Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CHRISTMAS Giveaway: WIN a pair of Lakhambini shoes!

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The birth of LAKHAMBINI has given me so much to learn about and reflect on. And because of this exciting venture, I've decided to do something that'll show how grateful I am to those who've continuously showed us love and support since Day 1.

Everyone deserves to feel blessed like I do, especially this Christmas. So what better way to say THANK YOU than to host a giveaway before the year ends, right? That's why I'm throwing one, and you can easily WIN A LOVELY PAIR OF LAKHAMBINIS THIS YULETIDE SEASON!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

LAKHAMBINI: The fruit of our travels and love for Philippine culture and heritage

November 27, 2014 0
It all came to me on a hot and humid August day, like a sudden rush of blood to the head. Finally, I had a business plan in mind that I could definitely see through in the long run --- something that I felt I'd be pursuing head on no matter what. I knew there would be a lot of risks, especially on the financial end of things. But I just knew that it was going to be worth chasing after.

Everything just came together. My love for traveling, my interest in meeting different individuals on the road and listening to their stories, discovering cultural treasures, and finding purpose in every trip that I come home from. I've always known that traveling, as one of my passions in life, would always lead me to some of the most fulfilling adventures. And exploring the Philippines, my home country, has led me to a venture that I instantly fell in love with --- LAKHAMBINI.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Love Microtel - General Santos

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I really had no plans to travel in the last quarter of this year due to some financial priorities. But Travel Expos happen to have this charm that just seems to attract you into purchasing at least a ticket or two. As for me, I ended up booking a round trip plane ticket that was bound for General Santos via Philippine Airlines. General Santos, which is the southernmost city in the Philippines, is part of the SOCCSKSARGEN region (stands for the region's 4 provinces and one of its cities: South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City). Although governed as an independent city, "GenSan" is geographically located in the province of South Cotabato. It also serves as the gateway to several municipalities such as Maasim, Alabel, and Malungon in Saranggani, as well as Polomolok and T'boli in South Cotabato.

Like everyone else on transit, looking for a place to stay-in is very important. And for a budget traveler like me, I always make it a point to find affordable accommodations that also offer quality spaces. That's when I found Microtel by Wyndham - General Santos

I loved everything that Microtel General Santos offered us. Everything was impeccable, from the complimentary pick-up at the airport to our smooth hotel checkout. But it doesn't end there. So allow me to count the ways, as to why I loved our accommodations in the "Tuna Capital of the Philippines".

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to commute to LCCT to Downtown KL and back (before it ceased operations)

September 23, 2014 0
DISCLAIMER: This is a late post. This was my experience commuting to LCCT, back when it was still operational.

It was our first time to travel to Malaysia. But the city's transportation system was something that we quickly learned about. It's fairly easy to commute to the metropolis when coming from Kuala Lumpur's Low Cost Carrier Terminal. So regardless of the time of your arrival, there will be buses parked right outside the airport, ready to transport you to downtown KL.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LSM Square Residences: A Nice and Reasonably-priced Lodging in Boracay

September 20, 2014 0
Rubel was set to leave for work abroad on a September. So we made sure to book a quick getaway to celebrate our advance anniversary, and to also do a sort of despedida for him. We wanted to go the beach, and just have a relaxing time, so going to Boracay was an immediate choice. But since we lacked the time to do any decent research on where to stay, we chose to browse lodging options via Agoda. And after narrowing our selections, we eventually booked LSM Square Residences.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 5 in Malaysia (KL): A great end to a 6-day journey!

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Rubel had to travel back home for a wedding. So I was left alone in the hotel, and in Kuala Lumpur for another 24 hours. But that didn't stop me from wandering around the city on my own. It was actually nice of my friends to invite me again for some girl bonding. So we went around the city's hip and happening shopping centers that morning.

