that flat land (Loo Valley, Benguet)
place: when i first went on a roadtrip to Sagada, this scenic valley on lowland as viewed from the central area of Abatan, got my attention. telling myself, i need to go down there one day. this year, i found myself hitching a ride down to this humble community of farmers. it was my first time to see purple cabbages. they say that it's one of the new demand due to the increasing number of Koreans residing in the Philippines.
experience: a truck was parked on the road down to Loo Valley filled with food and drinks. a man noticed me and asked where i was going and later invited me to join them instead as they were on their way down for a church feast.
bonus: a lady on my way back to Abatan offered me newly picked strawberries. she told me "try this. you'll know it's better than the ones you've tasted". indeed.
 is not bad at all (Nabunturan, Compostela Valley)
place: out of all the bad news about Compostela Valley, i believe that there should be something good in this province. aside from being one of the newest province it is also known for landslides but large areas are still rich in natural resources including gold. municipalities of this province can be accessed from different points. some via the road to Mati and some to Surigao Del Sur.
experience: a solo road trip is safe by bus from Tagum to Nabunturan with mountain range and valleys can be seen along the way.
bonus: i got to see the largest golden ring in the country at the provincial capitol. during my visit it was enclosed in a glass display at the lobby. the ring is sometimes relocated.
 rich and calm (Baler, Aurora)
place: Pacific coast with a long grey sand beach home to a growing surfing community. getting there would require a side trip to the famous historical church, a tsunami monument and a preserved marine site.
experience: no itineraries. a trip where we just wanted to relax but the calm waters of Dicasalarin was irresistible. we ended the day finding ourselves swimming even without extra clothes.
bonus: surfing lessons available almost whole year round though at times, sea can be so calm.
 emerging city (Tagum, Davao del Norte)
place: a city, way ahead in preparing for upcoming economic development and investments. from roadways to neoteric structures. it sets a new standard for developing cities in the country. among the most notable landmark is its city hall, a re-developed systematic cemetery and its vast banana farms.
experience: hospitality from the people who sets an exemplary standard for optimism. Tagum based blogger Leo brought me around the city. special thanks to city information office of Tagum for the warm welcome.
bonus: to witness destroying of bora-bora, motorcycle mufflers that produced noise within the city.
 not just another beach trip (Mati, Davao Oriental)
place: quickly becoming a popular beach destination for surfers and skim boarders is this humble Dalahican beach of Mati. also known for being a haven to a number of manatees or dugongs for its rich sea grass coast.
experience: i thought it would be just another ordinary beach trip not until i met kuya Jun's Team Amihan. Kuya Jun (real name George Plaza) has diverted some of the street kids in Davao from doing nothing to doing the right thing. he encouraged them to study, live a good life and motivated them to surf and skim. not anyone would do this getting nothing. but kuya Jun did. a real inspiration.
bonus: a nice view of the sleeping dinosaur while on the hilly coastal highway approaching Mati.
 road to water gate (Bokod, Benguet)
place: we know how gigantic dams are and how fascinating it is to see it from the road. but our visit to Ambuklao dam lead us to stop over this scenic spot of Agno river. it has huge white rocks which looked like ice caps. a kind of place where i can actually stay the entire day relaxing.
experience: while on the road with other travel bloggers, everyone started chanting PHL360 voice over. laughter everywhere. running over a hanging bridge made us forget that we were actually stuck in the middle of the highway when the van had a machine trouble.
bonus: aside from the road trip to the dam, we also trekked Sto Tomas peak the day before. the photo shoot for Azalea Residences with the other travel bloggers was memorable.
 think pink (Sta Cruz island, Zamboanga)
place: among the few pink-like sand beaches in the Philippines, this could be among the nicest. accessible in 15minutes by boat from the city and an area secured by military. next to a nice beach, it's a chance to visit a badjao cemetery which is just a short walk away from the main beach dock site.
experience: if not fortunate, Chyng and i were extra blessed to have the Soler family accompanying us on this trip. who for years being in the city was also their first time to explore the island. thanks to Marx for helping out in coordinating with the boat agency.
