Cebu: Vacation and #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Hello, WordPress followers! If you also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Litsy, then you would know that I was on vacation on Cebu for a few days. Cebu is one of the provinces in the Visayas region in the Philippines, and I went to Moalboal and Cebu City. It was my first time in Cebu and I had a great time! Also realized that the last time I traveled on a domestic flight was in 2011 when I went to Bohol. I’m hoping to be able to do more local travel in the near future. While I was in Cebu, I was able to do some #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy posts so I’m including those in this update.

In Moalboal, we stayed at the gorgeous Hale Manna resort, which is owned by Liana’s family. Liana blogs at Will Read for Feels and I met her through the circle of romance readers in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me at how I keep meeting awesome bookish people, both online and in real life. I was able to meet with Liana while in Cebu, first at Moalboal and then we traveled together back to Cebu City. Here are some pictures of Hale Manna in Moalboal, swipe left to see all of them:

In Cebu City, first stop was Liana’s book cafe called Books and Brews. I love book cafes and if I lived in Cebu, I would definitely be a regular in this one. The cafe has an extensive selection of books written by Filipino and foreign authors which you can read while hanging out at the place. It’s also cozy and comfortable and a good place to study or work in, if you would prefer not to read.

When I was researching on what places I’d like to visit in Cebu, I knew I would want to check out ancestral houses if there were any in the area. We got to visit two of them: Casa Gorordo and Yap-Sandiego House. I’m a sucker for historic places and these two were a pleasure to view. They’re both typical “balay na tisa” or “bahay na bato”, built in the 1800’s with a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino influences.

We also got to see Museo Sugbo, which is Cebu’s provincial museum. It was previously a provincial jail but has been converted to showcase the history of the province.

Last, but certainly not the least was getting to try the food options in Cebu that aren’t available in Manila! I loved both The Chocolate Chamber and AA Barbecue, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell why based on these pictures:

I hope you guys enjoyed this update post. I had an amazing time in Cebu but it’s always good to be home in Manila. 🙂 If you’ve been to Cebu, please feel free to share your own experience. Also, would be happy to hear suggestions on what ancestral houses in the country should be included in my bucket list. For those who haven’t been to Cebu, I hope I’ve made you more curious about the province, and that you’ll get to visit it eventually.

Ten Books I’d Bring If I Was Going to the Beach

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There are many, many beautiful beaches across the Philippines and I think that’s one of the reasons why most Filipinos grow up to become beach lovers. I’m a huge fan of beaches but I’m also very lazy when it comes to planning a beach trip (I usually just say yes when friends ask me to go with them), and there aren’t any that are easily accessible from Manila. Which is why I don’t have any recent beach trips even if I’m currently on vacation in the Philippines. 😦

The Scorpio Races - beach

A quote from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater with Bintan Lagoon Resort in the background

I do have ideas of what books I’d bring with me IF I had a beach trip. In the past, I would usually just bring whatever book I was currently in the middle of. If I haven’t started anything, I’d bring a contemporary romance because they’re easy to get into. But what I recently realized is that graphic novels are also great reading material when you’re on the go… A graphic novel is something that can be instantly absorbing and also something that can be read in small chunks. So if I had a beach trip planned, I would have brought these books with me:

Amulet The Stonekeeper's Curse Alex + Ada 5,000 km per second Ms. Marvel The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Squirrel Power

This One Summer American Born Chinese Anya's Ghost Lazarus Mythspace

I really need to step up in reading these graphic novels that are on my TBR pile. What about you, what books will you bring with you if you had a beach trip? Do you have a go-to genre or type of book when it comes to beach reads?

Reading by the Beach: Bintan Island

Earlier this week, I posted about reading by the beach at Pico de Loro Cove. Today I want to share pictures from my trip to Bintan Island. Bintan is an Indonesian island located 45-min away (by ferry) from Singapore. Most people based in Singapore have gone to Bintan for mini vacations. I went there last weekend for my birthday (March 29). I’m usually pretty low-key when it comes to celebrating birthdays, like last year I just had dinner and watched a movie with a friend. But I turned 30 this year so I wanted to do something special. Bintan seemed like a good option for an overnight solo trip since it’s pretty accessible. I stayed at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, which I thought was a great place.

I wasn’t really rereading The Scorpio Races but I couldn’t resist taking this shot because that line is just perfect for a beach background:

The Scorpio Races - beach

A friend gave me this Dr. Seuss pop-up book as a gift last year and I took a picture of it when my birthday rolled around:

Dr. Seuss birthday pop-up

“THIS WAY TO PIRATE!” What I actually read during that weekend were the Superlatives series by Jennifer Echols, Biggest Flirts and Perfect Couple. I think these YA romances make great beach reads:

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Other pictures on my Instagram account: view while waiting for lunch, view from the lobby, evening waves, trees. Check out more reading by the beach posts here. I’m hoping it doesn’t take me years to visit another beach! Do you like reading by the beach? What are the type of books you read by the beach or pool?

