My 2019

It’s the last day of the year and I’m writing this at my wooden desk at my guesthouse in Bangkok. I don’t want to bore you with a rundown of all that has happened this year. Let me just write about what was significant to me.

1. My first trip to Europe.

After Turkey and Azerbaijan last year, it was bound to be Europe next. Thanks to a conference grant, I made it to Spain and Portugal! Even better, my eldest sister and an aunt (who often come with me) joined me! It was an awesome trip that I wish I could have taken longer. My favorite part? Getting to try all the Spanish food I have been having at home— callos, paella, cuchinillo, jamon, and many more.

It was also interesting connecting to my Spanish heritage.

“You’re a Filipino? You speak Spanish?”

My sister said that with a Schengen Visa already, it worked be much easier to apply for another one in the future. Yehey!!

2. Not leaving on Christmas Day.

I used to fly out as soon as Christmas break begins which means either on the 21st or the 22nd. However, I have been staying home for past several years, flying out instead on the 25th. Last year, I had to sneak out of the house to get to the airport at 3am so none of our guests would know that I was leaving. Fortunately, the karaoke kept them busy, unaware that I had slipped out.

This year was even more radically different. I actually stayed after Christmas Day, flying out only on the 29th. What’s with the change? Well, after the European trip plus all the other mini trips, I figured, the Christmas trip was gonna be short and sweet this year in an umcomplicated place (Bangkok) I knew like the back of my hand.

In Bangkok, I skipped the modern city and booked my accomodations at Banglamphu instead so I can be near the river and take the boat. I also got to see the river at night for the first time ever after so many trips to this city.

3. A paid trip to Shanghai.

Thank you, Shanghai Conservatory of Music for taking care of my plane ticket and hotel so I can go to the workshop. Yup! After more than 10 years, I got to see Shanghai and eat at Yang’s Dumplings again!

Three things that made 2019 different for me. Happy New Year! Happy New Travels!

Categories: Portugal, Spain, Thailand | Leave a comment


Spain is heaven for dessert-lovers like me. There’s a huge variety and they’re always very good. After all, fantastic tapas and tasty main courses need to be polished-off with perfect postres.

We stopped by this small pasteleria along Calle Huertas in Madrid so we can use the toilet. Of course, we had to order something and that was this delicate lemon merengue tart with burnt sugar.

In many places, you’ll see these flaky desserts filled with cream and/or yema. They’re also huge.

The restaurant of the Hotel Palacio del Pilar del Toro where we spent the night in Granada a dessert specialty—- a baklava-like pastry that was served warm. Very very good.

Tocino del Cielo is a thick flan made heavy with loads of egg yolk resulting in a chewy consistency which I absolutely adore.

This one is El Giralda’s in Seville. The bitterness of the burnt sugar was a perfect counterpoint to the flan’s sweetness.

Another tocino del cielo but this time served with ice-cream at Becerrita in Seville. This was really really good.

Much lighter is the Catalan flan. It’s just like our leche flan.

These slices of bread soaking in milk and cinnamon is served everywhere.

Of course, when in Madrid, go get some turrones.

Categories: Spain, Spain, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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