Minority Report: Where Is Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution Now?

September 28 marks the anniversary of the pro-democracy gatherings for genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong at the Admiralty District (the compound of their government offices), Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. At exactly 5:58 pm in 2014, police hit young people with batons and fired tear gas canisters onto what was otherwise a peaceful protest. It…

Finding Peace in Zamboanga City

The plane ride to Zamboanga was partly different from my previous travels: no overly excited, loud tourists taking selfies and no foreigners. I can tell that the passengers were mostly locals because they were speaking Chavacano, the city’s Spanish-based local dialect. When the plane landed in Zamboanga, it meant many things for the group I was traveling…

Bantayan Island Will Never Be Paradise Lost

On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made its fourth landfall on Bantayan Island, the northernmost tip of Cebu. For days, the remote island had no communication to the world beyond the sea. The storm destroyed 90% of houses, including resorts and other establishments that sustained tourism in the island. In the days that…

The Batanes Survival Guide: 13 Places You Must Visit

Just a decade ago, Batanes is just a small, unpopular island at the northernmost tip of the Philippines. Some would remember Batanes from the elementary textbooks as a place frequently hit by typhoons. Some would associate it with Ivatans, the indigenous tribe from the north who built the vernacular stonehouses. Either way, just a few…

Batanes: Tales and Tips from an Ivatan’s Granddaughter

Lola Inggay died when I was 11. She was 84. There were only too little memories I could associate with her, Christmas being one of them. My grandmother used to give me five peso coins from her plastic pouch every time I visited her. I used to think “Mano po” is some secret code to…

Weird Boys at the Oscars by Ron Genato

In our heart of hearts, we are just genuine movie fans. But people find it weird for two siblings, especially boys, to bond over films and gossip news about celebrities, whether local or foreign. So we tried to pursue this on our spare time, hidden from the world who frowns upon the shallowness of what…

Autumn and Winter in South Korea

It’s true what they say: We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. It was the end of the November and autumn leaves had just started to fall. The ground was covered with the color of decay, the soil moist from the occasional rain, the air heavy with scent of petrichor….

DMZ: The Border Between North and South Korea by Ceej Tantengco

K-Pop, rom-coms and Korean dramas like Endless Love: Winter Sonata paint a picture of a carefree, beautiful South Korea. But behind the popular images of pretty boys, high fashion, lush landscapes and beautiful architecture is another narrative: the Korean War. The war began in 1950, after 135,000 soldiers from the communist North Korean People’s Army…

Travel Virgin: Lessons from Indochina

It was terrifying and exciting. For the first time in my life, I traveled abroad. Everything was new. Every experience was something to look forward to. I didn’t have to think about writing news stories, checking scripts or going live in a couple of hours. All I had to worry about was my outfit for…

Why Manila Is Better than London

My editor asked this question right after I went back to work: “Bakit umuwi ka pa? (Why would you want to return?)” The Executive Producer of a morning newscast asked me the same, with additional input: “Something is very wrong with you.” This was not the first time I heard these remarks. I have just returned from a two-week vacation…

Ang Romansa Ko sa Bangkok

Isang karagatan lang ang pagitan ng Maynila at Bangkok. Wala pang anim na oras ang biyahe sa eroplano para marating ang kapitolyo ng kaharian ng Thailand na tinuguriang City of Angels. Pero kung pagkukumparahing maigi, tila milya-milya na ang pagitan ng dalawang syudad. Wala na sa hinagap ko kung kailan ko nakilala ang Bangkok. Sa apat…

Cliff Jumping at Tali Beach

On normal days, the waves in Tali Beach, Nasugbu, Batangas would have been more bearable, more calm even. But this was not that day. The waves seemed stronger, angrier. The rocks, made slippery by the onslaught of sea waves, glistened like sharp fangs. It was a monster — heaving and turning. Waiting for the next…

The Legacy of Mount Pinatubo

June 15, 1991. This volcano once claimed many lives. It then left a beautiful lake in its wake. The crater of Mount Pinatubo in Zambales may evoke words such as calm and serene now. But it will always have a horrible past. Mount Pinatubo erupted and overwhelmed nearby areas with pyroclastic flows, ash deposits and lahar…

Where Shakespeare Lived, Loved and Died

Editor’s Note: Last June 21, 2014, Lian Buan visited Stratford-upon-Avon in England. This town is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the celebrated bard and wordsmith. His grave is also here. Today is the longest day of 2014, the start of summer. It is the midsummer day and I luckily experienced it here in England, where the…

Cagayan de Oro: Rapid River Thriller

Last 2014, the body of a missing tourist was recovered in Cagayan de Oro River, Mindanao. This was the first accident since CDO began its commercial white water rafting operations in 1995. I was shocked to hear the news. After all, we did have a great time rafting in the river in 2013. It was a…

Love Letter to England

I lived in England for a year in 2003, went to school here and have been coming back every two years since. This is now my fifth visit after leaving and deciding no other place could replace the Philippines as home. But that’s not to say I don’t like it here. I love England and the…

Mt. Pulag: A Guide for Hikers and Broken Hearts

I climbed Mount Pulag in Benguet to make a decision. I was heartbroken. Like ice cold water running down my spine, the news struck me. The person I love will reject me. It was third hand information but the warning came from a friend. My heart skipped a beat. I was working in the newsroom…

Conquering Pico de Loro

I never liked the whole idea of climbing mountains. But I ended up on top of the Pico de Loro monolith in Cavite. How and why I got there? It’s a long trek but let me walk you through my journey. Early this year, I found a new (and rather eccentric) hobby: mountaineering. I have climbed…

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder

There is something about Siem Reap, Cambodia. When dusk falls, a warm, salty air hits your face; wind that probably comes from the stream that stretches in the middle of the road. The yellow light from lamp posts bounces off the water so as you ride a tuktuk, the flicker skips from the corner of…