Torn Between Two Mindoros

For my mid-summer trip, I went to Mindoro – to both its Oriental and Occidental sides. It was a logistical decision. I had three trips lined up for the next few months. I chose to do this first because I was unsure of the political situation in Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro, my main point of […]

Coral Cay Conservation: Volunteer Tourism That Works

For my Southern Leyte trip, the first stop was Coral Cay Conservation‘s base camp. This was right next to Napantao, the province’s oldest MPA (marine protected area). It was an opportunity to check out the MPA and see volunteer tourism in action. Volunteer tourism refers to individuals who visit other countries as volunteers for international […]

On Meeting Reynan and His Tacloban

Tacloban was not the destination during my last trip but I needed to pass through the city. I dreaded to pass through it. It was my first time but it felt otherwise. Popular media had already mapped a Tacloban that suffered tragedies both natural and unnatural. The city, post Haiyan / Yolanda, was a picture […]

Dahican Beach, Mati City: Paradise on the Brink

I know of places like Boracay and Puerto Galera before their massive commercialization through older friends. They talked about doing road trips in pick-up trucks filled with tanks, dive gear, and eager diving friends to get to a mostly empty Sabang, Puerto Galera. Dives were exploratory. Food and accommodations were simple and cheap. Life was […]

Roots, Traditions and Remembering: On Meeting Apo Whang Od and Experiencing Buscalan

The trip to Buscalan, Kalinga Apayao meant two things for me. It was a return to the mountains – my rambling roots, having started out as a mountaineer before I took to the ocean. It was also my chance to get tattooed by Apo Whang Od, the last mambabatok (traditional tattoo artist). And while the […]