Monday, November 11, 2013

HELP and PRAY for Philippines

     Only a few weeks after the Philippines was badly affected by a strong earthquake. Philippines is again facing another ordeal. Severe damage and many lives lost due to typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), recorded as the strongest typhoon in the world. 

     We are asking for your prayers and help for the families of those greatly affected. Prayers and sympathies are greatly appreciated but more than these, they (my Fellow Filipinos) need our help. I tried to compile pictures from different websites and news files of the aftermath of the storm Yolanda. I also compiled the list of where we can send our help, a little amount or anything is a Big Help. Let's work together as a nation.  We (Fellow Filipinos) are thankful for all the support and help given by different countries.

Disclaimer: All the photos posted are not mine and compiled for the purpose of helping the victims of the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). 
Full Credits to all the owner of the photos. 


Some Places Greatly Hit By the Typhoon. 

The Aftermath.
Tacloban Leyte: (C) Inquirer 
Guian Town, Samar: (C) AFP Photo Ted Aljibe

Northern, Iloilo: (C) ABS CBN Iloilo

How can you HELP?
If you are from Philippines or Abroad and want to help please check the all the list below. I compiled some List of Institutions accepting Donations. 
(Gathered from different websites)

Locally:






Links: (Please Click the Links Below)
Compiled by Rappler.com (Local and Abroad)
Compiled by Yahoo Philippines


International (Please Click the Links Below)
International Institutions compiled by wunderground.com
Canadian Redcross

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thought Corner: Why You Should Consider Traveling SOLO?

Yes I love traveling. Yes I am a Female. And Yes I travel SOLO.
Sometimes it's fun to go mainstream. 
Being tourist-y in Singapura's Hop-on/Hop-off bus. It's always good to be back. 
People are always weirded out whenever they learn and hear that i travel solo and yes love it too!  Oh wait, May I just say that I feel happy now because finally my family and close friends understand my passion for travel and when i go solo. Well, not totally agree with me BUT now there's less violent reaction. 

Ok so why do I travel SOLO and encourage you to do so as well?

My first solo travel happened almost 3 years ago. Singapore was my chosen destination. You can read more about it HERE. Yes it wasn't easy for me because I had a hard time convincing my parents. I scheduled it during my birth month so I'll have a good excuse and yeah, it worked out well. The perks you get on your birthday. Oh yeah!
If you're gonna ask me what I gained from it? Well, A LOT. I'm proud to say it changed me. 


In Solo traveling...

1. You might be Surprised on How much You Can DO. Being solo especially in other places outside your comfort zone teaches you to be more independent, deepens self trust and confidence, challenges your critical thinking skills and unleashes your NEW self. Yes, I DO mean all those things written above. When you go SOLO, all you have is yourself and no one but yourself to decide on everything in order to survive your planned travel. You will be pushed to your limits during unavoidable times like getting lost in unfamiliar places, unleashes that inner confidence to converse to strangers (because traveling involves a lot of communication), and Yes imagine a BOOST on your Confidence after a Successful travel and BIG Credit to of course, YOURSELF. A different feeling of self accomplishment. 
Have you heard that according to studies, travelers find it easier to interact to people during social gatherings or situations compared to others?
Hmmmmm says a lot about Positive Self-Esteem right? 

2. You Meet and Gain a Lot of NEW Friends. Traveling in a group is fun. I also travel most of the time with friends and family. But sometimes the disadvantage is you limit yourself with the same crowd. You lessen the chance to get to know more about the people in that certain place and to learn more about their culture. Sometimes through interaction with the locals or other travelers, you get to know more about their culture that broadens your knowledge about each one's differences and why people act this way and that. And yes, I am proud to say that I've met many of my good friends now during my Travels. You can establish and build new connections in every place you go and that certain place might be your home away from home. You'll see the world in a different way, you'll see and feel that YES there are still so many good people vs. what we see on the news (re: crimes). You'll appreciate and see a lot of random act of kindness from strangers around you. But learn to trust your instincts as well. 






3. You Feed Your Soul. POWER of MEDITATION.  Traveling Solo can also be a form of meditation. When you are solo, there will be a lot of chances where you'll be caught up drowned in your own thoughts. Flashbacks, A vision of what you wanna BE and DO on your future or maybe just enjoy your NOW while you're in a train ride going to your next destination. Submerged into Nothing but your own thoughts and reflections, listening to no one but your own self which in turn strengthens your inner self-awareness. In our busy schedule with work nowadays and other stuff, when was the last time you listened to yourself? When was the last time you heard that "voice within you"? During meditation we detach ourselves from reality for a while and we learn to embrace our "wholeness". We learn to feel and really listen to our hearts and provide more space for great ideas to come. Yes, a time to reflect and re-create self. You'll feel more relaxed, happier and calmer. I really feel reinvigorated after every solo travel. Ready to face anything again with a bolder heart. Let me share some thoughts I had during another Solo Travel, La Union, Philippines: More than just a Surfing Spot


Yoga in Maldives
A Solo traveller must master the skill of Timed Shots And equip themselves with monopod or tripod. 
Taking this shot wasn't easy but upon seeing it... All worth it!


