BOOK REVIEW: Investigations of a Dog (Franz Kafka)

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Investigations of a Dog by Franz Kafka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Franz Kafka has written this short story in a perspective of a dog. It was very difficult to read given the long sentences and, lack of cohesion, and a lot of unfamiliar English words. I’ve been reading reviews about readers giving up in the middle, but I chose to keep going. Let me say, it gets better. Well, kinda.

The dog has a very intuitive and independent character, given that he parted ways with his mother early in his life and started wandering around on his own. He often emphasize his solitariness and how it contributed to the way he thinks. He was not happy about it since he could have learned more in life if he stayed with his mother longer, but at the same time he was proud of it since it allowed him to become ‘street smart’ and question things about the world.

The first part about the musicians was something I was finding hard to grasp at first. The dog was confused about what the performers do and why they do it, only to find no answers from anyone. I believe it means that there are things in this world that could have been explained to some, but we just chose not to devote energy in explaining it, or we chose not to care to question them at all.

The dog was also asking where and how food was produced on earth, and how come some get more and some get less. I could relate this a lot to political realism, where self-interest and survival are the central elements, and human nature (in this case, canine nature) is the driving force to all the actions of dogs in this world.

Later in the story, he started questioning the existence of air-dogs, and what’s the point of their existence. He also questioned how his generation is better and worse than the previous ones. He was also big on being conscious of the ‘scientificness’ of his arguments and claims, as well as the practical value of his ‘experiments’. Towards the end of the story, he tried experimenting on fasting.

If I’m being honest, there are parts of the story I can’t quite understand, but if you try to keep going and finish the whole book, the overall message actually makes sense. Most importantly, this book has introduced me to new English words that contributed in enriching my vocabulary.



View all my reviews

Spots To Visit in Paris, France (My Big Fat Eurotour Bucket List #3)

Hey all! I’m starting a new travel listicle series named My Big Fat Eurotour Bucket List to start planning my upcoming Eurotour! A little context: For years, I’ve been planning to celebrate my 30th birthday in Europe, but because of the pandemic, there are uncertainties if it will push through. But nonetheless, I’ll just do more research in the meantime to complete my itinerary. Third in the series: spots to visit in Paris, France!

Why France?

Are you kidding? Paris is the city of love! Despite all the negative things that people could say about France and Paris, I would still want to visit the city and give it a chance. I love the museums and I love French food. But my plan is to actually visit the not-so-known neighborhoods in Paris, so I might skip Eiffel tours and the Louvre.

Moreover, I’m very much into France because of the colonial influence it brought to Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Museums To Visit in Paris, France

Pavillon de L’Arsenal

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: pavillon de l'arsenal paris
Image from Vivir Paris

Musee de la Vie Romantique

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Musée-vie-romantique-2
Image from A Livre Ouvert

Musee National Gustave Moreau

Spots to Visit in Paris, France:
Image from Gold Colored Fox
Spots to Visit in Paris, France:
Image from Gold Colored Fox

Phono Museum

Spots to Visit in Paris, France:
Image from Ulule

Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Ateliers d'artistes de Belleville - GRAFFEUR PARIS
Image from Graffeur Paris

Rue Denoyez

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Paris: The shops, sights and cheap eats of Belleville | EuroCheapo
Image from EuroCheapo

RESTAURANTS TO VISIT IN PARIS, FRANCE

Le Baron Rouge

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Paris: Free water at historic fountains (just bring a bottle!) | EuroCheapo
Image from EuroCheapo

Le Grand Breguet

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Le Grand Breguet | Ulocal
Image from Ulocal

Aspic

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Aspic – Paris - a MICHELIN Guide Restaurant
Image from Michelin Guide

Bierocratie

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Bierocratie (Paris) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)  - Tripadvisor
Image from TripAdvisor

Laurent Duchene

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Paris] Laurent Duchêne | Sugared & Spiced
Image from Sugared & Spiced

La REcyclerie

Spots to Visit in Paris, France:
Image from Life & Soul

Cafe Lomi

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Café Lomi | Restaurants in Mairie du 18e, Paris
Image from TimeOut

La Cantine de Belleville

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: La Cantine de Belleville | Restaurants in Belleville, Paris
Image from Time Out

Le 50 – Belleville Brulerie

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Le 50" - Belleville Brûlerie - Paris - Coffee shop in Élancourt, France |  Top-Rated.Online
Image from top-rated.online

Cheval D’Or

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Cheval d'Or – Paris - a MICHELIN Guide Restaurant
Image from Michelin Guide

Brasserie la Goutte d’Or

Rue des Martyrs

Spots to Visit in Paris, France:
Image from The Earful Tower

MARKETS TO VISIT IN PARIS, FRANCE

Marche d’Aligre

Marche Auguste-Blanqui

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Marche Auguste Blanqui (Paris) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go  (with Photos) - Tripadvisor
Image from TripAdvisor

Marche Barbes

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Marché Barbès, Paris | EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog
Image from EuroCheapo

BONUS:
MUST-VISIT PLACE TO DRINK WATER IN PARIS, FRANCE

Puits Artesien de la Butte aux Cailles

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Paris: Free water at historic fountains (just bring a bottle!) | EuroCheapo
Image from EuroCheapo

PLACES TO EXERCISE IN PARIS, FRANCE

Playground Duperre

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Nike and Pigalle realized the most colorful playground in the world
Image from NSS Sports

Jardin du Port de L’Arsenal

Square de la Montgolfiere

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Square de la Montgolfière - Ville de Paris
Image from Paris

Parc de Belleville

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Le parc de Belleville28k64
Image from Angelina Hue

Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Piscine Butte-aux-Cailles | Sport and fitness in Butte-aux-Cailles, Paris
Image from TimeOut

Piscine des Amiraux

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Paris : l'éclat retrouvé de la piscine des Amiraux - Le Parisien
Image from LeParisien

Places to Shop in Paris, France

Balades Sonores

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: The world's best record shops #118: Balades Sonores, Paris
Image from Vinyl Factory

Maison Chateau Rouge

Music Bars to Visit in Paris, France

Bab-Ilo

Spots to Visit in Paris, France: Bab Ilo - Jazz Club in Paris
Image from Foursquare

Le Vieux Belleville

I’m very excited For my Eurotour!

But for now, I’ll just plan my trip until the pandemic ceases. I hope I was also able to help you plan your France trips!

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain (My Big Fat Eurotour Bucket List #2)

Hey all! I’m starting a new travel listicle series named My Big Fat Eurotour Bucket List to start planning my upcoming Eurotour! A little context: For years, I’ve been planning to celebrate my 30th birthday in Europe, but because of the pandemic, there are uncertainties if it will push through. But nonetheless, I’ll just do more research in the meantime to complete my itinerary. Second in the series: Spots to visit in Barcelona, Spain!

Why Spain?

I am from the Philippines, and we were colonized by Spain for 333 years. Is this enough reason to visit Spain and learn where most of the Filipino colonial heritage came from? Yes, and there are so many more reasons, of course! There’s food, culture, and my goal to hone my Spanish language proficiency.

Another unrelated reason is because I found George Ezra’s story about his awesome experience traveling in Barcelona which inspired him to write the song Barcelona. (I love you, George!)

That being said, here are some places I found online which I am including in my Spain bucket list.

