A glimpse of the West

As my Euro-trip comes to a conclusion, I can’t help but feel a surge of mixed emotions. 

When I was a little kid, I never would have imagined that I would be going around the world, visiting places that most people dream of. Yet, here I am sitting at one of the best airports I’ve been to; waiting for my flight back to the Netherlands. 

As I sit here in the airport lounge, sipping my cappuccino, peering outside the glass walls of this human ingenuity of a building, I can’t help but think of the past amazing weeks I’ve had. As a matter of fact, I am still pinching myself, making sure all this was and is real. This just translates how ethereal the destinations I have visited are. It was all too much but at the same time, never enough.

Walking the streets of Paris on a cool sunny day left me stunned. Not to mention I met one of the Irish Actors I adore, Sir Andrew Scott — So, quite literally and figuratively, Paris took my breath away.

The elegance and details of the architecture showed how artistic and sophisticated the French people are. And let’s not forget about the famous tourist attractions the city has to offer – being able to witness it first hand is just magnifique (insert my very baroque French accent, pardon me haha!)

But what got to me the most are the artists I saw while strolling around the City of Lights. I mean, picture this — a John Legend song being played quite beautifully by a talented dude enjoyed by almost everyone around him near the exquisite Eiffel Tower — or this guy who played a classical music with his violin, excellently; inside a tunnel of some sort, making the sound so much richer and much more haunting.

Dining at Trattorias in Rome, eating Gelato in a 10-degree weather, or just looking at the historical sights you used to hear from your classes back in high school — It’s all so surreal. I can still remember the first time I saw this place; it was in a movie. Lizzy Mcguire the movie. (Yes, I’m a Disney Kid too! haha)

The way the Italians make their food for me, is both an intricate form of art and love. Aside from the Gnocchi, I had. Everything else was great! Maybe that potato based dish is just not for me. (My apologies, Italian friends)

Also, growing up as a catholic and being enrolled in a school run by nuns, for over a decade, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve always wondered what the Vatican City was like. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go inside St. Peter’s, but nevertheless, the century old Basilicas and Churches around the area are more than enough.

Then there is Berlin. A hub of for creativity filled with history and culture. It’s scarred past is still imminent around the city and it showed vulnerability and strength at the same time. I think this is the reason why there’s a melancholic mood and eerie feel in some parts of the city and I think that’s beautiful. Because I believe that learning from their past is what made this city great again. Just like in life – you learn to move on and be better but you never forget who you are and what you’ve been through.

And this is where I first experience the calming joy a Christmas Market brings. There’s just so much familiarity – Filipinos are known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. Thus, these kind of places, give me so much feels. Especially that I’m living far from home too. The lingering smell of hot chocolate and various pastries in the air, the towering well-lit and sometimes over decorated Christmas trees, the songs you hear being played in the background, and the infectious smile people has around you. You’ll definitely feel that ’tis is the season to be jolly!

Breathing in the cold air of Munich, enjoying the long walks and commute around the city, munching on the local food and just soaking in all the glory and beauty that this vibrant capital of Bavaria has to offer — All of it is nothing short of Amazing!

Even made more special by a very dear friend, Mizuki-chan! And that’s one of my favorite things as well as a challenge (as I am somewhat introverted when it comes to stuff like this) when traveling; meeting new people and making meaningful connections with your fellow travelers. I’m glad to have met here when I visited Osaka back in 2014. Look at us now, 4 countries and 4 years later. 

I experienced a lot of first here in Munich — some of which are private but most are shareable. (:P LOL) Tried my first hot wine, authentic German beer, first legit snowfall. Actually, even now, while writing this, there is actually snowfall outside the airport, looking at those little art pieces fall down from the sky. Amazing! München, danke schön!

Last but definitely not the least, Amsterdam. Now I know why my brother fell in love with you. Walking the cold streets of the city will make you swoon over the tall European homes as well as the lovely and beautiful people of Amsterdam. 

You are, if not more, truly magnificent – just how I saw you in the films and photos online. I can’t wait to go back! I’ve got another day or two! 

