This October was definitely one for the record books! I experienced my…
First Professional Soccer Game
Even though I’ve been to nearly every other professional sporting event, before this month I had never been to a professional soccer game. Thanks to New England Revolution, I was able to spend the night of the 1st at Gillette Stadium with my friend Fiona of Gourmet Pigs watching them beat Sporting KC 3 to 1. Beforehand, we were treated to a beer tasting by Anheuser-Busch, but given the chilly weather, I switched to hot chocolate for the game. I loved the energy and diversity of the crowd, and hope there will be many more soccer games in my future!
It was a cold and rainy night at Gillette!
TBEX is an international conference that draws the largest crowd of travel bloggers, writers, brands, and social media influencers. I had been wanting to go to one for a while – they generally take place three times per year, in North America, Europe and Asia – but, as a relatively new blogger, I didn’t feel like I was quite ready until now. I’m definitely glad that I finally took the leap, though. It was a busy week of networking, learning, sightseeing, and yes, partying, and it’s already opened the door to so many opportunities that I’m considering going to the next one as well (There’s a special TBEX International in Jerusalem in March).
My friend Ellie Cleary of Soul Travel Blog and I were big winners at TBEX! I took home an eye mask, and she scored a new neck pillow.
First Time in the Philippines
The main reason I wanted to go to this TBEX in particular is that I had never been to the Philippines. I admit that it hadn’t really been high on my list before; however, I’m always up for trying something new. So I decided to check it out, and I’m definitely glad I did. For two weeks I swam, kayaked, ziplined, biked, sailed, ate, drank, and danced my way through this beautiful country – from the 7th to the 12th, I explored the island of Palawan, and then I spent the 12th to the 20th in and around Manila for TBEX and the pre- and post-trips. There were even some firsts within this first trip – I swam with whale sharks, and I rode a bicycle made from bamboo!
Shark!!! Thanks to Dolphin and Whales Travel and Tours for this once-in-a-lifetime experience and conservation photographer Duncan Murrell for capturing this amazing image!
I took a tour of Intramuros in Manila with Bambike, a social enterprise that makes hand-makes bikes from bamboo. Thanks to TBEX speaker Bill Fink for getting a photo of me in action in front of the Manila Cathedral.
First Private Chef Event
While I don’t really consider myself a “foodie” – when I travel my diet usually consists of granola bars and bananas – I do love to cook and enjoy eating fresh, flavorful food. Right after I got back from the Philippines, I joined other travel writers and bloggers at a home outside of Boston to be spoiled by the chefs of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Not only did Executive Chef Romeo Penacino and Executive Sous Chef Ever de Peña teach us how to make our own ceviche, they treated us to a delicious multi-course meal that featured island specialties like keshi yena and tatalia de pinda to warm us up on a cold night.
This thing of beauty was a delicious quesadilla made by Chefs Romeo and Ever.
How to Make One Dish of Ceviche
- 150 grams of white fish
- 5 to 7 limes
- cilantro chili peppers
- red onion
Mix it up:
- Cut the fish into small squares and set aside.
- Cut the red onion and set aside.
- Add salt to the fish and place it into a big bowl.
- Squeeze the lime until you produce a white juice called leche de tigre.
- Add chili, cilantro & onions to taste.
recipe provided by the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Here was my attempt at ceviche. The chefs said I needed more lime and salt.
As for the rest of 2016, there are a few opportunities I’m pursuing – all to warm-weather destinations, since it seems that winter has already arrived here in Boston – but I don’t have anything nailed down yet. Stay tuned and Happy Halloween!
Thanks to Anheuser-Busch and New England Revolution for providing me with two complimentary tickets to the October 1 beer tasting and game.
Banner image: Manila skyline from my hotel room at the Sofitel