What's Scary

Dodgy.

I think that's the perfect word to describe the hotel we booked to. Maybe it's just an exaggeration, or worse, it could be an understatement. Whatever that is, we hope to get out of there alive.

If you are wondering what I'm talking about... Well, Jan and I booked a 4-night stay at a place that has been known for its notorious reputation. The Chungking Mansions. I know. What the hell were we thinking, right? How have we gotten ourselves absolutely reckless?

We could put ourselves partly at fault because we did not do research. But in our defense, coming from a third-world country that has, with all honesty, a few horrible hotel accommodations, we thought it was undeniably practical to book in a cheap place that conveniently stands in a desirable location. I mean, this is Hong Kong we're talking about, how could it get any worse? Since we're not fussy about hotel rooms, anything will be fine. We banked on reviews and not one has ever hinted that it is a hub for drug peddlers, sex traffickers, and other illicit activities until Jan's cousin who lived and worked there pointed that out. Backed by blogs about some of the travelers' awful experiences, apparently, we did not read enough.

Jan called Agoda and asked if we can cancel our booking. But alas! Discounted budget hotels come with no-refund-no-cancellation policy and has done us in. We already got our long-term financial priorities sorted out that we can't waste another penny to book to a highly priced and less-than-ideally located hotel. Told him, we'll just get on with it.

I would be lying if I say it didn't scare me. But I think it scared the shit out of me that I almost don't feel scared anymore. Rather curious, intrigued, excited. Maybe a little worried. But at least, I would have something exciting to blog about. Haha. #ParaSaBlog

Crossing my fingers that this trip will push through. Because honestly, what scares me more is the fact that we still don't have the flight tickets for our Hong Kong trip and we only have ten days left. And you know what's also really scary? Those offloading stories at the airport. Imagine having everything planned, booked, and packed only to end up being denied of travel. Ugh. Que horror!


Photobook Philippines: A Review and Tips on Creating Your First One

My mom has always emphasized the importance of having physical copies of our photos. So if by any chance you come to visit our home, you would see piles and piles of photo albums where our deepest, darkest, and most embarrassing childhood moments were kept.

I've never really listened to her though. Uploading was apparently easier and printing photos was quite expensive. Then I learned my lesson the hard way when the hard drive suddenly crashed and Multiply and Friendster unexpectedly shut down for good. I've only had a few photos left during my college years. And those were the photos that my mom saved by having them printed.

I Have Been Weak

Do you know how it is to agonize over shoes? I know. Because I did. And it was silly.

There is this shoes that I totally have a crush on. But I already bought a pair of sneakers (the same brand) last March, a pair of sandals, loafers, and boots last July. Having another footwear that I barely even use because I don't go out of the house often is not practical. I have repeatedly scoured a few online websites for weeks though, only to die a little bit inside each time I see they don't have my size. I told myself bitterly those shoes are not meant for me.

I decided to just totally forget about it and move on. After all, there's nothing like having an epic epiphany to slap me in the face and remind me of the things I need to save for. Hoy, may incoming trips ka pa, Sarah! Tigil mo na yan.

How We Wreaked Havoc on Color Manila's Blacklight Run

I was one of the bloggers chosen to run for the recently held Color Manila's Blacklight Run because I am fit. Wait, let me state that accurately. They thought I was fit.

It has been what? Eight months since my last strenuous activity. I have a legitimate excuse though: my left knee is injured. I know I could've done better. But honestly, most of my days were spent warming my butt and knocking back beer bottles. I'd do a few workouts every now and then, only when I remember. And when I remember, only when I don't get lazy. And when I don't get lazy, only when I have the time - which is something I barely have because I kept myself preoccupied with non-productive tasks such as reading emotionally draining books and watching my cat lick his balls, trying to figure out when is his next attempt to kill me.

4x4 and Sandboarding Experience at Paoay Sand Dunes

Ilocos Norte is the farthest we've been to in the Philippines (maghintay ka lang Batanes). And like every eager first time visitor, we did almost everything touristy! But also like every thrill-seeking adventurer, we just had to do something that can turn on the rush.

Photo Diary: Vigan's Calle Crisologo

I tried to be a regular blogger. Hence, the lame attempt to strike those blogger poses in the quaintest street I've ever been to: Calle Crisologo.

