Strolling the Streets of Hanoi

It was a fine, sunny day of December 24th 2016 when we were bound to Hanoi. I’ve been through a hustle and bustle that morning, because the ATM that I’ve been withdrawing for a long time became fully dysfunctional. Procrastination at it finest; it was my fault for not withdrawing money a day before the trip. I expected the machine to work properly, since it had been doing a great job all this time until the trip. What a coincidence! My heart was trembling out of procrastination and fright, but I still managed to find a functional machine that can work with international cards. Thank God I still managed to drive the e-bike through the busy streets while I’m being preoccupied by my negativity. I was able to drive back to our dormitory fifteen minutes before the service to Hanoi arrived. Phew!


We rented a van which is called New Star Limousine online through the help of our Vietnamese classmate. We were not expecting such an extravagant van, what we expected was just the usual service van. I think we got what we have paid for, great quality and service! We felt like celebrities for a while.


We stayed at Chien Hostel for three days and two nights, sadly I do not have any pictures of the squad while staying there but the accommodation was incredible. The hostel has free breakfast until 8 am, it has a great view, delightful rooms, and for those who drink it has free beers until 10 pm.


Before going to Hanoi, we did a little research of our itineraries; but just like any other trips we were able to find only few of the places. Most of the places that are listed in our to-go list are either too expensive or out of sight. We are still students so we want to be as affordable as possible, so basically what we did was just stroll the streets just like what everybody else did that time.

Basically we just strolled around the lake while taking pictures and enjoying the view of the morning hustle. Vehicles were not allowed to pass on the street around Hoan Kiem Lake maybe because of the holiday season. Then we went to Lotte Observation Deck where we witnessed a blissful night view of Hanoi city, I think we were at the 60th floor that time. It was a frightening height but the view was so captivating it enlightened me. We also celebrated my birthday in the hostel where food was not allowed, but because it was my birthday, they allowed my friends to surprise me. We were also able to do the bean-boozled challenge!

What challenged us the most is the barrier in language. It was so hard for us to communicate with the taxi drivers, and the locals. Overall, it was a blissful experience!

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Check out these travel vlogs for more of our journey!

When in Thanh Hóa


On the 14th day of September 2016, Wednesday, first day of fieldwork, K46 students of Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (TUAF) gathered at 4:30 in the morning, and left Thai Nguyen City at 5:30 am to Hai Tien Beach, Hoang Tien Commune, Hoang Hoa District, Thanh Hoa Province. We arrived at around 11 in the morning and after having lunch and we went on to search for places that are applicable for observation. The aim of our field work is to observe the communities (urban, rural, coastal, and agricultural), within Thanh Hoa City and to take note of their differences (organisms, biodiversity, species richness, etc.)


It was scorching in that place; enough to make you cringe even though you have stayed put to avoid sweating. The beach was surrounded by hotels and there is an amusement park under construction. It was pretty scary at night because there were no lights at the streets and we were the only tourists in the place. The hotel that we were staying was literally the only hotel that was filled with people. The locals said that tourists only come at a certain season.


We got to celebrate Mid-Autumn festival at the seaside especially our Vietnamese classmates. They lit a bonfire, sang and danced around it while holding each other’s hands forming a circle. When they saw that the foreigners were just watching the celebration, they started pulling each one of us like they were gripping on a tight rope. I am honestly horrible with these kind of things. I am horrible meddling with people especially during parties. It was a relief that I just went through it while running sideways and kept my balance. It was a relief that I didn’t get thrown on that scorching bonfire while my nearly drunk Vietnamese classmates held each of my hands.


The trip was a fusion of disappointment and delight; I guess life will always be that way. My whole being is always open to experience new things and to be exposed with different cultures beyond my comfort zone. I now understand that the world is not mine alone and I appreciate that, I hope you do too.



Mabuhay Ka Pilipinas

via Meeting with Filipino Community in Hanoi, Vietnam (Speech) 09/28/2016

I was here, I was here, I WAS HERE!

On the 28th day of September 2016, we had the prestigious moment to meet  President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake. As a mere student, it was really a prestigious and inspiring moment to listen to the president’s speech being in the same room with him. I witnessed his humility, passion, and pure intention for the Philippines.

Here are parts of his speech which were too heartfelt enough they caused mixed emotions:

About the issue of him having a foul mouth.

Now there is another problem na mabigat talaga, I came here with prepared speech, eh basahin na lang ninyo ito, bigay ko sa inyo. I am not up to it really. I am not up to it, itong magbasa ng speech. It’s so boring and I cannot say things from the inside, the entrails of my emotions.


Minsan kasi sabi nila lalo na yung mga diplomatiko ‘Basahin mo na lang, kasi minsan nag puputang ina ka.’


I am really trying not to, alam ko bastos yan pero nadadala ako sa emosyon, kaya sabi niya The Republic of the Philippines has the president with a foul mouth.’ Correct, sabihin ko, I am that president, they have a president who is not a statesman. Correct, nag- enroll ako ng college of law, di ako nag enroll ng college of statesman.


Wag daw ako magmura kasi masama daw pakinggan, eh putang ina problema mo yan.


About the issue of drugs.

I am the favorite weeping boy now of the Human Rights all over the world.


I have a serious problem in my country, I know that it will destroy my country, and if I will not, or if I fail to interdict this problem, I would have compromise the next generation of Filipinos.


If you destroy the youth and my country, I will kill you.


And I intent to kill more because I have to account for this 4 million (involved in drugs) I will not leave the presidency in shame.


Mas mabuti pang ako na lang ang makulong, patayin ko na lang lahat, simple.


