The reason for my inactivity in the past 5 months is attributed to the loss of my laptop, which contains all my pictures. You see, my laptop bag was stolen from my car and along with it was my back up drive as well. In an instant, memories of my travels have been wiped out. Good thing, I posted my travels on Instagram. At least, it wasn't a total wipe out. But I haven't posted more than a year of travels, mostly abroad - from Ha Long Bay to Tasmania to Scotland. It's such as shame that I couldn't share all of them anymore. I am still trying to ask for copies of my pictures from my travel mates.
Though my memory is faulty, I still have a list in mind for 2014. So, without further ado, the best of 2014 in no particular order and with the help of Instagram.
This mountain nation jumpstarted my year. And what an adventure it truly was. Spending 5 days in Nepal with 20 of my colleagues at work was unforgettably fun. We walked the temples and shopped till our legs gave up in Kathmandu, paraglided and went cycling in Pokhara, climbed to see the Annapurna range, white water rafted and stayed in a tented camp by the banks of the Trisuli River and ate lots of momo everywhere.
I was surprised to check my Instagram and see pictures of Koh Lanta. I completely forgot that it was just this year that I got to visit one of the last tourist islands that I haven't been to in Thailand. As my trip was near isolated to a resort near Saladaeng, I wasn't able to explore much of it yet. But Koh Lanta is my type of island: vast fine sand beaches without the crowds. Surprised to witness a majestic sunset as well.
I don't think I've ever written about Singapore, but 2014 was definitely the year it became my second home. My love affair with Singapore didn't start so well, as I always wanted to skip the island nation. But slowly, over time, I found myself immersed in its vibrant lifestyle. I also discovered new friends and stayed with old ones who eventually made me fall in love with the city.
When I finally booked tickets to Tokyo, I couldn't help but contain my excitement. It was a destination that I've been staying away from, because I always thought I would never go back home. Though I think I raised my expectations of Tokyo too high, it still fulfilled my lust for ramen, ramen and ramen. I will definitely be back for the other things.
Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu
One of the biggest surprises this year was a short trip to Kota Kinabalu. I intended to go to Palawan for a much needed time off, but heading to KK turned out to be less expensive. And with Gaya Island Resort being one of the most value for money resorts I have been to all my life, KK proved to be a destination that shouldn't be missed. Feels like Palawan as well.
I will never get tired of Boracay. I have been to this island more than five times this year and every visit feels like my first time all the time. Though of course, I have become so familiar with the place, there is something magical about this island that keeps me in wonder still. This year, I finally made it back to Puka Beach and after an uneventfully trip to Carabao Island in Romblon. I also got the taste of the high life by staying in a beachfront 4-bedroom villa, Villa Kaloo, just beside Fridays and Discovery Shores. Let's just say I will never stay in Discovery Shores again.
When I visited Sydney in late 2013, I never thought I would be back in Aussieland in 6 months. And what a trip it was. Though it was meant for business, I made it a point to visit Melbourne, which my sister said was much better than Sydney. I couldn't agree more. I instantly fell in love with Melbourne's radiance.
As part of that momentous trip back to Australia, I was able to stay for 4 days at lovely Glenelg, a seaside town off central Adelaide. From there, we toured the Barossa Valley, where we got to visit the famous Jacob's Creek.
One of the highlights of the year was a short yet unforgettable visit to Tasmania. When I told my Australian colleagues that I was going there, they were also surprised. Tasmania boasts the cleanest air in the world. It would also be the Southern most part of the world that I have stepped foot on. From a wild water adventure to the closest I can get to the Antarctic to the awesome Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania will definitely be tops in my entire travel list.
As of this writing, I am still in Turkey, the wild card of my travels this year. If you follow my blog, you would know by now that I travel every Christmas time. This year, I didn't know where to go, and since it was my first solo trip during Christmas, I was so worried of not being able to pick the perfect place. I planned to go to Madagascar initially, but when I went to Bangkok, supposedly my jump off point to the African island, I couldn't find a ticket.
Scampering for a new destination, I skimmed through the flight board. After learning that I could get a visa to Turkey in an instant, it was a no-brainer. In 12 hours, I found myself in Istanbul. It was probably the most spontaneous thing I did, but it was all worth it. The highlight of the trip so far, the spectacular lands of Capadoccia.
Finally, I end my list back to the Philippines, where paradise never ends. When I was asked what was my top destination in the country this year, I said Puerto Galera without hesitation. And the reaction was almost the same for every person I raved to about this familiar destination - disbelief. I would have become Galera's tourism chief this year, after all the promotion I did for it.
And it worked. I think I have convinced more than 5 people to erase their previous perception on Galera and visit the beach destination once again. From the tranquil shores of Aninuan to the wild sands of Boqueta Island to the beautiful Buri Island Resort and Spa, Puerto Galera is definitely a new discovery all together.
And there you have it. The best of my 2014 travels. Some may think it's still a lot, but 2014 has been my least traveled year so far. I may have explored more outside the Philippines, but I'm predicting 2015 will be a year back to the islands.
Till then, widen your world. Keep exploring!