kicking off 2017 with a trip to canada

CANADAAA!! Where do I begin!? Okay, how about when I booked this trip, my first thought was, "I am so going to freeze my butt off but f*ck it. Let's do this." What idiot—especially one who has lived in humid or fairly warm weather all her life—would travel to Canada in one of the coldest months of the year, right? I guess you could say it was a pretty spontaneous decision. I was a little desperate for a drastic change and traveling to the other side of the world seemed like a good idea. And it actually turned out to be the best thing I've done so far this year.

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As I write this, I'm sitting at my desk wearing a flowy, sleeveless dress, the sun is shining through the windows, and it is 32 degrees outside. It is pretty hot today but I normally wouldn't mind this kind of weather. I have always been a summer kind of girl; I would take sweating it out under the sun on a beach any day over cooler weather. But right now, I am missing the cold and the snow. So, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite photos from the trip (and also 'cause this post is looong overdue, hehe).

One of the first places we went to was Kensington Market in Toronto. I promptly fell in love with it mostly because of all the graffiti art but also because of the whole vibe. I definitely felt like if I moved to Canada, I would definitely pick that area to live in or at least frequent.

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

We spotted a guy skateboarding in a Spidey costume, swinging his arms around as if shooting webs from his wrists. I wasn't quick enough to catch a video but it was hilarious (and, to be honest, kinda cool).

On our second trip to Kensington (yes, we went back, haha!), we went into Wanda's Pie in the Sky so my sister and our friend could get some food. Wanda's is a vegetarian cafe (we're not vegetarian though but I do love vegetarian/vegan dishes). I'm so glad we went in because the place was so cute! Come to think of it, I wish we had gone into more restaurants or cafes when we were there. A lot of them must have interesting interiors like Wanda's. I guess I'm just going to have to visit again. 

And then we went to Graffiti Alley. Because...we didn't see enough in Kensington Market? Haha!

Super awesome graffiti art aside, who unzips their coat for a photo in below zero weather? *sheepishly raises hand*

Super awesome graffiti art aside, who unzips their coat for a photo in below zero weather? *sheepishly raises hand*

This wasn't in Graffiti Alley but definitely one of my faves

This wasn't in Graffiti Alley but definitely one of my faves

Obviously, a trip to Canada wouldn't be complete without seeing the Niagara Falls. It. was. STUNNING!! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the video I posted of Horseshoe Falls (the part of the Niagara Falls that's on the Canadian side). I could stare at that body of water for ages if it wasn't so brrrr-ito!

But my absolute favorite part about the whole trip was being able to drive to Blue Mountain Resort where we learned how to snowboard. If you watch my stories on Instagram, you'll know I've become a little obsessed.

Some other highlights from the trip...

See you again real soon, Canada!

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Some photos taken by Iska Lo

traveling to boracay for yoga

Last May, I went to Boracay for an Ashtanga Yoga intensive workshop lead by authorized level 2 teacher, Mozart Reina, or Teacher Mo as his students call him. I was there for ten days and although I wasn't completely all by myself, it was my first time to travel on my own. *half checks off item on bucket list :p* It was actually a trip of firsts since it was also my first time to attend an Ashtanga workshop of any kind and also my first time to practice under an authorized teacher.

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I stayed at a small Airbnb room in Station 3 and would walk to Mandala Spa every morning to practice. Walking into Mandala Spa is basically like walking through the Garden of Eden (or at least how I imagine the Garden of Eden would look like). Calling it beautiful is an understatement.

Kind of hard to start your day on the wrong foot if this was your view every morning, huh?

After practice and lecture, we pretty much had the rest of the day to ourselves. It was nice to get to meet new people and make new friends, as well as get to know some of my teachers more outside of the studio. We would swim, eat, and lay out by the beach. Some days, there was a lot of walking involved (i.e. walking from Station 3 to Station 1 which killed my legs more than Ashtanga ever will). I found time to explore my neighborhood (photos below!) and checked out the restaurants that, to me, weren't the usual tourist spots. Save for Real Coffee and their calamansi muffin because those are a must every time you go to Boracay. A must!

Two of my favorite restaurants were Viveri's (shown below with 'favorite!' scribbled across the photo) and Nagisa. Both were walking distance from where I stayed and they both serve great coffee (Nagisa serves UCC coffee, FTW!) and affordable but yummy meals.

As for the practice, it was pretty intense as expected. I'd never practiced in a room so full! I learned how to meditate and, at first, hated the sitting practice (who knew counting to 21 and back could be so DIFFICULT!) but loved doing my japa. The most challenging part was having to learn how to drop back and stand up on my own after spending months depending on my teachers—begging for them—to assist me. It was scary and it still is a lot of the time. Sometimes I can still hear Teacher Mo's strict but encouraging voice guiding me through it. Haha. I'm nowhere near to perfecting the pose but I'll get there one day. 

I'm so glad I signed up for this workshop. I will always be grateful for this trip and everything it has taught me.

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Practice photos ©Rea Anchores
Group photo ©Anna Manalastas