Tag Archive: Travel


It has been a hectic rest of the year. I don’t think I’ve stopped to breathe since moving again in September. A lot has changed in my life, and I am still trying to figure out where it all fits. So when painter and friend, Alejandro Botubol,  invited me to a ferris wheel ride, I thought it would be a great way to see a different perspective. Sevilla, being one of the world’s heritage sites, has no buildings taller than the Giralda. Near sunset was definitely the perfect hour to go, with the sun setting the sky ablaze in the horizon.

Christmas Fair Rides

Skating rink gives a more winter feel.

The Cathedral and the Giralda as seen from the ferris wheel.

Sevillian sunset.

Painter Alejandro Botubol.

I was lucky enough to be hosted by someone who had a spectacular view of the city of Segovia. This is one of the most memorable sunsets I have ever seen.

❤ Help keep my dream of travelling and photographing the world alive ❤

The Feria de Abril of Seville is THE biggest social event of the year. Residents spend the whole year pinching pennies and preparing for this festive week of food, drink and of course, Sevillanas, a traditional dance which is a branch of flamenco, named for the city that made it popular. Over a year ago I was invited by my then roommate to his families traditional feria preparatory lunch. Which is to say, they shake out the dust from the costumes and accessories, prepare the outfits for this year’s festivities and have a similar lunch as to one you might have in the casetas (tents), followed by a good round of Sevillanas. The afternoon turned into a good opportunity for me to do some portraiture, working with mixed natural and basic, harsh house lights.

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A few months ago while looking for some old correspondence in my Gmail account, I came across some emails that lead me to my old blog. I had completely forgotten that I had started one before and it had gotten misplaced in my head somewhere in the last 3 continents.

Before moving to Vitoria, Brazil, I was a mental wreck. I had a huge loft to myself filled with clothing (I was a girly girl back then, the Imelda Marcos kind of absurdity) and hundreds of books – not to mention art supplies, darkroom photography supplies, and archives.

In the midst of the disaster, somewhere between crying and calling Goodwill (or was it Salvation Army?), I sat down and found humor in my misery …

The 5 Stages of Packing

(First published February 28th, 2006)

Whilst packing for what seems like the 45th time in the year, I had come to realise that packing follows the same 5 stages as grief. I will emphasize:

Denial

– Denial that the baggage limitations have changed
– Denial that suitcases are really made just those sizes

Bargaining

– One starts to bargain one item for another (”this top would be more practical since it goes with more pants than this top …”)
– ”But, but, I could really, really use 5 pairs of flip flops while I’m there”, ”We could be trapped in a monsoon!!!”

Anger

– One starts to be angry with themselves for not being able to live without such unnecessary items
– One starts to be angry with inanimate objects who just don’t seem to shrink or fold as much as one would like to
– One becomes angry with the airlines for putting such ridiculously small baggage limits
– One starts to stop, push, punch and use other forms of violence in order to make more space in the luggage

Despair

– One feels pain for having to leave so many things behind
– One feels a sense of deep loss for said objects
– One becomes anguished with this loss

Acceptance

– One accepts that need is more important than want and has to choose items based on this fact
– One bids farewell to excess baggage (and in this case, literally)
– One consoles oneself that ”hey, if I miss something, at least I will have an excuse to shop”

❤ Help keep my dream of travelling and photographing the world alive ❤

4 summers ago, I was a starry-eyed girl just starting to soak up the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of this wonderful city. I had just barely started to learn Spanish, navigate myself through the maze of old moorish maze of streets, or get accustomed to the Sevillian lifestyle.

My dear friend Carlos had warned me, it gets hot. Really, really hot. And everyone leaves and the city is left with the ancient ghosts of Romans and Phoenicians (ok those are actually my descriptions). I of course thought he was exaggerating, and did not heed his words. I am of course from the tropics and I could take it, and this city didn’t seem like a desert at all.

So I had decided to stay in the city for the summer of 2008. I was then working in a fine dining restaurant called Tribeca, and I didn’t want to leave the job I had just found to fund my European adventure.

