The Five-0 Dream comes true, part 4: hopping around Honolulu

(YES this is a super late post. WHOOO. My Hawaii trip actually happened in June 2016! If you missed my previous posts, I talked about presenting my research at the International Coral Reef Symposium, exploring Diamond Head, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, eating my way around Hawai’i, and my souvenirs from the trip.)

One last full day, a huge city, and a ton of places to go to.

I organized my Honolulu city tour around three things: the Bishop Museum, food, and Hawaii Five-0. Although I really wanted to dedicate a day to each of these things – the most popular unofficial Five-0 tour takes you to McGarrett’s house AND gives you the opportunity to possibly meet some of the actors if they’re available (past attendees have met Chi McBride (Lou Grover) and Dennis Chun (Sgt. Duke Lukela)) – I didn’t have that luxury πŸ™ Next time!

First stop of the day: Wailana Coffee Shop and their macadamia nut pancakes. Wailana was just down the street from the Ilikai Hotel so it was the perfect spot to have breakfast and start the day. McGarrett was right: they do serve the best pancakes. They’re so soft and fluffy!

Second stop of the day: Liliha Bakery. As I mentioned in great detail in a previous post, I mistakenly thought that the Kuakini St. branch would be closed on a Sunday so I ended up at the much-farther-away Nimitz Branch instead. I (somewhat) didn’t mind because hot damn, Liliha Bakery makes amazing coco puffs. Really. These pastry puffs, with their chocolate cream filling and chantilly cream frosting, are my favorite food from Hawaii, which is saying something since I’m picky with pastries and I loved poke too. I bought a box of six pieces (four coco puffs and two cream puffs, about $4 each), ostensibly to share with my friends, but the puffs were so good that I could have eaten them all by myself.

Continue reading “The Five-0 Dream comes true, part 4: hopping around Honolulu”

Airbnb and Nuffnang: my travel angels!

This post is two weeks late – blame work and long commutes – but here goes: I won first place in Airbnb and Nuffnang’s #MyAirbnbTravelBucketList contest!

*cue screaming and jumping*

My original blog post is here.

Thank you so much to everyone who read my blog post and signed up for Airbnb, Nuffnang, and of course, Airbnb!

Confession time: I had a mini panic attack during Airbnb’s call to confirm that I won when their representative asked me point-blank as to where I was planning on going. The truth is that I have no idea! Hahaha! I’m thinking maybe Thailand or Malaysia since I’ve never been (and no visa requirements!), or go local with Cebu and Bohol. Luckily, I still have a few months to figure it out πŸ˜€

The prize money disappeared quickly but for a good cause. I headed to Nautilus and bought a neoprene vest, pants, and a long-sleeved rashguard. I’m leaving in a few days for fieldwork in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and these will definitely come in handy.

Here’s to more travel and adventures in the months to come!

2013 in photos

With certain notable exceptions, 2013 was a personal banner year. I’m not sure how 2014 will top it, but hopefully it will *graduation!!!*

February: I got to meet Costas Christ when he visited El Nido Resorts as a judge for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. It was an honor to be able to pick his brain about sustainable tourism.
02 Feb Costas Christ

March: Bloc Party in Manila! HOMG Bloc Party in Manila!!! I’d dreamed of this moment since I got hooked by Weekend in the City. To see and hear them in the flesh… WOW.
blocparty6_finale_small

Continue reading “2013 in photos”

Seattle in four photos

I still haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and write but hey, I did manage to find an hour to edit and watermark some of my photos. After spending two days roaming around the downtown area, Seattle may just become my favorite city in the US.

