Michelle Caabay-Brokstein

Mother, Marketing & Community Relations

Oakland, USA

Food, snakes and being a child at heart

Who is "you"?
A child at heart, always looking for the next adventure and place to explore! Most passionate about traveling, dancing and cooking. Spending time with family and friends are prime. Fortunate enough to integrate passions into professional life. Meeting people from all around the world, getting to know them and sharing their stories to help to make dreams come true by building communities and supporting local business development together.

Wich is the thing you love the most in your city?
The diversity of the people and cultures that make Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area is truly unique and irreplaceable.

What makes you travel?
The excitement of learning through exploration.

Places you´ve been in the world?
Philippines: Batangas and Palawan I was fortunate to visit the country from where most of my family is from. Seeing the places that they grew up and getting to meet the older relatives, most especially my paternal great grandmother was so special. Learning about my family history and traditions helped me to understand the culture values even more and deepened my appreciation for everyone and everything that I have at home. Eastern Sierras, California:  Leavitt Lake, Mono Lake, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes & Mountain. My first backcountry camping trip was to Leavitt Lake with my husband only after dating for over a month. I felt like I was in a truck commercial trekking through the wilderness with a 4x4 and crossing creeks for a few miles. The crystal like lake is embraced by the glacial cirque and native greenery. Hiking to the top to overlook the trails and sierras then sleeping outside under a blanket of stars was majestic. We enjoy taking car camping and road trips through the Eastern Sierras to ski and being surrounded by nature in the form of granite boulders, rushing rivers, creeks and mountains is so memorable of our time together as a couple. Spain: Catalonia Region & Gran Canaria. My first international trip together with my husband was for our honeymoon. One of my favorite meals of all time was from a hidden gem called La Bodeguilla Juanana in a small town, Puerto de Mogán. We came across this place while walking and were drawn in by their chalkboard drawing of a hamburger and a line across it. The owner greeted us with a friendly smile and invited us in and we knew as we walked in and looked around that it would be unforgettable. We moved on to Cadaqués in the Costa Brava and that’s where I left a part of me. I fell in love with the people and the town. The spirits of the artists and writers that use to frequent there is still vibrant.

Tell us a smell, a taste, a color, or a sense you remember from a place you´ve been?
The vibrancy of colors and the smell of Guamamela (Hibiscus) flowers in Palawan, Philippines. I was mesmerized by the simple beauty of these flowers and being surrounded by them everywhere I went and? ?felt such closeness to where part of my family is from. The fluttering Aspen trees in the mountains are like nature’s own music and dance performance. The natural salty and buttery tastes of seafood from the Costa Brava makes me smile.

What is the silliest thing you ever bought in your trips?
Duster dresses from the Philippines. It’s so not the very sexy or hip thing to buy, but there’s something about these comfy day dresses that I love. They come in all sorts of styles and design patterns too!

If Lisbon was a person, who does it remind you of?
Lisbon would be a femme fatale that exudes sexiness and mystery much like the music and art throughout the city. This provocative and savvy woman would capture everyone’s attention with her boldness of words and actions like the people of Lisbon and their passionate views. Lastly, it’s so easy to fall in love with the city as one would explore the literature and be charmed by the poetry or entranced by the tiled buildings and paths while walking aimlessly and meeting old souls and talking through the night? ?until the break of dawn.

We hate tourism tours?
WHTT is like meeting a long lost relative that has endless stories to tell, crazy jokes to make you laugh so hard and full of high energy ready to take on any adventure faced. The casual flow and genuine hospitality is what makes every guest feel special. The people of WHTT are made up of vibrant personalities which makes exploring Portugal so much more fun and full of excitement.

Have you ever fell in love with someone when you travel?
I’ve fallen in love with people in different ways when I traveled. I’ve crossed paths with people who have captivated my mind and made me feel like old souls reconnecting. 

The most embarrassing/funny moment you had while travelling?
While visiting my dad’s hometown in the Philippines… I was frightened and thought I was being attacked by a snake wrapping around my leg while trekking through thigh high flooded plains alongside a mahogany plantation on the way to the beach; only to find out that it was just my dad that grabbed my leg when he screamed “Watch out for the snake!”. That didn’t stop him from using a bamboo stick to prank me several more times as we walked through the flooded plains. Even more so, my relatives were making fun of me for being such a city girl, since I was easily startled. Can anyone blame me? There’s nothing like walking a couple of miles through high muddy plantation waters and not being able to jump onto anything or run away from real snakes that may slither on by!

Next stop?
Would love to travel to Southeast Asia or South America.

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