Monday, December 29, 2008

my most memorable trips of 2008

2008 is my most traveled year ever. exploring places within the main islands of Luzon and Visayas gave me an opportunity to appreciate our country even more. so i've chosen 16 of my most memorable trips of 2008 with a link to the posts.

[16]
Sampaloc Lake (San Pablo City, Laguna) - cycling around Sampaloc lake for a 3.7-kilometer lane with a view of the beautiful fishponds and mountain scene. around the lake in minutes
noontime fishing

[15]
Mansion Ruins (Bacolod City, Negros Occidental) - visiting the old mansion situated in the middle of sugar cane field was memorable because despite its ruined structure it still displayed a magnificent framework.mansion ruins

[14]
Unique Christ Mural (Victorias City, Negros Occidental) - my second time to see this unique church mural was as exciting as my first time. this church is not just special because of the art that it depicts but also because this is where my father used to serve as an altar boy.unique church mural

[13]
Finding the Aetas in their Village (Porac, Pampanga) - it was very exciting when i decided to search for the aetas village in the mountainous area of Pampanga. i only saw it in the internet and decided to go there. the search was unforgettable because i gained new friends who always smiles.finding katutubo village
their future their pride

[12]
Churches of Iloilo (Miagao-Guimbal-Molo, Iloilo) - taking a day trip to visit three churches in Iloilo was something that i was really looking forward to do it has a good number of the oldest churches in the country. it was my first time to visit Miagao church and Guimbal church while remembering Molo church as a playground made it special.gothic grandeur - molo church
patron of holy souls - guimbal church
at its strongest form - miagao church

[11]
Snorkeling Anilao (Mabini, Batangas) - snorkeling is my favorite hobby and doing it in Anilao is the best. no matter how many times i've been to this place, it's always as exciting. i visited Anilao twice this year and also last year.best snorkeling site - dive n trek
snorkeling anilao - anilao outrigger

[10]
Kayaking Calayo (Calayo, Batangas) - it was Lingkod Alabang's outing and we had an unlimited time of kayaking from open sea area connecting to a lake. traversing beach shores with friends from the community was unforgettable.one paddling weekend

[9]
Kneeboarding in Camsur (Naga, Camarines sur) - first time to try this water sport with Lingkod after a mission trip. doing kneeboarding in this world class facility was definitely my most unforgettable activity.speeding grip - the action
tips and guide - cwc watersports complex
camsur watersports complex

[8]
Mountain and the sea of Dingalan (Dingalan, Aurora) - haven't posted this yet but i will already say that it was one of the most beautiful scene i've seen of mountains meeting the sea in different perspective. this covers our trip from Nueva Ecija to Dingalan. i went there with travel buddies Lawstude and Orlan. i'm posting it next year. nestled mountains - dingalan aurora
raging waters - dupinga river
scarp slopes of laur - nueva ecija

[7] Highway walk at Upper Tomay (Tomay, La Trinidad) - it was a day with nothing to do when i was in La Trinidad. since i already visited the strawberry farm i decided to create my own itinerary by simply riding a jeep not knowing where it goes leading me to foggy heights. the view was beautiful that i decided to walk on my way back.highway walk - upper tomay

[6]
Exploring Kapangan (Kapangan, Benguet) - definitely one of my favorite off-the-beaten track trips this year. i only searched in the internet for a place closest to Baguio city that will bring me to see the rice terraces. it's a beautiful place and it made me appreciate Cordillera's culture. it was a rough trip yet that's what it makes it an unforgettable expience. rice terraces of labueg
rough road to kapangan

[5] The Road to Don Salvador (Don Salvador, Negros Occidental) - just an hour trip from the capital city of Negros Occidental can already bring you to one of the new tourist attraction of Negros. scenic views of mountain range, waterfalls and a road with pine trees lined up along it. i also discovered that rice terraces can also be found in this area.where the pines lead
best kept secrets
around town
to the highlands

[4]
Reaching Foggy Heights (Nueva Vizcaya) - traveling along mountain range, reaching heights covered with fog and green hills from both sides of the road. this is my type of road trip. this is also a part of the tandem trip with Lawstude and Orlan which will be posted next year.