Museums to Visit in Barcelona, Spain

Reial Academia de Medicina de Cataluna

Sinagoga Mayor

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Antigua Sinagoga Mayor De Barcelona, Barcelona | Ticket Price | Timings |  Address: TripHobo
Image from TripHobo

Carillon

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: The Carillon of the Palau | Barcelona guide
Image from WeBarcelona

Refugi 307

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Refugio Plaça Revolució, Gràcia
Image from AnotherBCN
Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Refugio guerra civil, Barcelona
Image from AnotherBCN

MNAC Dome

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: MNAC Barcelona
Image from Indahs

Cementiri de Montjuic

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Cementiri de Montjuïc4
Image from CarrersBCN

El Turo de les Tres Creus

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Viewpoints of Barcelona
Image from Singularia
Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain:
Image from Singularia

Casa Vicens

Museu de Cultures del Mon

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món - Montcada - Visit Barcelona
Image from VisitBarcelona

La Casa dels Entremesos

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: La Casa dels Entremesos 3
Image from barcelona.cat

Model Railways of Estacio de Franca

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Girl playing the guitar on the platform at Barcelona França train station
Image from BarcelonaLowdown

Restaurants to Visit in Barcelona, Spain

Bar Marsella

Bar Pinotxo

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona
Image from Gastronomy

Boadas Cocteleria

Can Culleretes

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Restaurant Can Culleretes
Image from Barcelona.de

Formatgeria La Seu

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Formatgeria la seu
Image from TimeOut

La Font del Gat

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Menu - La Font del Gat in Barcelona - TheFork
Image from TheFork

Casa Pages

Bodega Marin

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: bodega marin
Image from Not Only Eating

Pasteleria Hofmann

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain:
Image from My Little Things
Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain:
Image from My Little Things

Nou Celler

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: nou celler | cuina catalana al born de barcelona
Image from Nou Celler

Places to Shop in Barcelona, Spain

Herboristeria del Rei

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Herboristeria Del Rei, Barcelona | cityseeker
Image from cityseeker

La Manual Alpargatera

Cereria Subira

Carme Trias Modart

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Modart Barcelona
Image from insidr

Llibres i Papers Antics

Places to Exercise in Barcelona, Spain

Jardines Mossen Costa I Llobrera

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain:
Image from gardentrip.co.uk

Aire de Barcelona

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Ancient Baths Barcelona | AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona
Image from AIREBarcelona

Cinema to Visit in Barcelona, Spain

Filmoteca de Catalunya

Spots to Visit in Barcelona, Spain: Filmoteca de Catalunya | Design Thinking Movie
Image from Bla Bla Bla

I’m very excited For my Eurotour!

But for now, I’ll just plan my trip until the pandemic ceases. I hope I was also able to help you plan your Portugal trips!

Recalling My Blue’s Clues Childhood Memories, Missing Zedd and EDM Music, and Admiring Lily Collins’ Outfits in Emily in Paris (Scrambled Thoughts #08)

Hey it’s me again! Here are my scrambled thoughts on Steve’s come back and Blue’s Clues, Zedd and EDM, and Lily Collin’s outfits in Emily in Paris.

MY BLUE’S CLUES MEMORIES

8th of September, rainy morning. I was in the car with my sister after her second dose of vaccine. We were ordering takeaway breakfast at McDonald’s in Manila, and I saw this video while browsing through social media:

Apparently, it has become viral, and people my age have been expressing either nostalgia or support to Steve as he was explaining why he abruptly left Blue’s Clues.

To be honest, even if I’ve been locally watching Blue’s Clues with my siblings when I was a kid, I hardly remember noticing that the show was gone, and Steve was gone.

Hence, the whole ‘Steve resurfaces and explaining himself’ does not mean anything to me. But don’t get me wrong, please. I love Blue and Magenta. It’s just that, Nickelodeon was amazing in creating a noise in the online world.

But nonetheless, it’s nice to know that Steve went to college, and everything’s alright with him. Looks like I actually missed my childhood, Blue’s Clues, and Steve, after all. Welcome back, Steve!

ZEDD AND EDM MUSIC (WHEN CAN I HAVE TGIF NIGHTS AGAIN?)

Zedd, Zedd, Zedd. Your songs gave life to many of my Friday nights when I was a graduate student slash early career government professional. I can still vividly recall singing ‘Stay the Night’ at the top of my lungs when the DJ played it in a club I was in with my girlfriends. Aside from Avicii, your music is the reason why I pursued DJ mixing as a hobby.

But EDM hasn’t occupied the usual public places it reigns in for a long time already because of the pandemic (well, at least here in the Philippines). Sure, I’m getting older, but I feel like I will still crave for the happiness I feel looking forward to ending a week of hard work with a fun-filled Friday night with blasting music, a little alcohol, and surely followed by some Mexican food after. I miss outside. I miss Friday nights. I miss EDM music. I miss singing and dancing to them in public with strangers and friends.

In the meantime, let’s just blast some Zedd music at home. Spotify‘s got us.

LILY COLLINS AND HER EMILY IN PARIS OUTFITS

Emily in Paris is a show that you can’t really avoid, especially when it first aired on Netflix, since it became the most watched show during that time.

I was only convinced to watch it because of my brother’s girlfriend. We were once talking about my wish to experience moving abroad to work long-term at least once in my life, and she mentioned that I should watch. Emily in Paris because it’s also about moving abroad for work.

That’s it. I watched Emily in Paris.

I liked it more than the “moving abroad to work” plot. Emily’s outfits are on point, Lucas Bravo is so handsome, and the show is just simply feel-good. I believe Lily Collins was very fit to play the role of Emily.

Eventually, I started seeing a lot of backlash against Emily in Paris over the internet, saying that the show heavily romanticized Paris and the whole thing was so unrealistic. But is any TV show meant to be THAT realistic? I mean, it’s a show about a young woman working in the fashion industry. Are you going to show pickpockets and the dirty surroundings of Paris? I don’t think so.

Anyhoo, moving on to my point. Since the show was created by Darren Star (the same creator of Sex and the City) and the outfits were also handpicked by Patricia Field, everyone has high expectations about the show. Needless to say, I think all outfits worn by Lily Collins are amazing! Here are some of my favorite outfits of hers:

Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I love the printed button down! I’ll try to button my tops like this in the future. Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I always love sundress but this long, and the black-yellow combo looks so elegant.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I think this is a classic Parisian look, especially the red beret.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: Hmmm, maybe not the bucket hat, but the green coat is so chic.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: OMG the dress! Need I say more?Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: Love her jeans in this scene, as well as the mini-blazer.Image from Ent Scoop

Btw, congrats on your wedding, Lily Collins! (Now that’s another elegant outfit!)

Just rambling as always,

Sherr

Spots to Visit in Lisbon, Portugal (My Big Fat EuroTour Bucket list #1)

Hey all! I’m starting a new travel listicle series named My Big Fat Eurotour Bucket List to start planning my upcoming Eurotour! A little context: For years, I’ve been planning to celebrate my 30th birthday in Europe, but because of the pandemic, there are uncertainties if it will push through. But nonetheless, I’ll just do more research in the meantime to complete my itinerary. First in the series: Spots to visit in Lisbon, Portugal!

