When Feeling Lost Finally Hits You

6901 (1280x853)

I’ve never been more lost than I am right now.

Being on a sabbatical to “figure things out” is an opportunity that I’ve always looked forward to. I imagined having all the time in the world doing so much more than what I’ve been doing before.

I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to write my thoughts and hopefully inspire other people. I wanted to share stories. Perhaps, even embrace a happier life altogether.

And so, I did travel. I took on a 3-month backpacking trip around Europe and Morocco, then went to different destinations in the Philippines and even managed to “take a break” from the break in Taiwan. In my own little way, I embraced the world.

At first, almost everything came together. Spontaneity, impulse, signs, the destination, and the people. Life felt so surreal.

In between those trips, I’ve also had the opportunity to reset at the comfort of my home in the Philippines. This allowed me to work my heart in my blog, get re-acquainted with having a domesticated kind-of-life, catch up on some TV shows, and apply for grad school. All with the luxury of procrastination.

But after my last trip, I felt conflicted between going on or going home. I felt exhausted physically and mentally. At the same time, I was scared that if I allowed myself to take a break again, my own comfort zone could eat me alive.

It was then that I just couldn’t decide for myself. I didn’t know my heart. I had no idea anymore and at that point, I needed someone to tell me what to do.

My sister told me to go home. And so I did. I went home.

The thing about having so much time is that, you can be too flexible to the point of even procrastinating. You can allow yourself to just be. To do anything and do nothing. You can live as you desire, not force things and let bliss be followed.

But as fancy as that may appear, it isn’t always the case, is it? In reality, you actually need to be more mindful and be more responsible than ever because everything is solely up to you.

Being at home, I felt rejuvenated in the beginning. It was comfortable. That was the first two to three weeks, I think.

And then I eventually felt lonely. I felt unaccomplished by not doing anything, suffocated of being at home, unmotivated to move forward, non-committal to long term plans, and worst of all, I felt depressed. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because I know I brought it upon myself. I could see myself drifting away and I know that I’m the only one who could do something about it. But, I wasn’t doing anything.

  • As much as I needed direction, I couldn’t commit yet going back to the normalcy of work and life because I felt like there’s still so much to see and so much to do.
  • As much as I am compelled to travel, my heart couldn’t speak volumes of where to go, of where to start.
  • And as much as I wanted to really leave, I knew I have to face the challenge of balancing between my sense of belonging to the world out there and to deep-rootedness at home.

In spite of the desire, the opportunities, the ideas, and the tons of inspiration going around me, I find it difficult to start again. I was lost on my own.

And yes, I’ve never been more lost than ever.

6908 (1280x946)

I acknowledge the fact that for most people in the world, my issues are definitely nothing. But you know, it’s truly difficult if you are clouded in your own misery. And that’s where I was.

I was afraid to face it, to admit it. And most of all, given this downfall, I was afraid to be true. But that’s what I really needed: to be true. Otherwise, I won’t be able to pull myself together.

I know I have to take small steps to get myself out of the so-called funk. I needed to start somewhere, anywhere for that matter and not wait anymore. But listening to my heart on a deeper level, I know that I need to do more than that.


6910 (1280x859)Every cloud has a silver lining

Over the past week, a variety of lights has somehow sparked upon me.

I chanced upon a big social-media travel influencer which made me question where I am in my own platform right now. It made me feel smaller and irrelevant. And as much as I tell myself that “you shouldn’t compare because we all have our own purpose in this world,” and “we are exactly where we’re supposed to be,” I couldn’t really wrap my head around it. Maybe because I know that I could’ve done a lot more had I really invested more of my heart into the things that I am passionate about.

But that hiccup also made me realize that I don’t want to “just travel” anymore. On a positive light, it made me realize that I want to engage even more to the people that I meet, to the places that I get to see, and lastly, to make a difference in both words and actions. I want to make a positive impact on the places that I get to visit as much as I want to raise awareness through my platform. I want to make a difference in the life of travel.

It was also then that I came across Anita Wing Lee’s blog which truly resonated with me. My desire to give an impact to this world became stronger. I know that I have so much to give. I also know that I can do so much. I know that my heart can see right through the beauty and can speak volumes about it. And lastly, I know that I just have to look deep within to get my bearings back again. It’s there, deep within my heart. It is only I who can do the things that I want, I just needed to find it within me. And once I get it right back again, I know that the world would back me up in every step of the way.