It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. So I thought it's a perfect time for photo ops while Jan and I wait for our tummies to go hungry again just after eating okoy and empanada. I'm not really the type who takes a lot of photos, let alone strike a pose. Like I always say, I don't have an ounce of talent for it. There were even times when Jan would ask me, "dili ka magpicture?" (are you not going to take pictures). Sometimes I would. Most of the time I wouldn't. But then I realize I need to breathe life into my Instagram account, my Facebook page, and this blog. Simply put, I just want to have an interesting online presence.

Jan is so supportive about this hooey and has been patiently taking my photos no matter how awkward and annoying it gets. He shows willingness to be one of them - you know, Instagram boyfriends - just so I can master the art of striking those blogger poses which isn't really beneficial to my life, his life, or to anyone's life. But for the love of blogging, social media, and let's just say, art... here goes...

And oh, please excuse the newbieness. 
Where na u? Dito na me. Sent via pigeon.

Ilocos Norte: South Burgos Tour

After enjoying the top tourist attractions in Pagudpud, we had our lunch at past 1:00 in the afternoon and headed to Burgos for our South Tour.

HOW TO GET AROUND ILOCOS NORTE
If you are going for a DIY tour, the best way to get around Ilocos is to ride a tricycle. You may opt for a cheaper alternative which is riding a bus albeit waiting for the next bus will just eat all your time up.

Once you get off from the bus, tricycles are just everywhere. They offer South (Burgos) and North (Pagudpud) tours at a standard rate. Each tour costs Php 600 (max of 3 pax per tricycle) and you will be taken to the following places:
South Tour (Burgos) North Tour (Pagudpud)
-Cape Bojeador Light House
-Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
-Bangui Windmills
-Kabigan Falls
-Bantay Abot Cave
-Patapat Viaduct
-Blue Lagoon Beach
Tricycles in Ilocos are quite small. So it is best to only have two people in one tricycle if you want to travel comfortably. You can do both South and North Tours in one day.

You may also want to read: DIY Pagudpud Tour

Ilocos Norte: Pagudpud Tour

Before we landed in Laoag City, we HAD a planned itinerary. The weather forecast app warned us about heavy rains and scattered thunderstorms. So we had it all planned out. Let's do Plan A. If weather does not permit us, we'll do Plan B. But traveling does not always work that way. However convenient traveling from Davao to Ilocos by plane is, still got our energies drained. It was raining when we got there. So we just decided to sleep for the rest of the day, scrap all our plans out, and do what we do best: go traveling spontaneously.

Ilocandia Trip

One of the reasons why I was so excited about this trip is because I would finally be reintroducing myself to my roots.

I am an Ilocano. Both my parents and most of my relatives from both sides are Ilocanos. But since I was raised in Davao, I never really got to know my roots. The only evident thing that would give away the Ilocano in me would be my skin and my love for gulay, suka, and bagoong.

When we booked this trip, I thought my Ilocano speaking skills would give me the upper hand to act like a local and haggle for prices and avoid being taken advantage of as a tourist. Alas, my accent just doesn't cut it and I sound so hilaw. Haha

Anyway, this post will not have a lot of details about the trip, but rather a summary of our adventures and mishaps. But don't worry guys, I'll also be sharing with you our DIY Itinerary. So please stay tuned for that. But for now, here's how our Ilocandia Trip went:
Calle Crisiologo


Sampung Dahilan Kung Bakit Nagustuhan Ko ang Pelikulang Kita Kita

Isa. Isang beses ko pa lang napapanood ang pelikulang ito. Take note of the keywords "pa lang". Oo, kung may pagkakataon, gusto kong tumawa, masaktan, at tumawa ulit. Paulit-ulit.

Dalawa. Dalawa lang ang cast ng pelikula pero napakalakas ng kurot at napakalaki ng emosyon ang ibinuhos dito. Dinaig pa ang all-star cast ng big productions ng pelikulang Pilipino. Walang sinabi ang Jadine at Kathniel.

Tatlo. Tatlong salita talaga yung tumatak sa kokote ko. Saging, puso, at repolyo.

