17 major destinations,
24 new provinces visited,
25 domestic flights,
100+ bus, jeepney, van and habal-habal rides,
120 blog stories,
84 new friend encounters,
in 1 unexpected year.
Days from now, we will say good-bye to 2011 and say hello to the New Year. Welcome 2012! But before I forget, I wanted to look back to the travels that has surprised me for the past 365 days of 2011.
Let me guide you along of what has happened for the past 12 months thru this simple number map:
1. Catanduanes (Mis)Adventures.
Travel Date: January 7-11.
I now know why they call this province “The Land of the Howling Winds.” I have to face the natural design that this island province is just blessed to have more rain showers compared to my home province, Laguna. This doesn’t bother the traveler in me, I don’t know but there is some bliss in the rain I cannot explain. Want another fact? I only saw a total of 4-hour of sunlight during my entire stay.
Blog entry- Catanduanes: Battered but Blissful
2. Northern Mindanao Escapade- CDO, Camiguin, Iligan and Bukidon.
Travel Date: January 19-25
The 7-day escapade has taught me to appreciate the rugged beauty of Mindanao, her lovely people, varied terrains, fine weather. I would compare this blessed land to an unpolished gem, the beauty is within, and only a keen traveler can see and find charm even in the most mundane of situations.
Blog entry: Northern Mindanao Escapade
3. I Love You Batanes.
Travel Date: February 11-14
Having won the SEAir Batanes Tour because of my love letter to Batanes, “Ichaddaw Ku Imu.” (Batanes, I Love You), I recalled the love story that blossomed while I was in Batanes. I was a bit cheesy this time as I am definitely in love with this group of islands in the northernmost part of the Philippines.
Blog entry: Visit Batanes Series
4. Secrets of Northern Samar.
Travel Date: February 21-25
Northern Samar put a spell on me! I can’t believe that this “undiscovered” province would offer the most unique adventures ever. It has the unspoiled white beaches, lush mountains, enormous caves, unnoticed waterfalls, stunning rock formations, surf breaks, amazing people, gastronomic food and rich heritage. It’s off-the-beaten and I love it!
Blog entry: Secrets of Northern Samar
5. Taking A Break: Tagaytay
Travel Date: March 13-14
Taking a Break is a different kind of trip, a timely break from my hammock-hanging-escapades. A 3-part series wherein I feature some restaurants and a hotel for everyone’s enjoyment. Don’t you think I need some comfort and convenience too?
Blog entry: Taking a Break Series
6. The Shoestring Diaries: Zamboanga City
Travel Date: March 28-30
I’m so honored to kick-off the new feature of Cebu Pacific’s in-flight magazine SMILE, THE SHOESTRING DIARIES where I wrote my Zamboanga City adventure. This article shows everyone going to Asia’s Latin City, some places to visit, foods to try and pasalubongs to buy complete with expenses summary each day. For this article I did a 72-hour suggested itinerary for the budget traveler.
7. Pagadian City Adventures, Zamboanga del Sur
Travel Date: April 6-8
It was one of the no-itinerary whatsoever trip I did last April. I was breaking my own tip of doing research (well, I did a lil bit of googling). I think there will come a time in your travel adventures that you just want to arrive in your destination and from there “come what may.”
Blog entry: Pagadian City Adventure Series
8. Quezon on GMA7’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho
Travel Date: April 11
I still can’t believe that I’m saw myself on National TV. It was not only a dream come true but a “tap on the back” that Filipinos are now open to the idea of cheap travel or “backpacking.”
As Ms.Jessica said, “Target kasi nyang makapaglathala ng libro na magbibigay ng tips kung paanong makapaglalakbay ng hindi lalampas ng Php500 kada araw and gastos.” (He plans to write a book that gives tips on how to travel with Php500 budget per day)
9. PNG at Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
Travel Date: May 21-30
I was chosen to be part of media team as their official blogger of Philippine Olympic Commission (POC) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the Philippine National Games (PNG).
