Canada: Toronto, ON (July to August 2005)

Before I got a chance to get to know LA, I flew to Toronto to hang out with one of my closest friends, Raizza. She had just moved to Canada, so I decided to crash her new abode.

Our first destination was Center Island. From downtown Toronto, take a ferry to get to this funfilled island. Your activity options include: Biking around the island, swimming in one of their beaches, taking rides in the small amusement park, and having a good meal over their green, green grass, which you are encouraged to step on!

Next stop is now the second tallest freestanding structure in the world, Canada's National Tower. 

I'm afraid of heights, but the terrific view was very much worth it.

Of course you can't go to Ontario without seeing the Niagara Falls. It was easily the most beautiful sight in the trip. 

Here's a shot from the Maid of the Mist, a ferry ride that gets you up close and personal with the strong and beautiful horse shoe falls. 

Other than the Maid of the Mist, there are tunnels that take you behind the falls where you can feel its wrath or its serenade if you please. And if you're not the nature type, there's what they call the tacky town. A little Vegas by the beautiful waterfalls. 

On the way down are layers of vineyards. Just google for Niagara Tours. Each feature different stops in the town of Niagara and several vineyards.

We were young and car-less. So I'll be sure to return someday and tell you more about it. 


50 before 25

I'm not really sure why. But I have set a goal for myself: Visit all 50 US states before turning 25. I have less than a year and a half to go and 37 to go. This is what I have left on my list:

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Wish me luck! :D

Boracay, Philippines (October to November 2001)

Before I got hold of a my very own camera, there was a place called Boracay.

It was one of the most talked about destinations in the Philippines. Everybody fuzzed over the white sand beaches, the island's natural beauty, the good food, and the very welcoming locals. After years of dreaming about it, I finally got to go. It was our semestral break for my final year in HS, and it was a break to look forward to.

We arrived in Katiklan at around noon, nothing too special. A small airport, very country-like, simple and nothing extra-ordinary. We took a 30-minute jeepney ride to the pier, and hopped onto a 2-hour boat ride to our final destination.

We stayed at the Red Coconut Beach Hotel. It has a very soothing nature-look in it. At that time I wondered why my mom had not picked a fancy hotel. Now that I think about it, it was a very good choice, because it matched the beauty of the island.

We went snorkling and had fresh coconut right after. This reminds me of the smile in my grandmother's face as she ate her coconut. I took a banana boat ride with my brother and my cousins. Oh what fun to have salt water splashing into your eyes! We also went island hopping. One of our stops was the Puka Beach. Aside from sand, the ground was covered with puka shells. In the island were several ladies making necklaces from the shells. We were also served lunch as a part of the trip. Grilled Fish always makes my water experience complete.

At the end of each night my brother and I found ourselves either in the hotel pool or in the middle of a party. Probably our most worthy find for an after sunset activity was a reggae bar, BomBom. One of its best features was the wooden lounge between it and the ocean. I sat in the swing and relaxed as my brother introduced me to rum and coke, and reggae.

Another good find is desert, crepe. France has found its way east, and the beach is the place to be! Unfortunately, I can not remember the name of the place. And after a tedious search, I will conclude that there is now more than one crepe place in the island. I will leave you this, it is located a few feet north of the Red Coconut, along the beach. It's a quaint crepe bar, good crepe and very chill.

We always considered Boracay our Hawaii. If you like a good, fun Filipino crowd as you get away from it all, Boracay is the place of choice.

note: I would like to apologize for the lack of details and pictures. This is a recall from eight years ago, and back then I did not have a camera. I hope you find this and my future blogs helpful in choosing your next destination.