Posted on October 1, 2015

Can I let you in a little secret? Well more like a fantasy :-)

I have this dream of living in this beautiful South Western European city one day… a dream of living in the vivacious, exciting and beautiful city of Madrid.

I don’t know whether it’s due to my Spanish heritage but there’s just something about Madrid that’s so beguiling to me. I’ve been to Barcelona as well but I did not love it as much as I did the Spanish capital.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to turn this dream into a reality, but for now, browsing through my Madrid pictures will have to do.


The iconic Plaza de Cibeles

I came to Spain for these… paella and sangria,  my favourite food/drink in the world.


Found the most perfect door (well perfect for my door picture series). Surrounded by a wall full of jasmine inside this amazing not-so-secret garden.


Cactus lusting at Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid

Aside from my favourite chorizo, got hooked on eating jamon iberico, which is a staple in Madrid (and maybe whole of Spain).  Here eating this yummy jamon iberico pizza from Sol, just near our hood in Sta. Ana.



When madhatter met headless soldier.  Match made in heaven lol! He’s just one of the many creative and sometimes crazy street performers found in Plaza Mayor. Talk about charmers!


Inside one of the oldest and most beautiful markets in Madrid.  The Mercado de San Miguel.  The food here are so cheap and so yummy.


One of my best dining experience in Madrid happened in the oldest restaurant in the world. The Restaurante Sobrino De Botin.  Everything in this place was amazeballs that no wonder Hemingway loved the place.


The basement section of Restaurante Sobrino De Botin.


This would have to be the most potent sangria I’ve ever had, Emma and I were tipsy as and to this day had no recollection how we found our way back to our apartment without falling flat on our faces.


Woke up like this, literally!  After our late lunch at Botin, and finding our way back to our apartment, I fell asleep.  I woke up when I heard Emma calling from the other room suggesting we should get some fresh air and churros.  For the love of siesta.


My Spanish was put to test when we ventured into this tapas area that was recommended by a local.  The waitress will only talk to me in Spanish. Somehow I managed to order these.

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We stayed in this cute apartment in Plaza de Santa Ana area, which is like a food hub and a happening place.  There’s always fun music and delightful food aroma in every corner. I was in food and music heaven.


A glimpse of Palacio de Cristal or Crystal Palace. It was built back in the late 1800 to exhibit the flora and fauna from my home county Philippines.  Now it’s mainly used for exhibit and a place where people can read their book.

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A closer look at the beautiful and intricate, Crystal Palace.


I love that they dedicated the whole park to literature.  I’ve never seen so many book stalls in my life.  It encourages love for reading books, which I believe is the next best escape, after travel.  The fact that you get to read your favourite book inside a beautiful palace, makes it extra special.


You can’t sit with us!


I just love the idea that they sell books in the park, just genius.

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Feeding the fat kid inside in my fave, Mercado de San Miguel :-)


Espero volver a verte pronto Madrid!

Ti amo,


My Other Love

Posted on September 1, 2015

I had been meaning to post something unrelated to travel for a while now but just wasn’t sure which topic to focus on.  I thought it still has to be something I’m passionate about but at the same time, something that I don’t often talk about as well (if that makes sense).

Today I’m sharing some of the paintings and drawings I’ve done over the years. I’m not sure if I should call it my hidden talent because if you follow me on Instagram or if you’re my friend on Facebook then you’d have seen some of the stuff before.

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I started out with just using crayons and coloured pens/pencils (very low key) and it was only around five years ago that I started painting and discovered oil and acrylic.  The reason I decided to do a painting in the first place was because I wanted to create a vivid focal point in my old apartment’s lounge area, but I didn’t want to splurge on some expensive artwork that I don’t even like so I thought ‘What if I create my own artwork instead?’.  After deciding what to paint, I got some used canvas which I covered with white primer to reuse.   It just so happen that the used canvas was rather big and aside from not having an easel, painting on a larger scale prove to be quite challenging.  But as they say Go Big or Go Home right?


Unfinished Astroboy

Because I didn’t have an easel and couldn’t be arsed to buy one, I had to paint on the floor.  Aside from suffering backaches, I had to make sure I didn’t drip oil paint all over my carpet. For three consecutive nights after work, I would stay up super late but each time getting more and more excited with the progress.


