When Filipinos See Snow for the First Time

The Philippines is a tropical country and, although in the Philippines there are areas where the weather can get rather cold, like the Cordillera Mountains around Baguio City, snow is nowhere to be found in the Philippines.

So one of the things Filipinos, who are new here in Italy, get excited about is seeing the snow for the first time in their life.

Here in Rome it snows pretty rarely but very close to Rome there are plenty of ski resorts and high mountains that are full of snow for several months a year.

The highest peak in Central Italy is the Gran Sasso d’Italia, whose summit is 2914 mt above sea level, and it is about 1,5 hour drive from Rome.

What’s interesting about the Gran Sasso is that on it’s summit there is the Southernmost glacier in Europe.

We recently organized a bus trip to Mount Gran Sasso with a group of Filipinos who had never seen the snow in their lives and all of them behaved like little children for one day…

On the road to the Gran Sasso d’Italia
Gran Sasso d’Italia

Gran Sasso d’Italia
Snow in Rome (3 years ago)

Italy Off the Beaten Track: the Tip of the Sorrento Peninsula

My wife’s country (the Philippines) and mine have one thing in common: they offer way more than crowded tourist spots. Both countries actually offer countless opportunities to travel off the beaten track.

In this blog I have already touched on how my wife’s birthplace in the Philippines offers amazing off the beaten track places such as the underground river of barangay Bulusukan and, more in general, the Sierra Madre area which is partly almost uncharted and unexplored and definitely off the radar of mass tourism (http://buildingfilipinowesternbridges.com/2019/10/26/the-underground-river-of-bulacan/).

Backdrop view of Capri Island from my parents’s house in Termini

My birthplace is definitely not part of an uncharted and unexplored area. On the contrary, it is part of one of the most popular and crowded tourist spots in the world, namely the Sorrento Peninsula and the Amalfi Coast.

Monte di San Costanzo


However, there is a corner of the peninsula (my birthplace), which is right at the end of it, and is located at the edge of mass tourism flows and which, for this very reason, has a particular charm: I’m talking about Termini, part of the municipality of Massalubrense which is located on the extreme tip of the Sorrento peninsula and acts as a “watershed” between the two gulfs of Naples and Salerno.


Even in mid-August, when the Amalfi coast is blocked by traffic and all the beaches accessible by car are more crowded than a shopping mall, Termini offers the possibility of lonely excursions and solitary swims.


Some corners of the fraction of Termini are particularly suitable for solitary hikers: at the tip of the peninsula (known as Punta Campanella) there are very few people who venture into the “pertuso”, a sort of canyon that leads to the deep waters of the tip, and there are even fewer people who, instead of reaching the tip from the main path (via Campanella), choose the much more rugged path that starts from the mountain of San Costanzo.

If you are planning on visiting the Amalfi Coast check my birthplace out, I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Monte di San Costanzo

The trail to Punta Campanella
The trail to Punta Campanella
The “Pertuso”
The deep waters of Punta Campanella

How to Experience a No-cost Exotic Adventure

I am married to a Filipina and I have been to the Philippines a few times and therefore, I have experienced quite a few exotic adventures in my wife’s amazing exotic land.

But the word “exotic” doesn’t simply refer to something that has to do with a faraway place.

Anything strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different, unusual or strange is also “exotic”.

This means that I don’t need to go to the tropics and spend a lot of money to do something that qualifies as “exotic”. As long as I figure out ways to experience a strikingly, excitingly different or unusual or strange kind of adventure, even at zero-cost, that adventure qualifies as a no-cost “exotic” adventure.

What do I do then to experience no-cost exotic adventures when I can’t travel to the Philippines with my Filipina?

As I have already touched on in some of my previous posts, I am fond of autumn, early spring or even mid-winter swimming here in my country and swimming during the cold season is definitely an “exotic” thing, in the above mentioned sense.

I usually avoid winter-swimming in the sea here in Rome because, even in winter, there is always a lot of people walking along the beach, as Ostia Beach (Rome beach) is a suburb of Rome, and I don’t like being watched while doing “exotic” things in an “ordinary” setting…..

There are a couple of places situated very close to Rome where I can peacefully swim without being watched by anybody during the cold season, those places being Lake Bracciano and the Monte Gelato falls.

So, how can you experience a no-cost exotic adventure or a “strikingly, excitingly different or unusual” kind of adventure if you live in an area that does not exactly qualify as an exotic paradise?

Go to the nearest lake, river or sea resort and…..try swimming during the cold season!

Ready to dive into cold water

Monte Gelato falls, 30 km away from Rome, last early spring

Lake Bracciano, just outside Rome, few days ago

The town of Anguillara Sabazia situated on the shores of Lake Bracciano

Clear waters of Lake Bracciano

Lake Bracciano is the “Boracay of Rome”

The water of Lake Bracciano is crystal clear during the low-season