The Northern Lights of my dreams

I’m an ocean girl at heart. Saltwater and sand will be my top destinations almost every time. One of the few destinations included in that almost? Iceland. Why do I want to visit? Let’s count them off!

  1. The road trip experience

Iceland Driving Road Trip

Scenic landscapes everywhere you look and well-maintained roads? Perfect. Now I just need to learn how to drive…

2. The road trip minus the carbon emissions

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If you want to get more exercise, there’s always biking. I’m going to skip the leg-killing uphill climbs as there are enough flat plains to go around.

3. It’s great for whale watching!

whale watching VI

Iceland’s waters are home to lots of krill and fish, which means lots of whales and dolphins! Twenty-three species of whales and dolphins call Iceland home, though the ones most commonly seen during whale watching tours are minke whales, humpback whales, harbor porpoises, and orcas. Minkes are the most common though, and can be seen year-round.

4. Hot springs!

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

The most famous one is (of course) the Blue Lagoon. It’s so popular that you need to pre-book tickets. Of course, there are other hot springs that you can visit, whether for free or with a paid ticket.

5. Of course, the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights - Iceland - Travel photography

If you don’t want to wait in the cold (no one enjoys being cold) and you can afford it, find a rental unit that has an outdoor hot tub.

Now, if only I can find cheap flightsΒ to Reykjavik.

I love my Mares fins!

I won the Mares Summer Selfie contest for July! While it’s not my first time to win an online contest (I’ve won a few of them by blogging), this was my first time to win one via Facebook Likes. Winning this contest was particularly fantastic because the prize was a pair of Mares fins of my choice <3

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And this is the photo that won me the contest:

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I don’t look particularly nice in this photo – in fact, I look pretty ridiculous with my chipmunk cheeks – but hey, I was willing to sacrifice a bit of my dignity for the chance to win a new pair of fins πŸ˜› After consulting with friends and gear reviews, I settled on the Mares Avanti Quattro+ in white. They go very nicely with my blue Avanti Tre fins πŸ˜€

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So how do they handle? I got to test them out during my most recent fieldwork in Tawi-tawi. Power-wise, the Avanti Quattro+ give a good kick. I used them while going against strong currents and managed to cover over 100 meters in relatively good time while carrying a huge tetrapod. Extra force was needed but the fins got the job done so I’m counting it as a win.

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Maneuverability is also pretty good. I had no problems with the tight turns I needed to make while doing fish visual census. For aesthetics, the fins come in black, white, blue, green, and red. I got the white ones because 1) they look so clean and pretty, and 2) they’re easy to spot underwater. Mares says that the red fins stay red even at depth so you can get that too.

Thanks again to Mares for holding the contest! (Underwater photos were taken by Denmark Recamara)

Why I #BlogWithNuffnang

I’ve blogged with Nuffnang ever since I started www.theislandergirl.com in 2013 and I’ve never looked back. There are a boatload of reasons why I’ve stuck with Nuffnang this long but these are my favorites:

1. Nuffnang partners with the best brands.
No sketchy dealings here. With Nuffnang, the ads that appear on your blog are from legitimate businesses. The same goes for sponsored posts. Nuffnang considers the type of content you produce and matches sponsorships accordingly. That way, your readers are more likely to be interested in what your sponsors have to say.

2. Nuffnang holds the best contests.
Seriously. Who else can partner with AirbnbΒ and hold a contest for the best travel bucketlist with cash and Airbnb credits as the top prize? That was the best contest ever and I was lucky enough to win it. I’m leaving for Hong Kong next month and it’s all thanks to Nuffnang!

That wasn’t my first time to win a Nuffnang contest. I was also fortunate enough to win a ticket to Blogopolis 2013 and the first Restaurant Digital Marketing Conference. Winning the conference ticket was especially important to me as my mom owns a fabulous bakeryΒ and we needed to know how to promote it online.

3. Nuffnang’s staff are the best.
I coordinated with Community Manager Jamon to pick up my prize for the Airbnb contest and he was so easy to deal with. Same goes for their Help department when I needed assistance in cashing out my advertising earnings for the first time. I’d definitely work with them again πŸ™‚

 

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How reducing food waste means saving the world

World Environment Day 2013 is coming up and UNEP is again holding a contest to find the green blogger who will keep the rest of the world updated on the WED festivities in the host country. They started the contest in 2010 but this was the first time I’d heard of it. The challenge was to write an engaging 400-600 word blog post on the impact of food waste on the environment. Of course I joined!

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You can find my blog entry here on our work website. If you found it interesting and engaging, please share, Like, and tweet it! UNEP and Treehugger are judging the first round and while content matters, popularity matters too. The prize at stake: the chance to live-blog and tweet about the World Environment Day activities happening in Mongolia!

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Me working hard to harvest the lettuce in our greenhouses

yay more writing :D

I entered the Philstar.com “I Love Philippines” Year 2 contest last August. They asked people to submit stories about best Philippine travel experiences in the form of websites, photos, songs, or videos created using Apple’s iLife ’09 software. The grand prize? A 13″ MacBook Pro. As someone who’s been dreaming of a Mac for some time now but never had the funds, how could I pass this up?

My project: a website featuring my almost 2-year stay in the paradise known as El Nido, Palawan created using iWeb ’09. I didn’t win the MacBook *sob* (but the winning video really was kick-ass and deserved to win) but my entry was among the top 4-10 entries (they never mentioned my exact standing) so I got the 3rd generation iPod shuffle. It’s so tiny!

Screenshots after the jump!

Continue reading “yay more writing :D”