Looking back at 2012 which was spent like a hyped up Pacman 2-bit game munching and munching until I get to the next level. I tried to satiate my insane hunger and wanderlust for places packed with beauty, mystery and tuna. Most days were spent having quiet evenings at home to Compare prices and find cheap hotels because that year i was on a mission. the start of my Level 45 Mage to Wizard Quest.
Like a delicious 5 star hotel breakfast buffet, I gobbled up the year and filled it with memories of plane rides, gruelling hikes, weird cuisine, amorous trysts, heartbreaks and romance, mosquito bites, cuts, bruises and a lot of mornings in a stupor all because I wanted to savour all the things that my country can offer and be proud to say that hey I’m Pinay, I’m an insane backpacker and I’ve seen my country, the Philippines *cues* Lupang Hinirang.
Hello Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Aloha from the countless provinces, white sand beaches and deliriously green mountain peaks that i still ain’t even close to finish writing. Recounting my steps to January, I’m gunna take you on a spinningly mad dash around the archipelago month by month by freaking month.
Linsanity’s Viral Grip for January
I started January with a proverbial bang. Following 2012’s late night hoarding of piso fare sales, i got myself a one way ticket to Tawi-tawi, on the ticket counter after i missed my originally-should’ve-only-been-365Php-flight-but-thankfully-getting-my-butt-saved-by-the-nomadic-helpdesk. Whirlwind wild west side puns aside, i still count to this very day, my very first venture into the mysterious Island of Mindanao as one of my best trips ever.
Oscar Award Winning Traveler Moments:
|TAWI-TAWI| |BASILAN| |ZAMBOANGA| |DAPITAN| |PAGADIAN |DIPOLOG|
Highest Peak: Bongao Peak, Tawi-tawi
Deepest Swim: Bongao Peak Wishing Well
Land Transport: 6 Hours of Whitney Houston from Zambo- Pagadian
Boat Ride: Terror inducing 1 & 1/2 Zambo- Basilan Weesam Fastcraft
Coolest Souvenirs: Pearls from Zamboanga, Cambodian Tea from Doc Wendz, Malaysian Maggi Noodles
Showbiz Greetings: Kuya Gamz of Rio Hondo, Doc Wendz of Pagadian, the people who returned my phone in Dapitan, Wong See Jaafar and Family
Whitney Houston’s Last I Will Always Love You for February
Boarding a Cebu Pacific flight i headed to it’s namesake province and learned first hand how how you’d know when a City girl turned to a Bisdak and bungee jumped for the first time at Bohol’s EAT Danao Adventure Park. Pffft, who needs to receive roses on Valentine’s day when you could get an epic adventure like that to celebrate the love month.
|CEBU| |BOHOL| |MT. PINATUBO| |AMANSINAYA RESORT, BATANGAS|
Highest Peak: Jump off gorge in The Plunge bungee site
Deepest Swim: Ka Mira Cave Underground River, EAT Danao Bohol
Land Transport: Really nice taxi rides around Cebu city
Boat Ride: 15 minute sweat powered boat ride in Mt. Pinatubo Crater
Coolest Souvenirs: Eye infection from Capas, Tarlac. Carcar Chicharon from Cebu
Showbiz Greetings: 29 bloggers of Pinatubo, Joel Aldor and Yaya, Ken Pornillos, Jacob’s Ladder in Handuraw, that girl Sunday Rose Carnillo who robbed me in Sugbutel
Why I Missed the Hunger Games Last March
Travel envy inspired my depressing Dumaguete trip after having to endure being tagged at sugary and mouthwatering pics of the amazing student food sold at the many cafe’s beside Siliman University. After which I spent three delicious weeks- or months. I forgot how long to the mystical island of Siquijor, having a beautiful house all to myself and walking to the city center while passing by towering trees every morning, and at night the crickets (or other mystical monsters sing me a lullaby to sleep)
|CEBU| |DUMAGUETE| |SIQUIJOR| |BANTAYAN ISLAND|
Highest Peak: Mt. Bandila-an, Siquijor
Deepest Swim: Sugar Beach, Bantayan Island
Boat Ride: Madness and Mayhem for 36 Hrs aboard a Superferry Boat Ride
Coolest Souvenirs: 10 pounds gained from overeating
Showbiz Greetings: Awesome hosts: Dylan Chan, Tita Gie and Tina Rey Santos
Who watched the London Olympics last April?
