“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.
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.
It’s not often we get an international Photo Tour to come here in the Philippines unlike our competing South East Asian neighbours, that’s why it’s a welcome development that the Jim Cline Photo Tours and Workshops decided to test the waters here in the Philippines where no other Photo Tour Groups have tried. On the helm is Humanitarian Photojournalist Karl Grobl where he took the group on key places around the country for a Photographic journey for two weeks. I assisted Karl on the photo mentorship and was their local guide for their Baguio-Sagada-Vigan leg of the tour which lasted for 5 days. Here’s a rundown of that very interesting segment.
It was three days and 2 nights at the cool highlands of Ifugao. It was a mini Photo Adventure with the small number but we did give out what we promised which is adventure, immersion and tons of photographic opportunities. This was our first Backpack Photography for the year and we’re cooking something up for the last quarter of the year. In the meantime here’s our itinerary for the Banaue Photo Adventure last May and I’ve also added some Ifugao posts from previous weeks.
Last year’s first Lakbay Norte was a blast so I was thinking how would they top it again this year? Well this year’s magic number is 2 for Lakbay Norte 2 2011 is twice as big with two separate legs around northern Luzon. The first leg held January 23-27, 2011 explored the South Western part of North Luzon particularly Baguio, La Union, Tarlac, Subic and Pampanga. The second leg held March 2-7, 2011 focused on the Upper north portions of Cagayan and Ilocos. Here’s a chronicle recap of both legs with links to corresponding posts. It would be a good guide in case you want to do a somewhat similar itinerary.