Lakad Pilipinas
Vigan Itinerary and Travel guide Coron Itinerary and Travel guide Baguio Itinerary and Travel guide Tagaytay Itinerary and Travel Guide Iligan City Itinerary and Travel Guide Bacolod Itinerary and Travel Guide Antique Itinerary and Travel Guide Tarlac Itinerary and Travel Guide Corregidor Itinerary and Travel Guide

I just read my previous year ender, which, uhh, let me check, is eight days late in posting last year. This year, the Lakad Pilipinas annual report is posted even later! Like twenty-four days later! But better late than never. And yes, I’m recycling my previous year’s title. If you don’t like it, post your own one. Kidding. Lol.

Okay, so I’m about to run down sixteen of my favorite trips this year. But first, let’s see where I’ve travelled the past 2016. Hold on, need to check my image database, which is kinda hard now since it’s now location based, ditching my previous High Fidelity-ish autobiographical arrangement.

Sh*t. This is really hard.

Okay. After some minutes of clicking through folders, here it is.

 

Monochromatic serenity at Tha Chine River ©

A photo posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

January started in Central Thailand, exploring the lesser known provinces of Samut Songkhram and Nakhon Pathom. Then a quick getaway to my mom’s province in Cabanatuan went into the works. Then to C’s province in Zambales with a quick one-day jaunt to Binmaley in Pangasinan to eat roasted catfish (yep, you read that right). Then before the month ended, I was sent to Bicol for an assignment, revisiting Albay and Sorsogon, and finally setting my foot in cowboy country, Masbate. Then. Then. Then.

 

 

February started off in Leyte, my second time in Tacloban (this time with money on hand and friends to laugh with) and my first at Kalanggaman Island. We went further south, Mindanao particularly, a week or so later, checking out the lakes of South Cotabato and the beaches of Saranggani.

March, I was home and working my ass off on backlogs.

 

La Boracay? Full Moon Party! #BeachHopAsia2016 #teamRHofficial

A photo posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

April to May was summer trip time! Our two-month escapade, dubbed as Beach Hop Asia 2016, kicked off in Malaysia, running through KL, Melaka, Langkawi and Penang. We then took a flight to Thailand to meet up with the then, still complete, Team RH gang to party at Koh Phangan’s infamous Full Moon Party. Right after, we chilled down at Krabi before the gang went their separate ways.

 

Into the clouds. #BeachHopAsia2016

A video posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

With C, we continued our journey through Koh Phi Phi, followed by Phuket before flying to Sri Lanka. We spent two weeks in the country, taking a loop through Colombo, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Kalkudah, Arugam Bay, Ella and finally, back to Colombo. Hmmm, Sri Lankans seem to love ending their places with the ah sound.

 

Wasn't just a dream. #BeachHopAsia2016 #HolidayIslandResort

A video posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

The last two legs of the trip involved Maldives and Singapore. I still can’t get over the fact that Maldives has bested the Philippines when it comes to beaches. And Singapore, I appreciated it better this second time around.

June came with another trip to Zambales. July was raining, so I didn’t leave home.

 

Until next time, Hanoi! #LakadPilipinas x #Vietnam

A video posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

Then August rolled in with a reunion with my favorite city in the PH, Baguio City. Then a Boracay quickie, where we weren’t really able to party that much. Then an even quicker trip to Hanoi in Vietnam, which I absolutely love. I’m giving it a hundred percent more love than Saigon. I can’t wait to get back and spend more time on this crazy place.

 

 

September rocked the house with an almost two-week trip across Indonesia. Jakarta. Bandung. Jogjakarta. Lombok. Flores. Bali. Indonesia is amazing. Their beaches can rock and roll with the best the Philippines has to offer too! An assignment landed me in Bacolod and Iloilo right after.

 

Bicycle on bicycle; revisiting Georgetown's famous street art murals. #MyTimeToCruise #StarCruises #SuperStarGemini #LakadPilipinas

A photo posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

And because there’s just too many going ons during September, my mom didn’t let me out the whole October. Kidding. On the tenth month, I boarded a cruise ship and revisited Singapore and Malaysia, going back to Langkawi and Penang. I don’t mind revisiting Penang over and over and over again. In fact, we’re going back there next year!

 

 

Cold November (spawned a monster) found me in Taipei, walking until my feet died, and a long December saw me climbing the mountains of Bontoc. Well, we really didn’t climb that much. We sat at the veranda of the inn we’re staying in most of the time and ended the year with nothing but beer.

 

...and then, release. #LakadPilipinas #MountainProvince #teamRHwintertrip #teamRHofficial

A video posted by Christian L. Sangoyo (@lakadpilipinas) on

 

That totals to eight countries outside the Philippines and fourteen provinces within.

Hmmm, and apparently, this article has gone overly long with me forgetting to list sixteen of my favorite trips this year. Oh well, I’ll do it next year.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Monday, January 23, 2017
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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Sri Lanka is entirely new to me. I once pictured it as something similar or maybe tamer than Nepal, but as our plane flew over its land and I saw all that expanse of greens, I knew it would be quite different from what I had in mind. Indeed, Sri Lanka has its fare share of temples, both Muslim and Buddhist, some of which are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it also has a unique culture, in terms of food, architecture and practices. But most of all, what it has, up its sleeves, are its unspoiled natural environment. Here wild elephants still graze the plains, its long beaches are almost always deserted and its tea-laden hills and mountains, pristine and blanketed by constant mists.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ella to Colombo Train Ride

The old train chugged onwards, slowly climbing upwards and upwards into the mountains. Fine mist swirled and enveloped us, making the trees surrounding the rail tracks seem like ethereal ghosts, its limbs and leaves almost lost in the whiteness of everything. We passed through a dark tunnel cut into the earth, compressing our view. And as we emerged from the darkness, a vista of the plains below opened right before our unglassed windows, clouds gently flowing like the sea over ridges of the mountains, a white stupa barely able to peek through the cottony blanket.