Astroboy, my very first oil painting

My blending technique was not very good then, but I was still very happy with my first oil painting.  I grew up watching Astro Boy and a few years back,  while I was holidaying in Melbourne, I went to see Osamu Tezuka’s exhibit with my friends and fell in love with the gigantic drawings of Astro Boy and I guess it stuck with me and that’s why I wanted to have a piece of Astro Boy in my own home as well. To this day, my Astro Boy painting remains one of my favourite.

After Astro Boy, I have made numerous other paintings. I have only ever sold one painting and I have only ever given one painting (which I still regret). Below are some of my old artworks. I have stayed true with my Geekiness all these years.


My Psylocke and Matsuo drawing circa 1998 (X-Men).


My Dragon Ball Z drawing circa 1997


My V for Vendetta painting (2012)


My Wonder Woman drawing (2013)

Earlier this year, I started working on my biggest painting to date. I have always been a fan of Roy Lichtenstein but since I could never afford to buy any of his painting, decided to make my own as well.


My cat checking out my initial sketch


Did the outlining in our backyard which was very therapeutic.

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My interpretation of Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Girl with Hair Ribbon’ oil painting on a 40×40 (inches) canvas. Approved by my beloved cat, Mr. Olly Meowbert.

I still plan to recreate two more Lichtenstein paintings when I am feeling inspired to paint again. Actually, I’m just waiting for the canvases to go on sale lol! Saying that, watching my artwork evolve is still great fun and very rewarding. Hoping to explore water-colour next.



16 Travel Tips I Live By

Posted on August 10, 2015


Enjoying the majestic view of the Grand Teton at Jackson Lodge in Wyoming

After visiting 30 countries, I consider myself a seasoned traveler.  I’m not the best traveler in the world (yet) but I’ve picked up little tips and secrets along the way that worked for me time and time again and might work for you too.  I decided to make a little list (only 16, to maybe over a hundred practical travel tips out there) of my best travel advice. Feel free to add/share your travel tips on the comment section so we can all perfect the art of traveling. Here we go…


I.) BE NICE. You’d be surprised at what other people are willing to do to accommodate you if you’re nice and pleasant to them

II.) ALWAYS HAVE CASH ON YOU. It’s the most reliable thing in this world, and make sure you also have a stash somewhere safe for emergency. (I should really practice what I preach).

III.) WEAR NICE CLOTHES ON THE AIRPLANE. I know sneakers and maybe loose pants are comfy but if you put a little effort, people are nicer to you or at least upgrade you.

IV.) LEARN TO WASH CLOTHES IN THE SINK. Hey, if Gwyneth Palthrow can do it, so can you.

V.) PACK FLIP FLOPS OR THONGS FOR USE IN SHOWERS. Even when I’m at home I never want my feet to touch the shower floor. That’s just gross.

Exploring the city of canals, Venice.

Exploring the city of canals, Venice.

VI.) ROLL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN PACKING. I was a rebel and didn’t believe in the rolling magic until recently. Trust me, you’ll fit more shopping if you do so.

VII.) ALWAYS PACK BABY WIPES. Or face wipes if you want to pay extra dollar. It does the same shit. It’s a lifesaver especially when you have no access to a shower or you want to freshen up on the go.

VIII.) LEARN HOW TO PACK LIGHT. I still struggle to this day but do bring clothes that you can mix and match, are lightweight, and that you can layer on. Make sure to create a checklist while you’re at it.

VIX.) BE READY TO SLEEP ANYWHERE. I’m kind of lucky that I can fall asleep anywhere, but the downside is, it’s not safe when you’re traveling alone. Still, be prepared when you end up sleeping somewhere that is not so decent. You need sleep, people are grumpy when they don’t have enough sleep. Sleep is so effing underrated. Make sure to bring eye masks or ear plugs or any items/devices that can help you sleep.

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Kayaking with Emma in La Jolla in San Diego

X.) REGISTER YOUR TRAVEL DETAILS. For Aussie travellers, there is SMARTTRAVELLER.GOV.AU. If you’re traveling to multiple places, it can be tiresome to fill this up but if something bad happens to you overseas, you’ll make it easier for the government to reach you if they know where you are. Simple. (Also, make sure you tell your parents, next of kin or close friends where you’re going, unless you purposely want to get away from them, still register anyway. Okay?)

XI.) PACK A MEDICINE KIT. I have a weak stomach, and it doesn’t help that I’ll eat all sorts of food, so aside from carrying paracetamol packs, I always have attapulgite tablets. A medicine kit will not take up a lot of space, but will save you from having headaches when you’re always on the go.

