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Experiences, Travel Blog

What makes an adventure an adventure?

July 25, 2013
Adventure

What’s an adventure? Is it something that needs to involve an exotic place or a dangerous activity?

It came to mind when Nigel Clifford, a traveler and the founder of Adventure Underwear, asked me to test their product on my next adventure.

I went through my travel plans to see if I have something on those lines planned. With neither Inca trails to climb nor neither oceans to explore, I had little options.

Finaly, I decided to test it at Belgium’s Rock Werchter festival.  While it may not fit the classic definition of an adventure, being in a crowd of 85,000 all jamming, jumping and singing, it sure felt like one.

And so begs the question, what really counts as an adventure?

25Travels - Adventure 1

I believe that an adventure is something that shouldn’t be limited by a place or an event. Being in the Himalayas can be an adventure, but so is walking on a neighbourhood in your city that you haven’t been to. For me, it’s about finding excitement into being in different places or doing different things.

 

25Travels - Adventure 2

I believe that a great adventure is not only about the places or activities you do but the people you do it with. On my travels, there are places that in terms of sights have not a lot to offer. But because of the people I was with, these places were often the most memorable. I believe that when you are with the right people, you can easily create moments that last forever.

 

25Travels - Adventure 3

I think an adventure should be something that will make you appreciate spending your time doing it.  It’s an activity that should push your boundaries and challenge fears. It’s an activity that should bring you learning and valuable experiences.

 

25Travels - Adventure 4

Our life is one big adventure. Each day, regardless how exciting or mundane it went, should be treated as an adventure. Our everyday moments shape who we are – our perception, values and attitudes. I believe that each moment, no matter how simple it is, should always be treated and regarded as an adventure.

 

25Travels - Adventure 5

In the end, it’s about living the life that you want to live. It’s about striving for your dreams and making sure that it happens.  I believe that if you aim for reaching your dreams – may it be climbing Mount Everest or learning a language – the journey to get to your dream IS an adventure in itself.

So instead of asking what is an adventure, your question should be what WILL BE your next adventure?

I got inspired to write this post thanks to Nigel and his innovative product – Adventure Underwear. They are currently raising funds on their kickstarter project.

It’s a simple concept – your normal boxers with a couple of pockets big enough to hold money, credit cards and even your smart phones. It’s waterproof and made from one of the finest wool. It’s comfort and usefulness in a small package.

It’s definitely one of the innovations that us travelers will never take for granted again.  It has a potential to be a classic travel gear with its simplicity and ingenuity.

I’ve been given a sample and been asked to review the product.  All opinions in this post, however, are all my own. 

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My Top Three Travel Experiences

August 26, 2012
morocco

Posting on a Sunday you say?! Well, well – I’ve exchanged my usual chill out, sleeping til the afternoon Sunday for a blog writing + tea sipping afternoon. I have good travel blogger friends Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds  and Brendan of Wanders of the World to thank for that.

After grabbing beers with these guys a couple of weeks ago, I (drunkenly) join the awesome group of Team Purple for Lowcostholiday’s Blogger Relay.

The rule of the game is simple – rank your top three travel memories then pass on the baton to another travel blogger. So far, I’ve read a lot of interesting experiences from my team mates, and now it’s my turn to share my stories. 

Bronze : Football – London 2012 Olympics

 

The bronze medal goes to watching the 2012 Olympic games live.

Being at the Olympics has been a dream since I was a kid. And since moving back to Brussels early this year, I knew that I won’t let this one pass knowing that the games are only 3 hours away.

Manchester - Olympics 2012

I eventually ended up watching the football quarter finals in Manchester’s Old Trafford and seeing the women’s marathon in London the day after. The atmosphere was great – Old Trafford was full with 70,000 screaming fans and the game winner, Japan, eventually was fourth overall. The games were highly organized and the streets were full of smiling English people – which I guess came from how proud they were of the games.

Manchester - Olympics 2012

While I’ve only seen two games it’s already a worthwhile visit. It’s these moments of seeing history unfold in front of you is one of the rewarding notes of travel. The Olympics happen only every four years and seeing it is a story that I will tell my kids and grandkids about.

Silver : “100 meter freestyle” swimming with Whale Sharks

 

One of my most memorable travel experiences to date was swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol. This experience was turning point in my own appreciation of travel.

