19 Feb 2018

Crowding in small spaces
Destined to explore the sea
Why are you settling?

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11 Feb 2018

Trails of heartaches and disappointments, sunsets.
Pavements of success and luck, sunrises.
Passing through them again,
Walking through them, viewing them back through your eyes,
I will never mind.

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Phuket, Thailand: Revisited

10 – 17 Feb 2018

The last time I was in Phuket was 3years ago by myself, that was after a few days in Myanmar. I went there before to learn pole dance and to do some trekking. I didn’t have time to visit Phuket’s pristine beaches then.

Hence this time, when T picked a place for our holiday, I was still very much thrilled to go back there with him. I knew, this time, I would be able to visit their beaches.

10 Feb 18

We flew in together from Singapore and was picked up by the hotel transfer. Since it wasn’t check in time yet, we decided to walk around town under the blazing heat of the sun. After 2 or 3 hours of walking, we decided to have lunch and coffee in a restaurant near the beach, then we checked in.

Our accommodation was at Bangla Road, Absolute Bangla Suite. I was never sure about how this hotel works but it is somehow under a company named Absolute World. Anyway, after a few hours of rest, we then, waited for the sun to set at Patong Beach. We had dinner and our first massage for the trip and headed home.

It was so fun to see T get mesmerized while walking along Bangla Road. He has never seen something like that before. A happening road closed for parties, sexy women/men and lots of pubs and bars. His eyes were wide open like a child who went inside the Disneyland for the first time. I love this guy! He’s full of soul and child-like!

11 Feb 2018

We went out a bit late just again, for walking around, lunch, and coffee. After dinner, we decided to watch Muay Thai for the first time. We both like martial arts, hence both truly enjoyed the matches that night. We made bets on who’d win the matches. We scored 4-4.

Muay Thai Match

I knew that children were also doing this sport but I just didn’t prepare myself to see them really fight in front of my face. These small children were doing deadly sports like this, will it affect their development because of continued trauma to their young heads and bodies? I am not sure….

 

12 Feb 2018

Yay! Today was our first time to really go to the beach! We just went nearby…Patong beach! We soaked with thousands of other people. Yeah, it was crowded but still, it was good. We had our breakfast, a mixture of coffee, fruits and junk food by the beach.

After which, we went home, showered and walked for about 10miuntes to the Jungceylon shopping center to watch a movie. We decided to watch 12 Strong, a true-to-life war movie which made me want to travel more to Kazakhstan and Afganistan! The mountainous areas were so breathtaking!

After the movie, we went to have dinner and headed home.

13 Feb 2018

We decided we would check out less crowded beaches, hence we took a tuktuk to Paradise Beach. He priced the ride at 500 Baht (we were told that we could bargain til 300). Unexpectedly, there was a charge of 200 Baht per person to get into the said beach. No wonder it’s less crowded.

When we got in, it wasn’t crowded but there were still a bit people on the beach. Surprisingly, most of them were fit, especially the women. T enjoyed sight-seeing much. I enjoyed looking at this beautiful beach, with very fine sand and clear water. There were a few small fishes and crabs everywhere. It was beautiful. Despite being a bit expensive, I thought, going there was worth-it if one wants to escape the busier and bigger beaches.

In the afternoon, we were lured into attending a talk about the Absolute World programme. It was ok but I do not want to discuss it further in this entry. After which, we had dinner, our usual Bangla road walk which I found really enjoyable especially with T, our second massage, and cocktails before concluding the night.

Oh! We also decided to plan the rest of the week this night. Next day was a city tour, day after would be to Similan Islands and then after 2days, we’d watch the Simon Cabaret show! This made me even more excited for the days ahead.

14 Feb 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We went out late to go for our city tour. We hired a taxi for 6hours which costs 1800 Baht. We decided we wanted to visit the Big Buddha by ATV, go to Ao Nui bay for a quick swim because it was a small beach based on the map, so I thought, it would be less crowded then, to Promthep Cape for a stunning view of the sun setting by Andaman Sea.