XII.) KEEP SOME EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS. For wet or dirty clothes. You wouldn’t want to contaminate your clean ones.

XIII.) LEARN A FEW PHRASES OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE. It kinda shows the local people that you’re putting in some effort to get to know them. Also gives them a sense of pride when they hear a foreigner trying to speak their language. Winning.

Bossing this random kid to move the vine, in picturesque Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Bossing this random kid to swing the vine, in picturesque Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

XIV.) ACTUALLY DO SOME RESEARCH. From taxi fares, to local customs, to weather, to scams, to what the local people are like in general. Knowledge is power.

XV.) BE PREPARED. For the unexpected. This does not apply to traveling alone, but life in general. Expectations versus reality. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate in real life (dodgy hotel booking sites I’m looking at you). Sometimes flights get canceled or your transport didn’t make it on time.  Lost luggage. Shit happens, but how you deal with it, is the most important thing.

XVI.) BE GRATEFUL. Not everyone gets to travel or has the means to travel and explore. So take time to reflect, take lots of pictures, take it all in, pause, and understand the immensity of our world. Understand your insignificance and understand your absolute importance.

Monterroso Al Mare, Cinque Terre
Monterroso Al Mare, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Posted on June 30, 2015

Ah Cinque Terre… (pronounced tʃinkwe ˈtɛrːe in Italian) but whatever, this beautiful rugged coast was the saving grace of our almost disastrous Milan Trip.

The picturesque Cinque Terre consist of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Originally we wanted to stay for a few days but was told by friends that a day tour would suffice.  I wished we stayed at least overnight though,  I would have loved to explore all the villages on foot. We only managed to explore Monterosso Al Mare and Vernazza due to our limited time.

Emma and I we’re up early to meet our guide in Milan. We were running on one hour sleep and badly needed some fuel to kick start the day and for the long drive ahead so Italian coffee had to be in place. You know what they say, when in Rome… I mean Milan.


Our first stop was the delightful village of Portovenere located on the Ligurian Coast in the province of La Spezia.  It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Cinque Terre.

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After our short stop at Portovenere, we boarded a boat to reach the coastal villages, wedged into rugged cliffs by the Mediterranean sea. Here we met and befriended a lovely young woman who’s aptly named, Barbie.  She was also doing the same tour and was traveling alone and clicked with us straight away. Unfortunately our tour did not include exploring Riomaggiore village so we could only admire it from afar. How very sad.


I don’t remember our boat stopping at other villages, but we were finally allowed to dock at Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the Cinque Terre’s ‘five lands’.

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We were given a few hours to explore the village but not before having lunch with the whole group.  Our guide took us to this restaurant where I had the most amazing seafood dish, very rustic and fresh, just how I like it.


I love this picture I took of Emma. The smile says it all. IMG_6099 IMG_6118


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After exploring Monterosso, we were instructed to meet our guide and the rest of the group to board a train to Vernazza, another of the Cinque Terre’s beautiful villages.

Vernazza was struck by massive flooding and mudslide in 2011 that left the town buried in over 4 metres of mud and debris.  The damaged caused a lot of money (over 100 million euro) but luckily for us, it was restored a few months later with a lot of hard work and help from people from all over the world.

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With it’s colourful, painted homes clinging to impossible cliffs, flanking a quaint harbour, Vernazza was worth preserving.  It’s by far my favourite. Oh and did i mention that they have the best gelateria (ice-cream parlor) in the world? I know it’s a sweeping declaration but if you know me, a self-proclaimed Ice cream monster, I can say with all honesty, that the gelato I had in Vernazza, was to die for.

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So after an hour or so exploring the lined cobbled street of Vernazza and taking lots and lots of shameless pictures in the scorching heat, it was time for us to rejoin our group for another scenic train ride to the town of La Spezia.  Back on our coach to head back to Milan, ending our day trip.

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In the famous words of  Douglas MacArthur, “I came through and I shall return”.  I vow to return to Cinque Terre one day and explore the rest of the villages… and for another cup of gelato too.

Much love,




Posted on June 13, 2015

Two weeks ago, my friend Anne asked if I wanted to join their long weekend road trip to Kalbarri and I thought, hmmm why not, I haven’t got anything planned and I needed to get away because I was going through some personal issues (i.e. mending a broken heart) and a road trip would be (is always) a perfect distraction.

