The Essential Travel Packing Checklist

I was checking my travel map in Matador and found out that my last international trip gave me the 20th country that I’ve visited in the world. *insert celebratory confetti* It’s not a lot compared to how well-traveled others have been, but I’m pretty sure that I have “itchy feet” and wanderlust.

While I love going places–whether local or abroad, I am not a fan of packing. Not at all. I’d rather unpack, which I understand is something that people don’t usually enjoy but is to me like opening gifts on Christmas Day. I do not have enough travel funds to ditch the luggage and head to the airport with just a toothbrush, Packing is an essential part of travel, and is definitely one thing you’d need to ALWAYS do if you plan on living life a la millenial who always needs an escape.

I only got the hang of it in the last 3-4 years, but I’ve recently just been copying and pasting my travel packing checklist via OneNote. So far so good, I must say. I’ve survived with all of the essentials–whether it be at the hot beaches of Bali, or the chilly streets of South Korea.

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I’m sharing with you my checklist of essential stuff to pack for your travels. View the list under the cut.

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Free Download: Basic Trip Planning Worksheet

Despite the numerous places I’ve been to, I will never ever forget that trip to Bangkok, Thailand that I had with my college friends back in 2013. Being the only girl in a group of six and the most neurotic in the group, I guess it was an unspoken thing that I was supposed to draft our itinerary. I was in a really bad season of my life though, so I forgot to plan for anything. We winged it day-by-day and were surprisingly able to visit the key tourist spots and eat all the good Thai food we had to eat. (Yahoo, divine providence!) But, like any other unforgettable trip, we got lost. There were two key “OMG WHERE ARE WE” moments that we had:

  1. We wanted to buy cheap clothes, and we ended up at Siam Paragon (a high-end fashion mall) instead of Platinum Mall (the correct place for a good bargain).
  2. We wanted to visit some palace/temple but ended up in a random citizen’s park, where we instead spent 2-3 hours taking photos while looking for a way to go back to the city center.

Both moments are forever etched in my memory and I have no regrets about them, BUT I have ever since vowed to be more prepared whenever I travel. After Bangkok, I created a “trip planner” template which I have been using for all of my trips both local and abroad. It had various versions but has now become more stable (after much use) and I just tweak it now and then for special needs per trip.

Lucky for you, I am feeling a bit generous right now in spreading the art of organization. Thus, I am sharing with you my worksheet for FREE!!!



  • Helps you out to plan your trip’s ITINERARY!
  • Only one tab to be filled out for those who don’t want things too complicated :)
  • Enables you to budget for your expected spending per day. You’ll also be able to note which expenses are required (e.g. transpo, accommodation) and which are optional (e.g. souvenirs, tours). This will allow you to adjust your budget accordingly.
  • Can be shared with your family (or anyone who might be worried about where you are) as it will give them a blow-by-blow on where you’ll be at what time.
  • Asks you to note temperature as well, so that you can prepare appropriate clothing right from the airport of your “homebase” until when you come back
  • Gives you a single view of contact information needed for the trip

Just click here to download (if you wanna promote my site) or here if you’d rather not (aww huhu)!

Want to see more stuff from my trying-to-be-organized life? Let me know!


(via Daily Prompt: Paragon)

Coldplay SG: Adventure of a Lifetime

If you are a Facebook friend or if you follow my blog, you’ll know that I went to Singapore to watch the Coldplay concert. It was a dream 7-8 years in the making, and I’m glad to share that it surpassed all of my expectations. What they say on social media about the April 1 show is true: BEST. CONCERT. EVER.

[I think I landed where there are miracles at work]

What’s interesting though is that this adventure started a few days earlier than the actual show date. We had a 5 am flight to Singapore via Cebu Pac. Our itinerary was planned out with the assumption that we’ll arrive at around 9. Alas, to cut the VERY LONG story short, the flight got delayed for almost 3 hours. We arrived at Changi at around lunch time instead–a perfect situation to make someone VERY tired and hungry (and maybe a little bit cranky). We were standing on a walkalator, already so eager to get our luggage…until a buggy/mobile passed by. I had nothing else to stare at so I had my eyes fixed on the person on-board–slightly weirded out that it was moving so fast. The guy was wearing a long-sleeved shirt/raglan, a scarf and a cap…and he was staring back at me. After snapping out of what seemed to be a trance, I realized one thing:

It was Chris Martin.

What made me paralyzed and stunned, I do not know. But the only thing I could mutter in that moment was, “Di ba siya ‘yun?” If a Coldplay song turns up about seeing a pretty girl in the airport, there is a 1% chance that it’s about me. Good enough.