4. You Become OPEN MINDED. Definitely NO to BIGOTRY. An Open Mind is what you learn to exercise from traveling in general. That's why I really encourage people to start packing their bags and go! Doesn't mean international right away. A visit to a nearby town is already traveling away from the world or routine you've created. You'll see that the world is way different outside your own world. That there are a lot of people luckier or less privileged than you; a lot of problems bigger than what you are ranting for days; a lot of differences in culture and places; and a lot of things to be thankful for. You'll understand more why certain people act this way or that. Maybe, just maybe, you'll see and live your life differently from before. Traveling changed me a lot. I learned to appreciate (more) every bit of me and what i have (contentment). So before you leave any negative comments about other people, do you really know why they act that way? Before focusing on negative things in your life, maybe there are more things to be grateful for? 

5. You Create a Great Investment. The rewards you gain from it are priceless. Furthermore, the life lessons you get from traveling especially SOLO lasts a lifetime compared to mundane things. Traveling shapes you to be a Better, Wiser and Stronger person depending on how you accept and embrace each valuable experience and lesson. As for me, I always try to see through the goodness in things. 
I definitely disagree whenever I hear some people say that traveling is just a WASTE of money. I think it all depends on how you perceive things and how you use them in favor of you. When you buy fancy things, Yes you experience happiness BUT short-lived. When you buy a travel ticket, you are investing on yourself and on an experience that may totally change you. Experiences weigh more than tangible things. Great and inspiring experiences leave an imprint in your heart that will definitely last a lifetime and can be surely passed on from one generation to another. When time comes that I'll have kids of my own, I'm gonna share all my wonderful travels to them and teach them that they may see the true Beauty in the World and Life. 
May I just add, a lot of really Successful people (self-made people) traveled the world before they became Successful or More Successful. The Ideas you get when traveling are Infinite.  

6. You are FREE.
Yes, you get much freedom during solo travels. You're FREE to: follow your own pace or time, make your own itinerary (IT) and visit all the places you love, plus eat and sleep anywhere you want without having to worry about others. Moreover, you are also FREE from stress, rush and conflicts which may arise at times when you travel with a group.  Sometimes when we travel, we just need to sit back, relax and savor the experience without any ITs, no time pressure, and just…. get lost for a moment. The best travel experiences are sometimes the unplanned ones. So don't be scared to go out of your comfort zone, and be ready to embrace the unknown. It might be an experience of a lifetime. So pack your bags and just go! 

Surely I can add-up a lot more to this list but for now let me leave you with 6. 

Some Things To Keep in Mind:

When traveling solo, SAFETY should be your first priority. Try to research about the place and people, the DO's and DON'Ts beforehand. 
I always get the number of the hotel (and inform the front desk) or Police Station in case of Emergency. Plan some important things well and Be ALERT all the time. 

And yes, traveling doesn't have to be lucrative. For tips on how to travel cheaply you can also read my blog: I CAN Travel, You CAN Travel TOO: 10 Tips on How to Travel Cheap

Solo Biking in Maldives.
I stayed for a night in one of the islands where the locals live so I can get to know more of their culture. 
It was so fun! 
A Date with my favorite person, Self.
I usually spend my "ME" time pondering about a lot of things. I fell in love with the place and the food, ah heavenly. 
This is one of the restaurants in Kurumba Resort in Maldives and it's so hard not to fall in love with this place, hence Maldives is every Honeymooners' dream. 

So serene and private. 
Who wouldn't love it here? I had a hard time bidding goodbye, Maldives. 

Gardens by the Bay
I am the "Little Princess" surrounded by Baobab trees. 

Taken during my First Solo Travel in 2010. National Orchid Garden in Singapore. Thankful for mirrors. 