I am truly beyond words. Overflowing with happiness, satisfaction, and gratitude. But at the same time, I hunger for more. As I’ve said, it’s all too much but still never enough. I’d like to thank my brother, Louise! For making this trip possible and so much more memorable! You rock! I always remember this quote whenever I see you – “You can’t blend in, when you were born to stand out” I love you, Broski!

I might take my time before I come back here just because Europe offers a dozen more countries I should visit. One thing’s for sure, this will definitely not be the last time I see you – Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich, and Amsterdam!

Let me know what you think about this! Leave a comment below! Or leave a suggestion too for the next European country I should visit?

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

Sturtevant Falls Trail

Sturtevant Falls Trail

Last January, after all the intense caloric event (: D) PS. Those are all the breakfast, lunch, and dinner during Christmas until the New Year’s.. My friend and I went on a short hiking trip to burn some calories and have some down time before she heads back home to Texas. Check out the video I made below.

Sturtevant Falls Trail features a moderate hike accessible for your pets too. It is located near Sierra Madre, California. The trail features one of the first man-made concrete dams  built by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in the 60s as well as gorgeous and rustic cabins built in the early 1900’s. The falls’ stream wasn’t that strong due to the current weather condition.

Nevertheless, this is one great hike for those looking to recharge and relax their minds and bodies!

Greeneries and Histories

Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Garden

If you’re looking for a place to visit during the spring in Los Angeles then look no further, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden is the perfect spot to hangout and visit during any season, actually! But I think you’ll enjoy the hues of the trees and flowers better when it’s spring time!

It’s a whole different world once you step inside the Arboretum. You will be able to enjoy the different landscapes from various continents such as Africa, Australia and Asia. The place will give you a glimpse of the rich and diverse environment of the world. Aside from this, you will get to enjoy a historical site that includes Native American, Rancho period and  genuine artifacts/treasures from the 19th Century.

Tucked in the hills near San Gabriel Mountains at Arcadia, California. This place is very accessible to everyone. It is perfect for those who want to have a quality with your family, friends or just yourself, like I did!

With just a $9 Admission, you get to enjoy this wonder of nature and history. Don’t worry about food as they also have a Café if ever you get hungry while walking around this 127-acre botanical garden – grab some refreshment or good snacks from Peacock Café.

Check out some of the photos I took during my quick trip to LA Arboretum.

For more information, visit their official website at http://www.arboretum.org

Hope you’ll get the chance to check out this awesome place soon!

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

Food Festival! Need I say more?

626 Night Market

While browsing my social media – Instagram, I came across a short video of an IG user, @Hungryhugh whom I have been following for quite a while now. It featured a food festival of some sort that’s quite near my place. Coincidentally, I have a friend visiting from the Philippines and knowing her, I decided that we’d go there and check the festival out. And it did not disappoint!

The OC Night Market is the original and largest night market in the United States. It features over 200 vendors from food, crafts, retail and merchandise. Below are snippets of the awesome day we had at the festival!

I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos but there are a lot of stores that sell novelty items and you’re sure to find nifty things that you’ll surely love like handmade stuff toys, artworks such as paintings and sketches, flowers that live forever, Unique Jewelry, Accessories and so much more.

Aside from the vendors there are pop-up booths for entertainment too. Such as the live concert which features great music from local bands/artists and awesome booths for games for the whole family to enjoy and we definitely did enjoy all of ’em!

Of course, there’s a ton of Food vendors! Like seriously! My friend and I didn’t know what to do at first – should we go around and buy the food we like right away or should we scout the whole area first and take note of the standouts then buy them later. Prepare yourself and make sure you use your time wisely and better come early too, as people multiply by the minute. Literally.

We were in a mess. A beautiful kind of mess. The type of mess you’d want to be in. We just decided to do both of the strategies when it comes to food hunting. If we really like the food we buy it right away, if it’s interesting; we take note and save it for later – and that’s how we did it. Check out the snaps of the foodventure we had at OC Night Market!

 

We capped the night off with a bang. We watched a street dance battle between two awesome crews! There are times when even the audience joined in including an adorable little girl! How awesome and cute is that!!!

