Hey Paolo on Australian Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow

Hey Paolo on Australian Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow

So delighted to see that my little blog site HeyPaolo.com (Blogging About Adelaide, South Australia) has been listed as one of the Australian Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow on Feedspot.

I only started my page last year, September 2019, and the slow but progressive growth and massive support I receive from friends day by day has been extra phenomenal. It was mostly an awkward beginning as I struggled with creating content, finding my voice, and understanding my personal branding. It took a lot of positive criticisms from my dear friends before I knocked my head and came to my senses.

I’m a blogger who will continue to spark conversations with people I meet here in Adelaide, South Australia. I’ll ask them tons and tons of questions (it can be serious or it can be trivial) with the objective of creating insightful dialogues for me to learn more about them, their stories, and their life learnings.

If you wish to see the other bloggers on the list, here’s the link: https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_lifestyle_bloggers/ 

I’ll Be LIVE on Adelaide’s 103.1 FM Radio

I’ll Be LIVE on Adelaide’s 103.1 FM Radio

RADIO DJ DREAMS.

So STOKED to join the passionate radio team of Ethnic Radyo Pilipino Incorporated on 5ebi 103.1 FM Radio Station (Multicultural Radio).

Catch me and the #BarkadaRadyo team LIVE every Friday, 9pm-930 on 103.1 FM.


On 05 June, Friday, I’ll be joined by a few friends discussing our favourite #BATANG90S memories (aka “Growing Up in the 90s” in the Philippines, with pop cultural references). From playing piko (hopscotch) with our neighbours to listening to pop rock band Eraserheads and pop vocal group Smokey Mountain on cassette tapes, we’ll try to get you reminiscing and entertained while reliving the glory days of the 90s.

P.S. If you haven’t heard of Adelaide’s 103.1 FM station yet, you need to start tuning in especially if you’re interested to learn about varying international cultures! 🙌🏼 They’ve got shows hosted by people from around the world — from Austria to Slovenia, Russia, Indonesia, Greece, Ukraine, Malta, Italy, Garmany, Scotland, Ireland, etc. You name it, they probably have it! 😍 40+ years on air. 40 languages. 200+ media volunteers. 🙌🏼 Of course I would love to be part of this 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 Bring the NEW back to the OLD. #RadioIsNotDead.

Create Your (Not So Perfect) DIY Mask

Create Your (Not So Perfect) DIY Mask

Okay. I’m actually not sure why I did this video. Maybe I’m bored while in isolation. But more than that, I was also challenged a by a few close friends to create content that’s more authentic to my true self.

“I don’t see Paolo in Hey Paolo.”

Ouch!

I admit, ever since they mentioned this to me, it has bugged me for a few days. How do I create creative content, but still consistently sharing a piece of the real me in my own content?

Since I wanted this blog to be more personal, then why should I leave my persona out of the picture?

I do love creating content for public consumption, but I feel it doesn’t have to be all about myself. I get shy if I overshare. In the past, I try to focus my blogging on my interactions and relationships with other people instead — through photoshoots, interviews, creating videos, etc. I’ll definitely continue doing so as I feel everyone has a story to share.

But to my friends’ point, it has to have a balance as well. I have to share my own stories — for the mere fact that it’s my own blog.

To be fair, it took me a few minutes before I got the ball rolling to film this video. But once I started, I didn’t realize I was already hitting the 10 minute mark!

I guess I’ll try to create more of these types of videos once in a while then…

2019: A Year In Review

2019: A Year In Review

Hey!

A year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with the biggest nightmare: I dreamt I was in Adelaide for the first time and there was no one there! The city was grey and empty. I was lonely. It felt like a scene in “Walking Dead” where I was trapped in a lonely ghost town. With teary eyes, I woke myself up from my slumber.

Is it really that hard to move to a new city? Transitioning away from your comfort zone (work, friends, lifestyle, etc.) only to start a new life from scratch? Why change when everything seems to be working pretty well?

