Going Offline

Went offline just in time to bask in the beauty of the sea. I really must have been a mermaid in my past life.

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More and more the idea of taking a long break is calling to me. Maybe not a year long like my soul sister Liz Gilbert did but maybe a month or two of just finding balance and rejuvenating myself.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here but I actually work as a social media manager for a brand close to my heart. And I love my job, the field and the digital sphere in its totality but I guess the only downside of it is that while I’m extremely mobile, I also have to be really connected and there doesn’t seem to be room for days off. Don’t get me wrong, I can travel whenever and wherever I want but I don’t think I have the capacity to not check in for 12 hours straight and sometimes going offline – even just for a full weekend – is just the antidote to mental (and creative) fatigue.

So when I do get the chance to go offline (though most of the time not by choice), I cherish it. And any experience that gets me off my phone is something I will always be grateful for. I hope more people realize that spending time with the ones you love (sans Candy Crush or Facebook) is one of the best ways to show you care in today’s highly digital arena. And nothing bothers me more than being with someone who is constantly, not to mention fervently, tapping their touch-screen gizmos.

My short digital hiatus (just for a few hours) came in the form of basking in the glory of the sea thanks to areas rendered sans internet. Time off was a blessing on its own but to be in this beautiful setting too was just precious. Coerced nature appreciation isn’t necessarily my ideal way of taking in the world’s beauty but coerced or not, it was definitely appreciated.

Top, SWAY CHIC | Shorts, FORME

Every Grain Of Sand

The sand always renders calm and photogenic landscapes. Just ask Alessandra Ambrosio.

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The idea of rolling in the sand has always been appealing. I imagine Victoria’s Secret angels splashing about in waters then rolling over playfully in the sand – kind of sexily wrestling each other to be exact. Why that image is buried in my head, I don’t necessarily know. Blame it on Alessandra Ambrosio and her Instagram feed. (It just has that vibe, you know?) I didn’t quite intend to come anywhere near their sandy antics as the practicality of being in the sand turns me off rather quickly. Hard-to-remove morsels are always the worst on both the body and on footwear. And sand that goes unnoticed usually finds its way onto the cleanest of beds. Cue Alanis Morissette crying out “ironic.”

On one random afternoon in Balesin Island for the Nivea Come Closer event though, I decided to just take the plunge. Maybe it was prompted by how surreal the Balesin experience was or maybe it was the strong call of the sea and its sandy shores. So with cute dress in tow, I knelt rather awkwardly at first, and gave in to see what the sand had to render my anxiety and photography. It did wonders to calm me, surprisingly, and, unsurprisingly, it rendered an amazing landscape to take photos in.

Oh, nature, you have done it again. And for making me feel one with you I will forget about the solid five minutes I took just trying to get sand off myself, outside the bedroom door with a painful view of my very white and very comfortable bed, before finally being able to enter the room without leaving my own trail.

A Beautifully-Hued Breather

My best moments have always been offline but nothing beats downtime with nature’s beautifully-hued waters.

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There’s a lot to be said about today’s generation. I’m not sure if it’s the need to constantly prove oneself (thanks, in no small part, to social media-mandated comparisons and benchmarking), or if society is just more demanding than ever. Multi-hyphenates are no longer a bonus but a requirement, employees stay longer and longer at the office and, personally, my phone beeps ’til after I’ve fallen asleep. That’s partly because of overly-active Viber groups but emails and work seem to multiply the moment you get some shut eye too.

I’ve been trying to figure out why exactly the sound of waves or even just the sight of the vast expanse makes me so calm and I tried to research some scientific explanation but I gave up after just 1 page of Google search results. I want to say it has something to do with how small I feel, or how the horizon prompts several life quotes to memory but I think I personally find peace and serenity when faced with nature because it brings me back to what’s really important – not the hustle, not the $$$ in my bank account, nor the blog posts I’ve written the past week, but just being fully present and appreciating life, its beauty and its wonders, without having to think of them in certain VSCO filters or minding how to capture it in a perfect square.

My best moments have always been offline but there’s still no greater reminder than the beautifully hued water, sucking you in and rewiring your brain giving you that much needed breather that routine seems to have infinitely stolen.

