Be inspired by these creative entrepreneurs!

Writer’s Block Philippines’ Founders

Ana P. Santos

Ana _ Profile Pic for HW 2Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. In 2010, she left her position as Assistant Vice President of a financial institution to pursue a career as a writer.

As an independent journalist covering sexual health rights and women in armed conflict, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues.

Most recently, she was awarded the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. For her multi-media project, “Who Takes Care of Nanny’s Children?”, Ana wrote a series of stories about migrant mothers in Dubai, UAE and Paris, France

Nikka Sarthou-Lainez

Photo by Ena Terol  aligncenterNikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients.

She is currently a full-time freelance editor/writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts. She is also a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.


Guest Speakers

Anton Diaz

about AntonAnton Diaz worked for the biggest multinational company in the Philippines for 12+ years, straight out of college, before becoming a full time Online Entrepreneur.

He was the Chief Information Officer of Procter & Gamble Philippines when he finally quit his day job and decided to take his blog, Our Awesome Planet, to the next level in 2008.

OurAwesomePlanet.com, which he started in 2005, is the #1 food and travel blog in the Philippines with close to 1,000,000 hits in 1.5 months, 120,000+ followers and 10,200+ readers, and is still growing. His advocacy is to promote the “Food and Travel Secrets in teh Philippines” and to inspire Filipinos that living in the Philippines is truly awesome!

Darlyn Ty

Darlyn TyEight years ago, Darlyn Ty first offered Viviamo Inc.’s first planner product, Belle De Jour Power Planner.

Today, Belle De Jour is more than just a planner but a community aimed to empower women to try, dare, achieve, discover and live their best lives. Through ilovebdj.com, Darlyn is encouraging conversations among girls from topics ranging to make up to fashion to career.

Michael Josh Villanueva

Michael Josh Villanueva is a multimedia journalist, digital strategist and social media evangelist.

He’s spent the last 15-years working in broadcast and online media specializing in content creation, technology, video, social media and mobile.

He served as Rappler’s Director for Special Projects, Editor of the Technology Section and produces and anchors the weekly technology web show TechRap.

Prior to Rappler, he spent a decade with broadcast network GMA 7 as Senior Manager for Digital News Gathering and Social Media.

His current pursuits include producing gadget reviews on the Youtube technology channel Gadget Match.

Mina V. Esguerra

Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas, she documents her experiments in publishing.

When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, indie publisher, professional editor, wife, and mother. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” for writers and publishers, and #romanceclass for aspiring romance writers.

Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novellas won the Filipino Readers’ Choice awards for Chick Lit in 2012 (Fairy Tale Fail) and 2013 (That Kind of Guy).

Contact her at minavesguerra@gmail.com / @minavesguerra on Twitter.

RJ Ledesma

R.J. LedesmaRJ Ledesma wears a lot of hats. He was the Best Male Emcee of the 2012 Aliw Awards, a professional event and wedding host, host of Best Men on GMA News TV, co-founder and organizer of Mercato Centrale, editor-in-chief of UNO Magazine, lifestyle columnist for the Philippine Star, honorary Vice Consul of Monaco to the Philippines, executive vice president of Ledesco Development Corporation, best selling author of five books, certified Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa instructor, doting father and husband.

A collection of his articles from his Sunday column Pogi From A Parallel Universe for the Philippine Star, all of RJ Ledesma’s books are best sellers, with Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Me? and It Only Hurts When I Pee making it as finalists in the National Book Awards.

Vince Golangco

Vince Golangco of WhenInManilaVince Golangco graduated from San Diego State University. He is the Founder & Publisher WhenInManila.com, the top online magazine in the Philippines that boasts over 8 million impressions per day.

Vince is also a TV & events host, radio DJ, surfer, skater, blogger, US Military Vet, San Diego State University alumni, AKΨ, JCI, Yes-Man. See his portfolio here VinceGolangco.com/portfolio or connect with him on Twitter/Instagram @VinceGolangco

Writer’s Block Philippines will hold the Creative Entrepreneurship Summit on Jan. 31 at Top Shelf, Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, please see our Guide to Frequently Asked Questions.

