Fishermen and the port, Gallipoli

Gallipoli at midday couldn’t be more saturated with the incinerating sunshine of Puglia. It fell heavily on my eyelids, overexposing on my eyes so that my visual surroundings – beige limestone rocks, azure hues from the skies to waters and the painted vessels in between – were enshrouded in a blinding haze. I could feel… MORE »

Apulit Island: Four tales of magical Palawan

It stared into my eyes, just as I locked my gaze on its. Then, tongue slapping its lips, it broke away from the exchange – even if I continued observing, as it clambered down the shore rocks and slithered into the water, sluggishly wading away until out of my sight. Was that an iguana that can… MORE »

Angeles: An Education in Filipino Cuisine

“What makes Pampanga a culinary capital of The Philippines: its biodiversity.” Surely I’d come to the right place for my education in Filipino cuisine? I couldn’t have been under a better tutelage than an afternoon with Claude Tayag, restaurant owner and culinary innovator behind Downtown Cafe in Angeles City. “Everything that grows from the fertile lands here – plants,… MORE »

Bacolor: The town that got buried

When I woke up, I didn’t wake up to the sights and sounds of cataclysm; in fact, outside of the van was peaceful, tranquil beneath the sounds of tricycle motors and children playing. “This is the church,” Julius announced. Hours ago, on my tour in the Pampanga province of The Philippines, my tour guide had asked me… MORE »

Why I went to The Philippines

Even after not seeing him since seven years ago, I instinctively anticipated the punchline in Willy’s story. “There was a Filipino couple who went to Madrid. They found a restaurant that serves bull meat after they’re killed by the matador. You know, the one who kills the bull in bullfighting? So the Filipinos ate the… MORE »

Thank you, and thank you for your patience

“Gracias por su paciencia.” In my head, I repeated the Spanish phrase, enunciating the last word some five times. Pa-thee-en-thee-a. A bit trickier than its English equivalent – three extra syllables and some lisping, to be precise – but they surely sounded similar. I was standing outside the hotel pecking a cigarette when I plucked out my… MORE »