2023 was a travel year that had a balance of new and old destinations. I was discovering and exploring new spots while revisiting and discovering new attractions in old destinations. I was enjoying the cold wind atop Mount Pulag to swimming with a sea turtle in Tingloy. I was chomping on Carcar lechon to immersing myself into the cold waters of Tumalog Falls. 2023 gave me a wide spectrum of travel experiences that is for the books.
As I have done in the past, here are my top three destinations for 2023:
Mount Pulag tops 2023’s list both literally and figuratively. Exploring the highest mountain in Luzon was one for the books. It was physical exhausting and it was REALLY cold. Needless to say, the views, the sunrise, the sea of clouds, and the experience was the best reward after four hours of trekking to 2,928 meters above sea level.
If I were to sum up my Mount Pulag in one word, I would say it was REWARDING. We took the easiest trail to the peak - the Ambangeg Trail. We started the hike from the Babalak Ranger Station at 1am. It would take us about 4 hours to get to the peak. We traversed the trail in the cold and pitch black covers through the pine forest, mossy forest, and open grasslands. We were treated with a nice view of light trails of hiker’s lamps along the trail with the stars twinkling in the background. The last stretch proved to be the toughest for me because I burned extra energy when I went off the usual trail. But I am glad that I kept pushing.
The view of the early morning light breaking through the horizon was just majestic. The view of a day breaking is different from the usual beach mornings. It was a perfect reward from all the huffing and puffing. The view of the sea of clouds is better seen by the naked eye rather than in pictures. Exploring the “playground of the gods” taught me that pushing your limits can get you further.
You can read about my Mount Pulag here: Pulag Sa Katotohanan
Or you can also check out my YT travel video here:
Carcar City, Cebu
I have FINALLY explored the city of Carcar in Cebu. This is the city that I have passed through a lot of times and has piqued my interest because of the old houses that line its main highway. Of course, who would also miss out on the known fact that the city is known for its tasty and juicy lechon or roasted pig. My renewed interest in history and my love for lechon placed this city on my list for quite a while now.
A work-related trip gave me the opportunity to finally do a quick tour of this city. Just an hour away from the Queen City of the South, I was totally amazed by its heritage houses from the Spanish and American period that lined its street. The city gives you a glimpse of the town’s colorful and painful past from the hands of colonizers, spanning centuries, and how the community interacted with them. There are only a few towns that has managed to keep these historical structure intact through the years.
And then we have the lechon! Hands down to the juiciest lechon that I have ever tasted. Cebu trips was not complete without having a mouthful of lechon but Carcar has redefined this usual itinerary to no trips to the south of Cebu is complete without a quick lechon stop in Carcar. No doubt, I had my mind blown away and tummy stuffed after visiting the heritage town of Cebu.
You can read about my Carcar history and food adventure here: Quick Bits and Eats of Carcar
Or you can check out my YT Carcar travel video here:
Sinulom Falls, Cagayan de Oro
A “plan B” trip led to my most REFRESHING discovery in Cagayan de Oro. I consider the city to be my hometown and I have always had CDO as a whitewater rafting destination. But the urban expansion of the city has led to new “discoveries” and one of that destination is Sinulom Falls. The city is now more than just a white water rafting hotspot but a destination that offers a wide range of activity for any kind of traveler.
This spot in the hinterlands of the city is popular for two attractions - the Sinulom Falls and the Bolao Cold Spring. The waterfall is unique because it literally lies along the boundaries of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon. The waters cascade along the rock walls of Bukidnon into the Cagayan River but the best view point of Sinulom is on the side of Cagayan de Oro. The falls is a series of cascades over a steep rock wall and vegetation. From the vantage point, it would seem that the mountain is shedding tears into the river.
A separate cascade flows down the mountains into a series of pools upstream. This is the Bolao Cold Spring. The resort is a great way to chill down after enjoying the views of Sinulom. I got to enjoy cooling down from the afternoon sun in its cold waters. The “discovery” of Sinulom is an example on how development helps us discover new attractions that was once enjoyed by the locals.
You can read about my Sinulom Falls adventure here: The GOLD Tears of the Mountains of De Oro
Or you can check out my YT Sinulom travel here:
POST TRAVEL NOTES: #RoarIn2024
I am very excited to usher in 2024 with a new set of destinations that I want to explore. I could see that i would having more plane rides this year as my work has also expanded that would allow me to regularly fly to may happy place - Cebu. This year is going to be roaring with the following destinations on my list:
Sorsogon - One of the last 14 provinces that I have yet to visit to complete my #GOT82 project. I am thinking of going for a backpack trip so I can enjoy the rush of moving around.
Biri, Northern Samar - Rustic and beautiful. I would like to see the rock formations face to face. I have had several attempts, it has got to happen this year.
BaSulTa - Stands for Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, Mindanao is one of the prime destinations in the Philippines. We need to give its natural and cultural beauty more spotlight. The world needs to see it.
Aloguinsan, Cebu - I have a new project that puts Cebu on the spot. I am visiting one municipality or city at a time. Aloguinsan is on my list this year. I would like to camp out like a hermit.
Jomalig, Quezon - Another destination on my list that I need to cover this year. Time to for gold this summer.
I am positive that 2024 is going to rock. I want to get my rhythm back in traveling so I can finally complete the last 14 PH provinces of my #GOT81. This year I going to be exciting and I want to bring you with me to more exciting PH adventures. Welcome to 2024!
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.