Year: 2016

Córdoba, Spain: The Land of Flowers and Friends

I bought two tickets for a single bus ride out of Seville. It wasn’t because I had picked up a surprise companion – much to my disappointment. Rather, I’d booked a seat online to avoid being bumped off my preferred travel time, only to be told at the station that they couldn’t find my reservation on their system. The credit card charge had gone through, the actual ticket hadn’t. Since the attendants couldn’t understand much English and my knowledge of Spanish was limited to baño, gracias, and some random words I’d picked up from Duolingo, I bit the bullet and coughed up another 14 euros – this time in cash. For the budget-conscious traveler that I am, that sucked. But as they say, charge it to experience. Let go and move on. And I did – on to the flowery city of Córdoba. I’ll let you in on a secret. Whenever I travel alone, I’m torn between hoping I end up without a seatmate (that’s the introvert in me talking) and hoping I have an attractive one (I know, …

Seville, Spain: The Golden Capital of Andalusia

I left Madrid for Seville in the final minutes of dawn, chasing the golden sunrise. Aboard a barely occupied Renfe train, I gazed out the window, spellbound by the landscape rolling, changing, coming to life before my eyes. It was early enough in my trip that I’d still been able to capture that experience in my journal. Looking back at it now, I’d say that was the exact moment I fell in love with Spain and its cities – each, I’d come to know, with its own distinct personality. Seville was one of those places I’d discovered while plotting my itinerary – a stop to bring me one step closer to Barcelona. My friends who’d been there told me it was so nice. Beautiful. Lovely. It didn’t take me long to add my own adjectives to the list. Vibrant. Enchanting. Golden. From its bright, cloudless skies to its colorful, intricately detailed architecture to the tinto de verano that burst with flavor on my tongue, Seville was golden. I rented a room in an Airbnb in Seville’s Triana …

Madrid, Spain: My Gateway to Europe

Madrid was never really on my list. It was a point of entry and exit. A doorway. An introduction to the story, where you meet the main character, establish interest, and gear up for things to happen. In many ways, it was all that – but it was more than that, too. I arrived in Madrid fresh from 30 hours of travel between four airports across roughly 14,000 kilometers. In my new pleather jacket, with backpack and shoulder bag in tow, I journeyed from airport to metro station to metro station to hostel, and quickly learned four things that would guide me through the rest of my travels: Be ready for all kinds of weather. Just because it was cold when you first stepped out on the street doesn’t mean it’ll still be so an hour later. And vice versa. No matter how light your backpack weighs on that scale, it’ll soon weigh double – or triple – as much on your shoulders. Never mind how heavy your bag is. You always have space for …

Musical Review: tick, tick…BOOM by 9 Works Theatrical

Often, it’s the unexpected things that end up to be so memorable. I felt that way about Budapest five months ago, and I felt that way last Friday night while watching tick, tick…BOOM! When I first saw 9 Works Theatrical’s teaser for tick, tick…BOOM!, I was intrigued by the mere fact that it was created by RENT‘s Jonathan Larson. RENT has always been one of my favorite musicals, and its soundtrack is one of those I revisit whenever I get ’em Broadway blues. When I learned about its basic story line, I became even more intrigued. A musical about the trials and tribulations of an artist who chooses between compromise or perseverance? How could I miss out on that? Thing is, I almost did. And I’m glad that I didn’t. I feel that all well-written musicals have the power to touch and move people, but tick, tick…BOOM! is one of those I could relate to without even trying. It’s actually an autobiographical story covering the period right before Jonathan Larson’s 30th birthday. Not only is Jon …

Asia Young Designer Award 2016: Be Bold. Be Free. Be You.

Four years ago, I traded in my designer’s pencil for a writer’s pen. It was a tough switch but the right one – and though I’ve changed career paths for good, there’s no doubt that I’ll always have a special place in my heart for design and architecture. More than just making places look pretty and Instagrammable, these have the power to influence moods, form behaviors, create solutions, and make life easier. And that’s exactly why I’m so stoked about this year’s Asia Young Designer Award (AYDA) sponsored by Nippon Paint. “Good design is an enabler of a sustainable future [and] healthier living,” Mr. Michael Chung, the General Manager of Nippon Paint Coatings Philippines, said during the media launch of the AYDA. At its core, this competition challenges students to “think beyond convention” to create design solutions that address the “needs of our continually changing world.” Ar. Guillermo Hisancha of the United Architects of the Philippines said, “The Asia Young Designer Award is a platform empowering Filipino students to showcase their talents. [It] encourages leadership, creativity, and resourcefulness.” IDr. Vincent Louie …