Potatoes are awesome

Aside from hash brown and french fries, you might want to add Potato Mountain in your list of things to try that’s got something to do with Potatoes. You read that right, there’s a  mountain with that name located on the far east, I think, of Los Angeles County in California, USA. Check out the video of my trip to that awesome place below. Potato Mountain offers a scenic view, vibrant trails, a few wild animals and lots of greeneries and beautiful flowers…

Again, excuse my editing and videography skills. I make do with what I have. Haha! Hope you’re trying out new things this 2017.

Cheers to more adventures and memories!

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

Firsts

Hi, everyone!

This is my first attempt on Vlogging. I decided to try new things this 2017 and one of which is to video blog and document my upcoming trips and adventures. I thinks it’s a great practice:pushing ourselves to learn something new every now and then. I hope you’ll do the same. Look for things/activities that you’ve never tried before, or something that you’ve always wanted to try and just do it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience and rush that one might get from doing unfamiliar and new things.

The video above shows some of the highlights of my trip when I decided to hike Mt. Hollywood. Luckily, the famous Griffith Observatory, SoCal’s portal to space, is located within the area. I got the chance to visit the place I have seen in movies, most recently in “La la land” (which is by the way, a fantastic film)

The hike to Mt. Hollywood’s peak is relatively easy. Just follow the trail from the observatory’s parking lot. There are a few stops you can make along the way wherein you can take a break, a photo op, or just enjoy it as it is. Such as Dante’s view, Berlin Forest, and so much more. Check some of the photos I took below:

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Random strangers on this beautiful trail
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A stunning view at Dante’s. Perfect spot for a well-deserved break
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A randome stranger walking his two adorable buddies
Beginning of the trail (Charlie Turner’s Trail)
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Palm trees lined up on the side of the trail making this a good spot for your lovely photos
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Leads to another peak in Griffith Park

Finally, I hope that you try out new things/experience soon! 🙂

PS. Excuse my amateur skills in videography and editing. I promise to learn and be better at it in the next few travels.

Cheers,

Ardent Wayfarer

Preface

Boracay, Philippines

Ardent Wayfarer.

ardent : characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity

wayfarer :  a traveler especially on foot

A Passionate Traveler.

I am your average guy in his early 20s. Like some of the people out there, I’m still figuring things out – still uncertain on what career path I should take, looking for that thing I love the most and make some money out of it, and so much more… (Let’s just save these stories for another time)

While I am in the process of figuring things out, I enjoy traveling on the side. I mean who doesn’t, right? Traveling is by far one of the most rewarding experience one could ever have. Visiting new places, learning new things, trying out new food, and so much more: one can surely never get enough of traveling.

I am not a know-it-all-kind-of traveler. In fact, most of the time – I find myself doing the opposite of the travel blogs I have read. I fail to maximize my budget. I often forget to eat the must-try food of the places I have visited. And a lot of other things.

I seriously have issues in following the guides given by the experts in the industry. Anyhow, that’s just how I travel. Sure I’d read about the place before I go there, look for the activities and read about personal stories or experiences; but when I get there, I do things my way. It’s not like the writer and I have the same taste, outlook, preference/s and what not. What I’ve read is merely a guide but the decision on which path to take is always mine to make.

I think we all should be doing things at our own pace bound by our own limitations and fueled by our own passion. In my opinion, that’s when it’s most fun.

So, I’ll be uploading my not-so organized travel stories (and maybe some tips) in the months to come. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as I did while I traveling those very places.

Best,

Ardent Wayfarer

An Unequivocal Beauty

Mt. Pico De Loro, Philippines

The seemingly endless wonder of Nature continues to baffle and amaze me.

Last weekend my friends and I decided to go on a trip. We decided to hike a particular mountain – Mt. Pico De Loro, which is situated near the Metropolis. At first, I felt that this little foray will surely be just like one of those usual fun and memorable trips we had before. Never have I imagined that something spectacular awaits us.

We started the hike around 9 in the morning. The beginning was indeed, fun. T’was full of jokes and laughter. We went through a rocky trail and then, we started ascending through some mild slopes. After 30 minutes of what seemed like an endless walking, we started to complain and joke about turning back while it’s not yet too late.

