Serendipity on the Road and a Frolic on Ras Tanura Beach

“Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever” (GOT).

It was the onset of winter. The barren wasteland sparkled like a fresh haystack in the wintry sun. The skies were turning dark and gloomy at Al Siddiq, Al Faisaliyah, but on that day, the first of December 2017, we were blessed with a perfect weather. That was one of the greatest natal blessings the host received during that moment, when we were all busy preparing stuff to bring at the beach. We had a loud, savory, and merriful, morning moment at the kitchen before we caravanned to Ras Tanura, with a group of new friends, on that fateful day.

My special affinity with the beach is innate. I am at my happiest whenever I get to soak up the sun; feel that tickly, gripply sand sensation; kill time; listening to people’s laughter frolicking; or hear the splashing waves…at the beach! These are what make the world around me undisturbed.

Ras Tanura is a small municipality located on a peninsula connected to the Persian Gulf. Geographically, it is the eastern province of KSA and it is where the oldest refinery on the coast is found. It is quite popular among tourists and travelers because of its long stretch of white-sand beach along said gulf.

The sun’s gigantic rays were already piercing through the place by time we got past the “security zone”. Before we went beaching though, we were invited by a good soul, a friend of our “friend”, in the area for a coffee inside an American-style abode.

We could not help but gaped at the interior upon entering. It felt as if we were in the US, especially with the high ceilings—and the Philippines because of that special tree. Afterwards, we were invited to hunt in a bazaar right in front of the house.

As a first timer for that fundraising sale, I was flabbergasted by the crazy prices of the items. We bought some stuff. Actually, we wanted to buy a lot more but most of the items belong to the kitchen and sala. You get the picture.

We drove off rapidly to the beach area after storing what we bought in the bunk. The misty and salty air was what greeted us upon coming down from the car.

Behind the gate is where the pulchritude of the place really lies.

Ras Tanura beach looks like an immaculate sailcloth portraying an azure placid water.

There are picnic huts, lounge chairs along the beach and the reception area, and cafes that offer decent foods and beverages.

There is also a dining hall, swimming pool, fountain, and playground for kids to engage in their activities. Trash bags are placed strategically to avoid garbage on the shore. By the looks of the amenities and the beach itself, we could say that the place has a commendable upkeep.

We could not stop taking a selfie at almost every corner and photos of whatever IG-worthy view in sight.

Until we got tired and settled at one of the huts to feel the vibration of the place.

A few minutes later, I decided to go for grounding; fill my lungs with the air therein; and hear the sound of waves crashing gently on the beach. My grounding moment was definitely a piece of heaven. Nonetheless, doing any of those always recharges me like no other.

Soon, we had to gorge ourselves on seafood and carbs. There is something about lunching, with bare hands, at the beach that makes us hungrier. Add to that the upswing in the available activities in it. So make sure you have plenty of food if you were to come here.

Later, we moved to the lounging area, where we found bigger chairs, to idle away, but one of us suggested to play some mind games instead, which turned out to be so much fun.

Ah, winter beaching has never been this fun with the games and these people. Each laughter was infectious and energizing. Each game was a blast. Everyone was joyfully hooked for three hours; in fact, we wanted more and more of the games as time went by. The clock’s hands though revolve really faster in times like this.

Thanks to the cups of coffee that retuned us a few minutes before we left. I must day those drinks were necessary. It was then time to give way to another activity that all of us are passionate about.

Cruising down the highway on our way back to Al Siddiq, Al Faisaliyah, there was this point when I suddenly felt the cool breeze penetrating my shield; it brought me to frisson. Then I felt a bolt of comfort being around the people I was with at that juncture; it just felt home…

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Egypt in 3 Days & 2 Nights Part 2: Dinner Cruise by the Nile River

It was already dark by time we got back to the hotel. We still had almost two hours to prepare for the dinner cruise at 8:00 PM. We used an hour for napping and the rest for other preparations, if there were any.

After making sure we have with us our respective wallets and mobile phones, we proceeded downstairs to meet the driver at 7:00 PM and by 7:45 PM, we arrived at Cairo’s downtown: Corniche El Nile Street, Garden City, Cairo 12654, Egypt. Our sacs were already growling for a refill by that time.

We took the two-hour dinner cruise on the Nile River on a boat called the “Nile Smart” with incredibly convivial locals from different walks of life.

Contrary to what we expected, the dining area was not located at the open-air terrace but at the very messdeck. The entertainment stage is at its middle where we witnessed the traditional Egyptian art shows (in chronological order: the belly dancing, Tanoura, & Arabic live music).

