A letter to Amsterdam

I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped on to the plane heading towards you back in October. I cried millions of tears from the Immigration counter to my seat on the airplane because finally, I was starting the long journey I had been dreaming of. The sheer amount of blog posts, testimonials, youtube videos, and guide books that I had read could not prepare me for what was in my future, when you and I would finally come face to face. Honestly, I still cannot describe how I feel about you despite having been with you, in you, for about a month and a half already.

I will try to illustrate my thoughts in bullet form for the time being.

  1. Everyone was right about your temperament. In a single day alone, you would give me a bit of sunshine only to be followed by endless bouts of rain, scattered all throughout the day. I can’t tell when your tears will pour so I find myself staying in my waterproof boots and bright, yellow raincoat.
  2. You are kind. I lost my wallet about a week ago and somehow, it found its way back to me. If that had happened anywhere else, I knew I would have had to kiss Chewy goodbye.
  3. Nothing could have prepared me for the money situation. I was not previously informed that you promoted paperless transactions, so I was quite reliant on Anna ’til I was finally able to get a bank card of my own. This irked me for weeks even if I knew it would get better in the long run.
  4. You have so much to offer. I could get lost in the mazes of your museums for days, maybe even weeks. Don’t even get me started on the houses! The streets are generally quiet but nothing short of interesting. I could stare at you and never get bored.
  5. You are home now, but not really. I still feel like an outsider not because of the language barrier or my ethnicity. You are beautiful but a stopover, if that makes any sense. I was waiting for that feeling everyone talks about when you know you’ve found the one; that it’d be love at first sight and that I would settle here for the rest of my life. I honestly was hoping that from you, for us but sadly, it doesn’t appear to be so.

I hope you don’t mind these letters, Amsterdam. I feel like this is the first of many that I will write over the next year.

Love always,

Tagaytay Photo Diary

Let’s paint the scene. It was the end of 2016, I was single, grieving, working at a job I really wasn’t happy with and wallowing in self pity. I had spent the last two months of the year on an emotional roller coaster. Things weren’t exactly ideal. So when Annie said that she was game to go on a short getaway trip with me to recharge and clear my head, I began my search for the perfect Airbnb in Tagaytay.

Tagaytay City, the place everybody runs away too when they want to escape the noise and pollution of Manila. Because I wanted to get away as soon as possible, I chose to go to Tagaytay on the first weekend of the year. Never mind the fact that I had never actually explored Tagaytay (past trips were done with Ralf and we only ever went to one place and for work) before, I just wanted to find a cozy spot, far far away from all the places that reminded me of 2016.

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After searching high and low on Airbnb for an affordable and quiet stay, we decided to spend out one-night stay at Moon Garden Bed and Breakfast. I was intrigued by their photos (of course) and the description written by Ian (the owner). I messaged him about our plan and interest to stay at Moon Garden and he happily obliged. Communicating with him was very easy, something that you should always look for when you’re choosing accommodations via Airbnb. You can check out their listing here.

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