This year is like an off-road ATV ride in Cavinti, Laguna. Some days were as unmanageable as a steep hill climb, I almost bailed off. A few times it got me stuck in big mud holes, I needed a pull from a buddy… I got bruised… I slowed down… I got messy for weeks… But I didn’t flip. I gripped tightly on the handle and just rode right through it!
365 sleeping nights after, I am here wrapping up what had been – collecting the memories and learning I could take with me to the coming year!
JAN – FEB – MARCH
It started in a buffet with the Russian friend and my family. The dinner conversation – which was filled with accounts of travels mainly from the previous year – provided early travel inspirations. A week later, I found myself ready to board the plane to Changi, then to Hulhamale, and finally to Kuala Lumpur.
The first quarter travels were relatively fancy. I wouldn’t do this sort of travel more than once a year…
In Singapore I stayed at the Marina Bay Sands. In Maldives, I took a private speedboat transfer, stayed in a private resort and snorkeled ’til my skin burnt… The Trader’s Hotel in Kuala Lumpur became my temporary home on the days I toured around the city. Thanks to the unlimited apples and tea, I could cap the day off without any guilt. The gleaming view of the Petronas Towers from the window assured me a sweet dream.
Singapore is probably the most Sunday-friendly destination for me. I could easily find my way to our Church, mingle with old friends from Marikina and meet my favorite dorm mate whenever I visit the place.
The trip to Maldives was unforgettable. I took photographs of things I did and didn’t expect. I tried unique but familiar water activities, enjoyed Maldivian dishes, and met more foreign friends I get to keep in touch with online…
The visit to Kuala Lumpur was second time. I watched fire dancers in the busy street of Bukit Bintang, entered temples and museums for free… ate Thai food. That’s right! Thai food! There was this cool Thai restaurant in a mall near KLCC. I’m trying to recall the name of the restaurant and the shopping mall as well… I couldn’t! Instead I remember the tallest tower in the world – with 828 meters height – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Life-size of this and other world’s tallest towers can be found in KL Tower observation deck. The KL Tower is my favorite spot because it’s the tallest landmark in the city. There is something about being in a very high place – if not about a different air or set of visible clouds, it’s the fascination brought by THE VIEW – it brings a realization of how small us humans are compared to the rest of the world or compared to the immensity of the universe. I am super small but I was set apart. How lucky of me to be human!
APR – MAY – JUN
Summer is the perfect time to go island hopping in my country. So in the second quarter, I visited at least three islands – mainly Cebu, Bohol, and Boracay.
In Cebu I tried Sky walking, fired .45 caliber handgun for the first time and swam with whale sharks. I don’t recommend the last activity though. The friendly creatures in Oslob should be spared from irresponsible tourism… But here’s a good reason to go to Oslob – a visit to Sumilon Island. You can get amused by the sandbar, rock formations, as well as the food in the humble island!
Some kids playing in the sand bank of Sumilon Island #sandbank #sumilonisland #sumilonbluewater #sumilonislandcebu #islandhopping #cebu #travelphilippines #travelpictures #travels #travelblog #travel #thegirlwiththemujihat #summerfun #summer #sea #beach #waters #oslob #blogger #philippines
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About two hour ferry ride brought me to Bohol where my body was rewarded with organic food and traditional Filipino massage. I stayed at the Bohol Bee Farm and went on the countryside tour catered by the hotel. I don’t recommend tours arranged by the hotel. The cost for two people is Php5800. If you book the tour outside it would just be Php350 per head.
Boracay in the early days of May is perfect. I tried different activities – parasailing, skin diving, cliff jumping and jet skiing. Cliff jumping in Ariel’s Point was the highlight of my Boracay trip. Other things I enjoyed were helmet diving, paddle surfing, and kayaking over a cluster of crabs and seaweeds.
JUL – AUG – SEP
I spent my third quarter travels with my family. We went to Tagaytay, Batangas, and visited some parts of Manila. I like this time of the year because I could catch up with my family. Also, I was surprised to see camels in Paradizoo! It was my first time to see them! But they were too thin I thought. I had a knee injury because I tripped out of excitement to meet the camels but then yeah they were thin!
The third quarter was also a marathon for blog events, both big and small. I was happy to meet bloggers and mentors in these events.
OCT – NOV – DEC
In October, I decided to go back on Facebook. Yeah I went on more than a quarter-long hiatus. I found social media esp FB to be unbearable on those months especially when I was dealing with my own inner turmoil. At the beginning of October I visited the Trick Art Museum in Quezon City with my son in his educational trip. We also went to Star City amusement park and other small museums around the area. My plane ticket to Japan for October getaway was put to waste. I couldn’t go to Kyushu as planned but I got to gain more than what I could have from Hiroshima or Beppu. In October, I met Cai of Travelosyo who opened a lot of blogging opportunities for me. In November I participated in other blogging events under Tag Media and Travelbook.Ph Affliate Program. In December, I got sponsored tickets to Thailand from Air Asia.
My November was underrated. It was more than fun. My hometown celebrated its annual fiesta. I won a writing contest and got to spend all-expense paid getaway with fellow travel bloggers in Mountain Lake Resort in Caliraya.
I spent my birthday at the airport – in KLIA2. It was my 3rd time in KLIA2 and 4th time in Malaysia. After a day at the airport, I went to Phuket, Thailand WHERE I worked hard and walked even harder! I met fellow travelers at the guesthouse I stayed at. I got to review a hotel in Thalang, joined Phi Phi cruise, and indulged in Pad Thai!
I owe the greater part of this year’s travels and blogging success to my mentors; I owe my life – my health, safety, capability, integrity, accomplishment – to my creator. I thank God for giving me what I needed to make it to where I am today and for using people to direct my path.
I pray for greater strength and hope as I reach out to new opportunities and adventures this coming year. I also pray for positive attitudes to impart to people I’m going to interact with in the next year.
This year is indeed like an ATV ride. It was tough but I conquered it. I am glad I didn’t take a different route and took on the trail. Today I can fully say to myself, I lived, I survived, I thrived! Thank You Lord!
What about your 2016? Do you have a particular 2016 memory that you like to talk about? What are you thankful for this year? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Happy New Year!