Blog entry: Philippine National Games 2011
10. Mindanao Challenge 400: SOCCSKSARGEN, Davao Region & Caraga.
Travel Date: June 6-21
This is the first live-blogging I did. My Gen.Santos City – South Cotabato – Saranggani – Sultan Kudarat – Davao del Sur – Davao City – (Samal Island) – Davao del Norte – Compostela Valley – Davao Oriental – Surigao del Sur – Agusan del Norte (Butuan) route has taught me to value friendship and human encounters. I learned to trust strangers while doing my Php400/day budget trip. It was a success and I can’t wait to be back in the places I visited.
Blog entry: Wrap-Up Mindanao Challenge
11. Albay, Camarines Sur & Calaguas, Camarines Norte.
Travel Date: September 21-26
I was able to travel with two beautiful ladies- Joan and Clara. This is the first time I had travel buddies since I started blogging and it was fun. This also paved the way for more travel with buddies- I like traveling with Europeans because I want to learn their culture for the future trips.
12. Visayas Trails: Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Negros Occ, Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete City
Travel Date: October 1-25
Visayas Trails is a 25-day journey around Western and Central Visayas. My primary purpose is to learn the dialect, meet locals and rediscover the sites worth visiting for my dream escapade- Isang Daan.
I visited Iloilo, Antique, Boracay, Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol and Dumaguete spending a total of Php11,096 all-in excluding airfare. Thanks to CouchSurfing and friends who I met along the way, this trip would not be memorable and exciting without you.
Blog entry: I have lots of entries, but this one was the most read- Tragic Accident in Bohol
13. Ilocos Norte & Ilocos Sur
Travel Date: October 25-29
I wasn’t able to blog this yet. But I will start writing the Ilocos Trip Series by January 2012. So watch out for that!
14. Dumaguete City for Batang Pinoy Games Visayas
Travel Date: November 9-14
I was invited again by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as part of the media team to cover the revived Batang Pinoy Games. During one of events, I was able to snap a quick shot of young athletes sharing shoes. Didn’t expected that it was a start of the SHOESHARING Project. Blog readers were able to give shoes to the young athletes of Negros Oriental. Not only that, the surplus from the money received was donated to the victims of Typhoon Sendong in Iligan. Heart-warming and the true spirit of Christmas.
Blog entry: SHOESHARING Report and Plans
15. Pangasinan with Mica & CrazySexyFun Traveler
Travel Date: November 22-24
I wasn’t able to blog about this too. But will try my best to publish before this year ends. Ohhh I miss the Bangus, Lingayen Capitol, Mica and Alex! Thanks to President’s hotel too for a delightful stay while in Lingayen.
16. Baguio City for Batang Pinoy Games Northern Luzon
Travel Date: November 24-27
For the Northern Luzon leg of Batang Pinoy Games, I headed to Baguio City. I covered a lot of games and blogged about Athletics, Archery and Boxing. But what captured my heart was a story about Lawrence, a 14-yr old boxer who stopped studying so he can join boxing events to help his family buy their basic needs.
Blog entry: Boxing- Sports is my Only Hope
17. Naga City, Camarines Sur for Batang Pinoy Games Finals
Travel Date: December 9-14
The last and final travel I did this year. I covered the Finals of the Batang Pinoy Games. I was impressed on the preparations that Naga City did- it was a festive opening ceremony. You would laugh on the title of my blog post, hahaha
Before I forget, I was able to share and encourage others to “Spend Less, Travel More” too during these 3 Talks:
- Travel Talk at Marquee Mall
- Travel Bloggers Forum at Asian Institute of Management
- Travel Talk with the SoleSisters and Langyaw at R.O.X.
What an UNEXPECTED Year of Journeys!
Whew! It took me a whole day to finish this post. I hope you can share this to others who love traveling. I know this will be an inspiration to others.
I’m excited for next year- ISANG DAAN: 100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines- The Cheapest Way Possible. SHARE it to others please! Its a make or break of my travel “career.”
That’s it! Thank you readers for commenting and sharing my blog this year 2011. Spend less, travel more ha!
Lastly, WISHING YOU EXPERIENCE REAL LOVE & HAPPINESS THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON. HAVE A BOUNTIFUL NEW YEAR TOO!