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April 17th 2013
Published: December 18th 2012
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Brutus Made It! Brutus Made It! Brutus Made It!

Brutus made it to Fort Santiago. Welcome to the Philippines, Brutus!

The Friendliest Travel Blog site. Some community we have here! I guess bloggers in TB feel "connected" to each other after reading each other's blogs and following each blogger's adventures. Through the years, some of us "skyped" , emailed and tweeted each other about our comings and goings. We agreed, we argued, we sympathized, we missed each other even before we actually met!

LivingTheDream Met Ben in Manila. The very first blogger I've met. Fetched him from his guesthouse one afternoon after leaving messages in each other's inbox. Had dinner at Via Mare to sample bibingka (rice cake), pancit luglog (noodles with a shrimp paste dressing), bagnet salad (a salad with fried/dried pork fried to a crisp, a dish from Northern Philippines). Unfortunately, Ben and I completely forgot to have a photo taken and there was no chance to meet up again after Ben came back from the islands.

Stuart Fetched Stuart from Kabayan Hotel last November 12, 2009. We proceeded to Mall of Asia for a stroll by the bay , then seafood dinner at Aling Tonya's to sample sinigang na hipon (shrimp in sour broth), fried lapu-lapu (garoupa, a kind of fish), and pinakbet (a local vegetable dish from Northern Philippines using bitter gourd, squash, stringbeans, pork bits and bagoong - a very local shrimp paste). Stuart was based in Indonesia for sometime and has grown used to Oriental cuisine, so I didn't think twice about bringing him to a place serving very local cuisine. What a nice guy! Stuart married a lovely Indonesian lady and while he hasn't been blogging lately, I'm sure he still sneaks in and out of TB.

Rice Capades 2011 2012 Pleased to hear from Jan and Polona of Rice Capades. We arranged to meet last June 5, 2011 , a Sunday. From their guesthouse in Malate, I brought them to Fort Santiago, then a drive-through Intramuros, before going to Chinatown in Binondo. In Dong Bei Dumplings, we met with a few young Filipino travel bloggers. That same night, Jan and Polona took the bus for a 12 hour ride to Legazpi City in the Bicol Region. From there , they can take another 1 hour jeepney or van ride to Donsol, Sorsogon where they hope to swim with whale sharks.

It's a pity I failed to meet up with
Jan and PolonaJan and PolonaJan and Polona

An accidental meet with young Filipino bloggers .
Jan and Polona when they got back to Manila. We've been in touch via Facebook and I've learned they had to do a 2nd attempt in Donsol, Sorsogon to meet up the gentle giants. Well, Butanding (Whale Shark) Season officially ends in May when the whale sharks start migrating, returning back to Donsol waters in November. So you can say June is the start of the off-season. Just the same, a brief glimpse of the gentle giants should be enough to draw this young couple back to our islands in the future. Oh btw, Polona told me they made 2 more trips on their own back to Chinatown where I brought them.

Maisondubonheur On my way home from a weeklong adventure in Bhutan, I met up with Peter and Mari in Bangkok for a hotpot dinner last December 9, 2011. Peter, Mari and I missed each other twice when we were in Shanghai. Thankfully, we managed to finally meet in Bangkok and connect face to blogs of each other.

Peter is one blogger whose blogs I religiously follow. He has truly amazing adventures and visited exotic places. And must
Dinner with Peter and MariDinner with Peter and MariDinner with Peter and Mari

Taken in Bangkok when I stopped over on my way home from Bhutan. December 9, 2011.
I say, I enjoy traveling vicariously with Peter especially on his diving expeditions. His trips with his children are for the books. Young as they are, both Leslie and Tiffany are into diving now and as Peter would invariably describe them, "dead" after long drives and after each swimming and diving adventure. Imagine having logged so much mileage at such tender ages!

D MJ Binkley On their 4th month traveling around the world, the Binkleys swung by Manila to visit ME and the islands 😊. How sweet! Lovely couple, Dave and Merry Jo stayed in the city for 3 nights before hitting the islands. Enough time for some beer-togethers, a day trip south of Manila, and a city tour.

It was thrilling to actually see online friends walking down the ramp out of our airport terminal. It was a breeze spotting them. And I truly felt reunited with old friends upon meeting them. Travel Blog is really the "friendliest travel blogging community" of this generation! The first 3 nights they stayed in Manila, we managed to make an out-of-town trip to view Taal Volcano and Lake, and a city tour. It was also quite
Dave and Merry JoDave and Merry JoDave and Merry Jo

A day trip to Talisay, Batangas (Club Balai Isabel) and Tagaytay (Taal Vista Lodge) to have 2 views of the world's smallest active volcano .. Taal Volcano.
an adventure monitoring this pair's adventures (and incredible luck) at the height of the super typhoon which hit the islands.