Thank you, nature, for always being so magnificent.

p.s. In hindsight, it may also be my mermaid dreams brought to life. We’ll never know ‘coz I gave up on Google, huh.

Photos taken in Balesin at the Nivea Come Closer event

Dress, CALVIN KLEIN | Sunglasses, SUNNIES STUDIOS

Bali, Balesin

If I had a bed that overlooked the sea with actual waves to put me to sleep and not my Nature Sounds app, I think I’d be pretty much without want for the rest of my life.

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I’m trying real hard not to flood Instagram with photos of my recent trip to Balesin but such scenic snaps trump any form of willpower I have left. For your sake (mostly mine), I’ll try to limit the posts (and longing) per day but I forecast about another week of babbling about how amazing the trip was.

And truly, it was. From the company, to the activities, to the brand and its products I’ve gotten to know more and grown to love, to the little slice of paradise that Balesin is, it was, hands down, one of the best events I’ve ever attended. Shoutout to Nivea and ARC PR! Again, more babbling to follow when I finally have photos of our Amazing Race competition and decent documentation slash proof of how my team came in last. But I digress.

Let me kick off this Balesin style series with a dress I grabbed last minute that I realized I’ve fallen out of love with (that’s what you get for packing an hour before you leave for the airport: futile luggage contents.) The settings of the shots though are more than enough to justify just about any dress – loved or no longer wanted – so a full post on this wasn’t really contested. These photos were taken at a Water Villa in the Bali-themed nook of the island which is literally a villa atop water. If I had a bed that overlooked the sea with actual waves to put me to sleep and not my Nature Sounds app, I think I’d be pretty much without want for the rest of my life. The rest of the photos were taken at the Balesin spa. Though prices for an hour’s worth of massage are pretty steep, shooting is free and we made thorough use of the landscape. Like any decent blogger would do.

Oh, Nivea, thank you for giving me another reason to be grateful and another trip to dream about. I cannot wait to go back.

Taking you on my journey, via OOTDs of course, in the next few posts. Stay tuned!

Photos taken at Balesin at the Nivea Come Closer event 

Living All Out in Iloilo: Hala Bira!

By now Living All Out has been thoroughly ingrained in my consciousness. Iloilo’s Dinagyang was no different.

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Festival friends: David Guison, Ynnah Bonina and Miko Carreon posing with some of the dancers dinagyang-live-all-out5dinagyang-live-all-out3David Guison, myself, Michele Gumabao, Ynnah Lacsamana, Miko Carreon

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years attending festivals and going around the Philippines, it’s that Living All Out with Smart Cares is always a good idea.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Iloilo for the very first time for another festival with Smart. With no expectations whatsoever, I was pleasantly surprised. The city is pretty cosmopolitan with a strip of bars, fancy restaurants and its fair share of traffic but also very traditional with a picturesque landscape of churches and buildings that date centuries back. Even schools are seemingly lined with cobblestones and offer a piece of history with each nook and cranny.

But I wasn’t just there to see the sites. I was there to participate in a festivity that’s been getting a lot of attention year after year: Dinagyang. Famous for Ati-Atihan with a lengthy parade of street dancers complete with face and body paint and intricate costumes, Dinagyang is supposedly one of the most crowd-pumping, adrenaline-inducing festivals and just watching the participants is enough to get you in a festive spirit.

I think by now I’ve memorized (if you haven’t yet), that Smart trips always come in a three part formula – good food, amazing parties and exciting parades. So here’s a rundown of what we did exactly and how we celebrated Dinagyang, the Smart Cares way, which is, honestly, at this point, the only way to.

I. Good Food

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Iloilo is known for seafood, specifically oysters. Oysters are abound to the point that oysters per kilo are sold on side streets. No kidding. They’re very fresh though and I forayed into uncharted territory trying both fresh and baked oyster delicacies to which I’m greatly averse. I tried it as a kid and shucking oysters wasn’t so appetizing to a child below 10 who only really enjoyed fried chicken and french fries. To be fair, the food was really good – not just the seafood. I suggest trying Buto’t-Balat, Tatoy’s and Breakthrough for seafood meals.