We are Modern Nomads: An exhibition of travel writers’ kits by Moleskine

WBP Co-Founder, Nikka Sarthou, is part of the “We are Modern Nomads” exhibit, which in ongoing in selected National Bookstore branches. Please visit the Greenbelt branch to view her travel kit. The travel kits of four other travel writers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia are also being displayed in National Bookstore branches in Mall of Asia, Rockwell, Shangri-La, and Trinoma.

“Do you remember the time when you were less mobile? Snail mail, office desk, and fixed phone line were essential parts of our daily life and our mode of communication.

Now, with the aid of mobile technology, we bring our life with us anywhere. Sometimes it is the simple, silent objects we carry around that say the most about us, becoming an integral part of our identity.

We always change our addresses, but we always have the same email addresses. With our mobile phones, we don’t need our home line anymore. But we usually carry our favorite pen, phone, and wallet. The familiar objects help us create a mobile home.

We are modern nomads.”

~Moleskine (legendary notebooks)

WBP Co-Founder, Nikka Sarthou, is part of the “We are Modern Nomads” exhibit, which in ongoing in selected National Bookstore branches. Please visit the Greenbelt branch to view her travel kit. The travel kits of four other travel writers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia are also being displayed in National Bookstore branches in Mall of Asia, Rockwell, Shangri-La, and Trinoma.

Feel free to visit the stores and check out the new Moleskine travel gear and notebooks.

5 ways to use your passions to fuel a freelance writing career

This is a sidebar to “How to use your passions to jumpstart a freelance writing career.” Click on the link to view the rest of the article.

 

  1. When travelling, be observant and take notes detailing your experiences and other details that might be useful to other travellers. Read travel magazines like Travelife to sharpen your travel writing skills, and don’t be afraid to pitch your ideas to an editor. Just make sure to feature angles that have not yet been used in other articles.
  2. Use your appetite to sniff out the newest foodie haunts, and write online reviews ahead of everyone else. ClicktheCity.com features the latest in dining, entertainment, arts and culture, and lifestyle—and they could use your insights for their website. Again, just make sure that you’re writing something totally new and fresh and has not yet been previously published.
  3. Start a blog to develop writing practice and discipline. While there’s nothing better than getting approval from an editor and being published in a credible publication, blogging can help you develop your skills, get a feel of the audience’s needs and wants, and learn important editorial disciplines that will make you more marketable to publications out there. Read award-winning travel blogs like OurAwesomePlanet.com and WhenInManila.com to get an idea of how it’s done.
  4. Be social media-savvy and get an opportunity to freelance for advertisers and media firms that contract social media managers for their respective brands. Who would have thought that Facebooking and tweeting could be such lucrative activities?
  5. Develop an expertise out of your own hobbies and interests, and become a credible authority on the subject. The more credible you are, the more attractive you will be to editors and brands that need subject matter experts and advocates for their respective features or brand campaigns. Who knows just how far your passions can take you?

 

* * *

All of these elements are integrated into JUMPSTART YOUR FREELANCE WRITING CAREER 4.0, a two-day workshop designed to prepare participants for a freelance writing career through a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises, and talks by guest speakers from the industry. The next workshop will run from April 30 to May 1, 2011, 10AM to 6PM at Powerbooks Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

Testimonials from past participants show the following statements:

“Thank you for creating Writer’s Block Philippines. I’m proud to belong to a community of writers who have passion for and respect the craft. The workshop is excellent. It would be nice to have monthly meetings for follow-up.”

“Writing the pitch was really practical Also, the opportunities and advice were very structured and practical.”

“The workshop gave me a lot of information on how to really start a career as a freelance writer.”

“You guys did a great job team-teaching. You are great at conveying your enthusiasm. And it was a valuable experience. Thank you.”

 

Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0 is supported by PowerbooksTravelife Magazine,ClicktheCity.comNiveaMiLi, and WheninManila.com. For more information, please contact Writer’s Block Philippines at (0927) 850.8280 or writersblock.ph@gmail.com. Online reservations and payments are also accepted through www.writersblockphilippines.com. For fresh updates on Writer’s Block Philippines events, follow WBP on Facebook (www.facebook.com/writersblock.ph) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/writersblockph)

How to use your passions to jumpstart a freelance writing career

For Nikka Sarthou, a freelance lifestyle and travel writer, the perfect life consists of frequent travels and the opportunity to write about her trips. Whether she is watching the French Open in Roland Garros, Paris; taking a heritage tour in Taal, Batangas; or whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro, Nikka travels with notebook and pen in tow, always ready for inspiration to strike. She is also a foodie and enjoys going around town sampling the latest food trends and the newest restaurants and then reviewing these for various online and print publications.

