Mount Pinatubo

To keep you occupied while I conjure up a new post about my two weeks in South Africa, here is a collection of photos my friend and I curated for our travel instagram account (here) when we wandered through the mountains Botolan, Philippines, for a school project.

On this path commenced an hour-long drive on a 4x4 across volcanic ash.

"Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines, December 2015 - IB students get out of the classroom and take a hike up Mount Pinatubo"

Along the trail, we spotted these Aeta kids who reside somewhere in the mountains. They posed as soon as I brought out my camera.

"The 7 km hike through ash, a jungle and over rivers brought us to the breathtaking crater at the top of the volcano"

(all drawings by me.)

Until the next post,


Berlin: Day Four

The final full day of our stay in Berlin, also finally published a year after it's happened.

That day had a schedule not too different from the one before: wake up early, get dressed, breakfast at a tourist attraction. That tourist attraction was no other than the Fernsehturm, a building rounding about 368 m tall, and boasting both a sweet retro interior and a 360º view of Berlin.

Below is the view of the glass ceiling of the elevator that took us to the revolving restaurant located at the sphere:

We came, we saw, we ordered breakfast. We also took photos of the view with our unfortunate and unflattering reflections across the thick glass panes.

After we had eaten, we took the kids to the zoo by train. Zoos are not necessarily things I endorse or enjoy going to, but that was the plan anyway. I did, however, get to see a wondrous display of small jellyfish; something I'd usually avoid on a dive trip.

Our small detour ended quickly, and we decided to head to check out the Kaufhaus des Westens (often shortcutted to KaDeWe) while the kids ran off to a parkour park in Spandau.

Hiding my envy that the kids got to rope around and chill in floating cars, I was still able to enjoy a beautifully crafted Insalata Caprese at the department store's luxurious food court.

We still had a lot of time left to explore the rest of KaDeWe (which we did) and after a few hours of wandering around and replacing ridiculously expensive items where they were previously displayed, we walked around the area furthermore before ending our day -- and hence, our trip -- reunited with everyone at a wonderful Turkish restaurant called Osmans Töchter.

Thanks for your patience and for sticking with me even though this post is so incredibly behind!

Be back very soon with stories from South Africa and Liechtenstein,


Berlin: Day Three

Well, it's about time.

We woke up bright and early that day and (if I remember correctly) walked past bustling roads and street corners to what we could distinguish as a German Ziggurat. Throngs of people gathered outside in the sweltering heat, all but to look at the spectacle called the Reichstag. The building is home to the national parliament and is one of the most important structures in Berlin. A site with a dominant historical background, the public is permitted throughout the day to tour the building…after lining up for perhaps an hour or two. Having arrived at the Reichstag by foot, seeing the long queues among tourist-heavy crowds was like being splashed in the face with hot coffee on an already-boiling day. Thankfully, though, a quick mention of reserving a seat at the indoor restaurant had us being motioned in by a security guard. We gave our names and passports to a man with a checklist, who might I add, was awfully, awfully nice. (May many happy things bechance you, sir!)

We waited at the gate for about five to ten minutes before being led in by whom I could discern as interns. We entered and proceeded to take an elevator to the roof, where a small restaurant was stationed. Once again, we gave our names and were seated at a table indoors. Despite being part of a considerably large group of tourists, only a few actually decided to have breakfast at the Reichstag's rooftop restaurant like we did. After us, there was only one other family and a couple of girls, who, astonishingly, sat outside under the warm sun. The inside was much cooler and closer to the bathrooms and service area. One red-haired waitress went around the bar and gave us our menus. What they offered was very select; only three types of breakfast sets were printed on the fine paper. We eventually ordered two types, and all because one included Nutella.

After breakfast, we headed to the world-famous dome. Climbing the spiralling ramp gives guests a panoramic view of the city. Down below, the Reichstag's history is presented in a display that goes around whatever that mirror thing is called. Empty as the place may look, the dome was actually packed with people going up and down the ramps and buying ice cream from the indoor vendor. We took our time here and downstairs, where we had the most gorgeous central view of the building.

The Reichstag was only a few minutes away from the Brandenburger Tor, so we decided to go by foot and take in the sights along the way.

At the Tor, we were greeted by many street buskers and charities. The slight echo of xylophone notes reached us from the other side. We crossed and saw a gloriously face-tattooed man in an old-timey plaid vest, matching flat cap, and giant red bowtie, cranking a wooden machine where the music had been coming from. His audience was massive for a street busker, and his other hat was full to the brim with euros. Children danced happily in front and adults took photographs to show their loved ones. We continued down Unter den Linden, Berlin's most famous boulevard.