Apparently, Iloilo has two other specialties- Molo, clear soup with noodles and dumplings, and La Paz Batchoy, a pork broth soup with noodles. We didn’t get to try their native Molo but we did get to head to the best Batchoy place, Netong’s. They’re opening more branches in Iloilo and I can’t wait for them to open in Manila. It’s really filling and the ones I’ve tasted in Manila don’t come close. At all.

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II. Amazing Parties

dinagyang-live-all-out9dinagyang-live-all-outdinagyang-live-all-out2Ah, the parties. Smart has had a long-time partnership with Invasion by Spectrum which is a series of parties that bring some of the best DJs to different provinces around the Philippines. Dinagyang was no different. I was surprised to find out that a lot of people actually flew to Iloilo just for the party. But then again, given how fun and crazy each leg gets, it should’ve been a given that Invasion has gained legions of loyal fans.

The first night we spent in Iloilo was pretty chill with just a beer pong competition (which my team miraculously won). But the second night was a different story altogether. The Smart bloggers and I stayed in front and we had such an amazing time that I was basically dancing and jumping up and down for four hours straight. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever jumped so much in my life.

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That’s the crowd. Spot me in red! dinagyang-live-all-out10

Shoutout to my favorite DJ, Nix Damn P! 

III. A Kick-Ass, Informative and Fully Entertaining Parade

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There are, apparently, two parades to look forward to each Dinagyang. The first day is one of floats and brand sponsors each with their own performances and their own form of entertainment. We came across a float with a  bunch of singers belting out Jessie J and we were thoroughly entertained. Our own Smart Cares float was pretty kick-ass with our own DJ and two drummers. My right ear was basically deaf from standing right beside the drums but it was all worth it. I love how we always get to interact with those who are parade-watching and mingle with some readers. We didn’t perform anything but we were pretty consistent dancing all throughout.

The second day took us from spectacle to spectators with us being genuinely excited to see the street dancers. So much so that we counter-flowed just to make sure we were snapping and taking in everything we could. Some of the dancers we came across seemed really tired towards the end that they were left chilling on the floor. Or maybe resting for their big dance number at the end of it all. I wish I could’ve taken photos of them in action, but inaction would do. It was still pretty exciting for us seeing their costumes and their elaborate paint. There were participants of all ages and sizes from cute little girls to grown, muscular men. Everybody seemed to be on board and even the crowd was participating in chanting the famous “Hala Bira!” as the dancers walked past. The floats and themes were also pretty diverse from princess carriages to men in thongs. That, I deliberately didn’t take photos of.

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Roommate Ynnah and I with these cute kids. dinagyang-live-all-out30 dinagyang-live-all-out26

To be fair, each festival brings new insights into how culturally rich we Filipinos are. It’s always informative and entertaining and getting to know more about my country by way of first-hand experience is always a blessing. But of course, it’s never just that with Smart and it’s always the fullest experience somehow.

Living All Out, by now, has been firmly rooted into my consciousness and its a mentality I try to live by trip after trip and day after day. I know I seem to say this after each trip but Dinagyang has been the best Smart festival I’ve attended by far. Though both Sinulog and Masskara were really hard to top, this short but sweet trip seemed to hit just the right places. (And it’s not just because we ate at 4 different restaurants straight one afternoon.)

By now I can officially say I’ve been living all out for years on end and you know what? It’s been awesome.

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Thank you, Smart, for another amazing festival experience. You guys are the absolute best. Shoutout to Yeg, Kim and Tob for taking amazing care of us yet again. Looking forward to more trips with you! 

Photos taken via my Smart iPhone6 (except for two snaps from David. Thank you, DG!) 

The Year That Was

It’s that time of the year again when we get to take a good look at the have-beens, should’ve beens, could’ve beens.

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It’s that time of the year again when we get to take a good look at the have-beens, should’ve beens, could’ve beens and get real with ourselves about the direction (or lack thereof) our lives are taking. It’s also the time to declare resolutions of what we need to change and start doing moving forward.

I have always loved the idea of the new year. A fresh start that can be taken independent from the past X years of your life. A blank page to finally be able to write whatever grand story it is you had in mind. And a clean slate devoid of regret, ill feelings and doubt if you so choose to let them go.