For Nikka Sarthou, a freelance lifestyle and travel writer, the perfect life consists of frequent travels and the opportunity to write about her trips. Whether she is watching the French Open in Roland Garros, Paris; taking a heritage tour in Taal, Batangas; or whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro, Nikka travels with notebook and pen in tow, always ready for inspiration to strike. She is also a foodie and enjoys going around town sampling the latest food trends and the newest restaurants and then reviewing these for various online and print publications.

Although Nikka began her career working full-time in a publishing house, she eventually embarked on a freelance career to have the flexibility to pursue her passions while making a comfortable living. She is now Contributing Editor for Smile, Cebu Pacific’s inflight magazine, as well as content manager for the travel website OfficiallyPhilippines.com.

“Schools do not really teach its students how to go about freelance writing. I had to learn the ropes myself,” she points out. “It took me some time before I was able to have a sustainable freelance writing career, and now I’m enjoying its benefits. Since I’m now a full-time freelance writer, I get to be my own boss and marry my two other passions, which are writing and travelling.”

Ana Santos, on the other hand, embarked on a freelance writing career in a roundabout way, having been in the banking industry for nine years before finally leaving her post as Assistant Vice President of a multinational financial institution to do what she really loves to do: write and support the women’s reproductive health movement. Since taking on the plunge to write full-time and create the website www.sexandsensibilities.com in 2010, Ana has been invited to numerous speaking engagements and media appearances and has also been featured in Cosmo’s feature on Women Warriors  in the November 2010 issue. Ana is also a foreign correspondent for the United Nations, as well as Associate Editor of Illustrado, a Dubai-based lifestyle magazine for Filipinos.

For her, even the perks of a bank executive—including the designated parking slot—don’t compare to the fulfilment she feels when she is able to write in support of a cause that she is truly passionate about.  However, she is quick to point out that her mix of marketing, PR, and hard-core corporate skills are useful in building her personal brand as a freelance writer.

“The marketing skills I picked up during my banking days come in handy now that I manage my own ‘by-line’ which we at Writer’s Block Philippines, liken to managing your own corporation. Thinking of writing as a career rather than a ‘gig’ or ‘sideline’ is the key to making it a sustainable passion.”

Niña Terol-Zialcita, meanwhile, fuses advocacy, travel and arts & culture in her writing, shifting easily from political writing and consulting to writing and editing travel features—sometimes in the span of a few hours. With a career that has spanned working for a telco, a non-profit consulting firm, the Philippine Senate, and a national electoral campaign, Niña finds a way to fuse her various skills and balance her many interests through freelancing.

She shares: “For someone like me who enjoys exploring many different fields and expressing myself across different disciplines, I find that freelancing has given me the opportunity to widen my network and horizons, and enhance my competencies. Writing also immerses me in the creative sphere, balancing my cutthroat political-corporate sensibilities with my need for softer artistic outlets. Even while holding a full-time Senate post, I enjoyed writing and editing for lifestyle and travel publications.”

At present, Niña is a political and corporate communications consultant while being a book author and editor-in-chief of asianTraveler Magazine.

Writer's Block Philippines
Writer's Block Philippines: Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, Nina Terol-Zialcita

All three ladies are also co-founders of Writer’s Block Philippines, an organization dedicated to helping writers and communicators sharpen their skills and find profitable, sustainable opportunities in writing. When they are not busy with their respective editorial and consulting engagements, the three conduct writing workshops to share tried-and-tested tips for breaking into the competitive world of freelance writing.

“There was a large gap in the market that we wanted to fill,” shares Ana. “While attending Maven Secrets, a course taught by Anton Diaz on professional blogging and Internet marketing, we realized that there are not enough  courses that teach people how to write and communicate better.”

