Friday, January 14, 2011

The Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2010

2010 was a whirlwind year for me. One, I was too busy with work, which means I visited more places. It went to the point that I didn't keep track of where I was. It was also a year of new discoveries, and expanding horizons. I finally made it to Basilan, which means I have been to the entire ARMM. Basilan though was not a notable travel experience for me, except for the fact that I lost my Blackberry there. Two, I felt I was getting older, thus, my needs for travel started to change. I looked for more relaxing places, if not luxurious. However, there were still times that I yearned for a backpack adventure. I had a memorable journey to the Lombok and the Gilis in Indonesia. I also made it to Europe this year, hence the delay in my posts in December. 2010 was definitely not my ordinary year in travel.


10. Thunderbird, Poro Point, La Union
From Pangasinan, we decided to take a quick side trip to La Union, since I really haven't been there to explore. We ended up staying a night in Thunderbird Poro Point. I was pleasantly surprised to like the place. Contrary to what others may say, the exclusive, private and tranquil setting is enough for me to spend a weekend here.






9. Kenyama, Guimaras
As I've said, I have changed in terms of my needs for travel. This year, I was after more of relaxation, not adventure. Although my trip to Guimaras made me realize I can combine both. I decided to go alone for the first time in Guimaras after a business trip in Iloilo. I found a nice resort called Kenyama, which was in Dolores. I felt like a million miles away from home, and got the much deserved relaxation. It wasn't nature all around, since it was a public beach, but since there wasn't anyone around, it felt very private. It was this time that I drafted my Beach House Project.






8. Concepcion, Iloilo
Finally, after 3 years of wanting, I made it to the islands of Concepcion in Iloilo. And to think my trip there was unplanned and unexpected. I was there for work, and I didn't know that I was going to the islands of Concepcion. We were just there for a day, but it gave me an exciting glimpse of what these islands had to offer - warm smiles and great beaches. 






7. The Divine Mercy Shrine of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental
I must admit, I didn't like the idea of getting down our van when I was told we were in a shrine. After a trip to the Maria Christina Falls, our driver surprised us with side trip to the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador, just outside Cagayan de Oro. And since it was a year of surprises, this visit capped it off. My eyes couldn't believe what they were seeing when I approached the huge statue of the Divine Mercy on top of the hill. It was our version of Christ the Redeemer. I have never seen anything like this in the country. While the sun set, the statue lighted up, and the dramatic dusk setting made the sight all the more amazing.




6. El Nido, Palawan
I also made it to El Nido this year. We stayed in the Miniloc Resort, but was also able to visit Lagen. I would like the resort of Lagen better, since it was more luxurious, but the setting of Miniloc was way better. And since we were only there for 3 days (which are not enough), Miniloc was a great base to explore El Nido. The Big and Small Lagoons were literally a kayak ride away. I wasn't as amazed with the rock formations though, after seeing all the limestones in Thailand and even Caramoan. Nevertheless, El Nido is still a beautiful destination, which is perfect for families. El Nido is nature in its most luxurious form.





5. Maxima by the Sea, Samal Island
What can I say about one of the best vacation rentals in the country. And it was in one of my favorite islands as well, Samal. Maxima By The Sea is a 4 bedroom house built on the sea. From the dining area, you could get off the board and snorkel or kayak whenever you want, for as long as you want. And staying here meant free trips to Maxima as well, where you can use their water slide that drops to the sea, whenever you want, for as long as you want. Oh, pure bliss indeed.






4. Siquijor
The mystical island is more than what I imagined it to be. But it was also not the Siquijor I expected it to be. I wasn't able to visit the mountains and look for the mangkukulams and the faith healers. What I saw instead were fabulous beaches and unspoilt seascapes that made me feel I was millions of miles away from civilization. It was like Bohol, but far less developed and more relaxing even. If the local government plays their cards right, Siquijor has so much potential to grow.






3. Asya Premier Suites, Boracay
The top 3 begins with the best resort experience I had since Bellaroca. I have been raving about Asya Premier Suites since I left the place. It was the resort in Boracay that made me feel I was in a place better than Boracay itself. With 18 suites, it was exclusive indeed, which made the experience more personal and memorable. I just hope they still have the excellent service that we got during our stay. This visit made me realize that the best resorts offer the best service, no matter what the price is.






