My Blog Story


Welcome to Guiltless Getaways, a home for people who want to explore the world. If you've ever felt like you want to live your life to the fullest, then this site is for you. I'm Melody Co, the author and publisher of the site. This is where my love for travel, adventure, culture, language, music, foodarts, history and having fun come together.

I am inviting you to see the world and its people in a different light. My goal is to share my experience and what I saw. I consider myself as a willing road tester (so that I may get lost first before you and gladly show you the way), an eager foodie (I love convincing you to try different cuisines - and I'm so glad I was introduced to organic food through this blog), a time traveler (I love telling you to revisit the places that my elders talk about and encouraging you to remember the lost places you used to enjoy as a child) and a repeat traveler (I love filling you with experiences of places that I love over and over because the world changes with time). I want to leave a legacy and a trail that you can continue in your own journey - to live this life without regrets.

Guiltless Getaways

This is a blog of a girl forever going through a phase of self-discovery and world-discovery. In this blog, I share my inside stories, on how getaways can lead to a life with no regrets. Getaways can be short or long and the usual ones that come to mind are out-of-town trips, whether domestic and overseas, in tourist destinations. The unexplored, however, are those normal, local and everyday places that are so filled with information and are worth visiting in a world, even in a country, that is rich in diversity and culture. There is much to see in the place where we have lived all our lives too. This blog is aimed to take you there and everywhere. Whether I chose to spend for some of my travels at the sky's limit or if I spent the day with a budget in mind, the experience must be worth all the money, time and effort I shelled out. Some experiences can be replicated and it is the goal of this blog to provide anybody with information, tips and insights that can guide a traveller for that extraordinary experience, be it a travel getaway, a cultural getaway, a gastronomic getaway, a culinary getaway, a musical getaway, a peer-to-peer getaway, a relaxing getaway and so on. Finally, through this blog I want to remember that getaways should not be a temporary escape from a reality you don't want to be in. Getaways should be seen as opportunities to see and understand the world. 

This blog was born primarily as a personal blog for my poor memory because it is my theory that I can improve it through writing - that when you tell people about your travels, you strive to be present in the moment and take note of the experience in detail. This blog was also aimed at improving my communication skills. My blog posts are a little long because I want to cover so much detail and the posts will serve as a guide for myself when I return to that destination (repeat travel). Call it my "writing style" if you wish.

Melody

I'm a Chinoy (Chinese-Filipino) travel blogger who is based in Manila, Philippines. I'm a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Economics degree and a minor in Chinese Studies. I have been traveling all my life to Asian countries, mostly China, and I have been to the US and Canada. But I was young and has only snapped out of leisure traveling (where I often said, "I have been there but I don't remember the places.") in the past few years when I began traveling without my parents. The next phase was photo traveling with friends (where I took a lot of photos of myself and memories were made but I only took in what was obvious) in the past few years too. The phase where I am now is spontaneous traveling. Before the trip, I hope for the best, research a little and jot down what I find interesting. During the trip, I look for other cultural and local experiences (sometimes it just comes as a surprise after conversing with locals) and decide where I want to go a day before. After the trip, I let the thoughts and insights incubate and revolve around what I learned and what was different in the experience. Some trips I prefer to keep private but you can always ask me more about something you can't find here or a destination I mentioned briefly via my contact form.

Inspiration and Journey - the Guiltless Getaways Blog

In late 2009, I decided to pack my bags and go to South Korea with a group of friends. A few days before that trip, I arranged to extend my stay on my own in an unfamiliar country to de-stress and take my mind off work. I got to contact a former Korean classmate a few days before the trip too and hoped for the best that I will have a friend in Korea just in case. It turned out to be an experience I will never forget and regret. By the time I got back, I could get over the thought that this kind of traveling was what I wanted for my life. In the middle of 2010, I decided to go off to Beijing next for two weeks and the fire was rekindled. I chose Beijing because of my roots (I'm a Chinoy) and I had (and still have) a soft spot for traveling and speaking to people using the Chinese Mandarin language. Boracay was next and the list will go on, including trips with AirAsia X to Japan and with the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia to Komodo and Bali. I had been going back to Korea for my repeat travel campaign and I was given the chance to be the Philippine blogger representative for the Wiki Korea Tour in 2013. I participated in the Korean Culture and Language Immersion Program by the Tourism Promotion of Asia Pacific Cities last July 2014 and was invited to the OZ Familiarization Tour and Post-MERS Campaign in cooperation with the Korea Tourism Organization Manila Office and Asiana Airlines last August 2015. I've also been continuously interested in farm tours which started when the Agricultural Training Institute of the Philippine Department of Agriculture took our group of bloggers around the Philippines from 2012 to experience organic farming. This blog has evolved over the years to include my repeat travels, my discoveries in Manila, my multi-cuisine food trips, my journey to health and wellness and many more. The more I travel this way, the more inspired I get about a lot of new things that never crossed my mind when I started.

Traveling can be very costly at times so I try to look in my own neighborhood in the meantime - those little ordinary things that can be made extraordinary with renewed appreciation. I have put aside my own thoughts long ago that there is nowhere to go to in Manila. Part of my goal in this blog is to feature the hidden getaways in the place where I have lived all my life. It is important for me that I take a step back and be a foreigner in my own country to appreciate what is there. Be forewarned that it may be a travel getaway, a cultural getaway, a gastronomic getaway, a culinary getaway, a relaxing getaway, a getaway with locals or friends and so many other getaways because I love culture, language, music, food, history, arts, being alive and having fun among other things. It also does not matter to me how many days the getaway takes and if it is an everyday affair that we have grown used to. These are the tidbits of my life that I want other cultures to understand too. Meanwhile, all my "other once-in-a-blue-moon thoughts" are contained in two-paragraph posts in another blog entitled, "Manila Overload". Take a look at Girl Kuripot too and you might just find yourself winning a free trip or stay all over the world.

Help me see the world through your suggestions, comments and your support. I would LOVE to hear from you and help you out in your own unique journey. Feel free to contact me.

This is the part where I invite you to contribute to my Travel Fund, perhaps there are opportunities to collaborate and do some traveling in this blog OR maybe you'd like to rent a place that I personally and oh so lovingly prepared in Manila for 2 days or more =) You can find this 2BR apartment that has a wonderful Manila sunset view and near old Manila tourist attractions in my AirBnB listing! I've put together my apartment travel wishlist and curated my previous experiences from my hosts during my own stays around the globe to provide the best service and "homestay experience" in the Philippines to my guests hehe.
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