Donsol

First, it was because it opened my eyes to the opportunities of travel within my own country. The Philippines is known for its untouched beaches, diverse wildlife, eclectic sceneries and culture. I’m lucky to call this country my home and in the past years, I’ve been working on also discovering my backyard.

Every January to June of the year, groups of whale shark visit the waters of the once sleepy town of Donsol. The encounter tours are arranged through the town’s tourism office, and after getting briefed on the dive, you are brought to the open seas. It’s a cat-and-mouse race as it all relies on your luck to spot whale sharks. We only had two encounters during our trip, but it was all worth it.

Second, I clearly remember that on that same boat, I met Nathan, an English backpacker, who at 25 years old has already travelled to 70 countries. I remember being inspired from what he had accomplished yet equally hopeless knowing that this may never happen to me. But still, I made a promise then – that I too will travel the world someday.

Little did I know that now that I’m 25 – I’m actually living the life that I only hopelessly dreamt four years back. It was a dream turned to a reality – and through this blog – I hoped that I too, like Nathan, will inspire others to do the same.

Gold : “Modern Travel Icositepentathlon*” – 25 by 25

 

Finishing my 25-country challenge definitely brings home the gold.

The race was long but I finally got to the finish line last June. The journey spanned to more than four continents, hundreds of cities and millions of miles. I’ve seen beautiful places, met awesome people and learned a lot more about the countries I stayed in and the rest of the world that is waiting to be discovered.

Sahara Desert - Morocco

I’ve seen the sunrise in Angkor Wat and sunset in the Sahara desert. I’ve sense the movement of time from the ancient cities of Rome to the modern skylines of Hong Kong. It was a whirlwind of a journey, something that I can’t really narrate in a short post but the entire journey definitely counts as one very long travel memory.

Hong Kong at night

Finishing this goal affirmed my belief that you don’t need to be rich to see the world nor devote your time solely for travel. I’ve done it with a full-time job and with often shallow pockets – but I made it, and other people like you can do it too! What you need is dedication, careful planning and strong drive to see the world.

At the end of the goal, I realized that it was not a sprint but a marathon – It’s not how fast you finished but it’s about the journey.

That’s it for this set – and now I’m passing the #teampurple baton, halfway across the world, to Josh and Caroline of Travelling 9 to 5. Keep the Team Purple baton going!

What are your top three travel moments? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!

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Filipino Friday : Bababa ba? Bababa

August 17, 2012
Pinoy sign

Welcome back to Filipino Fridays, a weekly session on my blog where I talk something about my home country, the Philippines.

This week, it’s all about making conversations in the Philippines. Look at the image below showing a common conversation:

Photo credits from Jay Cabrera

(*photo credits from Jay Cabrera on Facebook. )

Person 1: Bababa ba?
Person 2: Bababa.

Do you notice anything interesting about the phrase?

First of all, this is an actual conversation. Despite only using one syllable, it actually means a complete thought.

Well just to give you a bit of background, the conversation is in Filipino, the national language of the Philippines. The country’s official language is Filipino and English, with regional languages  such as Cebuano, Ilokano, Bicolano, Hiligaynon and Waray-waray as auxiliary languages. In total, the Philippines has more than 170 regional languages.

And together with 400 years of Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and American influence, our language had evolved into a melting pot of words. As an example of this influence, to say “How are you?”  is “Kamusta ka?” a derivation of the Spanish “Como esta?” and to say thank you is “Salamat” which is similar to Bahasa’s use of “Selamat”.

The Filipino language evolved into something unique – albeit weird in some cases. But don’t worry, we don’t babble monosyllabic phrases all the time. 🙂

The etymology of the words in this conversation is unknown. But to translate:

Person 1: Bababa ba? = is it (elevator) going down? 
Person 2: Bababa = it’s going down

Baba actually means down.

Here are some other “strange”  words:

  • Lalala (to worsen as like to being sick)
  • Bobobo (to become more stupid)
  • Nganganga (open someone’s mouth)
  • Kakasa (to nudge a gun)

For some real phrases:

  • You are pretty! –  Ang ganda mo!
  • I love you – Mahal kita
  • How much? – Magkano?
  •  Goodbye – Paalam

Well, the next time you meet a Filipino in an elevator – be sure to mention bababa ba

What other quirky words / phrases in your own language. Share them below!

