New Zealand, Travel, Video

Mundane Madness: A Travel Video

tauranga new zealand - words and wanderlust

Perhaps love.

There is a reason why unlike most, this blog will never survive penning travel guides from point A to point B. I have tried, but each time I do, I become less and less myself.

Perhaps love.

I love departures more than I’ll ever do arrivals. My travels aren’t necessarily aimed at reaching the destination. It thrives on the stories along the journeys and of the detours I take from time to time. Sometimes I bump into stop-overs so precious I decide not to leave any more. Sometimes, in the middle of everything that’s right, I get bored, stand up, and decide to do something else; go somewhere else.

Australia, Travel

Flip n’ Wanderlust : Hunter Valley

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

It wasn’t only Greenday who yearned to be woken up when September ended. For many, September’s a Wednesday– the hump day, or in this case, hump month, before the merriment of the Yuletide.

My September, for instance, was one full of questions– introspections that when said out loud, bordered on seeming lunatic. My husband, Jonathan, gracefully bore the misfortune of trying to understand my euphemisms; nevermind that on most late nights, my musings threatened, even his place in my life.

Experience, New Zealand, Travel

Hello Stranger

Blog Carnival. There is something wonderful in all things short-lived: it does not last long enough for the magic to wear off.

Those fleeting moments become the memories we tuck in the pockets of remembrance. Those are the same stories we fish out on nostalgic drunken nights to share to a friend or two.

Hello Stranger

Once upon a time, I allowed myself some recklessness. Fully aware that I wasn’t to be forever young, I took advantage of a time where I was at my most palatable. hah.

Let us pretend I wrote this drunk.

Australia, Day Trips, Itinerary, Travel

Day Trip Sydney

The city does not usually appeal to me. My heart yearns for the village and its ironies: how it is meager but boundless; sublime but familiar; hushed but audible.

But I married a city boy. And if the city had anything to do to raise such an amazing person, then I suppose there’s a good reason tucked somewhere– enough to enamor me like one city boy did.

Day Trip Sydney - Words and Wanderlust

New Zealand, Travel

Under The New Zealand Moon

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND. When I first got here in February of 2008, leaving home was easy. There was not much to hold on to except family. And in the same odd way, family was also my biggest reason for leaving.

New Zealand cradled my then burnt-out, uptight self with generosity, kindness and luck. By the end of my first year, melancholy has successfully been exhausted out my system. I have also unloaded the breadwinner’s yoke off my father’s back. My provisions afforded my parents much needed rest, recreation and peace of mind. It allowed my brothers to want as much; to be free and happy as if the world was theirs. As for myself, I was gifted the fortune of squeezing as much goddamn juice out of as many goddamn lemons thrown my way.

Life had been a bottomless well of blessings since. My career soared faster and higher than usual. Outside work, I have dabbled with writing, shooting and traveling. I have reached the point where money wasn’t anymore an issue as big as time was. There was so much to do; so many places to go to,  but so little time.

Love, as you may have already known, was the cherry on top. It came in the form of a bouquet of gerberas on my doorstep 2 Decembers ago, from a photographer-slash-engineer neighbor who apparently was on the prowl until I was without a boyfriend. “Will you be my girlfriend?” and “Will you be my wife?” happened in a span of time so short, some lines are blurred.

In a few hours, today, I will be leaving New Zealand. All the wonderful memories I have in the nearly half a decade I spent here are wrapped in 6 relocation boxes and a hundred kilogram worth of luggages. One beautiful life in one container van.

A boat house and a rewarding job awaits me across the ditch. There, the sun shines brighter; the moon, bigger. But truth be told, I find it very, very hard to leave. I have come to love this country as my own– more than it being a greener pasteur; more than what I came here for.

The sun rises here first for a reason. For landscapes and waterscapes that do not only charm the sight, but soothes the soul as well. For its citizens– the kindest, most trustworthy and most generous one could ever find. For nights that are silent, because then, one could hear the beating of his own heart. For days that are eternal– 9pm sunsets and the like.

It is when fate brings one to real life paradises like New Zealand that we come to prove that there is a God. He puts us where we can truly bloom and be happy. He put me here to heal. I guess now, the mending’s done and I’m off for a test run– there, where the greats are made greater; the beautiful is made more beautiful.

Experience, New Zealand, Travel

Bucket List | Bungy Jumping New Zealand

Bungy jumping in New Zealand had been in everybody’s bucket lists long before “bucket list” became a household term. Traveling to NZ isn’t complete without a bungee jump, may it be in Queenstown or in Taupo. NZ tourism sure knows how to couple extreme activities with paradise-like nature as backdrop.

