months later, the song was remixed and was all over the radio, not just in Europe but all around the world. I was talking about a Renato Carosone original, “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano”.

The remix from Yolanda Be Cool was not the only one. Christina Aguilera and Lou Bega have different version of the song as well. Sophia Lauren, a Napoli native, danced to the tune of it in a movie. It was also performed by Matt Damon and Jude Law in the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The song tis reflected when American military’s stay in Naples that booms the economy of Italy years ago. The song is roughly translated to “You wanna be an American”. It’s definitely not the same anymore.

When it comes to Italian music, there are, of course, sound names such as Andrea Bocelli and Pavarotti. I’m just not an opera listener.
I happened to like pop music in Italy. This is my most favorite video I’ve seen throughout my 2-year stay there.

Don’t we all do this…???

I really enjoy watching the video. I especially like the last part. The song is from Zero Assoluto.

My favorite females are the most recognizable ones as well, Elisa and Laura Pausini. These two are actually internationally acclaimed. They both sing in English and Spanish. Laura Pausini actually has a single with James Blunt. Elisa’s song “Dancing” had been used three times in the TV contest, “So You Think You Can Dance”. Both of them are part of the artist line-up of the song “Domani” together with other new and old famous Italian musicians.

Yes, this is sort of like their “We Are The World” song. A Mauro Pagani’s original, the song is called “Domani” or “Tomorrow“. In May 21, 2009, an Italian artist ensemble got together to compose a charity single to benefit the victims of L’Aquila Earthquake.

This brings me to my MOST favorite Italian artist, the ever-poetic, Jovanotti. He’s the man behind that project. I actually bought one of his 2007 album, L’Albero, just for this awesome song …

I love this song to death. I can sing this feel-good song over and over and over again. “Bella” is indeed a very “Beautiful” song where Lorenzo Jovanotti compares a woman to all things beautiful. I love the bridge part when it paused to make room for the flute solo.

Last Call…

This song is not in Italian nor Italian-based but from an English rock band, Skunk Anansie. It just so happened to be a constant-airplay single in Italy when I was there. You may have heard about Skunk Anansie from an internationally-acclaimed song, “Because of you”.  They may be a “clit-rock” group, but my most favorite is this vocal-heavy song called “Squander”.

There goes my favorites. I encourage everyone to embrace the culture of the country you are in or travel to, not just tourism-wise, or food, but other areas like music, perhaps clothing, language and traditions as well.

They also have versions of familiar songs like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You“, which my Italian co-worker is also fond of singing aloud. During my time there, “Weirdero” was also a hit, which is a remake of Radiohead’s “I’m a Creep“. I always sing “Io Canto Sotto La Pioggia” every time it rains. The song is the Italian version of “I’m Singing in the Rain“.

This post is part of Flashback Friday. I made it in time. YEY!
Category: Italy

Near and Far: Europe and California

VENICE – Tops: California, Bottoms: Italy

I badly wish to go back to Europe. But I can’t complain as much. Not only that I’ve been very blessed to have gone there, the place I’m currently in ain’t too shabby for my travel fix. Plus, it really isn’t hard to cross-culture here in California.

Villas – Design of Getty Villa {Bottom) is inspired by The Villa of Papyri in Herculaneum (Top).

I really enjoyed the neat idea I came up with when I Merge: Herculanem and Getty Villa. And so, I tweak it a bit for my entry of Near and Far. The images in this post are places in California where you can imagine or reminisce different locations in Europe. Not what the challenge is looking for, but I’ve been known as a notorious  WPC rule-breaker.

Spanish Footsteps – Top Right: Rodeo Drive, California, Top Left and Bottom: Rome, Italy. Related post: Journey

I like to know. Anything around your area, or places you’ve been to, that resembles, comparable to, or is based from another location or site from a different country?

Alcazar Garden – Left: Sevilla, Spain, Right: Balboa Park

The next one is with the help of sister, Analyn. She’s quite a globetrotter as well.

Danish – Tops: Solvang, Bottom: Copenhagen, Denmark (picture courtesy of my sister)

This post is part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*



Here is Loni. Check out her Yosemite posts. Check out her Venice post. Check out her Mud Run post. Check out the one where she got on TV. Check out her Anniversary post and the different places her and her husband have gone to. Check out her Academy post. Check out food, places of mainly California, and her wide-eye impressive photographs. My favorite however is  her 100th post where she showed her “Loni Exhibit”, These are some of my favorite things. Go ahead and Check out how Loni Found Herself.