 

About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

Asia

Filipino Friday: Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol

February 10, 2012
donsol

One of my first real travel experience involved jumping into open sea and chasing sharks.

If you don’t believe then check the photo of the big shark scar that I have on my knee. 😉 Still don’t believe me?!

Great White Shark Cage Diving

Well, I maybe joking on the scar on my knee, but the swimming with sharks part was actually the real deal. 🙂 Though, the catch is that it’s not sharks a la Jaws – but are calmer and less prone to eating humans.

Ladies and gents, I present you the whale sharks or butanding as we call them in the Philippines!

Whale shark

Unline the sharks that we commonly know about – they only eat plankton and krills.

They are the largest fish species in the world measuring up to 12 meters in length (almost the size of a big bus). Their mouth alone, at 1.5 meters in width, is big enough to swallow a human being whole.

; )

They are commonly found on the world’s warm and tropical waters and luckily the Philippines have lots of them.:)

The coastal town of Donsol  is the hotspot in the Philippines if you want to experience swimming with them. The whale shark season is between January and May of each year.

Donsol’s is a prime example of sustainable tourism – mixing tourism development, bringing livelihood to its people and at the same time increasing awareness about these awesome creatures.

I did the whale shark interaction back in 2008 and it remains as one of my most unforgettable experience to date. We came late in the season but luckily still had a chance to see a couple of whale sharks.

Donsol

All the sightings can only be arranged from the main tourist office. You have towatch a video first about whale sharks and the rules you have to follow. Then you are brought to a boat together with a shark spotter. The shark spotters (or BIOS) used to be fishermen who used to capture these sharks for food – but now they’ve changed jobs to become the shark’s prime protectors!

Once they’ve spotted a whale shark, you’ll to jump in the open sea and swim so hard to follow these huge creatures.

You are not allowed to touch, ride, feed or swim right next to them (especially near their tails) for your safety and for the preservation of their habitat as well.

But definitely, it’s an experience that everyone should do!

To go to Donsol, fly to Legaspi (1 hour from Manila or Cebu) and it’s another 1 hour jeepney ride away to get to the Donsol town proper. Alternatively, there is a daily overnight bus that goes to Legaspi and Donsol. You can arrange the day you want to do the swim in their tourist office and will cost you less than 1500 PHP (30 USD) for the entire thing.

Have you tried swimming with whale sharks? Share you experience below!

About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

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Filipino Friday: Backpacking experiences in Bohol

October 28, 2011
Bohol

Bohol aside from being home to tarsiers and Chocolate Hills, is one of the most ecologically rich places in the Philippines. Travellers flock here  to experience its natural wonders. Most avail of group package tours when travelling, but for those seeking something different can look into “backpacking” for an alternative experience.

Loboc River view from the top

Backpacking and independent travelling usually doesn’t involve arranged tours, airport pick-ups, and tight itineraries. Free yourself from these and you’ll be in for a unique experience, a less-stressful vacation, and a way to travel cheap and sustainably.

For those who are clueless on how to begin, here are some suggested backpacking experiences to make your trip to Bohol more enjoyable:

Tarsier

* Photo from spamangr used under Creative Commons license

Visit Tarsier Sanctuary at Corella

 

At all cost, avoid the tarsiers along the town of Loboc. Many, if not all of them, are kept out of their natural habitat and instead made to fit onto small cages. Tarsiers easily suffers stress from continuous exposure to humans and are known to commit suicide in captivity.

If you want to view them in a more sustainable manner, head on to the Tarsier Foundation in the town of Corella. The sanctuary allows you to view the creatures in their natural habitat. Paying a visit helps in their conservation efforts too. The sanctuary can easily be reached via a Sikatuna-bound jeepney from Loboc.

One of the huts at Nuts Huts

Back to basics at Nuts Huts

Tuck within the jungles of Loboc, Nuts Huts offers accommodation alongside the Loboc river.  This no-frills (no airconditioning, hot water, TV and wifi) backpackers place are for those who are ready to leave the comforts of a hotel, and are ready to roughen it up in the jungle. It’s not for everyone but it’s a definite experience for those seeking something unique.