Reading by the Beach: Pico de Loro Cove

I haven’t been to the beach in YEARS and then suddenly got the chance to go two weekends in a row. Being a book blogger, I think it’s a given that one of my favorite things to do is read by the beach and I wanted to share some pictures from my trips. The week before last, I went home to Manila for a visit and was able to go on a road trip with girlfriends (ala Open Road Summer) to a beach a few hours away from the metro: Pico de Loro Cove at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Pico de Loro - Beauty and the Beast

I was looking for comfy flip-flops for the beach when I came across these Beauty and the Beast-themed slippers by Ipanema. Of course, I had to get them! And they inspired me to reread one of my favorite fairy tale retellings, Beauty by Robin McKinley.

Pico de Loro - Beauty

I think it’s always fun to read at the beach. I can spend a whole day just lazing around – sunbathing, swimming and reading – by the beach. What about you, do you also enjoy reading at the beach? Are there any particular types of books that you consider good beach reads?

More pictures of Pico de Loro: endless blue, beach umbrellas, moscato, shuttle, greenery, jellyfish sign, pool.

Shoot That Book: The Blue Sword

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

Pictured above is my friend Chuchay, who read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley based on my recommendation. She loved it and said that it’s one of the best books that she’s read. I love this shot because of several reasons – it’s a lomo shot that turned out really well (love the warm colors), it was taken by the beach and shows a friend of mine reading one of my favorite books. What’s not to like? 🙂

What are some books that you’ve recommended to your friends that they’ve ended up loving?

Shoot That Book: Pine Tree Reading

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

Anawangin Cove in Zambales is the only beach I know that has pine trees. We went there last weekend and of course, we took a lot of pictures featuring pine trees. My favorite is this:

Pretty, right? Even though it doesn’t look like it was taken near the beach. Let me know when you guys get tired of seeing me posing with a book in all the places that I go to! 😛 This is all part of my plan to encourage all of you to go visit the Philippines. Actually, my friends decided to borrow the book that I brought and pose with it so maybe I can feature their pictures in the coming weeks.

Anawangin Again

Sorry if the blog has been pretty quiet lately. I went to the beach this weekend because Monday and Tuesday are holidays over here. I wasn’t able to schedule any posts and I haven’t even replied to the comments here the past couple of days. I’ll try to do better this week! In the meantime, I want to share some photos. I believe I’ve already posted this picture of me reading in Anawangin (taken back in 2009):

I went to the same place this weekend and I tried to recreate the shot. Here’s what we came up with:

The place looks different and the colors are muted because we used the Toy Camera effect in a Canon digicam. I’ll upload more pictures once my rolls of slide film are processed and when my friend shares pictures because I didn’t bring a digital camera with me. For those in the Philippines, hope you’re enjoying the long weekend! And for those in other parts of the world, hope you’re all having fun with Halloween.

Shoot That Book: Reading by the Beach

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I just realized that I haven’t posted a lomo picture in any of my Shoot That Book posts so here’s one taken in a beach in Zambales using my Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim camera. Film used was either a Kodak Elitechrome or Fuji Sensia and it was cross-processed. I love reading whenever I go to the beach although I can’t remember what was the book that I was holding when this picture was taken. I usually take chick lit or light and fun novels with me when I go on vacation so it would be easy to fall into the story. What about the rest of you, do you bring books with you when you travel? What kind of books do you bring with you?


I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like because traveling is expensive but when there are budget flights and friends willing to go with me, I’m always game. It was my first time to go to Bohol and I really enjoyed the trip. We were able to eat at several good restaurants, visit the local tourist sites, go snorkeling and of course, hang out and relax by the beach. As promised, here are more pictures.

The tarsier, the smallest primate in the world:

Chocolate Hills, which are named as such because they’re brown during summertime:

Mahogany man-made forest and yes, that is me, fooling around:

Up close and personal with the fishes in Balicasag, I can only tell that this is me because my mask looks familiar:

The sandbar in Virgin Island:

Reading, as always and trying to imitate the cover of the book that I’m holding, The Family Fortune:

Summer Reads

It’s summer here in the Philippines and it’s really HOT! I wonder if that has anything to do with why I haven’t been reading that much lately? The long weekend care of Holy Week has come and gone and I wasn’t even able to finish a book. Then again, I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I mostly slept, hoping that what I have won’t develop into a full-blown sickness. When it comes to summer reading, I think it’s a good idea to read light and fluffy books. People usually go out of town during the summer months and when you’re on vacation like that, you wouldn’t be able to concentrate on heavy reads. Plus, light reads are perfect for the beach, which is the common destination for vacation-goers in the Philippines. My idea of summer reads include Julie James, Jennifer Crusie and contemporary YA books that are easy to fall into. If you have suggestions similar to what I mentioned, feel free to recommend them. I’m always looking for books like these.

Aside from the books that I mentioned above, I also like rereading old favorites while on vacation because it feels like hanging out with old friends. There isn’t much of an effort involved when it comes to rereads because I’m already familiar with the story and I can just let myself be swept away. In the image above, I’m reading Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith in Anawangin Cove in Zambales.

I know it’s only summer here in the Philippines and the rest of the world is experiencing other seasons but I’m interested in knowing what the rest of you enjoy reading during summer. Do you also feel like it’s a great season to just have fun and read light, fluffy books or do you have something different in mind?