2. Palaui Island and Anguib Beach, Cagayan North
To most people, Cagayan North is unheard of. I really wanted to escape to the Babuyan Islands such as Camiguin Island, but the currents were strong, and the trip would take 8 hours more. So we decided to settle in Palaui and nearby Anguib Beach instead. I have never been to Batanes (hopefully I would make the trip soon), but I think Palaui, especially Cape Engano would definitely have a close resemblance to it. The lighthouse at Cpae Engano was probably one of the most isolated places I have been to. The view from above was spectacular. Anguib Beach, a sprawling white sand beach on the Eastern coast of the country was calm and had beautiful coral formations near the shore. I was happy that it wasn't as abused as most nice beaches in the country. Our trip to this part of the world was very fulfilling, and I would definitely brand Cagayan North as the next eco destination. 


                




1. Biri, Northern Samar
It was a no brainer. The crown this year goes to the Biri Rock Formations in Northern Samar. I was expecting amazing, but I wasn't expecting out of this world. Our jaws dropped literally in wonder. We had to cross a forest of tiny mangrove tress that were lined in perfection for almost a kilometer. We climbed the moonlike surfaces, and swam in saltwater pools formed by mini waterfalls created by the wild splashes of the Pacific Ocean. It was nature as its rawest form. It was an experience unlike any other.



To end, I would like to repost the last paragraph in my entry on Biri:


The Biri rock formations should be included in the Wonders of Nature list. This is something that we Filipinos can be proud of. A unique, almost extra terrestrial landscape that is found here in the Philippines. I invite all backpackers in the world to visit Biri and make it known. It's just too beautiful to keep secret.


Really, it's that beautiful and amazing. Happy 2011 to everyone! More travels to come.

14 comments:

  1. Awesome! I didn't know about the beauty of the other places like Cagayan North et. al. You should definitely put Batanes on your 2011 list and stay at Fundacion Pacita. One of my best Phils trip ever.

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  2. You just made me put Biri on my list

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  3. oh so excited to see these beautiful places....
    thanks for the information..

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  4. My family is from Samar & i holiday there often. It's so amazing to see that Biri made it on top of your list. Really, better than El Nido? And here I was, a Samareña, dreaming of going to El Nido when I haven't even gone to Biri myself :) I will definitely put it on my list this year, especially after reading this post :)

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  5. These indeed are the top places to be in the phils. If you have enjoyed 2010 in these places, I look forward to 2011 adventures!http://www.cdokay.com/

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  6. Hi, I am inspired by your post on your best 2010 travel experiences and find pleasure that almost all of theme are island vacations spots. Being a neophyte travel writer myself,I cannot help but dream of visiting the places you've traveled.

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  7. 2010 was a good year for you you've been to many places around the country. for sure 2011 would be as good as last year more travels to come

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  8. I felt proud when Biri Rock Formations top your list. I am a Nortehanon, from Catarman, N. Samar.

    with your blog, I felt I have this mission to make my home province known to the world.

    Thanks sir and God bless.

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  9. Nice blog you have here. I agree with Biri. If I'm not mistaken, it was the locale for the timeless Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit.

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  10. i've just seen the rock formations of biri islands a week ago. its simply amazing! that's an art of nature! how much does it cost? 5k php is a good budget all in.

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  11. I was looking for photos of Gloria de Dapitan and saw your blog. I must saw, the post on Biri was awesome! It made me want to go, seriously. =) How long though was your travel? =)

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  12. will visit biri this year since you highly recommend it;)...been to batanes this march and it just looks like the views from your cape engano pics...dont forget to visit and stay for a night in itbayat because this is seldom visited in batanes due to rough seas (biggest swells youll ever see)4 hours via faluwa or 12 min 6seater plane from basco...and also an overnight in sabtang (30 min via faluwa from basco) aside from batan island..if you need contacts for homestays, lodging and guide aside from fundacion just let me know...you will be in awe in batanes..

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  13. I don't think I can visit Batanes this year, since I'll be too busy this Summer. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I'm actually having a difficult time this year exploring new places. Hope you guys can share undiscovered gems.

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  14. Pls go visit BAROBO, SURIGAO DEL SUR's hidden, unexplored island-paradise, the CABGAN ISLAND. Very few people has knowledge about the untouched beauty of this tiny island w/c also faces the pacific.

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