Ciao 2015! It has been a wonderful ride.

When asked, most people would say that the principal value of traveling is that it breaks the monotony of life and work.

Y’see, life, for many of us, is a mad rush. A dash from home to the office–from one place to the next. A sprint from one client meeting to a waiting company presentation–from one money-making deal to the next career-breaking move. Day-in, day-out we try to accomplish as many stuff as possible. Thus, traveling becomes a form of escape for the likes of us–a time to relax, reflect and ponder. Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life and, for a fleeting moment, not think of any problems or issues for a few days (or weeks). Being away on a weekend can also afford us the much-needed time to help us figure things out that we would not have understood without the distance traveling can give. We all have crazy schedules, work, and a family to take care of and going away alone or with some friends gives us that break we rightfully deserve.

Very few find a great deal of informative value in traveling. More often than not, our focus centers on the promise of a fun-filled R&R, of selfies and jump shots. This is where I realized that a lot of people don’t seem to share some of my views about traveling. For me, it is very important to see and experience the places I visit from a local resident’s perspective. Traveling is an avenue for me to open my heart and mind to new things and explore different cultures and traditions; thus, experiencing life in new and exciting ways–widening my perspective about life, especially the life I have in relation to how other people live. If viewed with an open mind, it can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones…

Before I totally bid adieu to 2015, indulge me as I look back at the highlights of my adventures and travels:

Got on a road trip from Iloilo City to Cebu City, passing through Bacolod City, Sipalay, Dumaguete City and Badian.

“Traversed” North and South Mindanao, bringing me to Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental, Lake Sebu’s Seven Falls in South Cotabato, Asik-asik Falls in North Cotabato; as well as allowed me to revisit the majestic cascades of Maria Cristina, Mimbalot and Tinago in Iligan, and Tinuy-an in Bislig.

Scratched off a few more things from my To-Do list

Brought home these wonderful ‘loot’

 

Had some of my travelogues published

The year 2015 has indeed been one helluva ride!

Hmmmm…. now, where am I in the Lakbayan map:

My Lakbayan grade is A+!

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Zamboanga City: A Photo Essay

“Don’t you go, don’t you go to far Zamboanga; where you may forget your darling, far away…

So goes a popular Filipino folk song, where a young lady–Paloma–implores her lover not to go to this enchanting city, lest he’ll forget about her. Seeing– and experiencing–Zamboanga City first hand, I believe the lass in that traditional song has grounds for her fears.

According to the city’s official website, “The evolution of the name “Zamboanga” provides an interesting insight into its historical background. The early Malay settlers called the region “Jambangan”, which means Land of the Flowers.”

More on its history…
These Malays who built their settlements by the river banks were the subanons, that is the “People of the River”. Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary Mount Pulumbato that today lords over Pasonanca and Climaco Freedom Park (formerly Abong-Abong Park) then later on, the Samals and the Badjaos who came on their frail vintas also settled here, building their frail huts along the shorelines and confused “Jambangan” with “Samboangan” which comes from the word “Sabuan”, the wooden pole used to help push their vintas in shallow waters or to tie them for anchorage purposes.
The Spanish colonizers found difficulty in pronouncing “Samboangan” and instead called the place “Zamboanga”.

Sta Cruz Island, Zamboanga City

Bathing in the afterglow

When Apollo’s Chariot Passed By

2015.05.09 - While the rest of Ragay Gulf in the Bicol Region was being ravaged by Typhoon Dodong, we #AQUAholics were blessed by Apollo with this spectacular solar display.

2015.05.09 – While the rest of Ragay Gulf in the Bicol Region was being ravaged by Typhoon Dodong, we #AQUAholics were blessed by Apollo with this spectacular solar display.

The ABC of Summer 2015

After weekend-upon-weekend of hopping from one island to the next, discovering heavens on earth and overdosing on #VitaminSea — satiating the #AQUAholic in me — I finally have a weekend off!

As #Summer2015 begins to wind down, I sit back and take a moment to relive the fun and adventure that I embarked on — each journey made with different groups of people, most of them became dear friends.

I know, I know… we have yet a week to go before #Summer2015 officially ends. Hmmmm…. Do I hear an #endlesssummer cheer from out there? Well, might as well be, as we have 7,107 reasons to want an all-year-round summer extravaganza!

My #Summer2015 was spent exploring, discovering, and revisiting destinations that you seldom hear about… as well as, going back to the basics of travelling and adventurism, where hotel reservations are shunned. Have backpack? Will travel.

Doing so, I uncovered the wonders of ABC: Alibijaban, Balabac and Burias, and Culebra.

Paradise, Lost?
Alibijaban Island, San Andres, Quezon

Paradise, Found.
Balabac, Palawan

Paradise, Regained.
Burias, Masbate

Paradise, Revisited
Culebra Island, Dasol, Pangasinan

Rombo Balabac: Punta Sibaring

Prior to my Balabac trip, I knew nothing about the place, except for a blog I’ve read, which stoked my interest all the more… and after seeing some photos, I knew right there and then that I have to visit Balabac come hell or high waters!

And so, it came to pass (so they say)…

Bugsuk Island: Punta Sibaring

Bugsuk Island is one of the largest island baranggays in Balabac; and a large portion of it is owned — according to our boat captain — by the Cojuangcos (which ones, he did not elaborate). Approaching the island from Rio Tuba, you will be amazed by the vastness of the pearl farm owned by Jewelmer.

Day 1 of our five-day safari in Balabac brought us to Punta Sibaring, owned by the family of Rene Principe. Although based now in Manila, Sir Rene coordinated our trip and entrusted us in the capable hands of Kap Andong Noe.

We reached the Punta Sibaring campsite late afternoon, just in time to bathe ourselves in magnificent sunset.

Punta Sibaring is a very idyllic place. Too bad, we had to leave our camp site very early for our journey to another island.

 

Next: Mansalangan Sandbar, Patawan and Candaraman Islands >>>
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