Getting there can be thrill on itself. From Tagbilaran, take a Loboc bound jeepney and ask to be dropped you to Sarimanok for a 15-minute ride to their place. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, take a minibus to Carmen and ask them to drop you at Nuts Huts (around an hour from Tagbilaran). From there, it’s a 750 meters walk and another 100 steps down to the reception and another 150 to get to the huts (getting to paradise isn’t easy).

But once there, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the jungle and the river. Plus, the Belgian owners can help you fix some activities to do around the area (hike, zipline or mountain bike). Standard room for two costs 700 pesos a night.

Chocolate Hills Bohol

Take public transport to the Chocolate Hills

In Bohol, a visit to the Chocolate Hills is a must. To get there, ditch the private vans and take public transport instead.

Public transport are cheap ways of going around. It also gives you a chance to interact with the locals. And for those adventurous enough, you can ride on top of the bus for a majestic view and a thrill from dodging powerlines and tree branches.

Buses to Carmen run every hour from Tagbilaran and takes 2 hours. From the bus stop, it’s another motorcycle ride away to the viewpoint. From there, you can also opt for a habal-habal tour around the hills itself.

Jerick & his friend, Dennis atop a bus in Bohol

About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I remember that on my travels, there are some people who are still unaware of where the Philippines  is or what the country has to offer. So I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

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Filipino Friday: The Balut

October 21, 2011
Balut

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you the balut. (Warning: Graphic photos)

Voted as #1 most terrifying food in the world, it’s been a staple “must do” for anyone visiting the Philippines and a challenge for those adventurous enough to stomach this known delicacy. But is it that terrifying as most publications tell it to be?

Balut at El Nido

Here’s the lowdown:

Balut is fertilized duck egg (Yes, it has a duckling fetus inside). It’s a common street snack here in the Philippines and other Southeast Asia countries and notoriously known to freak out those who attempt to take a bite. It’s often boiled and eaten on its shell. It takes around 17 days to prepare a balut and for some, 19-21 days if you want it mature (ie with the beaks and feathers already in it).

In the Philippines, there are other varieties of eating balut. You can try it fried, scrambled, in a soup, on a pastry bun – but the best experience is eating it the traditional way – boiled and while still warm.

Now, if you are looking to macho it up and try it, here are some tips to make the experience better:

1. Don’t look at what your eating
2. Add salt or chili
3. Drink it with a beer (everything goes well with a beer)

To be honest with you, I never really liked balut and I have never tried balut until I was 23  after I dared my German friend Dennis to try one.

My conclusion: It taste like a hard boiled egg with a slight crunchiness to it. Adding a pinch of salt and chili definitely helps make it more tasty. But trust me that it taste better than it looks. Bon Appetit!

Eating Balut (Step 1)

Eating Balut (Step 2)

Eating Balut (Step 3)

(photos from Dennis)

Have you tried Balut? (if not, I DARE you to try it). Share your experience BELOW!

About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I remember that on my travels, there are some people who are still unaware of where the Philippines  is or what the country has to offer. So I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

Asia

Filipino Friday: Taal Volcano

October 14, 2011
Taal

Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I remember that on my travels, there are some people who are still unaware of where the Philippines  is or what the country has to offer. So I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines,  it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.

For my first post, I’m writing about Taal Volcano.

The Mouth of Taal Volcano

Philippines is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and home to a number of active volcanoes (official count was 50).  Taal Volcano is one of the more famous  volcanoes and also one of the most active in the country. Don’t worry though as its last major eruption was in the 1970s.

So what is so special about this volcano?

Taal Volcano is most known for having the world’s largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island (phew!).

To better explain:  the center most island is called Vulcan Point which sits on the Crater lake, Crater lake is inside Taal Island, which then is inside Taal Lake on the Luzon Island.  Don’t believe me? See the photo below (hard to see Vulcan point from here).

Taal Volcano from a satellite – Wikimedia Photo

I recently spent a weekend with my family in Talisay, Batangas – on a resort along the lake with a great view of the volcano. And I must say that it’s nice to wake up and have this view on your window.  😉

taal volcano

Considering that it’s only a two hour bus ride from Manila, it’s a great day trip to include on itinerary if ever you’re coming from Manila.  You can go to the city of Tagaytay for a view from atop overlooking the lake. You can also go to the town of Talisay and arrange a hike to the top of the volcano island. It’s a 45 minute hike to the top and can be done on foot or on horse. View of the crater island is worth the climb!

