Filipina on Flip Flops: The Best of 2008!

Jason Mraz once wrote, "My home isn't about being grounded in one corner of the planet. It's about being in love and being lost in the middle of an amazing adventure, witnessing sunbursts over horizons of every time zone". Truer words have never been spoken.

Here's to the memories of all the trips and travels of 2008!

click on image to enlarge

There's nothing like the joy you feel when on the road, heading off to a strange new place, either alone or with friends. I was very fortunate to have experienced that feeling so many times in 2008 - it was one of my goals of the year, and I think I really took it seriously and amazingly made it happen!

There's just something about traveling that's good for the soul - it reminds us of freedom, rekindles a wary spirit, brings imagination back to life. And being young and free and free-spirited and imaginative, I believe, is the best way to live. Which is why - you know what I'm going to say next, and however cheesy it's going to sound, I'm going to say it anyway - traveling equals living. Travel = Life. I'm not sure it's the same for everybody, but it sure is what it feels like for me, at this age, at this time in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Another thing that's great about traveling: it makes us miss home and consequently, and quite ironically, keeps us grounded.

Onward to 2009 then, and to more traveling!

The Places I Visited in 2008:
Nasugbu, Batangas
Laiya, San Juan, Batangas
Camiguin-Bukidnon-Cagayan De Oro
Dive & Trek, Batangas
Puerto Galera, Mindoro
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

And while we're on the subject of 2009...

As you can probably tell, I have a lot of catching up to do with my blogging if I'm going to write about the trips I made last year (and a few in 2007). As a resolution of sorts to start this year of blogging and traveling, I'll be writing about these past trips, and hopefully I'll be done with the posts before the start of summer '09, when most of my trips take place. And to make this commitment official (and provide me with added motivation), I'm officially giving this project a name:

So check back often for updates! Happy new year everyone!

Blogging from Kota Kinabalu: Last Day!

(Note: this post was originally published on my personal blog)

We are flying back to Manila tonight! It's been a great trip. Yesterday was a blast - we went on a jungle trek and crazy things happened, the kind that only happen to stupid tourists like us...hahaha! We also went to the Poring Hot Spring. To cap off the night, we walked by the wharf where there is a strip of restaurants and pubs and we went and had drinks at the Shamrock Irish Pub. We drank pints of Irish beer and I also had a Shamrock Sunrise, which I guess was an Irish version of Tequila Sunrise, and all this while watching football on ESPN. Very Irish, yeah?

I'll post pictures another time, as we are headed out for a tour of the city, after which we'll be visiting the cultural village and possibly the wildlife zoo, and then we'll go straight to the airport.

Blogging from Kota Kinabalu: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (Day 2)

(Note: this post was originally published on my personal blog)

Yesterday we went to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and visited three beautiful white sand beaches:
Mamutik Island - my favorite island out of the three. Mabelle, Dale and I went snorkeling and there was so much fish! They follow after you thinking you would feed them bread. The sand was powdery white and the water was nice and warm.

Manukan Island - the biggest of the three islands, and it had the most people. Look, there are pine trees by the beach!

Sapi Island - they had huge komodo dragons (at least we think they were komodo dragons) just walking around the island!

We then had dinner at a restaurant a few doors beside our hostel.

Carmz and I got to walk around the city after dinner while the others watched Twilight. More on that next time, but here's a strange picture - they had these crustaceans trapped in mineral water bottles inside an aquarium and I'm thinking, how did they manage to fit those in there? My theory is they raised those crustaceans inside the bottle since they were very very small...which is kind of sad and cruel! Let's hope my theory isn't true.
Today we're headed for Kinabalu park...I love this whole free internet thing at the lodge!

Blogging from Kota Kinabalu!

(Note: this post was originally published on my personal blog)

We're here! Arrived early evening last night. Some pictures from the plane:

We are staying in a place called Lavender Lodge, a simple hostel of sorts for backpackers. It's my first time to stay at a place like this and I might even like it better than staying at hotels, because it's a lot like living in someone else's house as a guest. But no one brings your stuff around for you and we had to lug our bags to the fourth floor of the building, which is cool I guess - adds to the whole "roughing it" experience.

Today we are headed for the Tunkuh Abdul Rahman Marine Park - I hope I got that right. We're going island hopping and snorkelling yay! And tomorrow we go to the Kinabalu Park to do a bit of hiking, check out the hot spring and go on a canopy walk. Laters!

Blogging from Dumaguete

I know I know, it's been nearly a year since I updated this blog. It's not that I'd forgotten about it, not at all - work just got in the way of my blogging. I'm happy to report though that, nearly a year after I started this blog (prompted by my big Bantayan Island trip with friends), I've had my fair share of travels, specifically, trips to Corregidor, Cebu (again!), Coron (Palawan), Boracay, and Macau! I'll write about them in due time, but for this post, I'm happy to report that, for the very first time, I am not typing on my laptop at home, but at an internet cafe in friendly, sunny Dumaguete! I feel very much like a backpacker now, reporting her (mis)adventures from a (not so) faraway place, alone but not at all lonely on her solitary trip.

How the story goes is, I scored a set of free round-trip tickets from Cebu Pacific last year on account of an uber delayed flight. So I decided to use it to go on a solitary trip to Dumaguete. Why Dumaguete? I'll talk about that when I write a proper, post-trip entry about this three-day getaway.

I arrived here at around 830 this morning (Cebu Pacific was surprisingly on time!). I checked in to the hotel where I'm staying called Bethel Guesthouse. I didn't want to stay in the hotel all day so I've been walking around the very relaxed and quiet streets of Dumaguete. The people are friendly and the atmosphere very easy-going, a rather stark contrast from the urban jungle that is Manila! I had an early lunch at a local ihaw-ihaw place, and I went to the public market to buy some native bags for me and my Mom (she loves those). I've also gone to the Dumaguete Cathedral and seen the centuries-old Watchtower near the town park / plaza. Before I leave, I plan to buy an inexpensive pair of freshwater pearl earrings - I think that'll be my little travel tradition (I've bought a pair each from my trips in Palawan and Boracay).

After this I'm heading to Siliman University, which I hear is a lovely campus, and then having a sweet treat at Sans Rival, a popular local restaurant. In the afternoon, I plan to hang out and read New Moon along Rizal Avenue, where I will also try Dumaguete's most popular street food, fish tempura.

Tomorrow is a bit more of an adventure! I'm taking a ferry early in the morning to Siquijor where I'll spend either half a day or the entire day exploring the island (the details of which, in particular my means of transportation around the island, are still a bit blurry at this point).

On Monday morning, I fly back to Manila.

So ends my first ever "field report". I've got to log out now, but will definitely post soon (and with pictures!) once I'm back in the big bad city. Till then!
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