We were enthralled by the belly dancer who exuded the earthy, relaxed, and focused small movements and positively surprised at how she was treated by the crowd. Everyone in the room—from oldies, yuppies, students to youngsters—wanted to join her onstage the moment she started moving her hips. She was no different from a celebrity after the performance.

Everyone wanted to take a selfie with her. You bet we did!

The Tanoura dancer is equally enthralling with her gaudy costume and flamboyant tricks. I wish we could say the same thing though for the two singers. Needless to say the latter was what prompted us to enjoy the nocturnal view of the Nile River from the ship’s roof for an hour instead.

As for the food, it was plentiful and run-of-the-mill except the fish dishes that became our instant favorites. Beverages are definitely not free so make a note of that.

The debarcation took place at exactly 10:00 PM. We were brought back to the hotel within 20 minutes, faster than expected because of a traffic free road.

This part of the itinerary is a must experience because not cruising on the Nile River is no different from not having a selfie with the Eiffel Tower in Paris. After all, being in unison with the longest river on earth that smoothed the way for one of the earliest civilizations is, beyond question, a privileged experience.

Before I hit the sack that night, I feasted on the view of Cairo City at the balcony.

I also did this during a similar trip to Dubai in 2016.

There is a different beauty that comes out from the urban jungle as soon as the sun sets and all the lights go on. Any city shines in new splendor—literally—during this time and one can help but gape at its exquisiteness.

This is what practically completed my night along with an FB message to my lieutenant.

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Egypt in 3 Days & 2 Nights Part 1: Grand Museum, Urban Scenes, and Misr Sunset

I have always marveled at the Pyramids of Giza when I was still in school. The dream to visit it one day though only took place last year. That was the time I collaborated with Photobook Worldwide for an (artist of the month kind of) interview—published on their website on 26 May 2016. One of the interview questions was: “What’s next on your to-do list?” My answer on a whim was: “To visit the Pyramids of Egypt (fingers crossed).” There was no plan at all prior to it, only interest and a (day)dream that suddenly cropped up after reviewing my answers.

With the friend’s financial help as well as FLYNAS’ unbelieveable promo airfare, I made it to Egypt last 17-19 November. That was the reason why I was quite surprised when I stumbled upon the blog’s “About Me” page, where that interview was posted as well, while loafing yesterday. I still feel overwhelmed at how the universe conspired to turn that dream into a reality.

Who would say no to an opportunity like that? Egypt is such historical and historic place; the Egyptian civilization has an unmatched appeal. There is something extra special about setting foot in the place.

Our trip to Egypt for three days and two nights began at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh when majority (Leonel, Mark, Sial, Mitch, and Junje) of the group posted about it on Facebook on Friday morning, 17 November 2017. That is obligatory and significant nowadays, I think. The delight was uncontainable.

Three hours later, we landed in Cairo. Our feet was in a terrible itch upon exiting the airport premises.

One good thing about having an itinerary prior to a trip is that it saves time and money as it provides you with a clearer budget overview.

After having a late lunch, rest for an hour, and countless usies on our room’s balcony, we officially started ticking the items off on the list.

We immediately went to the Grand Museum at El Remayah Square, Cairo-Alex. Road Pyramids, on foot. It is just approximately 400 meters away from our hotel: Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis.

Visiting the Egyptian Museum made me recall what I learned in World History back in the day. The museum houses an epic scope of Egyptian relics from the ancient architectural monuments, sculptures, paintings to decorative crafts. The most notable sections are King Tutankhamen and Royal Mummies’, primarily because photography is not allowed. We had to take pictures using our optical organs. Nevertheless, we all gazed in awe at each of the items displayed therein, respectively.

We wanted to do the museum justice and have fun at the same time so we did not overspend time looking at each item to avoid sensory overload.

All in all, it took us an hour and thirty minutes to navigate the museum.

We got out of there at about 5:00 PM—just in time for witnessing my favorite nature feat to take place: sunset!

The timing was a testament to how the sunset reciprocates the kind of admiration I have for it. Let these photos speak for this claim.

“Thank Heavens!” was what I exclaimed upon looking at the photos I captured.

That ever spectacular moment with the sunset should have been what capped our day off but it did not. It was just the penultimate of the activities on that day; the dinner cruise did.

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The Ten “Commandments” of Writing Metric Symbols in English Grammar

It has been literally ages since I published a blog post for the grammar pet peeves series. Had it not been for a friend who called my attention regarding the metric symbols I used in one of my email messages to him, the grammar ranter in me would still be in hibernation. So he wrote:

“Hi, Sonyboy. Review that email you sent me regarding product sizes yesterday. You did not pluralize ‘kg’ and ‘lb’. Please add ‘s’ to each of them.”

