Inside & Out: The Traditional Swiss Chalet~

The mountain regions of Switzerland are covered with thousands of old chalets, making for incredible scenery in the already magnificent alpine landscape. Some of the restored old chalets in Zermatt’s Old Town are over 300 years old. Many are being used today as apartments or shops.
These buildings in the Valais region are made of larch wood, with stone roofs, and were originally farm dwellings. They were two-story buildings where the farm animals lived on the bottom floor, protected from the cold climate and providing heat for the second floor.
Many farms in the Valais countryside are still working operations.
The newer chalets are pure charm, and although I have been to Switzerland several times, I have never stayed in a traditional chalet. This trip I intended to remedy this deficit. This was our hotel in Zermatt, the Belle Vista.
Here are some other beautiful chalets. Some are private homes…

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Night Ferry, Night Ferr-y-y-y

The Wondering Wandering Woman

If you sing the title of this post to the tune of the Bee Gee’s Night Fever than you have an insight into what’s been going on in my brain for the past week. Friday night I increased my Filipino Island Count (let’s call this FIC, as I feel like I’m going to be saying it a lot over the next two years) from 5 to 6 by venturing with my host Kuya and Ate (big brother and sister, respectively) to the neighboring island of Cebu. At 2130 I was boarding the Night Ferry and settling into my bottom bunk adjacent to my Ate’s. At night there isn’t much to see but glimmering lights of small island towns, so we chatted ourselves into exhaustion and got some shut eye. When we arrived at 2am, Kuya’s friend was there to pick us up and take us back to their apartment where…

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New Kid on the Island

The Wondering Wandering Woman

A week ago I hugged my island mates goodbye after we disembarked our plane and collected our bags from the one-room terminal that is Tagbilaran City Airport in Bohol. I folded my long legs into a tiny van and spent three hours trying to keep myself from falling asleep with my head on a strangers’ shoulders. And then I was here: Talibon, my stomping grounds for the next two years.

rainbow I caught a rainbow over Talibon one morning waiting for a boat

The first week as the kid can be tough, even if you’ve done it a handful of times before. But here I am not only “the new kid” at work, but the “new member of the family” and the “new, Amerikana around town” (and only Amerikana, at that). The first few days were equally overwhelming and underwhelming: I hardly did anything, yet everything was overly stimulating. There…

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Kiltepan Peak (Where Broken Hearts Go)

No Juan Is An Island

Where do broken hearts go?

And so the song asks…

I could vividly remember this one conversation I had with a good friend of mine, about my plans a month after I had a major, major heart break. She, too, was a victim of this sinful crime of passion and was then, on the verge of picking up her shattered pieces.  “We” were sharing the same “spotlight”.


So what’s your plan?” – she reluctantly asked me.

I knew I gave her a blank stare, followed by a deep sigh. I didn’t know exactly what to utter and just opted to kid around and say…

I don’t know… What do you think? Where do broken hearts go? – I smirked, only to laugh quietly when my friend started singing that line from a Whitney Houston song.

This happened long time before the now infamous movie “That…

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Binurong Point (Catanduanes, PH)

No Juan Is An Island

Verdant, rolling terrain leading to towering cliffs and gargantuan boulders constantly pounded by enormous waves will greet you after a good 20 – 30 minutes’ walk under a forested canopy. I was in disbelief for a moment and my senses were all in awe. I had to pause for a few minutes just to digest everything my eyes were marveling at. I was at Binurong Point – one of the island province of Catanduanes’ best kept secrets (no more).


I first saw a photo of this Batanes-like vista in Facebook posted by a friend’s friend a month ago. Since then, I have been keeping an eye on the possibility of checking it out myself. Two weeks later, it was featured in a television show. Videos were shown and that sealed the deal for me. So after my Apo Reef breakaway, I decided to make my way to the Land of…

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Ebolusyon ng Wika

Pinoy Transplant in Iowa

Pilipino ang wika na aking kinamulatan. Ito rin ang wika na malugod kong tinanggap. Sa pamamagitan ng pagsasalita ay aking napahiwatig ang aking pangangailangan.

Mama. Kain. Tubig. Tulog. Kumot.

Sa wika ring ito, ako’y natutong makipag-kapwa at ipahayag ang aking saloobin.

Laro tayo. Sali ako. Taguan tayo. Sige, ikaw taya. Ayoko na. Madaya ka.

Nang pumasok na sa eskwela, ako’y natuto ring bumaybay at bumasa sa Pilipino.

ABaKaDa. Ako ay may lobo. Lumipad sa langit. Si Juan ay may aso. Kumain ng lobo. Si Pepe ay may pusa. Hinabol ng aso. ABNKKBSNPLAko!

Sa pamamagitan ng wikang kinamulatan ay aking natuklasan na kaya kong mapagalaw at mapaikot ang aking munting mundo.

Mama, bayad ko ho. Isang Quiapo, galing Balik-Balik. Para na po sa tabi. Ale, pabili nga po ng isang hopia at isang malamig na Sarsi. Manong, gupit-binata po. 

Maliban sa tahanan at sa paaralan ay natuto rin ng mga bagong salita na nagpakulay ng aking wika…

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Usog, Gayuma at Anting-anting

Pinoy Transplant in Iowa

“Hijo, nausog ka. Hubarin mo ang iyong damit, upang ating banlian ng mainit na tubig.”

Iyan ang aking naaalala na sabi ng aking lola. Akala ko ay mga sanggol lang ang nauusog. Ako noon ay nasa elementarya na, at kami ay dumadalaw sa aking lola na nasa Bulacan. Masaya akong naglalaro sa harap ng bahay nang biglang tumikwas ang aking sikmura, at ako’y nagsuka. Hindi humupa kaagad-agad ang aking pagsusuka, kaya ako ay tinuringang nausog.

Pagkatapos akong asikasuhin ng aking lola ay huminahon naman agad ang aking pakiramdam. Impatso lang kaya iyon?

Kung ikaw ay Pinoy, siguro ay alam mo ang usog, gayuma, anting-anting, kulam, at iba pang mga paniniwalang Pilipino. Siguro ay nausog ka rin noon? Naka-usog? Nagayuma? Nang-gayuma? Nagkaroon ng anting-anting? Nawalan ng anting-anting? Nakulam? O nang-kulam? Kung ikaw ay mangkukulam, paki-usap naman po, huwag naman sana ninyo akong kagalitan.

Bilang isang tunay na Pilipino ay namulat ako…

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