Stayed home all month.
Kicker is, I didn’t even learn.
|SM MEGAMALL| |CUBAO| |GREENBELT & GLORIETTA|
Highest Peak: 4th floor Gateway Cinema Center
Deepest Swim: Bathroom breaks
Land Transport: Overpriced taxi fare, crowded MRT rides in congested MNL
Boat Ride: I wish I did it in Pasig River
Coolest Souvenirs: Maybe had a few shopping trips
Showbiz Greetings: Hi Family!
May was sexier than 50 Shades of Grey
What would make you risk getting scolded by your worried parents? Yes, that chance to christen your baby sister on her first no holds barred adventure trip! Although I think she’d be just as happy if we stayed at the mall and watched a movie. I could’ve either started an insatiable wanderlust, or scarred her for life. Either way she just really wants some cool Facebook pictures and I think she got it.
|PADRE BURGOS, QUEZON|
Highest Peak: The short hike up a hill to the beach
Deepest Swim: Puting Buhangin
Land Transport: JAC Liner for 4 Hrs w/ a bored tween
Boat Ride: Brgy. Polo- the Island for 15 minutes
Coolest Souvenirs: Sermon from a worried Father.
Showbiz Greetings: The overcharging tricycle drivers around the area.
It’s June, Call me Maybe?
A lack of planning makes a trip epic. We travelers are strongly advised to bring common sense though, not to mention sense of humor and a healthy appetite for the unknown. Here’s where i tried my hand in ghost-busting, and to my disappointment my doppler nerf radar gun didn’t detect any ectoplasmic occurrences while traversing the dark and empty hi-ways of Samar. This island gets my vote as Your-Next-Travel-Destination-Or-Don’t-At-All for being amazingly gorgeous, rugged and very easy on the pocket. They have a reliable transport system and so many spots to see that nope, my 2 weeks here was not enough.
|ORMOC, LEYTE| |TACLOBAN, LEYTE| |GUIUAN, SAMAR| |CALBAYOG, SAMAR| |CATARMAN, SAMAR| |BIRI ISLAND| |BIRINGAN CITY| |SORSOGON PORT| |LEGAZPI CITY| |NAGA CITY|
Highest Peak: Biri Island rock formation
Deepest Swim: Guiuan, Samar’s best surf spot
Land Transport: Van rides in Calbayog, looking for the lights of Biringan
Boat Ride: Barge from Allen Port, Samar to Sorsogon, Luzon
Coolest Souvenirs: Scars from wiping out in the corals of Samar
Showbiz Greetings: Dylan for being a really great travel buddy, my hosts in Calbayog and the sales agent passenger from the Sorsogon- Legazpi bus who patiently gave me directions to Mayon View Hotel.
The Dark Knight Rose Last July
This year was like a major loan spree from the karmic heavens, I thought I used up my favours from travel gods when i was knee-deep in self-inflicted boo-boos while in Zamboanga, and during this stint, here we go again. It started when i purchased a same day departing flight out of the city, already hurting my budget and getting left behind by my return flight…. again. After a tearful and rather embarrassed call to my friends, Sir Olan kindly took pity on me and i couchsurfed with him for 2 days. Yes, remember when I said I was utterly broke? Apparently I had enough to go round the city and on Samal Island too, not bad for trying to travel as cheaply as Journeying James.
|GENERAL SANTOS| |DAVAO| |SAMAL ISLAND|
Highest Peak: Terrace of Abreeza Mall in Davao
Deepest Swim: Pearl Farm Resort I wish
Land Transport: Sharing a taxi ride with some stranger going to Abreeza Mall from the airport, and sharing how I got left behind by 2hours out of my AirAsia flight so that trip was on him.
Boat Ride: Barge from Davao- Samal Island
Coolest Souvenirs: The huge debt upon returning home
Showbiz Greetings: Sir Olan from Davao, MLoft Hotel, Eileen Campos, Random kind strangers on the road.
The Lumineers lights up August
How would you start on writing the greatest story ever told? Start with the truth, add in a pinch of heart pumping moments and some awkward comedy. Make it unavoidable, like fate made it impossible to overlook and lastly the setting should be in paradise, after which you get this- something undefinable . Where you eagerly await to turn the page and find out what will happen next but you can’t because you want to live in that same moment over and over again.
I think August was a month like no other.