Talking about a grammar ranter becomes the hunted. Well, almost but not quite. It should be clear by now that because of the request for pluralization, I have turned the table on him—instant fuel to my muse so to speak. I then politely obliged to the calling. This was my “supposed” reply to him:

“Thanks a lot for digging into the email. However, I regret that I will not give in to your request. Let me put it this way, your initiative is certainly appreciated but inappropriate in the context of Standard English not to mention if you have not done your homework first.

For the record, I also did not know about the real deal on the metric units of measurement until 2012 or when I started this series. Thank God for doing this kind of work because it entails being one step or staying ahead of the game. Having said that, I fully acknowledge that my knowledge of the English language as well as this endeavor will always be a work in progress.

Anyway, the most important thing that you need to remember when it comes to these units of measurement (e.g., kg for kilogram, g for gram, and lb or L for pound-mass) is they have unit symbols not abbreviations.  These symbols do not follow the grammatical rules for abbreviations. They follow the mathematical rules for symbols, that we should make a note of, instead. Those rules include the following:

  1. A symbol is never followed by a period. The exception is, if it happens to fall at the end of a sentence.
  2. The letter “s” is never added to a symbol to indicate a plural. In other words, “2 minutes” is written “2 min” not “2 min.” or “2 mins”.
  3. Symbols are case-sensitive and must be written as they are defined.
  4. There is a tradition in the metric system that the first (or only) letter of an unprefixed unit symbol is capitalized if the unit’s name comes from a proper name. Thus “W” is the symbol for the watt and “A” is the symbol for the ampere, because these units are named after scientists.
  5. It makes a big difference whether a symbol is capitalized or not. The same letter represents different units often (e.g., “t” stands for the tonne and “T” for the tesla). There is one loophole in the rule on capitalization: it is acceptable to use the symbol L instead of l for the liter, since the letter l is so easily confused with the number 1.
  6. The case of symbol prefixes is specified, upper and lower, and must not be changed (e.g., the symbol for kilo- is “k-“, so “kW” and not “KW” is the symbol for the kilowatt).
  7. The superscripts 2 and 3 are always used for “square” and “cubic”, respectively. Hence, the square kilometer, for example, is written “km2”, not “sq km”.
  8. A raised dot (also called a middle dot or half-high dot) is recommended when symbols are multiplied. It is permissible to use a space instead, but symbols should not be placed next to one another with nothing between them. (e.g., “A·h” is the recommended symbol for the ampere hour. “A h” is also permitted, but not “Ah” or “amp hr”).
  9. The slash (solidus) / is used for “per”. Furthermore, only one slash is allowed per symbol. This means the SI unit of acceleration is written “m/s2” rather than “m/s/s”, even though it is often spoken “meters per second per second”. (Negative exponents can also be used: “m/s2” can be written “m·s-2”.)
  10. Symbols are separated from the numerical quantity they follow by a space.”

Summary (Image via Google)

I would like to reiterate that this grammar pet peeves series is not a way of proclaiming myself as an authority. If you happen to be a guilty party, always remember that I am sharing the blog posts in the spirit of constructive criticism.

Reference: Using Abbreviations or Symbols (

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Panicuason Hot Spring Resort: A Perfect Place for Solitude and Relaxation

For the past few years, promoting a healthy lifestyle through nature immersion has been one of the blog’s major themes. The best way, if not one of the best ways, to do it is embracing and going on a solitude trip to a place where visitors are offered with fun activities, hiking trails, and a dip in naturally-heated mineral pools. In Camarines Sur, there is only one place that fills the bill: Panicuason Hot Spring Resort.

Located in the mountainous terrain of Naga City, Panicuason Hot Spring Resort is a great stop not only on a road adventure but for nature immersion, excursion, team building, summer destination, sweet escape, and, of course, solitude trip. This is one of the less populated parts of the city; hence, an ideal destination for anyone who is looking for an alone time or a break in a natural and undeveloped setting for just P250. This place is an easy getaway for relaxation via a jeepney ride for thirty minutes from Naga City and another “habal-habal” ride for about fifteen to twenty minutes from Brgy. Panicuason. It is best to go there on a weekday to avoid the crowd and the ideal time to do it is during summer.

Should you wish to stay there for couple of days or more, there is a hotel for P1,500 a night, which entitles you to an unlimited use of the hot pools of sulfuric water emanating from Mount Isarog. There is also an eatery that will look after your food cravings especially local delicacies.

I visited the resort in March 2017 to satisfy my curiosity about its natural wonders. I read good reviews about it from fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers prior to the visit. It did not fail me.

