Wow, time flies so fast! So fast that 2011 ended even before I could finish writing about all the travels I did in that year!
It had been a wonderful year for me. A year ago, I remember how I planned to travel every two months as part of my New Year's resolutions. But soon after my first travel escapade in January, I found the urge to travel more too strong to resist. I was bitten by travel bug, they say. And that travel bug brought my feet to different Philippine destinations almost every month.
It was only in September that I realized to put up my own travel blog. Yes, it took me some 9 months to realize that I should not keep the experiences only to myself. I've learned a lot and discovered so many things about traveling that sharing is the least thing I could do to inspire others to travel as well. Also, it's because of these experiences that I learned to appreciate the beauty of the Philippines. This blog is my little contribution in helping promote the local tourism industry.
I wrote a blog post last September on where I have been so far, but this year-end post completes the rest of the destinations I've been the whole year.
January: Had fun in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro with friends. I've been to Puerto Galera a lot of times but this trip was completely different. I was with close friends who flew from Iloilo City and Singapore to celebrate a birthday and just to have fun. And yes, we didn't miss the Mindoro sling!
February: First time to visit Bohol and meet these cute little creatures, the Philippine tarsiers. Seriously, I was not excited for this trip as we were originally planning to go to Palawan. Typhoon and flooding hit Palawan that time so Bohol, which is our least priority, came out as a replacement. It turned out the trip changed our perspective of Bohol. This trip has actually triggered the travel freak in me. :)
April: I've been to Boracay many times (I'm from Iloilo, by the way) so the trip was just meant to relax and unwind. What happened to us was quite unexpected. We experienced a case of food poisoning and got stuck in our room for two days! It was not little (and relaxing) after all.
May: Sagada was my first destination in northern Luzon (that is beyond Baguio) and my longest inland commute ever. This is the most physically demanding trip I've had due to lots of trekking and hiking activities packed in less than two days. I have experienced a lot of firsts: my first real caving experience in Sumaging cave, first time to eat pinikpikan, first time to see the hanging coffins, among others. Aside from these, learning a bit of culture and tradition of Igorot was a wonderful experience.
July: My first trip to Palawan and the best trip I've had so far. After moving the trip a few times, I couldn't be any happier when it finally pushed through. Originally, the plan was to wander around Puerto Princesa and visit the Underground River only. Doing extensive research paid off when I learned that El Nido is not as expensive as I used to know. We didn't have second thoughts and decided to go there. What can I say? El Nido is the one place I want to visit again and again. The trip was a dream come true.
August: The trip that took us almost a year to make it happen. It's my first time visit Bicol region and my longest bus ride ever (10 hours). Other countries are drawn to this place (I'm talking about Survivor) so we're interested to know WHY. Caramoan is truly a hidden gem not only of Bicol but of the Philippines. We had a side trip to CamSur Watersports Complex for this trip.
September: Surfing in Zambales. I was tagged along by Pala-lagaw to go with them. I didn't really surf but this was my first "surfing" trip. I enjoyed being the photographer than surfing. :)
November: The first time I set foot in Mindanao. This was actually a birthday trip and as thrill-seeking travelers, we wanted to try some adventurous activities. We went for whitewater rafting in CDO and ziplining in Bukidnon. Of course, we didn't miss the island tour in Camiguin. We also had some misadventures in this trip. Squeezing in on our remaining time was the trip to Iligan City to see the famous Ma. Cristina Falls where we ended up in frustration. We reached the place beyond its closing time. Bummer. Maybe a reason for us to come back? It was a fun experience nonetheless.
December: My third time to visit Baguio just this year. We wanted to experience Christmas in the summer capital of the Philippines so off we went north. It was an exciting trip since we only had one day to tour around and visit the attractions we've never had been before. We were glad to revisit the strawberry farm in La Trinidad, Benguet too.
I first encountered the Lakbayan app last September and used it to see how much of the Philippines I have visited. I tried it for the second time yesterday and from Grade C, my current grade is now C+. Looking forward to have my map filled with all blue pretty soon. :-)
Also, I would like to mention that my goal to officially become a part of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers group before the year ends has been achieved. The people in this group have inspired me to travel and share every experience I have. I hope to meet these wonderful people soon either on the road or over a cup of coffee. It feels great to connect with people who share the same passion with you.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank everyone who followed and supported my blog. Thanks for being super awesome. I'm motivated to do what I want to do because of you.
Looking back, the past year has been filled with fun and unforgettable travel experience. What's in store for me this 2012? Definitely more travels.
Yes, it's still Philippines for now. It's more fun here! :-)