Year: 2015

Cool, Sweet Summer Treats from Starbucks

Things are definitely heating up in Metro Manila, with temperatures rising well past the 30ºC mark. While I’m missing those days of wearing long-sleeved tops and those nights of bundling up in my blanket, I’m happy to have an excuse to indulge my love for ice-cold beverages. And when I say beverages, I mean coffee, of course! If there’s one coffee shop that’s my go-to for my caffeine fix, it’s Starbucks—as you may well know from my past posts. To usher in their summer offerings, Starbucks held a Frappuccinos with Friends bloggers’ event yesterday at one of their newest branches in Bonifacio Global City, Starbucks RCBC. My friend/editor/co-blogger Liana invited me as one of her two guests, and I was only thrilled to tag along. Prior to this, I’d been to only one of Starbucks’ events, the launch of their Reserve stores, which I covered for Hitlist. While that was rather formal, this affair was fun and relaxed, marked with bright, colorful balloons, tasty snacks, and refreshingly cool new drinks. I’d fought through a horrible round of traffic to get to the Fort—thanks to …

Well, hello there.

I’ve been quite busy this past couple of weeks, so I haven’t been updating my blog as often as I should. While I struggle to get through my backlog of posts, here’s a teaser of what you can expect next on Wander Write Now. Can you guess what place this is? Here’s a hint: It’s something to include to my list of Epic Ups!

Up and Down the Temples of Prambanan

Just an hour or so away from Borobudur lies another temple compound that’s a must-visit while in the vicinity of Yogyakarta. Prambanan is considered the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, and like Borobudur, it’s landed a coveted spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Having just been to Borobudur, it was impossible not to compare the two. While the former gave me that staggering, surreal feeling of “Oh, I’m finally here, and it’s even more amazing than I expected,” Prambanan snuck up on me slowly. Yes, there was that burst of whoa when I got my first full view of it from across that long stretch of grass and plants, but it was calmer. Quieter. Instead of stopping me in my tracks, it urged me to come closer and gained more of my admiration with every step I took. Despite its misleading name, Prambanan Temple, or Loro Jonggrang, is actually composed of 240 temples. If you look at its original model on Wikipedia, you’ll see that it follows a square plan with more than 200 small temples enclosing the main temples and …

Finding enlightenment at Borobudur

I can’t pinpoint when it was that I first realized I wanted to see Borobudur, but it’s been on my list for a while now. Sometimes, when you dream about something for so long, you build it up in your head and end up disappointed when it turns into reality. This wasn’t the case here. The hostel was dim and quiet when I walked down to the lobby five minutes before 3:40 AM. I’d gotten probably two hours of sleep, tops, but I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of my plans. The car arrived late enough that I’d worried they’d forgotten about me, but it all worked out. I sat beside the driver and watched the night pass me by as two men chatted in the backseat. Despite the early hour, life stirred on the streets of Yogyakarta, and as we drove closer to Magelang, the more I saw people going about their morning routines. The sunrise can be viewed from Borobudur itself via Manohara Hotel’s exclusive Sunrise Tour, which gets you inside the temple an hour and …

Touchdown, Yogyakarta!

When I boarded my plane to Yogyakarta, I’d expected to spend the entire two-hour flight asleep. I’d never thought that I’d end up talking to a stranger for majority of that time and learn so much about his life story in the process, all because he’d offered to translate the custom declaration form for me! That encounter set the tone for the entirety of my trip—it was filled with apprehensions and lucky interventions, peppered with new experiences and discoveries, and blessed with happy encounters. Thanks to my friendly seatmate, I arrived in Yogyakarta knowing a lot more about Indonesia than I previously had, such as how they had more than 300 languages and even more dialects, how gudeg was the must-try dish in town (it involves chicken, tofu, jackfruit, and rice), and how I looked like a local from one of the cities up north. That last bit threw me off, but I discovered how true that was when everyone kept talking to me in Javanese and giving me surprised looks when I couldn’t understand them. After sailing past …

The Sandbox Collective Brings the Boy Back

The Sandbox Collective hasn’t even been in Manila’s theater scene for a full year, yet it’s already gained a huge following. I know I fell in love with their production of Dani Girl, which I reviewed for Hitlist.PH and watched again in a different venue. I’m no theater expert, but I do know what I like—actors who give raw, believable performances, music that draws me completely into that world, and most importantly, material that’s compelling, meaningful, and real. From what I’ve seen so far, The Sandbox Collective does an excellent job delivering all three. If you’re looking for a cool way to spend your Saturday, why not head over to the Huseng Batute theater at the CCP and catch The Sandbox Collective’s final showing of The Boy in the Bathroom? It’s an off-Broadway musical that touches on themes such as parent-child relationships, unexpected love, and facing the unknown. It seems right up my alley, and I regret being unable to catch it this time around. You could still watch it though—and you should! Read on for more deets about …

Solo Sentiments: Conquering the challenge of traveling alone

Whenever I tell someone that I want to travel on my own, I always get one of two reactions: an excited, “Me too!” or a scrunched-up expression followed by, “Why do you want to do that?” or some variation thereof. Maybe it’s the communal nature of Filipinos that makes this idea so alien to us. Whether we’re eating, exercising, or watching movies, we love being with our friends and family. I do enjoy traveling with other people, but I’ve wanted to try it solo for some time now. So that’s exactly what I did a week ago—despite my parents’ worries. Part of my reason for doing so was that I wanted to prove to other people that I could hack it on my own, no matter how sheltered and introverted and neurotic I am. But more than that, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to escape my safe little box and test my mettle. And I didn’t want my fears to hold me back from living. I’m so glad I went ahead with it. My Yogyakarta trip was just …