Friday, December 30, 2011

Where My Itchy Feet Brought Me This 2011

The year's about to end and it's just so wonderful to reminisce where my itchy feet brought me throughout the year. The travels and adventures I had with awesome friends, and the experiences and memories brought by each destination are priceless.


My 2011 started with a bang as the Asian Poker Tour brought me to Cebu for the first time where I experienced rainy Sinulog.  It was indeed colorful, festive, and packed with locals and tourists.  My favorite were the lechon and mouse kids. They were sooo cute I wanted them to be keychains to bring home.

Come February, my birthday month, travel buddies (Gerald, Neil, Jen, James, Grace, She) and I flew to Mindanao for some Adventure Down South - at Bukidnon, Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro.


At Dahilayan Park in Bukidnon we flew 4,700 feet over the lush greens with the longest zipline in Asia measuring 840 meters long.


The Zorb, Buggies and playground brought out the kids in all of us.


Next stop is in Camiguin where we relaxed at night while soaking in Ardent Hot Spring and goofing around.  The next morning we went to the White Island, Katibawasan Falls, Sunken Cemetery and old churches.

Ardrent Hot Spring

White Island

Sea Urchin - yummy  :)

Katibawasan Falls


Our last stop was the highlight of this Southern adventure - in Cagayan de Oro.  We certainly had a blast with white water rafting! It surely took my breath away... and literally I could say.  During that time, flipping  over of rafts was still allowed, so our guide flipped ours a few times.  Our last flip, they call it Iceberg Flip, had me trapped under the raft underwater.  Click here to see the videos. Now there had been an ordinance forbidding the flipping of these rafts for safety reasons.  Well, lucky us we were able to experience the flip of a lifetime.

Celebrating my post-birthday with a Cup of Love (yes, that's what it is called) and a bottle of Tanduay Ice.

To watch the videos, and to see the full post about this trip, click here.


Next? Singapore!  My family and I spent Holy Week in this country with our relatives.  Of course, with all the tourist attractions you can go to and places you can eat at, this trip had me writing down full-blown, lengthy blog posts with the sooooo many things we did there.

Marina Bay

Little India

Singapore Zoo

Universal Studios

Underwater World

Sky Luge at Sentosa

Luge at Sentosa

Enjoying Indian food

To read the full post on the Singapore trip, click here.


During our stay in Singapore, we spent one day in a farm spa in Johor Bahru, Malayasia called Rina Balinese Spa.  We had a very relaxing day at thione-stop nature spa which offers traditional Balinese aromatic massage, firewood herbal steam bath, traditional foot massage, sand spa, body scrub, organic facial, herbal jacuzzi bath, fitness program, fruit orchard tour, fishing, bicycling and other recreations. 

Having a nice massage at Rina Balinese Spa
Cereal Prawns at Restoran Todak, JB Malaysia
Click here to read about this trip.


Two months after the Singapore-Malaysia family escapade, I got my feet soaked again in Philippine sands and waters at Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro.

It was a department trip for beloved Asian Advantages, Inc.  We stayed at Buri Resort and Spa which is listed as one of the Top 10 luxury resorts in the Philippines in

The ride from Batangas Pier to Puerto Galera was one of the worst, most grueling and scariest boat rides I have ever ever experienced in my entire life. I pray never to have such again.  

But with the awesome place, well, the boat ride could be worth it.

Jen and I lounging in our private mini pool at the back of our bathroom. 


Underwater Cave
Seafood Pizza at Talipanan Beach

Click here to view the full post on this beach trip.


Probably my favorite trip of the year is our beach camping at Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte which we had in June. The best beach ever!  I am quite confident the beauty of this beach is hard to top.  I hope it remains this way.

This one's memorable as I had many first-times during this trips, and I also had my underwater camera broken here...that part sucks.  It was my last time to use it here, so I treasure all the water shots a lot.

The looooong hours of travel by bus, and small boat crossing the Pacific Ocean was just so worth it!  The water, the sand, the sun, the rawness, the peace and quiet... I just fell in love. This is place is a gem.


On our way back from Calaguas, we stopped over at Bagasbas Beach for some surfing.

For more details about the Calaguas trip, click here.


From two Philippine beaches, let's hop to another Asian country which surprised me in so many ways - Taipei, Taiwan.

The round trip flight for this trip was booked a year before it's bound to happen, and I'm glad it still pushed through.  You need a Visa to enter Taiwan, and will cost you Php 2,500 and about 3 days to get it.  Taiwan Embassy in the Philippines  is located at the 41st floor of RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave, Makati.

I shared this trip with no other than Jillian and Ayn, two of my good friends who did not know each other until this trip.

Taipei Zoo

Maokong Gondola

Maokong Tea Houses

Miramar Ferris Wheel

At the laid back Xinbeitou

Beitou Thermal Valley - a favorite!
Mala Yuan Yang Hot Pot - eat all you can and Haagen Dazs all you can!
Click here to read about this food trip experience.

I was surprised as I did not think I would enjoy Taipei as much as I did. The people were so friendly and kind.  To read more about this and to see the full trip itinerary, click here.


My last stop for the year 2011 is in Goa, India.  I was here for the APT Asian Series Goa.  If I was surprised by Taipei, I was even more surprised by Goa.

Not to offend anyone, but India, in some way, has this stigma in my head for not being such a nice place to go to in terms of the surroundings and the people. After the 24-hour travel from Manila, with plenty and lengthy stop overs in between, we set foot in Goa and that stigma started to change.  I again realized the essence of travel, the joy of being in a place with people of a different culture. The best part was that in Goa I met some of the kindest people in the planet.  And the authentic Indian food... some I really enjoyed, but some were just too overwhelming for me to eat everyday.  I'm happy I was here.

Second day - shopping!

Casino Royale Goa by day

At Casino Royale Goa with Rachelle, Asha and myself

Pepper Chicken at Casino Royale Goa -  I super love!

Sahakari Spice Farm

Vainguinim Valley Beach - 2 minute walk from where were staying

I haven't had the chance to write a post about Goa yet, but hopefully soon before I get really busy again with work and school.

And there you have it!  My travels and adventures of 2011.  More to come!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  
-St. Augustine

An awesome New Year to all!  The world is our playground, keep exploring! ♥
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