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.

Jakarta Wedding Festival 2012 videos (backstage and shows)

Posted in Modeling World by Farah Ramos on September 9, 2012

An experience that I will never forget… being a bride at the Jakarta Wedding Festival 2012 for 8 times!

JULIA SPOSA and KEBAYA shows:

PHANGSANNY Show:

Thanks so much to Dendi Oktariadi of Fame Managament, Indonesia.

Halo, Bandung!

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on August 16, 2012

BANDUNG is the largest city in West Java province in Indonesia.  It is the home of outlet stores so Jem and I made it a point to include this visit in my itinerary!

After the almost 3-hour land trip from Jakarta, we were already starving. Our first stop was Paris Van Java where we dined at a Japanese resto called Zenbu.

The Tendon looks so delish!

It was time to tour around Paris Van Java after eating!

Again, we spotted “Talaga,” a famous local restaurant. Talaga is named after Lake of Talaga. It was amusing since “talaga” is also a Tagalog word which means “really” or to affirm:

Me, walking around… checking out the stores:

Mayasari Oleh Oleh Bandung. “Oleh oleh” is souvenir:

This ad caught our attention:

Spotted a cute goat:

After hours of walking, we went to Kopi Lay to rest for a while we got fascinated with the interior:

Choclat bun and ES lemon te:

Jem and I, the tired tourists, haha!

 To complete our whole Bandung experience, we went to Cihampelas Walk. It’s their version of Baguio… colder than the other cities in the country and pine trees all over. And we didn’t get to take pictures (so I lifted the photo below from the Internet) because we did some serious window shopping and real shopping! 🙂

Terimah kasih, Andre for bringing us to Bandung!

JAKARTA at Night!

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on August 9, 2012

It was Ramadan when I went to Jakarta so bars and clubs were already closed at 12midnight… 1am max.

Wanna know some places to go to for a fun night-out in Jakarta? Here you go…

Publo is a Spanish-inspired bistro bar located in Kemang (right across McDonald’s). Jem and I went there twice because of the very funny and entertaining Dewi (the owner of the bistro bar). Publo serves a delicious variety of foods. My favorite is the Tiger Prawns with Bacon Jacket, sooooo yummy. For dessert, I love the rainbow cakes and red velvet cupcakes, sooooo delish!

They had acoustic nights on those two times we were there. Those were Wednesday and Thursday. Jem and I requested a song and indicated that it was from us, from the Philippines! We were surprised when, all of a sudden, the percussionist spoke in Tagalog. Later we found out that he’s half Indonesian, half Pinoy. We were so in the mood to speak in Tagalog that night since we were already having a headache due to the lack of Bahasa-speaking skills. Not only that people kept speaking in Bahasa in front of us, there were also some Japanese that we met whom we tried speaking with in Nihonggo. Imagine the headache! Look at our genuine smiles with our fellow Pinoy, Marko of Mike’s Apartment:

A few days before my flight back home, Jem and I went to Fable. The place was almost full of kiddos when we went there so Jem and I decided to just dance the night away and forget about the crowd!

It was Krystyna and Jem at Fable on the first part of the video because I was a loser that night, I decided to stay in. Towards the end though, you’ll see me and Jem dancing at the same place:

Fable from Farah Ramos on Vimeo.

On my first night-out in Jakarta, Jem and Krystyna took me to Skye. Just like our Skye Lounge in Makati, Skye in Jakarta also has an amazing view of the city but unlike it, the one in Jakarta is way smaller. Here’s a photo of Jem and Krystyna while I was chatting with some new-found friends inside:


And of course, after a long tiring night, I was starving! Our new friend, Adrian, took us to Menteng. It was one of the best places I’ve been to in Jakarta because we got to the try the street food! Watch out for my next post about these CRAZY and DELICIOUS foods!

Jakarta, Indonesia (Day 2 – Visit to the Cathedral and meeting our “Ketut”)

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on July 25, 2012

Sunday, 22 July 2012 – Jem and I decided to head to the cathedral in Monas after our trip to the National Museum. This is what welcomed us when we went down the taksi (taxi).

Too bad the doors were already closed. We won’t be able to go inside and pray.

So Jem and I went to the area were you could light candles. That was where we prayed… until an old man approached us and asked if we wanted to go inside the cathedral. Of course we did! So he got the keys and toured us inside. Unfortunately, all the good photos are in Jem’s camera since I was only using my iTouch.

It’s really beautiful inside thanks to the architect of the cathedral, Marius Hulswit from Holland.

Here are some photos taken by Jem inside the cathedral:

 

After the tour and praying, our new friend named Soenario Sofian offered us a ride going wherever we intended to go. As always, I was hungry. He ,together with his pal Benny took us to a famous Chinese restaurant for their noodles at Passar Baru.

“S-tee,” is a brand of iced tea. Photos on the left are the meatballs, soup, and noodles. It tasted great!