TinNiE TinNie joined moí and the Binkleys for our first dinner in Greenbelt, Makati. Oh, what a wonderful reunion! Amazing how we feel connected to each other after reading so much of each other's blogs. TinNie took off early from work (she's off late at 8pm, so she went "under time" to meet up with us.) Nice. And my, she is tiny! MJ managed to ask if she wears a size 0. She does. What MJ and I would give up for that waistline! 😊

JayExiomo When the Binkleys returned from the islands to spend their last night in the country before flying out, we met up for an early dinner with TynNie and Jay Exiomo. Unfortunately, Jay had to leave early while TynNie was held up at work such that the 2 didn't manage to meet. But all's well. Merry Jo, Dave and I had a lovely dinner with EACH of them that night.

Now, the question is...... Who's coming NEXT? Loving this "family get-togethers". Hopefully, I'm in town
VIA MARE dinnerVIA MARE dinnerVIA MARE dinner

First dinner at Via Mare Cafe and Oyster Bar with TynNie. Unfortunately, the 2nd floor dining area was fully booked so we stayed in the cafe area.
whenever someone swings by the capital. Leave me a message!


Today, April 17, 2013 I met TheJetsetters. arriving early morning from a butt-numbing 10 hour bus ride from Sagada up North, TheJetsetters and I arranged to meet at McDonalds in Greenbelt Area in Makati around 8:30am. From Makati, we made a quick city tour covering Intramuros, Chinatown and the Harbour Center by Manila Bay. By 2:30 pm, we were heading towards the Domestic Airport Terminal 4 for Victoria and Scott's 6pm flight to Palawan. Just 6 hours -- enough for a brief city tour, lunch and non-stop chatting!

fateundermined Finally! Along with TinNiE and JayExiomo, we arranged to meet Hana in Rockwell's Zaifu for early dinner. Hana just completed her volunteer work in Ethiopia and we were all in awe by her experience. For sure, there would be repeat meet-ups after this July 4, 2013 meeting. Like there are weekend trips to plan?

2014 Update:

Dancing Dave Met up with the
Dulcinea  Dinner with Jay & BinkleysDulcinea  Dinner with Jay & BinkleysDulcinea Dinner with Jay & Binkleys

TynNie came late, and Jay had to leave early. But all's well. We all had a lovely time. (In Rockwell's Power Plant Mall)
Dancing Dave & the Tango Lady Denise Hooper after missing last year's TB mini-reunion at their Hornsby place. What a riot. Visited Sydney anew to pull this big surprise for my sister celebrating her 70th birthday and this time, made sure I met this famous dancing duo. What great, fun 1st meet-up yet it never felt like a first time. Even my sister was surprised ..... to see us laughing and dancing like old friends. Well. Such is our Travelblog Family. To this day, my sister would enjoy my retelling of how my "online friends" from TB have become such dear friends. And that includes even those I have yet to meet!
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Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


With TheJetsetters In IntramurosWith TheJetsetters In Intramuros
With TheJetsetters In Intramuros

Met Victoria and Scott today, April 17,2013
The Dancing DuoThe Dancing Duo
The Dancing Duo

Dave and Denise Hooper and I hit it off almost as soon as we set eyes on each other. We were laughing, exchanging stories and cracking up like we shared so many private jokes in earlier encounters. Kindred spirits.
Before a Buggy RideBefore a Buggy Ride
Before a Buggy Ride

Intramuros' Fort Santiago.
Via Mare's Pancit LuglogVia Mare's Pancit Luglog
Via Mare's Pancit Luglog

That's our local rice noodles, with seafood and egg toppings and pork cracklings.
Sinigang na SugpoSinigang na Sugpo
Sinigang na Sugpo

Sinigang is sour broth , a very Filipino soupy dish, cooked with either pork or seafood. In this case, sugpo is PRAWNS.

Also from Via Mare. A local cake made from glutinous rice.

National dish. Pork and chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce. From Via Mare.
Manila CathedralManila Cathedral
Manila Cathedral

Right in the heart of Intramuros, the walled city.
We finally meet, Hana!We finally meet, Hana!
We finally meet, Hana!