Highest Peak: Mt. Tapyas + the height of my heels
Deepest Swim: Coral Garden snorkeling spot
Land Transport: The Going-home taxi ride from NAIA to Cubao
Coolest Souvenirs: Yummy Danggit from Coron Public Market
Showbiz Greetings: FlipTravels’ Ron + Monette, our boatman extraordinaire Russell Villamor, sweet couple Salong and Salome Aguilar
September’s got you singing Oppa Gangnam Style
I love September’s cool breeze. The rains you get and the melancholy that it brings, I didn’t have time to dwell in such sentiments though because the first trip I had was 3 whole days of gluttony with fellow travel bloggers in the idyllic beach setting of Sorsogon, getting to
traumatize read a story to an entire class of bright 4th grade chippers during a book sharing project makes this month so much more memorable.
|GUBAT, SORSOGON| |TANAY, RIZAL|
Highest Peak: Sierra Madre, Tanay
Deepest Swim: Lake Bulusan, Sorsogon
Land Transport: Butt busting 16 Hr bus ride from Cubao- Sorsogon
Boat Ride: Unstable kayaking with Christine
Coolest Souvenirs: The good feeling that kids from Gubat now has a library.
Showbiz Greetings: Every single person who made the Gubat Library Project successful.
Felix Baumgartner’s Epic Record Breaking Leap for October
You know those wicked cannibalism stories from people faced with a life or death situation, if I– and those awesome people I was with were in the top billing of a harrowing flick then maybe I would write this thing on a different note. But no chance of that happening as we were all happily fed courtesy of Azalea Residences, yes, thanks to them I got to play the high roller once in a media junket with good friends and a 2nd time as a committed tourist in the neo-romanticized city of Baguio.
|BAGUIO CITY| |AMBUKLAO DAM, BENGUET| |ELECTRIC FAN OF BAGUIO|
Highest Peak: Sto. Tomas, Benguet where i had altitude sickness
Deepest Swim: I luckily didn’t fall off Ambuklao Dam
Land Transport: 7 Hrs of chit-chat with “The DongHo” MNL- Baguio
Boat Ride: N/A
Coolest Souvenirs: Strawberry jam and peanut brittle
Showbiz Greetings: The coolest travel buddies ever from PTB, Star and Jewel, our Jedi van driver, my roomie Christine, Melo the “ribs-plate-cleaner”
End of an Era; Finally Twilight Fever drew to a close last November
This wasn’t an end. More like a pause, I feel like during my brief but utterly memorable stay here I exchanged lives with a girl from somewhere else who perhaps was dreaming of an existence that I’d dream about as well. This was a part of Mindanao plagued with war and controversy, and to see the beautiful side of it filled with the gentle ocean breeze en route to what was supposedly a dangerous place. I am incredulous that I got to experience it and lived to tell the tale…
Maybe if I get around to blogging it eventually…
|COTABATO CITY| |KALAMANSIG,SULTAN KUDARAT| |BONGO ISLAND| |PAGADIAN CITY| |ILIGAN CITY| |CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY|
Highest Peak: Dynamite Mountain in Dako Island, Pagadian City
Deepest Swim: Tinago Falls, Iligan City
Land Transport: The Snoring Games shot in vans and buses
Boat Ride: Row row row your speedboat along Rio Grande towards Bongo Island
Coolest Souvenirs: A seashell that looks like dentures
Showbiz Greetings: Love Mindanao, Doc Wendz, Laika, Happy FM people, Gurlie from DOT, Sultan Kudarat Supergirls: Kana + Zhea
The Mayans were wrong Dec 2012 isn’t Doomsday
Granted that I was one of the few people left paranoid by that John Cusack comedy 2 years ago, even if I’ve always known that it’s not the time for a deathwish. There’s so many things left to discover and maybe during those times I was just scared at how uncertain my future looked and so I saw an awful, conspiracy laden Hollywood B-movie as some sort of gospel truth. But 6,895 miles away from the country I first called home I see now how the world isn’t the big daunting place that our nightmares make it out to be. There’s always a new day that promises to bring more opportunities for slapstick comedy and all those doomsday Nostradamus rip-offs need to go somewhere else, cause I’m not listening anyway.
*FIRE* *CRACKLE* *POP*
I have so much things I need to thank 2012 for.
A year of contradictions, of growth and valuable life lessons.
I wouldn’t have lived it in any other way.