[Nobody said it was easy // I drew a line, I drew a line for you]

During the concert day itself (April 1), 2 of my friends and I lined up at 10:30 am. We had VIP tickets, so yes it is quite ironic that we had to exert the most effort. It was an over-all good experience though. We were maybe the 30th in line, and as VIP ticketholders, we had a 30-minute head start to get a good spot at the Standing Area. It was easy to step off the line and get food, a drink, or even go pee. We had a roof over our heads and didn’t get rained on. The only horror of that almost 9-hour wait was that my phone AND powerbank were both dead. Other than that, we enjoyed waiting in line and having small talk with the others who were queueing as well. (And I also enjoyed sleeping especially with the weather.)

But yes, it was tiring. (Just in case you were wondering like the 50 other people who asked me about lining up.)

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And it was also kinda cray-inducing because this happened:

Yet again, I love the simple merch stuff that came with the VIP package ❤️


[I feel my heart beating…like I’m alive again]

6:00 pm was a momentous time. It was when the VIP gates were finally opened! The entire VIP crowd was cheering, while I was personally preparing to run. And run, we did. After scanning my ticket, I breezed through security, put out my arm to get the wristband pass for the VIP area, grabbed a Xyloband and LOVE pin, secured my stuff then LITERALLY ran for around 300-400 meters, down a long flights of stairs, and across the floor. See photo below for reference.


I originally wanted to stay in front of the A stage but we reviewed the set-up and realized that the runway was a more apt choice because (1) Chris was a showman and would be running down the runway so many times, (2) we still had sights on the B Stage and C Stage, and (3) we were literally in front of the railings–we weren’t squished, we could place our stuff in front of us for safety, and we could breathe if we needed to :)


After pictures, small talk with neighbors, and much spazzing about how we couldn’t believe we were in a Coldplay concert, Jess Kent and her drummer lady took it to the stage as front act. She was good but I’m just confused about what she wants to do in life. She raps, sings a la Ariana Grande, goes acoustic and rocks it out with an electric guitar–all in one set. A friend and I concluded that she’s still finding herself as an artist. I would like to thank her though ’cause she was the reason why I got a cameo in Coldplay’s IG stories.

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It was the longest 30 minutes of my life to wait from 7:30 pm to 8 pm, which was the official start of the show. Good thing I was entertained by the prod team’s final touches. We were even small talked by one of Coldplay’s FX guys, which was why we found out that Chris was already flying to Manila the following day and that the team had pros and cons about having a concert in a stadium vs. some open grounds.

Side note: I am honestly glad that the people who watched were a mix of various nationalities. The energy was intense!! People who were in the seated sections even started a wave!! It was so cool.

5 minutes before 8 pm, I decide to minimize the use of my phone so that I can actually BE in the moment…and also because my phone was nearly dead. Haha! (Note: This is also my excuse for not having decent pics and videos. I was honestly just giddy for the entire 2 hours.) Then off we were to the best night of my life…

[Still believe in magic? Oh yes, I do]

O mio babbino caro started playing. My friends and I started looking at each other and knew that things were about to go down. A country intro was shown while there was a 30-second countdown, and then a Charlie Chaplin audio snippet played while our Xylobands lit up in red…and then BOOM. It started so explosive that I just kept on screaming and screaming–overwhelmed by everything that was happening!

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1: First song on the setlist was A Head Full of Dreams and I was shocked that they immediately blasted confetti! What a way to start the show! It was awesome!!!! Sobrang likot ni Chris Martin!!!! As in nakakatuwa siya :) Such a showman!

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2: Our Xylobands then turned yellow, and of course, it was time for Yellow! It honestly gave me chills when the entire stadium turned into the color :( It was so kilig that everyone was singing along!! It was just so beautiful. (And Chris said that they were gonna play the best concert that they ever played in their lives!!!)

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3: They then sang Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, and I remember just being wowed by how they sounded in this song live. Note: He also had the Singapore flag na naka-sukbit sa kanya, and then he raised in front of the crowd! Towards the last minute of the song, they again blasted confetti! (Again, our pwesto was in front of the confetti blasters. It would always startle me whenever it blows, but it was fun kasi samin napupunta yung confetti!) This was over-all a good prod. One of the best for the night.

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4: Surprisingly, Chris headed to his piano and started playing the intro to The Scientist. It was raw and beautiful…and the crowd was nasa tono and sounded great. Even Chris’s high notes were just chilly. I would have preferred to have this later in the show though, but I think they wanted to play it up with the pace of the set list. My favorite part was the end, when people were already applauding but Chris had everyone sing the last lines again ’cause he just loved how beautiful the crowd sounded like. It was such an awww moment. (And his low register was perfect too. Find videos on Youtube to hear it.)

5: Then came Birds. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE PRODS FOR ME. All the visuals were so freaking on point! There was a rhythm to the lights, and it was just over-all so pretty. I guess it’s memorable ’cause it’s also the first time that I really appreciated this song.