It was my first time to ride an ATV in a real terrain, hence, I was so terrified at first. T made me feel comfortable by lying to me, saying that he was a very experienced ATV driver. Only to tell me afterward that this was the second time to ride an ATV! Luckily, we arrived at our destination, Big Buddha and back to the base safely.

ATV Ride to Big Buddha

We were all satisfied with the locations we decided to go to except for the Ao Nui bay. It was crowded, the water was not very clear and the beach was rocky. We didn’t anymore stay long for we didn’t really like the rocks.

 

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Promthep Cape’s Sunset

 

We concluded our Valentine’s day with a dinner and another massage. hahaha

15 Feb 2018

We were supposed to be picked up at 6am by Sea Star company for our Similan island trip, but they turned up very late at 8am! As usual, Tim was calm, I was agitated. The road to the Pier was about 2 hours. We were late for breakfast and our boat had left thus, we were placed in a non-English boat. We had to take a 1.5hrs fast boat ride to the first island, where we snorkeled for about 20mins. Water was so clear. Reefs and fishes were visibly abundant. It was beautiful. We had lunch and visited a few more island and snorkeled for a bit more.


Despite having a bad first impression because of their tardiness, the trip still proved worth it. Fishes were abundant as the tourists in the islands. Yes! It was , sadly, very crowded. Luckily, not many chose the snorkeling option. It was a good place for snorkeling and I just couldn’t imagine, how much more interesting it can be for diving! Visiting this island gave me the urge practice how to swim better and possibly learn diving.

We were also provided dinner before we headed home. It was a good trip! We had another dinner afterward.

16 Feb 2018

Last day in Phuket. We decided we would just chill. We met up with K, an Absolute staff for breakfast before we headed up for another massage and another movie, the Black Panther which made me feel like traveling to Africa because the movie was based in a fictional African land called Wakanda. Haha

After the movie, we were picked up to watch the Simon Cabaret Show. I wasn’t impressed the first time I saw it back in 2014 and I felt the same way this time. Costumes, arrangement, and props were really good but the performers lacked energy and power. They must be tired? Performing for three shows in a row isn’t easy. T seemed unimpressed too. Anyway, I only brought him there to see how beautiful some men could be.

We had our final (for now) night walk along Bangla road and concluded the night. I was exhausted, to be honest. Tomorrow we would be picked up at 7am.

17 Feb 2018

Adventure hasn’t ended.We accidentally wetted T’s passport and we thought that could be the cause of him not being able to fly with me to Singapore. Unfortunately, they found a graver reason to prevent him from flying to Singapore. His passport was no longer valid for 6months. It only passed 2 days, not even expired! T knew that he needed to renew his passport soon but he didn’t realize that it wasn’t anymore 6mos valid. Sadly, he didn’t fly with me. We had to get him a new direct ticket from Phuket to Melbourne.

This is LDR! So sad!

I have to find a job in Melbourne! I have to!

I have enjoyed my sweet time traveling for a week or more with family, friends and/or mostly, by myself. I am not used to traveling ‘together’ with a boyfriend. Surprisingly, I was as happy and excited with him. I definitely learned more about him and myself during this trip.

I’ve never actually stayed in just one place during holidays. I would always move around and transfer accommodations subsequently. This holiday was different yet it still proved enjoyable. I am certainly hoping I could still bring him along to some more places with little compromises on choices of accommodations and transportation options.

He’s a good man. He will understand. I hope! =)

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4 Jan 2018

With a heavy heart,
Crushed, flushed, screams from his inside.
With love, mouth shuts!

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Bye 2017! Hello 2018! (Resolution Continued 2017)

2017 had been eventful for me. Here’s to revisit what happened to the year-that-was:

My traveling life was still decent. I was able to visit a fair number of 3 new countries, Morocco, Turkey, and Taiwan. My favorite was, of course, when I traveled with my family in Taiwan. I was also in awe as I rode a hot-air balloon for the first time in Cappadocia, Turkey. The view was ethereal back there. I also rode a camel for the first time in Morocco.