Bus to Ella
TAKING THE BUS TOWARDS ELLA TOWN

Knowing that we’re in for a ten-hour train ride going back to Fort Colombo, we started our day quite early. Packing our bags from the Ella Jungle Resort, we navigated the make-shift cable car up, then piled into the 4x4 truck that would bring us back to civilization.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ella Jungle Resort Sri Lanka Cable Car

“Where the heck are we heading?!” I asked C as we rumbled through a dense jungle at the back of a 4x4 truck. After what seemed like a very long time of twisting and turning along a dirt path, the driver pausing once to chop a hanging branch blocking our path, the monster of a vehicle finally came to a stop. On a ravine, what looks like a makeshift cable car waited for us and our backpacks. We obediently boarded and were soon creaking and careening down to the plains below.

Ella Jungle Resort Sri Lanka
INTO THE JUNGLE OF ELLA

Apparently, we were heading to our home for three days in Ella, a mountain town at the Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It wasn’t easy getting there from the east coast of the country. It took us a total of three correct bus transfers, one incorrect drop-off (which added another trishaw ride), the better part of the morning, and a lot of patience to get from Arugam Bay to Monoragala (LKR249.00), then to Welawaya (LKR49.00), and finally to Ella in Badulla (LKR69.00).

And we weren’t about finished just yet.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, January 14, 2017

Arugam Bay Sri Lanka

More than an hour later and we were no closer to the gleaming white stupa we saw at the far end of the beach. The heat was intoxicating as we trudged across the sizzling golden sand of Arugam bay. Above, a rare sun ring glowed, on our left, bushes and trees, and on our right, the might of the Bay of Bengal, its waves several feet high, booming as it meets the carved sandy shoreline of the beach. Our feet were starting to get confused, do we go ahead or turn back.

For days, we stayed in Arugam Bay, a coastal town east of Sri Lanka. We wanted to sea the ocean. And indeed, we saw it. In its full might.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Arugam Bay Pottuvil

The waves tore the beach to pieces; pushing it, sculpting it to a near-forty five-degree slope. We stood at the edge of the mini-precipice, gawking and wondering if its possible to actually swim here. Instead, we sat down, the sea lapping our feet every time another batch of waves comes in, snatching our bottles of Lion Beer overhead whenever a particularly huge one slams into the shore, and simply enjoyed the setting sun without ever dipping down the raging sea.

Arugam Bay Pottuvil Trishaw
GREEN TRISHAWS AT THE MAIN ROAD OF ARUGAM BAY

It was the surfing season for Arugam Bay, a stretch of sea east of Sri Lanka. We found our way to this surfer haven after almost half a day of changing local transports southbound from Kalkudah to its main town by trishaw (LKR250.00), then a bus to Batticaloa (LKR44.00), and another bus ride to Kalmunai (LKR59.00), a bus to Pottuvil, where Arugam Bay is located (LKR93.00), and finally a trishaw (LKR200.00) to our lodging, Seahorse Inn. Surprisingly, even with Sri Lanka’s outdated transports, everything is well organized and getting from one place to another was a breeze. We were, nonetheless, totally bushed as we arrived at Arugam Bay.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kalkudah Beach Batticaloa

The beach stretched for kilometers on both sides. I can hardly see where its southern end stops but its northern counterpart seemed achievable to walk to. We headed that way. The whole stretch is deserted, every granule of its golden sand and every double waves from the Bay of Bengal that slam its shore were all ours. Well, except for a few stray dogs, lazily lounging around the soft dunes and huge crows perched on a lone fishing boat. We walked, a seemingly endless walk, enjoying the eastern breeze of Kalkudah Beach, pausing every now and then to jump into the mini sandy gorges formed by the waves throughout the beach.

Sigiriya Wild Elephant Road
A WILD ELEPHANT ROAD ENCOUNTER IN SIGIRIYA

We departed from Sigiriya early that morning after exhausting ourselves across the Sri Lanka cultural triangle. We passed by a rampant elephant on the road before we bade our farewell to our car and driver from JNW Lanka Tours. Getting from one place to another by car in Sri Lanka was indeed convenient, but everything comes to an end. We were now on our own and at the mercy of Sri Lanka’s antiquated public transportation system.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Sigiriya

Crumbling angled brick walls, terraced several feet high from each other, surrounded me as I stepped on one of its edges. I gazed down, admiring the remains of this ancient Sinhalese fortress with its now muddy pools, dusty stairways and ruined terraces. To be honest, it really wouldn’t stand out from all the temples I’ve visited around Asia, especially those in Siem Reap, except this one is built on top of a massive natural rock, 660 feet high from the ground and with no natural stairs to climb on to.

Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Dambulla
THE CAVE TEMPLE OF DAMBULLA

We’ve been eyeing Sri Lanka’s so-called cultural triangle ever since we obtained our tickets to this country. We knew we’d just have to pass by the area during the middle of our Beach Hop Asia 2016 tour. Sri Lanka is the longest country we’d be staying in for our two-month trip around Asia.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, January 4, 2017