Hey Mum, what do you think of me changing my citizenship to Australian?

I really wanted to send out an email tease with the top left photo saying how much I loved it here & that I was never coming home, but decided to just include it in this instead. To get our tax numbers & officially work here we had to travel to the immigration offices. The weirdest part was seeing tv adverts inside of people that got scammed with visa services by third parties. Can’t believe it happened so much to have warning videos. Always go through proper government channels!

This tax number will be my third! I feel a slow collection of Countries building up. Canada, then the United States, now Australia. What’s next?! (I think I just put shivers down the spines of everyone I left at home.)

The rest of the day we ended up getting familiar with the transit systems & walking by so many familiar & unfamiliar shops. Being a regular Toronto transitor I’m already starting to favour the Aussie system. We’ve got a long way to go from here.

Ate at a cute food chain called “Pie Face” where every pie evidently has a face. It’s not easy eating something so cute you know.

-Cory U

PS Loved seeing a transit sign saying “no offensive language or behaviour”. Say what you want, but in a public place I’ll fully agree with this rule.


It's day 2 of 2012 and I already had marked out 4.5 lines from my list. I guess life is going good this time.

Last night, I came across this cute girl who smiles all the time at Starbucks and I think she’s the girlfriend of one of the barista. Her smile is really contagious which led us to staying there for hours because of her. Hehe.

Anyway, my list have not filled the page yet. Mind adding some suggestions for me?


It’s been a super long day of traveling & jet lag is already sinking in. After countless hours of packing (more like days) & very very little sleep our day of travel finally started. Still can’t believe Toronto was so rainy for a January day. Are you crying for us Toronto? Afterall, I saw more snow flying over north central USA! I couldn’t help but constantly watch the earth change colours & shapes throughout the flight. We still have a lot of beautiful barren land down there.

Most annoying comment of the day? Dragging our luggage through the airport someone decided to recommend we don’t pack more than we can carry; Our response? This isn’t a week vacation! We’re going away for a year! Only packing ONE suitcase each is something we’re definitely proud of.

Got a few days visiting LA now & then it’s off to the other side of the world.

-Cory U

PS It’s actually 1.5 suitcases each. We could fit everything in one but we shared an extra bag because overweight fees suck!

Lovers’ Locks

Once long ago, in the time when Spain ruled Guam, there was a proud family living in Hagatna, the capital city.  The father was a wealthy Spanish aristocrat and the mother was the daughter of a great Chamorro chief.   The family owned land and were highly esteemed by all, Chamorro and Spanish alike.

Their daughter was a beautiful girl, admired by all for her honesty, modesty, and perfectly natural charm.  Her beauty bestowed the greatest pride and dignity unto her family.

One day, the girl’s father arranged for her to take a powerful Spanish captain as her husband.  When the girl discovered this, she was so distraught that she ran from Hagatna all the way to the north of Guam until she found a secluded and peaceful shore.

There, on the moonlit shore, she met and fell in love with a young warrior from a very modest Chamorro family.  He was gentle, with a strong build, and had eyes that search for meaning in the stars. 

When the girl’s father learned of the two lovers, he grew angry and demanded that she marry the Spanish captain at once.  That day at sundown, she stole away to the same high point along the shore, and once again met her Chamorro lover.

Her father, the captain, and all the Spanish soldiers pursued the lovers up to the high cliff above Tumon Bay.  The lovers found themselves trapped between the edge of the cliff and the approaching soldiers.  All the young warrior could do was warn them to stay back, and the father ordered the soldiers to halt.

The lovers tied their long black hair into a single knot.  And acting as if they were entirely alone, they looked deeply into each other’s eyes and kissed for the final time.  Then they leaped over the long, deep cliff into the roaring waters below.

Her father and all who remained rushed to the edge to stare in great anguish.

Since that day, Chamorros have looked to the jutting peak above Tumon Bay with reverence.  The two lovers remain a symbol of true love–a love in which two souls are entwined forever in life and in death.  Forever after, the high point on the cliff was known as Two Lovers Point. (The Legend of Puntan Dos Amantes) 

People from all over the world head to Puntan Dos Amantes or Two Lovers Point to leave their own locks to this day, representing their own relationships, in the hope that theirs too will result in a love eternal. 

Puntan Dos Amantes, Guam || October 30, 2012

17/366: Driving without license.

While I was at my way to school during the later part of the afternoon, Nik saw me at the jeepney and shouted for my name! I was surprised then I sent her a message: “Let’s go?”

Then all of a sudden, my friends gathered up and we went to Tita Beth’s place to eat. Mehehe. Banana Rhum, El Diablo and Siomai! Actually that’s the only plan but we went to Pau’s place to rest for a while and eat cakes!

