Swearing in different languages

Today’s topic is interesting as I’m not sure how much I should or shouldn’t say to ensure this essay sees the light of day in print.

A few weeks back I wrote about the different personalities we adopt when speaking different languages; I touched briefly about how nothing beats swearing in Bisaya. My thesis is that something so raw and wrong about saying it in vernacular; a weird combination of pleasure and guilt that I don’t get when I express it in English. But as much as I feel like a formidable war freak when I swear in bisaya, I would never consider using the vernacular for dirty talk…

Profanity is a very telling aspect of the culture–it is very interesting that all cultures have language–words that and a set of words that you really shouldn’t say. While profanity is universal, each language have their own regional quirks and peculiarities.Rude language represents a lot about what a culture likes and doesn’t like (e.g., sex and poop). Around the world, sex and genitalia is pretty much the universal focus of obscene language.

Blasphemy also plays a very important role in profanity; especially among cultures with Western religions. In Filipino, we often call out the devil, or Judas, include ‘sus’, a contraction of ‘Hesus’, or the more unique ‘Susmaryosep’, a contraction of ‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph’.

Sounds tame when juxtaposed with the Quebec French, whose swear words call out Catholic articles such as the tabernacle, chalice, host and baptism. Calling out the tabernacle, in Quebec, is just as bad than saying out the F-word in English.

In Tagalog, the most defining curse word is ‘putang ina’, or calling out one’s adulterous mother. This curse word is just as popular in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries–‘hija de puta’ or ‘puta madre’. This stems from the patriarchal-dominated culture ingrained in our Spanish colonial roots.

What’s worthy of note is how very Catholic beliefs of shunning sexual immorality are juxtaposed with rampant prostitution in the streets; how women in our culture (or other Spain-colonized countries) are so internally conflicted on their views on love, sex and marriage. It’s also interesting to note that cultures who strongly swear about mothers tend to swear a lot about prostitutes, too.

In Cebuano, our swear vocabulary compose mostly on body parts (e.g. genitalia, liver); as well as religion-based (calling out the devil, Judas, etc.). Personally I think it’s not very creative, compared to other cultures. If you want to be offensive in Dutch, simply add ‘kanker’ to any word (which means cancer sufferer). Eastern Europeans also have swear words on cancer, typhus, cholera, or some very obscure diseases that date back to the middle ages. Other cultures also swear on animals they consider ‘dirty’–pigs and dogs are popular, but even turtle can be a bad word too, in the case of Mandarin.

Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly,” according to religious & civic leader Spencer KimballMost people believe that cursing / swearing is indicative of one’s lack of mental capability, education or grace; or being unable to think of the right word while in conversation and hence replacing certain words with curse words. As David Keuck puts it, profanity is the “common crutch of the conversational cripple.”

I beg to differ. This belief has long been proven invalid by several scientific studies. Expletive language can actually improve one’s self-confidence, release emotional tensions, and even strengthen bonds.

And personally, I think cursing can improve creativity, too. Profanity can be poetic; if released at the right place and at the right time–and as long as it’s kept in moderation.

What’s your favorite swear word?


Surfers and MBA

I squinted my eyes towards the distance in the hopes of seeing an impending wave when I heard singing from afar. I looked east of me and found two local boys 100m away, bobbing up and down their respective boards.

“Slow day, huh?”  I shouted.

I was with my surfing guide, and we’ve been on our boards, bobbing up and down the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea?) for a good thirty minutes in the hopes of catching a wave. I can feel the local boys on the same state of ennui.

The local boys paddled nearer my location and introduced themselves: one was called Miguel and the other called himself Janus. Shortly after we started exchanging stories.

island life la union surf postcardpretty.jpg

One of the boys shared that he just got a German girlfriend, a backpacker he met in surf school. The other boy just won his first local surf competition.

I told them I am currently in school and I was just five weeks into my MBA. I told them things I wouldn’t otherwise tell my family, or friends, or cohort-mates: that the normally cocky Rachel is having doubts of my aptitude, and whether or not I could survive business school.

Before I could go on in my litany of my frustrations, an impending wave approached us and the two boys caught it on time, while I was washed ashore.

“I’m done for the day,” I told my surfing guide.

I suggested we go have beer by the beach. The guys we met in the middle of the sea passed by, so we hollered them to join us–and they did. Soon after beer bottles were clinked, I didn’t lose time in continuing my tirade, taking advantage of my newfound friends’ curiosity.

“I feel like an oddball,” I shared. “I’m an island girl, and this whole corporate culture is completely alien to me. In the islands, there is no concept of time. My social circle is made up of artists, surfers and bohemians. Moving to Makati and going to business school–I don’t know about this,” I expressed my doubts openly.

“I wish things are easier. I wish I can just live by the beach and chase waves. I have no energy to rule the world.” I thought aloud, although I knew in my heart I lied. I was too bohemian for the city life, but too neurotic for the island life. Being too comfortable bored me to tears.

At 26, I had what felt like a quarter-life crisis. I felt stuck, like I’m not supposed to be part of this story. And so, I decided to go to business school (because that’s why everyone does their MBA, right?). After some eight weeks of GMAT self-study and a let’s-see-how-we-do attitude, I was suddenly whisked away from the island life to the corporate jungle of Makati.

Traded my surfboard for the keys to the boardroom

My arrogance thought I could just ‘wing it’, like I always do–I was wrong. I was completely stumped in business school. Everything was completely new to me. I was completely stumped, and would enviously look as my classmates breeze through Finance, Accounting and Business. The readings seem to me like they were written in Arabic.

I wanted some Rosetta stone to land on my lap and become magically fluent in this new, technical language. I was on the verge of giving up because my sheets just. won’t. balance.

The solo surf trips to the beach were what saved me from the point of neurosis. When the four walls of the case room started to shrink and close in, I treated chronic cabin fevers with a one-way bus ticket to San Juan, La Union so I can just stare at the endless horizon. Always worked for me.

The surfers were obviously completely clueless about everything I’ve been saying up to that point. One of them, Miguel, finally offered advice. “Hey, don’t worry. Everyone starts off as a beginner.” the other countered, “Even pro surfers look like awkward idiots when they first got on the board.” 

And just like that, we forgot about everything else.

rachel MBA life aim

That was the October of 2016; and I have since then graduated and got my MBA degree. Their words definitely saved me from my dark and doubtful place.

My new friends’ words were all I needed to come fighting back into the ring. I remember coming home relieved and ready to make mistakes. I was ready to stand on goofy; ready to be wiped out from my board.

The boys were right. Starting off a little behind everyone else can be discouraging. Most of us, after all, grew up where success, or being the best, is celebrated. We get brownie points from our parents when we excel, and school institutions reward the top students in academic excellence.

The problem with this mentality is that it can create an illogical fear for failure. The biggest victims are the overachievers. In high school, I equated my self-worth to my academic achievement–seeing my name on top of the list validated my being. Because of their anxiety in failing, overachievers tend to stick to their expertise and what they know best. This short-sightedness hinders their ability to broaden their skill set. They have scripted responses such as ‘I can’t dance’, ‘I’m bad at languages’, or ‘I have no sense of balance’ whenever they encounter something new. It’s always easier to say ‘that’s impossible’ rather than ‘that’s hard.’

I started to changing my mindset from being this anxious failure-phobic to learning for the sake of fun. Changing this mentality opened a whole new world for me: I learned to laugh at myself when my butt hit the floor, but I learned to dance. I learned to surf. I learned to speak another language. I learned to balance statements. I learned to do things I never imagined I could do before. Failure is part of life, so just enjoy the ride, and enjoy the learning process! 

My learning curve may have been longer than my MBA classmates. I might have studied harder and slept fewer hours, but my learning experience in business school was, I believe, more satisfying because of that.

In the end, it’s really not about getting the degree, it was all about the journey to getting to where I am now; and wondering how Miguel and Janus are doing now.


The multilingual Filipino

I finished my phone conversation with a silly grin on my face when I caught Nico* looking at me without disguising his curiosity.

“What language was that?” he asked.

The conversation was with my girlfriend from back home. We were sat having sandwiches outside the Fisher Fine Arts library in UPenn, where my friend and I normally studied. 

Visayan.” I said. “Why?”

“It didn’t sound like the same language you speak with Ryan.” he said, referring to another Filipino classmate of ours.

“That’s Tagalog.”

“But this language Cebuano–it must be your first language, yes?”

I confirmed, and he shot a grin back in triumph.

He said he knew because everyone always sound angrier in their own language. He said I certainly sounded angry, but knew I wasn’t, because I was laughing after every sentence.

“Unless, you laugh in anger in your culture,” he mused.

I thought about what he said for a while. He made a pretty good point. We are always nicer and more respectful in another language, saying everything in a more gentle, question manner, unsure of ourselves; like we become children conversing to adults once again.

Come to think of it, I do tend to take up different personalities in the different languages I speak. I feel more professional in English, more gentle in Tagalog and Hiligaynon, and I’m a foul-mouthed, warfreak, drunken sailor in Cebuano.

Being Filipino, I grew up to hearing different tongues–sometimes simultaneously–that it was the only kind of world I knew of. In my hometown, we spoke both Visayan, and our Muslim brothers Maranao; my father’s side spoke Hiligaynon, and my mother’s side Tagalog. You know my grandfather’s temper is on the upside when you hear cussing in Spanish, English is taught in our schools from prep to college, and French…simplyfrom dating a few of them.

Sounds impressive, but not really. This is not unusual in a typical Filipino household. The country, after all, has 7,000+ islands, 300+ dialects, with frequent movement and diaspora; long colonial Spanish history, and then raised by Hollywood and 80’s love ballads. With this hodge-podge history, it is already given for every Filipino-born to be multilingual (or bilingual at the least).

We don’t really think about the multilingual aptitude much. But when you go abroad and realize that most people speak only one language.

Some weren’t granted the opportunity or exposure to other foreign tongues and cultures. Some by choice and refuse to learn any other language. And some are just simply crippled by the convenience of being born spoilt into a culture that didn’t have the necessity (I’m looking at you, America).

Foreign peers compliment me at how ‘good my English is’, like I’m not supposed to get my v’s and f’s right. And then revel at how easily I can switch from one language to another. It’s kinda nice to show off once in a while, pretending it’s some sort of superpower.

The truth is, you don’t really need to be fluent in the languages–you just need to know enough. You only need to know ‘hi, nice to meet you’, ‘beer’ and ‘cheers’ in a dozen languages for them to look at you like black sorcery. Kanpai!

Nico, being European, was also multilingual.

And so I played around with the topic and shot back a question: “Nico, what language do you think?”

His blue eyes danced, like he had been expecting the discourse. “The German language is made perfectly for a thinking mind, I believe. The vocabulary is just so exact and concise, there’s little room for error.”

I shot back the question to myself. What language do I think? What language do I feel?

On formal and professional scenarios, English seemed the default. It was my rationalizing language. But in the social and emotional aspects, Cebuano is my preference. 

Especially when it came to bodily feelings, I feel I could better explain myself in my dialect. How can you translate gigil? Kilig? Binhod? Panuhot? Pasmo? Alimungawan? How do you translate them to English in one word, without giving people the context or comparison? The nuances of languages tell us how the people and culture are characteristically; and on this–it seems like Cebuanos are very attuned to their bodies and feelings.

Nothing is more satisfying than swearing in Cebuano. I would write some of my favorites down, but they might not make it out on print. Sometimes, the F-word just don’t cut it, you know? There’s just more meat in our dialect, it’s just so wrong , dirty and crude.Especially the B-words…

Ah, nothing beats the B-words.

Now that I think of it, when I need to make more rational and moral decisions, I should probably not process my thought processes in Cebuano.

Suggested itinerary: 4 days in Siargao, Philippines

Siargao is just one of the 7,000 islands in the Philippines, but it is quite well-known around the world for one thing: surfing.


Siargao has now become synonymous to surfing, attracting an international crowd of surfers during surfing season to experience the island’s acclaimed large, smooth and hollow-tubed waves. Siargao is best known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, and the 9th Best Surfing Spot in the World (CNN).

Don’t surf? It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the island! If you want to learn surfing, the island offers the best spots with beginner waves. If you’re not into the surfing scene at all, there’s tons of activities you can do aside from the main event. Read my guide on Siargao for Non-Surfers and Best Spots to Eat in Siargao.

The 4-day itinerary I drafted is pretty lax, but what’s there to hurry? This is the island life! If you want more activities, you can always pump up your days with more surf lessons, and some.

boardwalk surfing siargao mindanao

First of all–When to go and How to get there?

When is the best time to go? There are big waves in Siargao all year round, but on months August through November marks the surfing season when the international surfing competitions are held. The island can get pretty busy during these times with surfers from around the world coming in to experience Siargao’s famous 7 ft. waves.

There are two ways to get to Siargao: by air or by sea. Cebu Pacific offers once-daily flights to Siargao from Cebu. Be wary though, as I have heard that a lot of these flights get cancelled because of the unpredictable weather. You can also get to Siargao via bangka (small boat) from Surigao.

Day 1: Relax, Explore the Island

Take it easy on the first day if you will.

siargao relax
Relax! Tomorrow is another day in paradise.

Hire a motorbike or bicycle and explore the island itself. I read that tarsiers are also present here, and unlike Bohol, these small primates still roam free in Siargao forests.There’s so much more to discover–General Luna is just one municipality! In Del Carmen, Siargao is home to the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, where saltwater crocodiles thrive.

philippines siargao beaches

Day 2: Surf, Boardwalk, Cloud 9

Let’s get down to business–let’s learn to surf! Where are good places to surf?

Once again, Siargao is one of the best places to learn to surf. gThere are around a dozen other surf breaks in the island, accommodating to all difficulty levels. The most famous one, of course is Cloud 9. The site of international surfing competitions, but for advanced skill surfers only. Right beside Cloud 9 is Quicksilver, with easier wave rides but can often get too crowded.

Other surfing areas include: Cemetery is located in an actual cemetery–I hear it is a bit of a journey to get there, but when you do, there won’t be any crowds at all. Daku has pretty strong waves and popular among intermediate surfers. One ride can get you around 200m closer to shore–so the current is strong and paddling back can take a bit of effort. You can get there by renting a small boat.

If you want to surf, please be mindful of ‘surf etiquette’–who gets to ride the waves first, etc., or you’re likely to get enemies in the ocean!

surfing ettiquette.jpg

If you don’t surf, you can just watch and admire the art form at the Boardwalk. You can also just chill, have coffee or drinks by the sea. We love taking a seat and just relax here–I could definitely be lazy here forever!

Oh–another fixture here is the very friendly Oscar the dog! If you see him, please give him a big hug for me!

Day 3: Island Hopping: Naked Island, Guyam Island, Daku Island

Go island hopping and check out Siargao’s three nearby islands: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. Depending on your negotiation skills, you can rent a boat to visit the three islands from P1,000 to P1,500.

Don’t get disappointed–Naked Island isn’t a spot for people to go nude sunbathing. Naked Island is called such because you would not find any trees or vegetation, just a stretch of fine white sand. Daku Island is, ‘dako’ or big, in terms of the other islands we visited. Daku even has its own barangay. (The ancestors didn’t seem to try being creative with naming their locale) We had our lunch in Daku Island before we went to our last stop, Guyam Island.

Day 4: Magpupungko Tidal Pool, Caving

From General Luna, it’s a 40 minute car ride to Magpupungko. Entrance is 50 per person.Magpupungko is named such from a unique rock formation in the area. The large boulder looks like it’s sitting on top of another flat rock. The beautiful pool only unveils itself during low tide.

There’s also a beach right next to the pool with massive waves that will wipeout any entity who dared swim in it! We saw a small boat get overturned when we were here–luckily, no one was hurt!

From General Luna, it’s a 40 minute car ride to Magpupungko. Entrance is 50 per person.

Optional: Sohoton Cave

If you have more time to waste in paradise, make a day to see Sohoton Cave.Sohoton is famous for its jellyfish sanctuary and enchanting caves. Sohoton is three hours away from Siargao though and is closer to Surigao del Norte, so we decided to reserve Sohoton for another future trip. Unfortunately I don’t have firsthand experience but I hear from friends this place is majestic.

It takes 2.5 hours to get to Sohoton from GL. It’s more expensive to get there, but you can get a boat rental for around Php4,000, depending again on how well you can negotiate.

Siargao guide for non-surfers

This blog post was written on 2015.


The act of riding waves on wooden boards has been recorded as a human activity for thousands of years. The first surfers were the ancient Pacific Islanders and Polynesians who fish for a living, and discovered that riding the waves was an efficient way to get to shore quickly.

One of the First Known Photographs of a Surfer, 1800s. Photo from: Bishop Museum Archive
One of the First Known Photographs of a Surfer, 1800s. Photo from: Bishop Museum ArchiveSurfing and Siargao

Eventually riding waves transformed from a daily activity to a favorite pastime. There have been written records about people riding waves, from Capt. James Cook to Mark Twain. We can only guess how and when the modern form surfing was established, but one day some madcap decided it was a good idea to stand in his board during a swell and see what happens. The rest was history.

Surfing is now a sport and lifestyle that has taken a life of its own. Surfers travel around the world to catch the ‘perfect wave’. This is how the story of Siargao happened. Twenty years ago, two pro-surfers came to the Philippines to catch the fabled waves on a tear-shaped island called ‘Siargao’. Now known as ‘Cloud 9’, Siargao is acclaimed for her large, smooth and hollow-tubed waves that bring an international crowd of surfers every year. Siargao is now known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, and is the 9th Best Surfing Spot in the World (according to CNN).

But Wait! This Post is NOT for Surfers.

However, this post isn’t about surfing; I have no idea why I started my intro like that, but whatever. Of course, without surfing, Siargao wouldn’t be what it currently is now. Many surfers came for the waves, and fall in love with the island. Some never leave. The waves and the wonderful community is irresistible–making Siargao a little piece of paradise on Earth. I personally found the allure Siargao so seductive that I ended up booking another ticket to come back just a few days after I left!

In Siargao, surfing can be done all year round. There are different swells from different parts of the island, depending on the time of the year.


So What if I don’t surf?

Siargao is paradise for surfers— and non-surfers, too. If you don’t surf, there’s more to Siargao then just surfing. Of course, I would highly recommend that you make ‘learn to surf’ a top priority on your itinerary, but if it’s really not your thing, here are some activities you can do beyond surfing.

1. Magpupungko Tidal Pool

Magpupungko is named such from a unique rock formation in the area. The large boulder looks like it’s sitting on top of another flat rock. The beautiful pool only unveils itself during low tide.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.50.29 AM
Be careful when you jump! The rocks are razor sharp!

siargao magpupungko

There’s also a beach right next to the pool with massive waves that will wipeout any entity who dared swim in it!

Photo by Chester Baldicantos. Yes, this really happened to John.
Photo by Chester Baldicantos. Yes, this really happened to John.

From General Luna, it’s a 40 minute car ride to Magpupungko. Entrance is 50 per person.

2. Island Hopping

Go island hopping and check out Siargao’s three nearby islands: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. Depending on your negotiation skills, you can rent a boat to visit the three islands from P1,000 to P1,500.

Naked Island is just what you would expect–naked. On this island you would not find any trees or vegetation, just a stretch of fine white sand. Daku Island is, ‘dako’ or big, in terms of the other islands we visited. Daku even has its own barangay. (The ancestors were very literal and not very creative with naming their locale) We had our lunch in Daku Island before we went to our last stop, Guyam Island.

If you have the time, you can also check Sohoton Lagoon. Sohoton is famous for its jellyfish sanctuary and enchanting caves. Sohoton is three hours away from Siargao though and is closer to Surigao del Norte, so we decided to reserve Sohoton for another future trip.

3. Food Trip!

Food is affordable and good in Siargao. General Luna has quite a few restaurants and cafes that are good, interesting and not cheesy. Locals like barbecue, and they have barbecue stalls even in their disco bars! You can get great comfort food at Pleasure Point Cafe, three-layered pizza at Aventino’s, sushi at Lux Siargao Sushi Bar, great coffee and view at Cafe Loka, barbecue at Mama’s, and more.

pleasure point
Food at Pleasure Point Cafe

Locals like barbecue, and they have barbecue stalls even at their disco bars! Siargao is not as touristy as Boracay, so you can’t find any big restaurant establishments here like fast food joints and international food chains. Heck, you can’t even find an ATM machine around GL!

Fresh seafood here abounds (it’s an island, duh). You can go spearfishing if that’s your thing and roast your catch, or if you’re more mainstream  just go to the local market and purchase their freshest catch and pay someone to cook it for you.

You can check out my blog post on some of Siargao’s Best Eats here.

4. Party

So you don’t surf–but you can at least hang out and party with fellow surfers and look the part! Surfers are among the most unpretentious bunch I know and will befriend just about anyone. Siargao parties here embody the vibe of the island–laid back and friendly. You can’t expect any EDM or hardcore parties here. They have great parties in Pagoda Beach Bar especially on Mondays (named appropriately ‘Monday Fundays’) so be sure not to miss that. Other local disco bars are Jungle Bar every Fridays and Stowaway Bar every Saturdays.


Other bars around the island include Reggae Bar, Nine Bar, La Luna Surf Buddha Resort (they also have acoustic nights on Thursdays). There are quite a few places to chill and drink around Gen. Luna especially around Cloud 9.

5. Explore the Island!

Aside from surfing, there are plenty of water activities you can do in Siargao. You can go diving, snorkeling and paddle boarding.


A fish out of water can find abundant activities on land, too. Hire a motorbike or bicycle and explore the island itself. I read that tarsiers are also present here, and unlike Bohol, these small primates still roam free in Siargao forests. Saltwater crocodiles exist in parts of Siargao — Del Carmen, Siargao is home to the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao.

There’s so much more to discover–General Luna is just one municipality! Fellow traveler and colleague Radel strongly insist I come back to Siargao and explore Siargao’s west and north side.

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Motorbike rentals are typically Php 500/day.

6. Caving


7. Relax

Relax! Don’t try to push in too many activities in one day. Tomorrow is another day in paradise. So yes, you deserve an afternoon’s rest in a hammock by the beach.

Relax! Tomorrow is another day in paradise.
Relax! Tomorrow is another day in paradise.
Kona is chillng like a German Shepherd boss.
Kona is chillng like a German Shepherd boss.

10 best eats in Siargao

This blog post was written in 2015.

10-best-siargaoI never knew ‘falling in love’ could occur outside of the desired sex, but that’s what happened when I came to Siargao. I fell in love with the island, the beaches, the food, the culture. Now I understood why a handful of my friends gave up city life to live here. I felt heartbreak when we had to leave; five days was not enough. One month won’t be either. Maybe I could live here with my son, I tinkered with the idea.

Siargao is (so far) my favorite island in the Philippines, and is considered as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. Most of the tourist activity is centered in General Luna in Siargao, and there are plenty of gems in the area to dine, party, and do activities. If it’s your first time to visit the beautiful island, this blog will help you identify the must-sees:

  • Best Comfort Food
  • Best Coffee
  • Best Sushi
  • Best Pizza
  • Best Barbecue
  • Best Party
  • Best Surfer’s Hangout
  • Best Luxury Resort
  • Best Mid-Range Resort
  • Best Budget Resort


(Disclaimer, these are preferences coming from a local tourist/novice surfer and may not reflect the preference of the majority)

Getting around GL is not difficult, there are a lot of motorcycles who will take you anywhere for P20/head. It comes up to P25/head at night.

Siargao is still a small provincial town but starting to get more touristy every year. Currently, most establishments in General Luna only accept cash. You need to bring sufficient financial artillery because there is no ATM machine in the area, and are only accessible in Dapa, 30 minutes away from GL.

  • Best Comfort Food: Pleasure Point Cafe

pleasure point surf cafe siargao philippines

pleasure point

Pleasure Point is all about chill vibes and good conversations. We had breakfast here on our second day in the island, and our first taste of paradise. The cafe defines what Siargao is all about: life, surf and coffee–that’s all that matters.

Their menu perfectly complements the surfer’s lifestyle. They have lovely crepes, omelettes and other food that make perfect pairings with coffee or tea. We tried the French Toast (my personal favorite!), Sunny Side Up and Bacon Omelette (the boys’ favorite!), Parfait and Blueberry Cheesecake.

breakfast french toast pleasure point
French Toast
breakfast pleasure point siargao
Sunny Side Up and Bacon Crepe with Iced Coffee

If you’re feeling special for breakfast, try their Chia and Coconut Pudding with fruits–it’s divine.

chia pudding pleasure point cafe
Chia Pudding, Mangoes and Bananas

It’s the best place to unwind after riding the waves. They also have movie nights every Saturdays if you want to take it easy for the weekend.

  • Best Coffee: Cafe Loka

Cafe Loka is a charming little cafe located conveniently in Cloud 9. They offer healthy food, great coffee and fruit shakes. While waiting for your orders, one can jump in their giant trampoline (great for my overly hyper, slightly ADHD friends) or just lounge on the beach chairs and watch surfers catch waves (great for lazy bums like me).

boardwalk surfing siargao mindanao

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Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.57.26 AM

  • Best Sushi: Lux Siargao Sushi Bar

Technically, it is the only sushi restaurant in the island. But it is worth telling that it is the best sushi place I’ve tried in the whole Philippines! A Lithuanian sushi chef named Freeman heads the sushi bar, and he easily converted me to become a hardcore sushi lover (I was never really into raw fish before!) We burned most of our cash in here, eating sushi for dinner over sake and Cards Against Humanity.

Sushi Goodness! (Photo by Shari Quimbo
Sushi Goodness! (Photo by Shari Quimbo

It’s very affordable, too: P350/sushi set, which may sound like a lot when you’re in Siargao–but P350 is very cheap for the authentic sushi you get here. This is legit sushi that will give sushi bars in Cebu and Manila a run for their money.

I recommend you to get the Omakase Sushi (Chef’s Choice, in Japanese it means ‘I leave it to you’). I always let Chef Freeman do his magic and surprise me–he gets me all the time!

To sushi: 'I can't feel my face when I'm with you. But I love it!'
To sushi: ‘I can’t feel my face when I’m with you. But I love it!’
  • Best Pizza: Aventino’s

On our third day in Siargao our wallets were getting dry. We were splurging too much and we needed to fill our stomachs well with something more affordable. Aventino’s Pizza was the answer.

Aventino’s had me at their Tricia Pizza, three layers of meat, veggies and cheese. All their other pizzas were just as good too–plus they also offer great pasta, rice meals and wines.

Aventino’s is located near Cloud 9, and they also do delivery.

Photo by Shari Quimbo for Zee Lifestyle
Photo by Shari Quimbo for Zee Lifestyle
  • Best Barbecue: Mama’s BBQ

Siargao cuisine is fairly simple. It’s not commercialized yet, so you won’t expect to find any McDos or Jollibees in town. I was surprised not to see any lechon places even (not even roast chicken kiosks like Chooks-to-Go. If you wanted something roasted, you have to buy the animal and find someone to roast it for you-or do it yourself.

Like Cebuanos, they like their barbecues a lot. BBQ stalls are a staple; from the beaches to the disco clubs. Mama’s BBQ is to Siargao as Larsian is to Cebu. ‘Nuff said.

  • Best Party: Pagoda Beach Bar (UPDATE as of 2016: CLOSED already)

Thankfully Siargao’s night scene has become busier and livelier. To avoid splitting the crowd, parties alternate in the local clubs in a week. They have Acoustic Nights at Buddha Surf every other Thursdays, local disco at ‘Jungle Bar’ on Fridays, the raunchier budots-style music at ‘Stowaway Bar’ on Saturdays, and on Mondays, be sure to be at Pagoda Bar.

The Monday Parties at Pagoda Beach Bar are legendary, don’t miss them. The bar is located just by the beach and a great locale to meet new people–everyone’s so friendly in the island. More foreigners frequent here.

monday funday
Image grabbed from Pagoda Facebook Page
Image grabbed from Pagoda Facebook Page
Image grabbed from Pagoda Facebook Page

It’s odd that the best party’s held at the start of the week, but also makes perfect sense: it’s a lovely way to upstart your week!

Update: Recently, I’ve heard about epic parties that Lux Siargao hosts every Saturdays! Worth checking it out on my next visit!

  • Best Surfer’s Hangout: Jing’s Place

If you want to learn to surf, there are a lot of options in GL–one of the most famous surfer’s hangout is definitely Jing’s Place.

Jing’s Place is a family homestay owned by local surf god Jing, who was among the first to learn and teach surfing, and helped make Cloud 9 the famous surf spot that it is today. You can get accommodations, order food and drink, arrange island hopping, rent surfboards, or get a trainer.

Surf's up! Don't forget your zinc!
Surf’s up! Don’t forget your zinc!
  • Best Surfer Spot: The Boardwalk, Cloud 9

Photo by Zeke Sullano
Photo by Zeke Sullano

Cloud 9 is the reason why Siargao is known as The Surfing Capital of the Philippines. You can go down Cloud 9 to catch big waves that reach up to 10 ft, or go to the Jacking Horse for smaller waves. Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s still fun to get awestruck while watching the experts ride the waves.

  • Best Luxury Resort: Lux Siargao Resort

My friends and I, all ten of us, were able to book this place via Airbnb–and talk about the first-class luxury (redundant, but it’s that awesome!). Designed by famed architect Ed Gallego, Lux Siargao boasts a modern Asian aesthetic set in tropical paradise.

lux siargao and sushi restaurant philippines surf

lux siargao pool resort

lux siargao resort

The whole 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom beachfront estate can be rented exclusively. It can accommodate up to 16 guests and can enjoy full use of the kitchen, pool, beach, grill, and fire pit. If you’re all about exclusivity and comfort, Lux Siargao is the only best.

The owners and staff are very accommodating and friendly. In the evenings, we would make a bonfire and hang out. True enough, by the end of our stay we have gained new friends and fond memories.

bedroom lux siargao philippines

  • Best Mid-Range Resort: Arka Hayahay

For the mid-range budget, Arka Hayahay is a good choice. Designed like a boat (hence the name) and set against blue skies and swaying coconut trees, Arka Hayahay will provide you with cozy accommodations at an affordable rate. It’s just a short motorbike ride away from Cloud 9!

The resort provides both private and dorm-type rooms. Their dormitory fan rooms are 500/bed/night (without breakfast) and their standard rooms are P1,500/night.

arka hayahay 2
Photo grabbed from Arka FB page
arka hayahay hostel
Photo grabbed from Arka FB page
arka hayahay
Photo grabbed from Arka FB page
  • Best Budget Resort: Paglaom Resort

Paglaom Resort is rated #1 specialty lodging in General Luna by Tripadvisor. Paglaom offers bunk bed lodging to budget travelers and backpackers for a cheap rate of P250/night. Nothing can beat that price.

They have shared toilets, outdoor showers, common kitchen, lockers for your backpacks, and free wifi (which is of course the most important amenity!).

paglaom 2
Photos grabbed from Paglaom Website
Photos grabbed from Paglaom Website

What’s in a (Filipino) name?

This post was written on 2015.

One of the questions I shudder about getting asked is, ‘What’s the story behind your baby’s name?

Naming is probably one of the most challenging tasks set forth by man–whether it’s naming a person, a pet, a business, a blog handle or a newly discovered animal species. It should probably be taken more seriously, but it really just took me thirty minutes, tops. What kind of mother.

Back in the olden times, infant mortality rate was very high and thus it was customary for babies to have no name for the first few years of their life. Why name a babe if they’re least likely to reach childhood, lest adulthood? Thanks to developments in science and modern medicine in the past century, infant and toddler health has vastly improved (This has not always been the case for most of the history of humankind). Parents nowadays choose their baby’s name way before their babies are out of the womb.

A name is permanent, and once it’s been named, it’s stuck forever. I don’t blame my childhood friend whose dad and four other brothers were all named ‘Mark’. Better safe than sorry, right? Although calling him on their landline was awkward and confusing back then. (Still is).

So my criteria for naming my baby was pretty basic: that it’s easy to remember, it’s easy to spell, and a nice sound to the name.

‘Easy to Remember’

I have friends with lovable and unique names: Poopie, Chatline, Jim Beam, Pepper, Gaga, (a man), just to name a few.Even I am not spared. My senior high classmates still call me ‘Snoopy’ ten years later for some inside story I can no longer remember. I hated that nickname.

Where else in the world could we find a cardinal named ‘Sin’, a politician named ‘Joker’, and a matinee idol named ‘Dingdong’? It’s more fun in the Philippines!


Names can range from mildly funny to wildly unflattering. We once had an employee named ‘Windshield’. I met a girl in an outreach named ‘Virgin’. And then there was the infamous man who passed the 2014 bar exam named ‘Habeas Corpuz’. An ex-seminarian I know was quirkily named ‘Van Go’, but upon further prodding I was disappointed to know that he doesn’t paint.

I want my son to stand out, but not too much to become the target to future school bullies.

‘Easy to Spell’

I have a fairly common name, ‘Rachel’, which I use in my email and social media accounts. Still, my name still gets butchered on a daily basis. I now know that my name can be spelled in at least seven different ways: Rachell, Rachelle, Reychel, Raychelle, Richelle, Ritcil, Rashel, among other variations.

Filipinos like names that are Western-sounding but also hate giving their kids a ‘common’ name. To remedy this, some parents choose to make ‘alternative spellings and names morph like mutant X-men: ‘Jessica’ would become ‘Jyssikah’, ‘Caitlyn’ becomes ‘Kaetlynn’, or ‘Adrian’ becomes ‘Aedryanne’.

While I laud the creativity, I feel bad for the kid for problems they’ll encounter in the future on the butchered name department. It will be annoying filling up those government forms, or ordering a venti cup from Starbucks. Teaching them their Alpha-Bravo-Charlies early will definitely come in handy.


‘The Art of the Name…’

How do parents come up with their baby’s name–particularly, Filipino parents? Filipinos are known to have really quirky naming skills. No one seems to flinch about peculiar names in this country because we grew up to all the weirdness all our lives. You only realize how weird the names are when taken from a foreigner’s perspective (such as by Matthew Sutherland).

During the Spanish times, it was customary to name children based on the feasts of saints celebrated during that day. That is why it’s not uncommon for our grandparents to have names such as Natividad, Asuncion, Concepcion, Lourdes, and even Circumcision (there is a thing known as The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord back in the day!)

My son Caleb was born on Christmas day, to which people in the Philippines would often respond ‘You should have named him ‘Emmanuel’. Ironically, both my brother and father are named ‘Noel’, but neither were even born during Christmas season.

Other odd naming practices in the country: If you come from a Filipino family, we all have an uncle or male relative named ‘Boy’–and a tita named ‘Girlie‘, ‘Baby‘ or ‘Babes‘. The Filipino-Chinese have the preference of putting the suffix ‘-son’ in their names. Names such as ‘Benson’, ‘Harrison’ or ‘Johnson’ are popular among the Filipino-Chinese community. My personal favorite is the ‘themed families’; who name their children after fruits, seasons, virtues, superheroes, desserts or Beatles band members. So if you know a guy named ‘Newton’, he probably also has a sister named ‘Marie Curie’. I am saying this with a straight face.

‘…And Nicknames’

Nicknames are an integral part of the Filipino culture. Have you ever had a friend who everyone refers to by their nickname that no one really knows what their real name really was? I have a good friend named ‘Poopie‘ whom I met back in college– but seriously didn’t know her real name for years until she added me on Facebook. (I remember proclaiming ‘Who the hell is Michelle?’ when I got her friend request.

Filipinos like to make nicknames out of everything. Repeating syllables is a form of endearment, so common Filipino nicknames include ‘Len-len’, ‘Bam-bam’, ‘Dan-dan’, ‘Mik-mik’, the list goes on. Our current president is better known to the public as ‘Noynoy’. And even if you have a short name like ‘Seth’, your friends will call you by a longer nickname, ‘Set-Set’.

And then we also see the trend of ‘combining’ names to make up new names. Jomari is the offspring of Jose and Maria, and Gracniel’s parents were probably named ‘Grace’ and ‘Daniel’. My former school principal was called Luzviminda after Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. How else did current Vice President Jejomar Binay get his name but by combining Jesus, Joseph and Mary together?

President Noynoy and VP Jejomar

A two-syllable name that’s short, concise and unnickname-able–that’s what I wanted for my baby. Unfortunately some of his cheeky ninongs have started calling him ‘Leb-leb’ and even ‘Taleb‘.

He’ll probably acquire a few more nicknames from family and friends as he grows older.

(P.S., I don’t hate unique names. I love them! Like what Sutherland said, imagine if we live in a world full of John Smiths, life would be so boring, won’t it?) 😄

Cebu Pacific travel hacks

This post was written on 2015.

I’m a frequent flyer of budget airlines including Cebu Pacific, but I’m not gonna lie: I had my own share of Cebu Pacific horror stories. I’ve waited six hours on the airport because of delays. I’ve been left by the plane (even if I was on time). A rude Korean passenger had constantly kicked my airline seat because he didn’t appreciate the plane’s legroom, so I decided to recline my seat to annoy him further. Because I can be nice like that sometimes.

Despite all my bad experiences, I still fly Cebu Pacific, because, why the hell not? No one can beat the CebPac rates. I’m a Cebu Pacific trooper since 2006 and I have seen great improvement on service and support throughout the years.

If you can’t beat Cebu Pacific, what can you do? Do damage control and mitigate (a word I just learned and so badly want to use!). Read through this blog to have future pleasurable flights through some important travel hacks and tips I’ve learned from my constant flights.

  • How to Avoid Delayed Flights

Per my experiences, domestic flights across all local airlines are almost always delayed from 15 to 90 minutes. That’s perfectly normal and something expected in the Philippines due to air traffic congestion, late arrival of aircraft from origin, among others.

The simplest solution is to take the first flight. The first flight is an originator flight, meaning it begins at your specific airport, meaning you won’t be waiting for your aircraft coming from another destination to arrive. A few minutes delay in the first wave of flights will mean delay in subsequent flights throughout the day.

Flying earlier in the day provide a lot of benefits. Sure, waking up before sunrise is hard, but that’s the only most difficult thing. I normally fly between 4am to 6am, or the first wave of flights for a number of reasons: to bypass traffic on the road, less people on the flight, flight crew still on a better mood (not yet sapoton), on-time flights, and these first flights often offer the cheapest rates.

  • How to Book Promo Flights

I’ve heard a lot of people whine that Cebu Pacific piso fares as scams or deceptive marketing strategies. Here’s what I got to say to the skeptics: the piso fare deal is real. I’ve booked piso fare flights countless times. Piso fare flights seem elusive to more people than others–you need to be smart and quick to get these flights!

Piso fares do get sold out quick. I constantly check Cebu Pacific’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts just to be ahead of everyone. The Cebu Pacific website is on my browser’s main web pages. What disorder do you call ardent stalking and an obsessive need to find promo flights? Because, I probably have that.

BTW, piso fare is only the base rate, and does not include other additional fees such as tax, VAT, web admin fee, baggage allowance, etc. It is still cheap however. To give you a good overview, here’s an estimate of roundtrip flights I’ve bought or seen during Cebu Pacific promos:

  • Cebu to Manila: Php 1,500
  • Cebu to Hong Kong: Php 3,000
  • Cebu to Singapore: Php 3,500
  • Manila to Sydney: Php 6,000
  • Manila to Dubai: Php 9,000
  • Manila to Siem Reap: Php 4,000

As of 2015, Cebu Pacific has also removed the fuel surcharge on all promo flights, in line with decreasing fuel prices worldwide.

No one knows when a promo fare comes out, but based on observation I often expect them to come out on Philippine holidays, and they usually make the promo announcements on ungodly hours like 12am-3am.

Sometimes, I could get the promo on a flight to a destination, but have a hard time getting the same promo offer on the return flight. If I can’t find a good return rate, I just buy a one-way ticket and worry about buying the return flight on the next seat sale.

Another tip: when I travel to Europe, I normally book a promo flight from Cebu to Hong Kong and then find another budget airline that can take me from HK to European cities for cheap (as low as 25,000php round trip!)

  • Check in Luggage or Hand Carry?

Prepaid baggage is a wise option to get as excess baggage rates are steep (especially for international flights). I’m a light traveler, so I can normally just backpack and skip check-in luggage. Most airlines allow a carry-on maximum of 7kg. To be safe, I sometimes purchase luggage on the return flight because my carry-on weight increases– dirty laundry is always heavier, plus additional shopping and pasalubong items add to the pile.

Trust me, I’ve begged another Filipino to place my excess items to his check-in luggage. I was refused and the nerve of him because he did not even look anything like JM de Guzman. Won’t work, it only happens in the movies.

(Additional note: Although to be fair, if someone asks you to place items in your luggage, it is wise to refuse, else you could be the next trafficking victim)

  • How to Avoid Missing a Flight 

You’re not a true traveler if you’ve never missed a flight. So far, I’ve missed one domestic flight (Cebu-Cagayan) and one international flight (Dubai-London) for different reasons, both which I traveled with family. I never missed a flight when traveling solo, probably because I’m more aware and accountable for myself when I’m alone haha.

Missing a flight is inconvenient, expensive and annoying. Missing a flight can get you stranded at the airport for several hours to a day. It’s something I never want anyone to experience, so here are tips on how to avoid missing a CebPac flight:

  • The most obvious tip: don’t stay too far from your gate. After going through check-in, immigration and security checks and once you’re inside the terminal, don’t get distracted about getting food or looking at duty-free shops. The first thing you need to do is to locate your gate number. Once you’ve found it, you can probably do your own thing if you still have extra time. But don’t stay too far away from your gate and be wary of any intercom announcements.
  • For connecting flights, allow at least 4 hour time allowance in between flights. Domestic flights are notorious for delays, and you need at least two hours to check in for international flights, go through immigration and security checks.
  • 5J vs TG. Know your Terminal number–especially when in NAIA. Most Cebu Pacific flights are in T3, but since the TigerAir and Cebu Pacific merger, you will now have to check if your flight is a 5J (Cebu Pacific) or a TG (TigerAir). TG flights are in NAIA 4.
  • Should I Get a GetGo Card?

GetGo is CEB’s newest rewards program for frequent fliers where you can earn GetGo points when flying Cebu Pacific. Through the points you can also earn free flights.

Those who were already signed up for CEB Club become automatic GetGo Members. Non-CEB Club members can become GetGo members by paying the initial membership fee of P150.

I am now a GetGo member but still waiting for my card to arrive via mail. I haven’t converted points for free flights yet, so I’ll reserve judgement as of now (but I will update you soon). It’s worth a try to get a GetGo card, there’s nothing to lose. Currently, they are still on beta mode and improving the system and partnering with more merchants to create a more pleasant lifestyle program for their members.


So there you go–some CebPac Travel Hacks that can improve the quality of our flight experience. Let’s make every flight count!

(DISCLAIMER: These insights are based on my personal experiences and may not reflect the experience of other travelers.)

How to apply for your baby’s Philippine Passport

This post was written on 2014.

At some point, a mother will start to worry about applying for their child’s passport. Maybe you needed to see family or friends abroad. Or maybe you just want to take your little one to Disneyland! Summer is around the corner and travel is the best experience you can give to your child. I got my baby’s passport when he was barely two months old so that he can visit family abroad.

caleb at 5 months old, macau to cebu flight

By the way, I applied for his passport more than a year ago so my memory is kinda foggy on details. I do remember that it was quick and easy though–I remember being in the DFA center and leaving for only 30 minutes! I am surprised that the Philippine agency is very baby-friendly and convenient.

Starting this July 2016, the only walk-in applicants allowed will be infants, PWD, senior citizens and pregnant women. Other applicants will have to apply and book an appointment online. To find out, read my blog post on How to Apply for a Philippine Passport Online.

I. Requirements

  • Personal Appearance – you’ll need to bring your baby to DFA as applicant. Either of the parent must also be present (if legitimate) or the mother (if illegitimate).
  • You don’t need a confirmed appointment – minors ages below 7, senior citizens, pregnant women and handicapped can come right in and go to the courtesy lane.
  • Birth Certificate – an original NSO birth certificate will suffice. When I applied, Caleb’s NSO birth certificate wasn’t available in NSO yet (him being born a month or so ago). I had to bring his original birth certificate and had it certified at the Local Civil Registrar.
Local Civil Registrar in Cebu City
Local Civil Registrar in Cebu City
  •  NSO Marriage Certificate of Parents (if married)

    – If the parents are married, minor applicant will need a parent’s consent letter from both parents. If the parents are not married, minor applicant will only need a consent from the responsible parent (usually the mother).

  • Original and photocopy of passport of the person traveling with the minor.

– Original passport and copy of either parent will do or of mother (if illegitimate).

  • Notarized Affidavit of Support and Consent to Travel

– You will need a notarized affidavit from both parents (if legitimate) or mother (if illegitimate). I had the  notarized by my good lawyer friend Atty. Janjan Perez.

Additional Requirements:

  • If the child or minor applicant is not traveling with both his parents, you will need additional requirements:
    • Travel clearance form issued by DSWD. Original and photocopy will be required (blog post to follow on how to secure this)
      • Note that minors will not need to acquire the DSWD clearance if parents are living abroad or are immigrants, or in the Foreign service. Proof needs to be provided that parent/s are living abroad.
    • Affidavit of Support and Consent by either parent (mother, if illegitimate)
    • Passport copy of the person the child will be traveling with.

II. Appointment

DFA in Cebu is located at the 4th Level, Pacific Mall – Metro Mandaue, U.N. Avenue, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines.

Pacific Mall – Metro Mandaue

Since Caleb was still an infant, he didn’t need a scheduled appointment. The perks of being a baby mean that you can bypass the long queues of disgruntled applicants through the Courtesy Lane. It won’t save you from their dagger looks, but cut them some slack for they’ve probably been queuing up since 4am. The courtesy lane accepts babies, senior citizens, pregnant women and handicapped applicants. I haven’t tried this (but I have thought of it), you can push it even further and try to apply for your child’s and your passport renewal. (hehe)

Step 1: Make sure to come to DFA with all the documents complete and organized to make the passport application process swift and hassle-free. Bring original copies and photocopies of all required paperwork. Once you enter, the guard will give you an application form you need to fill up. Just wait inside for a few minutes and once you’re up, submit your documents and form to the official assigned who will review them and make sure documents are in order.

Isn’t he big for a one-month-something old?
Big and strong too! 🙂

Step 2: Line up to give payment at the cashier. It’s Php 950 for regular processing and Php 1,200 for 7 days express processing. As of writing, express processing is temporarily ceased and the regular processing takes a minimum 6 weeks. Waiting times will be much shorter and you will be directed to pay at the courtesy lane. After you’re done with payment, you will be given a number and directed to another room where the applicant’s picture will be taken.

Step 3: Picture-taking time. Process is again fast and painless as there were probably 30 or so counters in front–in a few minutes, we were asked to go to a counter to have baby’s picture taken. Being only two months old, he could not sit up on his own yet so he had to be laid down in the table in a blanket. If you’re worried about hygiene issues, you can bring your own light blue blanket.

Picture-taking took a longer time than expected. The applicant had to be looking at the camera with eyes open. That’s not exactly easy for an infant to do (especially if he’s sleepy or hungry!)–so the person in charge had to take several pictures and sighed in frustration.

We finally got Caleb to look at the camera after a dozen attempts. It wasn’t a very flattering photo (he looked like a mochi!) and wanted the staff to try again… but the guy didn’t want to be bothered. We left DFA roughly thirty minutes when we came in–I honestly didn’t expect it would be that easy!

Step 4: Waiting time. I didn’t opt for the delivery service so I came back to DFA exactly 6 weeks after application. I got it as promised. Thank you DFA for a swift and easy process for the little ones!

Doesn't he look like a mochi?
Doesn’t he look like a mochi?

Old-school gangsta pirates in the Philippine islands

It is amazing how the Spanish walls, made from stone or quicklime with egg whites as mortar still survive centuries after, despite constant visiting typhoons and earthquakes. Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) wasn’t as lucky.

Old Spanish forts like Fort San Pedro and this one in Kota Park, Madridejos, Bantayan (pictured) might look like ruins to most people, but they served an important purpose centuries ago.



The old Spanish forts and churches were built so sturdily to protect the natives from kidnapping. Muslim raiders / pirates used to come at night and steal girls and boys to be sold off to slavery. Slavery was the biggest and most profitable industry during its hay days. If it weren’t for these forts our folks might have ended up in Slaver’s Bay and be one of Khaleesi’s Unsullied.

Speaking of pirates, the more famous pirates are those in the Caribbean Sea, such as the Blackbeard, Capt. Henry Morgan and Jack Sparrow, and that drink that destroyed my friends last Valentines eve.

My knowledge on pirates is still a bit limited, but I have read somewhere that pirates then rarely get gold and other valuable treasures in their expeditions. Pirate booty mostly comprised of items from trade ships: barrels of cotton, sugar, animal hides, rice and spices. Imagine that, Blackbeard the King of Sugar Smuggling. Not so gangsta after all.

Although pirates are now romanticized by movies and media, pirates are still just low life robbers stealing off from honest traders and merchants at sea.

(This is a reblog from my old blog in Tumblr blog back in 2012)