bonus: from this trip, we had the chance to include a visit to Taluksangay mosque. among the most important landmark of Islam in the country.
 old trail new friends (Mt Pinatubo, Pampanga)
place: one of the places that i visit every year. i've seen how the place evolved in two aspect, natural and structural. though now it is more touristy, its majestic crater lake remains as grand as it was.
experience: this time traveling with 29 other travel bloggers and the chance to co-lead Rob. it was fun all the way including 4x4 rides getting stuck, meeting other travel bloggers for the first time and a dinner overhearing "taksyapo".
bonus: the skyway route is closed due to typhoon. so it is by this time that we took the old trail which meant longer trek but more beautiful views.
 wit wet and wild (San Felipe, Zambales)
place: one of the newest surfing coastal village is barangay Liwliwa in San Felipe. it is quite usual that a growing surfing community gives a unique aspect to a place. in this particular spot is a wooden stay-in named Circle Hostel. one can stay by day and share a space with other travelers on top of an elevated wooden cottage or overnight on hammocks and dorm-type rooms.
experience: who would attend a party without knowing the celebrant? laughs at self when recalling to this trip dedicated to someone who i haven't met. thanks to cool friends Gay and Tine who invited me to this trip which later became one of the coolest day trip filled with wit, smashed by the waves and going home almost blind for loosing my newly bought eyeglasses.
bonus: Joey, the celebrant becoming one of the coolest new friend.
 beach camp out (Tondol, Pangasinan)
place: for me, i consider it the best beach in Pangasinan for fine white sand and wide swimming area. though not easily accessible, a six-hour road trip there is worth it. it is located in the largest island of Pangasinan it is connected with a bridge to the main Luzon island. a short boat or even a walk away (during low tide) is the island of Tanduyong.
experience: most of the time water is calm in Tondol. on my visit along with my travel buddies, we had a fun time despite the rains and the van getting stuck on a mud road.
bonus: some resorts allow beach camping giving it a plus for those who wants to camp out by the beach. i recommend JCT Beach Resort for a great camping area and they can also cook food for you.
 waterfalls kingdom (Mt Tarak, Bataan)
place: Tarak is one of the most popular mountain for climbers for its beautiful trail and double summit views. a number of mini waterfalls along the trail are formed during the rainy days which adds an exciting view of the trail.
experience: it was raining majority of the time that we were there that we had to abort summit and stayed in Banana river camp site. this gave us the chance to explore the many waterfalls surrounding the camp site. including secluded ones.
bonus: the chance to find Firefox wood within the camp site and if quite fortunate some rare wild rats.
 sleepless and mystic (Infanta, Quezon)
place: far east of the Luzon coast facing the Pacific. not so attractive to tourist as coasts are mostly rocky and is a typhoon route. but it offers fresh fish catch and is also considered a surfers spot.
experience: it was a sudden decision to join when travel friends Mike, Erick and Rocel decided to go on a road trip to witness the unique tradition of flagellants in Infanta. drove our way sleepless since it happens by dawn. fortunate enough to capture the unusual decorative flagellants walking as penitence.
bonus: side trip to Balagbag Falls which is a public waterfalls so expect picnic people during weekend but the waterfalls is really majestic.
 foggy trails (Imugan, Nueva Vizcaya)
place: a humble community located outskirt from the main towns of Nueva Vizcaya but has an area of beautiful pine forests, waterfalls and a growing strawberry farm. an ancestral land rich in natural resources protected by its residents. for those who loves insects, this is one of the best spot.
experience: this was a reunion trip with some of my travel buddies Allan, Oggie, Ferdz, Erick, Oman and this time with Rocel. we went to this place before but not as a group. it was only this time that we had all together in Imugan. a groups favorite abode.
bonus: a short trek to the forests will lead to a nice waterfalls.
 hitch trail (Tadian, Mountain Province)
place: an off-the-beaten spot for travelers. though just two towns away from Sagada, it remains almost unknown. it has one of the nicest topography i've seen including a towering waterfalls and the beautiful Mt. Mogao which can be seen from almost every spot in the road to Tadian. Tine has been recommending me this place and i would often say "maybe next time" everytime she recommends me this place. it was this year, when i was in Baguio on a long weekend decided to give it a chance. no regret. it is a top spot.
