Resort Visit – Sun Aqua Vilu Reef

It is not easy to island hop here, hence in my 6months here in the Maldives, I’ve never visited any other resort except ours (the company that I work for I mean) till last week.

Our department decided to visit a resort nearby, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef to hold our farewell dinner for one of our colleagues. Since that was my first time to visit a resort, I have requested for a site visit as I want to see the rooms and facilities and they willingly obliged.

We arrived at Sun Aqua Vilu Reef via speedboat (gone are my Uber days, we are talking about speedboat now) just after sunset and were warmly welcomed by the General Manager.

He led us to the bar where a long table awaited us and served us their welcome drink. Fresh coconut or Kurumba in local language.


After drinking the Kurumba water, a resort host conducted the resort tour and led us to their restaurants first.  He showed us their fine dining restaurant with  a pool-like area where live lobsters chill near the rocks before they get caught and grilled.

What caught my attention is their wine cellar. It looks stunning (at least for me) with the blue lights and glass walls.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef wine-cellar


Sorry for the random photos, I easily get distracted with small things like this magic-ball center piece.


The resort has 2 bars and 2 restaurants but I only took photos of what caught my attention. Maybe because I am not a travel blogger, so I am not so into taking pictures just like the photo below of the spa treatment room.

I was amazed by the wooden tray with those powders, hence this is the only photo that I took.

Sun Aqua Viu Reef treatment-room

The resort host showed us their rooms and this is how they look like.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Room

They have a lot of pink touches every where as that is their brand color. Each of their rooms has direct access to the beach, and the bed is facing this glass door. The view could be stunning during daytime.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Room

And this, is my favorite part of their room. I can imagine myself, reading a book here.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Villa

Again, my dear friends, I was distracted by the wall behind the tub. Forgive my photos.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Villa

It is sad that we arrived after sunset, we could have seen the hotel in a different light if we came earlier while the sun was still up. I could have taken better photos as well of their water villas. But who knows, there could be a next time. (Hello Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, I can write for free meals! I am one email away! **insert shame here**)

After the resort visit, we headed to the buffet restaurant for dinner and guess what? I don’t have a single photo of the food, but as you can see below, I have a photo of the magic-ball centerpiece.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Restaurant

We wrapped up the evening with a few drinks at the bar while we waited for our speedboat to arrive.

Just another centerpiece

There was a live performance that night at the bar, Bodu Beru – Maldivian cultural music composed of drumbeats, voices and some sort of tribal dance.

Bodu Beru

And before I end this post, I’ll share our group picture, taken upon our arrival at the resort. In group photos, I can easily be spotted for I am always the wacky one.


PS: I think I need a training on travel photography so next time I’ll know how and what are the things I should be taking note and photos of, instead of walls and centerpieces.

Maldives in Different Colors

In this post, I won’t talk a lot. I will just show you the Maldives  through my eyes (and lenses).

5o Shades of Blue

The Maldives is composed of 99% water and 1% percent land. Hence, expect that the country will be so blue. But wait, there’s more to the place than just being blue.

On bright sunny days, I cannot count how many shades of blue can I see. Royal blue, navy blue, cobalt blue, baby blue….name it, Maldives has it.



There are nights when I feel that a blue fairy might have sprinkled some blue dust everywhere. I don’t know how but sometimes, really, even the wooden jetty has a shade of blue on it. And mind you, the pictures in this post have not been filtered nor edited.


Wildly White

This country is also known for its soft and white sand that sparkles like diamonds whenever the sun is up.


So far, I have seen very few species of flowers here in the island. Orchids, gumamela (hibiscus), bougainvillea and santan (ixora) – the tropical ones.


Freshly Green

The summer feeling won’t be complete without the coconut trees.

Rumors has it that in the Maldives, there are more cases of death by falling coconuts on the human head than shark attacks. Hence, in my workplace, we have a dedicated team of gardeners who does not only look after the beauty of our resort, but as well ensures that no one gets into trouble due to unidentified flying coconuts.



Breathtakingly Orange

Everyday, the sun paints a different color to the sky before it finally goes down to a rest. Sometimes I feel like I am looking at a huge painting, it just feels so surreal.


Cutely Pink

When the sky is not orange during sunset, sometimes it has this baby pink and baby blue color that makes me feel like I am looking at giant cotton candies in the sky.



Lonely Gray

The official tag line of the country is ‘The sunny side of life” because it is just summer all year round. Though there’s also a monsoon season which is from June to August where we expect a lot of rain. However, rainy season here doesn’t feel really rainy after all. Sometimes it just rains for 10 minutes then the sun is up again. Sometimes it rains the whole day, then the next day you’ll wake up to a whole new world that looks like it never rained the day before. Though, there are tougher days when it really rains for about 3 days straight.

