Saturday, 30 May 2015

Philippines: Beautiful views in Batad

Lina on our way to Batad
I waited 30 minutes before I broke the devastating news to Raf and Lina. Don't bother unpacking and just grab what you need because in less than 3 hours we would be getting a night bus and heading to Batad to see the famous rice terraces. They both looked at me in disbelief and groaned as they had just only arrived from England that evening but started sorting out their things all the same.

We spent the next 9 hours or so on the bus entertaining ourselves with naps, snacks and chats. After arriving in Banaue we had to take a jeepney up to The Saddle. We stopped along the way to admire the view, by this point Lina was looking a little worse for wear and I was feeling terribly guilty.
Then came the walk down,  there is only one way in and out of the village of Batad and everything in had read had described the saddle as a hill so I was expecting nothing I couldn't handle. However, the saddle turned out to be a freaking mountain. At times there's nothing to hold on to aside from the face of the mountain and the muddy pathways under our feet feel like they might crumble aside at any moment. One slip, one wrong move and you could fall a long way down, this is no hill!

                                                                 Image @ rjdexplorer

Now I've known Lina over 16 years and had no idea she was afraid of heights but it didn't take much of her screaming to work out she was petrified. Raf was storming ahead, obviously pissed off he wasn't sipping coconut juice on a beach somewhere as he had imagined and I was feeling so bad for having dragged them into this.
                                                               Image @ Tripadvisor

After about 45 minutes we finally arrived in the village. Even the weight of my backpack and my aching legs didn't stop me stopping for a moment to admire the magnificent views. Then we trample down steep steps to the first hotel we see. Lina and Raf must have collapsed as I couldn't hear a sound from them after about 5 minutes. I didn't want to disturb them so decided to take a tour on my own into the heart of Batad. More walking...

We walk through the terraces. Pausing every now and then to admire the view and take photos, my guide tells me he is bored and if he had a chance to leave he would. I secretly think he might be crazy, this is paradise but I guess he must be right. It would be easy to take even this view for granted if you looked at it everyday. 

We continue downwards until we reach a huge waterfall. My guide suggests taking a swim and as I was under the impression I was a strong swimmer I did just that but I really didn't stand a chance against the cold churning waters and got out real quick so I didn't drown but the dip did feel awesome under the hot november sun.

My guide and I had also planned to see a hanging bridge but as it would soon be getting dark he warned we would have to go back up now. "back up" I groaned eyeing the view. I knew it was coming of course but after the workout walk down The Saddle and the waterfall it was the last thing I wanted but this was the mountains and there's no lift here so off we went.

It's always harder going up than down but after some stumbling, sweat and support from my guide we finally made it back to the hotel just the sun was setting. Lina and Raf were finally awake and we spent the night over drinks and a huge dinner. I really wanted to spend another night here, Lina and Raf had missed out on an awesome experience and it was just beautiful but the itinerary just wouldn't allow it and I doubted the hanging bridge would be worth another night so it was time to head to Sagada.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

England: To the end of the earth, Beachyhead

Now this was a new idea but I can't say I was thrilled at the idea of  waking up at 7 on a Saturday morning just to explore the English countryside. Somehow my friend Mireille had convinced me it would be worth it but as I really love to hate on England, if I hadn't of brought my train tickets the day before I think I would of gone back to sleep...

I'm glad I did make the effort as it turned out to be a really pleasant day, the scenery was beautiful and the weather was so nice I actually ended up removing layers of clothing, something totally unexpected for
December here in the UK. It was great catching up with Mireille to as I hadn't seen her in about a year.

We spent the morning walking, talking and snapping photos of fields, sheep and cottages before finally reaching the cliffs about 1.30 pm. Then decided to check out some of the scenery at the foot of the cliffs, stopping to look at some of the rock memorials left along the way, which if Mireille hadn't pointed out to me would of been just the kind of thing I'd trample on, fall over or bang into! I wondered about the people who they were left for, what kind of life they had or how sad they must of been to want to do something like that? It's hard to imagine but it made me feel a little sad. 

Before heading up to the top we decided to stop for a rest and a bite to eat, well Mireille did anyway, she's so slim but she sure knows how to eat lol! I'd brought my tripod along but forgotten the bit that screws into the camera so it became a pointless thing we took turns dragging around all day and it felt soooo good to put it down for a little while. There's always something going wrong, I've forgotten, or some small detail left out going on with me! The cafe we stopped at was kind of expensive so I settled for a boring Kit Kat, while Mireille had a piece of cake and an egg and bacon bap and didn't gain a single lb of course lol.