experience: my stay there was too short for me to catch the regular trips to the jump off point to trek Mt. Mogao. on the second day there, i decided to trek it alone instead of waiting for the public ride. big thanks Tine!
bonus: explored the town's old church and a trek to the view point where one can actually see the highway to Ilocos. unfortunately it was all fog when we reached the viewpoint.
 a royal experience (Timbac, Benguet)
place: accessible in two trails via Kabayan and via Halsema Highway. there are two reasons why travelers go here. one is to trek Mt. Timbac and second is to visit the Fire mummies of Kabayan.
experience: to see the preserved bodies of the royal ancestors of Kabayan was something i highly recommend. now considered as a national treasure. i also had one of the coldest experience in Cordillera like one would experience in Mt. Pulag but the fun time with fellow travel bloggers Ga-el, Emil, Darwin, and Francis made it a funny and unforgettable trip of a laugh time.
bonus: a view of Mt. Pulag from the Kabayan trail and the Halsema Highway from the Mt. Timbac summit.
 the other side (Southern Palawan, Palawan)
place: one of the spots that i've been wanting to visit for years now. not many has explored the southern side of Palawan because of the malaria warning and some news about the place being dangerous. this side of Palawan has communities of stilt houses, a busy mining site and beautiful mountain topography.
experience: joined by Josiah, a travel blogger now based in Palawan, made a perfect tandem to explore South. we trekked Bakbakan Falls, missed the boat to Balabac island, missed the chance to see the cockatoos at Rasa island, and biked over a hanging bridge.
bonus: climbed the old lighthouse in Brooke's Point.
 southmost philippines (Bongao, Tawi-Tawi)
place: islands on the southmost area of the Philippines covers the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi which are all beautiful from above. but the view of Bongao's peak or more known as Bud Bongao captured my attention the most. this rocky hill becomes the symbol of Bongao's majestic mix of nature and culture. being a sacred mountain, it is believed that one is blessed after reaching the summit.
experience: contradicting to the notion of a very unsafe island, Bongao has friendly people who are even taking pride in bringing you around. Chyng and i would attest to this through the people we met there.
bonus: sunset in one of the coast in Bongao is as nice as the one seen in Manila bay. with fresh air.
 getting lost (Beijing, China)
place: Beijing being the capital of the People's Republic of China holds among the country's most significant and historical structures. including among the world's largest structures the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China. the urban side includes the unusual CCTV tower and the Olympic Park.
experience: i get lost almost everyday when i was roaming around Beijing but it was all part of a Beijing experience. it would not have been as memorable without all those experience. the cold weather made it fun to walk from hutong to hutong and food trip without knowing the ingredient.
bonus: the train system is efficient and extensive that you can actually go to famous tourist spots within the city by train at a really cheap fare.
 a full circle (Iligan, Lanao del Norte)
place: home to many waterfalls including the famous Maria Cristina Falls and the majestic Tinago Falls. parks and ziplines boost the adventure spirit when going around the city including a zipline by the beach.
experience: aside from the experience of traveling with Robx for the South leg, it was when we had our chance to stay over the tent city from the typhoon Sendong victims that gave us a full circle of project PHL360. each day of the experience was both tiring but fulfilling.
bonus: the friendship formed from this project. from the fellow casts, the crew and the people we encountered during the trip. kudos to the PHL360 crew who gave the best out of the little that they have.
 a northern surprise (Harbin, China)
place: being the northernmost province of China meant a very cold climate. Harbin in particular is known for its snow festival, Russian and Jewish influence structures including St Sophia church.
experience: i was there for two things. to see St Sophia church and to experience snow. but like Beijing, i found myself getting lost but would always find something interesting along the way. my most unforgettable experience was the chance to sleepover in a Jewish structure, walk over a frozen lake and a long bullet train ride.
bonus: the long train trip from Beijing to Harbin gave me a perspective of an even growing China. from urban to rural views, i was amazed.
these and all the other day to day experience, i shall forever be grateful. without my God, family, company and friends... it would have been a year filled with blessings but missed to see it. thank you for following and supporting eskapo. cheers to another year in travel.
the years in travel blogging
Most Memorable Trips of 2010
Most Memorable Trips of 2009
Most Memorable Trips of 2008
This is my entry to the PTB Blog Carnival with the theme: "2012: THIS YEAR IN TRAVEL" hosted by Pinay Travel Junkie and Between Coordinates
2012 travel overload! ang galing. Nice naman ang Harbin! Pangarap q marating yan. Congrats and cheers to more travels in 2013. Happy New Year Bai!!