This photo was taken while I was in the speedboat.


Red as in Red

Red for gumamela and apologies for the bad photography skills. LOL.


That’s all for now folks!


Expat Life in the Maldives

It’s been 6 months since I moved here in the Maldives. Time really flies and the next thing I’ll know is that my 2 year-contract has reached its end.

I have written a few things about my snorkeling adventures here as well as my work life issues but I have not written anything about how life is here in the Maldives, for the expats like me I mean.

Since I am an expat living in the Maldives, I’ll take the liberty to tell you about the country, how is it to live here and a lot more. Of course, I won’t be able to elaborate everything in just one post. There will be more to follow.

This is Male, the capital of Maldives

Maldives is a very beautiful place to live in and if I’d be given a chance [and money] to buy a small island here where I could build a small house, I’ll do that. Even though the Maldives is slowly sinking and might be wiped out in 20 years’ time or so, I’d still want to live [peacefully] here  – if given a chance.

Just for your info, Maldives is the lowest country on Earth. The islands are not more than 1.8 meters above sea level.  No hills, no mountains. And also, just for your info, in case you are still clueless as to where Maldives is, this country is located in the Indian Ocean, near Sri Lanka and India.

The Maldives is made up of more than 1000 islands [not so surprising to me though as I came from a country made up of more than 7000 islands, LOL], with around 200 inhabited islands and some 100 islands developed into hotels and resorts.

Most of the time, there’s only one resort per island as the islands are pretty small. Like in this island where I live and work (or work and live), I can walk around the whole island in about 15 minutes. That’s if I walk at a slow pace.

Can you imagine working and living in an island as small as this? Would you be able to survive here?


This is the island where I work and live. I took this photo while on board a seaplane.

People like me, who loves to swim, walk by the beach, sit down and read books or listen to the waves might survive here. But youngsters, shopaholics and party animals – this is not the place for you.

A lot of people have asked me the same question of shock especially upon learning that I lived in Dubai for 10 years prior to moving here, how can you survive this lifestyle?

From a busy, crowded, cosmopolitan life to a very quiet, relaxed and isolated life is a huge change.

It was a bit of a shock for me initially. I can’t go out and eat in fast food chains, I can’t even buy the brand of coffee that I want or the brand of shampoo or soap that I want. There’s a small shop here in our island, and it’s like what you see is what you get. I feel happy whenever I see chocolates and chips, regardless of the brand. Whenever the stock of Milo or coke is over, we have to wait till the stock comes before we can buy and drink some again. Completely shocking, right? But so far I have adjusted and I learned to be happy and contented with what I see, though whenever I get a chance to go out of the island, I hoard important personal stuff and ensure that my supply will last for at least 3 months.

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you to death with this post. And if you will be given a chance to live here, do you think you’d be able to survive this lifestyle?

I Wanna Have Abs Like Dionne Monsanto so I Went Snorkeling

I saw the recent post of Dionne on instagram and I was like, WOW ABS! I heard she is a swimmer, so I came up with an idea.


I went snorkeling for 2 days in a row thinking, if I would snorkel everyday, my abs can come a little bit closer to that of Dionne.

So yesterday was the start of I-wanna-have-abs-like-Dionne work out.

D, my snorkeling partner and I, decided to swim till the platform. The platform is a floating deck in the middle of the water, about 100 meters away from the shore, on top of approximately 6 meters deep water, where we can take some rest before heading back to the water again.

So from the shore to the platform and vice versa will be about 200 meters. Not bad for a workout, right?

Yesterday’s swim was really ok even though the weather was a bit bad as it was cloudy. But today, the sun was smiling to us, giving my already tanned skin an even nicer tan.

Though yesterday, D complained that she got wounded on her palm. She said that two huge fish were swimming along with her and hit her palm, though I didn’t really believe her as her wound looked more like a paper cut to me.

Image result for unicorn fish
the fish looks like this as per D, and when we say huge, we really mean huge                                                      image:

Today, as we were already halfway to the platform, I felt a sting somewhere below my right knee but I didn’t pay attention to it. We continued and as we reached the platform, we climbed up to take some rest. Then I saw the wound. And the blood. I tried not to panic.

Blood + Ocean = Shark

But still, I tried not to panic for we were 100 meters away from the shore. And if I panic, D will panic 100 times more.

I tried to figure out how I got this wound and couldn’t come up with a conclusion. I know for sure I didn’t get this from the corals and until now, this is still a mystery to me.

After taking a few minutes of rest on the platform, we headed back to the water.

