With 16 provinces, 9 cities and 2 Chinese territories, 2012 has really been my best year yet as a restless traveler. Join me as I look back the year that has been.
Travelling in 2012 kicked off with a pilgrimage to Manaoag, Pangasinan. It was actually my third time to visit the shrine but what made it more special is that I travelled with my family,
with dad’s new toy J. As what was done in the past, the pilgrimage is followed by a road trip to the Baguio, my sixth visit to the City of Pines.
February’s highlight was our Cebu-Bohol trip. Cebu is very memorable to me as this was the very first city I visited when I was finally earning my own money. That marked the start of a new passion, my passion to wander. Unlike the first visit, this time, the trip to Cebu was more relaxed since somehow, I already have an idea on what to do and where to go. But what I consider the most exciting part is the trip to Bohol especially the visit to the majestic Chocolate Hills, the century-old churches and the Loboc River Cruise while enjoying the cultural performances of the locals.
The type of traveler I am, I did not waste my time exploring Batangas while I accompanied a friend in reaching his ‘dream to stardom’. The weekend tour covered visits to the Lipa Cathedral, the church in Taal, its own Heritage Village and the Taal Lake with the view of Taal Volcano on the Municipality of Agoncillo side.
I must say, April was the busiest month for me, a lot of firsts; I was able to conquer a lot of fears and cross out several items in my bucket list. I was able to try surfing and climb the biggest balete tree in Baler, Aurora plus a bonus of meeting an old friend. It was also this month when I was able to finally visit the world renowned Banaue Rice Terraces. We then went to Sagada where we spent most of our travel days. This is where I experienced spelunking in the caves of Sumaguing and Lumiang, paid respect in the cave burials and hanging coffins, witnessed the sunrise on a sea of clouds and reached the summit of the highest peak in Sagada, Mt. Ampucao. The last of these trips for the month is close to my heart, a religious observance in my home province – Pampanga. Highlights of the Lenten rites are various practices like self flagellation, crucifixion and the procession of life size images depicting the life and suffering of Christ.
Who would’ve thought that you can have the vibe of the Vigan Heritage Village without the long land travel time? For just about four hours drive from Manila, you’ll instantly travel back in time once you reach the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, the new home of a number heritage houses and buildings that are mostly from Central Luzon, which is also now a favorite location for Hispanic-themed movie and television shows. Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zambales was visited prior to Las Casas.