6: Alas, it was time for Paradise–and everyone knew it from the intro. It was a sensory overload. Sounded good and looked so good. And this was the part of the concert when the Xylobands were really put into good use. They were lighting up with various colors! What happened next makes me cry ’cause it was just so freakin’ cool. Chris was singing something along the lines of “Singapore on a Saturday night is a paradise” then he stood up from his piano and then came the Tiesto remix outro!!!!!! He ran to the runway and there was smoke everywhere! It was glorious!!!! He and Jonny went to the runway to do some guitar showdown (close-up video on my Facebook Coldplay album) and then they went to Will on the drums along with Guy…and the song ended abruptly with a blackout. Ah, tears.

7: The boys move to the B Stage to sing one of my favorites, Always in my Head. This sounded so fantastic live. Their set-up on the B Stage was also so magical. Again, sensory overload. And the ending. Hay ganda.

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8: I was already ready to hear Magic (again, a favorite) because of the previous night’s setlist. Instead, they sang Princess of China!!!!!!! Of course, Riri wasn’t there live, but she still sounded good on tape. I really liked this bit, especially when Chris kept on asking the tech people to turn on the lights on the audience as he wanted people to sing along. Cute!

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9. And now comes the time when I seriously just bawled. Chris sang Everglow while on the piano. It was the most beautiful thing in the world. He could’ve just played that and ended the concert and I would still be happy. The visuals were very simple, but what really got me was when the Xylobands lit up to certain calming shades of pink, blue and purple. It was perfect for the song. I have tears thinking about this moment. A beautiful Muhammad Ali clip ended the song and I just lost it.

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10: The guys then moved back to the A Stage to sing Clocks! They were all pretty hyper during this number! Honesty moment: I am not a big fan of this song, but I have friends who have this as a favorite. Hearing it live though made me like it 10x more. The technicals of the song, I realized, are crazy.


11: There was a partial bit of Midnight! Ang awesome nung moment ’cause of the visuals and the lights. But, that was just an intro to…

12: Charlie Brown!!!! Everyone was jumping along and singing along! This is also one of my favorite productions of the night. The Xylobands were lighting up like crazy, and it looked so good while everyone was clapping and jumping up and down.

13: What I would have to say is the most ELABORATE prod of the night was for Hymn for the Weekend. Complete with the Beyonce intro, and those visuals that looked so freakin’ amazing–kaleidoscopic. I felt like I was attending the Holi festival. There was FIRE!!!! And Chris was just prancing around the runway while Guy and Jonny rocked it with the percussion. The lights had a GLITTERRY EFFECT (I am not kidding!!!!) and they looked like shooting stars!!!

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14: Chris went back to the A Stage (after much walking around) seemingly already dizzy and stumbling like a drunkard. He stopped almost near the stage and he lay down on the floor–which concerned me as I thought we was really going to faint. As in mejo katakot, nakahiga lang siya…until he sang the first line of Fix You. I lost it!!!!! I did not cry (as I expected) because I was just overwhelmed with emotions with how raw and beautiful it sounds live. He stood up (actually, he kind of did a roll…), walked along the runway and changed up the lyrics and instead sang this: “When you are too in love to let it SHOW. But if you never try you’ll never know just what you’re worth…” It was brilliant. Ewan ko kung binabasa ni Chris Martin ang diary ko ha. Ayun naghihihiga lang siya din sa B Stage, headed back (I mean he ran and jumped) to the A Stage, and then played on the piano. The live performance of Fix You is everything that I imagined it to be.

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15: AND THEN HE DID A COVER OF HEROES!!!! I wasn’t that surprised because of his James Corden carpool guesting, but that did not lessen the magic at all. He dedicated it to “David, and Prince, and Lennon and George” :( Huhuhuhuhuhu musical heroes.

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16: A perfect transition was done to Viva La Vida, which of course had everyone dancing along, given that it’s one of their most famous songs. Chris again asked the lights to be turned on when he asked everyone to sing the oh, oh, oh, oh part, and the Xyloband lights were blinking! Chris looked like a conductor to a humongous choir. So brilliant.

