Going to the Philippines 2012-2013!

Quezon City, Philippines

I won a Fulbright grant yesterday to study and research in the Philippines!  I will be based at University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City.  My project will focus on national consciousness formation and expression through social media.  I’m so excited to finally start some investigation on those burning questions that keep me up at night!

I’m more excited, though, to visit my mother’s family’s country.  Studying Tagalog for the past 9 months has brought me a bit closer to my roots, but there’s nothing like digging down right to the source.  Most of my Filipino family has been back to the Philippines at least once.  I will be the first of my other half-blooded siblings and cousins to visit their distant ancestral land.  It will be an experience, for sure.

I proposed to arrive in November, and I have much preparing to do before then.  Despite the 2 month detour to Guatemala I am starting next week, the timing couldn’t have been better!


How Far is Heaven? – Finding Bliss in Dessert Tourism

Of all the reasons to travel, the most indulgent has to be a dessert tour.  I know that modern restaurateurs derive inspiration from Yelp and local hype to map out custom dessert adventures circumferencing home or work.  I’m not sure, though, if these types of extravaganzas yet traverse beyond city borders.  Given the human ability to sweep into irrationality over food, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if after a bit more digging I found a well-designed vacation bound for a culinary mecca.

This morning, I spent a good hour or two tantalized by The Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets.  Images of bacon encrusted ice

After seeing the apricot cardamom donut on The Cooking Channel, I was lucky enough to live only a BART ride away from Dynamo Donuts in SF Mission District.

cream, silky tofu panna cotta, and raw lime pie filled my eyes.  Fictional apricot cardamom donuts placed themselves on my tongue, and my mouth began to water.  Around the TV, my family’s living room became equally as alive as during the Niners playoffs, except screams were replaced by longing moans and curses were replaced by vows to travel wherever these pieces of heaven fell to earth.

For my mom, my sister, and I, heaven fell in Portland.  Our sightseeing wishlist is already just too life-altering to not take the 9 hour drive to Portland.  Dessert fanaticism has somehow pushed us into an unlikely sort of tourism.  And Portland wasn’t the only cupcake we stuck a pin in.  Chicago had just as many innovative dessert artisans as Portland.  Planning a trip to Chicago from San Francisco is a whole different story though.  Just how far are three hungry women willing to go for a cookie sandwich?  Apparently a 9-hour drive is still within negotiated reason.

Portland Dessert Sightseeing Schedule

  • Raw lime pie at Divine Pies
  • Oregon Kiss ice cream scoop at Salt and Straw
  • Almond-bergamot chocolate bark at Sagahun
  • ANZAC biscuit at Two Tarts Bakery
  • Banana Rumba at The Waffle Window

I’m sure we’ll be adding more to the list.  Let me know if you hit the sweet spot before we do!

I can’t wait to see what sort of dessert themed trips other like-minded taste tourists have already come up with.  Even though my plan includes traveling a great length to experience one location, I’d also love to see how that compares to the experience of sampling the blissful offerings of an entire region—say various parts of the Pacific Northwest, or maybe experiencing the change in venue en route between SF and Portland.

Besides individual travel planning, there’s a great opportunity for creative and trendy small dessert businesses to get into cahoots with the travel industry.   For as many tourists there are hunting down the main attractions, there are equally as many who prefer the unbeaten path.  And what can be a path more unbeaten (or batter beaten) than hop-on-hop-off Treat Transportation?