I am still in the process of sorting things out for myself. As of late, I’ve been trying to seek opportunities to fuel my passion to see the world, opportunities that would also allow me to give back in return. And in 2 days, I will jet off to go somewhere familiar and will try to move gradually to explore the unknown again.

With everything considered, my intentions will remain the same. With all my heart, I aim to be true, to be authentic, and to be responsible. And I trust that this world will embrace me whole heartedly, just the same.

For those of you who feel the same way, whose feelings resonate with me, trust that things will work out soon, at your own pace, in your own time. Always.

6902 (1280x854)

Continue Reading

A Call for Responsible Tourism: Whale Shark Interaction in Oslob


A Whale Shark in Oslob being fed with shrimps, in order for them to stay in the same area during the “interaction” time


The world of tourism. The life of travel. And all things in between.

For the tourism service provider,

It’s a good source of income especially during high season, and one can do so much when money starts coming in especially in poor areas. For some, it’s just a means of livelihood while for others, it’s the only way of living, a food to the table.

For the receiver, the consumer,

At the same time, it entertains our sights with the beauty that this world has to offer. It gives us an experience of a lifetime. It makes us aware and it even educates us. It helps us grow. It changes us. It makes us feel grateful and fulfilled.

But, what about this world?

Its beauty? The sights? The selfless nature that we ever so loved to see? The intricate facade that tells you the history it had witnessed? What do they get from both sides of the fence?


What about this side of the world of the whale sharks, which is currently caught in between the world of eco-tourism?

They can’t speak up and they supposedly just follow their routine, their normal wild life, and live in their natural habitat. But tourism in some parts of the world has changed that.


Why I feel that you should NOT swim with the whale sharks in Oslob.

A few days ago, I caught myself talking with a fellow instagram user about the whale shark watching practices being done in Oslob. I haven’t been there and have’t experienced the whale shark watching there myself. I’ve only been to Donsol where I did the whale shark interaction last February which was SURREAL.

In Oslob, however, it’s not the same experience. It’s harmful for the whale sharks.

From what I’ve learned, guidelines and rules have been set in place to protect these gentle giants (read here). But it’s rather hard to control the hundreds of tourists swarming over, fighting hard to take the much anticipated photo of and with them. It’s even more difficult when the guidelines are not even being followed.

6802Batches of paddle boats with tourists are brought to the whale shark watching area in Oslob every 30 minutes

6803Paddle boats already in place at the whale shark interaction area

So, how does the whale shark interaction take place in Oslob?

A boat goes around the area to feed the whale sharks there from 6 am until noon so that they would stay at the feeding area. A form of domestication takes place for tourists to easily interact with them. Tourists are brought there and are given the opportunity to interact in 30 minutes. I imagined an “open zoo” when I learned about this.

6801Paddle boats and tourists at the whale shark interaction area in Oslob

Take note that whale sharks are wild animals, thus, feeding them and domestication is not away to live the normal wild life.

Is feeding bad for them? YES.

It ruins their diet and makes them unhealthy. They are supposed to move and fend for themselves naturally with nutritious plankton food along the way. Instead, they just “hang-out” and wait for the krill to come in the interaction area, whatever the boat feeds them. They don’t get the right amount of nutrition that they actually need.

Whale sharks are wild animals who should freely swim, eat, migrate and live obliviously from humans.

By feeding them, they have become more vulnerable due to the changes in their behavior.

They’ve learned to associate food with the presence of boats and people (as this is what happens in the whale shark interaction in Oslob).

Some whale sharks even arrive earlier that the start of the feeding time (before 6 am) to source for food in the interaction area. (source: LAMAVE)

The worse part is, if and when they leave, the whale sharks that have been accustomed to this practice in Oslob are prone to approach non-feeding boats and could get hurt in the process (by the propeller or even poached if they’ve mistakenly gone to the wrong one).

The behavior that they’ve acquired endangers them and make them more vulnerable once they leave Oslob. (read more here)

In some way, this makes them domesticated and causes disruption of their migration cycle.