I saw their golf cart parked in front and I asked Pau if we can take a stroll. I pledged to have the cart tanked up and boom! Instant road trip.

I actually insisted to drive and hahahahaha! Guess who’s marking out another line from his 2012 Adventure? Yes, I consider this as “Drive a car” since it seems to be like a car. Actually, I don’t have a license but daymmmmmm. It was easy to drive!

We went around the city area + dropped by at Moonleaf.

The shop is open from I think 700AM to 1200MN. :)

I guess we’ve jumped to five baranggays in the city: Salapungan, Ninoy Aquino, Lourdes, Pulung Bulu and Virgen Delos Remedios. Dayyym. I can’t believe I was able to drive these places!!! Hahaha! There were also kids who hitched a ride with us and they were so happy for a ten-seconds ride!

Then we picked Judy at their house and she added another fill for the tank.

Say hi to Nik! One of my closest highschool friends. :)

This day, unexpectedly became another of the best days of 2012. Imagine, it’s just the 17th day of the year and I found so much reasons to be happy. You know, you shouldn’t be locking yourself up inside a room and start being anti-social. Get a life because life is nice and fun!!

Our flight to Melbourne was a whole day affair. Even waiting at the LA airport was a little bizarre as most of the passengers waiting to board had Aussie accents. A little after 10 pm Sunday we were boarding the plane only to realize how long the trip would be. Our seats were tiny, the plane was packed & our electronics would need to be used sparingly to last the entire 18 hours of travel.

Things to note:

  • The seating was so confined that the active girl in front of me hit my head moving my seat back. It only happened once, but the incident was close to being repeated at multiple times. 
  • Requesting a vegetarian meal seems like the safer bet. Your food arrives quicker, they make sure they have it & you don’t get served creepy looking meats. I was jealous of the traveller beside me each time her meal came & her creepy veggies looked better than my dried up chicken. 
  •  Unless you’re drugged, there is no way of sleeping on a flight like this. First they served dinner, then drinks, then snacks, then drinks, then sold duty free products, then breakie, then drinks. When do you sleep?! (& why didn’t they serve another round of coffee in the morning?!) 

After a quick transfer through Sydney, we were flying over beautiful views of Australia before arriving in Melbourne at 11am Tuesday. Skipping all of Monday & still with an entire day to work through, we fought to stay awake for far too long. Felt like I was still flying the entire day!

-Cory U

On Love and Loss: A Letter to my Future Self

As a final requirement for our philosophy class, our professor, Dr. Manny Dy, asked that we synthesize everything we’ve learned in the past two semesters in a single paper. We were allowed to use any medium we wanted, and I contemplated about creating a photo essay. However, I thought long and hard about what I had really gotten from the class and figured I wanted something that really spoke about my junior year.

Philosophy of the Human Person came at a time in my life when it seemed like the world turned upside down. I spent one semester secure, planning out where I would go next, who I would spend it with, and how I would get there with them. I spent (or am spending, rather) the next semester figuring out what to do after I had lost all these things. It was unexpected, it was painful, and it was hard. But after having lost direction and a couple of other things, I came to realize I finally found one very important thing- myself.

If there is anything I have come to learn about the self, and myself, it is that through the establishment of what you are, how this is and will be subject to change, and most importantly, how and whom you love, everything is different. Only after figuring these things out can you begin to consider the other, and see that your life is empty without it. It all begins with love, yes. But there is first a love of self needed, to properly love the other.

I decided then and there, to write a letter. Two years ago, a naive me wrote a letter to the man I would someday love, enumerating all the things I wished he would be, and we would be together. Never once did I begin to consider what I would need to do and be, and how this would affect the way I deal with everyone else around me. This letter is therefore that: To my future self, and everything I wish you would be.

Dear Future Self,

I hope you remember that 2012, the year you were 21, was the one you called the year of adventure.

Keep reading

010512: Page 5 of 366

Play this song before reading this.

It has been five days, since I decided to kinda limit this feeling for you. It’s hard for me not to speak about it now since I can’t sleep for nights thinking of you, how you’ve been and how are you.

I was always at the point of sending you messages to check you up but I always end up going back to bed and just ponder on what could happen the next day and alter my thoughts to other things.

This is my fifth day of trying and I guess I’m having a hard time getting rid of this. Yet somehow, I have partly accepted what we are and what we should be. Maybe it would take time but I guess it’ll be worth it as soon as I’m able to cope up.

Yes, I appreciate the fact that you see me as a good guy who deserves a girl that would take care of me. Sometimes I think, I’ve always been to good that I end up being left because of this but still life goes on. Maybe we’re not really for each other.