Christmas decors at Berjaya Times Square (November 2013)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 4 in Malaysia: 5 Must-see Shopping Havens in Kuala Lumpur

August 26, 2014 2
On our 4th day in Malaysia, Rubel and I spent the whole morning traveling by bus from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. The entire road trip took around 4 hours, since other passengers were picked up at the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal (plus one stopover). But we were able to arrive in KL just in time for lunch. We also met up with Rubel’s sister-in-law, Melody at KL Sentral (where we alighted), and went directly to Tune Hotel via cab. Yes, we came back to the same hotel since we loved its room and amenities. It was a budget traveler’s haven!

Penang to KL via Alisan Golden Coach (comes with reclining seats, power outlets, Wi-Fi connection)

Melody wanted to show us around the Central Market area, so we left immediately. So when we finally settled in at our hotel, the three of us headed straight to Sultan Ismail LRT (a 5-minute walk from the hotel via footbridge). The single journey ticket from Sultan Ismail to Pasar Seni is 2.20/person. 

DIRECTIONS: From Sultan Ismail, get down at Masjid Jamek Station. Then alight at the next train that’s bound for Pasar Seni. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 3 in Malaysia (Penang): A quick tour around Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple

August 15, 2014 0

Did you know that Penang is a thriving Malaysian destination? It sure is! Considered as one of the country’s well-developed states (being technologically advanced and highly urbanized), Pulau Pinang (in Malay) is an island state that nurtures an interesting multicultural community. The “Pearl of the Orient” is also known for its remarkable heritage sites, multiracial citizenry, and diverse yet sumptuous cuisines.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 2 in Malaysia (Penang): Discovering George Town's historical sites and sensational street art

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When Rubel and I were still planning our trip to Malaysia, we initially included 3 places for us to visit: Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca. Unfortunately, the latter had to be dropped due to time constraints. But we were glad that we pushed through in visiting KL, and most especially Penang. The Guardian actually listed it as part of the "World's Top 10 Best City to visit in 2014". And according to Yahoo, Penang is also part of the "Top 10 Islands to explore before you die".

I fell in love with Penang, as the UNESCO World Heritage Site was just beautiful and exquisite. But what I loved the most about it was how diverse the cultures and races were in the state. And basing it from our observations, a multiracial community existed in harmony despite having different cultures, languages and religions (there are Malays, Indians, Chinese, Arabs just to name a few)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 1 in Malaysia: 5 Sightseeing and foodspotting locations worth exploring in Kuala Lumpur

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I didn't have any immediate plans to visit Malaysia. But I definitely included it in my travel list, just so I could see the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, I've heard and read about the country and its rich culture. But I didn't give it that much thought. But when my Filipino friends urged for me to visit their second home, I gave it a go and was not left disappointed. Malaysia, let alone its lovely cities and states, have sincerely kept me in awe. 

Malaysia, being the melting pot of religions, hosts a cordial, multiracial community. And in my time in Kuala Lumpur and Penang did I see how the society really lived harmoniously despite being so diverse.

Monday, June 30, 2014

An Overpriced and Unimpressive hotel room at Tagaytay Haven Hotel Mendez

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Rubel and I were already searching for affordable hotels in Tagaytay for weeks before settling for Tagaytay Haven Hotel in Mendez. We needed an accommodation in the city in time for his friends wedding (last November 2013) --- somewhere near the church and Sonya's Garden. And since I loved Tagaytay Haven's other hotel by Ulat, I assumed that their Mendez branch would be as pleasant. I mean, their photos online (rooms and facilities) looked impressive. Then again, the actual thing disappointed us.

Rubel already went ahead of me since he was part of the wedding entourage. I, on the otherhand, came the day after. The driver had a hard time locating the hotel. So we got lost a few times. It was true when my beau said that the hotel was a bit hard to locate. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Biliran Island: A Quality Lodging For P2,000 Only At Agta Beach Resort

June 26, 2014 0
I didn't have a hard time searching for a lodging in Biliran Island, especially one that's located by the beach. So when AGTA BEACH RESORT popped into the search engine, I knew it was what I was looking for. 