Other whale sharks stay far longer in Oslob instead of migrating to other areas where they’re supposed to go. This also resulted to their domestication, changing their “wild nature” and their migration cycle.


6804A whale shark in Oslob with its mouth open trying to eat the shrimps being fed to it

I know that a huge improvement has already taken place there, as they used to poach whale sharks back in the day. But for me, if a better form of interaction can be placed, just as how it is in Donsol, then it could also be done in Oslob and elsewhere, right?

It also bothers me why some still go there and even promote it even after learning about the conditions there. If you weren’t aware before and you did it, then the least you could do is learn further and make others aware.

You can read about “why not to swim with the whale sharks in Oslob” further here, here, here, and here.

You can also read about a study done by LAMAVE, an NGO that aims to conserve marine biodiversity on “What happens when you feed wildlife: the case of the whale sharks in Oslob, Philippines” here.


But what about the Oslob local livelihood depending on it?

The income generated from this livelihood puts food into the table, I know that. And I am definitely not heartless to pray for this livelihood to be taken away from them. But in the long run, will this livelihood still go on if the current interaction practice remains the same?

To further expound, will the current practice be able to sustain the livelihood in the next few years ensuring that the whale sharks live longer through all of these?

If yes, for how long?

What will happen to the whale sharks in the next few years? Their life cycle? Their migration cycle? Their understanding of being “wild” and the way they adapt with the environment?

What if we change the interaction experience and improve it to benefit the local livelihood and the whale sharks’ marine life? Which is better?


Changing ways, transitioning to a more sustainable, responsible, and ethical whale shark interaction practice.

Moving forward, I do understand how long and tedious this process is. Joint efforts need to be in place by the department of tourism, the marine-life experts from various organizations, and the local government to educate the locals of the effects of what’s currently happening and what’s bound to happen in the future of the marine life of the whale sharks. The pros and the cons. Perhaps, an in depth study, a comprehensive and long term plan that would benefit both the local tourism and the marine life needs to be provided as well in order for the locals to be more open with changing the usual ways of whale shark interaction.

And us, tourists, travelers, supporters should get the right information necessary. Awareness should not only be made to the locals but to guests as well. We should do our part.

A Call to Raise Awareness. Please. Educate us. Help us help you.

By all means, I am no expert. I am just a small girl trying to reach out to the proper institutions to inform us, educate us, and make everybody aware of the current situation in that part of tourism. It’s always easier said than done. And you’d probably say that it’s always the other people “who feel like they know it all” in spite of not really knowing the story behind, deep down. I acknowledge that I am one of them, so by all means, educate me, educate us. And if needed, seek help. Ask us and let us know where we could come in.

In my little way, I hope that those who come across this blog would try to further explain to me, to us, the efforts being done and the eventual plans for a more responsible and sustainable whale shark interaction in Oslob.

I have faith that things will improve eventually. But for now, let’s all make a stand and speak up in our own little way. And for the highly influential people out there, this is the time to extend your reach and help us too.


A facebook petition is already up for this, but I don’t think they’re getting the right attention as of the moment. Department of Tourism also informed me that guidelines are in place, but they’re having difficulties as they need support from the local government. I am still unsure though of the process being done. There’s also an ongoing campaign by LAMAVE through research and education in Oslob.

Update as of May 24, 2016

Marine Wildlife Watch Philippines, a conservation organization is also currently working with DOT for the policies. And WWF-Philippines, who have promoted the sustainable practice in Donsol, are also currently having difficulties in penetrating the said practice in Oslob.

There is also an on going video campaign called Their Future Our Future that aims to raise awareness on the marine wildlife interaction guidelines in support of the support Sustainable Marine Wildlife Tourism in the Philippines

All of them can only do so much unless we all come together.


To the Influential Travelers, Bloggers, Advocates, Private and Government Institutions: Please DON’T PROMOTE the whale shark watching in Oslob until the ethical practice has been implemented.

Continue Reading

Being in Malapascua, Cebu

6701 (1280x960)

And then there was Malapascua.

Out of all the islands and the beaches in the country, it was Malapascua. Somewhere I haven’t been to. A name that I’ve only heard of but wasn’t really sure of what to expect.

I just thought, there must be something special about it.

