Resort Report: Las Casas

  Yes, it’s a resort…but Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, or simply Las Casas, isn’t what you’d typically think of when you hear “resort.” It’s a blast from the past, with a mixed… Continue reading

Food! (And lots of it!)

Filipinos eat a lot. Like, a lot. A single day can consist of up to five meals – not the typical three, but five. Five! There’s the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner; add… Continue reading

Volcano Venture: Mount Pinatubo

In 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, impacted millions of people and disrupted the local economy for many subsequent years. Over two decades later, however, the lahar (volcanic ash) that was once… Continue reading

Ziplining at Anvaya

If you happen to find yourself in Subic, check out Anvaya Cove. And if you happen to be at Anvaya, you may as well zipline. Grab your adventure buddy (I’ve got mine here)… Continue reading

Resort Report: Anvaya Cove

It’s Show-and-Tell Monday! Pretend you’re vacationing in the Pacific this December, and we’re hanging out at Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club, a.k.a. Anvaya Cove. Or simply, Anvaya. Walk with me.   Are… Continue reading

Virgen del Rosario Learning Center

It’s 4:30 am when I suddenly awaken. Curses, jet lag! But that’s ok, because at least I have some dawn quiet before the streets fill with cars and tricycles and the occasional street… Continue reading

Travel Notions

Today marks a year since I departed on my grandest adventure thus far: a career break that took me across three continents, four months, five countries, and countless cities. As this year comes… Continue reading

Beautiful Day

People come together for a good cause. It’s a beautiful, moving reminder that, amidst greed and selfishness, there is also generosity and benevolence. I spent some time volunteering with an organization called Beautiful… Continue reading

A Penchant for Travel

Some girls splurge on expensive handbags. Some girls live for their designer shoe collections. I prefer to spend my hard-earned money on travel. I’m not declaring I dislike pretty shoes and I’m not… Continue reading

The Lush Who Was

My name is Caroline, and I’m a lush. (“Hi Caroline” echoes the imaginary room.) At least, I used to be one. During many a recent dinner, I’ve been called out for not drinking… Continue reading

A Denizen of the World

I don’t travel to brag about where I vacationed last summer, or how many miles I’ve racked up. I travel to experience other cultures – outside of stereotypes and cinematic staging. I travel to… Continue reading

Write to Me from Naples

“As they say here, ‘Vedi Napoli e poi muori! – See Naples and die!’” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe   Napoli is probably best known for being the birthplace of pizza (or at least… Continue reading

Wedding Dominoes

Gold satin. Bejeweled, silver-lined pink organza. Cream ruffles. A red A-line. Lavender frills. A sparkling green Filipiniana. Coral chiffon. Dresses. More specifically, dresses I’ve worn as part of a bridal entourage. Between a… Continue reading

Midwest Zest: Cincinnati

Cincinnati is one of those places that, in my opinion, gets an undeservedly bad rap. “There’s nothing there,” you might hear; but did you know that it was once commonly referred to as… Continue reading

A Foreign Perspective

It’s a tad cliché to talk about taking things for granted, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Sometimes you have to be reminded of beauty around you. In all its forms.… Continue reading

Green Thumb

Back in April, my CMO brought dozens of young tomato plants into the office. She’d grown too many at home, she said, and was giving away all sorts of varieties to any takers.… Continue reading

Summer Reading

As sweltering heat gives way to cool evening breezes, as back-to-school sales give way to fall-fashion finds, as Bay Area traffic worsens from stress-inducing to why-do-I-choose-to-live-here, the summer gently rolls into autumn. It’s… Continue reading

Sevillana Style

  Shiny black flamenco shoes play hide-and-seek beneath a swirling turquoise skirt. Swift feet alternately stomp the small stage with frantic taps and controlled shuffles. Myriad hands clap in syncopated tempo around a… Continue reading

Special Delivery

Who doesn’t enjoy an unanticipated postal delivery? Presents are great during events like birthdays and Christmas, but they’re even better when they come as surprises – no matter what size. It’s like a… Continue reading

Digging Into the Italian Coast

I’m absentmindedly shoveling away another bucket of dirt, and another, until I hear a familiar “Basta.” Enough. I stand upright and use my shovel for support as I catch my breath. When I… Continue reading