Other than the beautiful sights and the hot pools, what I enjoyed the most from that one-day experience was when I was having lunch at the eatery that provides a full view of the seemingly restless and purling stream flowing down from Mount Isarog’s rainforest and spilling through the fields. All the more when I started sipping my camote juice drink.

Indeed, the excellent company in a moment of solitude is either a strong drink or healthy beverage. I never so enjoyed a juice drink until that day.

The domineering presence of mossy boulders that give a more idyllic accent to the views is also a sight to behold. There is just an abundance of nature wonders in this place—from the boscage of ancient trees, thicket of flowering plants,  clump of vibrant grasses, to chirping birds and so forth.

Feasting on my drink while I was hearing the sound of the the running water in the stream was perfection! 

There is something about the babbling stream that soothes the mind and soul. 

Spending time at Panicuason Hot Spring Resort will surely make you feel relaxed, peaceful, and rejuvenated. I felt like I had a pair of new lungs upon leaving the place from that solitude trip.

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Giving You A Million Reasons To Love and Travel To Riyadh

It’s “Juice Time” in Riyadh!

“Beat the heat” is probably the most common idiom that could be heard or read during summer. Swimming at the beach and/or eating something cold and sweet are the most common poecilonyms of it.

Summer days in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as to other countries in the Middle East are longer, more tiring, and most of all hotter. Here in Riyadh, swimming at the beach is the least option when it comes to beating the heat because of the beaches’ proximity. Going for swimming in a pool (which is actually a bit challenging to realize on a weekly basis), malling, eating ice cream, sipping a cup of smoothie, or drinking a bottle of brain freezing juice is the ultimate alternative.

It’s a must to keep our bodies cool and our energy going high during this season. The more convenient and nutritious way to do it is zooming off to the nearest smoothie and juice bar. In my case, I only do that during my lazy days because blender is in the kitchen and fruits are must-have items in our grocery.

A week ago, I’ve visited this newly opened branch of Juice Time in Al Izdihar, near my place, for five times as we speak for two cravings: smoothies and fresh juice.

When I first visited its branch along Exit 8 opposite Al Nakheel Mall last year, I became an instant patron because of its orderliness, add-ins, and the visually appetizing fruit decorations.

Then a photo opp craze talking it up was all over Facebook and other social media sites since as far as I could remember.

Juice Time have the best strawberry and avocado smoothies. Their lemon mint is also a bomb.

That said, the add-ins such as Slice Fruit (pomegranate, strawberry, kiwi, peaches, papaya, pineapple, mango, apple, & banana [SAR 9-18]), Fruit Cocktail (summer plus, fakfakhena, havana, jersey, tropicana, pina calada, dana time, agadir, Hawaii, estahani, refreshing, juice time cocktail, arausi, dobenk, awar qalb [SAR 7-11 & SAR 19-75), Energy Juices (viagra, coconut almond, & dates and bananas [SAR 6-12), etc. are equally tempting.

Their fruits are so fresh as can be gleaned from the color and texture. I haven’t seen one shrunken fruit since my first visit.

People are now more and more hooked into healthy fast food especially in the corporate world swarmed with workaholics who turn to fast food chains that offer low-fat sandwiches, but with little nutritional value.

The presence of juice shops like Juice Time is to complement that nutritional requirements that those fast food lack.

Juice Time focuses on providing the customers with the best quality fruits and products without artificial elements to ensure that they are at par with the trending market demands for consumer health, nutrition, and satisfaction.

Juice Time is definitely in the zone for this market competition by offering a superb varieties of fruits for juice mixes and equally healthy add-ins with amiable staff and 12 branches in the following locations in Riyadh:

  1. Al Murooj (+966505832424)
  2. Ishibilia (+966555314476)
  3. Wadi Laban 40 St. (+966537564940)
  4. Wadi Laban 60 St. (+966-558746885)
  5. Dammam Road (+966-556762536)
  6. Sulai (+966-557248483)
  7. Nassim (+966-550952476)
  8. Bandar (+966-55668672)
  9. Dirab (+966-555995380)
  10. Exit 9 (+966-556731081)
  11. Al Hamadiyah (+966-555414227)
  12. For Party & Bulk Order (+966-500024556)

Another good news is that this rising smoothie and juice bar continues to expand. Five more branches in Riyadh and Jeddah will be opening very soon.

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Chronicles Of A Three-Day Trip To Dubai: “Night Walk and Swimming in Jumeirah”

After just about three hours of resting from the city tour that ended up food tripping at SOY, we agreed to an impromptu invite from Leonel’s high school friend, Louella, who’s based in Sharjah. She invited us  for a night walk and swimming at Jumeirah Open Beach.