I felt my heart burning. I was breathing heavily. For someone with my physique, I think, climbing the mountain was an impossible feat.

But of course we continued. Every now and then, we would exchange Hi’s and Hello’s to fellow climbers we crossed paths with while traversing the challenging trail. That simple interaction made the climb somehow bearable. Seeing their smiles and energetic aura is just genuinely morale-boosting.

Slowly, we were able to feel the winds blowing harder. We begin to feel the sun rays beaming in on our skin. Which I think is an indication that we were somehow a step closer to the summit.

And finally, after two hours of rigorous walking, we reached the camp site which by the way, is a few minutes away from the summit. So Yay!😅 We had our lunch and took some photos ~ a souvenir of this experience.

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The photo above was taken near the camp site. The scenery was truly breathtaking.

After resting for an hour, we decided to continue on with the journey. We were still suppose to have two stopovers. First will be on the summit of the mountain and the next will be on the Monolith a.k.a The Parrot’s Beak. Unfortunately we were only able to climb to the summit as there were a lot of tourist and hikers that day and it’d take us until early evening to reach the infamous Parrot’s Beak.

That 20-minute hike going to the summit was something – something directly out from my nightmare. I was skeptical about the whole idea of relying on stones as my foothold on the way up to the summit. One wrong step and I know it’s the end. (We always tend to exaggerate things on our heads especialy if you’re a realistr or just plain pessimist) I was so focus on climbing this sh*t that I totally ignored my friends who were actually cheering me during that ostensibly life and death ascend. My knees felt like a Jell-O and were trembling after conquering that rocky slope. However, reaching the mountain top was truly exhilarating and fulfilling.

Words cannot describe what I was looking at during that instance. I was simply overjoyed for being able to see something as magnificent as that[this: below photo].

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It was legitimately worth all the effort and exhaustion.

Check out the featured Image. Isn’t that alluring. Seeing something like that in a photo would definitely make you want to personally visit the place and see it for yourself, right? And friends, you all should!

By all means, travel to places while you still can. It is something you can learn from. It is something that you will forever hold dear in your heart. It is something money can’t buy.

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And definitely encourage your friends to do the same. Plan something out. Go out there and fascinate yourself with the undeniable exquisiteness of Mother Nature. It may not necessarily be a mountain or something like this because as you all know, we have a vast world. There so much more than just mountains – we have falls, beaches, forests and so much more. Explore the world. And explore it to your hearts’ content.

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And you are sure to have the time of your life.

As I always say ~~ Carpe Diem, my friend. Carpe Diem.

Love Always,

Ardent Wayfarer

An Endless Chase

Baler Philippines

We tend to look for comfort in the midst of a bustling environment. Well, I did anyways. I suddenly had an urge to look for tranquility.

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In my current situation – A peaceful mind and a serene environment is what I long for. I aimlessly chase what seemed to be an impossible journey. Especially today, wherein we lived in a world where everyone tends to multi-task and be haunted by their busy schedules. Before coming back from japan, I prayed and hoped for a good vacation this year. Then, the universe conspired – lo and behold, this year’s summer was (and is still) different.

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A jump start to my awesome journey was a trip to the “Queen City of the South”, which holds a very dear place of my heart as I started my young adult life there – when I just graduated from college, followed by small trips up north in Luzon and visited beautiful places such as Bataan, Pampanga, and Subic. And sandwiched in between these short excursions are the most unforgettable ones – my beach spree that started from Zambales, Boracay, to Borawan and finally to Baler.

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And in those I trips, I found my tranquility – the elegance of the sun setting by the seas, mountains and trees. Sunsets for me, have these unparalleled beauty. They might depict an ending but it also signals the start, the start of a beautiful and sometimes starry night. The colors of the sky is what I liked the most. The different shades of red. The bold and light colors slowly forming what seemed to be a hombre sky. I always look above and beyond. I wonder. I contemplate. I am amazed. Always in awe of Mother Nature’s sophistication.

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Puting Buhangin, 2015

 

I will forever hold it dear in my heart, this adventure that began on a simple thirst of peace shall now be considered an endless chase.

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Subic, 2015
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Baguio, 2015