Why Portugal?

Last 2019, I went on a vacation to Macau and I was very amazed by its beauty! A former Portuguese colony, it could be widely observed that the remnants of the colonial period has defined the present-day Macau. It’s surreal to see a mix of Chinese and Portuguese influence. A lot of my friends have been telling me that Macau feels like Portugal, which I have no idea about since I haven’t been to Portugal.

Macau was the reason why I became excited to visit Portugal. That being said, here are some places I found online which I am including in my Portugal bucket list.

MUSEUMS to Visit in Lisbon, Portugal

Visiting any city in Europe will never be complete without visiting museums, since Europe is the heart and soul of culture and arts in the world. I’ve identified some museums that I want to visit in Lisbon.

Casa Fernando Pessoa

This museum was the home of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. I have read some of his works, that’s why it’s a must for me to visit this place.

Here are some books that I recommend that you should read before coming to Casa Fernando Pessoa:

spots to visit in lisbon
Selected Poems
spots to visit in lisbon
I Have More Souls Than One
spots to visit in lisbon
The Book of Disquiet
spots to visit in lisbon
A Little Larger Than The Entire Universe

Cemiterio dos Prazeres

Why should be a cemetery included in my bucket list? I mean, who would travel all the way to Europe just to visit a cemetery? As someone who is always hungry to learn about the world, places like where the great personalities of a country lie fascinates me. In this place lies the remains of former Portuguese leaders and artists. Afterall, Cemiterio de Prazeres is the famous cemetery in the world, so why not?

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: ComingOut MNAA Lisbon, Largo de S. Carlos Photo: MIR, 2015
Image from The.Muse.Art

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is the largest and oldest museum in Lisbon. And I love art. Need I say more?

Museu da Marioneta

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Exterior of Museum of the Marionette, The Marionette Museum In Lisbon, The Puppet Museum, Museu da Marioneta, Lisbon Portugal, Lisboa
Image from Kathryn Anywhere

This small museum honors the Portuguese tradition of puppetry and artisan. I’m very curious as to how the Portuguese culture and society is expressed and symbolized in these art works.

Restaurants to Visit in Lisbon, Portugal

Of course, I will always make time to look for the best places to eat on any place in this planet. I have failed to try any Portuguese restaurant in Macau, except for the restaurant in my hotel, and I failed to try any Portuguese food aside from the Portuguese egg tarts. So, I’ll make it up to Portugal by visiting lesser-known places to eat.

Mercado de Campo De Ourique

This is a neighborhood market and a popular place to have lunch both by locals and tourists. I love crowded food halls like this one. It makes me feel the authentic hustle of a city.

Imperial de Campo De Ourique

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Imperial de Campo de Ourique
Image from Time Out

According to my research, this is a small family-owned restaurant which is popular to the locals. This! This is exactly what I was looking for. I am 100% sure that they provide an authentic Portuguese dining experience. I’m excited!

Varina da Madragoa

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: sala - Varina da Madragoa, Lisbon
Image from TheFork

I did not hesitate to put this on my list upon seeing the cozy interior of this place. The blue-white combinations all over its interior screams real Portugal. It also seems like a small restaurant, and therefore more authentic.

Fauna & Flora

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Fauna & Flora • Smart Travelling
Image from Smart Travelling
spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Fuana
Image from Travel With Shan

This looks like a typical aesthetic hipster cafe that you can find on any city of the world, but why not? The ambiance seems very relaxing, and if you’re feeling home sick or looking for a more international vibe, I think this is the place to be.

Taberna da Esperanca

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Taberna da Esperança Menu, Menu for Taberna da Esperança, Madragoa, Lisboa
Image from Zomato

One beautiful thing I noticed from the photos of this place is the mismatched chairs and tables. I think it’s so artistic, and the vibe of the places is so local. I believe this is also worth experiencing to dine in.

Places to Shop in Lisbon, Portugal

Travelers who love bringing tome treats back home, here’s something for you!

Pauperio

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Imagem do cabeçalho do site
Image from Pauperio Lisboa

According to my research, this shop sells artisanal biscuits that are made locally. Of course, I’ll try and buy some as souvenir and treats for family and friends back home!

Flor da Selva

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Crafting coffee in the heart of Lisbon (Flor da Selva coffee)
Image from Where Two Go To

Coffee lovers like me, raise your hands! Please let’s not miss this place when we go to Portugal! Apparently, this is the only coffee roaster in the country that still uses firewood, and they supply coffee in a lot of coffee shops in the country. I rest my case.

Mercearia da Mila

spots to visit in lisbon, portugal: Mercearia da Mila - Picture of Mercearia da Mila, Lisbon - Tripadvisor
Image from TripAdvisor

The overall vibe of the places looks like Dean and Deluca, and I believe visiting a place like this where you can find a lot of local products is a must.

I’m very excited For my Eurotour!

But for now, I’ll just plan my trip until the pandemic ceases. I hope I was also able to help you plan your Portugal trips!

Is Surabaya Worth Visiting? Here are 17 Interesting and Fun Things To Do

This list takes you to the 17 interesting and fun things to do in Surabaya that I discovered during my trip there. Enjoy!

The first few places that would definitely come to your mind when talking about a travel to Indonesia would be Bali, Yogyakarta, or maybe the capital city Jakarta. However, this archipelago nation has definitely more to offer, and most of them are not really known to international tourists. One of these places I am talking about, which is apparently popular to domestic tourists but not to people who travel internationally is the city of Surabaya, the second largest city of Indonesia. Now, the question: Is Surabaya worth visiting?

Aside from being a big populous city in Indonesia, Surabaya has a lot to offer to tourist in terms of culture and history, since a lot of historical events leading to the independence of the modern day sovereign Indonesia happened in Surabaya. Moreover, Surabaya is a port city, meaning it is a typically busy area like any other major city in the world. Also, Surabaya is very well know because of its blazing humidity — even more humid than Jakarta!

I had the chance to travel to Surabaya because I attended an academic conference, and I should say this city exceeded my expectations. I was able to get to know amazing people, it has so many museums, and its hustle and bustle is not as frustrating as other cities. I don’t know about you, but lately I would rather travel to places which are not frequented by tourists, like Surabaya.

ALSO READ:
SURABAYA, INDONESIA TRAVEL GUIDE 2020: Things To Do, Where To Stay, etc.

So without further ado, here are some spots I visited during my travel to Surabaya, Indonesia:

Arab Village

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Arab Village. Photo by whiteboardjournal.com

Surabaya, being one of the multi-ethnic cities in Indonesia, has an Arab District which resembles a typical medina in an Arab country. It is a very busy area where a lot of commercial activities are taking place everyday.

Sanggar Agung Temple

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Sanggar Agung Temple. Photo from sewabussurabaya.com

Also known as Hong San Tang, this Chinese temple has become a popular tourist spot in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is located in Pantai Ria Amusement Park.

House of Sampoerna

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The beautiful lobby of House of Sampoerna
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: An exhibit at House of Sampoerna featuring Heroes Month celebration photos

It is apparently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia which features everything about Sampoerna, the biggest cigarette brand in Indonesia. They showcase the history of the cigarette industry in the country, how the business started, and the legacies it gave to the people of Indonesia. Aside from the museum, it also has exhibit rooms which everyone could use for free. When I went there, I was able to witness a photo exhibit for the Heroes Day, which was, by the way, super awesome!