[3]
Adventures in Capones (Capones, Zambales) - one of my favorite islands because of the landscape that it has. i only learned about this island thru the blogosphere and realized how beautiful it is. the best thing to do there is to stay in the island at least for an overnight and really explore the hills. it was also memorable because we were there when there was a typhoon. the experience was unforgettable. that was also my first trip with Lawstude. green perspective - exploring the hills
el playa de capones - the beach
night camp
maryada view
islas de puntas capones

[2]
Tourist haven Boracay (Boracay, Kalibo) - my longest series of travel post is Boracay as there's a lot to see and do there. i didn't even reach some of the other beaches around the island making four days and three nights not enough for me to really enjoy Boracay. it was also my first time to visit this world famous beach. boracay beach - its vastness
ten reasons why i love boracay
behind those palm trees - the resorts
shades of blue boracay nightlife
boracay sunset - with a poem gloomy day
on rocky cliffs - diniwid beach
kayaking boracay
skimboarding boracay cycling boracay
just walk snap shop in the island
we're not meant to live life alone - time with the fishermen
island of boracay - an introduction
iloilo to caticlan - roadtrip

[1]
Sweet island of Bantayan (Bantayan island, Cebu) - this is the sweetest island i've visited by far. sweet because it's not as busy as Boracay yet it still has the best of the sands. the people are very friendly and the accommodations are still cheap. one of the nearby islands, the virgin island, still captures the paradise mood. i also celebrated my birthday in that island. a backpacker's guide to bantayan
the great escape - the beach
island hopping - virgin
island
treasures underneath - snorkeling
exploring ogtong
island hopping bantayan - hilantagaan island
bantayan roadtrip best days - sunrise
an islander's outlook
pescador de bantayan - fishermen of bantayan
seeing the island - boat ride
from coastlines to hills - roadtrip
bantayan island a map guide
your island experience

Friday, December 26, 2008

best snorkeling site - anilao

as much as loving dazzling white sand beaches, i too love snorkeling. just weeks back, my brother decided to go to Anilao to bring our father for snorkeling. if there's someone to blame why we love snorkeling so much, it will definitely be our father.if you remember last April, we also went to Anilao for a day trip and i posted it here. we chose Anilao Outrigger Resort during that time but we then figured out that Dive n Trek Anilao is still the best resort for snorkeling. so we chose the latter.this is my second time to visit Dive n Trek, last was in 2006. unlike Anilao Outrigger Resort, for you to reach Dive n Trek, a motor boat will have to transport you there. it is located and surrounded by a rocky cliff. though you can access it by trekking, but that would take an extra time.last time we took the route via the Anilao port, this time we decided to take the route via barangay Ligaya. though both way will have almost the same length of boat ride, the road trip is less busier on this side.boat ride is just about 10-15minutes passing by rocky cliffs covered densely with trees. the boat ride i should say on this route gives you more great views compared to the other route.we passed by some other resorts within the Balayan bay. since it was still off peak season, we were traveling on a special boat trip which allows us to enjoy every moment of the trip.water was quite good due to a fairly good weather, which also means that we will be enjoying snorkeling. boat docked and from there we have good view of the resort.if you are not familiar yet with Anilao, it is part of the Verde island passage which is the world's center of marine shore fish biodiversity, thanks to Sir Howie Severino for sharing me this article on the official proof. because i got confused that sometimes, Rajah Ampat in Indonesia also claims this title.being part of the coral triangle of influence of the world, you can expect endemic species here. Dive n Trek, is popular to snorkelers because of the abundance of giant clams. several clam seeding were conducted here years back.with less cloud and enough sunlight, you'll easily find giant clams all over its area. fishes of different types is a usual sight but the rewarding thing is when you get to find those rare big fishes, eels, lion fish and at times octopus.after crossing the area, took our lunch and rest for a while. food here is already included in the package. food is just fine nothing special but the "Turon", which was served during the merienda was the best there. i almost wanted to ask the cook if she can go with us in Metro Manila.the accommodations are quite good as last time we were here we stayed for two days and a night. the view from the top most deck is beautiful. you can see the reef of the snorkeling area from there.among the many snorkeling sites in Anilao, Dive n Trek has the highest rank along with some other few sites. based on our experience, from the many times that we've visited Anilao, i highly recommend Dive n Trek Anilao. why? because they have a contained and well preserved area of sea species and the best "Turon".thanks to my brother Lucky (featured in the photo below), for this treat. my father and mother definitely had a great time. this is my last travel post for this 2008 as upcoming posts will be a series of a year-ender posts. our tandem trip with travel bud lawstude will be featured next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happiness is a choice - Christmas

it’s the season of Christmas again and we look back at the time when God gave us His only son. yet why are some people still unhappy during this season? maybe because they have set their financial status or material possessions as a reason to be happy in this season.

