Porto, Portugal

Bom dia! Backpacking for two weeks in the Philippines and Spain took a bit of a toll on me so I indulged in Porto in every way possible. I wined, dined, spoiled myself in a city that I grew to love while scaling its phenomenal hills and flaneuring by the Douro river. 

Fun fact: Porto was where JK Rowling lived to teach English and write Harry Potter novels! Inspired, I wrote, too, at a bar with vinho verde, passionate poetry slamming on my diary pages. There’s something magical about this city.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid had a bit of a low-key profile, and I embraced it fully. I meandered. Got lost in the old city. I also saw the major paintings by Goya, the Guernica of Picasso, the post-surrealist work of Miro. What I witnessed in that art genre was a loss of innocence, ponderings about mortality, and lots of gothic violence and human isolation. They gave me nightmares, the ghosts of my past showing up to say hello to me. 

The upside is that I got my eating mojo back! After suffering from some health issues in the Philippines, I’m so ready to eat and live the tapas life.

Barcelona, Spain

Hola! On this second week of my three-week break, I’ve come to forget the deep sea quietness of Dauin and instead fall in love in Barcelona. The Gaudis, art nouveaus, and gothics are well celebrated here. Perhaps above all, I almost wept after seeing the Picasso collection at Museu Picasso. His pre-cubist phase — the portraits, social realism, blue period — blew me away. 

“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life.” Pablo Picasso

The Layover: Honolulu, Manila and Tokyo

I’m intense when it comes to optimizing my layovers and have been lucky to have friends who drop whatever they’re doing just to see me for a few hours. They’re the best! 

Very recently in Honolulu, Manila and Tokyo, I went antiquing for vintage-designed Japanese bowls, had chocolate ice cream at Pierre Marcolini in Ala Moana, sampled bone marrow and Hello Kitty dimsum in Manila, and ate my heart out at a delicious kushi bar in Ginza. Enjoy the pics!