Anxious and yet excited, I had six big luggages worth of happy memories from my decade of living in Singapore and they all traveled with me over 5,400+ kms to my new home.

I said to myself: no turning back, no regrets.

I witnessed three seasons from the time I arrived and each carried clear messages of progress:

Autumn: A period of letting go of things I was used to (a.k.a. my life in Singapore). It was also a period of transitions and preparations: renting a new house, shopping for house furniture, buying insurance, buying a car, learning how to drive, cooking my own food, finding new friends and potential dates, and exploring new places.

Just when I thought I was already considered a full grown up in Singapore, I came to Adelaide only to grow up once more.

Winter: A period of self-awareness. Although winter dampened my spirit at some point (yes, there was a day I cried and cried in my room with no apparent reasons at all, only the gloomy weather to blame), the cold also helped me become more introspective. When majority of people tend to cave in during this season, I was determined to do otherwise and to discover my other potentials: becoming more fit and becoming more active, getting a personal trainer, bulking up, changing my food plan, getting into social beach volleyball, making new friends (lots of them!), and starting a new blog.

I’ve also started going on a steady date (yay me!).

Just when I thought I already discovered the one, the same one turned out to be a chicken who eventually ran away.

Summer: A period of slow stability and possibilities. With longer days and more sun also came the feeling of personal contentment. Each day sees a more solid routine for me: gymming, beach volley, having constant friends (although some have come and go!), eating healthy food, heading outdoors & baking myself under the sun, and working from home.

Adelaide has been experiencing 45-degree heat waves the past few weeks. Just when I thought the dry & hot summer days are here to stay longer, the weather suddenly dropped to a cool 24 degree today.

It is clear to say, anything can happen in Adelaide — anything can happen in my life too! Can’t wait for the new season to pass.

Bring it on, 2020!

– Paolo

WHEN IN TURKEY: TURKISH DELIGHT, BAKLAVA AND EVERYTHING TURKISH

WHEN IN TURKEY: TURKISH DELIGHT, BAKLAVA AND EVERYTHING TURKISH

WHEN IN TURKEY, do as the Turks do. Eat local turkish food – and that’s the number one rule of thumb. From turkish delight, baklava, borek, kebabs to Turkish coffee, I just had to try each one of them.

I had my own fill, but it was always never enough. Spending nine days in Turkey will surely add a few pounds in your belly from the protein and carb overload.

But who cares? As long as your gut is happy.

From high-end restaurants, shop house eateries, hotel breakfasts, to streetside vendors, we foraged through the streets of Istanbul and Cappadocia in search for anything Turkish we can eat.


Chicken Doner Kebab: We were told that kebabs are normally made from lamb. Since we usually buy our kebabsandwiches from small stores we find in the streets, they turn out to be chicken, which is a cheaper meat-filling alternative.

Hafiz Mustafa’s Pistachio Baklava and Pistachio Chocolate Pudding: Built in 1864, this dessert house/cafe we ate at one light night in the Sirkeci – Central area was an ultimate Turkish dessert paradise! Of course we had to order all those with pistachios – something that’s unique in Turkish desserts.

Turkish Ice Cream: there’s something appealing about Turkish ice-creams; it’s never about the taste, but maybe more on how it is presented. With all the playful teasing before it is served to you, this just makes you want to crave for more. Not a fan of the Turkish ice cream in general though as I still prefer mine to be milky and creamy and not too elastic.

Turkish Ice Cream in Cappadocia, Turkey


Turkish Coffee: Not a big fan of Turkish Coffee as well as I prefer mine to be sweet–and yet again–milky. Took my first sip, and I immediately thought this is not for me. It’s a bit bitter and at some point, a bit muddy in taste.

In all fairness, I tried it for the second time and ordered it somewhere else just to make sure it’s not just the cafe where I first brought it from. My second try was in Cappadocia, but it still tasted the same.