A View From the Top: Vatican City

The view from atop St. Peter’s Basilica isn’t an everyday sight. More precisely, it’s not every day you climb up 550 steps to reach the cupola of Basilica di San Pietro. You can… Continue reading

The Return, Part III: The (Italian) Hangover

I like California, I do. But over a month after coming back to the Bay Area, I’m still on an Italian hangover. I miss it all – the vibrant greens of the rolling countryside,… Continue reading

The Return, Part II: Living

No, I haven’t eloped with a tall, dark, and handsome man in some exotic country. (I did receive a few casual marriage proposals though…does that count?) As spontaneous as I am, and as… Continue reading

The Return, Part I: Where Did Caroline Go?

I was called a mushball today. Well, there goes my reputation. It’s not like I was ever an emotionless robot or anything, but “sentimental” and “delicate” are probably not the first adjectives people… Continue reading

Meet an Italian, Make a Friend

As a sequel to my post on Italian Warmth, here are a few more examples of why the culture is so appealing. These experiences are much less personal than the anecdotes I shared… Continue reading

Italian Warmth

I’ve long said that Italians are some of the warmest people. They’re welcoming and inclusive, and they’re generous regardless of economic status. They are quick to befriend, quick to love. Quick to temper,… Continue reading

My Favorite (Italian) Things

When Maria sings about her favorite things in The Sound of Music, it’s a marvel nothing on her list is Italian…especially considering how close Austria is to Italy. So, I’ve made up my… Continue reading

Gusto, Gusti, Gelato!

I’m allergic to the cold. Except when it comes to gelato. I wouldn’t want to live in a city where it snows, and I sometimes struggle with California winters despite the mild chill.… Continue reading

Parting is Not Such Sweet Sorrow

Whoever said that parting is such sweet sorrow was a liar. Sorry, Shakespeare, I don’t mean to blaspheme, but…. Saying goodbye can be done sweetly, and parting is often sorrowful, but sorrow is… Continue reading

The Art of Faith

It’s almost impossible to avoid churches in Italy. They’re everywhere. They’re art; they’re landmarks; they’re history. They’re an intrinsic part of the culture. It’s no secret that Italy has countless beautiful churches. Sweeping… Continue reading

Raindance

I danced in the rain today. Well, more like I ran in the rain today. Not intentionally. A friend and I were out walking her dogs when it started to drizzle. Since we… Continue reading

Dude, Where’s My Train?

It’s not uncommon to grumble about the Italian train system because it’s not uncommon for trains to be late. It’s not uncommon to be on a train, mid-commute, and experience delays. It’s not… Continue reading

Carnevale di Viareggio

I’ve recently been in Venice when people were dressed for a 15th century masquerade ball. I’ve recently been in Bassano del Grappa to witness a group of walking Lego blocks and a group… Continue reading

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

When the moon hits your eye Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. When the world seems to shine Like you’ve had too much wine, that’s amore.” – Dean Martin, That’s Amore  … Continue reading

Oh, Those Italians!

I’ve often said that Italians are among some of the warmest people. There are, however, many other quirks and interesting aspects of their culture that are endearing. *These are just my personal observations,… Continue reading

La Fontana di Trevi at Midnight

  My very first wish at the Trevi Fountain was to be back as soon as possible. I was back less that 24 hours later…and promptly made another wish to return within the… Continue reading

I Heart Chocolate

Oh, cremino, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Actually, let’s not. I’m terrified of what I might discover about myself –or worse, reveal to you– in the process. But I… Continue reading

Becoming Italian

Everything reminded me of Italy. Prior to this trip, I somehow managed to frequently find an Italian connection in names, words, places, people, and restaurants. In California, I got excited over a “Tuscany… Continue reading

The (Nonexistent) International Driving Standard

They say if you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere else in the world…. A fellow blogger commented on one of my recent posts, saying that “Folks always let you move on… Continue reading

The 10-Second Read

Color outside the lines. Pursue happiness. Take a leap of faith. Go on that grand adventure. Be bold. Be open-minded. Be fearless. And when life presents you with those rare serendipitous moments? Be… Continue reading