[vimeo 44183688]

Just over a fortnight after I got married, the X and I drove over to the North Island’s adventure capital, Taupo, to jump off the edge. 47 meters high and no turning back, it was the single bravest thing I have done in all my 27 years. The X chickened the last minute and decided he couldn’t do it. But I, at only 5 feet 4 and 55 kgs, took on the challenge like it was no different to the age-old cliff jumping I used to do as a kid back in my mum’s hometown of Iloilo.

Water has always been my comfort zone. Nearly 50m below from where I stood, the mighty Waikato River, in all its almost-frozen glory, had its arms outstretched. It enticed, promising liberation.

In less than a month’s time, the X and I will be relocating to another country with hopes of good fortune. Until I make that jump, I could never really claim I have lived in New Zealand. In addition, If I really desire to travel the world like I say I do, it is only just to explore my backyard first and do the very things other travelers come here for.

As the Bungee crew gear me up for the plunge, my eyes trailed to the viewing deck. I saw the X, the in-laws, a bunch of other people who couldn’t make up their minds if they’d also jump or not and many others who knew in their hearts that they never can do such feat.

Then it happened. I was asked to stand on the edge, look up to the camera above for posterity, and savor the picturesque reality of New Zealand: whitewashed cliffs, a lake that was all shades of blue, lush forests and long white clouds. There was only one way for me to take all of it in: succumb to gravity.

It was so fast there was no time to entertain fear. The next thing I felt was the rope pulling my feet and for the first time ever, I saw the whole world upside down. It still was just as beautiful.

I grinned from ear to ear, knowing that I have conquered something that was far more than what it looked like it was. It wasn’t only a jump, it was a manifestation of how fiercely brave my heart is. I did myself a favor; I made the whole world hold their breaths.


Taupo Bungy
202 Spa Road, Taupo
New Zealand
0800 888 408

Solo Bungy: $149
(photos and videos excluded)

New Zealand, Travel

Northland | Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga, Northland.  idea of a country was just too huge in my imagination. It was hard to fathom how there were boundaries; edges that wrapped around a motherland’s entirety. Somehow, facts used to come to me bland, they were almost lies.

But at lunch time last April, after a short downhill walk from where the bus driver dropped us off, we found ourselves standing on the edge of the country. Maori legends spoke of the place as the leaping-off point for the spirits, where the turbulent union of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean pulls (or pushes, no one knows) the departed into the abyss of forevermore; of heaven.

The lighthouse in Cape Reinga was a fixture. It beaconed like an old friend. It was stout; not as tall as how it was in photographs. I wondered if it still lit up at night, if it still called fishermen home.

Beside the lighthouse where yellow arrows to everywhere. I liked how it conveyed of crossroads, though there weren’t any. The distant horizon was cloaked with clouds. But on a good day, they said, Australia can be seen from the cape.

Australia and Aoteroa. Sisters. Rivals.

“Do they say hello to each other in the morning?” I asked myself.

There were grasses, shrubs all over. There was no need for mowing, I reckoned. The wind in that part of the world was strange; so dense I could almost see limbs grooming the surrounding grassland. Indeed, nature was taking care of itself.

Not far below was the unforgiving waters of Tasman and the Pacific. The half court line came in the form of white froth from waves lapping to opposite directions. How did they mark territories, I never knew.

And of course, there I stood, on the rugged edges of Northland, my kingdom of rock and soil on a constantly losing battle with water. I counted how many more million years it could buy before finally conceding defeat. “More than what I could afford in a lifetime,” I guessed. (I actually managed to bring myself to entertain that particular detail without having to realize if I was ready; if I ever will be.)

By the time my musings trailed as far as wondering if the Pirate of the Caribbean sailed past there, too; if the end of his world was different from the end of mine, the driver coaxed everyone to go back to the bus at once as we still have to go sand boarding in a dune a short drive away from where we were.

I looked back one last time, to the frayed edges of my country– falling apart but holding itself together, still.



Cape Reinga, Aupouri Peninsula

The Far North


422 km from Auckland

5 hrs and 10 mins via SH 1


New Zealand, Travel

Blog Carnival | My Royal Rockness

Mothers Day - Words and Wanderlust

She was 26 when she had me. I remember us sporting the same hairstyle back in the day. She was my role model, I was her favorite accessory.

The bond that mommy and I share is more sisterly than it is mother-daughter. We share secrets, gossips, cosmetics, and for many, many years, hairbrushes. We share the same passion in writing too. When I wrote my first poem at 8, she gave me access to an old suitcase filled with diaries, with pages yellowed by years. Kept in each yellowed leaf were verses written for my father and those that she loved before him. I have not ceased writing since.