Whenever I visit a new place, I would always look for a food chain familiar to me. I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. I’m actually very picky so I’d rather look for food that my tummy knows, rather than experimenting on a new cuisine and later on regretting the money and food wasted.
In Malé, I felt weird to not see any international food chain. Though, I think, this is a good thing. That the locals will have a chance to open up their cafes / restaurants without the fear that business will be diluted by big chains, just like what’s happening in our town back home.
Since I am not very adventurous, once I’ve liked a restaurant, I will always come back to that restaurant and probably eat the same thing. I don’t usually go to Malé because my island is quite far South but whenever I get a chance, I’ll always have a meal at Seahouse, that’s before I discovered Shellbeans. So now, I have two to visit whenever I go to Malé.
The first cafe that I discovered is the Seahouse. It’s not very attractive from the outside, you wouldn’t even notice it. It is on the 2nd floor and the signage isn’t really attractive.
I was hesitant at first, I thought they might be serving only local dishes but I was so surprised when I saw Bistek Tagalog and Pancit Bihon on their menu. I was like, SERIOUSLY??? And I was so happy, though the Pancit Bihon wasn’t as authentic and tasty as I was expecting but still, after months of not being able to eat any Filipino dish, I cannot complain!
But more than the Filipino food, I like the vibe of this restaurant. I like the verandah and I like the music that they play. It’s just like a great combination of everything. This is the kind of place where I could stay for hours and hours, just sitting, eating or drinking juice or coffee while looking at the nice view, listening to the waves and the music. And even though the place is always full and noisy, I still feel so relaxed, weird but, I can’t explain.
Malé is the capital of the Maldives. It is small and densely populated.
Today, I got a chance to roam around the city and have taken some photos.
Male has narrow streets, of course, what do we expect from a very small place. Hence, people use motor bikes and you’ll see tons of these bikes parked on the roadside. There are taxis though but sometimes, you’ll get stuck in traffic so bikes are more convenient I suppose.
The only way (so far) to go to the airport from Malé is by ferry. The journey is just about 10mins and the fare is about 10 Rufiyaa.
The China-Maldives friendship bridge is in progress. This bridge will connect Malé and Hulhumale (the island where the airport is).
Where to Eat
For people like me, who are not so adventurous when it comes to food, I would always look for well known food chains wherever I go but no luck for me here in Malé. There are no fast food chains, no famous coffee chains or whatsoever. All local cafes. Though I have my two favorite cafes here, a separate post will be published later on.
Other Random Photos
And this, my friends is the Philippine flag. This is probably the building where our consulate is.
Walking around Malé (even by yourself) is pretty safe. You won’t see police roaming around, which is a sign that there are no threats of pickpockets etc., You will only see some police by the entrance of the government buildings and that’s about it. The place is also really small, you won’t get lost and even if you do, the people are quite friendly so it’s ok to ask for directions.
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.
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.
The resort host showed us their rooms and this is how they look like.
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.
And this, is my favorite part of their room. I can imagine myself, reading a book here.
Again, my dear friends, I was distracted by the wall behind the tub. Forgive my photos.
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.
We wrapped up the evening with a few drinks at the bar while we waited for our speedboat to arrive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red as in Red
Red for gumamela and apologies for the bad photography skills. LOL.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
Sinubukan namin magphotography session kahapon. Syempre ako lang yung camera man.
CAMERA MAN. (or woman?) oo pero di ko tatawagin ang sarili kong photographer. Camera man lang kasi ako lang yung may hawak ng camera.
Minsan akala natin madali lang ang mga bagay-bagay unless masubukan natin. Kala ko basta marunong ka kumuha ng anggulo at maganda camera mo eh pwede ka na sa larangan ng photographia.
Una ay nakakapagod pala. Naka isang oras at kalahati din kami kakahanap ng magandang background at anggulo. Bilang hindi kami propesyonal, wala pang mga props at make up and retouches and all. So palagay ko kung kasama yun, mahina ang 3 hours sa isang photo session.
Hindi din ako marunong gumamit ng mga photoshop at kung anu-ano pang programa para sa pageedit ng mga litrato. I don’t know photoshopping coz I only know shopping.
Ang sakit din na sa halos 300++ shots eh kaunti lang yung magugustuhan mong kuha bandang huli. Pero masaya yung mowdel ko kasi sa dami ng litrato, kahit everyday for the next 365 days ay makakapagpalit siya ng profile picture.
Kaya eto ang aking munting handog, mga litratong sariling sikap sa pagkuha at pag anggulo at pag-edit sa paint, LOL. Joke lang yung paint.
Saludo ako sa mga photographers. Taas ng respeto ko sa inyo mga ser at mam.
Yung last two shots ang pinaka paborito ko sa lahat. Feeling ko ang pro ko. LOL
It just happened that I was so unproductive yesterday in the office so I thought of diggin’ out some old photos (to get some inspiration) and clicked on a folder named Maldives. Well, I just mentioned my unromantic love story just a bit earlier right? The love story was really quite old and I got married last year(already), of course without posting about it but now, I’m not saying that this is the right time to post it but I can’t post about my trip to Maldives without mentioning it.
So, the day I (we) got married last year is the same day that we flew to Maldives. It’s just a four-hour flight from Dubai but because we took a cheap connecting flight, it took us more hours to reach Maldives but anyhow, it is worth the long (waiting) hours.
When we reached Male, we were greeted by the hotel representatives and were escorted to the Seaplane Terminal. We waited for about 20-30 minutes before we got into the seaplane. There are hotels that can be reached by speed boat from Male but we are heading further South so we had to take the sea plane.