I started my blog a long time ago with a different name and a different me. It was called Mon Beau Monde or My Beautiful World because it was meant to be a diary of how I saw my little nook of life and I chose to see it as a magnificent space and blessing. Maybe somewhere along the way I stopped seeing things as beautiful and magnificent and the world a little crippling but I like being able to look back now and see how my life has progressed since.

I thought the past year has been uninteresting but I realized I’ve done a lot of amazing things, gone on amazing trips and have dealt with different kinds of obstacles thrown my way. In terms of actually seeing the world, I have been blessed to have gone to Europe (Germany, France and Italy), Guam and Vietnam for the very first time. I’ve also been able to see more of the Philippines the past year with trips to Boracay, Cebu and Bacolod. I guess in terms of work I’ve been able to work with a lot more people and brands, blessings I will always treasure. I’ve also tried my hand at different things like writing for print and being published for the first time which has always been a dream of mine. (Thank you, Style Weekend for the trust.) I met so many wonderful people and have realized through the year the ones I ought to keep. It sounds terrible, I know, but I’ve also learned to weed out the bad seeds despite it being difficult sometimes. The people I have in my life are such blessings and I want to keep my circle that way – one of love, trust and support.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here because despite me oversharing embarrassing  memories and childhood stories, I do like to keep things light. But right before I started my blog about 4 years ago, a really close family member passed and it’s been kind of difficult to get past that. To cope, we’ve been spending Christmas and New Year’s elsewhere, mostly back home in Michigan but celebrations there haven’t been so festive the past few years either. Last year I was blessed to have been able to spend Christmas in Bethlehem and end the year on a beautiful, spiritual note. And this year is even better because we’re finally in the Christmas spirit again complete with buying decor and decorating, playing Christmas music (including my non-stop singing of Do You Hear What I Hear), and just being excited again for the holidays. I think it’s such a big and important step and I’m very happy that we’re at this place now.

I hope your year has been filled with steps forward and the resilience of spirit to power through despite whatever it is life has thrown at you. I’ve very recently been reminded of how short life is and I hope that all of you are blessed this year with the grace to follow your happiness, wherever it may lie. Love, light, hope and an endless stream of positivity for all of you. May your 2015 be so much better than the past years of your life.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for being such a huge part of my life. This blog has been so therapeutic and such a positive force on my life and it wouldn’t exist without all of you. Let’s continue to have an ongoing dialogue this coming year. I love nothing more than hearing what you have to say and knowing that something resonates with you, on any level. To those I’ve met, via Bloggers United, via Twitter or Instagram, thank you. Please know I really do appreciate each one of you.

And to end this post on a good note, here are some resolutions of mine this coming year. Share yours? Are resolutions still a thing?

My Resolutions

1. Start waking up early. And sleeping early. And doing whatever it takes to get that done. (Like popping an allergy pill. Kids, don’t try this at home.)

2. Start living a healthy lifestyle. Even if Chia Seeds are somewhat pretentious and really expensive.

3. Saying what I mean and meaning what I say. This is usually done but I want to reinforce it especially when it comes to work. If it’s a No in my mind, it should be a No out my mouth.

4. Weeding out the negative people in my life. Again, this has been done rather effectively the past year. But I need to stop being affected by those I’ve already cut off. It’s hard to see your friendship fall apart especially knowing you’re letting it, but sometimes, people that affect your life negatively need to be let go.

5. Be on time. Or early, whenever possible. I am always late. Maybe it’s because growing up I’ve learned the hard way that call times are never what they are. This notion has been severely and constantly reinforced by fashion events that never start on time (mostly after an hour or two of waiting.) It’s stressful constantly looking at the time while I drive and I don’t need to be even more on edge than I already am.

6. Be better and do better at whatever task is at hand. Especially when it comes to work.

7. Keep learning. Youtube videos, looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time together. For those who want to take free online courses, I recommend Coursera.org.

8. Take bigger risks. High risk, high rewards they say. I need to not be crippled by a fear of failing that I am rendered immobile and stagnant.