January – Philippines
February – Morocco
March – Malaysia (Penang)
April- Philippines + Malaysia (Kluang)
May- Taiwan
June- Switzerland
July- Malaysia (Sibu Island)
August – Turkey
September – Philippines
October – Indonesia (Batam)
November- Australia
December – Malaysia (Kluang) + Philippines + Indonesia (Batam)

The first quarter of the year, was, however, a bit heavy as I mourn for a person who decided to turn his back on me due to my humanness and imperfections. Third quarter took a 360′ turn, as I met an interesting human being which made me somehow believe again that I could be treated better and that I deserve a little bit more of someone’s bravery. He became my boyfriend by August. In my standards, events turned out very fast between the two of us. We were both brave and ready that was why.

It made me think that losing people or things wouldn’t really turn out to be disastrous all the time. I think I was molded and prepared to be a better person in order for me to be ready in full force when the better one arrived. The loss also made me appreciate the man who appreciated and accepted me despite my imperfections, hence, my gratitude to him is overflowing.

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The drawback of having T in my life right now, is, my traveling life might change a little. I don’t know if I will still be able to travel as much especially I know that we are in a long-distance relationship. Why would I go to Central Asia when I know my love is in Australia?

He said he might join sometimes. I hope he does! He came to Singapore 3x since we met, went back with me to the Philippines and went 2x with me in Batam, Indonesia. We are planning to go to Phuket next month. I guess I might be re-visiting all those places I’ve already been and the experience would still be completely different because I am with another person. I am willing to try that but, as I have learned a lot, especially independence, in solo travels, I hope I wouldn’t lose the ability to do so. I hope.

Work-wise, I have been looking for new countries to migrate to since 2014. I had been obsessed to a few like, Indonesia (cos of a job offer which took ages to be processed, hence I got tired) Canada (cos of my friends there, I attempted to apply there, got accepted and eventually, while processing my papers, I lost the job to a local), European areas and now, because of T, I wanted to try Australia. I am looking for a job closer to him and it’s tougher because they have enough of my profession in their area. Maybe I should consider other professions? In line with this idea, I enrolled in a course completely different from what I am currently doing. I am taking Basic Sports Science with the hopes that I could also be a fitness instructor in the future.

This year, I will have more non-solo travels. I will still try my best to go elsewhere every month. Also, I will study and learn more things, maybe those related to my future career-change (maybe) while still, doing my best to find a job near my T. Hope to accomplish all these this year!

Again, Happy New Year!

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New Year in Batam, Indonesia!

31 December 2017 – 1 January 2018

T had been to Singapore twice, hence, he had already been to most of the touristy places around here. As a Christmas present, I didn’t want to give him something material. I wanted to give him memories.

He had been telling me that he liked to go back to Batam, hence, my Christmas gift to him was New Year Batam overnight experience which included a city tour, overnight stay at Novotel Hotel, fireworks and a New year’s eve party.

Weather that day wasn’t very friendly. It was pouring heavily the whole day and it limited our movements a little bit. First stop was a visit to a factory that specializes in our favorite product, coffee. We had fun learning more about it, tasting the different kinds available in Indonesia, like Long bean, Peaberry, and Luwak. T went for a bit of coffee shopping as well.

The bus ride was made fun by the narration from our tour guide. To cap the tour, we went for a 1-hour full body massage. According to our guide, people usually go to Batam for 3Ms Makan (Malay word for Eat). Markets, Massages. Massages which were usually very cheap as compared to Singapore standard.

We checked-in after the tour. Rested for a bit then headed out for a New Year’s Eve dinner buffet with entertainment. After filling our tummies with these delights, we decided we would go to our room and rest till a few minutes before the New Year strikes.