Meet my New Friend Mrs. Pecker.
The Perks of Going Solo in Universal Studios Singapore? I was able to have lots of photos with the stars, others got strictly one picture each only then you'll hear: Neeeext on cue no more take two's! haha 
MIRROR! Oh well, there's only one thing to do. haha
 Very rare chance to capture that picture perfect moment during Solo travels especially when always on the Move. Biking at Pulau Ubin, Singapore. 
Back in one of my favorite local destinations, La Union and another Solo Travel. 
Yes, I lived here during my stay in La Union. Hostel living and loving it. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Baler, Philippines: Another Surfing Spot (Video Blog)

I made a short clip about my recent visit so you can see my experiences, mood and also feel the vibes during my travel. You can also go to vimeo to watch the video in HD. Happy Watching!

Baler, Philippines: Another Surfing Spot from gottabekara on Vimeo.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Baler, Philippines: Celebrating my Birthday Weekend at the Beach

     Last weekend my friends and I went to Baler for 2 Reasons: First to celebrate my birthday at the beach (Aaaaaaah imagine how giddy diddy I was); Second to watch our friend compete at the First  Stoked Inc. Philippine Wahine Classic Event by Surf Institute. 

     We decided to just meet at Baler since some of us are from Pampanga and others from La Union. Some also planned to go there earlier and stayed longer including our friend who's a part of the Competition. 

     From Pampanga, we boarded a Genesis Bus going to Cabanatuan around 8am at San Fernando, Central Terminal Station. We arrived at Cabanatuan around 10:30am and waited for a bus going to Aurora, Baler. The bus to Aurora left around 12:30pm and we reached our destination around 5-ish already due to the zigzag road and stop overs. Yes, I must admit it was a grueling almost 8-hr travel and I felt the need to snooze in bed right away. I felt mixed emotions upon our arrival. I felt so happy that we've finally arrived at our destination but at the same time sad because the travel going to Baler almost ate most of our time. We only stayed overnight at Baler due to conflict in schedule. 


© D.P.
Waiting in vain at San Fernando, Central Terminal Station. Yes, I am not a morning person. haha


© D.P.
At the Bus Terminal Going to Aurora. Shot taken inside the bus. 

© D.P.
A view taken at one of the stop overs from our Aurora-Baler route. 

© D.P.
Stop over. The toilets located at the foot of the mountains. 

© D.P.
A great view of a lake on the way to Baler. 

     On our arrival at Baler, big waves greeted us. We stayed at Bayler View Hotel, which is a beach front accommodation and really gave us a good view of the sea. Initially, I planned to do a "Birthday Surf" but the big waves that greeted us, unleashed the Scaredy Cat in me. haha. Yes, I Surf on certain conditions only but I'm really working on my swimming skills. Soooooon, I'll be more courageous and confident enough to surf and face those huge waves. 




© D.P.
Inside Bayler View Hotel. 

     Saturday night was Beach Party time! DJs playing dope music and booze everywhere at Aliya Surf Camp, host of the competition. Gladly, we were able to unwind after a long and stressful travel. 



Good music and good friends, definitely a good night! 

DJ Sanya Smith capping off our party night.



     On our second day, we watched the finals for the surfing competition and cheered for our friend. It was so intense since the "wahines" really strutted their surfing skills. It was so fun to watch so many girls surf, "Ultimate Girl Power"! The competition organized by Carla Rowland aimed to encourage and empower more women to surf and feel stoked. Bravo to all the organizers! It was definitely a good and successful event. 


So what happened next?!?

Ta Da Di Da Di Da... Yes, we were so proud of our friend Melai Karaan for winning in her division! Woooohooooo, way to go Surfer Girl!  

Congratulations Melai Karaan for winning at the 1st Stoked Inc. Philippine Wahini Classic, Malihini LongBoard Champion.  Thank you for the wonderful gift as well. I am truly a fan.



Thank you for celebrating with me!!!




The crowd chilling and listening to some Bob Marley beat at Aliya Surf Camp while waiting for the announcement of winners.


Some Snapshots at the Sabang Beach, Baler:
© D.P.
Elevated and cemented path walk at the beach and a view of Costa Pacifica Hotel.   

Let the waves wash your worries away. Just Good vibes! 


Just Ride the Waves, Surf and Get Stoked! 

Fine, Black Sand with a wide shore line. 


This will definitely make a Surfer oh-so ecstatic! 


Who wouldn't love this view? The beauty of Mother Nature never fails to fascinate me. 

It was a quick but a fun birthday weekend get-away at the beach. Next time, I'll definitely stay longer at Baler and recommend it as well, must stay at least 2 nights to really unwind, explore the place and avoid the rush. We weren't able to tour the place yet, hopefully next time. Plus you won't feel oh-so dead tired because of the long travel. I also suggest that you secure and check availability of buses if you're planning to commute. They still have limited bus rides at Baler, most leave early or before lunch time. My friends and I just rented a van on our way back since there are no more bus transportation available at around 4-5pm. 