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17: And then it was time for my LSS during the morning of the concert (and aptly the title of this blog post)…ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME!!!! Prior to the show starting, I was worried that there won’t be balls/balloons falling ’cause I didn’t see anything on the roof. But alas, when the song started, out came the colorful balloons!!!! My Coldplay experience felt complete! Hahahaha! The crowd went crazy with this number. Everyone had their arms raised and they were either dancing or jumping! Crazy awesome. Even the band was having so much fun during the song–you could tell from their energy. Chris then went to the runway and asked people to go low…and then at his 1-2-3 signal, we all jumped in the air. Haha it was so much fun! And let us not forget that the balloons were still being bounced around during this time! #balloonsarelife #priorities

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18: They took a break then moved to the C Stage to play some ‘specials’. I thought that they played the song during the previous night but apparently In My Place was our ‘audience request’ song for April 1. THANK YOU, GOD. I wanted to hear it live. March 31’s song was Til Kingdom Come, which is good but I’d still pick In My Place any day. It was so beautiful (and it was kinda funny cause there were still balloons bouncing around). Chris kept on looking around to see how big the crowd was, it was cute. I loved their set-up for this song–they were in a circle, with Will playing the piano. It was very laid-back and calming.

19: He had a hilarious bit on Pizza Hut at this time. I was laughing hard hahahaha. And then, Will and Jonny sang Don’t Panic–which is honestly a song that I did not know that much. Doesn’t change the fact that it was great, and it was good to see Chris not in the lead for once.


20: The most hilarious bit of the night was this impromptu song that Chris wrote about Singapore. I had to rummage the net for a clip because it’s hard to explain why this is funny. (I wonder if he’ll make a song for Manila.)

21: They head back to the A Stage for what is SURPRISINGLY the BEST PRODUCTION OF THE NIGHT for me and most of the people I know who weren’t even into this song before. Something Just Like This was such a revelation. Without The Chainsmokers, we heard the band more, which is nice of course. It was their first time to debut the song in a concert during the two nights in Singapore and my fearless prediction is that this will be a crowd favorite even in future tour stops. The visuals started with a cluster of many stars, which actually made me think that it was a different song (haha) until I heard the first 3 notes. The song’s lyric video was playing on screen when they sang, which made it a whole lot cooler! And Chris encouraged everyone to turn it into a dance party. During the chorus, out came the smokes and lights! There were reds, then blues, and maaaan, it just looked so good especially with the kinetic typography going on in the background. And may I just say that Chris sounds really good in this one. I like it better live and in band form. Even the instruments sounded so great–especially the lead guitars. There were also loads of confetti and paper stuff. I cannot put it into words but it just brought a general happy feeling!

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22: Immediately at the end of the previous song, he asked for the lights to be turned off. Right then, our Xylobands lit up into a good color of blue, the screen showed stars, and they played the intro of A Sky Full of Stars!! Aaaahhhh!!! Ever since I saw a clip of them doing this song live during the Ghost Stories tour, I have made it a goal in life to hear it live myself. It was just the screen of stars, the Xylobands, and darkness until…he ran to the runway and the lights went crazy. Also, I enjoyed singing along to this song kasi damang-dama ko ‘yung lyrics eh. Hahaha! My favorite part though was when he just kept on jumping up and down, going crazy along with the crowd and then STAR-SHAPED CONFETTI rained all over us. It was magical!!!!! I wanted to cry. It was even better than how I imagined it to be like. Huhuhuhuhuhuhu. Especially the outro. With all those stars falling against the contrast of darkness, with a sea of people reaching out and trying to catch the confetti. Hay. Life is wonderful.

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23: The night ended so aptly with Up and Up. This is one of the Coldplay songs that I like more because of the melody/music than the lyrics. They have perfectly captured the “sound” of soaring and flying. The only thing that sucked is the realization that the concert was already going to end. Booooooo! His last song lyrics for the night were: “Don’t ever give up.” And then it rained paper strings. It was fantastic.

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After the concert, I hurriedly got a balloon from the security guys and took it home. And we also took photos with the confetti on the floor. Hehehe! Anything to “bring home” a part of this experience.

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[Always in my head]

I do not know how any other artist can top that Coldplay concert in my list…or in anyone else’s list, for that matter. Each aspect of the show–the arrangements, the stage lights, the video clips, the live video effects, the band set-up, the Xyloband lights, the backdrop, Chris’s outfit and banners–all of these are intricately thought of and effectively utilized to give the audience the best concert experience. A Coldplay concert is beyond anything one can imagine. It is art coming to life. It is immersive, interactive. It is a treat for the senses. It is exactly the reason why this band is still one of the best in the world.

If it isn’t obvious yet, let me just say it again: BEST. CONCERT. EVER. Worth every single peso and worth every single second that I spent in that queue.

[Oh the light that you left me will everglow]

I was actually tempted to buy a ticket to the Manila leg of the tour, with a slight fear of missing out. Such a millenial, right?  It dawned on me though that if I was going to think that way, then I better go to EVERY Coldplay concert in the world. I’m pretty sure that the entire Coldplay team makes every night the best night. And I’m sure that no matter which country/city you are watching in, there will always be FANTASTIC memories to make.

As for me, I’ll always have April 1. And I’m definitely satisfied with that.