9. Go out of the house and socialize a little more. Even if it’s just an added night each month.

10. Exercise. Do yoga? Wii Sports?

11. Be kinder, nicer and sweeter to everyone.

Je T’aime, Paris

I never quite understood declarations of love for cities and places. Now I think I do.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral

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Le Louvre
Le Louvre

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The Trocadero Palace
The Trocadero Palace

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The torch symbolizing the tunnel where Princess Diana of Wales died
The torch was set above the tunnel where Princess Diana of Wales died

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I never quite understood how people fall in love with places so declarations of love for cities like New York and Paris were always met with cynicism.

Never having been to Paris (and, well, the Big Apple), tales of the Eiffel, the Mona Lisa and even pretentiously lugging around baguettes were interesting yet annoyingly hyperbolic. Even books on how to dress like a Parisian, though rampant, were severely misunderstood and easily dismissed.

A five day trip to Paris last April changed all that. Unfortunately, I went during Easter weekend which meant hordes of tourists that I did not expect. Everyone on break seemed to have flocked to the city that every spot had at least a hundred people taking photos. Imagine, just at the love lock bridge you had to fight for your photo space lest random lovers photobomb. Needless to say, the lines were unforgiving – at the Louvre, the Eiffel, Notre Dame, etc. All the lines seemed endless and hopeless.

So, no, I didn’t get to see the Mona Lisa nor get to count the glass squares  at the Louvre a la Dan Brown and come up with my own conspiracy theory. I didn’t get to see the view from the Arc De Triumph nor the restaurant at the Eiffel. I didn’t even bother going to the Trocadero. What I did do though was hang out in Champs-Élysées and eat. And shop. For some reason I think the food in Paris is amazing (my mom swears it’s the cream) and the shopping divine. Even the line at Ladurée was intense but I didn’t pass up the chance to try world-famous French macarons.

Walking along Avenue Montaigne and just seeing the ateliers of Valentino, Dior, Chanel and other Parisienne designers was a hair-raising and exciting experience. (So was my pretentious banter with sales people about the latest collections of so and so designer. “Raf Simmons is amazing, no?“)

I did take the hop-on hop-off bus for two days so I got to at least see the sites and walk around the great palaces while listening to a recap of history lessons I should’ve paid attention to way back when. Full disclosure: my mom and I both fell asleep on the bus while going around. Even the gorgeous city couldn’t provide enough adrenaline to sustain two weary tourists.

All in all, it was such a beautiful experience. I think the city makes you feel certain emotions strong enough to make me want to buy The Hunchback of Notre Dame and read Victor Hugo’s tale of the place (or hey, maybe that’s because of the gypsies.) Honestly though, the city is amazing and every corner is photogenic and opulent. The structures, the buildings, the mood, the locals riding their bikes, the street art, quaint hotels and apartments, the French accent, the smell of pastries wafting through  patisseries – all of them were experiences I wanted to take in and remember forever. Even the snobby Parisians and the smelly train station added to the charm of the place. (Though, really, the metro stinks.) I really do want to go back to Paris and explore this time around. I’d have my fill of eclairs, fashion and give myself ample time to fall in love with the city.

One day I’ll be head over heels in love with it. Kidding, I already am.

 

TIPS ON WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GO IN PARIS:

Again, I didn’t get to go inside the sites but even if you don’t queue, visiting each one is an experience in itself so here’s a roundup of some of my suggested tourist and fashion spots.

If you’re headed to Paris, I suggest you don’t go on big international holidays lest you not see sites. The big deals were Le Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais (where Chanel holds its Paris Fashion Week shows), the Les Invalides (a museum where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried), the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera Garnier, the palace Trocadero  and walking along Champs Elysees. Most, if not all of these, can be seen and reached by taking a hop on hop off bus. The bus company I tried was Les Cars Rouges. If you want to take photos or lock your love and declare impenetrable love to the world, you can head to Pont des Arts, a bridge brimming with padlocks. Take a bus to Versailles too, I heard it’s beautiful.

In terms of fashion (here comes the fun part), here’s where you need to go. Champs-Élysées for high street shopping. Avenue Montaigne, Rue Saint Honore and Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Saint Germain des Pres (for the likes of Paco Rabanne and Sonia Rykiel), and Galeries Lafayette which is a huge upscale department store. For Chanel addicts, try to have tea at the Ritz Hotel where Coco Chanel lived and visit the original Chanel atelier at 31 Rue Cambon. You can also check out the fashion museum, Musée Galliera, for a look at Parisian costumes and a gallery of some of the best Parisian designers.  