remember, it is you who set the standard of what it means to be happy. if what will make you happy is having a brand new house and lot, or a high end car, or earning millions, then from there you have set your standard quite high. but if you set your happiness to a level where you learn to appreciate even the simple things, then you learn to appreciate life.

in this season, remembering God giving us Jesus is more than any other reasons why we should celebrate Christmas and be happy. because in this era, the most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live life without God.

Behold, the virgin shall bear a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which means God with us” – Matthew 1:23

Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays!!!

regards,

dong ho

Monday, December 22, 2008

emerging travel destination - Philippines

in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine October issue, the Philippines ranked 5th place on its list of Asian countries with the most number of American visitors. here's a partial list, i just included the ten highest countries in Asia:

1 China
2 Japan
3 India
4 Thailand
5 Philippines
6 Vietnam
7 Singapore
8 Cambodia
9 Malaysia
10 Indonesia
also on the October issue of Travel+Leisure, Boracay was considered as one of the 25 emerging destinations where the dollar still goes far.

here's a video that'll give an introduction to what the Philippines is offering to its visitors.


looks like the Philippines is gaining ground as more tourists consider the country a potential travel haven. thanks to the efforts of the department of tourism and travel bloggers.

thanks to redlan for featuring me on his header.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ten reasons why i love boracay

in ending the boracay series, let me give you ten reason why i love this island. TEN >>> accessibility. the island of Boracay has one of the most number of flights within the Philippines. you can drive your way from Manila to Caticlan thru the RORO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) system or take a road trip from Iloilo to Caticlan. when you reach the Caticlan Jetti port, it has a very good system of having a centralized boat system ride. motor boats only dock at one port in Boracay which means the main beach will have less motor boats giving more space for beach bums. NINE >>> accommodations. one can enjoy and have options of hotels, villas, condominiums and cheap lodging houses. you have the option to choose hotels based on its location as you might want a semi-private area or on places where people flock. EIGHT >>> beach activities. name a beach activity and you'll find it in Boracay. almost all the sports and beach activities are available there. you'll enjoy kayaking when the sea is calm. scuba diving and snorkeling areas are just within the area of the island. parasailing, kiteboarding, skimboarding are becoming more popular. your weekend is not enough to try all these. SEVEN >>> sunset. the sun displays it's golden beauty on a good weather making it a very popular scene in the island. to me sunset in Boracay symbolizes the start of the party the people awaits in the island. sunrise is beautiful as well on the other side of the island.SIX >>> nightlife. one might sometimes think that the island is busier at night than in the morning as people go out and hop from dining restaurants to coffee shops. others just stroll and have some great time chatting along the beach while listening to the different bands playing from the bars.FIVE >>> the people. you'll see people from other countries coming to the Philippines just to see this beach. but as much as foreigners flock this beach, Filipinos enjoy it as well. sometimes i really wonder if Boracay is more popular than Manila in the world. FOUR >>> anything. anything. you can find almost anything there. banks, internet cafes, mall, small beach shops, sea food straight from the wet market, international golf course or ice cold shakes. it's all there.THREE >>> sands. the fine white powdery sands in the island are among the best in the Philippines. you won't believe that just walking along the beach shore by foot can be the best thing one can do in Boracay. it's simply because of the sands.TWO >>> white long stretch beach. having fine white powdery sand is already enticing but having four kilometers of that is more than enough. one needs enough rest to walk from end to end. try it.ONE >>> it's a big island. i thought Boracay is small but not when i was already there. Boracay is not only the central beach. it's the whole island. it has other coves that offers a more private mood. i recommend that you explore, explore and explore. try Puka beach or Lapus Lapus beach or just behind the rocky cliffs beach of Diniwid. island hop! drive ATVs or cycle your way around the island. it can be a perfect activity for those who are staying there for more than a weekend.so if you'll ask me if i'm going back to Boracay? definitely. of the four days and three nights that i was there, i can say that there's still a lot of reason why i need to be there again and again and again.

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