Nikka adds: “We also saw throughout our respective careers that there are many opportunities for freelance writing that can fit people’s varied interests. Our courses aim to teach participants how to break into freelance writing through various channels, such as print, mobile, online, and social media.”

“More importantly, we teach our participants how to not only get published but also how to build their respective brands and how to sustain a profitable career in freelancing. This isn’t about one-shot deals but about building a life that you want out of the things that matter most to you,” reveals  Niña.

All of these elements are integrated into JUMPSTART YOUR FREELANCE WRITING CAREER 4.0, a two-day workshop designed to prepare participants for a freelance writing career through a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises, and talks by guest speakers from the industry. The next workshop will run from April 30 to May 1, 2011, 10AM to 6PM at Powerbooks Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

Testimonials from past participants show the following statements:

“Thank you for creating Writer’s Block Philippines. I’m proud to belong to a community of writers who have passion for and respect the craft. The workshop is excellent. It would be nice to have monthly meetings for follow-up.”

“Writing the pitch was really practical Also, the opportunities and advice were very structured and practical.”

“The workshop gave me a lot of information on how to really start a career as a freelance writer.”

“You guys did a great job team-teaching. You are great at conveying your enthusiasm. And it was a valuable experience. Thank you.”

Indeed, Writer’s Block Philippines and its founders have proven that it is possible to build an enjoyable and profitable career in the pursuit of one’s passions. All it takes is an acute awareness of one’s gifts and talents, an openness to keep learning, and the courage to take the inevitable leap of faith.

 

Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0 is supported by Powerbooks, Travelife Magazine, ClicktheCity.com, Nivea, MiLi, and WheninManila.com. For more information, please contact Writer’s Block Philippines at (0927) 850.8280 or writersblock.ph@gmail.com. Online reservations and payments are also accepted through www.writersblockphilippines.com. For fresh updates on Writer’s Block Philippines events, follow WBP on Facebook (www.facebook.com/writersblock.ph) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/writersblockph)

 

“Vegging Out” (Smile Magazine)

“Vegging Out” (Smile Magazine)

RAWVOLUTION

15 Annapolis Street, Gold Building, San Juan, Greenhills, Mandaluyong City Tel: +63 (2) 723 3660 Open daily from 10am-9pm

WHAT IT IS A casual eatery that mainly serves 100% raw food and other meat-free gastronomic delights. It also offers organic and all-natural food and non-food products.

CROWD PLEASERS Specialty appetizers include mock salmon paté and Asian sushi rolls. Familiar foods such as fettucini Alfredo and pad Thai are also raw.

TRIED AND TASTED “Colorful and light, the Asian sushi rolls taste so refreshing, healthy and delicious.” – Rosalie Suarez

WABI-SABI NOODLE HOUSE AND VEGETARIAN GROCERY

7274 Malugay Street, Barangay San Antonio, Makati City Tel: +63 (918) 450 1714 Open Sunday–Thursday, 12pm–9pm and Friday-Saturday, 12pm–11pm

WHAT IT IS A hole-in-the-wall noodle house with vegetarian options.

CROWD PLEASERS Go for the viet phó, the shoyu ramen, or the filling Vietnamese bahn mi (Vietnamese baguette).

TRIED AND TASTED “Treat your taste buds to some Wabi-Sabi. The Vietnamese noodles are awesome.” – Joseph Bolintiam

GREENS VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT AND CAFÉ

92 Scout Castor Street, Quezon City Tel: +63 (2) 415 4796 greensresto@gmail.com Open from Monday–Saturday, 11am–10pm and Sundays, 12pm–9pm

WHAT IT IS One of the more established vegetarian restaurants. Greens has been serving lacto vegetarian cuisine since 2001.

CROWD PLEASERS Start with the Greens house salad, then choose from the bestselling dishes like the mushroom tofu burger. Carnivores will love the taste of the veggie sisig and grilled mushroom and tofu kebabs. Accompany your meal with some freshly squeezed dalandan juice.

TRIED AND TASTED “I have a hearty appetite and a liking for fatty, absolutely bad-for-the-heart food like pork sisig. I found a healthy substitute for my sisig craving in Greens. I like the texture and I love the taste.” – Suby Cayabyab

Read original article here

“Pod Living” (Business World)

Pod Living

WHETHER ONE is traveling for business or leisure, it is customary to stay overnight in a hotel whatever the destination may be.