Great travels, Dong! Nakakainggit hehe! Happy New Year :)
Ang dami mo napuntahan this year! It was great to travel with you Dom! Cheers to more travels next 2013! ^_^
kung di ako nagkakamali sobra super B! ang 2012 mo... grabe ang kulay compare sa 2011 mo...
more travels to go on 2013 at sana makasama ako dun hahaha
Wonderful remember, dong ho!
Happy New Year!
>Hi Riz, thanks! i highly recommend Harbin. you wont regret going there and make sure it's winter time.
>Drew, salamat! mas nakaka-inggit byahe mo. happy new year din in advance.
>Josiah, dami ba? hahaha... maraming salamat din sa pagsama sa Southern Palawan. di ko din basta basta gagawin yun ng mag isa. cheers to 2013 travel!
>AXL, salamat. sobrang saya ng 2012 and looking forward to 2013. sure. sama ka sa byahe one time. hoping for the same thing for you in 2013.
>Traveling Hawk, thanks! truth is it actually took some time for me to finish this post.
WOW ang dami!
This made me want to book that flight to Harbin!
your travel bowl for 2012 was full to the brim, kaya pala we don't see you often here.
more power to you. peace and joy this 2013.
>Ron, you wont regret it. looking forward to more team up in 2013!
>Photo Cache, not only traveling. i was also very busy with work. nice to hear from you again. cheers to 2013!
indeed you have a fruitful year this 2012 :) I declare more travels to come this 2013 for you ;) God bless :)
wow ang saya nman ng travels mo sir :) more travels and adventures to come sir :)
It's just amazing how you get around so much! Wishing you safe and wonderful travels in 2013!
I always look forward to your countdown trips of the year, dom!
I wish to experience snow in the future and China - great wall!
galing talaga ng mga photos mo. very unique perspectives! happy new year!
gaaahhh i've been dying to go to mati, davao oriental!
wanted to explore south palawan too, but got too engrossed with the touristy destinations :P
i ♥♥♥ phl360, no kidding.
cheers to 2012, and happy holidays dong ho!
>Blaine, i really appreciate that. i hope for more photo shoot opportunities for you as well. cheers to 2013!
>Trasher,a blessed year. i wish for more great treks for you in 2013.
>Hi Hilda, thanks! wishing for another great year for you. thank you for dropping by my blog.
>Ed, daghang salamat! for sure you will like Harbin and Beijing. aabangan ko ang pagbisita mo dun. cheers for more great travels in 2013!
>Dwin, hahaha... daghang salamat sa pagsunod sa PHL360. we owe it all to the team. ok kaayo ang mati and south palawan. cheers to fun trips in 2013!
Geez, 20 most memorable trips. This year I took less than 20 trips in total. Envy much.
Aside from the photos, I like the little stories for each place. Swimming without clothes is tops for me, followed by that woman offering her tasty strawberries. :)
And how fitting to have Harbin at the top spot. Very much like the last frontier. It inspired me more to take that Inner Mongolia trip in January 2014. Tara sama ka!
what a great sum up of your travel! thank you for sharing every story behind your travel. a pleasure to read with your stunning photos!
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and smashing new year!
im very lucky i've done a tandem with you this year.
anyway, with harbin china as #1 in your list, sana iblog mo na sya. hehe
I love your photos, especially the Timbac, Benguet, and Pinatubo photos.