6702 (1280x960)

Located in the northernmost tip of Cebu, this island is quite off the grid as compared to some destinations in the Philippines. A very long commute from the city proper, Malapascua is mostly frequented by those who want to get acquainted with the thresher sharks and manta rays — a must for divers.

Some, however, find themselves in the island to escape the busier parts of the country where they can live the island life and lay back at the underdeveloped white beach. At least, for a couple of days.

Arriving late in the afternoon, I thought I should mellow down and take a stroll at the beach.

I was tired. But if there’s something to soothe tiredness, it’s being here. I thought, maybe I would want to take a dip.

And if I got lucky, watch the sunset.

6703 (1280x960)

Sunsets. I’ve always loved the sunset.

“You know — one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

– The Little Prince

That day was my new friend–Elisa’s birthday that day. It was her second day there and just came from Kalanggaman.

Just like me, she is awed by nature’s magic. Maybe, that sunset’s enchanting beauty was a present dedicated to her.

6706 (1280x960) 6704 (1280x960) 6705 (1280x955)

The vividness of the sky, the hint of the clouds, and the reflection of the fading sun was a beautiful introduction to Malapascua.

6706b (1280x960)

That night there were fireworks (literally). Something that some people at the hostel tried to catch while I was too lazy to even bother. It was then that we met another friend who brought us to the local casino (that’s what he called it, but it’s just a small gambling place) and ended the night with a beer.

6718 (1280x960)Not an unusual past-time in small towns is to play Bingo

6719 (1280x1280)This type of game is usually found in a small carnival set-up or what we locally call “Perya”

Being in Malapascua, the rest of my days there were mostly filled with the sun, the sea, and friendship.


Five years. Five years and more was how long it took for me and my friend to see each other again after crossing paths in Barcelona and a visit in Dubai. And it was here, in Malapascua, where we finally met again. Although I felt bad for her arriving a day late and sleeping (not) under the stars, I was happy that it all worked out anyway and got herself safely here. She even made a new friend in MJ along the way. :)

6722Reunited with my “celebrity” friend, Flashback!

And then there was having new friends that lead to a sense of familiarity with the island. Friends that I’ve been accustomed to hanging out with, in spite of spending just a couple of days with them.

6715 (1280x960)

Walking between the hostel and the beach was always an interesting puzzle, with unmarked and unnoticeable paths everywhere. Getting lost, finding our way through the “market” that doesn’t really exist (Although there were a bunch of stores :) It’s just a funny miscommunication/misinformation), late night conversation about my awesome post-spine surgery, hunting for the “green place” to eat, going to the hippest (not) bar to party, seeing the town beyond tourism, and having roosters in almost every step of the way were just some of the little details with them.

6714 (1280x960)Malapascua beyond tourism: a local is drying the day’s catch as part of their livelihood

I remember eating at the same barbecue place at least 4 times in the days we’ve spent there. We only managed to eat elsewhere to find the “Green place”, only to find out that it possibly does not exist.

At one time, we even tried to catch the sunrise, the sole reason why we woke up at half past five in the morning. We eventually had some uninvited guests accompany us — guests who were attention-and-possibly-food-deprived-dogs.

6707 (1280x938)Sunrise and the dogs that almost didn’t leave us

It was during our morning walk when I pointed at a dog doing the “downward facing dog.” I initially found that funny. But when the dog took notice, he called his mates and they got comfortable with us. I was bothered and they didn’t leave us even after the sun had found its place up high. It wasn’t until they saw a lady jogging that they left. They probably realized that someone else might return the same attention or food that they were craving for.

It was at the far end of the beach stretch, that area facing the north, where we found comfort. The clouds actually hindered the rise of the sun from the horizon. But seeing it get through for me was more than note-worthy.

6722 (1280x960)

Malapascua alone was almost enough for someone who simply craves for the beach and serenity. Although it wasn’t necessary to do a boat tour, our curiosity got the best of us.

6709 (1280x960)6723 (1280x960)6724 (1280x960)

Snorkeling in some reefs made me witness the devastation of what the past had brought the island. Most of the corals were dead in the areas we’ve visited. With dead corals in the sand, that shouldn’t have been a surprise. But what’s not dead (at least, for me) was the eerie feeling I got once I got around the perimeter of the ship wreck. There was some kind of force repelling me to go within that invisible gate.

