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Johanna Michelle Lim Travels Across the Philippines in Her Upcoming Book

Johanna’s eight years of traveling across the Philippines birthed her desire to write her first book, What Distance Tells Us: Travel Essays About the Philippines. 



When you ask people about their goals and desires in life, chances are you’ll receive a lot of responses related to travel. Whether it be a trip to one of the thousands of islands in the Philippines, or an exodus abroad, travel is one of the things people have in common. And they travel for a variety of reasons–to explore, to learn, to experience, among many others.

If you’d asked Johanna Michelle Lim why she began to travel, you’d get an interesting answer. It’s an impulse that paid off though. Her eight years of traveling across the Philippines birthed her desire to write her first book What Distance Tells Us: Travel Essays About the Philippines.

What Distance Tells Us: Travel Essays About the Philippines is Johanna’s first book

“All of it, I think, stemmed from a suffocating need to escape,” Johanna shares in retrospect. “I had come from such a sheltered upbringing, and was already naturally introverted, and so there was always that emotional curiosity to find what’s uncomfortable and unrecognizable, what lay beyond my own milieu. I clamored for material and stories that were vastly different from mine.”

When she had the chance to travel after graduating from college in her 20s, she made sure to take whatever opportunity she could. Most of these travels were for social development organizations that Johanna was involved with, those that tackled issues like education in rural areas, poverty alleviation, and fisherfolk livelihood.

Johanna biked 60 kilometers from North Bataan to South Bataan in Batanes

“In that sense, this might be why most of my travels are less touristy, less sparkly. A lot of people might even call them mundane,” the 30-year-old adds. “But I’d like to think I tackle what Joan Didion called ‘the ordinary instant,’ stories from people that are misunderstood or underrepresented.”

On some days, Johanna says that she finds travel hedonistic and unnecessary. And on other days, she finds true purpose in it. She’s been to far-flung provinces of the country, but says she’s never been in the habit to count just how many she’s visited. “For me, it’s never been about the numbers as travel, more than its physical manifestation, is about the internal miles,” she divulges.

Johanna in South Bataan, Batanes

Johanna is a fan of slow travel, saying that she’d rather see less to see more. To her, traveling is like doing a personal ethnographic study where you more or less know how different everybody is, but essentially how everyone is the same.

Her most memorable trips are the quiet, nuances ones from Mindanao, including Tawi-Tawi, South Cotabato, Zamboanga, Siargao and Misamis, among others. She’s seen firsthand the suffering and discomfort in these areas, but she’s also seen extreme joy.

“I like places that are multi-layered and unapologetic,” she states. “Places like these have the capacity to be inclusive and generous with their joy. They share it with travelers like me who have far more comfortable situations than they, and yet it’s often these places that have a bigger threshold for diversity, a bigger heart for humanity.”

Waiting for the sunset at Magsapad, Biri

What Distance Tells Us was curated in a way that represents the North, South, East and West of the Philippines. Each compass point has three essays; the North tackles Batanes, Sagada and Benguet. The South tackles Tawi-Tawi, Lake S’bu, and Zamboanga.

“More than the physical distance though, the book tackles my tracing or retracing the route from where I started this very act of estrangement to my here and now,” she says.

What does distance tell us? Johanna says we’ll have to read the book to find out. 

What Distance Tells Us: Travel Essays About the Philippines is available in bookstores nationwide.


Holy Week Must-Haves

Going on a trip? Look stunning and stylish on your Holy Week trip with these must-haves.



There are plenty of ways to spend the Holy Week. Some people prefer to stay at home and fast while some people prefer to go out of town to spend the week. Contrary to the belief that traveling during this time is risky because of the superstition that evil spirits are lurking amongst us, most people actually enjoy going to beaches or mountains to have a fun and relaxing time with their family or friends during the long holiday.

Of course, planning the trip took some time for you and you’re cramming on your shopping on what things you need to bring with you on your vacation. That is why we listed a couple of things that you must pack with you on your trip because we want you to look good and stylish during this Holy Week.


Benefit Gimme Brow Gel and Bad Gal Bang Mascara

Waterproof makeup is a must when going on beach vacations. The Benefit Gimme Brow Gel and their Bad Gal Bang Mascara are best brought when it comes to trips like this. Have fleeky brows using the Gimme Brow Gel with its formula that is created with microfibers that makes your brows full-looking. Their Bad Gal Bang Mascara also makes your lashes pop with their gravity defying formula that even after a long day, your lashes will surely still have that volume. Both of these products are water-resistant and long lasting so you don’t have to worry of having to retouch while you’re enjoying your day.

Origins Vitazing SPF 15

One thing we’re all worried about when going on vacations is how we can protect our skin from the sun. The Origins Vitazing SPF 15 will surely come in handy when going to vacations. It’s a moisturizer, a foundation and a sunscreen, all in one product. The Origins Vitazing SPF 15 will help you look fresh and clear while protecting you from damaging your skin from the sun exposure that carries UV rays.