I suddenly woke up and it was 2 minutes before 12am! We ran out of the room and we still at least saw ninety-five percent of the fireworks display. I was asking myself, was that a sign? Haha

We checked out and went back to Singapore the next day.

Anyway, Happy New Year!!!!!!! This was my last trip of 2017 and first of 2018. Hopefully, I/We can have more next year!=)

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Christmas in the Philippines!

22-26 Dec 2017

22 December

Despite the sky-rocketing airfares, T and I decided to go to the Philippines in December. I haven’t been going back for Christmas because I thought New Years are more fun back home but since he wanted it, I just decided to submit.

His flight arrived first. My ever-supportive parents picked him first. My flight landed later that night. To my surprise, my parents weren’t by the arrival area when I exited. They were busy with T, apparently.

I decided to book in Aurum Makati because they allow pets there (with extra price). It was not so bad considering it’s around Makati area and it allowed our Bambi. We stayed there for a night because the plan the next day was to tour Manila.

23 December

We checked out at about 10am. Our first stop was, of course, Luneta Park. Unfortunately, the monument itself was being renovated. We couldn’t completely see it. We just walked around for a while. I introduced a little bit about Jose Rizal and why he is our National Hero.

A few kilometers away from the famed park, we went to Intramuros to visit the Fort Santiago. This was where Jose Rizal spent most of his last days in prison before his execution. From there, we saw Binondo, Manila Cathedral, and Pasig River. I have not visited this place in a very long time hence, going there reminded me of the historical events I have long buried in my remote memory. Difficult to access!

We were looking for a place to have lunch in Binondo, but searching for parking space was terrible. We gave up after a while. We just decided to go somewhere with confirmed parking space….SM Manila! We had our lunch of Filipino food there. We had lechon, Dinuguan, Lumpiang gulay, Lumpiang sariwa, ginataang halo halo, pancit etc. T was up to try it all….ONCE! He isn’t a big meat eater, unlike me and my family. This is one great point why I liked him. He’s my opposite (when it comes to diet). We’ll see if he could actually bring me to the healthier side of living. We’ll see.

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After lunch, we drove to one of the oldest universities in the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas (UST). I am who I am because of this place. I studied here from secondary until my masters degree. I gave T a tour of my Alma Mater. Being in this place made me feel humbled. This school shaped me.

We, then, drove to Mall of Asia to have coffee, passed by Manila Bay, then home. But before we reached home, we decided to give T a taste of Filipino street food, like Balut, all kinds of barbequed animal parts like blood, intestines, fats etc. He, again, politely tried everything…once!

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24 December

A place not so far away from my hometown, Tagaytay. We decided to visit the popular volcano at the center Taal Lake, the Taal Volcano. Before that, we had lunch at Leslie’s. We ordered more Filipino dishes. T already had a favorite, Halo-halo!

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We then drove almost incessantly to Quezon City for dinner with my sister and her fiance. T isn’t a big fan of seafood as well, but he still tried. We headed home after that.

We reached home almost midnight. We ate a little bit more, exchanged gifts and concluded the night.

25 December

We just stayed home and mealed together. The essence of Christmas was to be with our loved ones anyway and that’s what we did. We drove to the nearest shopping mall, though, in the afternoon for a massage, grocery and to watch fireworks.


26 December

We just stayed home and bonded. We flew back to Singapore that night.

 

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Gunung Lambak and Kluang

9 – 10 Dec 2017

I haven’t really joined any meet-ups in a while because I had been focusing on my resolution “Go somewhere new every month” since 2016. When my friend, Z, asked me to join, despite my busy schedule, I don’t know why but I couldn’t say no.

Meeting place was at Marsiling. I woke up early because I planned to take the bus going to the said station. Unfortunately, the bus took ages to arrive, hence, against my will, I took a cab anyway.

Weekend, as expected, immigration queue was crazy. The entire programme was moved because of the delays caused by it. Instead of four stations on the first day, my group only managed to head to the summit. After the easy hike, we checked-in the hotel, washed up and went for dinner in town.