The Space Needle – the ultimate Seattle icon
02 space needle

Pike Place Market – quite possibly my favorite place in the city.
03 pike place market

Ate the best clam chowder in the Pacific Northwest at Pike Place Chowder. So worth the wait!
04 pike place chowder

Learned more about First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest while roaming around the Seattle Art Museum.
05 First Nation art

Fishies and phoneography

First off, a big WHOOHOO!!! for being included in The Daily Post’s phoneography favorites for March! The staff chose my “My Neighborhood” post to include in the roundup of their favorite entries. It always feel good to be recognized πŸ™‚

Second: one good thing about working in an island resort is that the water is only a couple of meters away πŸ™‚ Beat the summer heat this afternoon by diving our house reef. I used having to download my water temperature sensor data as an excuse. Heehee. That and I volunteered to take photos of one of our guests doing his Bubblemaker course πŸ™‚ Aside from taking pictures of a 9-year-old during his first scuba experience, I also got to take some pretty good pictures of our resident bigeye scad (Selar crumenopthalmus). Swimming through a school of fish who totally ignored my presence was a surreal experience. I tried moving away so that I could take better wide-angle photos but nothing doing. The water was just too shallow and the school was just too big!

Fish in the light
fish01_small

Window through the darkness
fish02_small

Just might become one of my all-time favorite photos.
fish03_small

I said on Facebook that I wish I had extra-clear water for that perfect shot. Jayvee said that the water was already pretty clear. It was pretty clear but you could still see some backscatter. He said I should get strobes. I said he should give me the money for them πŸ˜›

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Can I just say how much I LOVE this theme? Because seriously. FOOD! I love food! Our family’s life literally revolves around food. I love smelling it, I love watching people cook, and most of all, I love eating it! Confession time: I don’t cook πŸ˜› This week’s phoneography challenge was to document “lunchtime”. Another confession: I don’t like taking pictures of cooked food. Once food is served on the table, it’s meant to be eaten. I give the Glare of Death whenever my dining companions make me wait while they use their smartphones to take photos of our food. So how do you document “lunchtime” without taking photos of your lunch? By taking photos of what goes in it, of course!

The resort I work for grows its own salad greens! We have around eight greenhouses on the Palawan mainland where we grow Red Rapid lettuce, Curly Green lettuce, and arugula. These are the baby lettuce. Give them 30 days and they’re good to harvest and serve!
03 growing lettuce

We also prefer to buy locally caught fish. Of course, the fish shouldn’t be of the endangered variety and should have been caught using passive gear, like nets and fishing lines. I took this photo while this fish was being delivered to us.
02 fresh fish

And finally, we also have an organic farm! This is where we grow string beans, eggplant, bitter gourd, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet melon, mangoes, and lots and lots of other goodies and yes, pineapples too!
01 growing pineapple

What does your lunch look like? πŸ™‚

Phoneography challenge: my neighborhood

So this week’s photography challenge is “My Neighborhood”. To make it even more interesting, all the photos should have been taken using a mobile phone. At present, my “neighborhood” for most of the month is Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. They say that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and my iPhone 4S hasn’t left my side since I bought it last year. So behold – Bacuit Bay as seen through a smartphone’s lens πŸ™‚

The view from up top (Matinloc Island). This was taken using the iPhone’s Panorama option.
[minor tweaks in levels using Photoshop CS6]

The view from up top (Matinloc Island)

Same view, different boat and focus (Matinloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks in levels using Photoshop CS6]

Same view, different boat and focus (Matinloc Island, El Nido)

Miniloc Island Resort’s water cottages (Miniloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks using Snapseed]

Miniloc Island Resort's water cottages (Miniloc Island, El Nido)

Breakfast for two at the Miniloc Island Resort clubhouse (Miniloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks using Snapseed]

Breakfast for two at the Miniloc Island Resort clubhouse (Miniloc Island, El Nido)

Outrigger boat – the only way to travel (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)
[no editing]

Outrigger boat - the only way to travel (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)

Bacuit Bay as seen from the seat of a kayak, taken using the iPhone’s Panorama mode (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)
[no editing]

Bacuit Bay as seen from the seat of a kayak, taken using the iPhone's Panorama mode (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)

What does your neighborhood look like? πŸ™‚