The walk down Unter den Linden was as delightful as cold ice cream on a warm day. The sidewalk was lined with shops both luxurious and quaint, and the streets boasted an overhead meadow of luscious green. After stopping for a quick lunch, we continued our walk and decided to head to the Museumsinsel. There, we found a wide array of elaborate buildings including the Berlin Cathedral and the Alte Nationalgalerie.

The queue at the Alte Nationalgalerie (like all other tourist attractions in Berlin) was incredibly long. Though my intial wanting to see the museum almost urged me to line up as well, I realised I would miss so much of Berlin if I had decided to wait in line instead of explore. So explore, I did; and I did along the Spree.

Of course even after seeing beatufiul historical bridge after beautiful historical bridge, I could not help but be saddened by passing the central train station, in which I would depart in two days time.

Berlin: Day Four coming soon.


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As you might have noticed, my blog posts are becoming seldom. Though I do have a plethora of things on my plate, I find that posting irregularly on my part is somewhat unforgivable. I enjoy writing, I do -- just not about the topics typically found on my blog (the ones I  initially promised to keep up). Beauty, fashion, food, and lifestyle -- though they may fascinate me to some extent -- are not somethings of a passion with me.

I discovered my disinterest in writing these blog posts when I refused to share my blog with people outside my friend group. In the easiest of senses, I was embarrassed by my own writing. You see, my blog wasn't me. My blog was the result of reading other's work, of blatantly copying other's masterpieces. I was left unhappy with the content I'd been posting and thought it best to "leave it to the professionals". Furthermore, I decided that by the end of this month, I will have deleted some posts that don't "speak" to me while leaving the ones that do. There will be a change in content, and I will be more than happy to deliver to all my readers that remain my readers a blog that is truly mine.

(I will continue, however, to write about Berlin, though previous posts will require some amount of editing.)

Thank you for your understanding.


Berlin: Day Two

It's been more than a month since my last blog post, and for that I am truly, deeply, and utterly sorry. I hope a Day Two of my Berlin series will suffice until I post another Life Update where I explain myself. Let's get right to it then:

Our first stop after having a delicious breakfast (and mightily unhealthy I might add -- Nutella sandwiches, anyone?) was the Naturkundemuseum. My brother had been itching to go since our uncle mentioned the gargantuan dinosaur skeletons, and my brother having recently seen Jurassic get the picture.

Our uncle dropped us off a few blocks away in a DriveNow car, and to be honest, it was one of the highlights of my day. I know, it sounds stupid, but a service where you could drive any car under membership as long as there are cars around is pretty ingenious. I'm not endorsing their brand or anything, but man was that cool to learn. Any chance we could get DriveNow in Manila? No? Oh well...

We walked just a few blocks after accidentally wandering into a building undergoing maintenance with another lost family, we finally found the entrance. This is what greeted us once we finally got through:

It was a fantastic sight, a skeleton of what I can recollect being a Brachiosaur, the longest ever discovered. Other displays welcomed us with skeletal remains, fossils, and interactive videos.

We continued our tour in the museum and found Knut.  As a child who had seen and idolised the polar bear cub on television, this was astounding. They had Bao Bao the panda as well, but I failed to take a photo.

The rest of the museum was incredible: darkened rooms with preserved sea creatures, stories of evolution on walls and statues, a hall dedicated to outer space, and gemstones galore.

By lunchtime, we had left the museum found a pizza place (with extra-extraordinarily good pizza, might I add) before beginning our hunt for the Hackescher Hof. The feat took hours; and although it was tiresome for my poor little non-athletic ankles, we were able to stumble upon some important tourist spots including the Friedrichstadt-Palast and the Neue Synagoge.

After we'd been going around in circles, we decided to go past an alley to reach the other side as a shortcut. Little did we know that passing this alley would lead us to this small, but charming complex of greenery, cafés, and art studios.

After spending almost half an hour taking in the beauty of this little oasis (where you can spot my cousin at the fountain), we emerged through the other end and were greeted by an array of buildings signaling our proximity to the Hackescher Hof.

Much to the annoyance of my mother, however, we were sidetracked by a store called Maskworld, where we spent hours trying on, well, masks. She got over it as soon as we entered, and was  immediately impressed by the spectacle of glitter and feathers. The store was stocked in four floors with costumes, merchandise, makeup, and hats, all worthy of an all-star Halloween dress-up party. Unfortunately, all photos inside the store were blurry. Also, I don't think my mother or aunt or uncle would be happy about posting pictures of the kids on the internet, so I'll have to keep it at that.

Once we stepped out of the store, we took a left and found it. The Hackescher Hof.

...still, we weren't able to enter. As soon as we had found the place, there was an emergency and we had to take a taxi back home. Maybe next time?

See you soon with a Life Update and a Day Three coming next month,


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