*Photos from deckchua & therealbrute under creative commons license

Have you been to Taal? What were your experiences? SHARE them below!

Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.

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HOW TO : Get the best deals when booking flights

August 30, 2011
Airplane flight

One question I get often is how come I get to travel a lot. The answer is: Aside from being a passion, I travel cheap and take advantage of anything that I can save on. As I said, there are many ways to travel cheap and you don’t have to be rich to see the world.

One of my biggest savers is booking cheap  flights. I’m a sucker for it! Finding a cheap flight allows me to save money for other travel expenses & more rewarding experiences. Savings can go up to 80% from the normal flight cost if you booked at the right time.

The examples I’ll cite come from experiences in booking Philippines / Southeast Asia flights – but the advice goes for anyone keen on saving. Feel free to share your advice on the comments section.

Here’s my personal advice on how to get & book cheap flights:

Be on the know

 

Flying back to Europe -

The most important tip is to be alert for flight deals & promotions. Airlines run promotions and deals for flights often so check their websites regularly. Opt to subscribe to alerts & newsletters if they have one.

Also, I prefer to use social media particularly Twitter to get update on deals. Compared to newsletters, twitter allows you to get the information real-time.  Follow & “like” their pages. Here’s my list of twitter handles of Philippine & Southeast Asian budget airlines.

PERSONAL TIP:  Cebu Pacific often announce their promotion deals between 12-2 in the afternoon and 12-2am in the morning so make sure you check the site / twitter feeds that time.

PERSONAL TIP 2:  Some airlines adjust their fares online depending on what time you are accessing the site. For example, checking for flights during lunchtime can yield more expensive flights than checking let’s say at 3:00pm.

Ask yourself: What are you willing to sacrifice?

And often time & distance are the things you have to fore-go. Two things:

    • Flights very late at night or very early in the morning are often cheaper.
    • Flying from low-cost airports are also usually cheaper.

In the Philippines for example, Clark Airport is 2-3 hours away from the main NAIA airport in Manila and can add extra hours of travel & transportation. But flying in and out there can save you more than 50% on costs. If you don’t mind waking up early, sleeping on airports or travelling longer to save costs, then follow this advice – I’m sure that the savings you’ll make can pay-up for an hour massage!

Plan early

Tangier Airport

Flight are cheaper when booked months in advance. As the travel date goes closer, the prices go higher.  So if you can afford to book flights early, then go do it!

Fly on weekdays

Flying on weekends can be expensive, so avoid it if you can. Flights fares are the most expensive usually on Fridays and returning flights on Sunday nights or Monday mornings. So if you can afford, avoid these dates. Weekdays like Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally cheaper.

Ask yourself (again): What do you REALLY need?

Flights work nowadays on a pay-as-you-want scheme, where you pay for “extra” for insurance, luggage, food etc.

Baggage - Puerto Princesa Airport

Do you really need a 20kg luggage allowance for a weekend trip?  Chances are you don’t.  Luggage usually costs 500pesos-1000 pesos  (10-20€ for a return flight), which can be 30-50% of your flight cost. And if you only need it to pack your third pair of shoes, then it’s time to reconsider what YOU NEED TO BRING.

My advice? Travel on carry-on – it’s cheaper and gives you no room to over-pack.

For purchasing insurance, it  depends and I go both ways on this. I usually don’t purchase insurance – but I see that it has its value. Though, if you’re flying on summer and on a 2 hour flight, then the flight insurance will serve you no purpose – so better scrap it. But if you’re flying on typhoon season using a small plane, then better think twice and snag that insurance. It’s not that expensive anyway.

Use common sense: Flights can’t be cheap forever

If you are trying to book flight a week before, chances are you won’t get in cheap. So don’t assume that you’ll get it cheap.

Flights can go only as cheap, so don’t expect to find a 500 pesos (10€) international flight often. Flight fares can only go as low – so if you manage to find a flight to Bangkok from Manila for 4,000 pesos – snag the deal. To enjoy, you have to spend somehow right?

Happy flying!!

What do you think about the tips? Do you have any other tips in mind? Suggest them below!

Travel Blog

My Seven Links: 25Travels So Far

July 31, 2011
My Seven Links- Brussels

Starting My 7 links post was difficult as I don’t have much material to begin with. It’s been only a few months since I started theblog and with only 13 posts to date, there’s not much material to work on.

