While enjoying some ‘alone time’ in a deserted park in Subic on the last afternoon of 2012, I silently browsed the pages of my planner and recall how my year was. Obviously, my year was dominated by meaningful travels – I visited five countries and managed to visit the best my home country has to offer.
It is also the year where I saw some really nice films – mainstream and indie alike. I chose to be an audience and appreciate every character I get to know. My love and devotion for drag queens – particularly Manila Luzon and other Rupaul’s Drag Race contestants made the rest of my ‘ber’ months happy and gay. In times of depression, go and turn to drag queens! Werk!
I’ll try my best to summarize my 2012 – the year a turned 25 years old.
JANUARY – The year started with a lot of worries related to my personal goals in life. It is also the part of the year where I decided that when I want to visit a place and I have enough money, I will still push through with a trip no matter what. It is the month I revisited Ilocos Norte. I get to see my relatives in Laoag after a decade of not visiting. It is also my first time to meet the bubbly Cebu-based blogger Jason. We explored Pagudpud, Bangui and Burgos together. Remember that romantic candle-lit dinner by the beach? Hehe. I also get to try Dagupan City’s Dawel River Cruise again with the Lakbay Norte 3 participants. Some projects were also initiated with my Pangasinan-based friends.
FEBRUARY – The Bangkok-Siem Reap dream trip. Together with Andrew, we were able to explore some places in Bangkok. I did dance in Khao San Road, but was a mess before that lol. My 8 days stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia is memorable for me because we get to visit the Angkor Wat and the other temples (enough already hahaha), Floating Villages, spent quality time at Pub Street and many more! I also get to see more Pinoy Travel Bloggers there, including the person I really look up to, who gave me a scarf and I cried when I lost it. I also realized that I am partly impulsive with my decisions. While in Siem Reap, I decided to Chiang Mai. I spent a tiring Valentine’s Day in Bangkok so I can take a bus trip to Chiang Mai the next day. It was my first solo trip out of the country in a place where I don’t know anyone and I stayed at a mixed dorm accommodation. Wow, I can actually do it 😀 When I returned to the Philippines, I get to revisit Pico De Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas. The best part is learning a lot from a Sri-Lankan photographer and eating pizza and pasta at midnight with Eric.
MARCH – For March, I had the opportunity to handle some outsourced projects. I also attended the launch of AirPhil Express’ Clark Hub, which is a big advantage for Norte travelers like me. It is also the month where I get to travel with Ada, Dylan and Maire in Bohol. It was a trip we all needed and it is a trip where we all realized the importance of learning from your failures. We also need a breather and celebrate life by traveling! The Siquijor Roadtrip is one of my best trips ever. I am lucky to explore the mystical island that way. Thanks to Dylan and his family 😀 I stepped in Dumaguete, but failed to explore the place. I must allot an ample time to explore and appreciate the beauty of Dumaguete and not just shop for silvannas.
APRIL – April is a good summer month. It’s my first time to visit Boracay on a peak season. The supposed solo trip became a party trip with friends, who were in the island for an important event! You are never alone in Boracay! I also discovered a cheaper alternative way of enjoying Boracay and that is by staying in dorm-style type of accommodation. You don’t only save money, but you get to gain more friends! I also took the risk of applying for a single-entry South Korea visa and explored some parts of Incheon and Pyeongtaek 😀 South Korea is one of my dream destinations and it is fun to learn more through the point of view of an expat. Oh wait… that is another backlog for me 0_0
MAY – The month I celebrated my silver year in the world! Hehe. For the nth time, I flew to Davao to join the yearly Davao Food Appreciation Tour. What made this leg special is that I get to celebrate my birthday with an island hopping activity. I love the fact that I get to spend the day and the rest of the weekend with blogger friends Ruby, one of my high school besties got married and it is my first time to attend a wedding of a high school batch mate. I have an unfinished post about it (might as well work on it!). I also enjoyed my stay in my hometown by revisiting relatives in Binalonan and the usual Dagupan-Calasiao food trip.
JUNE – I celebrated Philippine Independence Day at Tambobong Beach – Dasol, Pangasinan with Darwin, Doc Wends, Gay and Baby Luna! Despite the gloomy weather, we all had fun. It is through this trip that I realized that having a baby in tow on a trip is not really that hard. Travelling with a toddler is doable 😀 I’m also happy that my travel blogger friends were able to explore some parts of Pangasinan too.