Turkish coffee in Cappadocia, Turkey

All forms of bread: I love bread! I’m a self-confessed ‘bread monster.’ In Turkey, you will be spoiled with so many choices for your bread. And you can eat it anytime of the day–with your morning coffee, with your mains during lunch, with your afternoon snack, and with your lamp chop for dinner.

Here’s a regular bagel I bought while queuing up in front of the Blue Mosque in Sultanhamet, Istanbul:

And then the chicken sandwich which we ordered for lunch in Cappadocia:

We also tried their beef kebab in wrap which is far tastier than the ones you can get in Manila:

This savory cheese puffed bread was our ‘appetizer’ before our main course arrived:

Fresh juices: Another thing I love about Turkey is how accessible the fruit juices are at very affordable prices.

Orange juices are squeezed in front of you and it’s only TL1.00 (Php17.00):

And then you have the fresh pomegranate juices, one of the must-tries they say in Istanbul. They are more thrice as expensive as the orange juices, but they taste far healthier! Haha!

Cake Place: We also tried out Mado, a more ‘premium’ dessert shop/restaurant in Istiklal Street, Istanbul. They are famous for their ice-creams, but after eating so many baklavas and lokums the past few days, we opted for a slice of cheesecake instead:

Local eateries for home-cooked food: In the Philippines, we call them ‘karinderya’ while inSingaporean we call them ‘hawkers,’ here in Turkey, locals call them ‘lokantas’. They are small eateries that serve a variety of home-cooked dishes at affordable prices. We found most of them while walking around the streets of Istiklal.

We usually order a couple of veggies and one main meat. We were enthusiastic when we tasted how they cooked their lamb: it was so tender, it just melted in your mouth. And the best part is, their dishes were not overly seasoned.

(Note: try to look for the bread in this photo — see! you’re supposed to eat bread all day long and with every other local dish you buy)

Pottery Kebab: Fortunately, we discovered this unique Anatolian dish in Cappadocia. Not everyone in Turkey is familiar with this pottery-way of cooking your meat. It’s a unique style of preparing your dishes by heating your food inside a claypot and you will need to smash the pot open to reveal your cooked dish before putting it to your plate. We ordered some form of braised beef in rich tomato sauce and the taste was so delicious, it reminded me of my grandmom’s dishes back in Manila. This Anatolian/central Turkish dish very much resembles to the Filipinokaldereta. And it was definitely scrumptious!

This is Istanbul’s version of the same kebab dish. And it was as equally yummy as the one we had in Cappadocia. Although this one tastes more like a red sauce pasta with cheese, it was memorable as well nonetheless.

As for our top favorite, nothing beats the local Turkish breakfast. We never even complained about having the same thing over and over again. It was that good: healthy, light and pleasurable.

The Turkish breakfast set includes the following: hardboiled eggs, variations of cheese, bread, olives, cucumber, green veggies, cold cuts, tomato, milk/coffee/tea and the yummy halva/helva (a sweet flour-based cookie).


Prior to my trip, I initially expected Turkish food to be overly seasoned with spices, peppers and salt. But it was not as bad I expected it to be. It was just right.

I have a feeling that Turkish dishes and Turks in general don’t aim to impress people who are about to eat their cuisines and what they serve. There was a sense of ‘belongingness’ and ‘warmth’ in each dish, that it reminds you collectively that you are eating at the basic comfort of your own home. Most of them tasted home-cooked, even in big restaurants. It’s something that you will personally serve to your love one.

WANDERLUSTING IN ANCIENT DISNEYLAND: CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY

WANDERLUSTING IN ANCIENT DISNEYLAND: CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY

If there was a Disneyland in ancient times, it will be Cappadocia–a history-rich, adventure-full destination in central Turkey. 

