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Published: December 18th 2012
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 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 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 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 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?
Dancing Dave Met up with the
Dulcinea 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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