We left Deira at around 6:00 PM and took a taxi bound for Jumeirah instead of the Metro for economical and convenience reasons. We reached the place in about 35 minutes.

Darkness already fell by the time we alighted from the taxi. The place looked so different from what we’ve seen when we passed by the area during the morning city tour. The marriage of lights and darkness gives Jumeirah Open Beach a dramatic and dreamy look.

Jumeirah is currently one of the most frequented tourist spots in Dubai because of the rustic white beach resorts in it that’s for free—most of them. It’s like Tahlia Street in Riyadh adorned with trendsetting shopping centers and restaurants—without the beach of course—that give a decent contrast to its modernity. It’s located just after Palm Strip Mall at the lower end of the beach road—the opposite end to Burj Al Arab.

Jumeirah Open Beach’s strategic location is another reason why expats and locals are crazy about hanging out here. No millennials or youngsters could resist the idea of a relaxing hangout that entails getting the best of both the urban jungle and rural playground flair. A white-sand beach alongside a commercial area equipped with upscale entertainment facilities, you could be imagining yourself in Beverly Hills.

Dubai has many beaches but only a few of them are for the public. If you happen to visit Dubai for a couple of days or more, a stopover at any of the public beaches is a must. Caution must be observed though because there were already a considerable number of recorded swimming-related accidents at the beaches—which usually look calm but strong rip tides and currents that could sweep out (even) skilled swimmers lie within. One precautionary measure is to never swim alone especially at night.

We had to gorge on some Pinoy food at Chowking restaurant before we dipped ourselves and frolicked in the sea water. Subsequently, we went for a night walk in Jumeirah’s citified jungle. 

We all felt the need for some refreshments after almost two hours of traipsing and, in a way, photowalking. 

Walking in a city at night is something so underrated in this day and age where the abundance of information portable on screens mediate our connection to the so-called concrete jungle. As a result, it distanced us not only from the physical but psychological realities as well.

Majority of people nowadays would rather browse the internet, scroll on Facebook statuses, watch clips on YouTube, and/or the like. 

Thank God someone invited us for a stroll around Jumeirah’s Open Beach area during our second night. I should’ve been sucked into the usual internet wormhole. I was truly mesmerized by the visceral views I saw and shot while leisurely walking around the place. This part of Jumeirah turned into something more than what I saw in the morning during the city tour. Never felt that kind of joy when walking in concrete jungles at night until that time. This is one of the invaluable lessons I learned from that three-day trip to Dubai last year or in July 2016.

Our night walk and swimming experience could be summed up in a combination of fun and great tonic for the urban stress.

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35 Songs That Summon The Traveler’s Spirit

I was once asked by a friend in college, during one of our weekend getaways, why I always bring a music player with me. I failed to explain well. This is what inspired me to write this post because I now have a concrete answer: because of the melophile’s blood transfused to me in the 90s.

I started collecting songs when I was 10 years old or as soon as I got fond of my elder brother (Tom) and sister’s (Avic) habit of recording them straight from FM stations’ countdowns and transcribing them after. That also implied playing them over and over again on our radio cassette player almost every day. So I thought there must be something really good out of listening to music. I’ve proven this as time went by and got stuck to it too since. Up to now, I could still see how convivial my siblings were each time they do that pastime in my “biological” video player.

Thank heavens mp3 players invaded the Philippines in the early 2000s; I was able to keep songs that became parts of the different stages of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve been using music as one, essential form of relaxation, and sometimes, escape, from the daily grind when it gets utterly boring, among other things.

It’s interesting to note that my playlist’s albums evolve as I grow older. Back in the day, it only had four main folders: “Grade School”, “High School”, “College”, and “In The Zone”. Then life came out of the blue pampering and striking in 2006 or the year after I finally got out of the university. The cycle led to the addition of a special folder called “Daystarters/Travel/Roadrip” to the then 17 albums: (1) “Before Times”, (2) “Brokenhearted/Frustrated/In Pain”,” (3) Exaltation”, (4) “Groove to the Beat”, (5) “Heal”, (6) “Inspirational”, (7) “Mellow Touch”, (8) “Moving On”, (9)“OPM Few Faves”, (10) OPM Guilty Pleasures”, (11) “Tunog Kalye”, (12) “Rock Legends”, (13) “Posh/Classical”, and the already mentioned four.