My first trip to Turkey back in May 2015 has set high standards for any of my future travels–why wouldn’t it be, the country totally captures who I am as a ‘traveler.’ It has so much history, so much color, so much adventure, and so many little surprises abounding anywhere and everywhere I go. I call Cappadocia: my own ancient Disneyland.

hot air balloon cappadocia turkey goreme national park voyager balloons

I’ve heard a lot of people raving about the beautiful mornings and out-of-this-word scenery in Cappadocia and boy, I was utterly ecstatic to visit this UNESCO-heritage site.

How to go to Cappadocia from Istanbul:

From our hotel in Istanbul (Galata area), we rode a local taxi and headed to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) for an early morning flight. The taxi fare though was terribly hefty in the pockets (TL150), although this is probably the most convenient option for an hour and a half journey from Istanbul to the airport.

Later that day, we found out through online research that we should have alternatively taken a non-stop public bus (Havatas bus line) from Taksim Square—which was only a few minutes away from our hotel–to the airport, and it’ll only cost us only a tenth of what we paid for on a taxi.

To fly to Cappadocia, we took a local one hour and 30 minute flight aboard Pegasus Airlines which arrived at the Kayseri Airport. Luckily, we’ve booked our local land transfers prior to our trip (with the help of our hotel concierge) as there weren’t a lot of public transpo options from Kayseri. Traveling from the airport to Goreme town proper was another one hour trip.

kayseri airport cappadocia turkey how to go to cappadocia pegasus airlines

Kayseri Airport in Cappadocia

Upon seeing the rows of shops, restaurants and rock formations in a little suburb, we knew we’re already near our destination. It was lunch time when we reached our hotel, Arch Palace Hotel, a cozy two-storied mansion built from concrete blocks and cement. Unlike most hotels in other parts of the world with exquisite facades which are extensively decorated, most hotels we found in Goreme, Cappadocia are bare and are typically painted (if they are even painted) in neutral colors.

arch palace hotel in goreme cappadocia turkey with serdar the owner turk

Arch Palace Hotel with Serdar (the owner)

We were greeted by the hotel owner, Serdar, who immediately welcomed and called me by my first name. He ushered us inside and to his reception room which also serves as his personal office. He knew that we’ll be in town for only a day and a half and wasted no time by presenting to us the best tourist packages we can take and the perfect spots we can visit. With a pen and a paper, he drew a basic town map with markings where we should be eating, trinkets shops we should enter, etc. He also helped us book our morning hot air balloon ride (with Voyager Balloons) and our day trip tour for the next day.

We ambled through Goreme town proper and accidentally entered a vintage textile shop ran by a grandpop who willingly invited us to enter his “carpet kingdom.” The owner–a friendly, sensible and welcoming old chap in his sixties–runs his business with his sons. As we entered his maze-like store, alleys after alleys, thrill and excitement enveloped me. Cue “A Whole New World” soundtrack: “Over sideways and under, on a magic carpet ride.”

goreme town shops in cappadocia turkey
turkey rugs kilim and carpets in goreme cappadocia store
carpet shop in goreme cappadocia turkey lamps
carpet kingdom in cappadocia turkey kilim store
carpets and rugs in turkey for sale

His store was amazing! It was enormous and was filled with handmade Turkish carpets and kilims (flat rugs) piled on top of each other in different designs, colors and sizes. It wasn’t cheap at all as some of them range from US$200 to US$5,000. I had to excuse myself in the most polite manner possible without offending him while exiting his store empty-handed.

Goreme is a sleepy, sleepy town. In the month of May, the weather was just nice–sunny and breezy. There were only a few people here and the tourists are usually concentrated in the town center where the bus station, restaurants, hotels and tourist agencies are.