After dinner, we decided to walk with C. Z just got her 200hour yoga certificate and to practice teaching, she organized a small yoga session for us too. If was great especially after a strenuous hike. We all slept after that.

Call time was at 7am. Had breakfast and set off for our attempt of the 4 stations (Telecom, Big Tree, Summit, False summit). However, due to time constraints, we were only able to go to 3 (Telecom, Big Tree, and summit). We had to rush to the base for wash-up, check out then lunch.

We only had snacks for lunch because of the promised sumptuous dinner. We just walked around the town area and went for a quick Christmas shopping at Mr. DIY.

I have climbed Lambak a couple times already and this was the only time, I managed to go around the town area. Kluang, surprisingly has its own charms. There were plenty of food places to choose from, an art street exhibition and cheap massages. I promised myself to go back to this place again soon.

As promised, dinner was abundant. We then went back home after that. =)

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Australia 2017

Nov 25-29 2017

I have been to Australia three times before this. The decision to go back to Down Under was purely out of love if you know what I mean.

I arrived at Melbourne airport, and T was there waiting for me. It was great to see him again. We drove straight to Halls Gap. We got lost a little but it didn’t really matter. We reached there at around 5pm. It was drizzling a little bit. Checked in Halls Gap Motel and rested for a while before dinner.

We planned to go for a sunrise hike the next day, but we were too tired and decided just to go for a hike at decent hours.haha We drove to the parking lot, which was the usual starting off point to go up to the Pinnacle.

The ascent was easy. It was a straightforward hike following the yellow arrows. T was leading. Yay, we reached the Pinnacle. I was so proud of him. View from atop was beautiful and to share it with him was even more fulfilling. He isn’t really into these kinds of activities and for him to do this is/was something. =)

The Pinnacle

Lunch at the Pinnacle, then we decided to descend. We just walked down hoping that what we were going on the right path. We spent so long going down. Well, we took the wrong turn apparently. Haha Instead of following the same route going down, we took a loop passing through more sites like the Venus Bath and a waterfall. I was impressed by T. He was surprisingly fit to be able to sustain a lot of up and downs with a little whining.

Well, aside from distance, we were also running for time. He organized a dinner for me to meet up with his friends and family in Portland. Haha. So, we finished later than originally planned. It was finally decided that I would be denied the privilege to go for a shower and fix myself up before meeting up with the VIPs of his life! Haha

Dinner went well. I got to know from his friends that he was (close to) never angry. Is that a good thing? We stayed at his dad’s place.

The next day, we drove to Mt. Gambier because he had to work. We passed by the pretty Blue Lake. We then drove back to Portland and went on a small city tour. We had Canadian chicken for lunch. I went to a church too, then we rested in his block. We then, went back to his dad’s house while waiting for the time for sunset.

We drove to Cape Bridgewater for sunset. We waited for it in the cold. It was beautiful. After, we went to her sister for some hot drinks. She and her family were nice. We went home after that.

Sunset by Cape Bridgewater

We didn’t have many plans the next day. We drove to Colac to have a barbeque with his friends. After the tummy-filling meal, we went to Red Rock to witness another gorgeous sunset. We stayed at his friends’ home for the night. The next day was my flight. Sad!

 

Haikus while there:

Contained, maintained, her.
Staying, greying, glued to here.
Change is unwelcomed!

—-

Whilst fierce waves kiss rocks,
Beautifully washed away.
From strength to power.

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Sickness, GO AWAY!

For the past four weeks, I haven’t been well. On and off fever with other symptoms like rashes, cough and flu and these have been coming alternately for the past month. I was trying my best to normalize my life while all these things kept on coming back. I worked and worked out (mainly pole, running and stretching) during periods that I was well. I didn’t want just to stay home and be sickly. I was never and will never be home feeling sorry for staying in bed the whole day.

Last weekend, I felt so good I even told my housemate, C, that ‘I think, my symptoms won’t come back anymore’. I finished my chores as usual and I thought, why not go out and walk around a little bit before going to church for the anticipated mass.