Unlike the usual hotels, however, Travelers Pod in Cagayan de Oro can tailor fit its accommodations to any traveler’s needs.

This cozy hotel offers a place to stay for those who are in town for either just a short stopover or an overnight visit. Open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the Travelers Pod is situated right in the heart of the city at the Gateway Tower inside the Limketkai Complex.

It is just a stone’s throw away from one of the city’s major malls and across the main thoroughfare that leads to other parts of the city and nearby provinces such as Butuan and Iligan. It is also just seven kilometers away from the airport, which makes it very convenient for people on-the-go.

The Travelers Pod has a pay-per-use concept that allows travelers to book their accommodation preference. The most basic type is the pod rest or single pod (pictured) where one can avail of reasonably priced hourly hotel rates.

It includes a single pod with a curtain enclosure (P350) to ensure privacy. This is perfect for transient travelers who need a place to rest and relax for just a short time, whether to attend a convention, an event or some other occasion.

Guests also have the option of availing of the hotel’s hot and cold shower facility, which also includes the use of towel and toiletries so travelers can freshen up before painting the town red.

The hotel also has its own baggage check-in facility where guests can secure their luggage and other belongings for a minimum fee.

Transients will also be pleased to know that the hotel has a battery charging facility and offers ticketing services. No need to head to a travel agent to book a flight home.

For the traditional traveler, the hotel also offers rooms called private pods, which can take in two people or more, depending on the size.

The deluxe pod (P1,000) has room for two persons while the executive pod (P2,000) is big enough for five people.

These private pods have their own bathrooms that come with a set of toiletries and bathrobes to boot. The rooms also have a centralized cable television system, which any weary traveler would appreciate.

Guests may also choose to rent a DVD player from the hotel and get a selection of videos to keep themselves entertained during their stay.

The design and décor of all these pods are done in earth tones, which add more to the warmth of the place and its fine ambience. Its subdued lighting and cool atmosphere also makes it a very relaxing and comfortable place to stay — at least for an hour.

To maximize the travel experience, the hotel provides whole body spa packages such as a relaxing full-body massage, foot massage, and even manicure and pedicure. Its well-trained staff is available any time of the day for such spa services.

Guests may choose to pamper themselves in one of the single pod rests or inside their own private pod. There is also an option to select all the treatments at a special package rate. After indulging in a treatment, guests will be served a pot of complimentary hot tea.

The hotel even caters to the needs of those who want to stay connected with free Wi-Fi Internet access in the entire place. Another option would be to catch up on work at the hotel’s in-house coffee shop found at the ground floor. It is a simple and quiet place where one can hang out while enjoying a light snack.

When traveling to this part of northern Mindanao, there is no need to worry about finding a place to stay for as short as an hour or as long as a day, as the Travelers Pod is always open to assist travelers.

Travelers Pod is at Gateway Tower, Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. For inquiries, call (088) 851-8988, (+63917) 717-6910.

Walk Write This Way with Writer’s Block Philippines and Carlos Celdran

Writer’s Block Philippines is once again holding a one of a kind travel writing workshop with Carlos Celdran.

A group founded by freelance writers Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Nina Terol-Zialcita, Writer’s Block Philippines believes in conducting writing workshops that are both experiential and inspiring.

“Combining something we are passionate about–like food and traveling–with writing has been our formula from the start. It’s proven to be something that participants look for and look forward to,” says Ana Santos, who writes about sexual health rights and women in armed conflict.

Take a walk around the famed city of Intramuros and listen to Manila tourist guide extraordinaire Carlos Celdran regale us with his own kind of history lesson / tour that is also a one-man theatrical performance.

Workshop participants will start the morning with the Carlos Celdran If these walls could talk” walking tour of Intramuros and then be given free time to write about their experience.

Later, these writing pieces will be discussed with Writer’s Block Founders and a guest speaker from Travelife Magazine who will share what really makes a good travel piece and provide an editorial perspective on what editors look for.