Itsy Bitsy Travel Expenses:
Currency: Philippine Peso
Bus ride: San Fernando, Pampanga-Cabanatuan= 108/pax
              Cabanatuan-Aurora= 247/pax

Tricycle ride Terminal going to resort = 15/pax


Bayler View Hotel2300/room good for 3 (Click the link for more details)


Rented Van Ride going to Manila = 8000 can accommodate 10-12pax

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Travel Vlog: Guimaras Island, Philippines

Kara's Blog Vocab List ***Baul- Filipino Word Meaning: Treasure Box ***Baul Blog- meaning stock of unwritten precious experiences So I suddenly came up with an experiment on how I can share to you my travel adventures faster and easier, since it's so hard for me to find that "Spark" in writing because of my oh-so busy schedule lately with work and other stuff. I wouldn't want this recent trip to be put in my "BAUL" blogs again. I decided to create my FIRST Travel Vlog and give you a sneak peek of my recent whereabout. After a year and a half, I am back once again in one of my favorite places here in the Philippines, The Island of Guimaras. I went to visit another secluded Beach Resort, "Cabaling Beach Resort". Let me show you a bit of what the place has to offer. Detailed blog about it soon. Hopefully reaaaaaally soon!haha. Check out my first vlog experiment. Oh well, this is the best I can do for now as a Beginner but hopefully I can improve more through practice. A spur of the moment chance and grabbed it. You can go to vimeo to watch the video in HD. Happy Watching! Location:Cabaling Beach Resort Brgy. Espinosa Sitio Cabaling Jordan, Guimaras Contact Ms. Lot at 0949-4909206 Multi-cab Service in Guimaras Island: 0947-7861479, Melvin Camera used: IPOD Touch

First Travel Vlog: Guimaras Island from gottabekara on Vimeo.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Underworld: Exploring El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Last June, I went to El Nido, Palawan together with eleven other friends hence the name "Cheaper by the Dozen Gang Adventure". I was really giddy and excited days before our much awaited barkada (friends) trip. But a day before our scheduled travel date, it was reported on the news that the weather will be rainy due to an upcoming storm. I felt worried that we won't enjoy the beach and the island tours because of continuous heavy rainfall. I am a beach lover; I love the Sun, Sand and Sea but how are we gonna enjoy every bit of it when weather doesn't cooperate? Then I sadly said to myself, well I guess this is one of those not so lucky trip and just see what things we can do in the island. 

But contrary to my expectation, it was one AWE-INSPIRING travel. We explored some of El Nido's islands during the two-day tour (TOUR A and C) and had a wonderful experience UNDERwater eventhough it was raining hard. 

No BAD weather can stop us from exploring the beauty of nature. Philippines really has a lot of amazing places and surprises. I just felt so lucky to be a local in a place with 7,107 islands. Below are some of the shots I took during our snorkeling adventure and I was just so speechless with every snorkeling spot we visited. In my opinion, the lime formations in El Nido were like those in Halong Bay, Vietnam but the world under is incomparable. I just hope the local government can support and maintain the beauty of the marine life. 
The whole UNDERWORLD experience reminded me of my scuba diving certification (PADI) dream once again,maybe someday soon. 

Oh, Hello there! Mr. Patrick trying to play HIDE and SEEK.
This is my favorite starfish color. 
Look out! Sea urchins on the loose. 



They also have a flower underwater. Corals everywhere. 
Corals looking like mushrooms.
Can you spot the star? 
Very tricky to touch them, they swim so fast. 
School of Fish.
Had a hard time following this rainbow colored fish, glad I was able to have a shot even far away. =)
Oh look, another one. The closest shot I can get. haha. If only I am a good swimmer. 
Oh, NEON! It's Definitely a colorful world down there.
Because I just can't get enough, more shots of these beautiful creatures. 
Ooooh they look so different Under and Out of water.
More of them swarming under our boat, can they sense food? haha. 
One happy lady enjoying her underworld experience. Once again, i felt one with nature. It was one overwhelming and HAPPY heart experience. And yes, once again I am not a good swimmer. Thank you to the person who invented life vests because of you I was able to conquer the underworld once again. Yes, we just need a little bit of courage to do what we want.

How to get there:

You can ride a plane from Clark or Manila bound to Puerto Princessa, Palawan. From PP City, you can ride a bus or van going to El Nido which will take 5-6 hours land travel. There are also chartered planes from Clark or Manila direct to El Nido (around 1.5hrs travel) but are costly.