And it seems you did some bucket-list worthy items this year like walk over a frozen lake. I wonder how that's like. Hope to get to try that too.
happy 2013 dom! ramdam ko na ang tandem trip natin - chos! :)
Wow astig, from the highlands to Mindanao to Southern Palawan and China. More trips sa 2013. Makakasama ako sa Myanmar trip this March yey!
awesome review :) sana naman kasama nako in one of your travels next year ^_^
Ang galing ng pagkagawa sir Dom! Hope to meet you on the road someday! Hindi sa ilalim ng lrt ha, haha
>AJ, thanks for dropping by. most of the time it's those simple experience that makes a trip memorable though some places are beyond the usual. i highly recommend Harbin. Inner Mongolia is very accessible from Beijing. great choice!
cheers to a new year in travel!
>SunnyToast, same to you. thanks for sharing your travel experiences as well.
cheers to more great trips in 2013!
>Hi Chyng, i think it's the other way around. hahaha... it was an honor to have a tandem trip with you this year. ill think of our tandem trip 2013.
cheers to you and your family this new year!
>Hi Claire, yes i did. particularly my trip in China. it was fun to be on top of a frozen lake surface especially over the ones with cracks. ill be posting my experience soon.
nice to know that you like the photos. cheers to 2013 in travel!
>Hi Blissfulguro, sure yan. im also looking forward to that. still trying to organize my 2013. cheers to more great trips in 2013.
>Marky, yes. looking forward to that big trip. lapit na din yun.
cheers to 2013 amazing trips!
>Sendo, tagal na natin to sinasabi. lets see this year. let me know if you're coming over Luzon.
>sir Christian, ill never forget that. this year let's do a tandem trip. cheers to great photos and unforgettable trips in 2013!
May our feet bring us to more breathtaking places this 2013. Cheers to memorable travels and inspiring blog posts, Dom!
As always, you do have a great recap of what has been another hectic year of vagabonding!
Meeting you, Chyng, Ferdz & Nina earlier in 2012 was an experience I won't forget.
All the best in 2013 Dom!
Happy New Year po sa bloGGER nA AYAW sa capslock , naalala ko tuloy dati nung tinanong ko po kayo bkit naka small caps lang yung post mo lahat hehehe ..... keep posting sir!
Strawberries!!! Snow!!! Love love love!!! Pangarap ko pa rin 'til now ma-experience ang snow. Cheers to more travels this 2013! Happy new year! ^_^
Awesome trips, sir and fantastic photos!
Too bad I didn't approach you when I saw you at the base camp in Tarak. Next time, I sure will. Hehe.
>NomadicPinoy/Dens, thanks! it was great to finally meet you and thanks for that special treat! cheers to your amazing around-the-world trips!
>Kulapitot, hahaha... thanks! has really no other special reason. it's just that i wanted to see it small caps. cheers to more blogging years!
>Cris, i hope you get to experience it soon. it's unforgettable the first time. cheers to 2013 of adventure!
>Ryan, thanks! please feel free to approach anytime you see me on trail or anywhere in the metro! cheers to great treks this year!
Wow! sobrang kainggit naman! Ako I'd love to travel around kaso kuripot ako. so I always wait for Metrodeal promos. Para may discount ang mga accommodations ko!
Awesome! Hope to travel as widely as you soon. Happy New Year from sunny Singapore!! May 2013 bring you much joy and happiness!
congrats for the 20 most memorable trips. i know there'll be more in 2013. see u halfway, sir! God bless!
20 exciting trips captured in great photos - super love! congrats and cheers to more memorable trips in 2013!
>Zach's Mom, travel need not to be always expensive. yes, travel deals helps. thanks for dropping by.
>Eastcoastlife, nice to see you here again. thanks for the wishes. ill count on that. wishing for more exciting blogging activities for you this year!
>Roniel, thanks! hopefully... more trips in 2013. cheers to you as well to more exciting trips this year! thanks for dropping by.
>Atty Mhe, big thanks! same with your travels in 2012. so cheers to more awesome trips this year!
Great escapes Dong! Sayang di pa ako member ng PTB when you visited Tagum, we could have met there. Hope to see you on the road this year :)
Amazing photos Dong! Love that you focused on off-the-beaten path destinations. I now have some new items on my bucket list thanks to your roundup of memorable trips. Cheers!