It was the first week of November when my friend and I traveled in some areas of Eastern Visayas. I flew to Tacloban via PAL Express, and went straight to Biliran Island with Coreene. Her father drove us to the Van-Van Tours terminal (straight from the airport), where a shuttle van took us directly to the Municipality of Naval. It took us around 2 1/2 hours on the road before reaching Biliran's capital. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: 6 Tacloban City Sites Worth Seeing During Daytime

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Coreene and I woke up early so that we could get a head start in touring Tacloban City. I still had a lot on my list that I wanted to see, so we went shortly after breakfast. And by 7 AM we were already off to see the Boyscout Monument and MacArthur Park (did a commute via tricycle). Coreene's dad fetched us at McDonalds Downtown a few hours later, to drive us to several more tourist spots. 

1) The BOYSCOUNT MONUMENT in Palo was the first ever Boyscout monument that was created in human form. It was put up in 1941. [Read more about it HERE.]

Friday, June 13, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: 6 Tacloban City Sites Worth Seeing At Night

June 13, 2014 0
Biliran and Ormoc are amazing places. As both areas made me fall more in love with my country. The waterfalls and the rice terraces in Biliran were remarkable. And the historical structures in Ormoc made me appreciate more of the Philippines' past hardships and achievements. So if you've already explored much of Visayas (or any part of the archipelago for that matter), then you will surely agree that "It's More Fun In The Philippines."

But my 4-day backpacking trip in Eastern Visayas didn't end in Biliran and Ormoc City. I continued to wander through Region VIII, and spent my last two days in Tacloban City --- Coreene's hometown. Cuks randomly asked me about plans on visiting her there. We haven't seen each other for so long since she worked abroad. So I decided to book a plane ticket without hesitation. I did it not just for the sake of traveling to a new Philippine destination, but to also spend time with a friend that I missed dearly. I actually thought that I wouldn't be able to make the trip since I broke my 5th metatarsal 3 weeks before the actual departure. But when I had the chance to rebook my plane ticket without being charged, I moved the trip to November. And in the most inopportune time, I left Tacloban a day before Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. [You can read my short tribute HERE]. 

Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed several areas in Tacloban --- a few of the sites that I will write about here. So allow me to pay tribute to this wonderful place by showing you its beauty before it was ruined by the storm.

Monday, June 9, 2014

#STAYCATION at The Exchange Regency Residences Hotel, Ortigas

June 09, 2014 0
Every now and then, Rubel and I would treat each other to a nice food sesh, a spa date or to a hotel staycation (if time and budget permits) whenever we would feel stressed from work, which he has been experiencing more intensely these days. So we decided to make time to reenergize, and booked a weekend stay at the Exchange Regency Residences Hotel in Ortigas.

#STAYCATION at The Exchange Regency Residences Hotel, Ortigas

June 09, 2014 0
Every now and then, Rubel and I would treat each other to a nice food sesh, a spa date or to a hotel staycation (if time and budget permits) whenever we would feel stressed from work, which he has been experiencing more intensely these days. So we decided to make time to reenergize, and booked a weekend stay at the Exchange Regency Residences Hotel in Ortigas.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Weekend Warriors: A Quick Trip to Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas

June 07, 2014 0
I was never a fan of camping outdoors, so my initial response when my friends invited me to go to Calaguas was, “let me check my schedule first.” I wasn’t too keen on the idea of doing a long road trip, let alone sleep by the beach – devoid of all basic necessities. I've always been the type of traveler who likes comfy accommodations. But my love for my friends was far too great to decline an adventure-packed weekend away from the city. And I’m glad that Calaguas didn’t disappoint.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Relaxation After Travel: Klinec Nail and Body Spa - A spa destination in Quezon City

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When my friend got married in Lingayen, Pangasinan last April, I failed to get my nails done in time for the event. I was rushing to get some work done, so I managed to just cut my nails, and dab them with natural nail polish. I wasn't part of the entourage. But it would've been better if I got myself made up a little bit. Oh, if I only knew that I was going to be the last person to get the bouquet (and you know what comes next to that --- putting the garter into my unkept feet and into my leg!). I definitely yearned for a nice spa session right after that nerve-wracking surprise! 