Flashback Friday: Columbus Day Weekend in San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa

On my very first Flashback Friday, I annotated that my next one was supposed to be this post. I decided to put it on hold and wait for the Columbus Day Weekend as this trip happened on the same occasion three years ago.

These are my very first Italy destinations so imagine my excitement. Not only that, I went with a family that I’ve known for 8 years. I’ve been with them in Mississippi, Italy, and now, here in California. They welcome me to their lovely abode every time I go to San Diego. Being an independent individual for so long, having a family friend that I cling myself to is a wonderful blessing. Yes, a blessing, because we all know how difficult it is to find genuine relationships. We visited San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa during a 3-day Columbus Day Weekend three years ago.


Entering in an incline and through small alleys ways, San Marino greets you with inviting souvenir shops and restaurants of different cuisines. I bought me a miniature wine barrel and a bottle of Limoncello during our gander there. Shopping is not the only thing that greets you here. Being perched on a mountain top, getting to the top will give you a bird’s eye view of the city. I took the sky lift to experience it better. At the heart of it stood the Pianello or Piazza della Liberta (not to be confused with the one in Florence). San Martino is the world’s oldest republic and Europe’s third smallest state. As a matter of fact, it has open borders as long as you don’t stay for more than 20 days.

- Piazza della Liberta (Liberty Square) -


I already have two previous blog posts of Venice so I wouldn’t bore you again. *BIG GRIN*
Riding Gondola in Venice, or Making The Best of your Travel

- I haven’t share a picture from my first Venice trip so here goes it. -

Coming back from San Marino and Venice, we took two quick side trips to see The Leaning Tower of Pisa and to Verona for La Casa di Julietta.


No one can really put a dot on whether the greatest lovers we recognize existed or not. Being it a quick stop, we became one of the curious tourists who still opted to visit The House of Juliet in Verona.

- Juliet’s Balcony -

There is also a market and shopping place further down the street. I don’t know what it is, but I love this fountain, and it’s very memorable. Perhaps, it’s from the mere fact that it’s my first Italian trip. Or maybe, though crooked, I just flattered myself with how I got the shot. *Big Grin*

The Leaning Tower of Pisa:

I don’t mean to argue to those who thinks otherwise, but to be completely honest, I just think The Leaning Tower of Pisa is too much glamorized than what it is. However, above it all, being it my very first Italian tour, The Leaning Tower of Pisa sure sparked that magnificent feeling of being very blessed. To physically be there and see it was quite an accomplishment.

By the way, there is also a market place in Florence that we always go to buy cheap tapestry. *wink* I had purchased a good number myself.


Traveling to Italy


Let Amy take you there. An impressive list of travel destinations and a pleasing personality she has, this blog completely lives up to its title and web address, The World is a Book … shareandconnect.wordpress.com. Athens, Canada (to inlcude the ever-magnificent Niagara Falls), Prague, Colorado, Germany, Greece, and of course, an ample amount of Italian posts are some of the many places under her belt. An all-around and all-over-the-place blogger, Amy participates in many challenges to include Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post, Story Challenge, and of course, Travel Theme Challenge. My favorite post is this sad but lovely post about Change – …but the old is better. You better read this post or I will smack you in the head. Get over there and flip the blog post pages full of awesome images of wonderful locations.


Last Call…

I think I owe them an apology for not mentioning them much on my posts. Narrating is just not my strongest suit. It’s about time that I mention them since I was with them almost all my travel destinations. I introduce, the Katimbang Family…

I Crave (Expanded)

Pralines, Frites and Escargot
Italian Food
Category: Food


This post is taken from an old post title I Crave.


I’d go back to Diego Garcia even just to order rice and bulgogi.

I’d go back to the desert and start a day with a cup of Joe or chill with a frappe from Green Beans Coffee.

I’d take another trip to Brussels just to indulge myself for some Belgian chocolates, try their waffles once again and enjoy sipping on escargot’s broth.