ALSO READ:
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO TRAVEL PLUG ADAPTERS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Heroes Monument

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Statue of Soekarno and Hatta at Heroes Monument Surabaya

Heroes Monument is the national symbol of the Indonesian struggle for independence, and this monument is dedicated to those who dedicated their lives during the Battle of Surabaya on 10 November 1945. The area has a very peaceful vibe and you could really feel how people value the independence that they got from the colonizers. There is a huge statue of Soekarno and Hatta at the memorial.

ALSO READ:
FREE INSTAGRAM STORY TEMPLATE: INDONESIA TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

10th November Museum

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: 10th November Museum, Surabaya

Surabaya was where the Indonesian struggle for independence happened on 10 November 1945, hence the 10th November Museum. The museum was very modern and interactive, and there’s too much emotion as I was wandering around the museum. It will indeed make you feel what was happening during their struggle for independence.

ALSO READ:
SHERLYN’S QUICK (BUT HONEST!) OVERSEAS ACCOMMODATIO REVIEWS: TO STAY OR NOT TO STAY AGAIN?

Hotel Majapahit Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Our afternoon tea meal at Hotel Majapahit Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The beautiful corridor of Hotel Majapahit Surabaya

I would not miss having a fancy afternoon tea session in this very historical hotel that was built in 1910. It is old but you can still appreciate its beauty because it’s definitely well-preserved. It has a lot of green spaces all over and everything is well-maintained. Their afternoon tea is very localized. This is where I was able to taste Lapis Surabaya for the first time. Yum!

ALSO READ:
AN AFTERNOON TEA IN HOTEL MAJAPAHIT, SURABAYA WITH AN EX-FRIEND

Mirota Batik and Handicraft Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: The overwhelming selection of batik at Mirota Batik Shop
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Beautiful artworks at Mirota Batik Shop

I have been fascinated by the batik culture of Indonesia, but to my surprise I found out that every part of Indonesia has a different batik pattern! I was glad a friend brought me to this place because I want to buy a batik outfit (I am a Southeast Asian Studies Lecturer and I might be needing some batik outfit in formal events like conferences and such). It was hard to pick designs because I love a lot of them and batik is so beautiful! I was also able to buy souvenirs in this shop like ref magnets and wayang kulit bookmarks.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirotabatik.sby
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mirotabatiksurabaya

ALSO READ:
FLYING AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA: DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AND FROM BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a SURABAYA HERITAGE TOUR to see all the sites I just enumerated?

Klook.com

Bank Indonesia Museum Surabaya

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Bank Indonesia Museum

This museum occupies the former De Javasche Bank which was the central bank of the Dutch East Indies or the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. Aside from the history of banking and finance of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia Museum will also tell you about how the Dutch colonial government operated in Indonesia and how it managed the resources in Indonesia. They also house a lot of memorabilia from the old bank.

ALSO READ:
THE BEAUTY OF LEARNING ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA

Cheng Hoo Mosque

FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Cheng Hoo Mosque, Surabaya

Like any other major city, Surabaya has a significant number of Chinese settlers, and most of them have converted to Islam. As a way of preserving their Chinese roots, this mosque has incorporated both Islam and Chinese elements.

ALSO READ:
10 RULES FOR WITHDRAWING MONEY IN ATMS IN BALI, INDONESIA

BLOCKBUSTER MUSEUM

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Blockbuster Museum. Photo by idntimes.com

Blockbuster Museum houses thousands of memorabiliaand figurines from popular film characters such as the Avengers, Harry Potter and Star Wars characters.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a BLOCKBUSTER MUSEUM TICKET through Klook?

Klook.com

MORE DAY TOURS FROM SURABAYA

The following activities are already outside Surabaya, but they could serve as interesting day tours from Surabaya. I also provided links of the tours for easier booking.

MOUNT BROMO SUNRISE AND MADAKARIPURA WATERFALL

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Mount Bromo National Park

A mandatory side trip from Surabaya would be a sunrise trip to Mount Bromo, an active volcano located at Bromo Tengger National Park. For some reason, there were so many people when we went there for the sunrise trek, and it was difficult to enjoy the view. However, there are parts of the National Park that are worth visiting which will give you a breathtaking view.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book a Mount Bromo Sunrise and Madakaripura Waterfall Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

We stayed at Bromo Terrace Hotel the night before we went to Mount Bromo and it was a very, very nice hotel, I swear.

You can book your stay at Bromo Terrace Hotel through Agoda.com or Booking.com

fun Things to do in Surabaya
BROMO TERRACE HOTEL

IJEN CRATER HIKING EXPERIENCE

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Ijen Crater Hiking Experience. Photo by sarahbeekmans.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Ijen Crater Hiking Experience through Klook?

Klook.com

MADURA ISLAND

fun Things to do in Surabaya
FUN THINGS TO DO IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA: Madura Island. Photo by okezone.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Madura Private Day Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

TUMPAK SEWU WATERFALL AND RAINBOW VILLAGE

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall. Photo by triptins.com
fun Things to do in Surabaya
Malang Rainbow Village. Photo by findingbeyond.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and Rainbow Village Private Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

GILI KETAPANG SNORKELING

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Gili Ketapang Snorkeling. Photo by bromoijentourism.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Gili Ketapang Private Snorkeling Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

MOJOKERTO TEMPLES AND STONE CARVING TOUR

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Reclining Buddha Statue. Photo by indonesia-tourism.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Mojokerto Temples and Stone Carving Private Day Tour through Klook?

Klook.com

TAMAN SAFARI PRIGEN

fun Things to do in Surabaya
Taman Safari Prigen. Photo by tripzilla.com

DID YOU KNOW?

You can book your Taman Safari Prigen Day Trip through Klook?

Klook.com

There you have it! I wish I could stay longer when I went to travel to Surabaya Indonesia to visit more spots there and in the nearby towns, but I could always go back next time. We will never run out of places to visit in this world, but just in case you will have a chance to detour in Surabaya, I can assure that you will never regret it. Next time I want to visit more museums, cafes, Mount Ijen, and the neighboring town of Malang. So, I’ll ask you again? Is Surabaya worth visiting?

ALSO READ:
FREE INSTAGRAM STORY TEMPLATE: SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

For more travel articles about Indonesia, click on the banner below:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Indonesia

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HOKKIE COFFEE MAKATI: A TASTE OF INDONESIAN-STYLE COFFEE IN MANILA

For accommodation options in Surabaya, Indonesia, check the banner below:

White Bean Cafe: Your Instagram-Worthy Restaurant in Naga City

(This is an non-sponsored review of White Bean Cafe Naga when I visited Naga City.)

There are plenty of restaurants in Naga as per my internet research, but serendipitous encounters with nice restaurants make a travel experience more memorable for me.

I was having a solo walking tour in Naga City when I accidentally stumbled upon a place just in front of the Naga Land E-Mall with a very beautiful interior, White Bean Cafe. For somebody who will go places for Instagram (well, that was me before, but not anymore), I cannot help but check out the place. It turned out that it was a coffee shop located at the ground floor of Naga Land Hotel at Elias Angeles Street, Naga City. I was hesitant to enter the place at first (because guys, it’s really intimidatingly beautiful af), but I feel like I’m gonna regret not dining in here, so yeah.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

The restaurant was not full of people when I came in, and I believe it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy some peace and quiet and take photos around as well. When you start to grow older, I believe you will get accustomed at seeking for some peace and quiet in this very complicated world and life.

