Indeed, there is beauty in simplicity, but it has never been so apparent to me than in the last five days I spent in Siargao. This captivating remote island is bereft of materilisim, commercialism, and pretense. And while Instagram has painted a pretty reputation for Siargao, this no-filter-needed beach is actually a very modest, unassuming place that perfectly epitomizes simple island living.
The last time I was in Coron was in 2008, over ten years ago. That time, Coron was not that popular. We arrived via a ship that took us first to Bohol then Boracay, with Coron as the culminating destination. My fond memories of that trip included a beautiful set of islands, untouched and absolutely breathtaking.
Coming back was something I had looked forward to because one, I love the beach and couldn’t wait to be reunited with the sea. And two, Coron was one of the locations at the top of my list of favorite beaches. Pocholo and I had been eyeing it for some time but had never been able to actually book a trip. Luckily, the Perreras family decided that this year’s annual trip would be in Coron–finally, it happened!
When I found out that we were going to hike up Mt. Sinai during our Holy Land tour, I was undeniably ecstatic. I knew this was something I would probably never be able to do again! Mt. Sinai was where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It was definitely a valuable historical and religious site that I wanted to go to.
We were briefed about the trip before the tour group flew out from Manila, and I have to admit, after all the advice and precautionary tips mentioned, climbing up this mountain started to feel very daunting–most especially because I’m not a regular hiker.
Here are some of the things they mentioned.
- It takes a total of nine hours to climb–this is the average for beginners or non-hikers.
- There are no decent toilets.
- There are a total of seven pit stops going up where people who feel like they can no longer hike can rest and wait until the group passes for them on the way down. (You can’t go down on your own, for safety reasons.)
- Each pit stop serves coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks, so the group can always take a break there as well before resuming the climb.
- There’s an option to ride a camel for about 3/4 of the journey, but the last leg consists of 750 steps up to the peak. Camels are no longer allowed up this last leg.
- If any of us lived a sedentary life, our tour organizers highly recommended that we start exercising and getting our bodies physically prepared.
I wasn’t completely inactive, so I prepared by mainly altering my workout making sure I included leg strengthening and stamina building. I did a lot of squats, lunges, weighted step-ups, and running. I also bought entry level hiking shoes for better grip and compression leggings to help with the cold weather.
I find it very hard to put into words what this trip was like. Whenever people ask me about it, I say it was an eye-opening experience, but I always find myself short of words, unable to fully express what the trip really meant to me. And though words may never be enough, I will now narrate, to the best of my abilities, what transpired during our two-week long journey to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. Such a trip is definitely worth sharing with all of you. Here goes.
Jordan was our first stop and I came to Jordan with zero expectations, not because of disinterest, but because of lack of knowledge about the country. I was not aware that this place had a lot to offer. I only had Petra in mind as a place to look forward to, but I was proven wrong the moment we alighted from the plane and headed to our first two stops, Madaba and Mt. Nebo.
St. George’s Church
Mosaic at St. George’s Church
Korea was not initially in our bucket list, but since we love Korean food and I had recently gotten into the Korean beauty craze, it was about time we booked a ticket to this popular Asian destination. We spent a total of five days exploring Seoul and immersing in the city life. Here’s a quick recap of where we went, what we did, and what we love about Korea.
First Stop: Hongdae
When we were doing research, we discovered that Hongdae was the place to be if you were young and into everything K-Pop. We aren’t K-Pop fanatics but we did consider ourselves young-ish (haha!) and we wanted to explore this side of town. We booked our Airbnb just a stop away from the main street.
Hongdae is full of character–from the street food, to the students that perform a whole repertoire of K-pop dances and songs on the streets. Everywhere you look, you’ll find something interesting. Small shops line the streets with unique finds and the most unusual of things. You’ll also come across thrift pop-up stores where you can find Korean fashion wear at affordable rates. We also had the BEST Korean barbecue in a restaurant in Hongdae called Red Piggy Bank. If you visit the area, please make room for a meal here. And even if we had quite a lot of time walking around this area, I felt like I still needed to see more of this lively place.
Last month my family and I went on a five-day cruise on the Superstar Virgo. Since none of us had been on a cruise before, it was a new experience we all were eager to try. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts and my Instagram account, you know that my family loves to travel. We like to visit old and new places, and we’re an adventurous bunch.
Last July, the Perreras family decided to visit Bohol for a relaxing summer getaway. I had been to Bohol before, but it was only a quick overnight stopover so I wasn’t able to see much. Luckily, during this second trip, the family made sure to see what the city had to offer, and allot enough time to enjoy the beach.
We, Filipinos, are so lucky. We live within reach of the most beautiful beaches. Case in point: Amanpulo. If you’re following me on Instagram, you would have already gotten a glimpse of this breathtaking island. Was it such a tease? Well, allow me to share with you more about Amanpulo now.
While most budding teens experience the ultimate Boracay graduation trip, I, on the other hand, was only able to visit the island with family. It’s no secret that I have strict parents. So every time friends and officemates would invite me to a trip in Boracay, I would decline straight out. I think the wild stories about the night life really made my parents (maybe more of my dad), worry every time they’d toy about the idea of letting their only daughter go to Boracay without their supervision.