I know that there are foreigners here, now take note of this, in my country, are you taking notes? In my country in the Philippines, it is never wrong, it is not a crime, it is not unlawful to threaten criminals, there is no law at all.


It is my country, if you have nothing else to do, do not F with me.


Kung hindi ako nag presidente hindi ninyo talaga malalaman ang totoo because even I myself when the reality was there when I became president, started to squeeze everybody then you saw the hundreds of thousands surrendering to the police, I was really horrified.

I am not a killer, but if you want me to be one, so be it.


When you go home (to the Philippines), there will be changes. There will be no more harassment in the immigration.


About the territorial issues.

I will not join any patrol in the China Sea.


Not because I am afraid, not because takot ako, anyway I have this ruling of the International arbitration court.


Our conflict with China is not really, it’s more of an imaginary thing, ibig kong sabihin we cannot go to war just because there is that award.


Either we go to war or we talk, hindi natin kaya ang China, sinasabi ko sa inyo, even with the help of America, so we talk.


There will always be a time to reckon the thing with. When that time comes sabihin ko sa China ito yung amin.


I am not ready to commit the soldiers of this country just to be massacred.


One thing that I admire about him is that he is so natural, to the point of not reading his prepared speech just to say what is really in his heart and mind. I admire him for not minding judgements and  criticisms. I admire him for solely carrying the burden of the Philippines and fighting for the fractured generation. I admire him for penetrating stereotypes and norms. I admire his passion, humility, integrity, honesty, and love for his country. I admire his ‘fatherly’ image for our country the Philippines.

It was an honor meeting the president, and having the moment to hold his hand is prestigious enough, it will take a long time for me to move on. (Ang lambot, ang puti, at ang kinis ng kamay niya.)

I couldn’t say more about that day, it was really prestigious and I still can’t believe everything about it. We were welcomed in a classic hotel, Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake. They served delicious and mouth watering Vietnamese and Filipino cuisine. And also gave us a photo opportunity with President Duterte.  We also had a groupie with Senator Peter Alan Cayetano (he took my phone, and he was the one who captured the groupie). We (Filipino students in Vietnam) were also featured in a news headline and my friend was interviewed by one of the reporters of News Channel Asia.

It was ironic and overwhelming at the same time having this opportunity of meeting the Filipino and International media press, a celebrity, a senator, cabinet secretaries and the president of my country out of my country. Did you get my point? It was ironic and overwhelming for a mere Filipino student to meet them here in Vietnam.

I thank God I am a Filipino.



Groupie with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano




Pixelated photo captured by my phone.





Since taking a selfie with him is prohibited, here’s a pixelated photo captured by my phone.





Photo opportunity with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Photo credits goes to staffs of the event.




There is still a dilemma involved that day, I will probably write about it next time.


Sick of Shadows


Lead that shadow to its rightful place.


That shadow is a visual of reality.

It doesn’t have the power to overcome you.

It is you who leads that shadow.

Don’t be afraid by the mere black reflection of yourself.

That shadow won’t be there without you, who can still manage to be sun kissed.

Who can still have the effort to absorb all those vitamin D’s provided by life.

Don’t panic about having that visual of reality.

It looks too real but it doesn’t have that mind like yours.

Remember, it won’t be there without you, just glare at it and lead it to its right place.

It Is Well



When in Thanh Hoá, Vietnam.

It’s a relief I can still jump with my friends and scream my heart out. Phew! 

Thanks to the boomerang application for this shot.

Jump and fight gravity.

When in Cát Bà

Cát Bà Island – Viet Nam Travel V 2016

Credits to @paulinehiew for the video!


It was 3 am when we left our dormitory which is located at Thai Nguyen City. It was an eight hour travel to Haiphong City where Cat Ba is located. The trip was not just for a pleasure, it was for our subject Water and Society. At first it was unfamiliar for me studying about water. How it affects the economy of a country, how it produces conflict among nations, how it affects the ecological system, and how significant it is in every living organism that exists.


I’ve learned many things during the discussion and at the field (Cat Ba). It’s absurd how most of us, including me, disregard the things that are vital. There are so many simple ways to appreciate those things, yet I didn’t do anything. I just sit here and watch the world revolve. In a world where change is the only constant thing, we all want a change for the better, yet we only knew how to speak and not to act. We are being devoured by the system of money, of power and of fame. I realized that life is like a set of domino, every little thing we do will have an either positive or negative effect.


We traveled by bus for about eight hours, and by ship for about an hour. I did not expect the view to be very impressive, but indeed it was impressive, it left me in an awestruck moment.


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It’s funny because I’ve never been to Boracay or El Nido (Philippines’ tourist spots). It’s funny how a field work/experiment happened in this place.

As I’ve said, it’s not for pleasure but for experiment. We were told to interview tourists and locals about their overview, feedback, and comments about the water quality, water management, and recommendations in Cat Ba. We asked the foreigners the most, because the locals have a difficulty in speaking English, and we have a difficulty in speaking Tieng Viet. The result of our survey was saddening, because the feedback and overviews are mostly negative. About water quality, most of them said that the water was not that clean, as they’ve seen a lot of rubbish floating in the ocean, at the harbor, and at the seashore. They also think that the beach lack water management and service crews for tourists. Most of them were impressed by the view alone, but not with the water quality, management, and service crews. We met a lot of people with different nationalities. It was a tiring yet an inspiring field work.


Nick and Daniella from Europe.



Good news, got an A for this subject. I am sincerely grateful to our professor, Arinafril Naalim, for sharing his heartfelt lectures and experiences. I learned a lot from this subject Water and Society.

If water was gold, would you save it?