That was what I did. I felt good. I like walking less than running but it still felt so good. After a few hours, I went to Novena church. It’s a newly-renovated church, now, with air-conditioning. It was cold. Really cold. I was beginning to feel innate chills but I was rationalizing that maybe, it was just really cold.

Outside the church was hot, and I was still feeling the chills. ‘Shit!’ I thought to myself! ‘It’s back!’
I got home and the chills started to worsen. My housemates, M and E, offered me some soup and dinner but these didn’t help much.

I went into my room dressed up in my thick top and pajamas and covered myself with a comforter with no fan and Acs switched on, I was shivering like crazy. I decided I would go to A&E.

I didn’t want to stay long in an air-conditioned cab, hence, I decided just to go to the nearest to my place- hospital, TTSH. M and E came with me. I was attended immediately. They measured my temperature and I was surprised to know that it was 40.9′ and also, my BP was high. I’ve never had these before! I went for ECG and x-ray almost immediately. From then, they decided to admit me.

M was with me all along. My history was asked by 2-3 different people in A&E. Travel, sexual, personal and medical history. Initially, I was so eager to give them all the information but I was slowly getting tired of it. In my head, I was like ‘Talk to each other please’. At some point, I began doubting my own answers, ‘did I answer correctly or not’? Probably due to disorientation and the feeling of just wanting to doze off and rest but I couldn’t.

I was in my room by 1:30am. M and E brought me there and left. I was alone…uhm…not so…every few hours a doctor would go into the room asking the same questions. The first night, was, to be honest, sleepless.

Yay! I was alive another day! My friends were slowly coming. First was M & M, then Z, then K, then my cousin L. My mom, apparently, texted people to come, visit an take care of me. And they all just easily obeyed. They alternately kept me company. That was the most touching fact. My friends and family were really there and could easily be there if I need them. By night, M & E also came by to bring some clothes.

Night over. I was only interviewed once that day. Yay! But they still took some blood again.Nurses and everyone going into my room were friendly and nice by the way. I still had a mild fever that day. I slept.

Alive for another day! I was hoping to get discharged but they wouldn’t let me. They said we had to wait for the blood culture. The day was quiet. I received a box of chocolate from my very sweet bf, T.

After work hours, Z was back, then K, then M, then M&E, then G. Wahh. It was like a party in my room. But then, they all had to leave by 9pm. Back to the silence….no….more phone calls from concerned people, like T, my mum etc. Slept while on phone with T.

Another day! Yay! I was told that I might be discharged today. And yes! Before lunch, I was discharged. I was discharged not knowing exactly what went wrong. The only thing we were aware of as of the moment was that I was having anemia. Not sure of what’s causing it though. They said, they’d refer me for Gastro. Anyway, I was just happy to go home!

To be honest, I feel scared. I’ve always thought if I have some form of disease, I wouldn’t want to know anymore. But when you are within the “sick bubble”, you would want to know. It was scary to know but not to know is even scarier!

I see patients all the time, and now, I completely know how it feels like to be in their shoes. It was unnerving. The anxiety of not knowing what to expect and just completely letting go of your own will because your body needs other people and things (docs and medications) to help it. The helplessness you feel when mind over matter is not anymore helping very much.

I feel lost and hyper-concerned. I miss running but I ain’t sure if I should still do it.

This illness is still an unfinished business. I am not sure yet if the symptoms will come back one of these days. I hope not! I pray that it won’t. I will have to be healthier! I will start with mild exercises and slowly turn beast mode again when I have fully recovered!

With this, I would like to thank my family and friends who were there for and with me during the whole ordeal. I am so blessed with a few but real ones. I know they will always be there.

I was humbled. I realized I am fragile, my body, my mind, and my spirit.

I left the experience hoping not to ever be in the same bubble again!

THANK YOU, FAMILY AND FRIENDS! I love you all!

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