6711 (1280x941)

And then there was another sunset.

6712 (1280x960)

And the day after, a visit to another island called Kalanggaman.

The sun, sand, and the water were the story of my life as the rest of the days went by. But what set this trip apart was having foreign friends immerse in one of the most local things to do.

Apart from the Red Horse, the street barbecues and the balut, there’s a favorite past time we call the Videoke (or internationally known as the Karaoke). You can’t go more local than that.

6716 (1280x960)6716b (1280x960)

It started with only me singing. I recall the man-in-charge telling me that the rental is only good for an hour. Half an hour later, my foreign friends started to get their tunes on. What was supposed to go for an hour went on for at least 6 hours, upto the last few minutes when we were requested to stop just so the community of divers/neighborhood could take a good night’s sleep.

Besides, Malapascua is a divers’ hub. They had to be up and swimming by 5am!

Beach dogs (attention+food-deprived dogs), summer sun, salty water, white sandy – coral-y beach, balut, videoke, a local sense of community, catching sunrise and chasing sunsets, and of course friends, lots of them.

That’s what being in Malapascua meant for me. And surely, that was enough, just the way I liked it.

6721 (1280x959)

How to go to Malapascua from Cebu Airport:
1. Take the hourly airport bus to Northern Bus Terminal.
2. Ride a bus or van to Maya Port. Travel time is around 4 hours.
Ordinary bus (24 hour operation) – Php 163
Aircon bus (Operates until 7 pm) – Php 180
Van (Operates until 10 pm) – Php 180
3. Take a ferry to Malapascua Island (30 minutes) – Php 100
– The ferry operates from 7am to 4pm. There’s no official time and to be on the safe side, be there by 3pm.
– Sometimes, the ferry will offload passengers 50 meters away from the main land and you will be asked to take a smaller boat and will charge you Php 20.
Although, on our way back, the small boat + ferry was Php 100.
— If you missed the last ferry, there are several homestays around the area. Just make sure you arrive when the locals are still awake. Otherwise, you won’t have anywhere else to go.
Maya homestay – D&N Lodge (where my friend stayed)
+639177210118 or +639771786195
Php 800/room (2 beds)

Where to stay:
Where I stayed – Malapascua Budget Inn
Tawigan Logon, Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan, Cebu, Malapascua Island, 6013, Philippines
*roughly 5 minute walk from the beachfront. Can be booked via booking.com
*Dorm Bed = Php 400/night

Where my friend stayed – Malapascua Bed and Breakfast La Dolce Vita
*beach front, beside Maldito’s
+639176243710 – Haidee Globe
+639985797507 – Haidee Smart
+639778341562 – Emma, Jenny Globe
Bed = Php 350/night
Bed and breakfast = Php 400/night
Private room = Php 1000/night

Continue Reading

The Impact of Crossing Paths, of Meeting You


Ever wonder why we meet the people we meet? Or how the most mundane events can lead to so much more?

We don’t always realize how the tiniest things can have a strong impact in our lives. The acquaintances, the missed seconds, the slightest of words. We don’t think much about the ripple effect, the butterfly effect. It’s okay though. There’s always a reason.

There’s always the right time.

I couldn’t help but be amazed on how life brings people together. You get to cross paths with them, somehow make moments, and then treasure those memories forever.

As I tried to gather my thoughts on my recent trip to Malapascua, I allowed my mind to dwell on how after five years, I got to reunite with one of the first persons that I’ve made friends with when I started traveling solo. My mind then wandered to that day when I truly allowed myself to be open, to that time I made my first travel friends.

Yes, it was more than five years ago when I braved my way to the unknown and hoped not to be completely alone.

Being the shy person that I’ve always been (although a lot might say otherwise), the cozy hostel I stayed at in Barcelona intimidated me at first. Back then, I was still getting the jive on how to do small talks with strangers. But somehow, that hostel allowed me to meet people who I ended up exploring the city with. People who I got to watch the winning FC Barcelona match with. People who I managed to stay in touch with until today.

6603FC Barcelona vs. Panathinaikos, Camp Nou, 2009

Truth be told, the idea of meeting new people, of making new friends made me excited. It was just an idea back then. Something I had hoped for.