I felt a sting below my right knee as we headed back to the salt water.  I haven’t watched The Shallows and I guess I won’t watch it anytime while I’m here in the Maldives. Don’t get me wrong. Till date, no cases of shark attacks have been reported here in the Maldives as the common specie here is the Black Tip Reef Shark, a harmless type. It’s just me and not the Maldives.

Blood + Ocean = Shark

And honestly when we headed back to the water, I was shit scared.

D took the lead. I was swimming at a much slower pace because I was already tired. D was like an Energizer battery charged twice.

I was following D when I saw something on the ocean bed. A huge stingray. A huge f@^#*ng stingray.

Image result for sting ray
the stingray that I saw was just like this, lying on the ocean floor, as if waiting for its prey                                                                                 image:

I was panicking and I was breathing very fast, my goggles started to fog.  I told myself, the stingray won’t think I’m a food right? But I was still freaking out. Then I saw D swimming like a car running on NLEX at 4 in the morning – 150kmph (as I assumed). D was about 10  f@^#*ng meters away from me, leaving me with this huge  f@^#*ng sting ray and not to forget the wound below my knee.

After swimming for my life and I was really hoping that the huge  f@^#*ng sting ray didn’t follow me, I was again shit scared when I swam across a school of tiny fish, don’t ask me what type of fish this is, I don’t have a clue.

They were peacefully swimming as a group when I suddenly swam across them creating chaos. These tiny creatures swam all over me (maybe thinking I’m hunting them?) and they actually hurt my skin. But what scared me the most is that it was feeding time already. Whenever I am at the beach in the afternoons, I would see these tiny creatures flying at the surface of the water (they almost looked like a smaller version of flying fish to me) as they were being chased by the huge ones.

With that in mind while I was swimming in the middle of these tiny ones, I almost had a heart attack.

And when D and I reached the shore, I was like, f@^#!

I like seeing these sea creatures from afar, not while I’m swimming especially when I don’t have a pro swimmer/diver with me.

Today’s experience was really freaking scary but I think, with a bit more exposure to these sea creatures, my fear will subside later on.

I will still snorkel, maybe after my mini trauma is gone. I still wanna have abs like Dionne though.

Meeting Travel Writers & Bloggers from Everywhere While Standing Still on an Isolated Island

I know, I know. The title is lame. But never mind.

I never really liked any activity that involves socializing with strangers, well, not physically. As virtually, I believe I am sociable enough.

So I was assigned to do the very thing that, I don’t really hate, but I just don’t like. To entertain and host guests. And not just guests (just so you know, if you still don’t, I work in a hotel), mostly bloggers, writers and press.

They write reviews and articles about our hotel or they shoot travel documentaries. So how do I come in and what exactly is my problem here, if you may ask.

Well, I welcome them upon their arrival, prepare itineraries during their stay, join them for dinner (and sometimes drinks), and dance with them too if needed. Worse of all, take photos with them which, oh my gosh, might end up in one of their social media platforms.

The problem is, I write more than I talk. And I am really scared to death whenever I have to host them for dinner. For I don’t know what to say (that won’t put our hotel’s reputation in ruins) or how to even express myself properly.

During some of the dinners I hosted, there were long awkward silences and I really didn’t know what else to say.

But that was before I found out, before someone told me, that I am too talkative during dinners and I am very good at inventing stories.

I was like, really?

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment. But I took it as one.

Then I started observing myself. I truly am talkative. I have become talkative. And I see how their face reacts when I tell my stories. I guess, my being a storyteller virtually has been taken to the next level.

I have been hosting several travel bloggers lately. One was a very lovely lady from Sweden, two hilarious UK-based gentlemen, a very elite European lady and his husband, an exiled Prince of one of the countries in Eastern Europe, a Japanese TV crew and a group of Spanish Fashion Bloggers.

It’s just funny that when I was in Dubai, at the center of everything (or as I thought so), when I had all the opportunities to travel and meet so many interesting people, I never had a chance to do so. And while standing still, and not setting foot out of this 67k sqm island, I was able to meet and interact with a lot of interesting people.

They bring stories from their previous travels, I share my island stories. We all learn from each other, each of us taking something home.

There aren’t any awkward silences nowadays, if there are, not for long. For I found the secret to long interesting conversations.

Ask interesting questions.


a small remembrance from the Spanish Fashion Bloggers


Tula Para Sa Nakabibighaning Takipsilim

Hindi ko malaman

kung paano ilalarawan

At hindi ko maisip

Kung saan aapuhap

Ng tamang salita

o kaya ay tugma

na sasapat

sa iyong taglay

na katangiang patuloy

na sa aki’y


ang damdamin ko’y

lubos ang pag pagpuri

iyon lamang ang maaari

at ang aking pagtangi.