Actually I’ve been to Kalbarri before, in the summer of 2011.  I remember the temperature reaching 47 degrees celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit) and even for someone who grew up in a tropical country, I still struggled.

There are places/sites that once you’ve visited, you can literally cross off your list and be happy to never EVER go back. Kalbarri is obviously not one of those places.  To quote my friend Chris, those famous Tumbalooga sandstone rocks have been around for 450 million years.  That’s a bloody long time, and those rocks command respect.

In the two times I visited Kalbarri, I went with two amazing groups of people and on each trips made amazing memories. As the cliche goes, it’s not always the destination, it’s the journey and it’s the people you’re with too.

Kalbarri is a 6 hour drive from Perth but there are plenty of super cool places that you can stop and check on the way, to break the long trip. There’s the Pinnacles, Lancelin and Jurien Bay to name a few. Did all three stops on my first Kalbarri trip but only did two on the last one.

Our first stop was Lancelin.  Lancelin and it’s famous white sand dunes. I’ll try and do a lot of fun things in high heels. I rarely shock my friends anymore, so me wearing cowboy boots on sand dunes is pretty normal.image-4


image-7 Our next stop was Jurien Bay, we stopped at the park to prepare and cook our lunch.  In Australia it’s all about barbecue, and when you throw in Filipino’s and Brazilian’s on the mix, then expect to find some interesting food on the grill. Like chicken heart on sticks for instance, good for the soul. IMG_6917 image-7 copy


We arrived in Kalbarri just in time to catch the sunset.


IMG_6991 I like living on the edge, much to the horror of my girl friends (sorry Mom).image-8 image-9 IMG_7053


The one thing I HATE (with feelings) and a lot of people who’ve been to Kalbarri will agree, are the flies. Bloody flies, you cannot escape them.  image-14

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The Z Bend lookoutIMG_7134

IMG_7141 Last day in Kalbarri and making the most of it!IMG_7181 Thankful to these peeps for adopting me for the long weekend. image-16

On our way back to Perth in search of The Pink Lake, we found it but just couldn’t find a way to get to it.IMG_7193

The Pink Lake would have to be another post my friends.IMG_7196

Until the next road trip.

Love and light,


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Posted on June 5, 2015

I find it quite hard to write about Istanbul because it was where I reached breaking point from months of non stop travel. When you’re so tired and your mind just can’t keep up with your body, the littlest thing can easily set you off and poor Emma copped it big time.  It takes a lot for me to ‘lose it’ but when I do, I can be a total biatch with a capital B. I’m like the Ice Queen incarnate.

Combine continuous jet lag, fatigue/exhaustion, stress, lack of sleep and not eating on time and you get mean scary Geri. The quote ‘I’m sorry for all the things I said when I was hungry’ comes to mind. Emma was going through the same thing and we we’re basically feeding that almost delirious state of mind off each other and venting our frustrations towards each other.

Our trip to Istanbul pretty much got off to a rocky start.  Having only slept for 3 hours to catch a very early morning flight, to then have a delayed connecting flight and not have our tour people pick us up at the airport on time, was just what we needed. Then came this Kuwait national who was getting picked up by the same hotel transfer service at the airport. At first he seemed friendly, he asked if he could have his picture taken with me and that was fine. He then asked if he could take me out to dinner, and started asking which hotel I’m staying.  Apparently he wants to have me picked up from my hotel because he will organise a trip with me to the islands, etc.  Emma and the two local guys couldn’t believe he would be so forward to ask me out in front of them and they were laughing so hard.  It provided some kind of humour but it was escalating to creepy territory pretty quickly. I was politely saying ‘No’ but he was like the type of person that won’t take no for an answer, so you can just imagine my relief when I found out we were riding in separate cars.

Being certified FOMO’s (Fear Of Missing Out), we thought it was a great idea to do back to back tours, but back to back tours only ever work if the tours you’re doing are highly organised. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the tours we did in Istanbul, they were just all over the place. For instance, they’ll give us a schedule of what we’re doing on that day and they’ll totally change it in the afternoon and swap it with activities scheduled the following day, and you’re left wondering what’s going on because you thought you’re visiting a mosque and you find yourself at grand bazaar but you don’t want to be stressed so you just try and go with the flow anyway. Luckily, the sites we visited made up for it.

Mindblowing details on this mosaic found in Chora Museum, a beautiful legacy of the Byzantine era.  This almost feels like cross stitching back in the days (on acid).  One word, dedication.