Here’s our photo with our “Ketut” in Jakarta, Soenario. We met him at the cathedral, took us to Passar Baru for some noodles, and after that we went to Central Park where we had window shopping and dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

Here’s a photo with the annoying Benny in front of his car.

Jem and I were so tired after our tour today. We’re very grateful for having a chance to meet our “Ketut.” He helped us without asking for anything in return. It was pure and genuine kindness and generosity. He even offered to give us a ride to Bandung but we decided not to push through with it because it’s already too much. But we hope we’d get to treat Soenario one of these days to return the favor.

End of Day 2.

Jakarta, Indonesia Trip (Day 2 – in the morning)

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on July 24, 2012

July 22, 2012 – Jem Austria and I took a field trip to the National Museum in the morning.

Re-visited the old times:

This is probably their “bath tub” during their time.

My favorite photo among the bunch. Maybe this is how they create art during their time.

How’s my version? 🙂

TRADITIONAL HOUSES

Look what I found! The sorting hat of Hogwarts! LOL! :))

Right! A turban, suit, and malong? Really?

Imagine wearing this blouse today? It’s the most uncomfortable material for clothing. But I’m not judging them.

Really now? Nowadays, people pay a huge sum of money just to get shiny white teeth. In the old times, they would blacken their teeth.

To end our mini-field trip, two Indonesians approached us. One of them is an English teacher and the other is his 14-year-old student. The teacher wanted the little girl to practice her English with us.

Watch out for my next post about our interesting visit to the cathedral up until how we ended our day.

Before I end this post, I’d like to share some Bahasa words I’ve learned so far:

For directions: Kiri (left), lurus (straight), and kanan (right)

Thank you – Terima kasih

Good night! – Selamat malam!

Jakarta, Indonesia (Day 1)

Posted in Adventures by Farah Ramos on July 23, 2012

It was a 3-hour trip from Manila, Philippines to Jakarta, Indonesia. I couldn’t concentrate on my sleep because two (2) old Americans were talking as if they wanted all the people in the plane to listen to their conversation. It was my first time to travel to an international destination by myself so I was very much excited!

When I got to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, I took a Blue Bird Taxi as instructed by Jem Austria, a friend who lives in Jakarta for 2 months now. I had the biggest mistake of not asking for a metered taxi so I paid 250,000 rupiyah going to my hotel. Anyway, the taxi driver spoke good English which made me feel welcome here in Indonesia.

Blessing Residence, the place where I’m staying, is actually a guest house. It’s really not a hotel. It’s actually pretty hard to locate, so I had to trust the taxi driver. The place wasn’t bad at all! Here’s a photo of the lobby:

I arrived at 1:30 am Indonesian time (Philippines is 1 hour ahead) so I just unloaded some of my stuff, went online for a while, then went to bed. I didn’t wake up til lunch so I ordered food at the roof deck. I knew Indonesian cuisine is spicy so I instructed the waiter not to make it spicy… but still… It tasted so good but I just couldn’t take spicy foods. I was fighting off my tears while eating, it was a first haha!

After eating, I decided to go to the mall. So I went back to my room and prepare for my first adventure here in Jakarta:

I asked the receptionist on options on how to get to Ambassador Mall just here in Kuningan. It was either a taxi or Ojek (motorcycle taxi). I chose the latter since I didn’t wanna spend much on transportation. I went back to my room to change into my pants. I paid 30,000 rupiyah for the Ojek ride.

An adventure indeed! If the jeepney drivers are the “kings of the road” in the Philippines, it’s the ojek drivers in Indonesia. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to capture photos during my ride. It was really an interesting experience. They have even smaller streets… streets you won’t imagine any mode of transportation could pass through. I won’t forget the 1-meter wide street beside a river. CRAZY! Anyway, here’s a photo before me and ojek driver took off:

Apart from a cute sleeveless shirt, accessories, and a vest, there wasn’t much beautiful items at the Ambassador Mall. I was a bit taken aback by the prices. It looks like Divisoria but the prices were a more expensive. So I took an ojek again going to Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia. I paid 25,000 rupiyah for the ride. Here’s a shot I took of Plaza Indonesia. I couldn’t take more photos since I was too excited to go inside:

And here’s the view from Plaza Indonesia:

Found these traditional Indonesian instruments. Don’t I look like a local here? 😛

I was pretty amazed with their food court. It looked extraordinary. It wasn’t just a simple area with chairs in the middle. I felt like I was in a castle. Look at this shot:

After hours of alone time, I went back to the guest house to freshen up. Jem followed me there… then off we went to the mall and I found “TALAGA” restaurant. In Tagalog, it means “indeed.”

After dinner, we decided to just stay at Jem’s apartment, grabbed some Blueberry-flavored Vodka first then spent some bonding time. Right before my last sip, I dozed off…

…end of Day 1