Admittedly, it was hard to pack my stuff on the day of my leaving the country. I thought that the time I stayed there was too short but really memorable. I had my breakfast at Motherland Inn 2 and rode their free shuttle to Yangon International Airport. Checking-in, passing through the immigration was a breeze and gave me enough time at the pre-departure area. And there were no exit 10,000 kyat exit fee as I read on some old text. All that kyat I was saving went to some souvenir ref magnets for home. Sitting at the chair looking at the runway, looking at my notes. I spent 11 days in Myanmar spending a little over P23000 during the trip.
“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux
Can’t agree more with the author I thoroughly enjoy reading a lot from lately. People are quick to say how great and envious they are hearing about my travels to a certain place, probably thinking how glamorous it could have been. But it’s only half the story. Though I had a few trips this year where I was spoiled and pampered, most of my personal trips aren’t all that pretty. Long bus rides, unexpected obstacles and crummy weather were part of my personal journeys in 2011. I’m not complaining though, a little discomfort here and bumps there remind me I’m in the real world as a “traveller”.
It’s no surprise that Mindanao has plenty of unexplored wonders just waiting to be discovered and that includes the eastern side of Mindanao. It was about time I do an exploration trip in these parts. I, along with my fellow photographer enthusiast friends ventured in the regions of Agusan del Norte, Surgigao del Sur and Davao City with a lot more staying time in Bislig. Throughout, we visited the Balangay in Butuan, the Enchanted River at Hinatuan, the Philippine’s Widest Waterfalls Tinuy-an and the relaxing island of Hagonoy, and finally setting my foot for the first time in Davao. Here is the summary of that exciting trip.
Finding myself back in Sagada just after at least a month of being there just shows how much I like the place. But my recent visit was all about rest and relaxation. No marked to do list and just see where it goes. Even so, it was a very interesting 3 days spent. A unique encounter with the cows at Lake Danum, some unexplored falls and an easy stroll downtown. Here’s just a recap of those days.
The Philippines has celebrated “Todos Los Santos” quite differently from other parts of the world. While it is only recent when candled pumpkins, trick or treats and cute-monstrosity items adorn some houses. But behind those masked commercialism, many Filipinos still observe the traditional practice of visiting departed loved ones during All Saint’s Day. I remember our usual visits to clean up the graves of our relative and also the talks of supernatural, the regular horror segments at Magandang Gabi Bayan and even a time when Mananangal (half-bodied flying female creatures with bat wings) flew over Manila. Those were interesting times, but traveling brought me to discover places which somehow exude the feel and connection to the otherworld. Here are some places from my archive which I think would be nice places to visit during the Halloween Season.
Let’s literally go beyond what North Luzon is mostly known for. Go past the borders of Ilocos Norte and step into the neighboring town of Claveria in Cagayan. I was awed by the raw beauty of Claveria even under gloomy skies on my first visit that I immediately planned a return trip soon after I got back to Manila. I was able to spend a few days here with my friends and found it as a destination in itself. Here you can find a dedicated video, the itinerary and travel budget chart for claveria and a side-trip to Tuguegarao.
Gotta hand it to AirPhil Express for tying up Star Cruises to make a South East Asian Cruise accessible to Filipinos. From their invitation, I along with a few bloggers and media people from print were able to experience their Double the Adventure! Fly and Sail (Fly to Singapore the Sail to Malaysia) AdvenTour Package from AirPhil Express. Here’s a recount of that 4-day tour to give you an idea of what happens during this exciting cruise.