Travel Adventures

Citizen of the World … Almost!

It was 1996 when I first stumbled upon Edu Jarque’s Citizen of the World - a weekly column in Sunday Star where he would feature the Philippines’ rich and famous {no less!} sharing his/her travel experiences through a set of questions.

I immediately got hooked and made it a point to include reading the column in my Sunday morning ritual – hot tea on one hand, my hubby in front of me at the breakfast table reading the sports section {my least favorite} and right there and then, it felt like I was being transported to different parts of the world – from the City of Lights to the Forbidden City and anywhere in between.

At the end of the article the feeling of fascination will be replaced by a happy sigh and a silent longing that someday I can answer the same set of questions with my own personal travel adventures. Never mind the fact that I am neither rich or famous. The biggest barrier was … I have NOTHING to share! My passport at that time boasted ONE stamp courtesy of a trip to Hong Kong which for me was already a big achievement ;-)!!!

Fast forward to September 3, 2011 …. still not rich and definitely not famous but here I am reading the same column (this time downloaded from the internet) not during a Sunday breakfast but rather while sipping my hot tea , on a plane flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet en route to Vienna for a conference. There at that precise moment I said – “hey, I can do this now! I think I have enough scribblings on my travel notebook to share.” I took out my notebook and pretended that Edu Jarque  was sitting beside me on the plane and firing these questions …..

What won’t you leave home without?

A book, camera, my travel notebook, comfortable flat shoes, mint and my lip balm.

Describe your present passport photograph.

Like a deer caught in the headlights. Hey, this is an upgrade from the previous passport. The last photo looked like a mug shot!

How do you pass time at the airport?

Believe it or not, I love airports {yes, including the waiting time}! It’s a place where I always have this extra time on my hands to digress from my usual schedule and do other things I like such as taking photos of people and things inside the terminal. I also find that airport is a good place to sample what the city is known for. On 2 occasions, I had 30-minute back massages in Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and the masseuses were as good as the one I found in the city. When I had a 3-hour stopover in Incheon airport in Seoul, I participated in Korean craft “make and take” offered at one of their cultural corners and took home 2 gorgeous craft items at no cost! Next time I will get my nails done in Toronto or Vancouver airport.

Who is your ideal traveling companion?

My husband of course. We both love getting lost in a foreign city and discovering a quaint café or an old bookshop in the process. Picture perfect spots on our travel photos were usually discovered by accident and that made them more special. Memories from a trip anywhere in the world will not be complete without him in the picture. In the very near future I would like to travel with my mom, dad, my sister and her 2 boys.

What is the first thing you do when you check in at hotel?

Make the hotel room feel “homey” as much as possible by unpacking right away and spray the room with my brought from home air freshener (same lavender scent as the one I use at home). Then I check the toiletries provided by the hotel. If the quality is good I take them home and make a nice “feel at home” welcome gifts for overnight guests.

What would you consider a must do activity in every foreign city that you visit?

Sample local cuisine (street foods in particular), visit churches, museums, old and quiant bookstores and markets. Sit on a café patio and watch local people – the way they look, speak, dress. My hubby and I also started this tradition of walking along famous streets of every city that we visit as far as our feet can bear. The longest walk so far was in London where we walked for 5 straight hours!

Describe your most memorable trip/s?

We make every trip memorable so it is hard to mention just one or two. There’s always that “captured moment” on a trip that will stay with me forever:

• Joining the Verpers (night prayers) with the nuns and priests at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

• Touching a joey inside the pouch of the Mommy Kangaroo in Sydney

• Partaking haggis in a traditional haggis ceremonial dinner in Glasgow

• Riding a camel on a dessert in Dubai

• Eating Pizza in Naples – it was beyond delicious!

• Snowshoeing in Whistler and drinking hot chocolate on top of a snowy mountain

• Feeding the fishes while deep sea diving in Anilao

• Watching a huge pod of dolphins while the sun is setting in the Bahamas

• Dog-sledding in beautiful Lake Louise

• Crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

• Dancing on the streets of Kalibo during Ati-atihan Festival (better than dancing on the streets of New Orleans!)