Our Moroccan scarves came in handy when going inside the many beautiful Mosques found in Istanbul. Here in the popular Blue Mosque.

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At first glance this looks like colourful plates on top of each other but you’re actually looking at the beautiful ceiling of the Blue Mosque.


Part of our tour was visiting this luxurious carpet store ‘Matis’.  We were offered this yummy apple tea upon arrival. Each time they lay a new carpet my heart would skip a bit.  The more amazing the design, the more expensive it gets.


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The owner of the carpet store was kind enough to invite me to check out their rooftop office that offers panoramic views of the historic city. image copy 5

A visit to Istanbul is not complete without getting lost inside the Grand Bazaar. 

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Another mosque, another selfie.  Here in Rustem Pasha Mosque, considered as one of their most beautiful mosques (they have about 3000), the pictures don’t do it justice.  

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This was the entrance to Topkapi Palace.  Disneyland must have drawn inspiration from it.


And what’s my trip without my door picture? 


Morning views from one of the first hotels we stayed in Istanbul, Megara Palace Hotel in the old city.

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If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’d know that I love seafood dishes so I have extremely enjoyed the seafood dishes I tried in Turkey.  Like this fish that was cooked in brick oven, it had eggplants, tomatoes,  some parsley, mint leaves and lemon which I ordered at Rumist Cafe and Art Bistro. image-4 copy 2

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During Ramadan, we decided to have lunch at this place located in the Sultanahmet area (out of the many others) called Divane Cafe and Restaurant.  The servers were uber friendly and the food, well, divine.  They invited us to come back after 9pm because that is when they can eat again. They told us it’s almost torture on their part serving food the whole day to tourists like us but they do it because of their faith.  I get why it’s almost like a personal victory for them each night, and why they say they celebrate it like a big party, with music and all.  If I was deprived of food the whole day, (provided I haven’t gone mad yet) the next food I see/eat would be like the most amazing food ever.


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Emma joked that I should make a collage of all the guys that asked to have their picture taken with me. A selfie never hurt anybody.

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I was never a fan of Turkish delights until I tasted the real thing in the famous Spice Market (a.k.a. Egyptian Bazaar).  All the flavours you can possibly think of, they have it.  And all the possible pick up lines from Turkish guys, they’ll throw your way too.

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Passed by one of the longest and one of the most luxurious yachts in the world, the Savarona, while on the Bosphorus cruise. image copy 4

I liked the idea that we were cruising on international waters to see both the Europe and Asia coastline of Turkey.



Shoutout to the guys at Shadow Cafe Bar Restaurant, for giving us free desserts, shisha, drinks and for playing awesome music. One of the waiters gave me a rose that he made out of a tissue paper (bless him).  Turkish guys are total charmers to tourists, but we couldn’t take the free drinks because we were too tired from all the tours we were doing during the day.

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Leaving Istanbul for a few days, we made our way to Canakkale.  Our first stop was Troy.  Funny story, I thought Troy is found in Greece, lol.  Anyway, in the ancient city of Troy, you’ll find not just one, but two gigantic Trojan horses.  The one found in the town centre is the one silly tourists like me can touch and climb, while the other horse was the one they used in the movie and is displayed in the city centre.


Inside the Trojan horse, it was quite high up and comfy inside.

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Thousands of years ago, the infamous Trojan war happened here, on the western gate of Troy VII.  I was reminded just how much I love studying history before.  The amazing architectures that lasted centuries which also survived many natural disasters, make these people visionaries because they were so ahead of their time. Buried underneath are cities on top of cities still waiting to be discovered by archaeologists.  So excited to what they’ll find next.

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If I lived in this era, I would be hanging a lot here, the Odeon or the singing place, because reason one, I love to sing and reason two, I can’t live without music.  The Odeon is said to be built in the Roman Troy era.

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The things I do that usually embarrass Emma.

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And the ‘piece de resistance’ the Trojan horse used in the movie Troy.  I already checked, Brad Pitt wasn’t there lol.  The horse is displayed near the port of Canakkale city centre and yes, it is pretty awesome and no you can’t climb or touch it.

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After visiting Troy, our next stop was ANZAC cove in Gallipoli.  One of the reasons why I wanted to go to Turkey was to visit the ANZAC memorial.  It’s a pilgrimage for Australians and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to pay my respects to those who have fallen, personally, on it’s 99th year.  It was an emotional day but one that I will never forget. image-7 copy

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ANZAC Cove, then and now.