A year after braving the overseas in 2012, seven more made it to the list: (1) “Dipping in Love”, (2) “Ear Massager – Rock”, (3) “Emotastic – 90s Up”, (4) “Exacerbated/Chafed”, (5) “Frisson/Piloerection”, (6) “Nostalgic”, (7) “2009-2012”. To date, three more folders namely “2013-2014″, “2015-2016”, and “2017” have been added to the playlist.

Simultaneous with the playlist folder’s evolution is the Daystarters/Travel/Roadrip‘s. Most of the songs in this folder were once part of those folders.

There’s nothing like cruising the highway or killing time up on a plane with some good music in the background. I always allot a special time to deeply feel every travel moment that is being in a different place by listening to the album, while on the road or in whatever mode of transport that will get me to my intended destination.

After scrounging around my collections a few weeks ago, I came up with more than 153 more songs for the folder, but for the sake of promoting the importance of reinforcing and setting the wanderer’s mood while on the move or sitting in, standing at, even lying on a travel spot, I’ll only feature my top 35. I picked these songs not only because of their relevance to the subject but the kind of traveler vibe they emanate the moment you hear any of them. 

The latter criterion is articulated by that power to summon the wanderer’s spirit in  you to take a break, ease your travel stress, make you move to the beat, enjoy the moment, stay awake, become optimistic, go out and explore what’s beyond your comfort zone, or simply make the trip go down smoothly as possible. 

(Disclaimer: These are a far cry from what can be seen on the web if you were to look for the experts’ recommendations.)

Consider the following top picks from my list as a few suggestions that will hopefully work wonders on your next travel:

1. A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay

There’s not much of happy Coldplay songs so that when they made one, it’s something guaranteed to make you raise your hands up in the air while singing it, and think of Katy Perry.

2. All Star by Smash Mouth

Off course, you have to get to the rap part of the song if the intro couldn’t put you in the mood. It’ll surely awaken that feel-good soul in you.

3. Beautiful Day by U2

This song is made for bolstering up the belief that life is beautiful no matter what. Is an addendum still necessary?

4. Best Day Of My Life by American Authors

The title alone will do because it’s the very reason why this song must be included in  the list. You wouldn’t want to start a day with a frown on your face.

5. Black Coffee by All Saints

Literally, the first song you should be listening to upon waking up. The unique pop beat in it makes you wanna move your shoulders up and down alternately.

6. Breathe by Michelle Branch

Ever felt like you wanna take a breather and strum a guitar at the backseat while cruising along the coastal highway? Take Michelle Branch’s. 

7. Bright Lights by 30 Seconds To Mars

The melody maybe a bit mushy but the lyrics give a piloerection. The kind that gets you thinking about being mobile and living up to it. Look at your friends who settled down early in life. If you can’t imagine finding true joy that way, take a different stroke and let this song be your guide.

8. Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake

You can’t get enough of this song once you get a piece of it. It’s just oozing with irresistible serotonin.

9. Closer (feat. Halsey) by The Chainsmokers

This and the 26th song represent the most current sounds among them. You have to love both to be in the contemporary zone without losing tempo relevance.

10. Don’t Stop Believin’ by the Glee Cast

Inspirational at its core since 03 June 1981. When you’re up for something to fuel your wanderlust or finding that inspiration to achieve your dreams, you can’t go wrong with this song.

11. Get My Dough by Ester Dean

Other than the fact that it’s a groovy song, this is what you should listen to when you feel like splurging into something that makes you happy. (Reminds me of a favorite movie about being faithful.)

12. Good Time by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

Need I say more to convince you that this song is  an A-Lister for the theme?

13. Here’s to Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne

The coolest message of the song is the need to break free from adulthood every once in a while like hopping on the the kids’ rides. After all, there’s no point being a grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes, right?

14. Highway to Hell by AC/DC

If passenger’s (i.e., travel buddies) inside the vehicle are at the brink of falling into the slumber world, playing this song is the perfect thing to do especially in the midst of devout believers who are likely to misinterpret the song. Nonetheless, it’ll serve as an instant energy drink to every one.

15. Home by Bone Thugs N Harmony

Digging deeper into the song will give you a different message but as they say, one could interpret a song based on how he understands it.

This one is like a torch of hope and an eye-opener to varying ways of life that gives you a new appreciation for home itself. Moving with its stylized rhythmic character that’s in unison with chanted rhyming speech makes you one hip traveler.

16. I Lived by OneRepublic

Any song about seizing the moment is qualified for this feat more so if it’s about inspiring people to embark on a new endeavor (e.g., climb mountains, wakeboard, skydive, bungee jump, etc.) or make a difference in someone or something.