Sure enough, it got hot. It averaged between 43°C – 47°C degrees (109°F – 116°F), with a couple of days hitting the 50s (122°F+). And everyone did leave. I was left not only with the ghosts of the city’s previous invader’s and occupants, but with a hodgepodge of people’s pets (well someone had to take care of them while the smarter ones fled the infierno in pursuit of cooler pastures).

It sizzled, it scorched. I learned. I learned which times of days to do your shopping. The time of day to nap. In the silence and lack of company, I studied my grammar and my vocabulary. Under the cover of the cool night, I learned the map of the city streets while walking a friend’s dog. And this way, the city became mine.

We’d somehow always end up by the river – me and Casper, the dog. The light breeze at night somehow always leads one there. And I took comfort in it. I treasure that first summer I had. Because it gave me the time, and the solitude, to really look around me and absorb just how beautiful this city that I had just then started to call home is.

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Photos taken with my then new Olympus Tough 1030 SW

❤ Help keep my dream of travelling and photographing the world alive ❤

Dances with bulls

Bullfighter Daniel Luque comes dangerously close to a bull.

While not a Cathloic myself I’ve grown quite acustomed to the imagery of the faith, growing up in the Philippines and of the more recent years I’ve spent living in Seville, Spain. Seville could be said, is the center of the nationwide celebration of the Holy Week, the tradition being preserved here the best and continues to involve and widen in its circle of followers.

I have never been to a wine tasting or wine pairing of sorts in Spain. Which is quite strange actually, I have has visuals in my head as wine-guzzling sangria fiends. I arrive here to find that the national day-to-day drink is beer. So when a friend invited me to a cata in one of my favorite restaurants around the corner from my house, I jumped at the chance.

Barajas 20 has been open only a few short months, but it has quickly gained popularity with Sevillians. A somewhat out of place tiled portrayal of Jesus carrying the cross marks its entrance to pay respect to Jesús del Gran Poder, one of the most important churches of Seville, just down the street. Inside feels like a small-town (yet busy) train station bistro. The evolving menus are handwritten which compromises of wines beyond the typical Rioja, and classic Spanish cuisine with a touch of the house’s own flavor.

The pairing featured 3 wines – Red, white and rosé. Together with 3 tapas picked to complement each wine’s flavor, acidity and specific flavors from each region. I started off with the red (of course I would), from Ronda in Málaga. Heavy and deep-burgundy, paired well with the cannelloni with Iberian meat. The white, Las Corazas from Castilla, was paired off with a variation of the blood sausage, this one being from squid in its ink, topped with salty algae. I liked how the saltiness of the leaf contrasted with the sweetness of the wine. The best one of the night had to be the rosé, which surprised me since I barely drink sweeter, fruity wines anymore. A Catalan wine, Synera is appealing from the first moment. The smell is tantalizing and strong, a bouquet of berries, wild and fresh. I personally love berried and chicken together and was pleased to find the wine paired of with a brochette of chicken in mushroom sauce.

All in all … good food, good friends, good wine, good night!



Barajas 20 Tapas
Conde de Barajas nº 20 Sevilla

Surviving a Sandstorm

Around this time in 2008, I was caught unexpectedly in a sub-Saharan sandstorm. There was a certain hilariousness about the situation. We had stopped to visit  an old African city, whose name I cannot remember (help would be very much appreciated). It stood out proudly, starkingly red against the blue skies and its lush green oasis-like surroundings.

 

The new city across the ”river” carries on the architecture of the older city.

We walked around the outskirts of the older city, observing the details of North African architecture, which then, seemed to otherworldly to me.

Stopping to talk with a local tribesman, the wind picked up.

Everyone scattered for cover. There was a brief moment of confusion and my friend Ravena started to scream out to me ”Where are we going to go?! Which side?” As we couldn’t figure out whether to take shelter in the old city which was closer, or make a run for our van in the new city. We finally took up shelter right under the gate of the old city, until the storm let up and we then set off to spend the night in the Sahara.

Early one morning in Havana, my tico (Costa Rican) friend Oscar and I

heard raised voices and found an old woman complaining to a florist

about the price of his sunflowers. She angrily stalked into her house

and the florist gives us this sheepish look before cycling away into the

busy city streets.