Maryan Mehlhorn ‘Fusion’ (Hibiscus) Underwired Bikini

This swimwear by Maryan Mehlhorn will definitely bring you that confident vacation vibe this Holy Week. The luxurious bikini is designed with a mixture of prints that will make you look stylish and fashionable as you enjoy swimming in the waters or sunbathing in the sand. Made and designed to fit all shapes, this swimwear will surely make you look and feel elegant yet sexy once you wear it at the beach.

Lilly Pulitzer Castilla Cover Up in Resort White

If there’s anything you can’t be without when going to a beach, it would be a cover up. Cover ups always create the look, especially on photos. There are many kinds of cover ups available but this one from Lilly Pulitzer just looks so stunning with its flowy cloth and tassel designs which would really add the beachy vibe to your outfit. Plus, it matches the Maryan Mehlhorn swimwear mentioned earlier.


Dolce and Gabbana Butterfly Acetate Glasses

Look classy throughout your vacation with Dolce and Gabbana’s Butterfly Acetate Glasses. These square-shaped glasses would not only protect your eyes from the sun, but it would also make you look stylish and cute when you wear this at beach. Definitely, it will match any outfit that you choose to pair it with.


Cult Gaia’s Gaias Ark Bag

The Ark Bag from Cult Gaia is a staple and a classic to the brand. This bag from Cult Gaia is made from bamboo and it displays its iconic arc shape that not only is stylish but is also easy to carry with you wherever you go. It’s also very spacious and it can carry all your beach essentials such as sunblock, sunglasses and your camera.

Lapin House Straw Sun Hat

Known for its style and function, a vacation look is never complete without a cute floppy hat. Lapin House’s Straw Sun Hat would really look cute on you with its white ribbon band on top that would totally match the Lilly Pulitzer Cover Up or any outfit that you’ll be wearing. It’s also big enough to protect your face from direct exposure to sunlight and we want none of that.

Lady Rustan Dei Thin Cross Strap Sandals

A simple yet stunning sandals would complete your vacation look and adding a Lady Rustan sandals in leather should do the trick. These sandals would be perfect with any outfit that you have in mind and it’s good for walks on the sand. You can either get the brown one or the white one for the perfect beach look.


Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

A polaroid camera is always a must when going on a vacation. Capture precious moments with Fujifilm’s Instax Square SQ6. It’s better than your regular polaroid camera because it prints bigger films that will capture the beauty of every scene that you take, may it be a landscape of a place or it can just be a picture of you and your loved ones that you went to vacation with.

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Enjoy a Funtastic Easter Sunday with the Kids at Rustans



Easter is just a skip away, and for kids it’s really a super fun holiday.

Egg-citing treats and surprises await them at the Rustan’s Easter Party on Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m. at the  Rustan’s Children’s Department, Ayala Center Cebu. For a minimum single receipt purchase of  P 3,000 from the Kids’ Department, come and enjoy the following:

Food Carts

Sure to delight kids are a selection of food carts filled with yummy sweet and savory snacks. 

Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter Bunny hid many colorful Easter eggs at the barnyard for our precious little hunters to find. Hop along and join the search for a chance to win special prizes from our different kids’ brands. Each participant also gets a Kinderjoy egg!

Easter Egg Decorating

Kids get to design and take home their one-of-a-kind egg creation at the Easter egg decorating station.

Crayola Art Activity

Let your kid’s inner artist shine. Make a splash with pastel shades, bright patterns or rainbow colors. 

Lego Building Contest

Fancy building an Easter bunny or a giant Easter egg? Let kids’ imaginations take flight with the Lego Building Contest at the Lego Corner. Exciting prizes are in store for those with the most creative and imaginative Lego creations.

It’s going to be a very hoppy Easter celebration at the Rustan’s Department Store.

For more information and updates, visit and @rustansph on Facebook and Instagram

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Here’s What Cebu’s Restaurateurs are Preparing for Easter Week



The arrival of Holy Week often means a mass exodus out of the city—whether it’s for a trip back to one’s hometown or an opportunity for a vacation. That being said, food choices during this time are often limited, with restaurants cutting down hours to prepare for the holidays, or creating menus that suit the season.
While it’s interesting to know what these food spots will offer, we’re curious about what the people behind them prepare at home. To satiate our curiosity, we asked some of Cebu’s notable chefs and restaurateurs what they’re cooking up this week.
“For Most Holy week days, we’re most likely out of town. But buona pascqua is huge in Italy. So when we’re in town, we’re spending Sundays around the kitchen. We do gnocchi in all sorts of forms. We’re rolling it, then pan frying, adding reduced liquid , adding meat. Using cauliflower to make it healthier. And how can Easter be without a sweet? A Burnt Caramelized mini “otap” Tart with pear is our choice.” —Kate Anzani, Anzani
“One day this Holy Week, it’s going to be ribeye, mashed potatoes, puttanesca pasta for dinner and homemade tacos & margarita for the afternoon. Other days, we dine out.” —Jan Rodriguez, Weekend 

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