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Doing a tour is a great way to learn the country’s history or if you want to check a lot of places in a short period of time, but I prefer exploring the city on my own and it’s the same for Emma too. Anyway, after our crazy back to back tours we stayed in this beautiful hotel in Beyoglu called Art Nouveau Galata Hotel, owned by our friend Meftun and is situated beside Galata Tower.  Beyoglu is just across the bridge from the Old city.

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Doing some writing and enjoying my tea in the balcony of our hotel.


Beyoglu is a hip place, I would say, its New York equivalent would be Brooklyn.


I remember walking into a shop and the store owner offered us Turkish coffee (which I am not a fan) and then proceeded to read our fortune.  Never a doll moment.  The store owner Murat, looked like Weird Al at first glance.  Just as cheeky but more fabulous.


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After almost a week in Istanbul, Emma and I had our first legit Turkish Kebab and it was not what we expected, but it had lots of chilli’s so am happy. image-6 copy 10

We couldn’t buy plates so we went bonkers buying pillow cases.

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On our last night in Istanbul, our friend Meftun took us to dinner at this seafood restaurant located in the bay area and there were a lot of cats lounging around.  Got attached to one particular cat because it didn’t want to leave me, just wanted to sleep in my lap and be loved. Aw.image-5 copy


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Meftun also gave us a quick city night tour which was the perfect way to end our Istanbul trip. Almost kind of bittersweet that it wasn’t until our last few days that we started to really enjoy and appreciate the city.  I guess I will just have to come back again soon. Until my next visit Istanbul. Tesekkurler Love and light, Geri


Machu Piccu (Part 2)

Posted on March 31, 2015

IMG_5479 Before I continue with my Machu Piccu odd-ventures, let me just clarify that I never considered myself a serious trekker. Sure I’d go hiking with friends from time to time, but it was never Machu Piccu levels. There were no camping involved and did not take days to finish.  I don’t know if it was sheer ignorance or arrogance on my part, but I never really thought I’d ever have any problems or accidents while doing the Inca Trail.  I’ve always been the type that would do things first, then worry or deal with the consequences later. So Day 1 of Inca Trail, something did happen.  Three hours on the trek (which was supposed to be the easiest), I lost my footing and slipped and twisted my ankle.  I blame the walking sticks (just because I didn’t know how to use them properly). The first thing I said to our tour leader was, ‘Please don’t send me home’.  Anyway, they put a bandage around my right ankle and gave me ibuprofen tablets and continued the trek but with one of the tour guides walking slowly/closely with me. To add insult to (my) injury, it rained.  It effing rained. I was cold and limping and in pain. Thank goodness I bought wet proof hiking boots.

Not my most glamorous outfit but have always wanted to rock a yellow plastic trench coat yay!

IMG_5022I managed to finish day 1 but when I finally took my shoes off, my right foot looked really bad.  Our tour guides advised me to decide the following morning if I want to continue the trek or not.  It was the first time i’ve ever hurt myself like that so I was seriously worried. The worst part was I could not inform my parents because we had no signal up in the mountains and I didn’t want to tell them anyway.  I was also worried that I will never be able to wear high heels again. Girl problems. IMG_5206 IMG_5207 My option was to continue and risk aggravating my foot, or go back while I still can.  I was lucky that one of the girls in my group Joan, is a nurse, and she gave me a much stronger painkiller and basically gave me the lowdown on what’s ahead since it’s her third time doing the Inca trail.  She said that Day 2 of the Inca trail is the hardest (all uphill) and if something happens I would need to be carried by a porter because there won’t be any mules or donkeys for me to hire since we’re like way up the mountains already, my other option is to rent a mule first thing in the morning and go back to Ollaytantambo, rest for one day, then take the train to Machu Piccu and join my group on the last day. Joan said that I’d at least get to have a shower and look fresh when I reach Machu Piccu, if I decide the latter route. (But, but, but…). Anyway, they all said that I should decide the following day and just call it a day, sleep and rest, but I was too distraught.  I was crying to one of the tour guides that was looking after me, not because of the pain, but the thought that I was gonna miss out on the trek and cheat my way to Machu Piccu.  I basically cried myself to sleep that night, almost resigned to the idea that I will be going back in the morning but when I woke up the following day, my foot was not as sore and the swellings gone down and in my true rebel self, decided to continue all the way.  It was borderline fearless/brave and stupid/crazy decision, but I’m so glad I did because it was one of the most AMAZEBALL trek ever.