Have fun in Paris!

Potsdam, Germany Photo Diary

Taking a stroll down memory lane to my first time in Europe, starting with this entry on Potsdam, Germany

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The view from the Sanssouci Palace
The view from the Sanssouci Palace
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The Sanssouci Palace

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Brandernburg Gate
Brandernburg Gate
The Old Town, Brandenburger Straße
The Old Town, Brandenburger Straße

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I flew to Europe for the first time last April and have treasured each one of my 15 days there. Unfortunately, beautiful memories didn’t translate to fast reporting via this blog so I figured before the year ends I have to blog at least a few of the places I visited. It’s kind of hard lugging around a heavy camera that only has a 50MM lens (my bad, that part) so the photos are a combination of phone, slr and point and shoot takes.

I started my trip rather chilly all the way up in Germany. I stayed in Hamburg for 2 days but took the train to see the city and palaces of Potsdam. The train ride to Berlin was around 2-3 hours each way, and the train to Potsdam from there was about 20 minutes. I probably should brush up on German history before continuing but referencing Wiki would have to do as of the moment. We went straight to Sanssoucci Park which is the largest world heritage site in Germany. It houses the beautiful Sanssoucci Palace, which is supposedly modest but ornate still in my eyes. There’s a huge garden that leads down to the fountain and I don’t know how to properly describe it. There were Roman Baths around the area as well. If we walked around some more we probably would’ve seen the Chinese Palace and other intricate corners of the park, but we still tried to head to Berlin. My advise, spend a full day in Potsdam and another in Berlin. And if you’re with selfie-taking folks add an additional hour to your budget. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

Went to the Old Town, Brandenburger Straße, for a quick taste of CurryWurst which is essentially sausage with curry ketchup drizzled with curry powder. I liked it. I think it’s basically street food in Germany and is available in seemingly very corner. We also saw the Brandenburg Gate which symbolizes the victory of Frederick the Great in the Seven Years’ War, not to be confused with the other Brandenburg Gate in Berlin that doesn’t strike any resemblance. 

Ended the afternoon hopping on a train back to Berlin, a very quick peek at its historic sites (excluding the Berlin Wall) then another 3 hour train ride back to Hamburg. Not bad for my first European foray, huh? The next set of German photos and experiences to follow.

Guam 2014: A Photo Diary

A quick trip down Guam’s memory lane because it’s December and I’m rekindling memories of the beach.

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To be honest, I don’t know why I haven’t been blogging my travels. I don’t know if it’s the overwhelming number of photos to edit or if it’s because I feel there aren’t enough nice photos to begin with.

Either way, I’m stomping my foot (on myself) and sitting my ass down and forcing myself to relive (and remember) the wheres, the whats and the hows. Let’s start with Guam.

I found myself in the beautiful island of Guam last July for a 6-day stay. Hosted by my friend, we drove around the whole island (it’s pretty small) and went to the hot places and the must sees.

All in all, it was an interesting trip with a lot of firsts and even more realizations. Guam is such a beautiful place where the beaches are literally viewable from almost any apartment location and about a 5 minute drive from any point. The food is amazing (the serving’s big) and the people the epitome of islanders and living the island life. They’re so chill but not in the annoying surfer dude kind of way. Not lazy either. Just calm and collected and seemingly peaceful.

It turned out to be a lot more American than I thought and a lot more expensive than I imagined. There were so many Filipinos (40% of the population to be more accurate), millions of Japanese tourists and Chamorros (locals from Guam.) There are military bases there so depending where you stand on being close to officers that’s either a good thing or a not-so-good thing.

If you enjoy the beach, parties by the beach, drinking by the beach and anything and everything you can do at the beach, then Guam is for you. I’m such a water-girl at heart that my most serene moments were spent just lying down on the sand. I was able to roam alone most of the time, shop alone and discover alone. Too alone sometimes that I even went to the UnderwaterWorld by myself. It wasn’t necessarily terrible to be alone but it’s just that no one can take your photos (selfies aren’t my cup of tea) and no one can hold your hand in sudden panic attacks that the aquarium would cave in. Sharks, guys.