                       It wasn't long after we headed up the cliffs, the weather got colder and the wind began to pick up to the point I thought I might lose my camera and my life lol. I kept telling Mireille to pose like she was going to fall over the edge but for some 'strange' reason she wouldn't play along haha! Then the sun began to set and the sky began to turn a magical array of purples, blues, oranges and pinks. I'd never seen anything like it here and it was simply beautiful! After an hour or 2 we decided to head back down, we were tired after 5 hours of walking, we'd soon be missing our bus and and we didn't fancy walking along the edge in the pitch black neither.

Now remember earlier I mentioned something always going wrong with me? Well on the bus Mireille mentioned going to check out the pier lit up in Eastbourne, I was a little concerned because we only had about half an hour before my train came but she promised it wasn't far away so I decided to tag along. BAD MOVE, the pier was pretty lame and not worth it, just a few lit up bulbs on strings illuminated the pier and Mireille didn't know the way back to the station but I assumed she did and she assumed I could catch any train so she didn't say anything and I just kept following her. Luckily in the end I did manage to catch the train but I was covered in sweat after power walking and stressing out about having to shell out £15 on another ticket. I was a little mad but I can't stay mad at sweet little Mireille for too long haha!

All in all the day turned out to be a really good one and I'd highly recommend it. To get to Beachyhead first it might be best to go to Eastbourne (For information on how to get to Eastbourne from London and other parts of the country click here). Then you can either walk (will take hours) or take bus numbers 12 or 13x from the town center. You can keep extortionate travel costs down in the UK by buying bus and train tickets in advance from an early booking service like or

Saturday, 30 November 2013

I'm an official champion now! So how am I gonna celebrate? A vacation of course...

I've always considered myself to be kind of talentless, I can do lots of things just nothing that well and most of the time I just can't be bothered to put the effort into doing so anyway. Turns out I may actually have 'talent' after all as I recently became the first official Frank's red hot wing champion!

I managed to scoff 25 in 5 minutes for the qualifiers and 31 for the final, which was held in Stickywings in Brick Lane. I won a huge trophy, loads of hot sauce and a whooping £1500 as well! I'm well chuffed to have kicked some male arse (I was the only girl in the finals) and finally achieve something even if it was just pig like eating so thanks Frank's. For more pics and a far more entertaining account of events click here.

So what have I done with the money? I brought myself a plane ticket of course! I'll be heading to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Dubai (transit) and finally Philippines again next summer. Here's hoping the situation out there improves because I don't have insurance (but I do for my camera lol) and no way of cancelling! On second thoughts I may just get some...

I've brought myself a new camera to, a Nikon D7000, which I lurve so far and can't wait to try out on my trip to the end of the earth and infamous suicide spot Beachyhead next weekend. This will be the first time I've tried this sort of thing in the UK (not suicide of course lol) exciting but it's going to be freezing! I'm also heading to Surigao and Camiguin in yes, Philippines again for valentine's next year for a spot of swimming with stingless jellyfish and island hopping. I can't wait!


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Philippines Photography



On the Bohol Hanging Bridge

The largest python in captivity



The Hanging Coffins of Sagada



Saturday, 25 May 2013

A blast from the past: My first ever post!

I've started a few blogs but sadly this is the only one I've kept up with so it really made me chuckle when I stumbled across the first post I wrote way back in 2009. I just had to post it here as I was so scared of being alone and now I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the freedom solo travel brings, I can do what I want, when I want without ever having to explain why I want to. If you're thinking about it, pick a safe destination and just do it. If I can, anyone can. Anyway here goes my first blog post, enjoy if you can :)

So will this be the craziest thing I've ever done? I'll be flying to distant lands of dim sum and sake in just over 2 weeks, 17 days exactly but who is counting down the days anyway? :D 
I know these entries should be about my experiences while I'm 'in' the far east but I just couldn't help sneaking in an early entry or two as there's only so many times people want to hear how excited you are and these last few days are really dragging...I'm bored as hell lol!

Planning this trip has been such an experience that it's likely to become as much a part of the journey as the journey itself. I've learnt some really interesting things along the way but I'm suffering from total information overload and feel as if I've got the stuff coming out of my ears.

The first weeks found me DESPERATELY looking for somebody to take this trip with, boring my friends to death with plans they could never afford or have time to do and frantically leaving posts on pretty much every travel site going. People did want to go to places, it just felt like everywhere except where I was going. The few people I did meet online ended up letting me down so pretty soon I started to realise that this would be something that I'd have to do alone or not at all. It was a terrifying thought but one that didn't last long. My fear turned to excitement, I was nervous yet realised there were so many positive things that I could get from doing this alone. I'd be a whole new woman! I began to look for local people to meet online, which went really well and I've met some great people who I'm really looking forward to meeting.

Anyway, ironically as soon as I begun looking forward to travelling alone people began contacting me about the trip. I now have 2 wonderful girls to travel with, Mimi and Lina Although I can't deny I'm thankful to have them join me for most of the trip I'm going to miss being able to boast that I did my first trip alone haha!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Weird and Wonderful Munchies

I'm certainly no foodie but I really like food and another thing travel has given me is the opportunity to eat some pretty wacky and delicious stuff that I'd never get to try back home.