Now, as I look back, it’s just unbelievable. I did meet new people. I wasn’t completely alone. And I did make friends. It’s surreal and getting that chance is something to be grateful for.

As I muse on how great that journey had been, I allowed myself to take a moment and check up on the rest of them via facebook. I didn’t expect that those thoughts would pave the way for me to learn that one of the people I’ve met already passed away. And that just breaks my heart.

I couldn’t stop myself but dwell for a bit on the small talks and brief moments before, during, and after the FC Barcelona match. I remember her having that bubbly personality, that infectious smile. I remember checking up on her later on, trying to find out if she’s a cousin of someone. I remembered her. And as affected as I am in spite of just spending moments with her, I could only imagine how hard it must be for everyone who truly loved her. Who loves her still.

Learning about this almost a year after still gave me a surge of emotions. But somehow, it also made me feel that there’s a reason why only now. You see, I had been depressed these past few days, shutting everybody down and living in the small room my mind had created. My logical self understand how that’s such a mess, making the simplest of thoughts complicated. But the thing is, when you’re depressed, no logic can be heard. And it took all my will power to take the smallest step, to listen and talk again.

But as heartbreaking as it is to learn of what had happened, it gave me a deeper appreciation of the people I’ve cross paths with, the moments we’ve created, the impact they’ve given, and that perfect timing. It makes me have a stronger belief that everything falls into the right place always at the right time.  Every single thing.

Meeting people will always be the easy part.

Establishing a connection, a friendship, and maintaining that might even be a bit of a challenge.

But the hardest part among all is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, knowing the possibility of aching, breaking, and being left behind when the people we meet go away.

Amidst all of those things, it also allows us to just appreciate life and the people who’ve impacted it altogether.


Sheila, you will always be remembered. You don’t know how much of an impact your presence is to each of the people who loves you, even to those people you’ve come across with. I thank God for knowing you.

Continue Reading

Paint Me A Picture Called Blue, Chefchaouen

6528 (1280x853)

If you ask me to paint you a picture of the a city colored blue, I would only think of Chefchaouen and give that to you. The most vibrant and the palest shades of blue.

Who would have thought that I’d get to see it, actually?

One of the places that I haven’t even heard of until about a few minutes after I’ve talked with Teresa, a solo traveler who I met at the bus stop in Sevilla as we were waiting for the next one to the airport. Apparently, we were taking the same flight to Marrakesh. Her plan was to go there, do the Sahara desert tour, visit Fes, and later on, Chefchaouen.

6530 (1280x853)

All but Marrakesh, I haven’t really put a lot of thought into. I thought I’d figure it out once I get there.

Finding my way in Casablanca and Marrakesh, another friend, Michelle, told me to visit it too. A place she wanted to see but unfortunately, haven’t had enough time.

6501 (1280x855)

It then became one of those “I might go to this place, then after, that place. I don’t know yet.” Because, in all honesty, I didn’t know.

Almost everyone I’ve made friends with has been there or is going there.

I wondered, “what was so special about it?”

6502 (1280x852)The view as we drove to Chefchaouen

As days gradually rolled by in Morocco, I was surprised to explore far more than what I’ve thought I’d see.

One day, I found myself waking up early to take that 6-hour bus ride to a city named Chefchaouen. A name I could barely pronounce properly the first few times I’ve heard of it.

There was no excuse for me to forget its name then, even if I was just about to go there.

Chefchaouen, The Blue City

Stories say that the whole city was painted blue to ward off mosquitoes. Others say that it was brought by the Jews who took refuge from Hitler. It was a symbol of the sky and the heaven, apparently.

6523 (1280x853)

A city so blue, it uplifts the bluest feelings you might have had.

A city so quaint, that even if you get lost in the tiny streets, you’d still somehow find your way.

6513 (1280x853)6504 (1280x853)6519 (853x1280)6508 (1280x853)6514 (853x1280)

A place so peaceful, that you’d truly feel at home… Even if you’re in the middle of the medina’s square.

A place so pretty, that even from afar, the magic of the cloudy sunset did not fail to show up.

I couldn’t believe I wanted to leave before the sun had set. Truthfully, I was afraid to lose my footing on our way back, once night had started to fall.