Anyway, when an invitation to review a nail and body spa was sent my way, it was definitely something that I couldn't say no to. It came at an opportune time as well since I just came from a camping trip in Calaguas. And you know what they say... travelers also need to get pampered every once in a while.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

FOOD + TRAVEL: A fusion of affordable Filipino and Asian dishes at St. Nicholas, Mandaluyong

May 24, 2014 6
It's rare for me to write about restaurants here in the Metro, as I often blog about the ones that I dine at when I'm traveling out of the city. But when I was invited and introduced to this restaurant in Mandaluyong, something in me had to say, "YES! GO RSVP!" And so I did, and I sincerely loved the experience thereafter.   

For a Budget Biyahera like me, it pays to know where money is going, especially if I'm saving up for a trip. So affordable yet quality-made meals in the city will definitely help me with not spending too much. And let me just say that St. Nicholas was certainly a great find!

Monday, May 5, 2014

10 Pangasinan Tourist Spots Worth Wandering Through (Only in Lingayen & Calasiao)

I've been to Pangasinan once with my dad when I was a kid, and I remember enjoying my time in the province. So when an opportunity to visit 2 of its municipalities were given to us [April 26 to 27, 2014], I couldn't pass up the chance to explore its travel-worthy destinations.

According to Wikipedia: "The name Pangasinan means "place for salt" or "place of salt-making"; it is derived from the prefix pang, meaning "for", the root word asin, meaning "salt”, and suffix an, signifying "location." The province is a major producer of salt in the Philippines. Its major products include "bagoong" ("salted-fish") and "agamang" ("salted-shrimp").

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The President Hotel: An affordable and no-frills hotel in Lingayen, Pangasinan

May 01, 2014 4
If you're looking for a no-frills accommodation that is both comfy and affordable when visiting Lingayen, then you should check out THE PRESIDENT HOTEL. It's close to several tourist destinations (walking distance), and is just an 8-minute walk to the beach. 

My friend and I arrived in Lingayen around 12:15 AM. From the Victory Liner terminal, we then hailed a tricycle to the hotel (travel was less than 5-min). We were actually glad that there was a guard who stood by the gate, and a male receptionist that welcomed us that early morning. We were told that the rooms at the main building was fully-booked, so we were given a spacious unit at the Annex building. It was just a 1-2 minute walk from the main hotel.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: A Half-day affair in Lake Danao, Ormoc

April 23, 2014 3
I haven't experienced a close encounter with any Philippine lake before. But I've seen several from afar. So I couldn't contain my excitement when we were getting ready to visit Lake Danao in Ormoc. Leyte's lagoon is said to be guitar-shaped and is of volcanic origin. What used to be called "Lake Imelda" (now called Lake Danao Natural Park) covers an area of around 148 hectares or 370 acres.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

8 Jaw-dropping Reasons Why I Love Zambawood (which I bet you'll agree with!)

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Now that you know how ZAMBAWOOD started, then I'm sure you're all excited as to what the luxury beach resort will have in store for you --- because when you stay at the San Narciso haven, you're sure to have the whole place to yourself. Their amenities are to die for! So I bet you'll get hooked with this lovely Zambales sanctuary! Below are 8 jaw-dropping reasons why I love Zambawood.

I loved the fact that the resort has character. So if I were to have a place of my own, I would design it towards Zambawood's aesthetics. I was that impressed with the whole look. Mrs. Rachel Harrison, being an Architecture graduate from UST, designed the entire house (both exterior and interior decoration). You'll also find that most furnishings in the house came mostly from their travels around the world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ZAMBAWOOD: A Purpose-built luxury beach resort in the heart of San Narciso, Zambales

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So much has happened in a span of two days. Two weekends may have already passed yet the memories of a short getaway is still fresh in my mind. ZAMBAWOOD is a hidden paradise. And I felt truly blessed and fortunate to have been invited to stay in such a beautiful luxury beach resort.