Tea (Various)
Not that crazy but I have a whole new appreciation for tea and never would of dreamed there was so much variety out there!
Fruit and loose leaf hibiscus tea
Image @ etsy
Doesn't really taste too much like tea, made out of flowers and fruit. once you're done drinking it you can eat the fruit to making it a sort of snack at the same time.

Seaweed and salt 'kombucha' tea
It sounds disgusting if you don't like seaweed but it was much more soup than tea and it was yummy!

Blooming tea
 Image @

A flower emerges from these tea balls when they make contact with water, not tasty but really beautiful.

Bubble tea
 Image @ Bubble Tea
This high calorie beverage looks pretty wacky as it has tapioca balls floating around inside it and tastes more like juice than tea but it's fun and delicious. Just don't drink too much of it unless your aim is to look like a bubble.

Street food (Various)
Looks like an health inspection fail but passes in the mouth!

Fried Insects (Various)
Crunchy on the outside and hollow on the inside, they sound and look a lot worse than they taste, which is actually of very little. Very strange but maybe it's more stranger that I'd eat them again.

Ice Cream (Japan)
Ice cream is serious business in japan. if it can be eaten, drunk or smelt I'm pretty sure there's a flavour for it at Ice Cream City, sunshine city, Ikebukuro. Named by National Geographic as one of the top 10 places in the world to eat ice cream, it houses over 300 flavours and with everything from sea weed to lavender it can be as scrummy or strange as you fancy it to be. For someone like me this place was as much a hell as it was heaven, I just couldn't decide what I wanted but in the end I played it safe and had chicken wing but even then couldn't decide if I liked it or not.

Japanese Crepes (Japan)
Not that wacky but Japanese crepes are certainly delicious! If you eat only one treat in Japan make it one of these! 

Nutri-Express (China)
This milky yogurt type drink is so yummy though sadly it's only available in mainland China but that might just be because the name translates into nutritious fast cum. Makes you wonder what you've been drinking...

Dog (Cambodia)
Fatty and rank, the only reason to eat this is to show you had the balls to.

Halu halu (Philippines)
With everything from cheese to ice cream halu halu really is one of the strangest concoctions I've tried. Confusing as hell as one moment it's delicious and with the next sip it's horrifying but it's refreshing and a must-try.

Balut (Philippines)
The worst thing I have eaten by far, I say I 'ate' it but actually failed miserably. Balut or balot are fertilised duck eggs. It stinks and tastes just like blood, egg and organs...Yummy!

Image @

Angry Birds Sushi (Thailand)
I never tried this as I'm not a massive fan of sushi but it looked so cool I had to add it to the list.

Pig blood noodle soup (Thailand)
Yep, you read that right this spicy soup is enriched with raw pig's blood and it's surprising delicious.

Image @

Kalamay (Philippines)
Kalamay/Calamay (or sugar in English) could not be a more perfect title for this sweet and sticky treat I had in Cebu. Totally ang sarap (delicious).

Image @

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Panic, plans and patches

I must of been lying when I said I wouldn't be going back to Asia for a while because on the 28th of this month at 1.30 pm I'll be taking off for India! I'll have 21 hours there before heading to Bangkok, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos all in only 5 weeks! 

6 countries in just 5 weeks may seem a little rushed and perhaps it is (I'll be on the move every 1-3 days) but things don't always end up how we planned them to just like how they're not really going to plan here recently either.

Work short changed me by £150 this month, which means I've only got £100 for the first few days of my trip but I was able to do some begging and get them to agree to pay me early next month and these few hours in India have ended up costing me a lot more than I originally thought they would. Price and red tape varies depending on where you're from but all visitors to India require a visa regardless how long they stay. Silly me thought it would be available for free on arrival for Brits but only decided to check after I brought my flight and it's not, it's £66 in advance. I'm excited of course but the thought of being rejected and having to wait in an airport for 21 hours isn't my idea of a good time. Needless to say I'm feeling rather nervous about this trip, maybe I'll feel better once I know I have permission to enter India...

 It's funny how I feel so little fear about going off to some place new like India (not really I'm terrified!) but sometimes even the smallest of decisions like what to have for dinner can have me undecided for hours. As long as I can remember I've been obsessed with sew/iron on patches, I may ooh and ahhh when I spot a colourful bag covered in stickers or badges but I've always been concerned it might draw unnecessary attention or make me look like a show off. Anyway I finally took the plunge and brought a couple, there's obviously some places you certainly wouldn't want to be seen walking around with them on but for the most part when you're walking with a big bag on your back you stand out anyway, a few patches surely won't make a difference. As you can see I've decided to really let my hair down and be 'crazy' this year :D I can't wait to have a bag filled with them!