A Travellerspoint blog

November 2013

The Strength Test of Haiyan

Geographically, Philippines is surrounded with water and for most of us, we are used to heavy rains and typhoons, Name it, from A – Z, we welcome ‘their’ visit more than 20 times every year, so nothing we can do about but to deal with it. But two weeks ago was exceptional. Leaving a mark to each of us. Making as the ‘second – strongest and deadliest typhoon’ ever recorded in world history, this must be extremely extraordinary.


I’ve seen and heard enough. News are everywhere, hitting the headlines internationally. This environmental catastrophe was disheartening to see thousand of lives were shattered. Watching the victims looking for their lost loved ones, pleading for help, brought me back to my nightmares with Typhoon Ondoy four years ago. I found myself in tears as I hear their survival stories, and knowingly, their pain and anguish are beyond imaginable.

Typhoon Haiyan left nothing but devastation. And please forgive me, I asked God why is it happening to us, to our country, on why did He let it happen to all those innocent lives, young children, whom will shape our future. For a second, my faith with Him was in questioned.

After Typhoon Haiyan left, a massive response began from all parts of the world. Many countries have expressed their sympathy and surprisingly, even from China (to whom we have some political issues), gave their pledges in aid to the storm destroyed the Philippines. International communities responded immediately and relief operations were launched every now and then. Many organizations are continuously raising funds to provide emergency assistance to all.

In the midst of this crisis, for one enough reason, the world reunites and clearly showed humanitarian acts, regardless of race, religion and color. As countries, we may disagree at some issues, but when this rough and crucial time comes, our different beliefs are left behind and holding unto each other.

At this point, God answered the question that I raised for a second in the best possible way that He could. For whatever reason it maybe, one thing is for sure: that we, Filipinos, will rise again and be the strongest than any super typhoon. I know we could, for we believe in ourselves as well as other nations, and as what a formidable organization told us:

“Time to get to know the Filipino people.. unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good natured, uber friendly, loyal, ingenuis, and a bunch of survivors. At the end of the day, the Filipinos will just shake off the dirt from their clothes and go about their business.. and smile. They do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can. Maybe this is why they were given the ‘priviledge’ of bearing the burden of the strongest typhoon ever recorded. The indomitable human spirit at its finest.”


There is always reason for everything that happens. Your experiences are designed to shape you, define you and hopefully, grow you into the mightiest you possible.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all the countries and international communities who gave support undoubtedly and reached out to all Filipinos to help as much they can.


Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 00:03 Comments (0)

Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations for Middle Easterns

Every couple dream of a perfect honeymoon. Following the wedding ceremony, newlyweds will start their journey together and choosing the best location to celebrate the intimacy is very important. From a candlelit dinner in a tropical island to walking down in a stunning lake side together, are some of the best ways to complete the fairytale.


As a holidaymaker for years, I have quite somehow mastered the needs of Middle Easterns for honeymoon packages and compiled some of their top choices. Here are my personal picks for the Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations that you might want to consider in the future.

1. Malaysia
The most popular honeymoon spot among Arabs at any time of the year, newlyweds will surely enjoy their new life together as this country boasts beautiful islands, amazing wildlife, and world-class infrastructures. There are lot of activities to explore as a couple in places like Selangor, Penang, Langkawi and not to mention the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur.


2. Austria
Amongst Schengen countries, Austria ranks the top choice for couples heading Europe. And why not, sitting in a balcony infront of a breathtaking view of snow-capped mountains and lake sides could set a romantic mood and create special moment with your loved one. Zellamsee and Salzburg attract more honeymooners for its rolling landscapes and sceneries.


3. Switzerland
Newlyweds will be enchanted by the charm of natural beauties of places like Lausanne, Zurich and Geneva, with its thick alpine forests and pristine lakes. And of course, don’t forget to indulge for the famous Swiss chocolate, to make the relationship more sweet.


4. Maldives and Sri Lanka
These combination of two amazing countries have appeal for Arab couples who are looking for a romantic getaway and great adventures all in one. After the first three nights in a secluded island in Maldives, couples can easily transfer thru a local flight (one and a half hour) and be thrilled to the range of adventures that SriLanka has to offer.