I was taken aback when I found out the price for one night's stay at Zambawood. But when I learned more about it, I immediately felt what a remarkable place it was. It's definitely worth every penny!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A magical display of lights at the 5th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

March 29, 2014 2
Last weekend was unforgettable. I never thought that I would feel so elated just by watching a Pyromusical by the bay. I mean, I've never really seen anything as bold and as vibrant up-close (given the short distance from the seawall where the fireworks were lit). I guess, seeing it in close proximity felt really different, as opposed to seeing them already fired up in the sky every New Year's day. 

Anyway, the seaside boulevard of SM Mall of Asia looked really amazing. It was packed with people, all waiting for the event to start --- the 5th (and the last one for the year) Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: Half-day tour in Ormoc City Part I.

March 13, 2014 2
It started to get all gloomy when we left Agta Beach Resort. But thanks to Melo's father (who was on his way to Tacloban Airport), we were able to hitch a free ride all the way to Lemon Junction. The skies were getting pretty dark while we were on the road. But it only started pouring when we got dropped off at the intersection. Talk about being lucky! Anyhow, Coreene and I had to wait for 10 more minutes before we finally got on a regular Ormoc-bound bus. 

We were standing half of the time on the bus. But I had no complaints. I was thankful that we were able to meet our host a good hour later. We were actually glad when the rain stopped as we were nearing Ormoc's bus terminal. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: Half-day tour in Biliran Island Part I.

March 03, 2014 3
It's been almost 4 months since I visited Eastern Visayas, particularly the areas of Tacloban, Biliran and Ormoc. Although I have friends in those cities that have been updating us of some progress from their provinces, I still couldn't digress the tragedy that has struck these precious areas late last year. I've actually contemplated about writing my visit to these cities before the Super Typhoon hit the Philippines. But for now, until these places fully recover, let me share to you the many scenic attractions that my friend and I witnessed during our 4-day backpacking trip last November 2013.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Food + Travel: A taste of Japan at Yaku Japanese Grill, Mandaluyong

February 24, 2014 8
My friend Clarice didn't want to eat anything heavy for our dinner date, which meant no rice to our meals. So I went ahead and looked for a Chinese or Japanese restaurant that would cater to her request. Good enough, Yaku Japanese Grill came into sight.

Yaku can be located on the 3rd floor of the Podium Mall, Ortigas. It's sort of hidden from sight. But you'll know you're in the right track when you see a Toy Store and a chinese restaurant on the left side of the floor area.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The new sharing economy: Authentic and local experiences for travellers

February 18, 2014 0
You probably all know how much I love food and traveling! I discovered a new collaborative website which combines my two loves. The travel platform Withlocals connects locals in Asia with travellers from all over the world. They can share their love for their culture, traveling and food, which will definitely create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for both the tourist, as well as the traveller!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How we manage the Ups and Downs of traveling as a couple

February 12, 2014 0
If you've been following my love story, then you already know that I've been in a relationship since 2007. And it is through our 6 years of being together and of traveling as a couple, did we come to know the best and the worst parts of each other. And since it's the love month, I'll be sharing how Rubel and I manage some of the joys and woes of wandering together.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Food+Travel: A so-so dining experience at Jim's Retro Diner, Baguio

February 10, 2014 5
I probably gained so much when I last visited Baguio, as all I ever did was eat, sleep and roam around. I mean, if you were traveling with someone like my brother (who has a really fast metabolism), then you'd probably be sampling a lot of grub too. Plus, he probably mistook my wallet for being a bank since he'd be pointing his finger on whatever food branch he sees --- which happens at least every hour when we're out. 