I returned to Malaysia by participating in AirPhil Express’ inaugural flight to Kuala Lumpur! We’re all lucky because aside from the free airfare transpo and hotel accommodation in KL, we were given a budget to spend while we’re exploring Malaysia. I took the opportunity to visit Cameron Highlands, which is 4 hours away from KL with Edgar. We get to see the Rafflesia in full bloom and enjoyed the cool weather and nice scenery.
A week after, I flew to Tacloban for the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival. The funny part is I failed to cover the main event (lazy gurl). I’m just glad that Eric was there. Met some nice locals, but the highlight of my Tacloban trip is my visit to the Sto. Nino Shrine or the Romualdez Museum. I also flew straight to Cebu afterwards. Why? Why not? LOL
JULY – July is kalma sa lakwatsa month for me. I didn’t travel out of Metro Manila, but I managed to wander around through movies. July is Cinemalaya month and I’m glad to be able to watch quality indie films. Of course, I supported Loy Arcenas’ REquieme! I also attended the grand Rodriguez-Magsaysay Reunion and visited The Mind Museum. Werk!
AUGUST – No typhoon can stop me from pursuing another impulsive trip. This time, I dared to fly to Puerto Princesa via Clark and take a van ride to El Nido. I spent 8 days in Palawan and gone through some challenges – the weather, budget, camera errors and many more. I met a lot of interesting personalities through this trip and learned to just slow down and appreciate paradise. The fun part in traveling solo is being in control of your time. I can work on my laptop and at the same time just be lazy when I want to. A special trip made more special by quality moments.
SEPTEMBER – I decided to revisit Iloilo and Guimaras. I get to see Kuya Cherald and Ava, my goddaughter who was baptized on the day of my birthday 😀 Together with his wife and three children, we explored parts of Guimaras that I missed two years ago. The unpredictable weather challenged us on our way back, but I managed to go back to Iloilo safe. What a bonding trip! Also, my first day in Iloilo was spent eating Batchoy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some things don’t go as planned. I can say that September is an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. I went back to Dagupan with my grandparents for lolo’s birthday, went back to Manila and flew to Laoag. This time, I took a bus trip to Vigan. I need to think and reassess my life. Vigan – sa Calle Crisologo, para swak sa pag-eemote. Chos!
Reconnecting with my Ilocano roots is fun. Actually, the solo Vigan trip is an eye-opener for me. All of a sudden, I’m interested to know more about Philippine History. Thanks to Edmar, whom I enjoyed talking to related to history, food, blogging and life in general.
^ And my love for her continues to grow
OCTOBER – October is a self-exile month. I barely went out and drowned myself with misery #charaught. Time goes slowly for those who wait! My only source of happiness for this month is the 52nd wedding anniversary of my grandparents and Rupaul’s All Stars Drag Race. I learned to appreciate drag queens and realized that hey, I love these girls! Of course, my number one favorite is Manila Luzon! Mahal na mahal kita at alam mo naman ‘yun kahit hindi ka nagta-tagalog dahil ni-repost mo pa nga sa page mo ‘yung blog entry ko. <3
NOVEMBER – Time to recover. I think the solemn visit to Manila Memorial Park to visit my dad cleared my heart (drama). Revisited Dagupan and got sick, attended some events in Manila and pursued another Boracay Trip. Again, it is supposedly a solo trip, but Brenna and Darwin were there! The ideal Boracay trip finally came true – fire dancing, eating, drinking and meeting more people. Fun Fun Trip!
DECEMBER – December is a big surprise. I was picked to participate on a special trip to Taipei City, Taiwan by AirAsiaGo Philippines and the best part is I traveled with my close friends (pre-Senyorita era LOL). The highlight of my December is the year-end roadtrip to Subic with my grandparents. I love them so much
So…. That sums up my 2012! I am happy because I was able to surpass some challenges (that are not broadly revealed here teehee). Experience is truly the best teacher and I am glad that I had a productive travel year! I would also like to thank everyone who made 2012 a fruitful year for me – my travel mates, new friends, sponsors, family and more! Looking forward to a better 2013!
Time flies fast. Before you know it, I’m getting married!