Hiding in Bali: Here and There.

I spent another week in Bali this October. The actual plan was to meet up with Adit and Ney for our #PecahdiUbud routine at Ubud International Writers & Readers Festival; but I intentionally came a few days earlier, wanting to savor Bali by myself. No wild parties, no shopping spree. I spent those days to walk around aimlessly in shorts, sleeveless top and flip-flops: eating out, having cocktails or coffee, writing, reading, and daydreaming.

And these are some of the places where I had been hiding, alone:

Cocoon Beach Club, Jl. Double Six no. 66, Blue Ocean Boulevard, Legian.

Just come early in the morning (while it’s still empty) for breakfast, plunge into the swimming pool every once and a while, and then spend the rest of your time sunbathing while reading some good books.




Gusto Gelato & Caffè, 67 B Jalan Umalas 2, Kerobokan, Seminyak

A tiny gem in Kerobokan! Located inside a small road, these gelato shop is offering the most delicious gelato I’ve ever tasted so far. And it’s cheap, too! For USD$2 or around IDR 20,000, you could have one luscious cup of gelato; and the portion is generous! Don’t forget to try the chocolate chili. Amazingly hot and spicy!




Kunyit Bali, Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta.

Craving for some Balinese food? Stop by at Kunyit Bali. Lovely place, good food (the crispy duck is amazingly delicious), friendly staff, cozy ambience.


Nammos Beach Club, Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan.

Located inside the luxurious Karma Kandara resort, you need to pay USD$35 to ride an elevator down to Nammos Beach Club (the elevator ride is free for the resorts’ guests). From that particular amount, the USD$25 can be spent later on, at the beach bar, to order some food and drinks. Though it’s quite expensive, I just love the beach club. I love the service. I love the fact that you can just leave all your belongings if you’d like to go for a swim—because the staff will look after it (very important when you’re traveling alone). I love it that they have a drink called Hemingway Daiquiri.






JuMaNa Bar, Banyan Tree Ungasan, Jl. Melasti, Banjar Kelod, Ungasan.

They said you need to have a reservation first for dinner. I came at around 4:30, saying that I just wanted to chill at the bar, and then a golf cart came to take me down from the lobby of Banyan Tree hotel to JuMaNa Bar. I sat outside, sipping their signature cocktail JuMaNa Royal (champagne flavoured with yuzu essence and Moroccan rose petal water) that tastes as ‘royal’ as its price, waiting for the sun to set.





Corner Store, Jln. Laksmana 10A, Seminyak

Lovely place serving healthy meals; perfect for brunch or coffee-time in the afternoon. I fall in love with the smoked salmon bagel.




Blue Point, Uluwatu.

When some friends from abroad came to Bali, I always take them to Blue Point, Uluwatu. Nothing much to do but to chill while drinking soft drinks or beers, looking at the surfers riding the waves, and telling stories while enjoying the sea breeze. Alone at Blue Point? I’ll just sit there and write for hours.


Blue Point

Four years and counting.

Four years ago, Nia and myself gazed at two jars full of coins on our working desk, and we thought how wonderful it would be if we could use those coins to send more kids back to school. We counted the coins and the amount could actually cover a child’s tuition fee in elementary school. We blogged about this idea (that later on we called Coin A Chance!) and invited our friends to participate in sending more Indonesian kids back to school; hoping that we could get 5 more friends to donate their coins. The news spread so much faster than we thought and on our first Coin Collecting Day, we got 30 people instead of 5, bringing along their jars of coins that all weighed around 15 kilograms.

Coin A Chance!

Four years later, we are still counting coins. All in all, around 60 kids have gone back to school (some have graduated from high school) thanks to our Coiners and Droppers in different cities across Indonesia. Coin A Chance! organizers in different cities—most of them are university students; volunteered to organize Coin Collecting Days in their cities, find the kids, and take care of all the administration procedures to send these kids back to school. We could not thank them enough for their kindness, their dedication, their time, and their enthusiasm.

Today, we’d like to thank each and everyone of you who have supported us since 2008 until today: volunteers, donors, coiners, droppers, friends, colleagues, onliners, corporations and institutions, schools, journalists… you have been such an amazing part of our wonderful journey.

Thank you so much.