So what we did that first night in Baguio was to scout in Session Road for a good place to dine in. We initially wanted to try something different, something that wasn't serving fast food. Yet we still ended up in a diner. So after going up and down the area, we finally decided to try Jim's Retro Diner (located at the ground floor of La Azotea Building).

Friday, February 7, 2014

5 Years Later: How we spent our weekend in Baguio

February 07, 2014 3
I've always wanted to go back to Baguio, but I just couldn't pencil it in my schedule. Then again, I also had other travel goals (i.e. aiming to visit other places that I haven't been to yet). But last October, I finally had the chance to journey up north again. And this time, with a purpose in mind.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Food + Travel: Dine amidst Baguio's famous Cafe by the Ruins

January 31, 2014 25
While I was sifting through the rolls of indigenous textiles at Easter Weaving Baguio, my brother suddenly whispered into my ears "gutom nako.." (I'm hungry). I actually asked him to buy something to eat from the nearby store, but he immediately declined. And since he wanted me to finish my 'textile shopping', he waited until I was done. He's such a supportive brother, right? So as a reward for being such a good companion (and since I was the only one who benefited from this specific travel), I treated him to a sumptuous lunch at Cafe by the Ruins.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Travel Baguio: Weaving my dreams into life with Easter Weaving's Indigenous Textiles

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One of the places that I've always wanted to visit in Baguio was Easter Weaving. The weaving center was actually one of the reasons why I wanted to make a quick trip up north. So when my brother and I finally agreed on a date last October 2013, we went on our way to the summer capital of the Philippines. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Admiring Manila Bay's Beautiful Sunset At Harbor Square

January 22, 2014 15
When Rubel and I reached our 70th month last October, we decided to do something special for that date. And since I was craving for a nice dinner setup, we chose to meet at Harbor Square right after work. But as soon as we reached the port, the stench from the bay reeked that we ended up eating at Army Navy (2nd floor). It was actually a good decision to move upstairs since a panoramic view of Manila bay looked more spectacular from where we sat (Manila's famous sunset and skyline are best seen from the top).

I love Manila Bay despite its polluted air, scattered trash and spoiled black waters. And I'll always be caught in awe with its many other wonders.

Monday, January 20, 2014

iSuites: Cubao's very own Japanese-inspired hotel

January 20, 2014 12
It was only last year when we found comfort and enjoyment in what others referred to as 'staycations'. So after enjoying our stay at Great Eastern Hotel and Orion Hotel, Rubel and I went on another quick getaway. But this time, we opted to stay somewhere close by. And since we were both stressed out from our respective jobs, we decided to spend one night at iSuites just to unwind.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Throwback Travels: Reminiscing my college days in UP Diliman

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[June 2013 entry...]

I was supposed to go home right after having brunch with my college friends. But for some reason, I urged myself to walk around UP Diliman before going home. So I obliged myself with a little 'me' time. I mean, my recently injured foot could also use some exercise, so I trailed away.

My friend dropped me off in-front of CAL (College of Arts & Letters) before going back to her class. And from there, I started my slow walk. That's when I started taking pictures of the buildings that I used to frequent back when I was still in college. Here are just some of the structures that made me reminisce the good ol' days.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fuel your passion for travel writing with a Moleskine notebook

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Before there were hi-tech gadgets where 'notes' can easily be typed and saved, I first jotted down many details of my travels on just a simple notepad. I would write down the street names that I passed-by, the directions going to certain locations and attractions, and the expenses incurred from the many establishments that I've visited along the way (costs on transportation, food, shopping, etc.). So writing down my entries on several blank pages was my way of documenting the places that I've already been to. Of course, I recorded everything that was going to be of use to me, to help me write my travel stories in full detail later on. So you can just imagine how nostalgic it felt when I started documenting my travels again (after several years) using this spiffy looking journal --- a special edition, 'The Travel Club Moleskine'. This notebook was all the more special because the company behind TTC just celebrated 20 fruitful years of being in the retail business. That's a milestone right there!