On the Subject of Language

  What is it about language that affects your perception of a people? In regaling others with tales of foreign lands, you find yourself pronouncing certain foods and locales with accents, often without consciously… Continue reading

The Incidental Roman Affair, Part III: Rome at Night

At night, Rome sizzles with a subtly sensuous sheen. As tourists retire to their luxury suites and their budget hostels, as shops lock their doors and street vendors return home, the city’s historic center –its Centro Storico– eases away… Continue reading

The Incidental Roman Affair, Part II: Dinner Date?

I guess you could say it started with a kiss – a Perugina Bacio, that is. Shortly after introducing me to delectable hazelnut chocolates with love notes, Nicolò goes off to work, and I proceed… Continue reading

The Incidental Roman Affair, Part I: Gelato e Baci

It’s a pleasantly crisp February morning as the sun shines brightly over Piazza del Risorgimento. Mischievous gusts of wind whip through narrow, cobbled streets as The Eternal City relishes a leisurely start to another wonderfully… Continue reading

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Try the pork chop. Juicy. Or, ooh, the trout. Tasty. And look, you can top all dishes with an egg – double yay! What am I talking about? A restaurant. In Calistoga. Called Farmstead. That… Continue reading

Winery Wandering: Castello di Amorosa

    Italian Cyprus and olive trees line the winding driveway to a 13th century castello and every curve you pass on the gentle climb up affords a wider panorama of green expanse. A pale,… Continue reading

Winery Wandering: Sterling Vineyards

  Beyond Napa, the cool air of wine country breezes through Calistoga, sitting pretty in the northern hills of California’s Napa Valley. Here, we find the likes of renowned Schramsberg, lesser-known Castello di… Continue reading

Travel Theme: Big

Cleaning out some files on my computer, I stumble on photos with a recurring theme: BIG. So without further a-do, here we go. America, represent! A giant NASA astronaut and a giant fluffball… Continue reading

NASA: Kennedy Space Center

“Space: the final frontier.” Ok, so this isn’t an episode of Star Trek, but it is still about dreams of lunar landscapes and Martian colonies, of boldly going where no man has gone… Continue reading

Travel Theme: Perspective

Spatial relationships are a funny thing. Look at something from directly above or dead center. Now look at it from down low, up high, or off to the side, and you’ve instantly got… Continue reading

Teaquation: Break Up With Boba

  Breakups are hard. Unless you weren’t in love anymore…or in my case, ever. So the breakup with boba was easy, cold turkey (my usual style), and pain-free (unlike my recent gallbladder surgery).… Continue reading

Washington, DC

Washington, DC. The Nation’s Capital. The Federal City. The American Rome (Don’t ask; I didn’t make up the nickname). Where, during your short workout, your hotel might have suddenly been overrun with Secret Service… Continue reading

Washington, DC: Bling at the Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum/research foundation in the world, welcomes 30 million museum-goers each year. Given the staggering numbers, it’s amazing its museums remain largely free. Not only are they conveniently gratis,… Continue reading

Washington, DC: Wonder at The Renwick

  This reminds me of a Taylor Swift song. “Are we out of the woods yet?” Or perhaps we’re heading Into the Woods of a whimsical movie set.   Inside a fashionable, yet… Continue reading

Washington, DC: Library of Congress

Are we in the United States, or in Europe? The façade of this building makes me do a double take for a second. Just a split-second.     In this split-second, the façade… Continue reading

Washington, DC: Capitol Building & Botanic Gardens

Is that the Capitol Building? Oh let’s do pay a visit. We are, after all, in the nation’s capital; it’s only appropriate we see where legislation is passed, and where transformative history has… Continue reading

Spring Blooms

The temperature is warming, the rain is subsiding, and the flowers are in bloom. Taking a leisurely walk (leisurely is as fast as I can move right now) after my recent –and unanticipated–… Continue reading

There Goes My Gallbladder

Day 1: The Procedure “Take a deep breath for me,” says the anesthesiologist, placing a mask over my nose and mouth. I inhale. Blurred images from the day swim behind my closed eyelids:… Continue reading

Ephesus: The Temple of Artemis & The House of Mary

Fun Fact: Did you know the Turkish province of Izmir was home to Homer (of Iliad and Odyssey fame)? Actually, many cities have claimed Homer’s citizenship, but evidence favors Smyrna – what we… Continue reading

Ephesus, Turkey: Details of an Ancient City

Marble streets. The third largest library in the ancient world. The most well-preserved Greco-Roman amphitheater today. These are just some of the treasures you’ll find in the ancient city of Ephesus.    … Continue reading