(If you’re new in this website, well, you will see a lot of existential stuff like this one hehe)

White Bean Cafe Naga City

I ordered Creamy Pesto Pasta for Php195 and Strawberry Milkshake for Php125. I was not able to take a photo of my meal because I was really stunned by the cafe’s interior, but I can tell you that the serving is big enough that I was not able to finish it. However, if you’re gonna realize, the food was a little expensive.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

The staff will happily allow you to take photos around the restaurant. It is my habit to ask permission from the restaurant staff before taking photos around, especially if I could cause discomfort to other people dining in the place. Thankfully there are no big crowds at White Bean when I went there.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

To be honest the place looks so prim and proper and therefore intimidating. It literally feels like being inside a doll house. Every corner is beautiful and fairy tale-ish. I don’t even want to touch anything inside the cafe because every corner is so beautiful!

I am thankful that beautiful restaurants in Naga like this existed!

I could use just reading any random book here and just relaxing while sipping some milkshake. I bet no other restaurants in Naga has this beautiful kind of interior. I’m in love!

White Bean Cafe Naga City

I’m not sure if I will have another chance to visit Naga City again anytime soon, but if ever that happens, I will surely visit White Bean Cafe again.

White Bean Cafe Naga City

Oh, look! They have a good selection of cakes! Looks yummy!

White Bean Cafe Naga City

Do you know any other Instagram-worthy cafes anywhere in the Philippines and Southeast Asia like White Bean Cafe Naga? Please don’t hesitate to let me know by sending me a DM at my Instagram account @wheressherlyn. Happy travels!

White Bean Cafe Naga Contact Details

Naga Land Hotel, Elias Angeles, Barangay Santa Cruz, Naga, Camarines Sur
(054) 473 2111
facebook.com/whitebeancafe
instagram.com/whitebeancafe

Where to stay in Naga City?

White Bean Cafe is located directly at the Ground Floor of Naga Land Hotel, and I recommend this hotel to those who are traveling to Naga City.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: An Afternoon Walk at Manila Bay

Very recently on my black and white travel/street photography Instagram portfolio (@sherlynmaehernandez please give it a check and follow if you want), I wrote this statement in my bio:

An International Relations Professor who will keep on traveling and taking photos around Asia until she makes it to NatGeo

@sherlynmaehernandez on Instagram

It’s not that I have this overflowing confidence that my works are already NatGeo quality enough, but kinda I need to own it in order to set the mood on myself that I have to work my butt off to have a portfolio worth noticing by NatGeo. A few weeks ago, I was able to read and finish the book The Ikigai Journey by Hector Garcia, and in the chapter “The Power of Words”, he suggested to put a label on your projects. Specifically, he said:

“It is essential for our personal projects to have a name in order to keep us motivated.”

Hector Garcia, The Ikigai Journey

Hence, I decided to label my passion project: #TakeSherlynToNatGeo. Boom! How’s that?

I have traveled around Northeast and Southeast Asia enough to accumulate tons of photos I can actually exhibit in a hotel lobby or museum or anywhere I want, but this pandemic has been postponing this whole photography thing I’ve been wanting to pursue. If I’m being honest, I seriously want to ditch my job in the academe to do this full-time, but I don’t know where to begin.

THE CHALLENGE

Since I need to keep my job in the meantime to put food on the table and save up for my next move in life (but don’t ask me yet about this because I seriously have no idea what will I do next), I challenged myself to try to come up with 10 outdoor photos (travel/street photography) around Manila in order to keep the creative juices coming and since I haven’t traveled anywhere since January this year.

In order for me to document the existing human conditions in my home city (Manila, Philippines) through travel/street photography, I need to go where the people are going. The City Government of Manila has cleaned up Manila Bay and it therefore was restored as a lovely spot where people could watch the sunset and do some exercise. Manila Bay is just a 15-minute walk from where I live but it’s somewhere I would never choose to hangout at, let alone my colleagues and friends. But since it’s pandemic and everyone needs a little bit of a nature at the heart of the most dense city in the world, I decided to give it a try.

With that, here are some photos I took while doing some brisk walking along the strip of Manila Bay, including my way going there and going back to my place:

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: THE WORKS

I walked along Taft Avenue and then Pablo Ocampo Street in order to reach Roxas Boulevard.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Pablo Ocampo Statue
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Pablo Ocampo Statue

Upon reaching Roxas Boulevard, you will be greeted by the iconic Cultural Center of the Philippines Building, where a lot of people are exercising by the garden.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Cat in Manila Bay
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Cat in Manila Bay

BTW, YOU SHOULD SEE THE PART 2 OF THIS PHOTOWALK SERIES (TAFT AVENUE-UNITED NATIONS AVENUE) HERE.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boys Having a Selfie
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines- Boys Having a Selfie

I walked northwards until I reach Rajah Sulayman Park. I’ve been living in Manila for more than half my life, but this was the first time I actually stepped into this area!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Be a Better Human Mural
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Be a Better Human Mural

On my way home, I found this stuffed toy by the university gate. The mood!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Stuffed Toy at a University Gate
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Stuffed Toy at a University Gate

TAKEAWAYS

Two things: I will try my best to go out more (but in a very, very safe way, of course), otherwise I will try to make use of my past travel photos to build up my travel/street photography portfolio which are on their way to NatGeo. No, but seriously, I will appreciate if you will suggest more street photography projects for me for next time.

Where to Stay in San Juan, La Union: Monaliza Surf Resort (Review)

(This article is a sponsored yet honest review of Monaliza Surf Resort La Union).

ALSO READ:
WHERE TO EAT IN SAN JUAN, LA UNION: TIPPLE AND BREW RESTO BAR

Since a few years ago, I always wanted to go to La Union. Before coming there, I imagine a world where people are in beach outfits and partying all night and going to the beach and surfing in the morning. I have been to other similar places like Zambales, but I think La Union will give me a different experience. In a nutshell, Monaliza Surf Resort was able to give me such experience.

A lot of accommodations in a form of hotels, hostels, and resorts exist in La Union. However, among them, this resort already exists even before the town of San Juan was discovered by tourists: the Monaliza Surf Resort.

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

Upon entering the compound of the resort, you will already feel the very quaint vibe it brings to the guests. The place has several nipa  huts and airconditioned rooms to choose from.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSOC8hgnQc7/

The Check-in Process

monaliza surf resort

Check-in is very fast especially if you have prior reservation. The people at the resort are very kind and accommodating. You will be given your key and you will be led to your room.

monaliza surf resort

The Room

monaliza surf resort

We were given an airconditioned room which is very basic but is very clean and cozy. Its space is just right for two people. I love the wall decorations in our room as well! The bathroom has a space where you can hang your swimsuits after swimming in the beach.

Other Rooms

https://www.instagram.com/p/COUYlzmnOYb/

Monaliza Surf Resort also has other rooms like the fan nipa huts. There are also rooms which face the beach front.

