What I learned from gym climbing as a beginner

Is it funny that I prefer facing someone trying to roundhouse kick me in the head than go climbing in a gym? Yes? No? I respect climbers and am fascinated by what they do, but I have always thought it was not for me.

It was for Markus though. He has climbed before when he lived in another city working for the UN, and he suggested we should try a top-rope course in a nearby climbing gym.


Where should I begin?

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Oh, Bavaria

Do you like camping? I have never really camped before but Markus has done it with his family all his life that it is only natural we also had a go together.

Our adventure happened a couple of weeks back. Markus’ parents lent us all the camping gear we can ever need, and at 5 AM, we drove to a camping place in Bavaria by the Pilsensee. I was quite excited. The idea of spending time in nature, keeping it simple, and having tons of sun and quiet – I am all for it.

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We’re coming up roses

In The Philippines, I have tried to take care of my sister’s roses. She likes them so much that she keeps buying them, big and small, regardless of obscene prices, totally ignoring the fact that they will surely die in two months or so despite our best efforts.

I wish she could have seen the roses at Steinfurth – red, coral, pink, white, sunset, and gold blooms in every shape and form imaginable. The scent was so thick in the air I could almost see and taste it. At every turn, I stood in the middle of a rose ocean, beautiful, vibrant, and celebratory; very much unlike our decrepit roses back home.

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Thank you for 25, 532 turtle hatchlings this pawikan Season 2

Earlier this month, the pawikan babies emerged out of the sand from the last nest in the hatchery adopted by Leeeeeenda. You know what that means: Season 2 for the Pag-asa Pawikan Protection and Conservation Center has ended and it was an unimaginable success, thanks to all of your support!

The total number of turtles released this season? 25, 532 out of 27, 384 eggs nursed by the volunteers. Majority are Olive Ridley but we had a few Green turtles, too.

In Season 1, we were so happy to have released 7, 501 Olive Ridley turtles from 7, 908 collected eggs. Over 300% growth is a lot to celebrate this year and we cannot thank you enough for being with us since Day 1 of this journey.

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War is a mere continuation of politics with other means

In the toolbox of policymakers, war is one among many. When deemed appropriate by the powers that be, war can be chosen as a means of enacting policy – no more or less legitimate than any other – albeit, crucially, not to replace, but to complement other tools of policy.

When the Prussian military General Carl von Clausewitz penned these words in his seminal work On War (“Vom Kriege”) sometime between 1816 and his death in 1831, he was thinking of the Napoleonic wars from the start of the 19th century. Since then, they have been applied and re-applied repeatedly, not least by the German leadership during World War I.

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War, wealth, and women: a short history of Wilhlemsbad State Park

Near our flat is a beautiful and enormous park called Wilhelmsbad, a state-managed park with a lush forest, antique carousel, historic buildings, ruins, and a well. Or so I thought.

Last Monday, Markus and I were treated to a quick history lesson that revealed the juicy, dark origins of Wilhelmsbad. For some unknown reason, this day was special. The family-friendly park I knew will never be the same.

For starters, the normally shuttered carousel with colorful horses and carriages was operating, a queue announcing the surprise in front. I knew it was a really old structure, but I did not know that the Wilhelmsbad Carousel is the oldest preserved fixed carousel in the world. Very cool, right?

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Sunny weekend in Rüdesheim

Our Easter weekend was spent in Rüdesheim, a small town by the Rhine, well-known for its scenic views, history, and nice wine. From the window of our small hotel room, the Rhine hypnotizes as it gently moves and sparkles in the sun.

The weather was great and I was so happy. Ships, instead of ducks, passed by regularly, some carrying tourists, others cargo. We took one of these relaxing passenger ships to go to the foot of Germania, Germany’s kind-of-but-not-really version of Lady Liberty.

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Of course, we have to talk about eggs

Did you all have an awesome Easter holiday, friends? My very best wishes! It was really lovely for us. It was my first Easter in Germany actually, but more on that next time. I have an important job today:

I want to be the Easter Bunny, albeit a tad late, and deliver great news to Betty, Michelle, Rebecca, and Brad – your eggs are now pawikan!

Please meet your pawikan hatchlings:

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My first snow fall in Germany

Snow announced April’s arrival. As if a heavenly baker started sifting powdered sugar from above, I noticed the small, feathery snow flakes descending from outside our window.

I wondered if time slowed down because I could see each dot swaying, suspended in the air for a moment, and carried off by the wind somewhere. This is my first snow here, have I told you that? And I did not expect it to be like this.

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