Araw- araw ako’y nagpupunyagi

Kapag nasisilayan kang maigi




at umaasa pang muli

Na sana

sa pagdating

ng panibagong bukas

Ika’y masilayang muli,

at ika’y manatili.


sino bang hindi tutula matapos mabighani


The Gift of Rain

My tummy was acting funny last night. I was already on bed, reading Tan Twan Eng’s Gift of Rain when I suddenly felt the need of having something warm to calm my tummy down.

I went to the staff canteen and made a cup of tea.

I sat on one of the tables outdoor and started sipping the warm tea. I was reading some random stuff on my phone when I decided to keep it away for sometime and maybe, I thought, this is a good time to contemplate.

It started raining.

The rain wasn’t that strong so amidst the sound of the rain drops on the canteen roof, I can still hear the soft radio music from the speakers at the corner of the canteen. The music seemed to blend well with the sound of the rain.

I didn’t understand the song as the lyrics was in Dhivehi, the local language. The song was beautiful, at least the melody, and there was something in it, something I can’t explain.

I found myself lost in the middle of the rain and the song, that I stopped hearing the voices of the people around me. I felt like there was only me, the music and the rain and these two elements filled me in with so many emotions, melancholy being the most dominant one.

Sitting in a canteen with many people around, I felt alone.

I have not felt this lonely for a long time. I thought I was so used to being alone but not lonely, but that was just a thought. A misconception. A misunderstanding with myself.

I unlocked my phone and browsed the images. I looked at the photos of my family and recalled I had not seen them for over a year now. I looked at the photos and recalled the good old times. Seeing these photos, I felt good and at the same time sad.

I wanted to cry last night but my tears weren’t there for me.

I sipped the last few centiliters of the tea, and hoped that it will calm me down as it did with my then upset tummy.

The rain stopped and the song ended. I started hearing the crowd’s laughter and soft whispers once again so I stood and left the canteen.

The Little Devil that Dwells Within

I admire a lot of people. Not the romantic type of admiration, regard with respect, that is.

Respect on how they live their lives or what they believe in.

I met a man whom I admired for his character. He’s not the type of person who says something and does something else. He doesn’t pray five times a day only to drink alcohol by the end of the day.

I admire him for keeping up to his words and living the life the way he believes it should be lived, something even I, cannot do.

I admired him till the day I heard about his so called affair with a woman, who’s already having an affair with another man. A bit complicated, but that’s how the story was told.

I immediately lost all my admiration for him. I told myself, then you’re just like everyone else. You also have your dark side, a little devil that dwells within, hidden by a righteous pretense.

He was the talk of the island for quite some time.  People talked about him left, right and center. Some people even had the audacity to ask him upfront.

I watched and listened.

He never admitted nor denied anything. He just laughed.

In the end, the reality came out. He was vindicated. I felt shame. I was judgmental. Just like everyone else.

I admired him more afterwards, especially when I saw how he handled the issue with composure. He could now laugh at everyone who accused him of having this affair that never existed in the first place. He could laugh at me now for believing a tale, so unreal, so unfair.

There’s a little devil that dwells within us. Sometimes it whispers dark things to our gullible hearts and naive minds. Sometimes it wins, sometimes it does not.

We’re mere humans. We all have our dark sides. It doesn’t leave us. Just like our shadow. It follows us all around.

Our dark side takes over us sometimes, but our shadows don’t.

Let our dark side be just like our shadow. Leave them behind, let them follow you. But never let them lead you.

Seize the Moment

After a month (or two, I guess), I finally had a chance to take a day off.

I decided to go for a snorkeling trip with some guests and colleagues as the weather was really great.

I have snorkeled a lot of times before but this snorkeling trip was really special. A trip that I will always remember.

A boat took us to an area where, they said, we can see nice corals. We jumped from the boat, into the deep.

Honestly, I would never jump from the boat if not for the life jacket. I usually snorkel, in the shallow, just near the beach area. This experience was new to me. The jumping off the boat I mean.

There were 7 of us who jumped from the boat – four hotel guests and one guide, me and my colleague Crystal.

Crystal said she can’t swim but she took the lead as if she knew where exactly should we go. I followed. The guests and the guide were far behind.

I was behind Crystal. Not too close as I don’t want to get hit by her flippers. Not too far, as I always want some company in the water, specially this deep, when you can’t see the seabed.

The area has a shallow part with lots of corals and fish playing around, followed by a deep slope, that’s where one can only see, the endless dark shade of blue.

I was enjoying my time, finding so many Nemos when I saw Crystal, swimming without her life jacket.