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

The Beach Front

https://www.instagram.com/p/COQcjBYng9B/

Compared to the beach front of other resorts, Monaliza Surf Resort’s beach front is located in front of the Point Break, where the waves are the best. Perfect for surfing lovers!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSDh3BOl9Dl/

Surfing Lessons

monaliza surf resort

Monaliza Surf Resort offers surfing lessons to its guests and it has surfing board rentals available.

monaliza surf resort

Le Point Bar and Barefoot

monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort
monaliza surf resort

Inside the compound of Monaliza Surf Resort are Le Point Bar and Barefoot. Le Point Bar comes very lively at night and both locals and foreigners party together. The following day, you can have your breakfast and lunch at Barefoot.

monaliza surf resort
Processed with VSCO with l5 preset

WHERE ELSE TO GO NEAR MONALIZA SURF RESORT?

Worry not, because Urbiztondo has a lot of spots to offer!

First, I would recommend you to visit Tipple and Brew La Union! They have a huge selection in their menu and they have good craft beers (one of the best in town).

And of course, you can’t miss the infamous Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel! It’s popular for drinks and for parties. I know it’s another accommodation, but here’s a pro tip: staying at Monaliza Surf Resort is cheaper, so you can book your accommodation there, then just drop by anytime at Flotsam for pizza, drinks, and to party. How’s that?

https://www.instagram.com/p/COPUbnHnY70/

Why am I recommending Monaliza Surf Resort again?

Before all the hispter hostels and resorts existed in the coasts of San Juan, La Union, Monaliza Resort is already existing and it can offer you an authentic experience of the beach life. It is located at the part were the waves are the best. You need not to go out to grab some food and to party at night. Monaliza has all the amenities you need at a very reasonable price. If you happen to be at the Surfing Capital of the North, do consider Monaliza Surf Resort.

Monaliza Surf Resort
Monaliza Surf Resort Rates (as of January 2018)

Monaliza Surf Resort Contact Information

National Highway, San Juan, La Union, Philippines
Facebook: /MonalizaSurfResort
Instagram: @monalizasurfresort
+639178385715

Informative Movies About Afghanistan That You Should Watch

Afghanistan is currently undergoing through a rough patch, and a lot of details in its history can explain to us why. That being said, I compiled this list of movies about Afghanistan that might educate us about the context of what’s happening there.

Check out my other movie listicles here.

12 STRONG (2018)

Following 9/11, a dozen U.S. soldiers mount up on horseback in Afghanistan to help a local warlord take on a mutual enemy. Inspired by true events.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix

THE BREADWINNER (2017)

A courageous 11-year-old Afghan girl disguises herself as a boy and takes on odd jobs to provide for her family when her father is arrested.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007)

Charlie Wilson, a congressman, let goes of his cavalier lifestyle to support the Afghan troops against Soviet invaders with the help of Joanne Herring, a socialite.

WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV

THE KITE RUNNER (2007)

The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul.

WHERE TO WATCH: YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV

WAR MACHINE (2017)

When a proud general is tasked with winning an unpopular war, he takes the challenge head-on, not knowing that hubris may be his own worst enemy.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix

WAR DOGS (2016)

David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, two petty gun dealers, make it big when they find themselves being assigned a $300 million contract from the American government.

WHERE TO WATCH: YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (2016)

American journalist Kim Baker goes to Afghanistan as a war correspondent for a short time. She ends up putting herself in danger to get stories and eventually stays there for years.

WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV

THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975)

Two rogue ex-non-commissioned officers of the British Indian Army exit British India in the 19th century searching for adventure. Their journey transports them to Kafiristan, which they end up ruling.

WHERE TO WATCH: YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV

KABULLYWOOD (2019)

A group of young Afghan artists decide to open a cultural center in the heart of Kabul.

WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon Prime

WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS (2015)

Filmmaker Beth Murphy spends a year following the first all-girls school in a conservative Afghan village.

WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon Prime

TORBAAZ (2020)

At an Afghanistan refugee camp, an ex-army doctor seeks to bring children joy through cricket — and soon realizes that the stakes go beyond the sport.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix

KHUDA GAWAH (1992)

Badshah Khan travels to India to behead the man who killed Benazir’s father and win her hand in marriage. He succeeds in his mission but is caught by Ranveer Singh, a jailor.

WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon Prime

Penguin Modern Classics Books About Nordic and Scandinavia

My Nordic-Scandinavian travel dreams were put into hold because of the pandemic, and one way I am doing to cope with it in the meantime was reading books about the region to travel virtually. That being said, I compiled 6 Penguin Modern Classic books about Nordic and Scandinavia that everyone should read!

Check out my other book-related blog entries here.

The Half-Finished Heaven
(Tomas Tranströmer)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: The Half-Finished Heaven

The contemporary Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer is a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and has a prestigious worldwide reputation. Robert Bly, a longtime friend and confidant of Tranströmer’s, as well as one of his first translators, has carefully chosen and translated the finest of Tranströmer’s poems to create this cherished and invaluable collection.

UNKNOWN SOLDIERS
(Vaino Linna)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: Unknown Soldiers

The Unknown Soldier is a story about the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union, told from the viewpoint of ordinary Finnish soldiers. Gritty and realistic, it was partly intended to shatter the myth of the noble, obedient Finnish soldier, and in that it succeeded admirably.

WINTER’S TALES
(Isak Dinesen)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: Winter’s Tales

In Isak Dinesen’s universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night’s wandering, he learns love’s true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he left. A landowner, seeking to prove a principle, inadvertently exposes the ferocity of mother love. A wealthy young traveler melts the hauteur of a lovely woman by masquerading as her aged and loyal servant.

Shimmering and haunting, Dinesen’s Winter’s Tales transport us, through their author’s deft guidance of our desire to imagine, to the mysterious place where all stories are born.

OUT OF AFRICA
(Karen Blixen)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: Out of Africa

‘Out of Africa’ is Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa, from 1914 to 1931, on a four-thousand-acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi. She had come to Kenya from Denmark with her husband, and when they separated she stayed on to manage the farm by herself, visited frequently by her lover, the big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton, for whom she would make up stories “like Scheherazade.”

In Africa, “I learned how to tell tales,” she recalled many years later. “The natives have an ear still. I told stories constantly to them, all kinds.” Her account of her African adventures, written after she had lost her beloved farm and returned to Denmark, is that of a master storyteller, a woman whom John Updike called “one of the most picturesque and flamboyant literary personalities of the century.”

Isak Dinesen (1885-1962_ was born Karen Christence Dinesen in Rungsted, Denmark. She wrote poems, plays, and stories from an early age, including ‘Seven Gothic Tales’, ‘Winter’s Tales’, ‘Last Tales’, ‘Anecdotes of Destiny’, ‘Shadows on the Grass’ and ‘Ebrengard’. ‘Out of Africa’ is considered her masterpiece.

CHILDHOOD, YOUTH, DEPENDENCY
(Tove Ditlevsen)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: Childhood, Youth, Dependency

Tove Ditlevsen is today celebrated as one of the most important and unique voices in twentieth-century Danish literature, and The Copenhagen Trilogy (1969-71) is her acknowledged masterpiece.

