Luzon, Philippines, Travel, Travel Fashion

Cabin Bag Flatlay | Manila

Let me let you in on a secret: the secret to sensible packing is photographing what you pack. For hand-carry bags, for instance, it is imperative not to overstuff lest your shoulder is prepared to bear the yoke of overpacking.

So how does photographing helps? Whatever doesn’t look good in the photo, goes.

Genius, right? Right!

cabin flat lay manila
Look, Ma! No check-in luggage!

On a trip home to Manila, I tried this formula (and will prolly start a series after this), and am so stoked it works!

Read: Cabin Bag Flatlay – Bali

(Clockwise from top)

  1. Laptop – Macbook Air (a gift from the boylove 3 birthdays ago); decal is from Typo Shop.
  2. Make-up kit – My Asian skin doesn’t do well with designer cosmetics. I’m happy with just Revlon, really.
  3. Passport Wallet – have I mentioned Typo Shop should start to sponsor me? lol. Also, if you haven’t noticed yet, I am crazy over all things travel-y.
  4. Headphones – Bose wireless over ear.
  5. Journal – Slay 2017 by Typo Shop.
  6. Backpack – All because it matches with my passport wallet; also from Typo Shop.
  7. Eyewear – Clubmasters by RayBan
  8. Book – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma


Flatlay Manila
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Travel, Travel Fashion

Cabin Bag Flatlay | Bali

Over the years, after one too many plane rides, I declare that packing a cabin bag is a life skill. The challenge to come up with a lightweight, practical, sufficient and cabin-permitted stash is both a science and an art. Hence, I am launching a flat-lay series, where I share the contents of the cabin bags I take on trips.

What's in a bag | Words and Wanderlust

( Clockwise; from top left)

1. Passport Wallet – brand less; a birthday gift. With a shiny red finish, this is my current favourite as it is big enough to hold everything (passport, plane tickets, cash bills, and cards) but is flat enough and does not lose shape.
2. All-purpose scarfCotton On; Ramones. Thin and suitable when going to the tropics. Can double as a scarf, towel, sarong, blanket, and head gear.
3. Neck pillowTypo. Very convenient for long-haul flights and bus rides. Comes with a clip that can be attached to the straps of your bag.
4. SunglassesOakley. Always have high-quality, polarised sunglasses. I also use a soft case that doubles as an eyeglass wipe.
5. Book – Choose one that you’ve always meant to read but never had time to. Waiting happens a lot when traveling. Utilise “waiting time” to read a book. Once finished, leave it book exchange centres (coffee shops, hostels, hotels etc.).
6. Kikay KitTypo. I have this cheap but sturdy waterproof pouch that contains my travel make up and other female thingamajigs. (Maybe I can do a flat-lay on this one day). It contains the basics: eyeshadow palette in neutral shades, face powder, lip gloss, lipstick, eyeliner, tampons, pocket-sized perfume and mints.
7. Wet wipesCrop. A bit pricey than other brands but made from organic. It is also a double-sided wipe: one side has a textured finish that is good for exfoliation, and the other has a smooth, moisturising side.
8. Toiletries – Kathmandu. contained in a transparent pouch from Kathmandu are my toiletry basics: deodorant, moisturiser, BB cream and lotion. I have a big-arse bottle of hair conditioner and body wash in my check-in luggage, because, who needs those in a cabin bag?
9. Coin purse – Coach – It also comes with a pocket for cards and a wrist holder, so when I do not need to lug around my cabin bag (city strolls or mall shopping for example), it’s the only thing I ever bring.
10. Toothbrush / Toothpaste – free from hotel. I keep two sets of toothbrush/toothpaste – a proper one that I keep in my check-in luggage and a disposable one (usually looted from staycations, LOL) in my cabin bag.
11. Journal – from a local souvenir shop in Candidasa. I realise that I rarely have time to do scrapbooking post-trip because I either have to immediately go back to the daily grind or am busy planning for the next trip. Therefore, I keep a journal and a roll of washi tape to immediately stick tickets, receipts, polaroids and whatnot
12. Smart phone with earphonesiPhone6. Really, I could no longer imagine a life without smart phones. To say that my whole life is on iCloud is more fact that it is hyperbole. And earphones – as opposed to headphones. small, convenient, more affordable and just as useful.
13. PowerbankCygnett. Lightweight, long-lasting and given the amount of my iPhone use, this is truly a necessity.

NB. – Bag is from Zapatos, a local Indonesian brand. I also carry a separate bag for my gadgets which contains a Macbook, DSLR (Canon 6D) and GoPro. When not taking my DSLR, I use an Olympus OMD. For beach destinations, I recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone.

Fellow wayfarer, what’s in your cabin bag? If keen to contribute, please email me at