I can settle for another 6 months in Spain, have breakfast of Spanish omelette and have dinner of paella.

I’d take a long-been-missing vacation in Zambales and know that in every meal, there’s mango for dessert. I’d stay there for the entire summer knowing I can munch on their proud pastillas.

Yes, I can even endure Mississippi, maybe for a day or two, simply to satisfy my curiousity once again to the taste of crawfish.


I’d cherish another moment with Isabela kakanin.

I’d get drunk again in Bourbon St. in New Orleans with hand grenades in both hands.


Sure, if given the chance, I’d have another gulp of Baguio’s peddler food strawberry taho.

I knew I’d long for caffe italiano servito nel bicchiere piccolo.


But, if I were to choose between any of those, I’d skip all my world’s food travel in exchange of going to Vigan and getting a load of their authentic empanada. Nothing, ain’t nothing, can beat how much I crave for Vigan empanada….




Top Left: Lugaw (Philippine Congee)
Top Right: Tinubong (Small strips of coconut inside a bamboo stick)
Bottom Left: A street vendor selling barbequed chicken parts
Bottom Right: Halo-Halo (A coconut filled with colorful ingredients)

Top Left: Cheese and Meat Food Truck in Italy
Top Right: Artichoke
Bottom Left: Kebab
Bottom Right: Trdelnik (Czech)



Here is Marianne, an outstanding ambassador of Andalusia, Spain particularly East of Malaga. Check out numerous posts that will whet your appetite. There are tapas, paella making to all kinds of recipes combined with mouthwatering images. My favorite is her submissions to Capture the Colour contest – see her pic of paella making. This blog is a great source for all things Spanish -learning the language, recipe and lots of insights to everyday living. Mind you, Marianne loves to travel, not just locally, but throughout Spain, and other European countries. So, prepare to be amazed to the amazing photographs she loves, and you will sure love as well.


This post is part of Flashback Friday *sticks tongue out*

Last Call:

Now, this is California’s favorite fast food…

SUNDAY POST: Reflection and Peace in Nature, or Caramoan, Philippines


It’s more fun in the Philippines (part deux)
OF Carabao and Caramoan
Flashback Friday: Sabang Port
Weekly Photo Challenge: SUN

Reflection. It’s always good to reflect, to contemplate, or to mull things over. When your world is revolving so fast and you’re overwhelmed, when it drops a bomb on you and you have to react, or when it presents all its magnificent nature in front of you and you found yourself so blessed. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to pause and not jump immediately to the situation, and take a moment of reflection, compose yourself and sigh to what life hands to you, good or bad.

It’s a universal feeling- returning back from a vacation of a lifetime and couldn’t return back to reality. It’s hard to wake up, especially with the annoying alarm clock. It’s hard to stand up, drag your feet, and face your responsibilities. To sit and ponder, to find your peace, when nature is staring back at you, is a beautiful thing to do. The world is vast and wonderful, but it is also cruel and unforgiving. It is unstable, and that you need to locate your balance to everything. That, in every greatness, every grandeur, every splendour and all things glory and holy, it can be deathly. While its best to have moments of reflections, you also need to snap out of it for it can eat you alive and then swallow you whole. Too much reflection can bring you down, and pondering too deep can lead to procrastination. I know it’s a difficult thing to do but you need to stand up and shake that feeling.

Survivor Caramoan premieres this Wednesday, on September 19. I do wish and plead for you to see it even just the very first few scenes where they usually show the beauty of the location they are in. I’m just proud of my motherland. I’m glad that I’ve been to Caramoan. And that, I would want you to see what Philippines has to offer despite many setbacks.



Featured Blog

Capture the Colours and let Lance Romel be your guide to some of the most beautiful locations in the Philippines. Take a tour to Zamboanga, Bohol, Tagaytay and more. Clicking on his blog, it doesn’t take a second for you to realize how captivating, arresting and impressive his photos are.


Last Call:

I didn’t have much more to say about our trip to Caramoan than what I already narrate to my related posts. But I knew, even way back then, that I still old some pictures that I’ve been dying to share. To stop me from thinking too much, and to just let it out, I decided to segue it to Jake Printer’s Sunday Post. Thank you Jake for the save. Here’s the link to participate to his photo challenge.

This post is also a part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*


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