Farah Ramos' Blog

My Pursuit of the Bali Magic

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on March 31, 2017

On my 30thbirthday, I promised myself I’d let go of all my baggage. All the sufferings I’ve experienced for years, all the wasted sacrifices, the shattered dream, and my mistake of choosing a wrong mentor. I had to be reassured that all the stress of the past was part of a higher plan.

I booked myself a week of solo travel in Bali, Indonesia in the hope of healing my worn-out soul. In the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,” Julia Roberts found love in Bali. But for me, I wanted peace of mind to be back in my being.

On my first two (2) days, I got thrilled when my Indonesian friend, Fita Pamela, told me that she also had plans to go to Bali and told me we should go together. She even picked me up from the airport, what a darling! We wasted no time! As soon as we deposited our luggage in the hotel, she toured me around… she drove a rented scooter and I was riding at the back. First we went to Padang-Padang Beach. It was about 40 mins away from our hotel in Kuta. On our way there, I smelled the familiar scent of Indonesia. I don’t know why, but I felt like I was home. I felt like I was within the comforts of a safe zone — no one and nothing to harm me.

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On the way back, we got a flat tire. Fita drove the scooter and I had to walk when we were looking for a vulcanizing shop. Even this couldn’t kill my vibe. I told Fita, it’s still a good day!

When our scooter was good as new, I was brought to Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Uluwatu. Majority of the population in Bali practice Hinduism and this cultural park is devoted to the Hindu God Vishnu and his mount, Garuda, the mythical bird who became his companion (source: Wikipedia).

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Last stop for the day was the famous Kuta Beach. I didn’t really see the point of all the hype about this beach, to be honest. I didn’t see anything special about it. But still, I enjoyed seeing the sunset, as always!

Farah010.jpgThe next day (and Fita’s last day in Bali), we went to Oceans 27 and Bali Garden Beach Resort just at the back of Discovery Shopping Mall which was a 5-minute walk from our hotel. I loved it. I told myself I have found my perfect spot.

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Meet the cantik (which means beautiful in Bahasa Indonesia), Fita! Thank you very much for showing me around! 🙂

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After that was the beginning of my solo trip. My friend, Michael Lastimosa, introduced me to his friend who’s based in Bali. He was probably scared for me for doing this trip on my own. Hehe! And so I got invited to a beach party in Finn’s Beach Club, Canggu thanks to Oan Sevilla and his boyfriend Nico Nico Mare. Although the DJ wasn’t really good, I had a ball with my new friends. Plus, I met Gary Marsiano and her group! Such cool people! I ended up tagging along with them the whole night. We went to different clubs and finished at around 5am! Haha! I ended up staying at Gary’s house too. Yes, she adopted me!

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The next day, we went to Love Anchor Canggu. And in that instant, I fell in love with Canggu. I should have gone straight there. I love how peaceful and laidback it was. I wish I had a chance to wander more but I had to go back to Kuta.

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On my last night in Kuta, I experienced another “first.” I went to party by myself! Hahaha! I went to Potato Head in Seminyak. I wish I went there a little earlier to witness the sunset. It was one of the best spots to watch it while having a cocktail. Anyway, a few minutes later, someone approached me and we became instant friends! Her name is Melyna and she’s from Mauritius. I really enjoy meeting people and sharing stories with them! Here’s a photo of us:

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And the much-awaited visit to Ubud has finally come! I fell in love with Kuta, then realized I was more in love with Canggu but when I got to Ubud, I knew it was what true love is. Haha!

I stayed in Swan Inn (near Monkey Forest). Later I found out that this is how traditional Balinese houses are. It’s dominated by pavilions and a central courtyard. Each house has different functions. They also have a family shrine in their compound. Ours is a modern version… with the pool and more houses than the original basic houses.

Every single day I was in Ubud, I made sure I go to a Yoga class. I went to Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio, Yoga Barn and Ubud Yoga House (my favorite because it was located in the outskirts of Ubud and you’ll pass by the rice paddies). I felt very calm and relaxed. The practice just brings out optimism, relaxation and positive energies. I loved every single class I took plus I even got to enjoy a beautiful view of the rice paddies and I could hear the sound of nature too.

Another thing I appreciated most about Ubud was that I got my “alone time.” I enjoyed going to restaurants with nice ambience and just read a book I bought in a book sale. I liked eating by myself too without having the need to speak. These are moments I treasure because I like spending time with myself.

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And suddenly I realized I had to see more of Ubud… so I booked a cycling tour. I got to see the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, saw how Luwak Coffee is processed, and I got to cycle around for hours! It was non-stop downhill and a little uphill. We didn’t really use the pedals that much, haha! It even rained but of course I didn’t give in. Good thing there was a couple in our group who wanted to continue the tour as well. I felt so free as I go around with my bicycle!