These seaplanes could hurt your ears, they are just too loud. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the resort. Though I must say that the ear-hurt is worth the amazing aerial view.
This is Male, the capital of Maldives. It looks like a post card, if you’re looking at it from the seaplane.
So, after 45 minutes of ear-hurting and sight-seeing, we arrived at the resort. Angsana Velavaru offered us a lovely In-Ocean Villa, built on top of the water, with amazing views of the horizon, the sun, the sea and the sky.
The villa has its own pool, verranda or terrace or however you may call it. It also has a 2nd floor which offers you an amazing view of…of everything. You can also have your spa treatment or breakfast or lunch or dinner or barbeques on the 2nd level, your choice.
As I said, the 2nd level offers you the view of everything which includes your neighbors.
And oops, I think that’s me, the mermaid on the pool.
It is just amazing that even though you are not a professional snorkeler or even if you can’t even swim, you can snorkel. Does that make sense? LOL. Anyway, the thing is, you can just go down from the jetty and walla! You can see all sorts of corals and fish and small sharks. See, that’s my husband on the picture. He can’t swim. He doesn’t even know how to float. But then because the water is just waist-deep and you can borrow the goggles and the life jacket from the resort’s marine center, you can then feel just like a pro. Just sad that our camera isn’t water proof. We could have taken photos of the corals and fish and small sharks swimming around.
Ok, so the hotel team knew that we just got married so they arranged a Maldivian Wedding Ceremony for me and my husband. They knocked our doors around 3pm, gave me a bouquet and we started walking from our villa to the jetty with some guys singing Maldivian songs to the beat of their loud drums. So all our neighbors walked out of their villas and watched us as we walk through the alley with all these Maldivian peeps walking with us, singing and, making loud noises drum beats.
When we reached the jetty, a speed boat was waiting for us and they took us to the hotel’s main island to do some coconut planting which is also part of the ceremony. They said, the tree will be named after us so when we come back sometime in the future we could see how the tree has grown.
Afterwards, they took us to a private island via the speedboat and there, we did the actual wedding ceremony, the I do’s and I don’ts.
And after the ceremony, the team left us with a chef and a waiter. So basically there were just four of us in the whole island. I felt a little bit like Chuck Noland and Wilson for a few hours.
The friendly chef and waiter served us a nice sunset dinner by the beach.
The next day morning, we booked for an early morning fishing trip. We were so excited to see the sun rise and to go out to the sea as early as that. I told my husband “Aria! Walang kakain hangga’t walang nahuhuling isda!’ And we both laughed.
We tried, but we didn’t get any fish. We were sad. The water was so clear that we could see tons of fish eating our baits but not getting hooked up( and how did this sound? *_*).
We went back to the villa with teary eyes but with a conviction that we will try to fish once more in the evening and won’t come back without any fish in our hands.
We spent the rest of the day snorkeling again and had lunch (didn’t I say walang kakain hangga’t walang nahuhuling isda? but we did anyway) in one of the restaurants, Azuro.
Seriously, I can sit here, drinking watermelon juice (?!) till the sun sets every day for a week or more…. just like this.
So, afternoon came and we prepared to go fishing again. We left the island at sunset and reached the middle of nowhere after the sun has set.
You can catch all sorts of things here in the Indian Ocean, really. Emily, the Chinese staff of the hotel went with us and caught a medium size shark, maybe 4 feet long. At first, we didn’t know it was a shark but we knew it was heavy. It took 3 guys to pull it up on the boat and of course in the end, we had to let the poor shark go.
One of the Chinese guests caught something very heavy too. He cried for help. At first we thought it might be a shark again (oh how blessed the trip was!) but then when it was finally pulled up, it was a huge coral reef. I asked myself, just how did his fishing strings reached the bottom of the sea when we were in the middle of nowhere? Could his strings be longer than mine?
So after an hour in the middle of the dark sky and dark blue waters I started to feel depressed. My husband caught 2 fisheses already and the other guests inside the boat also had something on their buckets already but I still haven’t got a single one.
But then patience is a virtue. I remembered a book that I have read a longggggg time ago called The Longest Silence which is about fishing and surely from the title itself, you’ll know what it means or what the book is all about.
I felt some movement on my bait. I gently pulled it up and down and up and down and suddenly I thought I would fall off the boat as it pulled me, really hard. I pulled. And it pulled back. It was so heavy and as again I pulled the strings towards me it pulled back harder and my hands got red and the nylon strings started to hurt my fingers. I shouted. Help!
So this kind Maldivian guy took over the push and pull situation that I was in and even he had some difficulties in pulling this thing.
And when the grace of the sea finally reached the boat, it was a beauty. I only caught one, but I caught the largest fish of the night. A huge Red Snapper.
And this is what all of us got for the night. The nice blue fish in the middle was my husband’s catch (and some other smaller ones). Then you might ask what will happen to the fisheses that we caught? The answer is a nice and fresh seafood meal the next day. Either grilled, steamed, fried, with szechuan or soy or garlic or sweet and sour sauce, our choice.
I was almost on tears when the staff waved their goodbyes to us and sent us off to the seaplane.
I’m sorry for the unromanticicity of the post but more than the romance, I enjoyed the whole trip because the place was so serene and that I felt very close to the fish nature. This trip could be expensive but trust me, Maldives is worth its price. I am dying to go back again to its clear waters and its laid back lifestyle.
And so at the end of reminiscing and wanting to go back again to Maldives, I found myself so inspired and dreamy that it didn’t help with my productivity in the office yesterday.