Taiwan is probably one of our closest neighboring country. It’s only 218km away from our farthest islands of Batanes. It’s so close I even saw the island when I was in Itbayat on a clear sky morning. It was with excitement I had a chance to explore Taiwan through Taiwan Tourism Board for their campaign Panahon sa Taiwan. Recently, Taiwan recently extended its VISA-Free visit for Filipinos allowing us to enjoy this charming country again. For this trip we went to central areas of Taichung and Nantou County, the north mountainscapes of Yangmingshan and of course the main capital of Taipei.
Admittedly, the regions of Eastern Visayas are some of the areas I haven’t visited as much. Joining the #SailEast fam tour with Tourism Promotions Board was a great opportunity to familiarize with the area. To experience, even partially, what these places have to offer. In our four-day tour we ventured to Southern Leyte’s idyllic shores and islets, Leyte’s island gem and Samar’s Eco-adventure spots.
Sometimes it takes someone else’s eyes to see the beauty that surrounds us. Familiarity can be numbing at times and comfort can make us overlook what’s in front of us. That can be said the same to some people living along the area of Tañon Strait, the largest protected seascape in the country sandwiched between two major islands, Cebu and Negros. Ask where the strait is to a few, they would show a blank face, not knowing that the sea in front of them is part of it. Oceana Philippines, organized a photo safari to explore the length of Tañon Strait and I was fortunate to be part of this 6-day expedition. It was an exciting project as everything was new to me. Our objective was to capture and showcase the beauty and bounty of Tañon Strait. Maybe, just maybe, through our photographer eyes we could share and let more people appreciate this natural wonder.
I was enjoying lying on the bow of the large outrigger boat coming from Pasacao Port in Camarines Sur to our destination of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. I wanted to enjoy the fresh sea air and not be bounded inside the tarp-covered windows of the shaded boat seats behind me. The splash from the ride didn’t reach the bow that much so I enjoyed the sea view and conversation with the local guide in the area. Suddenly there was a rustle of activity that led me to see what was happening. We were approaching Burias Island already and just in time when the afternoon light came in, spreading its golden hue over the high cliffs bounding the bay where the municipality of San Pascual is nestled in.
It was an advocacy to entice more people to travel to Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. A region much maligned due to isolated insurgencies which affected nearby regions. Born out of Iligan’s Waterfalling activity, Travel Mindanao is a project by a group of travel bloggers with a common zest for adventure and to showcase the best of Mindanao. The project was supposed to be in a span of a month but I had to catch up shortening my participation to 20 days. Still, after seven provinces, it was one of my memorable journeys in the country.
Just when I thought I’ll just be enjoying December mostly at home, I was ecstatic to receive an invite to AirAsia Zest inaugural flight to Miri, Malaysia. A city west of Sabah and home to several natural wonders like the caves in Niah National Park. It wasn’t supposed to be my last trip for the year and was excitedly expecting another one but plans change. As I write this entry, I am off to a detour and go with some good old friends instead to another destination. That seems to be the theme of the year 2013 for me, changes and adjustments, making most of what we have. Looking at things in a positive light.
November was a kick-off of the TravelMindanao Project. It was a thrilling whirlwind 20-days (and would have been more if not for Super Typhoon Yolanda’s unexpected arrival) for me but was quite fulfilling in discovering (and re-discovering) different facets of Mindanao. So what started as a joke from the recent WAT 2.0 in Iligan evolved to an advocacy, a call to action to Travel to Mindanao. With a group of 8 travel bloggers we explored Mindanao to showcase the sights, the people, the experience and hoping you consider Mindanao on you next travel plan. Here’s a snippet on some of the highlights of this project.