While aimlessly walking, we then settled in a kebab place for lunch. We tried having local Turkish coffee again here for the second time (the first one we had was at a cafe in Topkapi Palace), but we still didn’t like it. Turkish coffee apparently isn’t for us; it’s not suited for our taste buds as we like ours a bit milky and creamy.

turkish restaurants in goreme cappadocia

As our hotel was located right in the middle of Goreme village, most of the unique spots in Cappadocia were just a stone’s throw away. Right after lunch, we then hiked our way to the Goreme National Park.

With only a basic map on hand drawn by our hotel owner, we then braved our way to the mountains of Goreme with the aim of reaching Red and Rose Valley.

We spent almost three hours hiking–but mostly taking photos and videos. I was expecting some hot air balloons to be flying around somewhere too, but since we were there in the afternoon, we didn’t manage to catch them.

Goreme National Park wasn’t an easy walk at all!

I was wearing the wrong type of sneakers that day and kept slipping while hopping and sliding on top of rocks. There were a lot of steep uphills and downhills. And there were pebbled roads and muddy paths too.

With no GPS (and no cellphone signals), our “sense of direction” mainly relied onrocks which bore signs and instructions hand painted in red that says, “To Rose/Red Valley.” They usually appear every half kilometer, and if you no longer see them around, you are probably getting lost.

It gets scary at times if you don’t see any other people walking amidst the tall rock formations, bushy grasses and intimidating line of old trees. Trekkers don’t usually come in groups and you just walk pass them sporadically.

walking to goreme national park cappadocia turkey
rocks valleys in cappadocia turkey
cappadocia turkey national goreme park fairy chimneys
on top of rock goreme cappadocia turkey
trekking red and rose valley in goreme cappadocia turkey
walk tour to red valley rose valley cappadocia turkey tourist travel

Rock churches, fairy chimneys, red-colored valleys – everything was just so picturesque! It was pure, natural beauty right in front my very own eyes.

When we already reached Red Valley at around 4 p.m., we thought of already heading back and returning to exactly the same path where we started instead of still finishing the whole trek. After all, we didn’t really know what to expect as well at the other side of the mountain if just kept walking forward. We didn’t want to get lost in the middle of nowhere too before sunset.

fairy chimeneys rocks goreme cappadocia turkey
cappadocia turkey rocks trekking
sky cappadocia turkey trekking fashion
travel to beautiful cappadocia turkey landscape rocks
flowers in cappadocia turkey rock sites fairy chimneys

By around 6 p.m. we’re already back in our hotel getting ready for dinner. Time for a big chow after that long, long walk!

TURKEY SERIES: THE ALLURE OF HAGIA SOPHIA

TURKEY SERIES: THE ALLURE OF HAGIA SOPHIA

IN AWE. I wrapped myself in the air of majesty as I entered the sovereign walls of ancient Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey. I almost kissed the floor – the same floor where a thousand other important ancient people sashayed and trudged in. Thought it’s too pagan for me to do that anyway.

The morning sun lit the confused monastery in all its hefty corners; baffled by the thousand years of history its weakening pillars holds, hence the on-going constructions to save whatever can be rescued. Built in 537 AD, the Christian church-turned-Muslim mosque-turned-museum saw hundreds of tourists flocking that day, stunned by the murals plastered on its Byzantine walls and the lavish chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. 

Everything was ethereal and it’s allure, timeless.

HIPSTER CULTURE AT SAIGON OUTCAST

HIPSTER CULTURE AT SAIGON OUTCAST

SAIGON OUTCAST, Ho Chi Minh City. With bright-colored vandals decorating the entrance, I knew I was in for a real hipster treat. It started as a slow, lazy Sunday and I straightway ordered a bottle of beer at the bar counter. I contemplated whether I should order fresh coconut instead, but decided to stray away from being sober. I imagined I was in some hipster-Coachella-esque party in Vietnam — come to think of it, the venue was massive enough to hold close to a thousand guests for a single foam, urban party. It was quirky and I love it.

