Move Forward and Never Be Still

2014 is My Year of Traveling Around the Philippines

2014 is My Year of Traveling Around the Philippines
Nope. No foreign travel for me this past year. A tri-country tour was supposed to happen but my gut told me early on it will not happen. And it didn’t.

More local trips were in store for me. More unchartered domestic destinations uncovered. I fell in love. Yes, I fell in love with my country over and over again. From north to south. From mountains to seas. From heritage towns to waterfalls.  I think I had everything covered. Let me share with you some of my traveling highlights from the past 12 months.

My 2014 travel adventures kicked off in the historic city of Vigan of Ilocos Sur during the first weekend of March. Heritage is the core of my every wandering and so my itchy feet led me to this unique heritage site.

As I said, ‘I was undeniably, irrevocably in love with Vigan’.

Come end of March, we were pampered to sumptuous meals in the Zippy Zambawood, Zambales.

Zambawood has redefined my concept of paradise. It does not need to always be a picture of nature, of waterfalls or anywhere remote. Paradise is home and home is where is your family is. Zambawood is definitely just like home for me.

April passed by and I found myself going through a whole-day journey just to reach the charming island of 

It is rare for me to leave a place with a heavy heart (the last time was when I left Vigan). Turning my back to you makes me see the promise of returning, of kissing the seas again with you, of chasing magnificent sunsets with you. Our love affair has not yet culminated. It’s like someone has left a hole in my heart, but I’m not heartbroken. It’s more of this rushing feeling, much like when I knew who I have fallen in love with. I love you Camiguin. 

Later that month, I witnessed a wedding in Lingayen, Pangasinan. A place that has a special part in our country’s history.

Lingayen, Pangasinan always had me curious at its location faces the historic Lingayen Gulf. After attending a fellow travel blogger’s wedding two Saturdays ago, we explored the capitol the following Sunday.

The rainy season did not stop me in traversing the curving roads towards the Cordilleras. Sagada was one of a kind and my heart found its second home up there in the mountains.

There are a few places that I can truly say I am in love with. And Sagada is one of those places. I fell in love at first sight and I would not mind falling in love with her all over again. I love you, Oh My Sagada!

August was a big month for I conquered four new provinces: Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Apayao and Cebu. One of the highlights of this trip is a visit to a heavenly place called Adams.

So the early townsfolk called this place Adams. Why? It has been said that the early settlers thought they were in the Garden of Eden for the place held such a beauty. Hence, Adams was it was called since then. 

It was also on this month that I learned to dive in the seas of Anilao, Batanggas.

It was unbelievable. As I am writing this post, I can still feel the calmness and serenity of being underwater. The silence of the seas came back with me. I can safely say that I have found a second home, a second world under the seas.

Cebu had long been in my wish list and it was also in the month of August that I got to visit Southern Cebu and lived for a few days in beauteous Boljoon.

Nestled in a secluded cove protected by a natural rock formation called Ili Rock, it is no wonder as to why Boljoanon’s forebears chose to settle here permanently. A small strip of flat land is bounded by azure waters and thickly-forested curving hills. Boljoon, in anybody’s view, can be described as nothing but picturesque.

When I fell in love with K’Na, I knew I would visit Lake Sebu of South Cotabato too.

A traditional banca in Lake Sebu

Upon watching the indie film K’Na, The Dreamweaver, I knew immediately that I had to step foot in Lake Sebu and mingle with the colorful T’boli people.  The opportunity presented itself when my friend Mai asked me to come with her trip.  Without second thoughts, I booked my ticket even if I knew my budget will be blown way out of proportion.  It is Lake Sebu! I told myself.  It is where K’Na fell in love. And I knew I needed to feel that love too.

And last but definitely not the least. The ultimate Filipino traveler’s dream. I have seen, touched, kissed and made love with B. Batanes. Ba Ta Nes. Ba-ta-nes. Yes! The Batanes. BA TA NES.  : ))

As the clouds parted, I caught a glimpse of her rugged terrain. Our plane skirted above the coastline, it reminded me of a raptor slowly hovering over its prey, constantly aiming and adjusting. Our pilot was very good as the wheels of the plane landed with just a soft thud. Finally, in a few minutes, my feet landed and touched Batanes soil. I remember closing my eyes just for a bit. Freedom was what I felt. It helped discern the inscrutable feeling. Yes, I said to myself, I am finally in Batanes.

The lone but lovely Basco Lighthouse
Filipinas and Beyond: Move Forward and Never Be Still.

Happy new year!

Mermaid Paula : ))

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