5. Indonesia
Newlyweds who are in a tight budget yet, would like to experience quality and luxurious honeymoon, visiting Indonesia would be one of the best choices. Aside seeing the white sand beaches of Bali and lush rainforest of Ubud, couples can spend intimate time together through nature tripping, trekking, and not to mention world-class spas and wellness that await them.


Definitely these destinations are just some of the places that will keep the fire burning and recapture each others hearts over and over again. In the end, what matters most are the two individuals returning home with cherished honeymoon experience that will lasts for a lifetime.

Did you enjoy reading? Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 22:35 Tagged kuala_lumpur bali indonesia austria malaysia penang maldives switzerland langkawi srilanka ubud middle_east saudi_arabia honeymoon_destinations zellamsee salzurg selangor Comments (0)

Remembering My Old Aquarium



T’was a perfect Thursday morning. Blue skies and calm water. Everything was all set for a scuba dive, happening on the beautiful island of Maldives!

It was a childhood dream. I am really fascinated with marine life and underwater world since I was a kid. I remembered I used to buy some ‘colored’ fishes (so worried because they were enclosed in a cleared plastic bag and thinking that they cannot breathe) from vendors in front of our school, bring them home as fast as I can, transfer them in a small aquarium, then talked to them just like any other normal pets. As I watched them moving freely in the four corners of my aquarium, questions ruminated through my mind. I kept wondering on why they don’t get tired of moving, on how do they breath and sleep. Seems like underwater world is next to where we are living in.


Thanks to my friend, Ava, who is working in Maldives, arranged the course to a trusted diving center for me. I met my diving instructor early in the morning and took the Beginner Course for couple of hours. I acquired the fundamentals and basic skills in diving. I learned on how to use scuba equipment and the safety rules underwater, paying too much attention to each single detail. After we finished, finally I got the chance to choose all the scuba gears needed for the activity. Never realized that scuba tank weighs that much!

While heading to the diving site, I tried to assemble all the gears as fast as I can and wearing the wetsuit was unexplainable. I was so excited yet so nervous, trying to remember all the guidelines I learned that morning. I rechecked all the equipment for assurance, and practiced my breathing through the regulator every now and then. While I was given the last-minute instructions before plunging into the water, there were lot of things going into my head, praying for our safety and expecting for the best. And as I glide myself off the boat, the next thing I know was that I was grasping for my breath.


Actual experience has never been easier than what I have thought. I had some trouble in fixing my goggles and took me awhile before I get used to breathe in and out through the scuba regulator. While we were floating in the cold surface of Indian Ocean, again, my instructor reminded me of the safety rules and hand signals as we paved our way underwater. I finally decided to let go off his hand and immersed myself into the ocean independently.

I felt I was entering a whole different world. It was so very peaceful that the only sound I heard was my breathing. When we descended deeper, it was so enchanting to be welcomed by a school of fish, as if I was one of them. On the other side, there were colorful sea creatures, which some of them I don’t even recognized, sea horses, corals, of different shapes and sizes. It was so fascinating that I cannot believe what I was seeing at that moment. I used to read and see them on science books but now they were in front of me, so close enough that I was even afraid to touched them.


There is nothing like breathing underwater. I was enjoying too much that I almost forgot the time I spent down under. I lived for a moment and ventured to a place where I felt anyone has never been into. After an hour, as much as I wanted to spend more time ‘dwelling’, finally my instructor gave the hand signal to come up to the surface and called it a day.

Everything was still vivid to me while heading back to the shore. I can’t wait to get home and tell my friends what an amazing experience I had just encountered, of what does it feel to be inside of an aquarium. Suddenly, I found myself smiling as I looked back to my childhood days, remembering my old aquarium, with ‘colored’ fishes I bought outside of our school. There were still lot of questions left unanswered, but one thing is for sure, I’ll be returning to my new found ‘home’.

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid it stuck with you in the back of your mind for years? Share your thoughts.

Did you enjoy my story? Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 11:06 Archived in Maldives Republic Tagged maldives scuba_diving marine_life underwater_world corals firt_time Comments (0)

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