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Monday, January 5, 2015

2014: When Fate Loves The Fearless

It's 2015! Another fresh start and it's time for me to restart earning and saving my leave credits, so I can take off and travel again. On 2014, I decided not to travel a lot. It was a conscious decision I made even before the year started. Unlike the previous year, when I said that money ain't a thing, it mattered to me this time. I am not in a big financial trouble, okay? Just so you know. Haha! You will find out the reason unfolding this year. So watch out for it. ;)

Here's a look-back on where I spent all my 2014 vacation leaves:

Batanes: A Place Where Dreams Come True

I was very happy to have Batanes as my first destination for 2014. Who will not be? I almost got “unfriended” in Facebook by some of my friends after I posted my status of being there. All the more when I posted my photos haha! They were too jealous! It is everybody’s dream destination and I couldn’t blame them.

The best moment I once lived were the ones I absolutely forgot to take pictures of. Batanes did that to me. I often found myself just looking around, breathing and savoring each moment. I even missed taking pictures of some of the most photographed places there!

It is worth all the praises. It is beyond beautiful. There’s something about it that will mesmerize you, you’ll never want to leave. Since then, I’ve been convincing all of my friends to go see it for themselves!

Burot: Unplanned Trips Are the Best

It sucks when you got everything planned then it suddenly don’t happen. Been there, had those moments. Last summer, we had one of those “Tara, beach tayo!” and then voila! The next day, we found ourselves in a bus terminal with our backpacks and we were heading to Calatagan, Batangas.

The beach is as lovely as they say but the crowd, oh boy the crowd. Well, it was summer so we don’t have the right to complain.

But then it was a wonderful quick getaway from the very hot and humid Manila. It was also nice catching-up with our awesome travel buddies.

Boracay: Undeniably Still Beautiful

It was a first for our family to go on a vacation outside Luzon. We finally found a place where we can safely leave our pets, yehey! It was Hello again, Boracay for me.

I’m glad it’s still as pretty as I remember it from before. It also brought me joy that my parents got to appreciate this paradise and that they somehow got the idea of what makes me happy every time I head out on the door to travel.

To travelers who skip Boracay because it is crowded, you are totally missing out! It isn't one of the world's best beaches for nothing!

Zamboanga: Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear

“Wow! Ang tapang mo naman,” that was the common reaction of people who saw me right after I arrived from this trip. Zamboanga is still deemed to be a dangerous place by a lot of people and it makes me kind of sad.

Zamboanga City has interesting places to see and has gentle people. I hope people will open their minds and will stop making generalizations about this part of Mindanao.

The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. ;)

Tawi-Tawi: There’s Nothing More Dangerous than a Closed Mind

I was very excited to reach this part of the Philippines. After reaching the northernmost province of the country earlier in the year, I was heading to the southernmost before the year ends. Yay!

Much like Zamboanga, I received tons of questions about Tawi-Tawi too. Most of them were very concerned about my safety while I was in the islands and I was like “Huh?”

Tawi-Tawi left me speechless by its beauty. What amazed me the most were the locals who took us into their homes. We weren't like visitors to them but family. And to be honest, I never really felt scared while we were there.

You can’t just dream about paradise. You have to go find it and see it for yourself!

Thailand: Count The Memories Not The Calories

Everybody knows how I love Thai food! I will always, always come back to Thailand for the food.

It’s not only because it was cheapest to transit here going to Delhi but I also secretly wanted to go binging while in Bangkok and of course to go–all together girls: shopping!!!

There goes my two other weaknesses. ;)

India: Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones

This was my longest trip by far and the roughest when it comes to backpacking. I conditioned myself that this is going to be the case and somehow prepared for it by doing a lot of research before we embarked on this journey.

But guess what? I still came unprepared. No one’s going to be prepared for India. With all the unexpected madness and the entrancing charm that comes along with it, you-just can’t-be.

I was glad hearing my friends say that I’ve changed their perception of India by the photos I'm sharing. I had to remind them that I just took the photos. It is already splendid as it is.

You just have to open your mind and your heart to see what is real and beautiful. India is truly incredible!

Bataan: Because Old Places Have Soul

I spent my birthday with the old houses of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. Much like Burot last summer, this was planned last minute and it pushed through! I honestly never expected too much from this place but I was somewhat impressed by the nice photos we were able to capture.

It was a nice enough place to spend your birthday in. And if you’re into old houses, you’ll absolutely love this place.

Thank you Richard, for bringing us with you! It was a lovely birthday gift! :)


I had a lot of canceled trips too (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Morocco and Sri Lanka) and replaced Japan and Korea with India, but it doesn’t mean I enjoyed the year less. I hadn't traveled as frequent as before but I was still able to cover Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I also had the chance to indulge again with my all-time favorite Thai food and finally able to sail the River Ganga. And for that, I love you, 2014! :)

So what did I learn from 2014?

Spontaneity. I used to be very OC. I can’t leave without prior planning. This year, we had trips that just happened out of the blue and it turned out to be really fun!

To focus on my bigger goals. If you have a lifelong dream and you want to achieve it, you’ll do anything to make it come true. Even if that means minimizing your trips and giving up luxuries you’ve been used to.

Discipline. I learned to totally ignore the always tempting Piso Fare and other sorts of Seat Sales. Haha! Gone are the days when I’ll just book to wherever, whenever I want, without thinking of what lies ahead.

She who is brave is free. A lot of my friends were surprised with some of my chosen destinations. I keep telling them that if you really want to see what’s out there, you really have to get there. No excuses. I don’t want to live my life regretting about things I didn’t do, so I just go.

Kindness is everywhere. I keep learning this every year, everywhere I go, but I'll still mention it. India is entirely a different world. It will test you. Just when we're about to lose it, somebody will turn it around for us. That is an amazing feeling. I do not believe we were just lucky.  I believe the world is really full of kind people. 

So that was how my travel year went. Every year is distinct but we always learn something from it. How we make it, is always up to us. :)

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

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