Childhood tells the story of a misfit child’s single-minded determination to become a poet; Youth describes her early experiences of sex, work, and independence. Dependency picks up the story as the narrator embarks on the first of her four marriages and goes on to describe her horrible descent into drug addiction, enabled by her sinister, gaslighting doctor-husband.

Throughout, the narrator grapples with the tension between her vocation as a writer and her competing roles as daughter, wife, mother, and drug addict, and she writes about female experience and identity in a way that feels very fresh and pertinent to today’s discussions around feminism.

Ditlevsen’s trilogy is remarkable for its intensity and its immersive depiction of a world of complex female friendships, family and growing up–in this sense, it’s Copenhagen’s answer to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. She can also be seen as a spiritual forerunner of confessional writers like Karl Ove Knausgaard, Annie Ernaux, Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy. Her trilogy is drawn from her own experiences but reads like the most compelling kind of fiction.

Born in a working-class neighborhood in Copenhagen in 1917, Ditlevsen became famous for her poetry while still a teenager, and went on to write novels, stories and memoirs before committing suicide in 1976. Having been dismissed by the critical establishment in her lifetime as a working-class, female writer, she is now being rediscovered and championed as one of Denmark’s most important modern authors, with Tove fever gripping readers.

THE FACES
(Tove Ditlevsen)

Books About Nordic and Scandinavia
Books About Nordic and Scandinavia: The Faces

It’s Copenhagen, 1968. Lise, a children’s book writer and married mother of three, is becoming increasingly haunted by disembodied faces and taunting voices. Convinced that her housekeeper and husband are plotting against her, she descends into a terrifying world of sickness, pills and institutionalisation. But is sanity in fact a kind of sickness? And might mental illness itself lead to enlightenment?

Brief, intense and haunting, Ditlevsen’s novel recreates the experience of madness from the inside, with all the vividness of lived experience.

9 Netflix Movies About Dogs

Here are some paw-friendly movies about dogs that you can watch on Netflix, right now! Click for other Netflix listicles here.

A DOG’S JOURNEY (2019)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: A Dog’s Journey Trailer

A dog’s extraordinary bond with a family deepens when he befriends a young granddaughter, and reincarnates to protect and support her as she grows up.

WASAO (2011)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: Wasao Trailer

Based on real events, this drama tells the story of Wasao, a monstrously large abandoned akita who travels to northern Japan in search of his owner.

MY DOG DOU DOU (2012)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: My Dog Dou Dou Trailer

A dog with special abilities changes the lives of a gambling father and his estranged son as they grow closer.

JUNE & KOPI (2021)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: June & Kopi Trailer

A street dog is taken in by a young couple, and the family pit becomes an instant accomplice as she adjusts to her new, loving home.

BENJI (2018)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: Benji Trailer

A determined dog comes to the rescue and helps heal a broken family when a young boy and his sister stumble into some serious danger.

UNFORGETTABLE (2019)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: Unforgettable Trailer

After befriending a stray dog, a vibrant young woman with autism embarks on a long journey, convinced her furry friend can heal her ill grandmother.

THINK LIKE A DOG (2020)

Netflix Movies About Dogs: Think Like a Dog Trailer

When whiz kid Oliver discovers a way to hear his dog’s thoughts, he joins forces with his furry best friend to find a way to keep their family together.

BWAKAW (2012)

Bwakaw Trailer

Gruff and alone, retiree Rene rejects most human contact but begins to soften when he comes to terms with his homosexuality.

K-9: P.I. (2002)

K-9: P.I. Trailer

Unorthodox detective Dooley and his lovable canine partner are back to solve one last crime before they retire and start enjoying the good life.

On Receiving my COVID Vaccine, Nostalgia with Christina Aguilera, and Living with Typhoon in the Philippines (Scrambled Thoughts #07)

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the impact of getting my COVID vaccine, feeling nostalgic with Christina Aguilera songs, and trying to look back how typhoon season in the Philippines changed over the years.

I GOT MY COVID VACCINE! NOW WHAT?

I’ve been vaccinated with Moderna vaccine for quite a while. It has made me less fearful of the COVID-19 virus and also more complacent in going outside. But don’t get me wrong, I haven’t actually been outside a lot. I’m only bound to go back to Manila tomorrow, and all the while I’m at the safety of my hometown in Batangas.

I still have a lot of things to take care of before my remote work plans could be executed. I’m planning to spend every other month traveling to surfing areas in the Philippines to practice surfing, and getting vaccinated is a jumpstart to that plan. However, I need to take care of my moving out of Manila after my contract with my condo and plan my travels and to more research on how to make it as affordable as possible.

I’ve heard of many instances where vaccinated people still contract COVID-19 despite getting vaccinated, and I am no exemption to this, obviously. So I think I still need to exercise extra care. I seriously don’t want to have COVID-19.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA MUSIC’S NOSTALGIC VIBE

Lately I’ve been putting the song “Come on Over Baby” by Christina Aguilera on loop because it reminds me of my grade school days where my classmates and I would sing Christina Aguilera’s songs in karaoke. I attended grade school in the province and I feel nostalgic whenever I try to recall those memories, since it reminds me how plain and simple life is in the province.

“Come on Over Baby” has a certain beat that uplifts my mood that no other Christina Aguilera song does, hence whenever I need some mood booster, this song is always, always included in my playlist.

LIVING WITH A TYPHOON IN THE PHILIPPINES

Having born and raised in a disaster-prone country like the Philippines, I have always considered the regular typhoons as something normal. Everytime there’s a typhoon, we just stay indoors until it passes, and that’s it. For other areas in the Philippines, it’s not really like this.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTwgUdOlFLT/

There are a lot of areas in the country that would flood a lot, and there were times where the weather bureau (PAGASA) would fail to forecast the actual strength of typhoon, thereby not making enough preparations to prevent casualties in specific areas. As I was growing up, I’ve observed that typhoons are getting more and more stronger, and this is something that no one should ignore.

The whole world sees the Philippines and the Filipinos as one of the most resilient in terms of dealing with different natural disasters, but how about we try to prevent or minimize casualties and destructions next time? It’s possible. I mean, look at Japan. Sure, the Philippines doesn’t have enough resources to deal with disasters like how Japan deals with them, but at the very least, something has to change.

So much scrambled thoughts lately.

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr

On Zoom vs. Meet, GCQ, and Mental Health Check (Scrambled Thoughts #06)

I’m back with my usual rambling on my boring daily life this pandemic! This time, I will try to compare Zoom and Google Meet, vent more about GCQ and the more becoming nonsensical quarantine classifications in the Philippines, and a little bit about my mental health.

ZOOM VS. GOOGLE MEET

Hmmm, where to begin the comparison?

For sure, we know the popularity of the Chinese conference app when this whole ‘work from home’ and ‘online school’ started during the pandemic. I have tried the app as early as 2019, but I only thought of it as Skype-ish one-on-one video calling application.

The very first Department Meeting I attended during the pandemic was held in Google Meet, and that was my first time to use such application. I found it simpler and since it’s a Google app, it’s easy to integrate everything because our university email is running through Google Suite.

On the other hand, there’s this brand stigma against the first conference app, being a Chinese brand. Just like Tiktok, there are conspiracies about it stealing data and personal information, but of course it can’t be proven.