• Singing Do-Re-Mi at Mirabel Gardens in Salzburg

• Watching the glow on my hubby’s face when he saw the chocolates shops (tons of them!) in Belgium

• Feasting on mouth-watering seafood paella in a tiny and old restaurant in Madrid

The list just goes on and on and on …. So many happy memories!

What is your favorite city in the world?

It is a toss-up between Paris and Salzburg.

I was very fortunate to spend almost 3 months in Paris for a company-sponsored marketing training. I lived in a small but nice and efficient apartment hotel in La Defence wherein my hubby joined me for 3 weeks. “Paris est belle au printemps!” We will forever cherish our afternoon walks along the river seine – we would pack a piece of crusty baguette, a couple of different cheeses, a bottle of wine and tart au chocolat for him and tart au citron for me from our favorite patisserie. Along the way we will choose a nice spot to spread and enjoy our “feast”. We would blissfully sit there for hours just watching the time and people go by. On weekends, it was either a visit to a museum or we would hop on the train and explore neighboring European cities. It was priceless!

Salzburg on the other hand is everything I imagined it to be and more! My sister and I grew up watching The Sound of Music over and over. It was our fervent wish to go to Salzburg and sing Do Re Mi at Mirabel Gardens. You bet, as soon as I saw the fountain in the middle of the garden, I burst out singing Do Re Mi! The only thing missing is my sister … next time, by God’s grace, the 2 of us will travel to Saltzburg so we can sing together!

What do you miss most when you’re away from home?

If I’m away on a business trip, I miss my husband the most and our bed. If we are traveling together, I miss cleaning my kitchen counter with liquid Lysol which I do every night before bedtime (weird but true!).

Let’s talk favorites:

Museums – Musee du Louvre, Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and the Vatican Museums
Airports – Incheon Airport in Seoul and Dubai International Airport
Airlines – Cathay Pacific

Spot in the Philippines – Our small front yard in Sta. Rosa Laguna. We eat dinner there on hot summer nights enjoying dad’s inihaw na liempo and mom’s turbo chicken (marinated in toyo, calamansi and sugar) and lumpiang shanghai and bottomless "buko" (young coconut) juice. We  sit there for hours exchanging stories until everybody is ready to retire. Family bonding time that stays with you forever….

Piece of Art – The Thinker by Auguste Rodin which is now located at the garden of Rodin Museum in Paris. It would be nice to have that in my craft room!

Musical/Play – The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar (the first musical I saw)

Park/Garden - Stanley Park in Vancouver and the Versailles Garden in Versailles (Schonbrunn Palace Garden in Vienna is an exact copy)

What is the best part of traveling?

Traveling for me is a feast for the senses –sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Seeing natural and man-made attractions, hearing different languages, smelling and tasting different food and knowing that the people who inhabit this world are guided by the same things: love, culture and faith.

What is the worst part of traveling?


Name a country that you wish to explore in the future?

Next on our list is Croatia.

What city would you like to live?

I can live and make any city my "home" as long as I am with my hubby.

Presently, I am very happy living in a suburb east of Toronto.

Canada has been very good to us no doubt. However, my hubby and I would like to go back and retire in the Philippines and shuttle between Laguna and Ilocos to be with families and friends. Maybe in the next 10 years.

Aside from unpacking your suitcase, what is the first thing you would do upon returning home?

Take a shower, catch up on showbiz news (particularly the Buzz and Paparazzi) :-), enjoy a glass of wine and regain my energy for the next task on hand.

What is the best travel advice you would like to share?

Keep an open mind wherever your destination is. Collect as many memories as you can and take lots and lots and lots of photos! Pictures and memories from my trips whether in Europe, Asia, America, the Middle East or just from a road trip to nearby towns with my husband never fail to put a big smile on my face!

Dreams do come true you know. God is good … all the time!


Thank you for your sweet words.

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