The Sunday Currently Vol. 8

No one's really interested about what I do on Sundays. But I'll write about them anyway.


CURRENTLY...  

Reading 
George Orwell's 1984. I've been looking for this book for ages and finally hit a jackpot. I didn't have all the time to read it yesterday but I'm now halfway to it. Sure it does have a slow start but I got absorbed. It is so unsettling I wish my brain would stop giving me the imagery. I know it's too early for a review but then I can already see a masterpiece out of it

Writing
This. What else? Oh wait, I should be plotting our itinerary now. But then, I still have ten days to do that.

Listening
to Despacito. Ugh. If I hear another despacito song again, I swear I'm gonna lose it.

The Sun Goes Down

Last night, I received an email saying I screwed up a website big time. But I wasn't worried because I knew I've triple-checked my work before I delivered. So, if there's anything, it was definitely not my fault. I decided to just sleep it off and send my reply the next day only to wake up to a much more terrible news.

Chester Bennington took his own life.

iVideo: Stay Connected on the Road

When Jan and I traveled to Singapore, one of our concerns is the internet. Sure, we can avail the ones offered by the hotels we booked to. But to travel in a completely foreign land, we definitely need internet on the road to stay connected, communicate with friends who are living there, and to easily navigate to places.

I thought we only had two viable options available. Either to use Jan's existing network subscription, which is really expensive when set to roaming; or buy a sim with data, which can also be quite pricey considering data is just limited.

But thankfully, services that allow foreigners to rent a pocket wi-fi device with unlimited data at a reasonable cost such as iVideo existed.


Confessions Vol. 12: My First Starbucks Experience

It's 2017.

Remember when I said I've never had any Starbucks before? Well, technically, I've had one when Renz and I decided to do our planning at Starbucks for our second public speaking stint. That was my first time to hang out at Starbucks.

Ever.

Confessions Vol. 11: I'm an Easy Girl

I've had three boyfriends in my life and not one of them has ever courted me.

I don't play hard to get. If I like I guy who likes me too, it wouldn't take long before I commit.

I was 14 when I had my first boyfriend. He was my close friend and our relationship was born out of a deal. "Let's play a game. Kapag nanalo ako, tayo na". Parang ganun. It was nothing really serious. We were still too young and scared. Konting kilig dito, holding hands doon. Ganun lang.

I Just Want to Be Pabebe for Once

Half the year has gone and as much as I want to take some time to review how my life has progressed in 2017, I just kept rolling my eyes.

Enter July. It has been raining lately and getting out of the bed every morning is becoming more and more difficult. But I do love waking up to cold mornings and grey skies. It's perfect for lazy people like me... which I think is also a bad thing because I still have more blog posts to put together. Product reviews, events, and a few travel posts that I keep putting off because... well. I am just damn too lazy.

I don't think I'll ever make it as a travel blogger nor will I ever be a good blogger. The fact that I simply don't like taking pictures of everything I do just amplified the truth that I am a terrible social media influencer.

But I am trying, really. I have just revived my Instagram account from the dead in hopes of sending my content across in a different way. Because truth be told, people (including me) are getting lazier and would rather scroll down through the photos than read posts. This kind of blogging style is dying. But I will keep on writing just so I have something to ponder on when I get old.

The rebirth of my Instagram is nothing but throwbacks of the travel photos I've never posted before, and some unflattering and awkward poses of me. I barely have followers. In order to create a cult following, one needs to have a curated feed and well-staged aesthetically-pleasing photos - something that I am struggling to have. I know, barf. More than ten years of blogging and it was only just recently when I decided to build my personal brand. That means I have to create more social media profiles with information about me fully (or selectively) fleshed out, not to mention I have got to learn slayin' those pina-blaggir poses. Oh gawd. Why do I have to do this? No one's going to be interested anyway.

Anyway, I just bought a dress online because I just want to be pabebe for once. It says it's free size but best fits small to medium frames. No offense meant, but I didn't know that plus size is the new small. Hindi naman siguro ako ganyan kapayat. Am I? Believe it or not, my waist line is 26. I wear a 27-28 pants. But I'm too lazy to return the item and argue with the seller. Gawin ko na lang syang daster pambahay. 
Expectations vs Reality. False advertisement at its finest.