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On my last day, I had the best yoga experience at Ubud Yoga House and Balinese massage afterwards. I wanted to stay longer but thank goodness I got everything I needed out of this trip.

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Kuta, Uluwatu, and Canggu served as distraction from all the pain and suffering I dealt with during the past years. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every single thing I did but Ubud… Ubud was where I found the Bali Magic. The whole place just brought peace of mind to my lost soul. I realized there will always be people who will drag you down, who will never be happy for your achievements. I also realized I can always build new dreams… dreams that will allow me to be happy. I spent years trying to save a sinking ship. But you can never save a sinking ship with a passenger who doesn’t really care about the ship. It’s just there but it’s letting you save it yourself. Even if you know it can really help you, it still won’t. I got burned out so I just left the ship. I swam and found peace in the ocean until I found the shore. I saved myself.

I thank Bali for casting its spell on me. I got to save myself before I started this trip but I had to save my soul. Yoga and the peaceful vibe in this trip just made me love life once again. The old me who used to be inspired every single day, motivated to work all the time and the me who was full of optimism died… and Bali resurrected my old self. And that to me, is the Bali Magic.

Prepare for Spontaneity: Wandering the Streets of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on October 2, 2013

A SCAREDY CAT LOCKED UP IN HER ROOM FOR 2 DAYS 

September 15-22, 2013 — I booked myself for a week of vacation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve always wanted to be an independent traveler, I want to explore other countries by myself. But I found myself locked up in my hotel room for 2 days. I was scared. Never did I hear a single positive thing about the country. My friends told me it’s boring in KL, that there’s nothing for me to see in the city. Another friend even told me how dangerous it was in there. That she doesn’t wander the streets by herself whenever she’s there for work.

It was not until my 3rd day when I proved that every single negative thing my friends told me wasn’t real. My model friends Kelvin Mangilit and JM Manalang (click on the links to view their Facebook pages) arrived in KL that morning. And I was so giddy that I couldn’t wait any longer to meet up with them. I needed to feel safe in this foreign country. I decided to walk from Cube Hotel in Jalan Pudu. I passed by Bukit Bintang and finally reached Jalan Hang where Arenaa Luxury Hotel, our meeting place, was located.

Jalan Hang was totally different from my area. It looked like a totally different world from my place. The street was clean, there were some Universities there, some nice hotels, and a decent crowd. Aside from that, it’s totally accessible. I would recommend travelers to choose this area in booking their hotel.

Anyway, one of the biggest factors why I believed my friends was that Jalan Pudu, compared to Jalan Hang, appeared shady. There wasn’t any good view from the hotel since the street was under construction. Aside from that, there were beggars on the sidewalks. Indians were also everywhere. Not that I’m afraid of them, but my friends said they were bullies and that they could harm you.

That was my biggest mistake. I let fear overpower me. So the consequence? I wasted my first two days in KL.

Here’s a traveling tip: Never let fear overpower you. Yes, some places could really be dangerous. But can you tell me a place where it is 100% safe? Live life dangerously, my dear friends. That’s where the fun starts.

WHEN GREAT COMPANY TURNS A BORING TRIP INTO AN INTERESTING ONE

Since I was enveloped in fear, my brothers from the modeling world tore my walls of fear. We didn’t waste another minute. We instantly traveled on foot to the Petronas Towers (click the link to get to their website)!

The twin towers were a feast to the eyes. They’re undeniably fascinating. Here are some photos of us at the Petronas Towers in broad daylight:

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With Kelvin and JM:Petronas with towers

Inside the towers:

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And again, we traveled on foot to the KL Tower, the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public.

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The KL Tower served as our pastime to check out how the Petronas Towers looked like at night. Once again, we traveled on foot to the twin towers. Did I mention that the sun sets at 7pm in KL? So we were wandering the streets up until 7pm. Non-stop walking, people! Anyway, here’s a photo with the twin towers at night:

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We walked the whole day. After seeing how beautiful the towers were at night, we went back to our hotel to freshen up and grab a few drinks at a bar nearby for a nightcap. JM and I were ready to call it a night when we reached the hotel but Kelvin convinced us that we had to experience the nightlife in KL. So JM and I dragged ourselves out of the room… but first thing’s first. We realized we haven’t had dinner.

We dined at Bistro Tom Yam. I only remember the Chili Paddi, JM and Kelvin’s favorite. Since I don’t eat anything spicy, I didn’t finish my food. The food was undeniably delish… I blame it on my choosy tongue.  A few exchange of stories after comes…..

THE UNPLANNED SINGAPORE TRIP!