I asked her why she removed her life jacket.

She answered, remove it. You will feel free.

I thought of removing it, but then I saw the endless dark blue again. Plus the fact that water kept on entering my snorkeling mask, panic suddenly attacked.

I just kept on swimming with my life jacket on, this time taking the lead.

And then something beautiful caught my eye.

A Green Sea Turtle. This was my first time to be really close to a swimming turtle. I swam a little bit closer then he looked at me.

I will never forget that moment. That connection when our eyes met.

It did not take long before the rest caught sight of this marvelous creature. The guide shouted, a turtle! A turtle!

They all swam quickly and they tried touching the turtle’s shell but the guide prohibited them from doing so and thankfully they stopped.

The turtle did not run swim away. He was just chillin’ out with us. I felt like he was so comfortable swimming with us and getting photos of him taken. He was playing with us, and this was a rare thing. They usually run swim away as soon as they see human beings.

I felt something that I can’t really explain. But one thing’s for sure, I felt happy seeing a turtle, swimming freely with us, humans. I felt so happy seeing a turtle, not in a cage or tiny aquarium for people’s sight and delight. They are also alive and breathing, just like us. They are not man made items, meant to be displayed in a Museum. They are meant to be free too, just like how we, humans have always fought for our freedom.

I was happy to see that he did not feel the need to run for his life. I hope the world, can come even a bit closer to this scenario.

The turtle then, after playing with us, swam away, gently, freely.

We moved on. The guide, asked me to remove my life jacket. I was still hesitating. But then, I thought, I can swim anyway, why was I scared of removing it?

Then I finally removed it. Crystal was right. It was, somehow, liberating.

I knew how to swim, but I kept clinging on to that life jacket, just to be safe. So I asked myself, if I have always been this way all along? Playing safe. Not using my skills to its fullest. Not moving out of my comfort zone.

I have always been a risk taker, or maybe, I just thought so. Maybe, I’m still not daring enough.

They said, if your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.

By playing safe, maybe, I have missed a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances. Maybe, the ship that was meant for me have passed by long ago just because I waited for it come in and never tried swimming out to it.

But lesson learned. Who knows? Maybe later on,  I’ll still get other opportunities and hope that by the time my ship arrives, I’ll be able to swim to it, bravely, freely.

For now, let me just then wait for my next day off. Go for another snorkeling trip. Jump off the boat without a life jacket and seize the moment should I see a playful Green Sea Turtle once again.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow[s]

It was a warm sunny day. The sky was so clear and the water was bluer than ever.

I told myself, I’ll take a dip later after my shift.

I left the office at 5:30pm and headed to the shores. The sun was still up, it was due to set around 7pm.

Not over five minutes have I stayed in the water when it started raining. It started with a drizzle so I still, kept on swimming. Then it became more than just a drizzle.

The water became cloudy so I stopped my swim. I headed to the beach and sat while the soft rain poured on me.

As I sat, I pondered. How the weather in this part of the world can change so quickly. In a matter of minutes, the bright blue sky turned gray. Just like our thoughts and feelings. In a matter of minutes, this bright happy feeling can suddenly turn into a cloud of deep melancholy, even with just a slight stir of empty words and crappy thoughts.

The rain stopped after a short while and the sun was up again. The sky, ever bright as if it didn’t rain just a few seconds ago. I sat still. I wondered if, like the weather, I should change my mind as well and head back to the water again. Or, keep sitting still and wait for some time till the weather fixes its mind as to whether it wants to keep the sun up or cover the sky with gray clouds again and let the heavens shed tears once more.

The weather can be so confusing at times. And so is life.

The rain finally made up its mind. That’s to leave me and the sun and the sky happier before the night says hello. But it didn’t leave without a trace. Or a gift should I say?

They said, to see a double rainbow is a good omen. Some form of a luck waiting for the one who sees it.

It was my first time to see a double rainbow. I’ve never seen a rainbow that close, let alone two. It seemed so near. I felt like I can almost touch it. Yet it is, still, in reality so far.

I felt like I was in a dream. Of rainbows and white ponies and unicorns. And I wondered if I could ever step on the rainbow and slide to the other side to see whether gold coins await me.

I felt like the world stopped. Like I was in between fantasy and reality. Stuck in the middle of a minute ago and a minute later.

I kept sitting while the whole world moved on. I just looked at the double rainbow and waited until all the colors have faded and I wondered if those colors have turned into stardust sprinkles, blown by the wind somewhere, to grant a lonely child’s wish.

I thanked heavens for the lovely gift. Then I went back to the water to swim again.

photo taken by my colleague, Ahmed Thaif