The Magic of The Ruins – Romance and History in Negros

The Ruins - Negros Philippines“The Shadow of Your Smile”, performed by an amazing group of Filipino musicians, set the tone for my first visit to The Ruins, and the lyrics and images were stuck in my head for days. Sometimes referred to as “The Taj Mahal of Negros”, the majestic Ruins bathed in glowing lights are simply stunning – a must-see on the Philippine island of Negros.

It’s easy to see why The Ruins were named one of

“The 12 Most Fascinating Ruins in the World”.

The History

Philippine Destinations for First Time Explorers

Philippine destinations

(Guest post written by Jeanne Whitman)

The Philippines, being an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, has a whole lot to offer for tourists. For first time explorers, however, that bounty of potential destinations can make it hard to pick where to go.

Fortunately, there are tried and tested spots and attractions which never disappoint and can give more reasons for first time tourists to go back. Here are some of the prime tourist spots in the Philippines no matter what your interests might be.

For water adventurers

Stunning Taiwan – Just Another Ordinary Day

Just Another Ordinary Day

After 3 years in Taiwan, I sometimes forget how my ordinary day may be fascinating to others. A friend visited recently and captured my “new normal” on film, his artistic vision of my reality.

From a Ghost Month lantern festival…to exploring cave temples and the majestic Lion’s Head Mountain…scootering through the mountains…and visiting weekend markets in Beipu – this is my new neighborhood.

Just another ordinary day in stunning Taiwan…

Humans of the World – meet Faith


“Ordinary people with extraordinary stories”

On a recent pre-typhoon day, I took a 40-minute train ride from my home to the small Hakka village of Neiwan to have lunch with Faith, a fellow travel blogger. We had met a few months earlier (somewhere in the blogosphere) and she happened to be passing through my neighborhood, so we agreed to meet in “real life”. Faith, a 20-something American nomad, has been on the road for the past 16 months, experiencing the world along with her mother and her 20-something sister, Grace, who has Down Syndrome.

The Little Old Man on Lion’s Head Mountain

Lions Head Mountain

At the top of the stairs leading to the temple built into the side of the mountain, a cute little old man sits quietly at a table. This is his office, located in the shade of an old tree, and he’s assigned the important task of setting off fireworks when the God flag is raised in the distance. He sits in silence, listening to the sounds of the distant gong and the Buddhist chanting. He keeps a close eye on his box of fireworks and waits for a glimpse of that flag.

Adventures in Chinese Medicine – Exploring the Zen of Qi Gong

Then she started slapping me in the head. A lot! From a standing position, she bent me over, chin tucked, and slapped the back of my head – maybe an effort to slap away any dark thoughts invading my brain?

A few weeks ago I began my “Adventures in Acupuncture” with my first visit to a Chinese doctor. He listened to my pulse, diagnosed my various issues, and then stuck a bunch of needles in my back and one just behind my knee. A lightning bolt from the blocked energy shot from my knee down to my foot.

Living Life on the Edge – Finding the Beauty in the Storm

Beauty in stormsSometimes you’ve just gotta live in the moment and grab all of life’s amazingness when you can. Tomorrow a Super-Typhoon may blow your world apart…

A little over four years ago, I sat with my friend Jack along a seawall in the coastal city of Hudson, Florida. We had just finished dinner celebrating my 50th birthday. He had just finished 3 months of chemo and radiation. As we sat there gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico we noticed a thunderstorm approaching, lightning strikes reflecting off the water.

Fifteen Years Later – We Will Never Forget

We Will Never ForgetIt was the ungodly hour of 4:30 am when my alarm rang. I was working that horrible 6 am shift at Northwest Airlines in Honolulu. I sat down on the couch to eat some cereal and turned on CNN. They were replaying something that looked like a movie stunt…just as the second plane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. I suddenly realized it was real and choked on my cereal, almost spitting it at the TV.

Humans of the World – meet Houssaine

Morocco tour guideOrdinary people with extraordinary stories”

Morocco is high on my Bucket List of places I need to see and, thanks to the miracle of the social media, I’ve recently been connecting with a lot of Moroccan tour guides. They’re such a great source of information about the country as I research my upcoming trip. One of these amazing tour guides has also become a great source of inspiration.

Asian Budget Airlines – and why NOK made me wanna NOK myself in the head

Budget Airlines

One of the beautiful things about living in Asia is the abundance of Asian Budget Airlines that have been springing up over the past decade, making travel out of Taipei cheap and convenient. I’ve had the pleasure of flying some of the good ones and had frustration when flying the bad. Cebu Pacific is next on my list.

Next month I’ll be making the quick flight from Taipei to Manila on my first adventure with Cebu Pacific Airways. The flight is only around two hours but, according to my friend Nadine who recently flew them, the delay will likely be twice as long. Both ways. I’ll be packing an extra dose of St. John’s Wort and meditation podcasts.