On one hand, here are some pros I observed with these two apps:

GOOGLE MEET (PROS)

  1. You can open it directly on Google Chrome browser and there’s no need for an installed app for it.
  2. The interface is simpler, therefore it’s easy to learn it by yourself.
  3. Less bandwidth is required.

ZOOM (PROS)

  1. A lot of features are present here that are not available in Google Meet, such as co-hosting and emoji reactions.
  2. Zoom has more flexibility in changing the virtual background.
  3. Zoom can possibly accommodate more participants than Google Meet.

On the other hand, here are some of my observed cons with both Google Meet and Zoom:

GOOGLE MEET (CONS)

  1. If you want to present or share a Google tab, you will need to switch tabs to navigate back to the meeting room.
  2. There are no emoji reactions apart from raise hand.
  3. There is no option to automatically record the session when the host starts the meeting.

ZOOM (CONS)

  1. If you are presenting the screen as a host, all other features will be reduced to pop-out windows which could block your view the shared presentation.
  2. It’s more complex to schedule a meeting since you need to provide a lot of details.
  3. More bandwidth is needed compared to Google Meet.

Both meeting apps are good, anyway, but your preference will depend on what feature you consider crucial for your online meeting/class.

GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE (GCQ)

Metro Manila is back to the second most relaxed lockdown/quarantine measure (MECQ), and if you have read my prior blog reflecting on the proposed ‘granular lockdown’ by the Philippine government, I said there that these quarantine classifications no longer make sense to me.

Whether there’s a strict lockdown or not, it will make no difference if vaccinations will not be expedited and mass testings will not be enforced. Either way, people are still discouraged to stay home. Even if restaurants will allow dine-ins once again, I would still rather order takeaways. Seriously, what’s the point? Anyway, I’ll just try to stay home (and stay sane lol) as much as I can.

MENTAL HEALTH CHECK

I would always practice patience, kindness, and leniency to my students in this difficult time because I don’t want to be one of the additional causes of their mental health struggles this pandemic. I am quite happy that they are also trying to do the same for me.

How’s my mental health? I don’t know how to describe it, really. I have become less anxious lately because I am slowly learning to take it one day at a time and live in the present and not worry about things that will happen beyond one year. However, I am starting to be bored and lose interest on things that became part of my routine. You see, I am a very social and outgoing person at times, and this pandemic has limited all my activities to things I could do indoors, including exercise.

I’ve been experiencing this feeling for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been affecting my productivity. Good thing, I was able to re-read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. Even if I already know most of the cliche advices of the book, especially the compound benefits of being consistent on small habits, one thing that stuck with me the most is embracing boredom. I always find myself complaining and stopping to do something when it gets boring, from jobs to hobbies to projects, and a lot of things. But then I realized, all things I could implement that will give me inner peace are quite boring — nature, minimalism, developing habits long-term, etc.

That’s it. I just need to accept that boredom is part o the growth process, and it’s up to me on how to fight it and still try to reach my goals.

Let’s see. And I hope your mental health are okay, too!

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr

Crushing on Alvaro Morte, Laughing at ‘Granular Lockdown’, and ‘No, THIS IS Abba’ (Scrambled Thoughts #05)

I hope whoever reads this will not get sick and tired of me talking about Money Heist yet! As of writing, I am at Part 3, and sadly, I’m not sure if I still like it since the heist at the Royal Mint of Spain is over (and Oslo, Moscow, and Berlin are gone huhu!). Let’s see, this time I’ll tell you about my type of guy (and why I’m crushing on Alvaro Morte aka the Professor), my thoughts on the implementation of Granular Lockdown in the Philippines, and my love for Sweden and Abba.

ALVARO MORTE (NO, ACTUALLY HIS CHARACTER AS THE PROFESSOR) IS MY TYPE OF GUY

If you’re watching Money Heist, you are definitely familiar with how Alvaro Morte (The Professor) was able to plan ALL the possibilities in robbing the Royal Mint of Spain. Moreover, in certain flashbacks during the planning at the estate, it can be observed that the Professor is an introvert, and he never gave in to the advances of both Tokyo and Nairobi. Lastly, when his love story with Raquel developed, we could see his gentleness, his awkwardness, and how he has been there for Raquel 100% of the time, even if he’s leading the heist of the century.

All I’m saying is, I will always be attracted to intelligence. I don’t mean just book smart, but the ability to solve problems and think creatively, something like that. I also like it when someone is passionate about something specific, even if I won’t understand it (as long as it’s not crime, conspiracies, or something imaginary lol).

I would also appreciate it if a guy will not misinterpret my clinginess as neediness (are they the same or different? I’m not sure). I’m strong and independent af, and being clingy is not being dependent. I don’t know, it’s just my love language, and whenever I’m stressed, I just want someone to be physically there with me, just like how the Professor was ALWAYS there for Raquel. Too much confidence can be too douch-ey or asshole-y, so I would rather be with shy type guys, but not to the point that I’m the one carrying and taking care of everything.

I’m rambling, obviously. And I’m not comfortable writing about what I just wrote lol. But there you go. I’m crushing on Alvaro Morte, and when I browsed his Instagram, he seems like a nice person off-cam as well. *heart eyes emoji*

GRANULAR LOCKDOWN WHAT?

ECQ, MECQ, MECQ with heightened restrictions, MGCQ, GCQ, granular lockdown, hard lockdown. I think these were some of the terms or categorizations of community quarantines that the Philippine government has implemented so far since the pandemic hit the country in 2020. But I seriously don’t understand the point anymore.

Shifting from one category to another depending on the (inaccurate) COVID cases statistics was proven not to contribute to diminishing the cases, at all. The government already has one year worth of data to conclude that, but they seem to remain clueless over what to do, not to mention dealing with the slooooow vaccination roll-out.

I was in Manila most of the time during this pandemic, and I have observed nothing different in these series of lockdown implementations. Sure, restaurants close early and/or do not allow dine-ins, but people still go to work, take the public transportation, and expose themselves to the virus. Plus, those violators in the Barangay level looks unmonitored. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

So what’s the point of granular lockdown? Yeah, we get it, and we get the difference. We get that the economy must go on and all, but how about you expedite the vaccination and encourage mass testing? I don’t know anymore, really.

NO, THIS IS ABBA

I saw a meme on Instagram last time about some netizen creating his own ABBA playlist on Spotify, and challenging Spotify’s ‘This is ABBA’ playlist, which to me was witty and funny! He even named his playlist ‘No, THIS is ABBA’.

Anyhoo, I heard that ABBA just got reunited and started recording new songs again after almost 4 decades. Wow! I thought Westlife reuniting is already something phenomenal.

Of course, we all know about Dancing Queen and Mama Mia (as well as the musical), and one of the first thing that comes to my mind when coming across ABBA is Sweden. I always have this great fascination with Northern Europe for some reason, and as I slowly expose myself with their culture, I am falling in love more and more.

Side story: I almost went to Sweden for my PhD this year. Long story, let’s save that for later. I’m still mending my broken heart over it lol.

But yeah, ABBA. I remember a Korean colleague who presented her paper with me in Bangkok talking about Sweden’s international relations, and she played the music video of Dancing Queen DURING HER PAPER PRESENTATION. It’s something I saw for the first time, but I think it’s kinda cool.

Well, I hope I will get to visit Sweden someday.

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr