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The quest to clear out the 2016 queue continues!


I love Thailand!!! So much!!! After Japan (and the Philippines, of course), Thailand is my favorite country in Asia.

It’s like a bigger and more advanced Manila. The weather’s largely the same (a bit cooler, I think). But the metro’s so functional and the highways had less traffic. And the shopping! I want to go back every year just to buy clothes.

And, as always, thank you to my mom for funding this trip.

In Thailand, we lost:

  • Money while shopping in Pratunam and eating all the food (seriously, I only had THB100 to spend the last day)
    • It was only when I got back to Manila that my mom stated the obvious: I could have used my credit card all along. Ha!
  • Our way… AT LEAST THRICE:
    • Our cabbie (I think going from Bangkok to Bangna) couldn’t find our hotel or even the correct exit from the highway, so we spent 30 nauseating minutes going around U-turns. Tip to future self: Invest in a Thai phone number, and contact the hotel ASAP when something like this happens.
    • Our tuktuk driver drove us through Chulalongkorn University unnecessarily, though I’m not sure if he ripped us off or he genuinely didn’t know where to take us.
    • And on foot, we couldn’t find the flower market. Damn that flower market. 
  • My chance at being called anything more than an Asian Octofinalist. Too soon? Too soon.

But at least we got photos (80% of which were of food/us eating). Top of my things-to-do-in-Thailand was finding the most photogenic plate of Pad Thai; I think I nailed it.

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More photos under the cut!

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Australia 2016: #LifeDownUnder

AUSTRALIA. What can I say? From efficient transportation to a hint of the great wild, everything’s within reach when you’re in the Land Down Under.

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I love both Melbourne and Sydney (with Melbourne taking the lead). It’s easy to go around either city, and there’s no end to the attractions you can go to. You can walk a few blocks and find yourself in a museum, library or other; and it takes just a train or a short ferry ride to get to the beach or zoo.

But while I love it, I do have some reservations, mainly on aboriginal rights.


Is it offset by the fact that the people we met were progressive about immigration and LGBT rights? Probably not.


Trip Highlights


According to my trusty Alunsina journal, my must-see list for Melbourne included:

  • Melbourne Museum (apparently the largest in the southern hemisphere)
  • National Gallery of Victoria (for the Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibit!)
  • Victorian Arts Centre
  • Collins & Spring Streets
  • Old Melbourne Gaol
  • St. Kilda Beach
  • Flinders Street Station


For Sydney, this was my list:

  • Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House (duh)
  • Circular Quay and Writer’s Walk
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Darling Harbour
  • Dixon St. (Chinatown)
  • The Rocks
  • Taronga Zoo
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens

I recommend every place we went to. For more details and photos of the places we did go to, read on! :)

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Food: Angeles x Clark

{ Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy | Cafe Fleur | Jangsoo Korean Restaurant | Hues at Park Inn by Radisson Clark | Patchawaran’s Thai Restaurant }

Thank you to everyone who made this food trip possible: my mom (technically the birthday celebrant), my brother (the driver), my sister, and our generous and lovely tita b and ate m. Pampanga was awesome. I’ll return someday to see sights other than the yummy food!

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Bali / 2015

The best cure for Post-Tournament Syndrome is Pre-Tournament Syndrome.*

Jimbaran Bay stretched out to the horizon. My memories, too, had no beginning and no end. 

This is what Bali taught me: in the life of a traveller, some experiences aren’t just moments, to be fondly recalled but mostly forgotten. Sometimes they’re Moments —circumstances, conditions and coincidences that happen and make you think this can only happen once and this will never happen again. The sound of locals laughing with us, the scars we bore as witnesses to our forays into surfing, and our worthy struggles through the winding steps of cliffside temples all said the same thing. We were alive. 

The quote above is reworked from an essay I submitted to a travel blog way back when the memories were still fresh. It’s a bit harder now to recall the emotions that I felt so viscerally during our stay in Bali, but luckily I have photos, videos and a traveller’s journal to consult. 

I decided now to finally post something about our trip to Bali (which was almost a year ago) because the Thailand UADC is coming up, and I still have to blog about our Australia trip as well. I thought I might as well clear up my queue, and at the same time work out my Post-Tournament Syndrome (the Philippine Inter-Collegiate Debate Championships just finished; see my post here).

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  1. Thank you to my mother, my kindest financer, who until now, despite all my failures, is still paying for my trip to Thailand and, presumably, my med school education. 
  2. I love UPMDC. I love how comfortable I can be with them, how accepting they can be of my quirks. Travelling (on a full stomach and on well-rested feet) with you guys is the best. By extension, the family members of UPMDC who treated us to dinner were also the best. 
  3. Bali is amazing. The public transportation may not be good, but the atmosphere was still pretty friendly, and there’s a whole (relatively cheap) business of travel tours going around. 

I miss the beach. 


And yeah, we broke in UADC. I’m proud to have lost out in octos to the eventual grand finalist of the tournament (and ultimate cuties). I loved the atmosphere in the tournament. Everyone was so relaxed, and I got to make some friends! Hope to repeat it (and do more) this year!


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Four Hours in Manila

Cures for a restless heart: a mani-pedi, a yummy buffet, and travelling.
Today I took myself out on a date in my own city. Here’s what I saw walking around Manila (within four hours).


CONTENTS | A Walking City | The National Library | National Museum and the Museum of the Filipino People | Oh ManilaCONTENTS



A couple of days back, I was lamenting how Manila City is such an inaccessible city for tourists (and for pedestrians in general). Among many things, we don’t provide comprehensive tourist guides –though I do like the ones produced by TeamManila and 5 Ports (check them out here: x), and those made by online bloggers– and we don’t exactly provide a safe touring environment. We also don’t have a sensible public transportation system (yet), and I hazard tourists must be so happy our taxis are relatively cheap. Well. Everything’s relatively cheap.

I also lamented the fact that Manila wasn’t a walking city (though on this one, as I have now discovered, I was wrong). I wanted to live in a city where interesting and important places like parks and museums, libraries and state institutions are within walking distance of each other. I thought of the Free Walking Tours we took in Melbourne and Sydney, and all the walking tours my sister took as she gallivanted across Europe years ago.

Well, I’ve been living in Manila City for four years and studying here for fifteen, and I finally decided to check out our National Library. And I discovered something amazing.

The National Library, or “Pambansang Aklatan”, is literally just five minutes away from where I live. And a lot of things are in proximity: Luneta Park, the National Museum, the San Diego Garden, Roxas Boulevard, the Manila Ocean Park. This is ridiculous. It even looks like the walled city of Intramuros is just another five minutes away.

Mind = blown. Despite its unforgiving weather, Manila is a walking city. I just never bothered to check. So the place I usually walk around in, with a state university and the premiere state hospital, the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, the National Bureau for Investigations, and even the Museum of a History of Ideas, is just a stone’s throw away from Colonial Manila.

I’m so amazed. I should have walked here sooner. [1]

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I’m not exaggerating when I say the National Library of the Philippines (hereafter referred to as “NLP”) is one of the worst libraries I’ve ever been to. As a lover of books, knowledge and silence, I was deeply traumatized.

Allow me to rant.

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#SadLife (not really)

I’ve got a new life mascot! M bought me a cute plush chain Sadness (from the Pixar film Inside Out) from the toy convention this weekend.

Context: When Inside Out first came out, I was the saddest thing in the world. I was so depressed (I think it was because of an issue with my writing? I don’t remember), and my friends dragged me to watch the film to cheer me up. I appreciated the film, and I appreciated all the jokes after which cast me as Sadness.

I’m embracing my #SadLife. Lol.

She first debuted as me debating inside the Conference Room. Aren’t I cute?

A rare photo of me debating inside the Conference Room. ⭐⭐⭐

A photo posted by Jari Monteagudo (@jarimonty) on Mar 11, 2016 at 6:59am PST


And then she was so dismayed at the price of my meds. (I’ve been sick with cold this past week.)
Even the prospect of food stresses Sadness out.

I haven’t blogged about it yet, but I’m going to Australia for Holy Week with my family! Watch out for my travel adventures under the tag ‘Life Down Under’!

Good morning!

(Still sick, but on the mend though.)

ArtLit, Blog, Essays, Travel

Jari x 2015

Fifteen minutes to the new year. Time for a 2015 recap!
People x Art x Travel x Advocacy

x People

This year, I learned that relationships don’t always have to be quick and intense, or (conversely) slow-burning and infrequent to be sustainable. I found my time occupied by new and old friends I somehow managed to not get tired of.

So here’s an enthusiastic hurrah for the people who made 2015 awesome, from old friends to new ones, from orgmates to family members. I love you all.

x Art

This year, I’ve done quite a fair bit in terms of my craft. I made good use of the calligraphy set my sister gave, I began to paint watercolor portraits, and I wrote lots of poetry. I even joined (and lost) more essay contests!

And to gain more inspiration, I visited more museums and watched more performance art shows. I learned to stop and smell the roses.

x Travel

This year, my travel diary became quite full. From our unforgettable trip to Japan (x), to the even more unforgettable Bali trip (no blog post yet), to our last-minute Baguio trip two weeks ago –the world had a lot to offer this 2015. I’m looking forward to even more moments in 2016!

x Advocacy

And not to forget the things I believe in: love. This year, I became more aware of the plight of the Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. I also learned more about intersectional representation, more forms of oppression, and life in general. And I’ve made more of an effort to feature Philippine culture, art and music in this blog, because our country has a lot of wonderful things to offer. #LabanPilipinas #Art

I did a lot of growing up in 2015, and I have a lot of people and moments to thank for it. Here’s to a whole new year of falling in love with life!

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日本 2015: Universal Studios Japan

Last hurrah. Universal Studios Japan, late night dinner and a flight back to Manila.



There will be a lot of people in the theme park (this is a real tip I’m serious). I think it’s because many of the students and whatever have annual passes already, so they could all go together after school or work every other day, idk. The point is that there’s a lot of competition in terms of getting tickets to Universal Studios (they bar entry when the park has already reached capacity) and to the specific rides. 

We made sure to buy tickets before getting there —otherwise, best case scenario, you’d have to line up for an eternity and miss the chance to ride a lot of attractions later on. Universal Studios tickets can be purchased online or at select JR ticketing booths (just ask a tourist info personnel).

Lastly, make sure to run the moment the gates are open and head over to the timed ticketing area for the Wizarding World (otherwise you may not even get in!)

Day 10

THEME PARKS Universal Studios Japan

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日本 2015: Osaka

A possibly relatively short post on the things we did in Osaka (Day 1).



Osaka has a different vibe from Tokyo  (naturally), even though they are both developed and populous cities. For one thing, I actually saw reasonably priced grocery stores out in the open in Osaka. The people may also be a little less tourist-friendly, but they’re not bad! Promise. 

Day 9 


Osaka Station is also really big –like, seriously. I’m not sure if these shots were taken in Osaka or Namba or Nankai or whatever, but I am sure that getting one place to another was a long walk, we passed by so many side stores, bakeries and even a gallery or two.

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日本 2015: Kyoto

This admittedly long blog post covers our time in Kyoto. Featuring bus rides, temples, shrines and rainy days.



It’s a walking/cycling/bus-riding city! Familiarize yourself with the system. You can choose to go on the subway/railway lines, but we were told that they aren’t as comprehensive or on-the-spot as the buses are. You’d have to walk a little bit more after a train ride to get anywhere. 

Next, be sure to review what temples you want to go to before getting to Kyoto. I mean, there are a lot of temples in Kyoto and they are all beautiful, but if your schedule is a bit tight, be sure to go to the ones which are most breathtaking (like Kiyomizudera —which we weren’t able to visit, boo). 

Also, the streets surrounding the busier tourist sites (basically any place with temple) are filled with authentic street-style food stands and quality souvenir shops. Be sure to check them out! 

Day 7 

CULTURE Kyoto Imperial Palace

We were very lucky to find this palace open when we visited. Apparently it is closed to visitors on some days —so be sure to check your schedule


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