Fateundermined. That's Hana, our volunteer nurse in noble rojects all over!
TynNie & Jay ExiomoTynNie & Jay Exiomo
TynNie & Jay Exiomo

Good to see you again!
The "TB Local Chapter"The "TB Local Chapter"
The "TB Local Chapter"

Liliram, TynNie, Jay Exiomo, and Hana aka fateundermined

23rd December 2009

Hi Liliram, Thanks for posting the picture and for the seafood dinner. I'll get around to posting my picture as soon as I get around to producing my Filipino blog! I'm going to see my family for the New Year.
18th December 2012

You are so right!
Meeting other TBers can be the highlight of a trip. Not sure when I'll make it to the Philippines, but when I do, I'll make sure we connect. Likewise, if you ever visit Colorado look us up.
18th December 2012

Sure will, Bob!
Looking forward to it. Manila, Colorado or maybe some place else. TB get-togethers are fun!
18th December 2012

One day!
I love these entries you put together of TB meetups - meeting people for the first time in person, yet feeling like you've known them for years is the true beauty of TravelBlog. One day I too will make it to Manila :-)
18th December 2012

Unagi session....
Yes, Jo. We still need to do something about that unagi fix. Would love to meet you!
18th December 2012

Thanks for posting the pictures. Hoping for more meetings like this. :)
18th December 2012

Yeah, that was fun!
Let's meet up again... Even after Christmas, when crowd thins out. Message me when's a good time.
18th December 2012

Special times with Lili
Love your blog! It was great finally meeting you, a kindred spirit. We know our paths will cross again and can't wait. We hope other travel bloggers will come and enjoy your hospitality.
18th December 2012

Special Times , indeed
Likewise. See you again, sometime.
18th December 2012

A Christmas celebration of Travelblog! Well done. David and Janice
18th December 2012

Hi David & Janice!
Indeed, it was a Christmas celebration of sorts. Merry Christmas to you two as well. Safe travels!
18th December 2012
Dulcinea  Dinner with Jay & Binkleys

Good Times!
Great collection Tita. Too bad I missed Jay :( Next time...x
18th December 2012
Dulcinea  Dinner with Jay & Binkleys

There's a next time....
I'm hoping Hana is coming home for the holidays so we 4 (or more) can get together.....
18th December 2012

One day... day we'll do a great TB meet up in Manila! Thanks Lili for your kind words! You are not that far away from Donna and Neil! And Merry Christmas to you and all your family!
18th December 2012

From my family to yours......
..... A very Merry Christmas! (And belated happy birthday too! )
19th December 2012

I'm getting the idea you are something of a gourmande. Not a bad way to travel. See the world through the tummy.
14th January 2013

Yeah. In my book, food is a defining feature of my travels. And it shows.... on my hips. :-)
20th December 2012

And another great aspect of Iran
Is that you can pretty much halve the prices quoted in Lonely Planet for everything.
20th December 2012

Gotta agree with everything you have said in this blog Lili. Meeting other TBers is a you've known them well...before you meet...and then take old times!
14th January 2013

Very true
Amazing how we knw so much of each other through our logs. Like old friends..... Online!
21st December 2012
Sinigang na Sugpo

this looks so delicious!
I wish Philippino restaurants were more common place in Australia... although that's all the more recent to visit isn't it?
21st December 2012
Sinigang na Sugpo

Where are you in Australia?
Hi there. That's prawns cooked in sour broth --- or sinigang. Either you hop n a plane and come over here, or befriend a Filipino to cook sinigang for you [:)] Where are you in Australia? I have family in Sydney and I'm due for a visit. We'd cook sinigang and party! Hahaha
22nd December 2012
Sinigang na Sugpo

I'm a Victorian living in Tasmania
Hi Lili, I'm from Melbourne but live near Hobart now. I'm sure there are heaps of Philippino places in Melbs, I just have to hunt them down...I went to High School with a few girls of Philippino heritage, and the food at their family gatherings was always superb!
22nd December 2012

Oh I so look forwarding to meeting you some day! Your homeland is very very high on my list. I am currently planning to go to Palau and pretty sure I'll have to come by! I wish you a Feliz Navidad Lili all the best to you and your family!
22nd December 2012

Hi Andrea!
Palau is just a hop and a skip from here. Let me know, ok?
23rd December 2012

Nakakagutom naman yung mga pagkain ninyo! Merry Christmas and keep on traveling.
14th January 2013

Uwi Na!
I'd like to meet you, Sir Bert. Send me a message when you're in town. Kain tayo!
6th June 2013
Brutus Made It!

Great photo.
We miss you.
6th June 2013
Brutus Made It!

Miss you too!
I'm sure our paths would cross again. Maybe you can visit Madrid around Christmas or New Year?

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