IMG_4173
IMG_4174
IMG_4175
IMG_4176
IMG_4177
IMG_4178
IMG_4179
IMG_4182
IMG_4195

Address: 188 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, Hồ Chí Minh, Thảo Điền, Vietnam

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/saigonoutcast

IMAGES: WHEN YOU MISS SAIGON

IMAGES: WHEN YOU MISS SAIGON

Confused — is how I describe the city of Ho Chi Minh / Saigon. I can sense the urgent clamor for progression, but their facades are still chained from their brutal past.  The mix of French colonialism, yet carrying the heart of nationalism and local pride.

Beneath the tarnished walls and daunting back alleys, the swift motor bikes and flamboyant mosaic tiles, the warm soups despite the humid-sticky weather, Saigon was interestingly unfathomable. Pretty much like my character: seemingly obvious (and to some extent colorful) facades, but no one braved to fully understand.   

It’s a paradise. It’s a war zone.

Here’s a compilation of my personal photos taken in Ho Chi Minh City back in April 2016:

bikes side walk vendors in ho chi minh city vietnam
blue skies ho chi minh city palace government building
cathedral catholic church ho chi minh city notre dame
cathdral of notre dama side view vietnam
solo cathedral of notre dame church vietnam saigon
solo walk cathedral notre dama saigon fashion ootd
national museum ho chi minh city hallways
national museum of ho chi minh city hallway solo
vintage car national museum of ho chi minh city
staircase national museum hcmc
colorful vietnamese tiles hcmc
staircase hcmc
central post office saigon ho chi minh city vietnam tourist spot
inside central post office saigon vietnam
saigon opera house ho chi minh city facade
street lights saigon ho chi minh city vietnam night shot
fast speed motorbikes saigon street photography
selfie boat mekong delta saigon ho chi minh city vietnam
tourists mekong delta river vietnam boat ride

INDIA TRAVEL SERIES (DAY 5): GLORIOUS CITY OF LAKES

INDIA TRAVEL SERIES (DAY 5): GLORIOUS CITY OF LAKES

It is a crime not to fall in love with the City of Lakes. Udaipur is as romantic as it is luxurious. Unlike its neighboring Rajasthani towns, Udaipur is more relaxed and laidback. A single trip isn’t enough to appreciate fully Udaipur’s beauty and charm.

I stayed at the lovely 5-star Trident Hotel, and although the property is a bit dated, the service was top-notch nonetheless. I fancied their swimming pool so much, which overlooks the gorgeous Lake Pichola, that I just lounged there for almost half a day (for the very first time during my entire India trip) to read a book and master the art of doing nothing.

Udaipur is a city that has tons of culture and sceneries to offer for first time visitors. Based on my personal experience, what makes this city unique compared to the other Indian towns I’ve visited is the entire experience of traversing Lake Pichola on a commercial motorboat. Seeing the picturesque Udaipur sunset, with the lake and the mountains as its backdrop, was definitely the perfect ending to cap off my little Indian rendezvous.


For an obsessive-compulsive traveler like me, detailed itineraries and maps are my bible whenever I visit a new destination. It’s almost second-nature to me to plan ahead for my trips — by creating a dozen pages of daily schedules; developing comprehensive street maps and public transport points; and drafting a list of must-see, must-do, must-eat, and a myriad of other must-tries.

But why did I dare take a solo adventure — without itineraries and not having properly research about the place at all — to a distant, foreign country such as India?

For some people, they call it “bravery.” Yes, I traveled solo. But technically, I also didn’t. I was actually traveling with a concierge. The concept may sound foreign to some travelers my age, especially for people who are used to backpacking and traveling free-and-easy. Being escorted by a professional local travel companion makes all the difference.

I wandered in India with Ravishing India Holidays, a luxury tour operator headquartered in Singapore which specializes in travel concierge services in this rich, beautiful South Asian region. With a personal concierge who will help craft your itinerary even before you arrive and who will customize it depending on your mood and requirements while you are on journey, everything became easier and more fun than I expected it to be.