“I see travel as a learning experience–whether it is a local or foreign destination. Traveling is a nice opportunity to learn about the things beyond the four walls of the classroom. For me, the best way to document each travel experience is to write about it. Walk Write This Way 2.0 will help aspiring travel writers become more effective in their craft, as the founders of Writer’s Block Philippines will share tips that every writer will find useful,” says Nikka Sarthou, a lifestyle and travel journalist.

Writer’s Block Philippines also dispels the myth that traveling entails a lot of time and money. “Sometimes, the most surprising discoveries await us just in our own backyards,” says Niña Terol-Zialcita, who writes about themes on “changemaking” and culture and the arts. “Those of us who live in Manila tend to take it for granted because all we see is the traffic, the pollution, and the stressors that accompany our daily grind. But if we peel all those layers and look closely, we will discover that we live in a vibrant and culturally diverse locale where there are so many stories to be uncovered and shared.”

As Writer’s Block Philippines is a firm believer in freelance writing as a career, various writing opportunities in travel writing will also be discussed.  We hope that at the end of the workshop, the participants will have learned the basics of what they will need to combine their passion for writing and traveling and earn from it!

You Go, Girl (published in Travelife Magazine)

Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou and Nina Terol-Zialcita, of Writer’s Block Philippines, contribute to this issue’s Survival Guide (You Go, Girl) a very practical take on girls traveling solo. Mostly borne of painful experience, we hope it helps spare you trouble. Yes, guys, too.

Here are some excerpts from the contributors page of Travelife and some unpublished tips on traveling solo.

Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou and Nina Terol-Zialcita, of Writer’s Block Philippines, contribute to this issue’s Survival Guide (You Go, Girl) a very practical take on girls traveling solo. Mostly borne of painful experience, we hope it helps spare you trouble. Yes, guys, too.

Here are some excerpts from the contributors page of Travelife and some unpublished tips on traveling solo.

What for you is the holiday destination?

Ana: Amsterdam! I want to see the infamous red light district and learn why Amsterdam is considered the world’s most sexually liberated city. As a journalist and sexual health advocate, part of my trip is documenting attitudes toward sexuality and women’s issues, traced back to a nation’s history or religion.

Nikka: That would be Amanpulo where I can bask under the sun, frolic in the sand, and cool in clear, blue waters. I just want to immerse myself in one of the Philippines’ most beautiful destinations. Nothing spells holiday like your own private paradise.

Nina: Greece, because I would love to see the birthplace of democracy and philosophy, where empires rose and fell, and the Mediterranean Sea. Besides, I can imagine the great photo opportunities!

You Go, Girl

More (unpublished) travel tips about flying solo and surviving the experience:

  • Since you’re traveling alone, make sure that someone else knows your itinerary and check in with them frequently to let them know that you’re safe–especially when traveling cross-country or moving from one destination to another.
  • Check your hotel for free WiFi, and maximize Skype whenever you need to get in touch with family and friends from another part of the world.
  • Try not to draw too much attention to yourself through your clothes or expressions. You never really know what can provoke someone else to pose a threat to you. And when someone DOES cross the line, keep your cool and DO NOT engage them–especially if you cannot speak their language. While in the Paris metro, a small bald man rushed up to me and whacked my head with a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. I didn’t know why, since I didn’t even notice him during the trip, but I chose to not engage him and just let him walk away (after making sure that I didn’t get pickpocketed or violated). I didn’t want to provoke any more hostility on his part, and since I came out of it pretty much unscathed, I just charged it to experience–and a good story to tell. ~Nina, during her side trip to Paris when she went to the European Journalism Institute in Prague for a scholarship
  • Allot a budget for your trip, including shopping money and emergency cash, just in case. The first time I went back to the States after ten years, I realized that I forgot to bring a camera. Since I wanted to document my trip, it was necessary for me to purchase one there. Good thing I had extra money with me so I can do so. Having a credit card would also be helpful for emergencies, but keep in mind the conversion rates before you make that first swipe. ~ Nikka, during her vacation in the U.S.A.
  • Always carry some loose change. You’ll never know when you’ll need it for emergency phone calls, metro or bus tickets, vendo snacks and drinks, and others.
  • It is important to list down the toll-free numbers of your credit card issuers and keep them handy. In Rome, on the way to the Vatican, I was pickpocketed and had to call my two bank issuers to report the loss using their landline number. I could have saved on roaming charges if I had known the toll free numbers. ~ Ana, during her European tour
  • Always bring a medicine kit wherever you go.
  • Adjust your beauty practices depending on your destination.
  • Your hand carry should always always have your basic toiletries, night clothes, underwear and an extra set of clothes because you never know if you baggage would be delayed or lost.