Ephesus, Turkey: Walking an Ancient City

You’ve probably heard the expression “streets of gold,” but have you ever heard “streets of marble?” I have. I’ve seen them too. In the ancient city of Efes Örenyeri (the Ephesus Archaeological Site),… Continue reading

Pamukkale, Turkey & its Hierapolis

Pamukkale   /puh-moo-kuh-lay/ City in Turkey’s Denizli Province. Translates into English as “Cotton Castle,” from the Turkish portmanteau of pamuk (cotton) + kale (castle) Pamukkale is one of those under-the-radar destinations that isn’t… Continue reading

Cappadocia, Turkey: Göreme Open Air Museum

Be honest: Do you think “Göreme Open Air Museum” is a bit of a bland name for an archaeologically significant piece of history on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Yes, it is actually an… Continue reading

Cappadocia: Fairy Chimneys & Other Photogenic Rocks

If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably seen at least one or two photos of the spectacular backdrop behind myriad hot-air balloons at sunrise – most often in a particular, desert-like area in Turkey.… Continue reading

Cappadocia, Turkey: Kaymaklı & Göreme

This crisp, rainy, Anatolian morning, we’ll have to stoop down to get through cave tunnels carved into the subterranean rock of Kaymaklı Yeraltı Şehri – Kaymaklı Underground City. Watch your head! I just… Continue reading

Cappadocia: Hot-air Ballooning

It’s a rare day I’m up before daybreak. It’s an even rarer day I voluntarily expose myself to the cold; being an island girl, I’m literally not built for it (or so I… Continue reading

Cappadocia, Turkey

Kapadokya, Türkiye (a.k.a. Cappadocia, Turkey) is most often associated with hot-air balloons and fairy chimneys. While this is a fine claim to fame, there is more to the Turkish heartland.     At… Continue reading

Istanbul, Turkey

Can you imagine living in a city that straddles both Europe and Asia? Picture commuting to work on a different continent by simply taking a ferry or driving across a bridge. Residents of… Continue reading

The Real Turkish Delight

I’m at Pasaport Kontrolü (Passport Control) in Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, patiently answering questions from the immigration officer…while also observing that said officer’s colleague, seated beside him in the very same kiosk, has already… Continue reading

Istanbul: The Grand Bazaar & The Bosphorus

Efficient porters deftly weave through the crowds, bearing trays of hot, caffeinated goodness. It’s always a good time for çay, Turkish tea, or Türk kahvesi, Turkish coffee. Shop after shop, stall after stall,… Continue reading

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque & Basilica Cistern

Say “Istanbul” to a group of travelers, and they’ll often reminisce about vastly different experiences. One person might marvel at a city residing on two continents: Europe to the west and Asia to… Continue reading

Istanbul: Topkapı Palace and Its Harem

Istanbul may not have nearly as many palaces as Germany has along the Rhine, but you can still ramble about the city and inadvertently stumble upon a royal residence. A palace in the… Continue reading

The Pasadena Rose Parade

Coconut swans swim gracefully in a pond of purple orchids. Oranges and orange peels comprise the hide of a resplendent dragon. Multi-colored potatoes pave the way in an English countryside estate.    … Continue reading

Flying High

I rarely feel more alive than when I travel. Heightened senses, increased awareness, delight in even the littlest foreign oddities. There’s something different in the air of every city I go to. It… Continue reading

The Broad: Contemporary Art in Los Angeles

The entrance of The Broad, leading up to the central exhibit area on the third floor, doesn’t take you through conventional passageways. Then again, The Broad isn’t a conventional building. It houses collections… Continue reading

Los Angeles, California

You arrive in Los Angeles and it’s getting dark. What to do? Well, since it’s the holidays (or the end of the merrymaking season), you can start by checking out holiday lights at… Continue reading

Why Travel

Call me adventurous. Call me curious. Call me restless. Call me an addict, even. My choice of drug? It’s no secret: It’s travel. As a Filipina who grew up on Guam, lives in… Continue reading

Immediate Action Required: Take a Vacation

You know that vacation you’ve been fantasizing about all year, but haven’t gotten around to planning? That trip you always wanted to take? That time you wanted to just walk on the beach… Continue reading

Chicago, Illinois

It often feels like I’m looking upwards in Chicago. This is no wonder considering we’re in the city where the world’s first skyscraper was built. But when I say I’m looking up, I’m… Continue reading

The Art Institute of Chicago

Camouflaged in the center of downtown Chicago is a beauty sometimes overlooked for Millennium Park right across the street. You know, Millennium Park, the one with the giant bean that everyone takes a… Continue reading