PHOTO BY DOI OF THE TRAVELING FEET
I quit the corporate life on the second day of January this year and decided to pursue the life of a traveler. I was having doubts of it working out; I was unsure if my body can sustain it and was uncertain if my finances could carry the load of all the expenses I would incur without a normal eight to five job. But I went ahead and took the plunge.
Without looking at my calendar, I know for sure that the road had me longer than the previous year. And after adding everything up, I had been out on the road for 142 days this 2012. I almost tripled last year’s travel and it became apparent as the year ended; my body, totally fatigued, was craving for the permanent comfort of my own bed.
I always said I’m not counting the provinces I’ve been to, but well okay, I counted this time around just to see how much of the Philippines I’ve actually stepped on; it tallied up to a nifty fifty. Not even at par with most travelers out there haha.
I’m not sure what’s in store for me in the coming year. I’m even more unsure if I can travel as long as I did this year. But one thing’s for sure, the road hasn’t seen the last of Lakad Pilipinas yet.
Come along with me now, let’s recount the year that was.
J A N U A R Y
Camiguin* was the first for the year. It was also the first time I stepped in Mindanao. Soon to follow were a quick trip to Manila’s Rizal Park* and Intramuros*. The 10-Peso church icon in Malolos, Bulacan* came next before the latter half of the month was spent touring Northern Luzon with a busload of travelers for the Lakbay Norte 3 trip. The tour started in Bulacan and wound its way around Luzon through Nueva Ecija, Kalinga, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Baguio City, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales and finally Pampanga.
F E B R U A R Y
The second month of the year had me revisiting Rizal’s root and a school fieldtrip favorite, Calamba. The annual Pyromusical also started before the middle of the month and had me visiting the Mall of Asia every week. An impromptu visit to Baguio City* for the Panagbenga Festival* turned into a week of travel as Sagada* and Ifugao* beckoned at me. The month scored me two photography medals after placing 6th and 4th at the yearly Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Pampanga and Pyromusical in MOA respectively.
M A R C H
I had hardly put my backpack down when a trip to Southern Luzon suddenly materialized. I unpacked and repacked and was off to the Bicol Region for a weeklong jaunt through Camarines Sur* and the nearby Albay towns*. By the middle of March, I was off to Laguna with a group of photographers, completing Laguna’s Seven Lakes*. The underwater paradise of Coron* and Culion in Palawan was also revisited during this month, but unlike the first time I was there, this time I came prepared with a waterproof camera.
A P R I L
The Holy Week found me back at my mom’s hometown in Cabanatuan City. I got to explore a few more municipalities in Nueva Ecija, including the picturesque town of Gabaldon. By month’s end, I was back in Baguio City* for the third time, taking a breather from the hot metro weather.
M A Y
The start of summer was spent swimming at the beaches of Dasol in Pangasinan. Lucban was added to the list for the annual Pahiyas Festival. Still hung over from the colors of Pahiyas, I headed to the nearby Bulacan for Obando’s Fertility Rites Fiesta. Another group of photographers dragged me to Cavite to shoot Aguinaldo’s ancestral house along with the town’s old church. May was capped with a quick visit to Baliuag, Bulacan* for a schoolmate’s wedding.
J U N E
June started with a sixteen-day trip from the northern end of Luzon to the fringes of Mindanao. From Ilocos Sur, I ventured downwards, passing Ilocos Norte, jumping to Batangas, navigating by ferry and bus towards Roxas, Caticlan, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dipolog, Dapitan and finally Cebu where I first captured the Milky Way. I went back to Cabanatuan before the month ended and walked around Intramuros with Carlos Celdran* soon after.
J U L Y
Tagging along with another group of shutterbugs, July found me shooting landscapes and feasting on seafood at Quezon* and Laguna*. Another trip north materialized at the latter half of the month, I was going to Ifugao again, but this time, it was gonna be a more intensive trip than the first one I did a few months back. I got the news of scoring another medal in photography through Ayala’s Make it Makati photo contest as I was navigating the waters towards Puerto Galera*.
A U G U S T
A return trip to Panglao in Bohol* started the month of August. I spent four days practicing the art of beach bumming on a secluded part of the island before going back to Manila for an interview ran by a travel show on radio. I was back towards the southern portion of Luzon before the month ended for Legazpi’s Ibalong Festival, choo-chooing along via PNR’s Bicol Express*.
S E P T E M B E R
The Albay jaunt extended to September as I explored a few more towns in the area. A few days later and I was back to Palawan for the second time of the year. Jumping from Puerto Princesa, I ventured into the promise of paradise; El Nido*. Before the month ended, I packed up my bag again and flew to Cebu* then took a ferry to Iligan City*. I spent a week chasing waterfalls and checking out the nearby cities of Ozamis* and Marawi* with the bestest travel companions anyone can have.
O C T O B E R
From Mindanao, I went back to Cebu and was promptly left by my scheduled flight. It drastically changed my travel plans and had me running around Ormoc, Tacloban City*, Catbalogan and Allen* before finally arriving at Biri Island* in Northern Samar. Tired from the second longest trip of the year, I spent the latter half of the month exploring my own hometown and the nearby city of Navotas*.
N O V E M B E R
Starting with an impromptu trip to Negros Occidental*, November kickstarted another string of travel. From Bacolod* and Talisay*, I moved to San Carlos City’s Pintaflores Festival*. Five days later I was in Pangasinan*, shooting the landscapes of Bolinao*. Two days after, I was in Baguio City* for the fourth time of the year, checking out its not-so-popular spots including the insides of the haunted Laperal Mansion. I got a breather in Manila as I attended Ayala’s Enchanting Lights and Sounds Show. A staycation in Microtel near Manila Bay steamrolled to another trip, this time to Catanduanes*, which thankfully concluded my hectic November schedule.
D E C E M B E R
There is definitely no rest for the wicked. The first day of the month had me flying to Dumaguete*, touring the nearby towns of Valencia* and Manjuyod*. A storm prevented me from proceeding to Bohol but it didn’t prevent me from flying to Capiz* for their Sinadya sa Halaran Festival*. I spent a week going through everything the province had to offer before exploring Aklan*. The last trip of the year was a surprise, I was not expecting to fly out of the country but who am I to refuse a free three-day trip to Singapore*.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL SANGOYO
My camera produced more than 33,000 images this year, 7,000 more than what I had last year. I may not have won as many awards as I did the previous year but 2012 has been one heck of a year in terms of traveling. My decision to quit my cubicle job seemed to be paying off in ways that money cannot weigh. I may not be an average person’s definition of success, but I consider my achievements this year to be the epitome of one.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
* UNPUBLISHED BACKLOGS :D