I’m not new to blogging and I’ve been writing my thoughts since 2005. But I’ve had moved from one blog platform to another, hoping it will bring the writing sparks back and 25travels was my latest – and my blog solely for travel.  I’ve written a few travel posts in between for my family and friends to read.  But for the purpose of this exercise, I’ll try to keep it within my 25travels posts.

Thanks to Ren of So Not Lost for the nomination.  🙂

My most beautiful post
My 10 Favourite Places in Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place, Brussels

I originally wrote this post for the Matador Network. However, I sent it haphazardly then forgot to proofread and it was eventually rejected (that’s why bloggers, it’s key that you proofread). I’ve since rewritten this piece and decided to upload it here instead.

I lived in Brussels for two years and it goes without saying that I miss the city and my friends there a lot. Writing this post brought back memories  from my time there. Brussels became my second home, and writing about a place where a part of you remains needs some thought and lots of crafting, that’s why I consider this as my most beautiful post.  I’ve put much thought in order to reflect my feelings for the city and the experiences I’ve had there,  hoping that people who haven’t been to Brussels will have the same feeling as I had.

My most popular post
Final Four: finishing my 25travels goal

Sahara desert Morocco, 25travels

My most popular to date is my recent post on countries to visit for  my 25-country goal. I’ve gotten my best amount of page views and social media sharing from this entry. At the same time, comments and suggestions from travel bloggers had made it useful for my upcoming trips. Now, I definitely am excited to boost my travels again!  Their advice will definitely help and I’m excited to pack and get myself back on the road again.

My most controversial post
25-country travel: Why That Travel Goal?

Bullfight in Madrid, Spain

The almost empty comment box on this post might not say anything about being my most controversial, but I do get lots of questions and emails about my travel goal of visiting 25 countries before I turn 25. Mainly, words of encouragement and well-wishes for my future travels. But I do get an occasional response that I shouldn’t ‘rush’ travel and force myself to visit countries for the sake of finishing my goals this year.  I’ve also received a feedback that  I don’t need to ‘count’ the countries and in order to ‘travel’ I should go beyond staying a few days in one city.

I do agree to some extent that travel should go beyond just a city visit and I would love to do so if money and time permit.

We all have our travel styles and unfortunately, long term travel isn’t for me yet. Some people dictate that there’s only way of properly travelling which is to immerse yourself through long-term backpacking. But unfortunately, not everyone has that privilege and capacity to do so. I want to do it DEFINITELY, but I can’t at this stage. And despite only being in Spain or in Austria for a weekend – that experience had inspired me to look into the world with a different perspective.

By starting this blog, setting this goal and working towards starting my travels, I’m hoping to inspire other people so see other ways of travelling. In the end, we are all travellers. Whether you have a full-time job, still in university, or a person short of money and time, nothing is stopping you from travelling and seeing the world beyond the confines of our four-walled homes. In the end, we all enjoy and reap the benefits of travelling – having an open mind and understanding that there is a world beyond our small piece of lot.

My most helpful post
How to: Travel by public transport from Manila to Clark airport

 

Philippine passport

This post comes from a horrible experience of having to go to Clark Airport ( Manila’s budget airport) early in the morning.  A normal route that can be done with a  2-hour drive took me more than 5 hours by public transport (includes waiting time, missing buses and haggling for the ‘better option’). Bus schedules are unreliable so I had to wait for an hour before it left. Shuttles run when they are already full of passengers, which at 5 in the morning is virtually impossible. I’ve extracted this post from my own demise and translated my frustrations into a short and easy to follow guide for those venturing out in the same way.

I’ve shared this post with many friends and travellers who will be doing this impractical journey to the airport from Manila and have gotten great feedback.

A post whose success surprised me
Two sides of the Cu Chi tunnels tour

 

Tank in Cu Chi

I wasn’t expecting that this post will be my one of the most popular but if we based popularity on numbers, then this was it. It got a good number of page views and clicks from external sources. It even got re-tweeted by Melvin from traveldudes.  But I’m not really sure what made it popular in the first place.  It’s a post I can describe as candid, it’s merely a telling of a story about the irony of the Cu Chi daytrip tour starting with a visit to Cao Dai temple and end up with shooting rifles in Cu Chi.  I guess there’s love online for a combination of church and guns.