Food Writing Tips: Earn Some Cash in Between Bites (featured in OurAwesomePlanet.com)

Excerpt from “Food Writing Tips: Earn Some Cash in Between Bites,” published in Anton Diaz’s Our Awesome Planet.

Here are some pro-food writing tips from my friends from Writer’s Block Philippines:

How do you cross over from being a passionate foodie to a credible and published food writer? Try these tips from the writing experts:

Excerpt from “Food Writing Tips: Earn Some Cash in Between Bites,” published in Anton Diaz’s Our Awesome Planet.

Here are some pro-food writing tips from my friends from Writer’s Block Philippines:

How do you cross over from being a passionate foodie to a credible and published food writer? Try these tips from the writing experts:

1. Select an interesting subject that has not yet been featured in other websites or magazines

Food features can be more than just about food. Aside from the food itself, other possible features may include new restaurants, chefs, and recipes. Just make sure that the topic is unique or that’s you’re presenting it in a different angle.

For instance, when writing about family recipes (sometimes called “heirloom recipes”), mention its unique history, what makes the family behind it special, any unique innovations that have been passed on through the generations, and so on. Magazine editors value writers who can present ideas from a perspective that sets the publication apart from the rest of the pack.

2. Practice your keen observation skills

Use all your senses when describing the food.

How’s was the dish presented?
How does it taste—too sweet maybe or a bit salty?
What flavors and aromas does it remind you of?
What is its texture?

Describe all these in a way that make the dishes come alive, such as “its sweet, nutty taste and earthy, organic texture made one feel closer to nature.”

Describe its “star ingredients” and what makes the dish special–especially if it’s a popular or well-loved dish such as adobo, sinigang, paella, pasta, or steak.

Be very detailed when you explain your eating experience so your reader would want to experience it, too.

3. Accentuate the positive

Doing a restaurant review could be a bit tricky if you’re not happy with your dining experience. As much as possible, focus on the positive aspect of the food or place when writing a review. If something is not to your liking, say it in a nice way—in the form of constructive criticism. A bad review is not worth the time and effort you’ll put into it, not to mention the space you need to allot for it. Also, editors might be uneasy publishing a piece that reads more like glorified bashing.

READ MORE TIPS HERE.

Travelife Magazine’s Suitcase Tales: Everyone’s Dream: To Foodtrip for a Living

Excerpt from “Travelife Magazine’s Suitcase Tales: Everyone’s Dream: To Foodtrip for a Living,” published in Travelife Magazine blog.

Excerpt from “Travelife Magazine’s Suitcase Tales: Everyone’s Dream: To Foodtrip for a Living,” published in Travelife Magazine blog.

Writers’ Block Philippines, a group designed to bind and inspire the writing community, is once again organizing a very interesting activity for potential writers, and we at Travelife Magazine are very happy to support it. Travel and food go together, after all!

Niña Terol-Zialcita, one of the group’s founders and a lifestyle journalist, agrees. “Food is a common denominator among those who enjoy culture, travelling, and adventure.”

Eat, Write, Love

The food writing workshop, entitled, “Eat, Write, Love,” will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant inQuezon City. Like their other trademark experiential workshops, “Eat, Write, Love” will combine the gastronomic experience of eating and the equally satisfying activity of writing about it. Adarna Executive Chef Giney Villar will also talk about the history behind her food creations for Adarna, while popular food writer Lori Baltazar of DessertComesFirst.com will talk about building a career from food writing.

Incidentally, NiñaAna Santos, and Nikka Sarthou, the three ladies behind Writer’s Block Philippines, have also contributed a great article on travel survival tips in the latest issue of Travelife Magazine (October-November 2011). The issue is on sale now, so read about their adventures and advice in our magazine.

READ MORE HERE.