How did this happen? My cray cray friends JM and Kelvin thought their return flight to the Philippines was 3 days after. But thanks to my observant eyes, I remember their return flight… it was 2 days after. So right then and there, we asked Kuri, a waiter at Bistro Tom Yum, where the bus station to Singapore was located. He said it was just right across and that the last trip was at 2am. It was already 1:20am then. So we were back on our feet, brisk walked to our hotel to collect our important stuff and went back to the bus station. Hello to spontaneity! 🙂

5 hours later, we arrived in Singapore! A few more hours passed and we were at the Universal Studios Sentosa!

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It was my 2nd time in Singapore and at the Universal Studios but I was still excited to go there since I didn’t get the chance to ride this huge ass roller coaster. Unfortunately, it was under maintenance. Ugh. 😦

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Oh, haha! Cuz Miley you’re my idol… not!

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Hey baby Shrek!

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Madagascar!

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Welcome to Hollywood!

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Watched the performance of our Kababayans: The Streetboys! Proud to be Pinoy!!!

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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Bye, Universal Studioes, Sentosa! We had a great time!!! 🙂

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You’ll find the man-made beach 2 stations away from Universal Studios. I insisted on going there since I didn’t have the chance to go there on my first SG trip. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this place.

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The bar behind us is called Bikini Bar. Cute name! This area is full of bars. So basically it has a Boracay feel in it, minus the clear blue water. I was only referring to the party scene by the beach.

And in this photo, we were deciding where to go next. And we decided to check out the Marina Bay Sands.

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WHOOPS! No photo at the Marina Bay Sands. Imagine we were on our feet for 2 consecutive days already without getting a proper rest. We found the train going to Marina Bay Sands but the train in SG was so confusing. So we went back and forth and found ourselves at the exact spot were we were. I was almost losing my patience. When we got off to the Marina Bay station, we walked inside the Marina Bay Hotel looking for the spot were we could take a good photo with the hotel as our background. Again, we went back and forth. It took us hours to finally locate the place. And we were already tired by then. I wasn’t in the mood for photos ops anymore.

10pm on the same day, we were on the bus to Malaysia. It was freezing cold in the bus so I had a difficulty falling asleep. But when I finally did, we all woke up 7 hours later. We should have gotten off the bus 2 hours earlier.

It was already 5am when we learned that we were in Ipoh City. We thought it was already a remote area since no one spoke English when in fact people in Malaysia converse well in English. Anyway, good thing we were approached by a taxi driver. He said the only way we could get out of there was via train. The train station opens at 7am so we had to wait for 2 hours. He offered to take us at a nearby famous restaurant.

INTERESTING THINGS HAPPEN AND ARE MEANT TO BE DISCOVERED WHEN YOU’RE LOST

The taxi driver didn’t disappoint us. Restoran Kam Ling is a famous restaurant in the area. And we were welcomed by a friendly waitress (or probably she’s the owner) who spoke a bit of English.

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What do we have for breakfast? :O

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Glutinous sticky rice is my favorite! It’s a sticky rice with a chicken wing inside. It’s really really really yummy!

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Paying for our pasalubong! I got home-made egg tarts for my mom! Yeyyyy!

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Meet the taxi driver! Thanks so much, manong driver, lol!

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Take a peak at their train station. It is spacious, and well I am really amazed with their train system. I felt like I was at the location of Harry Potter (sorry for my exaggeration haha!).

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HERE COMES ANOTHER CHALLENGE!

Two hours later, we were back in Kuala Lumpur. We freshened up at the hotel for a few minutes… I decided to switch into my rubber shoes because by this time, my feet were already killing me!

I was asleep on our way to the Batu Caves. I was exhausted but I just wanted to take on the challenge and also to see the caves. I even fell asleep at the station while waiting for our train. Haha, a stolen photo by JM:

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If I gave in, I wouldn’t have seen this beautiful site. Check that out! And that was our next goal: to climb 272 steps without even having enough rest.

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And so, I made friends with Red Bull! :))

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Inside the Batu Caves, we were all smiling! We did it!!! 🙂

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And of course all good things must come to an end. We were off to Manila that night. We stopped by the hotel to collect our belongings and freshen up. That was when we realized we never really slept in our hotel. We spent our nights at the buses for 3 days.
GOING HOME. We took a bus going to the airport. But before we reach the bus station, we had to walk from our hotel to the KL Station. Luckily, I was with these machos so they carried/ dragged my luggage going to the station. The wheel was broken so you could entirely feel the weight.
All in all, our trip was a 3-day amazing race! Haha! It was full of challenges where we had to test our strategic thinking skills. That’s not all, it also required a lot of patience.
So after that trip, we would always challenge ourselves. And comes our follow-up questions, “are you gonna give up? Are you gonna quit?”
NEVER BE A QUITTER. NEVER GIVE UP. BECAUSE YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN. 🙂