As you’ve said we’re both hurt with the decisions we’ve made from the past and I think we should part ways for now and grow. Maybe someday we’ll meet again and who knows? I’ve been holding for this too long. Despite of the happy things I’m experiencing right now, I stop and think how much I miss you… but I have to.

Five days seem to be so long and still it’s breaking my heart.

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!" 
And a little later you added: 
"You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad …" 
"Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?" 
But the little prince made no reply.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint Exupéry


Our first weekend was packed with wildlife. First horses & penguins, next kangaroos & parrots. These creatures were the most exciting & probably the easiest to see. You’d think we’d have to drive off into some deserted area (or some of you are thinking they just jump in your backyard) but it’s actually just a fenced off electrical field near a suburb of houses.

Our only wish was that we could’ve gotten a little closer, but the kangaroos were keeping a good distance no matter how close we tried to go. Our great Canadian tour guide, Steve, tried to corner them out only making them hop away some more.

My little cousins will be happy to know I’ve seen some “kangoos”!

-Cory U

PS Got some great videos to post when we’ve finally settled in

PPS We just found out that some of our photos caught a tiny little Joey in a Kangaroo pouch! Wish it wasn’t so pixelated to show.

In interesting street finds: in Jakarta, you can rent a bike and it comes complete with a matching floppy hat, usually in the same color as the bike. I’ve heard of helmets coming with bikes, but seeing this strengthened my resolve to finally learn how to ride one of these things! 

Kota, Jakarta, Indonesia || November 2, 2012

Forever Embrace 

As my mom after watching them for 3 minutes so aptly put it: Di na siguro sila magkikita ulit, no? (They’re probably never going to see each again, right?) I wonder what it’s like to hold someone like it was the end of the world. 

Soho, Hong Kong || February 7, 2012

Nomad Day.

Pwede tagalog muna ngayon?

Pumunta ako kina @themalditaspeaks kanina para makikain! Hindi ko naman pinaghinayangan yung pamasahe ko at yung layo ng biyahe kasi sobrang sarap at sobrang busog ko pagkatapos “lumamon”. Tapos, namangha pa ko sa polaroid camera ng pinsan ko. Haha.

Pagkatapos nun, pumunta ako sa nagsusukat ng barong dahil pinapa-ready ko na yung susuotin ko kung sakaling… alam niyo na. De biro lang. Pero yun nga. Tapos, pumunta ako ng school at yun. Same old routine.

Sumakay ako ng Round Up at nagbasag ng plato sa Taksyapo Wall. Nakakahilo pero dun sa pagbabasag ko ng plato medyo nawala yung pagod ko saka sakit ng loob. Tapos, medyo naglakad lakad muna ko at iniwan yung mga kasama ko dun.

Ayun, nakita ko sina Ms. Tin sa Kamulatan Garden para sa Tumblr Meet Up. Kala ko wala na sila. Pero andun pa! May mga nakilala akong tumblr people dito sa area at medyo hindi ko pa kabisado kung sino-sino sila pero by face siguro maalala ko. Hindi ako magaling sa name re-calling. Haha.

Tapos kumain kami sa Mcdonald’s. Thank you Ms. Tin sa Coke floaaaat! Medyo may nakausap naman ako sa kanila though hindi nga lang lahat. Haha. I’m so shy. Yun sana may part two pa? Para kung sakaling hindi na ko ganun ka-mahiyain. Haha.

Pagkatapos nun ay bumalik kami sa school at same routine na naman. Iba-iba mga kasama ko. Nakasama ko ulit si little Chinese girl pati mga pinsan niya. Hahaha. Minsan masarap yung nag-iisa ka tapos makiki-hitch ka sa mga groups ng tao na makikita mo okaya makakasalubong mo.

Siguro ngayong araw, may 100+ na tao ang mga nakasama ko. 30% to 40% dun, ngayon ko lang nakilala. Kumbaga fresh faces! Ganito pala pag-college. Maraming makakakilala. Hehe. Pero masaya ako na di tulad nung highschool, hindi ko pa kayang makipagshake-hands pero ngayon… boom! Haha.

Minsan pakiramdam ko isa akong “socially-awkward person” na nagiging sagabal sa pakikipag halubilo ko sa ibang tao pero sa ngayon medyo nakakaya ko nang hindi maging ganon. Minsan kailagan mo rin tanggapin na may mga taong mag-rereject sayo at meron din makaka-appreciate sayo.

So salamat sa mga taong nakaka-appreciate ng bagay na ginagawa ko at sa mga nag-rereject sa akin, pinapalakas niyo ako. Blessing to at dapat pangalagaan. :)

Photos from Jym and HAU-USC