Snapshots: Boracay

I think I'm more of a traveler than a vacationer; often my trips are hectic and exciting, with itineraries chock-full of destinations, destinations, destinations and numerous activities. I travel to get away, to get excited and to be overwhelmed, with a sense of urgency that makes me want to be able to do everything and anything I could in the short amount of time I spend in a new place. Rarely do I travel to simply slow down, do nothing, chill, and relax.

I guess that all changed when I went to Boracay this year.

My friends and I (the same friends I went to Hong Kong and Macau with) spent four days at the pristine beaches of Boracay, four days in which nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - went wrong, and almost everything went beyond our expectations! You might call it the perfect trip, resultant from our firm belief that good things happen to good people. It was a most enjoyable and relaxing trip, and I learned that I really ought to take more of those - we're actually already planning another one for next year, and it couldn't come sooner!

Snapshots: Dive N Trek Resort, Batangas

Every summer, my family and I stay for at least a weekend in Dive N Trek, a dive resort in Bauan, Batangas. The shocking truth is none of us are divers - at best, we swim and snorkel. But the brilliant thing about this resort is that all you have to do is jump off the dock and voila - marine life! It's also a great place to rest and relax because it is literally in the middle of the sea and by the edge of a mountain, and can only be accessed by boat.

Here's a picture of some guests arriving at Dive N Trek. I took this picture as we were waiting for our turn to hop on a boat and sail home after a restful summer weekend by the sea - if only every weekend of the year could be spent the same way!

Snapshots: Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

My friends and I are off to the beach for the long weekend for some much-needed R&R! On Saturday we fly to the esteemed beaches of Boracay - certainly not the quietest beach in the Philippines, but I am hoping for some quiet "me" time to reflect and think about life in general, chori burger and margarita in hand. :P

In anticipation of the weekend, here's a picture of a beach in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I remember swimming a few meters away from the shore here and being able to feed and snorkel among schools of fish. It's a lot of fun until they start nibbling on your finger instead of the bread you're holding out for them. :)

And this is completely out of topic, but wow, WAY TO GO JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO ON WINNING THE US OPEN MEN'S SINGLES FINAL AGAINST ROGER FEDERER! I loved how, when he was asked if he was going to buy something to treat himself using his US Open prize money, he answered "Maybe cheesecake for my [21st] birthday." Too cute! I'm still a Rafa fan but I have to hand it to this guy, he's got nerves of steel for sure, and so young at only 20 years old! VAMOS DELPO!

Snapshots: Hue, Vietnam

With our Macau-Hong Kong trip over and done with and my Boracay birthday celebration fast approaching - not to mention the handful of other trips I've made over the last two years - I really ought to close the chapter on my Cambodia-Vietnam sojourn from early this year, so I can write about the rest of my travels.

Here's a teaser of my next post, which will be about Hue, Vietnam. On our last day there, right before we flew out to Hanoi, we were herded like sheep on a guided tour of its many temples, which were impressive in their own right, except the "herded tourists" factor (the semi-sleazy guide who kept hitting on us didn't help either) and the expensive admission rates for each of the temples (this took place nearly three quarters into our trip, which meant we were considerably running out of funds) threw us off a bit.

We ditched the tour early - after our third temple I think - but I was at least able to capture some fairly decent photos given the short time we spent at the temples. This is one of my favorites. I liked how the structures of the temples looked with a blue-sky background, so most of my photos from that day captured just that.

Snapshots: Rappeling Down a Waterfall, Mapawa Nature Park (Cagayan De Oro, Philippines)

In keeping with the thread of adventure pictures, here's picture #2 from our Mapawa Nature Park trek, and on this one I'm rappelling down a waterfall. It's not scary at all really, and all five of us got through it quite easily.

Once you get the hang of it, it's also quite fun to leap away from the rock over and over as you go down by the waterfall. There was also the sound of the waterfall crashing down the pool below which added a bit of a thrill. Quite a refreshing descent, I have to say!

Snapshots: Macau Tower, Pre-Bungy

Here's a picture of me standing on the glass floor at the Macau Tower viewing deck, right before I headed up to the AJ Hackett Macau Headquarters, where I threw myself off the edge and into my very first bungy jump - and at 233 meters, it's the highest bungy jump in the world! It was an amazing, exhilarating experience - the most insane seconds of my life, without a doubt! I need to save up and do that again soon!

Full account - and pictures, plus video of the jump - real soon!

Snapshots: Mapawa Nature Park, Cagayan De Oro, Philippines

Here's a picture from a trip I had with friends from work - Ayi, J-anne, Jon and Nill. We met when we were fresh grads trying to get into the Management Training Program of the company where four out of the five of us still work today. We went to Camiguin and Cagayan De Oro with a side trip to Bukidnon on one of the most adventure-filled trips of my life so far.

This picture was taken during the trek we did at Mapawa Nature Park, where we were slid off a waterfall (as the picture depicts), told to jump from a 20-feet cliff into cold, deep water, and made to rappel down a waterfall. The experience was exhilirating, the views were amazing, and the entire trip made for a great bonding experience for five yuppies trying escaping the rat race for at least a long weekend.

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