17. I Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner

It’s okay to take that mystery pill if it’s a one-time thing but it should never go beyond that. A metaphor for curiosity at the right place, which travelers are drawn to one way or the other.

18. I Want Crazy by Hunter Hayes

We’ll make it short: It’s okay to be crazy sometimes. You can celebrate that through this song.

19. I Would Do Anything for Love by Meatloaf

This is all about monotony breaker that complements the sequence of the common beat and make you sing your heart out.

20. It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

Embracing change and being in charge of your destiny are the key messages of the song. Travelers have that penchant for treading paths less traveled by.

21. Keep on Movin’  by Five

Listen to the lyrics of the song while your hips and feet are moving. You’ll be glad you did.

22. Love on the Weekend by John Mayer

If you’re in a relationship who happens to be going on vacation for less than a month, this piece is your mantra.

23. Never Let You Go by Third Eye Blind

How can you resist that guitar kicks at the beginning and not be willingly hit by them?

24. Pink Life by Gyskard

Not sure if you deserve a break from a hectic day, week, month…year? Dissect the song and the next thing you know is you’re on your way to a coffee shop, restaurant, resort, or any place where you can revel in your fleeting time off.

25. Pure Shores by All Saints

Imagine holding a conch shell to your ear. The ebb and flow sound of the ocean is like this song—so relaxing. It’ll not put you to sleep though so worry not because of its electronica elements.

26. Roses (feat. Rozes) by The Chainsmokers

A simple bass drum beat supporting the harmony coupled with a nice controlled bass guitar riff in the background. All the harmonies and melodies converge to have this reverse effect throughout the song, which gives a lot of weight and volume not only to the song but whoever hears it. These ultimately define why this song is right where it’s at.

27. Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon

Don’t you just wanna dance upon hearing the first note of this song and be merriful? The vivid, colorful, 80ish imagery and upbeat rhythm of the song are delectable to the senses.

28. Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow

This could have been Bonnie Bailey’s  song, “Ever After”, but the universe conspired to put Sheryl Crow’s instead. Who wouldn’t enjoy being at the beach listening to this song or watching her at the beach with that guitar? With that guitar?

Lucky for her. The former doesn’t have an official music video.

29. Style by Taylor Swift

This song may have been the background of that tragic scene in the movie “San Andreas” but it mustn’t stop you from wanting it to be in that playlist for its travelish, melodic tune, particularly if you’re up for a long drive.

30. Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams

Common! Even the kids would love to hear this song. It’s another classic that’s immortal when it comes to this kind of playlist.

31. The Animal Song by Savage Garden

Do you want validation of your right to and the need for personal freedom, which is excellent when equated to traveling and momentarily live a careless life?

It prompts you to live like animals in the jungle—careless and free. Now get that backpack and head to the mountains with this showing on your music player.

32. The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) by Jason Mraz

For starters, the song is about not letting life get you down no matter what happens, and that you shouldn’t waste your life worrying most of the time…

33. Time of Our Lives (feat. Ne-Yo) by Pitbull

This one is definitely one for the clubs—smooth international groove that should keep people moving not only on the dance floor but everywhere. Talking about another inspiration for taking a break and a reminder that every day is a good one.

34. Titanium by Sia

The video is an irony for the relaxing melody it provides—makes you wanna put that headset to your ears, close your eyes, listen to it, and enjoy the moment. (Ana Kendrick did. So should you.)

35. Yeah 3x by Chris Brown

What’s special about the song is the idea of accepting spontaneity and living the dream. Sounds familiar isn’t it? The song’s electro-vibe and frenetic pulse is another perfect nightspot banging anthem and medicine to the dull moment syndrome.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve missed some really good ones here and that people will challenge the list but bear with me. The comment section is turned on anyway.

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Exposing The Hidden Canyon’s Splendour and Mother Nature’s Call For “Responsible Tourism”

It was Friday a week ago, 14th of April 2017, when my mobile phone activated the alarm at three o’clock in the morning. I felt woozy but immediately leaped out of bed upon remembering that I and fellow traveler & housemate Leonel Mark Tuscano (IG: thechinitowanderer) are to set out on a trip to this new nature spot in Riyadh Province called “The Hidden Canyon” for a weekend adventure.

Sir Joel Acosta (IG: zanjo_fakz), one of the many prolific graduates of Cameraderie Photography Club International was the one who invited us to join their group’s jaunt. A few minutes later we were on board his Renault Captur and zoomed off  to Panda in Takhassusi Road to meet the other joiners for briefing.