There were moments when people just took off and left you behind; and you thought they were being unfair and selfish. Other times, it was you who decided to pack your bag and leave, and when they said, please, stay, you thought how annoying and unfair they were for trying to tie you down. And now you realize that maybe people are just afraid. Afraid of being alone, again. Afraid of being forgotten. Afraid of being a history…


And it reminded me of that day when we were about to swim in the pool one afternoon, but it was raining cats and dogs; and so we stood there, at the edge of yes or no, with our swimsuits and towels and flip-flops and all. The sound of the rain was deafening, the water was gleaming under the raindrops, the wind was blowing hard and cold, and so we hesitated for a while but then we exchanged a few if-not-now-then-when glances and nodded and hand in hand we plunged ourselves into the freezing water and we could hear ourselves screaming and laughing and water was splashing everywhere and we just knew that we won’t regret this because it was too effing awesome and we were not afraid to take that first leap of faith.

The Wedding.

My dear friend Nadia asked me to write a script for her pre-wedding video. We had discussed about the concept of the video beforehand, but I had never seen the video itself until it was finished—and I needed to think about the matching script that would go along with the video’s storyline. The first thing that crossed my mind was the fact that Nadia and her husband, Deni, are totally different; they’re like each other’s opposite. But maybe, to them, that’s love. It’s not about similarities, but about differences.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/55354216]

Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. About how he loves to play tennis and gets a tan… while she just sits there, cheering, and trying to be cute with an SPF 30 sun protection lotion. Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. It’s about how she loves all the cute stuff; and how he just doesn’t get it. Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. About how she loves to capture him with her camera lens, while he loves to capture her with the glance of his eyes. Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. It’s about how she gets bored easily. And gets excited (easily, too) by random romantic lines. About him being very serious whenever he works; and about her, being annoying, all the time. About him trying to be patient and her trying to be lenient. Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. About how he tries to be romantic; and how she tries to be thinner. About how she does ridiculous things (sometimes worse than this); and how it makes him smile. Maybe love is not about similarities. Maybe love is about differences. It’s about him being cool; and her anything but cool. Maybe love is about being OK with that, and being lonely without.

*)written for Nadia Sabrina.

Nesting in El Nido, Palawan (3)

The next morning, I was on a boat for El Nido’s famous island-hopping tour. I was sharing the boat with two couples on their first and second honeymoon. One of them is Belle and Michael, who had just got married a few days before. Their love story was just amazing: from best friends to husband and wife :’) Island-hopping is a must in El Nido. What’s great is that the local authority have managed to regulate the price for such tours (tour A, B, C and D) so you won’t be ripped off. The authority have also decided on the islands we can visit (Turtle Island, for instance, where turtles lay their eggs, is closed for public. Only researchers can land on this island after obtaining a permit).

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

When you pay for the tour, included in the price is the boat, guides, lunch, and snorkeling gears. And snorkeling is also a must, because the underwater view is just amazing! The clear water and the fish and the colorful corals… breath-taking! And don’t worry if you can’t swim (or too lazy to swim). You’ll have a life vest, so you can just float lazily there. If you don’t know how to snorkel, the guide will teach you how.

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

There are two lagoons included in the tour (small lagoon and big lagoon). To reach these lagoons, you need to swim through an opening between the cliffs, because the boat could not get in. But if you can’t swim, the guides will help you to get there. No worries. Traveling alone? The guides will take your camera and put it inside their waterproof bag, and will take pictures for you during the trip (good pictures, too!). I love the guides! And they prepared our lunch-by-the-beach, too! ^^

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

What’s better than enjoying lunch accompanied by such a beautiful view (and a cute dog)?

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

It was during lunch when I met Mischa and Julia and some of their friends. They were about to take a group photo by placing their camera on a rock. And because I overheard them speaking in Russian, I greeted them and offered them some help. We ended up conversing in Russian (well, perfect Russian on their side because they came from Moscow and could not speak English; and broken Russian on my side) and took turns taking pictures of each other.

El Nido

El Nido

Matinloc Shrine was amazing. It was located in a small island, surrounded by the forests and the cliffs. It was also known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc or Shrine of the Blessed Virgin). The view from the top of the cliff were just awesome; it was worth climbing.

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

And it won’t be complete without lazying on the beach, waiting for the sun to set, and drinking young coconut water (buko in Tagalog) before heading back to town.

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

El Nido

The photographs tell it all 🙂