>EscapeManila, thanks! no problem. we hope to either see you here or when we get the chance to return there this year. let us know your upcoming trips.
>Hi Kara, thanks! it's nice to share those spots less seen. wow! im humbled to have at least inspired you to include some places on your bucket list.
Harbin and Beijing! Inggit na inggit ako. Hahaha. Ikaw na talaga Dom!
I know this year will be a more exciting year for you. Sana magkasama din ulit tayo sa trips next time. At yung Binondo foodtrip natin nila Heiz dapat maulit!
ganda ng mga kuha nyo, sir dong! matagal ko nang gustong pumunta sa Harbin kaso di pa kaya ng budget hehehe. habol ko dun yung ice festival. gusto ko rin makarating sa Tawi-tawi! :D
good luck sa travels this year!
Beautiful photos to accompany an amazing year of adventures for you. I love that you included your experiences and a bonus on each one. Too often we remember the embarrasing or negative parts and neglect the unexpected surprises. Glad you got to experience snow and those are awesome memories. Best wishes for 2013!
full packed!!! It's great to read your travel stories for 2012, most places are off the beaten path (in my perspective). Favorite ko talaga ang pic mo sa Timbac, Benguet I'm curious with the preserved bodies. So envy with the china trip.. pangarap ko kasi yang great wall, i love the pic very much. Lakas makainggit! haha, bonus pa ang snow which of course, most Pinoys want to experience. All in all great adventure for your 2012, cheers for more! Happy 2013! :)
>Hi Joan, hahaha... tama. dapat maulit yung Bonondo food trip. sure. would be great to travel again. sabihan niyo lang ako. sulit ang harbin and beijing na trip.
>Kutzky, start saving. it's now one of my favorite spot. you wont regret. hope you can make it on winter 2014 for the ice festival. tawi tawi is nice.
thanks for dropping by my blog.
>Hi Mary, big thanks! more often than not, it's those unexpected experience that becomes most memorable. in 2012, i experienced so much of that. oh snow! i love snow.
cheers to 2013 also for you!
>AdventuorusFeet, hahaha... it was full packed in the sence that i still have a day job. a lot of people love that spot in timbac but according to some who visited the place recently, that garden is not always in that form. so it was a lucky chance for us. snow and china is one amazing experience.
cheers to more great trips for you in 2013! thanks for dropping by.
There's one word to describe your 2012 round-up.. it's me being "envious"..hehe! The Philippines definitely has so much more to offer.. I mean, one should really explore every nook and cranny to be able to see what else is in-store. Thank you for inspiring me to visit these beautiful places soon.. hope to meet you in person and travel with you soon, Dong! :)
Dong! What an amazing travels of 2012 for you!
James is planning to join me in Mati, care to join us? hehehe Any place you could suggest for an amazing trip in the Philippines? :D
I'd love to go to Harbin during winter too! All set and ready na ako for my Beijing trip (visa and all) when the tsunami in Japan happened and my mom was like, you're NOT going out of the country young lady! Pfft! lol
Hey Papa D! :D
It was a grrrreeat year for you pero syemps for me, the best part was the Iligan adventure since we all got to share in with your challenges!
that is definitely my favorite, and of course - ung snow sa china na yan! :D
great list. thanks for including san felipe, zambales.
have a great year ahead! more travels in 2013
Seems to be you had some of the best memorable tours in the year 2012. Hoping and wishing you good luck for the year 2013.
Dom! I just read this today. Ganda! I like ESCAPE and EXPLORE ... kasi EXPLORER na din ako. God bless and wishing you more new places to see in 2013.
Thank you for inspiring me to visit these beautiful places soon.. hope to meet you in person and travel with you soon, Dong! :)
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Great post.. Especially your farm is great.. and you are right that farming is more challenging but it is totally worthy..
Looks really nice your adventure that year!! thank you for sharing all of your experience in those places. Will you have the same post this present year? (2017)..We would love to see and know where have you been recently. :)
Such a adorable travel experience, thanks for sharing it with us.
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