We headed southeast from the city to Ad Dilam (or Al Dulum) via an alternate route past Kamsa Kamsa Park along Al Haeer Road an hour later. What’s interesting about this route is the breathtaking scenery of deserts filled with gigantic escarpments and featureless plains stretching into a distant haze. I would have loved to capture them given the chance but circumstances told me it’s no-chance-for-photo-op part of the trip.

Most of us have experienced this stage in our lives where we find ourselves travelling on someone else’s car or some form of public transport through astounding scenery. This is the ultimate frustration: not being able to have a chance to stop and photograph wonderful scenery passing us by. What I usually do in this case is I just revel in the moment rather than force myself to shoot a snapshot. It’s a waste of time to shoot through a fast moving vehicle’s window. I’ve gone through this more times than I could remember. So just take the scenery in.

After an hour and a half, we passed by a large expanse of acacia trees and soon, the dry deep gorge came into sight. I knew we have reached the destination before the navigator’s voice said so. We then followed the vehicles’ trail beside the gorge on our left from the paved road of that long, almost endless alternate route.

From that threshold, we still had to drive about two kilometers away until we saw parked cars. “The Hidden Canyon found at last!” I immediately exclaimed.

Other than the whistling of summer zephyr and babble of fellow visitors around, all is quiet. We strolled through the edge of the canyon upon alighting from the car and went back to the group for a short talk and breakfast. We were surrounded by prickly desert trees that serve home to birds chirping a beautiful day.

We also enjoyed the ever amazing sun so powerfully hot and yet so beautiful, the way it’s always overhead and on permanent guard―ready to stamp out any aerial element that dares to darken the adventure.

The latest craze when it comes to weekend destinations in Riyadh is "The Hidden Canyon" on the outskirts of Al Dilam (oTher name: Al Dulum). It may not be as grand and deep as Arizona's but descending from the top still makes for a pretty good day of downclimbing, even rappelling. If you were to go down those steep ravines, you still need a bit of "brain muscles" to land safely (pun intended). Make a note of that. I had so much fun doing it repeatedly the day I was there. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #nature #naturephotography #plateau #canyon #hiddencanyon #thehiddencanyon #travelblogger #traveldiaries #travelersnotebook #travelingram #instalike #rockies #riyadhguide #riyadh #ksa #hiddencanyonriyadh

A post shared by Sonyboy Fugaban (@thewanderingfeetandmind) on

Being a transitory part of this isolated terrain is surreal.

It’s nature’s best in an Arabian desert particularly when I began peering at the exquisite turquoise waters.

The Hidden Canyon is a sight to behold indeed! A sight that I want to preserve.

A sight that I want to keep for myself…yet, truth be told, impossible to do in this day and age because of overutilized tourism on social media.

Tourism is something seen as common and in most cases, good for the economy and best for people in need of nature therapy. The latter is the case in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where most of nature attractions are on the cuff.

Many may disagree that something is wrong with tourism. However, using this very place as reference, they may see a different approach to the idea.

Allow me to put a classic illustration. Through exploring the stretch of this hidden canyon on that fateful day, I saw one simple way in which tourism outrightly ruins the place’s telluric beauty: Garbage. Non-biodegradable at that!

In a place like this, tourism provides a haven for hordes of sightseers but it also tramples it.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind fellow tourists and travelers to be responsible enough in preserving the cleanliness of this canyon.

While I’m more than happy to exploit new places I’ve set foot on such as this one, I also fear participation in destroying them.

The selfie-obsessed hoards and musicophiles are forgivable but not litterbugs. I have faith in humanity but when I witnessed fellow visitors not to mention Filipinos, on that day, throwing and leaving garbage wherever and whenever they want to at the canyon and nearby areas, I somehow lost it.

Then again, the optimist in me prevailed. I believe that all we need is this reminder: No one or no local government unit is looking after the upkeep of the place; therefore, littering is a definite no-no.

Amid the earth’s degrading environment, which is common knowledge as we speak, it’s expected from us, mere visitors, to promote conservation in the outdoors, to abide by the Leave No Trace 7 Principles. Spread the word, please.

I’d like to reiterate that this nature attraction in Al Dilam is free of charge and relatively new. Keeping it clean is the least that we could do to give back to it’s worth.

I’m certain that there are still a lot of expats and locals out there eager to visit and enjoy the place.

We followed the same route driving back to the capital city. I used the entire travel time to weave the foregoing words while indulging in the breathtaking scenery of deserts filled with gigantic escarpments and featureless plains stretching into a distant haze.

This day was another exciting and meaningful day of life lessons in my travel diary.


Below are the details you need to get to The Hidden Canyon:

  • Address: 16382, Saudi Arabia
  • Coordinates: 23.910811,46.939980
  • Map


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