Here are some recommendations:

1. Dine at Proa. Then dine at Jamaican Grill. They’re both famous for the barbeque and it’s kind of been a major debate of which is better so I encourage you to take the challenge and test it out yourself.

2. Visit DFS (Duty Free Store). The shops in Guam are tax-free, so if you’re a shopaholic, that means no tax on designer labels such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci and more. Research though as some items are more expensive because everything is imported. Don’t forget it’s a small island in the middle of nowhere.

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3. For parties, hit up Beach Bar for that chill night with drinks by the beach and live music. If you want more of a sports bar, hit up Horse and Cow. There are billiards tables, beer pong tables and a mechanical bull. I tested two out of three (which two I won’t tell.)

4. Dine at Mosa’s. This burger joint wins an award almost every year for their burgers and trust me they deserve the hype. Try their lamb burgers and four cheese burgers. So. Good.

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5. Visit the Chamorro Village. It’s basically a pop-up market every week with stalls from apparel, to Chamorro novelties (such as decorated coconuts), and food stalls. They also have firedancers and hula dancers (more Beyonce than your typical Hawaiian stereotype, mind you.)

6. If you’re into locking your love with actual locks a la Paree, visit Two Lover’s Point for a different take on the love locks. It’s been said two lovers fell in the cliff and passed and that the name was dedicated in their memory. If you go to the very top you’ll see the best view of Guam.

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7. Enjoy the beach. The best beach I visited was right behind the shops. But it’s beach after beach after beach and you will have your fill. Forget your troubles, drink mojitos and just meander. Nothing is more relaxing.

You don’t need 6 days to see the whole of Guam. 2 might actually be enough but, if you enjoy the island life, the longer the better.

Beach Fringe + A Bloggers United Giveaway

Beach fringe and a ticket giveaway to this December’s Bloggers United. Fun times!

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I always find, most often too late, that the contents of my luggage mimic that of my day-to-day closet no matter where I go. Regardless of whether there’s sand or snow, there’s bound to be a crop top somewhere and other location and weather-inappropriate pieces. At least I’m consistent, no? This skirt is a favorite in Manila for throwing on when I’ve got nothing to wear and when I don’t want to spend precious minutes just staring blankly in the mirror. Mirror-staring should be reserved for applying cat-eye liner. That’s so much more reasonable.

This is a look I wore in Boracay. I think the fringe skirt was imagined in a cabana or by a beach bar so it was pretty justified. Although I did step out of my room with a crop top over the bikini so it really honestly seemed like I was just in Manila.

Speaking of outfits, Bloggers United 8 is just around the corner. Literally, it’s on Sunday already. I’m selling A LOT of things. Honestly, I’ve never packed this much for BU. The pieces I’m selling are favorites, some even took rounds of internal debates to convince myself to let go. I’m selling shoes, bags, accessories and a whole lot of clothes. I don’t plan on bringing my stuff back home so the items will be pretty cheap. Accessories will mostly be around 50-100, shoes will be priced no higher than 500 and clothes average 300.

I’m giving away 20 tickets and because I’ve realized over the years of doing ticket giveaways that Bloggers United isn’t just a partner event, it’s a family affair, a barkada affair and more, I’ll change the rules a bit. You can now tell me HOW MANY tickets you want. 2, 3, 4, even 5. Just let me know.

The mechanics are pretty simple:

1. Regram any outfit photo of mine either from Instagram or from this blog. (Feel free to crop my face, I don’t mind.) It can be an outfit you want me to sell or you  just saying that you can’t wait to shop my closet. You can also regram some of the teasers I posted of items I’ll be selling. Up to you.

2. In the caption, tell me how many tickets you want (e.g., “I need 4 tickets so my whole family can shop!”) and tag the people you’ll be giving tickets to.

3. You and your plus one/s must follow me on Instagram (@alyssalapid).

4. Don’t forget to tag me (@alyssalapid), @bloggersunitedph and use the hashtag #BU8xOLX.

ALSO, my winners (and their plus ones/twos/threes and fours) get a 20% discount from my booth.

See you Sunday guys. I can’t wait!