First, allow me to greet everyone a "Happy New Year!" I hope that you all had a safe and fun night as you welcomed 2017. I hope that you welcomed the New Year with a bang, and probably with a slight hangover.
Another year had passed and a new year is upon us.
As I have done in the past, let me share with you the memorable travels that I had in 2016. I would have to say that 2016 was a year where I went on trips to destinations that are less traveled by many. It was a year where trips had a lot of twists and turns and yet fun despite the uncertainties that I encountered. It was a year that was full of discoveries and surprises.
Here are my top travel stories for 2016:
I am in love with Siquijor. Its charm and beauty casted a spell on me that I seriously want to comeback and enjoy the peaceful vibe of the island. I guess what really made Siquijor stand out for me was the laid-back feel of the island. It does not immitate othere destinations but it banks on what nature has given the place. It is a destination that is unassuming and just simply enchants you.
You can read more about Siquijor here.
2. Coron, Palawan
Coron is just plain love. It is another destination where I enjoyed its laid-back feel and the beauty of nature. It should be in every nature lover's bucketlist. The spots that we explored during our weekend hiatus is just a couple of nature's blessings to the place. This is a great place to commune with nature where you can close your eyes and just listen to the sound of nature. It is also a great place to learn how a community can proactively work with the locall government on a sustainable tourism program.
You can read more about our Coron travel here - First Serving and Second Serving.
3. Cagbalete Island, Quezon
This is my spot for a perfect beach camping trip. We were successful on reaching the island on our seccond attempt and we did not regret trying. Again, I like the laid-back feel of the place that matched the perfect beach scene of Quezon. I enjoyed just walking or getting lazy by the beach because Cagbalete makes sure that you enjoy both.
Read more about our Cagbalete Beach Escape here.
4. Sinulog 2016, Cebu City
Sinulog is definitely the mother of all Philippine Festivals! You get into the festival vibe as soon as you step out of the plane with the pulsating sound of the festival's theme. The city seems to be in party mode as the rythm slowly gets into your system. The next thing that you know your thumping your feet to the Sinulog beat as you explore the city. By the time the Sinulog Grand Street Dance kicks-off, you will find yourself wanting to dance with the participants. But the party doesn't stop after the activities because that is when the real street dancing happens. I can definitely say that you have not completely enjoyed Cebu if you haven't partied all day and night... the Sinulog way!
Read how we partied hard in Cebu with the sound of the "Prititit!" here.
5. Dasol, Pangasinan / Mariveles, Bataan
Dasol and Mariveles wraps up my list because the two destinations was a surprise discovery. The two destinations are not popular destinations but has recently caught attention because of some interesting finds.
Dasol has been humming silently among offbeat travelers for quite sometime now and it is often overshadowed by Bolinao or Alaminos. Interestingly, Dasol has its own beauty and white sand beach to boot. It is a perfect destination to head off if you love the beach vibe without the usual crowd. It is a place that I wouldn't mind spending my weekends every now and then.
Ypu can read more about my off-beat travel to Dasol here.
Mariveles, on the other hand, was a surprise with its rugged landscape. It does not have the usual beach vibe that most travelers look for but its coves make it a unique destination. When I first went there, I came out there without much expectations but I came back totally blown away. It's famed "Five Fingers" is a collection of five coves that will impress travelers with its amazing views that gives you a primer of Batanes. It was so impressive that I even gave it the tag of #BataanesOfTheWest.
Watch out for my travel blog on Mariveles' Five Coves soon but you can check out my last blog about Mariveles here.
2016 was a blast and I still have a couple of travel blogs on the line from my 2016 travels. It was a year of travel twists and surprises but it was one fun year of going around just about anywhere my feet would bring me to.
As I usher in 2017, the big question running on my mind right now is where am I heading to this time around?
I was thinking of two things as I started planning possible destinations for 2017 - Road Trips and VolunTourism.
Road trips are fun whether they be the short one or the long trips. Although it can be quite time consuming as compared to riding airplanes, road trips provide more opportunities to be more spontaneous. It can also be a lot more pleasing to the eyes of the traveler.
VolunTourism is something new in the travel industry. You learn a lot when you travel and some of these learnings can be quite eye opening. It allows you to see the world in a different and in a more caring manner that it prompts you to do something about it. As I have come to an age where being a volunteer is something that I feel that I need to do, i would like to incorporate that in my travels starting this year.
So where do I intend to go around this year?
1. Street dancing during the Ati-Atihan - We partied in Cebu last year so this year I want to experience one of the longest running festivals in the Philippines - Aklan's Ati-Atihan.
2. Ilocos Norte - The Marcos Burial issue sparked my interest to check out Ilocos Norte so this year I am planning to take that long road trip to the north to explore its beauty and history.
3. Sorsogon - This one is going to be another long road trip but this one is down south. If it will give me the chance to swim with the whale sharks in the wild then I will take it.
4. Balabac, Palawan - It is not exactly going to be a road trip but it is going to be a four-day trip of complete white sand beach bliss.
5. Bolinao, Pangasinan - I have heard a lot about the place so it is high time that I take on the bus trip to this famed destination.
6. Jomalig, Quezon - I heard that it is a gold mine for travelers so I hope to take a part of that "loot". I also hope that I can also visit the place with a bit of voluntourism on the side.
7. Lucban, Quezon - I think another festival is about to uncovered soon and hopefully discover Lucban, as well. This is one of the places where I planned to visit years back but was not able to do so. In 2017, I will definitely explore Lucban and, who knows, even the towns around it.
I am also hoping that we will be able to complete our city rounds in Metro Manila this 2017. It will wrap up the project that I started in 2015 where the goal is to explore the different cities of the metro.
You can also watch out for a new project, the LRT Express, which I am currently doing my research. Both projects will be in close collaboration with my IG travel hub, and we have recently launched our travel FB page, Viajerong Pinoy. I will be giving out more information on these projects on this site.
2017 is starting to roll and it is going to be an exciting year of traveling for me. You can expect that I will be sharing my travel stories with you through this blog. My hope is that I wil be able to promote the beauty of the Philippines, through my personal travel accounts, and encourage you to explore and discover why it is more fun in the Philippines.
With that, I would like to send out a warm "Happy New Year!" to everyone and wishing you all a great year of travel this 2017.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.