A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
El Nido: Our 48 hours in paradise

 

Bacuit Bay in El Nido

El Nido is paradise and  is my favourite place in the entire Philippines. El Nido is how I pictured it, pristine and almost secluded white beaches alongside grey limestone cliffs. I have all praises as well for the town’s atmosphere, food and local people and I can’t wait to come back there soon. It’s the perfect place for those seeking an island retreat or vagabond beachbum lifestyle. But I think the post was shabbily written and somewhat didn’t capture my emotions towards the place.  That’s the reason why I think it didn’t get the attention it deserved.  My writing had also become rustic these days and through this blog, I can hopefully bring back my passion and attention to content. But don’t let this mediocre post stop you from visiting it, go and go now. 🙂

The post that I am  most proud of
23 best travel moments at 23 years old

Riding a zipline in Loboc, Bohol

I’m proud of this post simply because of the travel experiences I’ve encountered over the past year. Looking back, it’s a good summary of what a great year filled with new  places I’ve seen and people I’ve met.  The fact that I’ve seen Angkor Wat, rode a zipline and experienced a great World Cup finals (even if the Dutch lost) – is something that I’m proud of. The world is beautiful and I’m happy that I’ve got to experience a lot during the year. Hope to continue this crazy adventure this year and the next!

Here are my five nominations:

Ally from The Further, The Better

Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds

Mica from Senyorita

Jade & James from The World is Our Oyster

Tina  from Tightrope traveler

Education

23 Best Travel Moments at 23 years old

July 2, 2011
Riding atop of a bus in Bohol

I’ve recently turned 24 this week. And with this upcoming new year, I’ve decided to take a look back at the past year and relive the 23 best travel moments I had last year. Looking back, I’m really thankful for the great year I had and travel memories I’ve spent with old and new friends alike. In a year, I felt that I’ve experienced a lot of new things – and this post is a testament to it. Lots of things happened this year, including moving back from Belgium back to the Philippines, that significantly affected my travel and personal life.

On any case, I’m looking forward to start this new chapter of my life. I will definitely aim on continuing and finishing my travel goal. I hope for more moments like this, and definitely I’ll make sure that I’ll have the same or even a better year ahead!

  • World Cup Finals in Amsterdam

Celebrating the World Cup Finals in Amsterdam

  • Shopping at the Sunday Market in Lille, France

Shopping at the Sunday Market in Lille, France

  • Volunteering for Serve the City Brussels

Volunteering for Serve the City Brussels

  • Paying for the cheapest (0,20 EUR) and most expensive (22 EUR) for a bottle of beer

Belgian Beers

  • Seeing the Grand Place Lights in Brussels for the Belgian National Day

Grand Place Lights for Belgian National Day

  • Going home to the Philippines

Going home to the Philippines

  • Taking a Canoe Trip to Pagsanjan Falls

Taking a Canoe Trip to Pagsanjan Falls

  • Swimming on El Nido bay lagoons

Swimming on El Nido bay lagoons

  • Visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River

Visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River

  • Surfing for the first time in San Juan, La Union

Surfing in La Union

  • Accepting Edge Coaster & Skywalk challenge in Cebu City

Accepting the Edge Coaster & Skywalk challenge in Cebu City

  • Riding on top of the bus in Bohol

Riding on top of the bus in Bohol

  • Seeing the Chocolate Hills

Seeing the Chocolate Hills

  • ZipLine in Loboc, Bohol

  • Christmas in Manila

Christmas in Manila with my fami

  • Starting 25travels.com 🙂

Starting 25travels.com

  • Watching a friend take on the Burger Challenge in Singapore

Watching a friend take on the Burger Challenge in Singapore

  • Day drinking in Tanjong Beach in Singapore

Day drinking in Tanjong Beach in Singapore

  • Reaching the 86th floor of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia

Reaching the 86th floor of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia

  • Seeing & climbing the temples of Angkor

Seeing & climbing the temples of Angkor

  • Drinking buckets of redbull vodka and partying in Siem Reap

Drinking buckets of redbull vodka and partying in Siem Reap

  • Shooting a rifle in Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam

Shooting a rifle in Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam

  • Meeting old & new friends alike during my travels

23.Meeting old & new friends alike during my travels

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