Everytime I get tired and feel like my foot is going to give up on me, I just turn around and look at the amazing view behind me and tell myself, ‘look how far you’ve come?’ and then I’m okay again.

photoedit It was definitely a personal victory for me to conquer Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,776 feet above sea level with a twisted ankle.  It was super challenging especially with the high altitude and uneven steps which were also very steep.  It took me forever to reach it but it felt so good and rewarding when I finally did.  I probably will never do this trail again but ya never know. IMG_5147 I was greeted by our adorable G Adventure porters when I reached Dead Woman’s Pass.  These hardworking guys are so inspiring. They carry 30 kilos on their back up the mountain to our campsites everyday in a short period of time and not even wearing the right shoes.  They are the nicest people and always have a smile on their faces.  I only carry 5 kilos backpack and I feel like am dying.  Because I was injured, I had more time and opportunity to get to know them.  That was my silver lining. IMG_5142 Normally it takes around 6-8 hours to do Day 2, but because of my injury, it took me 11 hours to reach our campsite.  I usually get a big round of applause from my group and the porters as well when they finally see me hahaha.  Because I was such a slow-mo, I had to start my trek an hour earlier before my group to get a head start (didn’t help anyway), but it also meant that I was on my feet the whole day. No rest for the wicked. Oh and excuse my crazy unruly natural hair.  In fairness though, they’re much neater when it’s in colder area, in the tropics, it goes really big and wild. unnamed You know how when you we’re little, you were told that Santa was real and he was not? Well they said that Day 3 of Inca Trail was going to be a breeze and it was a big FAT LIE.  I thought that it was just as hard (if not harder than Day 2) but I  have to say it was definitely more scenic.  We visited more Inca Site Ruins and we passed through some parts of the Amazon Jungle. Mosquito repellents we’re the spray of choice.

Sayaqmarka (Inca Ruins)


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I missed one Inca Site though because I had to go use a short cut to reach the campsite around the same time as my group and had one of the assistant Chefs to come with me (by day 3, our group had more accidents that we were literally running out of Tour Guides to look after everyone). Our Tour CEO was concerned that if I don’t finish early, it would be very hard and dangerous to navigate in the dark. Normally I would be like, ‘but I don’t want to miss one Inca Site like a biatch’ but after what I’ve gone through, missing one Inca Site was not such a big deal anymore.  I was just so grateful to be there, to still be walking and breathing in spite of.

My little yellow tent :-)


But can’t complain when you get this bad ass view as backdrop.


Getting to know our wonderful G Adventures porters. Adore them.


We had the best chef in the tour, how he was able to make a cake without an oven beats me.


And Day 4 of the Inca Trail finally came.  We all had to wake up early, as in 3AM kind of early on the day to make sure that our group will be first to reach the Sun Gate. By 5.30AM there was a long line of other groups from other tours already all wanting to get clearance to go ahead. Our group I believe was the second group to get the clearance so waking up that early paid off. Passport in hand, I was super ready.  Although my walking pace was much better (I ditched the walking sticks) I was still pretty slow. It didn’t take that long before I lost my group, I think I walked pretty much on my own for a few hours but with each step I was getting more and more excited. I was getting closer and closer to seeing Machu Piccu and I had to stop every now and then not only to rest or to catch my breath, but also to stop myself from hyperventilating from too much excitement.

The happiness I felt when I re-joined my group at the Sun Gate, and my first glimpse of Machu Piccu.

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The pose that stopped traffic.  Thankful to the tourist that stopped other tourists behind him from passing through while I was having this photo taken


My group had a few calamities on the trek but what’s important was we all made it to Machu Piccu in one piece.  Machu Piccu was breathtaking for sure but as cliche as this may sound, it was the journey and the people that made it extraspecial.

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Celebrated conquering Machu Piccu with a big cup of coke and Doritos.    

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Another day, another stamp, done.

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No electricity, no shower, no makeup, no internet, no clean toilet, no comfy bed and no high heels for 4 straight days… How did I survive? I have to say that hiking with a  twisted ankle was definitely one of the toughest, hardest and roughest thing I’ve ever done.  Most of the time it was adrenalin rush that’s getting me through, but it was definitely worth it, eyebags, and all.

Thank you Machu Piccu for one hell of an experience I will never forget.

Much love, Geri


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