Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From Highlands to Oceans: My Top 5 Travel Memories of 2012

1. Chasing Mount Mayon in Albay

Through Cebu Pacific’s promo fare sometime 2011, I was able to score cheap tickets for me and my wife Malou from Cagayan de Oro to Manila to Legazpi City and back. So in February of 2012, we embarked on our first trip together in the Island of Luzon. We stayed in Legazpi City for two nights and three days with the primary mission of witnessing Mount Mayon’s full glory. The first two days, we hiked to the top of Ligñon Hill, hung out in the Embarcadero, visited the beautiful Daraga Church and had a fun photo shoot in Cagsawa Ruins. Mayon was elusive all throughout, giving us only small glimpses of her overall appearance and was often covered with cotton-like clouds. Finally, on our third and last day in Legazpi, she showed us her real beauty which left us mesmerized for more than an hour just before we flew back to Manila.

2. Wet and Wild Boat Rides in Zambales

Our second trip to Luzon in 2012 happened last June and again, we decided not to stay anywhere near Manila. Instead, from NAIA Terminal 2, we went straight to Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay and took two long bus rides from Pasay to Olongapo then to San Antonio, Zambales. The road gave us some glimpses of Central Luzon-- the vast rice fields of Bulacan, the mystical peak of Mount Arayat in Pampanga, the beautiful yacht club in Subic Bay and the vibrant Cities of Angeles and Olongapo. We stayed overnight in Pundaquit then took a boat trip to the famous Anawangin Cove the next day. The boat rides to Anawangin and back to Pundaquit were both wild and (really) bumpy, no thanks to Typhoon Ambo battering some parts of Luzon that day. However, the otherworldly beauty of pines, mountains, sands and waves converging together made the scary boat rides all worth it.

3. One Fun Day in Mantigue Island, Camiguin

Photo by Nathaniel James Paulican

October is our wedding anniversary month and for the past three years, the occasion gave us another reason to travel somewhere far and away. For this year, we sailed to Mantigue, the not-so-famous tourist spot in the island Province of Camiguin. It was my first time to visit this small island and Malou’s second. I was really impressed by the soft and powdery white sands which surround the whole place and was equally awed by its rich marine sanctuary when we went snorkeling later that day. To top it all, the “sutokil” we ate for lunch in Mantigue Island Nature Park was the freshest and best tasting version of the dish I’ve tasted so far.

4. Running the (longer) distance

Running is one of the best ways to explore places and this year I literally went the distance by running my first full marathon (42K) in Cebu last January and doing it again seven months later in Cagayan de Oro. But my best running experience this year was when I ran along with Malou in her first 21K during the 1st Pryce Gas International Marathon in Cagayan de Oro. Indeed, “life is better when you run together”.  

5. Climbing mountains and hiking trails in Bukidnon

This year, I discovered more of my home province Bukidnon. I revisited an old hiking ground, the Center for Ecological Development and Recreation (CEDAR) in Impasugong and got reacquainted with its lush forest, rivers and three natural waterfalls. On separate occasions, I took two celebrity travel bloggers, Journeying James and The Pinay Solo Backpacker for a short hike to the Bukidnon Provincial Tree Park in Malaybalay and have them witness the early morning view of mountains, pines and farm lands from up above. With my equally adventurous friends, I climbed two mountains for the first time, Mount Capistrano in Malaybalay and Mount Palaopao in Sumilao. During our Palaopao exploration, a side trip to Kulaman River made me experience swimming in a clean and cool river once again, something I haven’t done for many, many years.

 Sitting on the edge of Mt. Palaopao in Sumilao, Bukidnon. Photo by Tupe "The Trekero" Diaz

This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers‘ Blog Carnival for December 2012 with the theme “2012: This Year In Travel” hosted by Gay Mitra-Emami of Pinay Travel Junkie and Regine Camille Garcia of Between Coordinates.

For previous Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival topics, click the logo below:


  1. Wonderful Travel Memories you have there Earl! Cheers to more travels in 2013!

    1. Thanks! Wish you more travels in the coming year too. Happy 2013!

  2. Keep on traveling! Happy New Year!

  3. no better way to enjoy trips with people who love traveling as you seem to do. nice to see James and Ga-el here. cheers to more great trips this year!

    1. "Happiness, real only when shared..." Happy New Year Sir Dong!

  4. That's what I missed in Camiguin - Mantigue Island! All the more reason to go back. =) Camiguin is one of my favorite provinces.

    Happy New Year and wish you more exciting travels!

    1. Happy New Year Claire! Wish you more wonderful adventures ahead!

  5. Fun way to enjoy life is to travel someone dear to you, ang cute nyong couple. I know marami pa kayong mapupuntahan together. Cheers to 2013! Been to CDO 2yrs ago, I hope I can visit the place again to meet you :)

    1. Thanks AdventurousFeet! Traveling is our way to de-stress from the grind of our respective jobs. It also gave us more bonding moments together.

      Hope to meet you one day. Buzz me up when you're in Bukidnon. :)

  6. great travel earl, Traveling is a way to enjoy life,keep traveling to you ang enjoy your trip with your beloved partner.


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