I just couldn’t believe that I got discouraged by the clouds and the height of the Rif mountain. And then I remembered Jon telling me that, sometimes, the clouds make it more beautiful.

That day, the clouds did. It really was beautiful. Magical, even.

6510 (1280x853)

And with the arrival of dusk, it also introduced us to new people, new discoveries… new goals to achieve.

Somewhere between the bus ride, we made a new friend in Nellie and two Malaysian boys learning Arabic in Morocco. We would later see the arrival of dusk together as we waited at the Spanish Mosque on a top of a hill.

Then, I would discover a pilgrimage known as the Camino (de Santiago) by a Korean guy we met there. A guy whose walk got interrupted temporarily because of the abrupt visit from someone important to him.

I just know. One day, I will do the Camino de Santiago.

6511 (1280x853)

Chefchaouen. Somehow, it has an image of serenity that hints its playfulness with the silent knowledge of hashish and its farms somewhere around.

I would’ve gone to see it, had I known where to go.

While Nellie and I were waiting for Jon, a local approached me if I wanted to see the field. I said no in spite of. I just knew no one else was up for it.

Its potency is yet to be equaled though, at least in my experience. Not that I have had many.

6515 (1280x853)

It was my first time to try it (3rd if you count the weed), this time with the pipe. With Al, a Russian from Seattle who is quite familiar with it. It was his, actually. The one he got at lunch (though I believe he still has some left from Tangier).

I didn’t feel it at first and thought it wasn’t really working. And then on my 4th puff, the one which I took really slow and ended abruptly, my throat itched. I choked. I coughed. And it got bad.

6531 (1280x853)

At the hostel terrace, I stared at the sky. Hoping. Praying. Waiting for time to pass. I forced myself to look at my watch and it was around 4:26 pm. And I hoped again. Prayed. Waited. I even made a promise that I would never do it again.

It felt like forever. I checked my watch, it was only 4:27 pm.

The one you see at the movies? The one really high they couldn’t even move?


I threw up 3 times. At past 8, I had the confidence to go down 4 flights of stairs. Searched for a store to buy water, only to end up eating dinner with the gang and having the avocado shake. Until finally, I slept.

Perhaps, somewhere behind the mountains are the grass hash fields. Perhaps…

6505 (853x1280)

Chefchaouen. Even at its busiest, it isn’t really crazy at all.

After the prayer time
After the prayer time

The market is just the same as every place in the rest of the world. It just looks more colorful.

Chefchaouen is a city that you could probably explore in just half a day.

But to truly feel its essence, one must give it a chance.

If and when you do, you would really want more.

I spent a few days there walking around the same streets, going to the same shops, eating the same meals and being acquainted with the locals.

6521 (1280x853)

Its familiarity made me show my new friends around, as if I truly belonged. And there are some shops that I couldn’t help but go back to. Even if it meant going back there twice or thrice in the same day.

This one below is just love.

My favorite store! I went to this place at least 5 times in a few days!

The presence of the gazillion cats had even made me comfortable.

Sometime at lunch, in the middle of our meal, the cat jumped behind me and decided to sleep on my chair. The seat beside me and the one beside my friend were both vacant. So were a lot of chairs around!

Maybe the cat wanted some warmth. And that’s why it wanted me.

6524 (1280x852)

Varying shades of blue among houses and doors. Local shops and handicrafts. Small alleys. Cats and more cats. Tagine. Mint tea. The bluest sky. Terrace after terrace after terrace.

The blue city, and yet, I didn’t feel blue.

It is a place that painted me hundreds of pictures. All of which made it rather difficult to gather words. This time, a thousand or even a million would probably seem not enough.

6518 (853x1280)

In the days that I’d spent there, people have come and gone. And when it was time for me to say goodbye, I almost couldn’t.

As I think about it, I can’t help but still get amazed on how one place unfolded after another. On how I got myself to see Chefchaouen. On how it got to be a part of me. On how I got to be a part of it.

I wanted to stay, even just a few days more. But I couldn’t. I just hope that one day, I could come back to its vividness once more.

Chefchaouen, a city that I fell in love with to the point that I almost didn’t want to leave.

6509 (1280x853)

Continue Reading
1 2 3 14