It was one of those spontaneous trips I wasn’t sure it would push through. The Philippine habagat (southwest wind) has been whipping up mean rains in the metro it takes some effort to bypass the floods and the traffic. But I had my eyes set on Kalinga province for sometime, particularly to see their supposedly dying Batok (tattoo) art. So when the rains abated, we got a signal from our guide in Tinglayan of good weather there. I quickly packed my bags and prepared for the long road to Tinglayan, the jump-off for exploration on the province of Kalinga.
I’ve always been used to airports as a place I just usually drive in and fly out. It’s not a place I would stay too long unless I end up with a long layover in between flights. Singapore Changi Airport is a lot different though. While I have been to this airport several times already throughout the years it was on my recent visit that I got to know it more. I got an invitation from Samantha Lee, Corporate Communications Manager of Changi Airport, last year about a tour of Changi when I’m in the Singapore. Fortunately, the invite was still open so I took it up on my recent visit there. She and her associate made us discover that there’s a lot more to see in Changi Airport enough for me to say that it’s definitely a destination in itself.
Like George Mallory was saying, “Because it’s there!”, is there any other good reason to explore? A lot of people mainly see the EL Nido town and the islands of Bacuit Bay, but that’s only a small part of the El Nido Municipality. Slowly the northern regions of El Nido are getting some good exposure but I’ve always wondered what the eastern part of El Nido looks like. Does it have some magnificent islands and beaches as the eastern side? Curiosity got me going, coming a long with a friend, we were off to Sibaltan on the eastern side of El Nido.
(Update: January 26, 2015) “…you can feel that Palawan is ready to hit the big-time in 2013” says Lonely Planet as it recommends this vast archipelago of Palawan islands as one of the Top 10 Best Regions to Travel in 2013. I couldn’t agree more as things are looking bright now in the region especially in the El Nido area. Despite the 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa, it doesn’t stop people from discovering this wonderful destination even now that the Roro Bus to El Nido made travel a lot easier and comfortable.
It was only my second time to Indonesia and I was really excited since I’ll be traveling independently. I was fortunate enough to travel to Indonesia a month before, prior to my trip. It was an on assignment to cover an event for a magazine in the North of Sulawesi Island. The trip was a great introduction to Indonesia and made me familiarize myself with the airports and transportation. But then again, traveling independently is a different thing, no guides to point the direction. I was traveling to Central Java this time. I’ll be flying from Jakarta to Yogyakarta then a Prameks to Solo. A trip which I would consider as my first venture to Indonesia.
It was the onset of summer in the Philippines and I was yearning for the beach! “But why go Malaysia? You have plenty of great beaches there in the Philippines!” an American backpacker asked me. That’s true but somehow this was different and unexpected. It felt like cheating, I know I love the Philippines and its beaches but somehow, Perhentian Islands in Malaysia is so homey and relaxing I quickly fell in love with it and yes even if some Travel Magazine dubbed our very own Boracay Island as the best in the world, this one is a lot closer to me as a perfect beach island getaway. And it all started when I was looking for an offbeat place to visit in Malaysia and this picture of a beautiful island with torquiest water and a promise of unspoiled underwater haven sold me to fly to Kuala Lumpur.
Up to the last-minute, we weren’t sure if we’re pushing through Itbayat on our second day. While having dinner the previous night at the Bunker in Naidi Hills, we watched how the wind threw monobloc chairs and tables making us think of a backup plan in case we don’t push through. But waking up the next day, our guide Joaquin, excitedly informed us and showed in the internet how the wind has slowed down and changed direction. That means we can push through with our Itbayat. So the group got ready for the overnight stay on one of the largest upheaved coral in the world, Itbayat Island.