YEAR ENDER | Twenty Eighteen, the Year we Traveled out of Asia

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Lakad Pilipinas Christian Sangoyo

It wouldn’t be a proper Lakad Pilipinas year ender if it wasn’t delayed by a couple of weeks. Again, pardon my late year ender (year after year, after year).

Anyhow, so, this year, we finally broke out of Asia. I mean, I have previously traveled to Europe before—my first ever trip abroad—but my favorite travel partner has never made it out of Asia yet, our travels mostly focusing on South East Asia. This year, we were able to visit Australia and her dream country, Morocco—and a long-month visit too! So cheers to that!

 

 

 

JANUARY • Together with members of Team RH, we kicked the year off with a surprise visit to Shanghai. My then girlfriend, and now wife, planned to celebrate her birthday in Shanghai, traveling solo. Little did she know that we also booked tickets on her same dates! I greeted her on the plane, to her utter surprise, while the team hid on the front rows and greeted her as we alighted at Pudong International Airport! Fun!

 

 

 

FEBRUARY • February was wedding month. We declined invitations to travel and focused on our union at C’s home province, Zambales. Not to raise our own chair, but it was such a beautiful wedding. Held at the rustic Casa San Miguel, it encapsulates everything we wanted to happen in our union. A week after, we attended a friend’s wedding in the scenic town of Baras in Rizal. By month’s end, we went flying to Australia, doing a sixteen-hour Singapore layover tour in the process.

 

 

 

MARCHAustralia at last! What was supposedly a Japanese honeymoon turned into an Australian one. Shirakawa-go is lovely and all but a free trip to Australia, complete with a year of multiple entry visa, was hard to refuse. It was my partner’s first time out of Asia and she loved every bit of Sydney, Gold Coast, and Brisbane.

 

 

 

APRIL • As soon as C’s classes ended, we went a-flyin’ for another two-month adventure on old and new places. We kicked off our SEA2africa trip with our moms in tow for one week in Bali. We then flew to East Timor, a first for both of us. Then a quickie in Singapore—which turned more into a friends meet-up than a sightseeing trip.

 

 

 

MAY • And then we’re off to Morocco! Getting to Morocco has been problematic from the start—from expensive flights to transit visa problems in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But you fight for your dreams (or in this case, my partner’s dream) and eventually you’ll get there. And get there we did! We started our month-long Moroccan adventure from Casablanca, then circled the country until we ended up on a night in the Sahara, and finally, the medina of Marrakech. It’s definitely the highlight of our year.

 

 

 

JUNE • June was spent doing nothing. We wanted to rest, and rest we did (although I still wake in the morning expecting I’m in Morocco). But before all that, we partied with the reunited Team RH gang at C’s  family beach house in Zambales. It was a night of nothing but booze, stories, and karaoke!

 

 

 

JULY • South Korea materialized after a night of drunken debauchery on our favorite hangout, Blackport in Quezon City. How we booked our tickets, I can hardly remember. But our South Korean trip was something for the books. Lodging in Itaewon, we partied until the sun literally rose from the horizon. The only thing I didn’t like about this trip was the weather. It was extremely hot in Seoul during summer. Please. Do. Not. Go. To. Korea. During. Summer.

 

 

 

AUGUST • The conflict within our group healed, the whole team embarked on a trip to E’s hometown, Dumaguete. We bonded over litros of beer and unlimited servings of humba while on a hut floating above the Maldivesque waters of the Manjuyod Sandbar.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER • Not wanting to waste our multiple entry visa to the Land Down Under, we scored a cheap flight to Sydney and flew for the second time to Australia. This time, our route took us from Sydney to Nelson Bay, then Hobart to Melbourne. We originally went to Tasmania to see the Southern Lights, but failed to do so. We did see a different kind of light after bingeing every night on Australian cider and wine. And oh, I experienced my first snow here too!

 

 

 

OCTOBER • Color is October’s theme as I flew south of the Philippines to attend the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. It was a first that year for me to travel with another group of friends and without my usual partner-in-crime. I did miss her terribly, but my companions were really fun to be with and the food at Zamboanga was to die for. As a side trip, we were also able to visit the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay to attend the first ever World Migratory Bird Day in the town of Siay. By month’s end, I was reunited with my partner for a quickie around Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh in Malaysia.

 

 

 

NOVEMBER • Boracay’s reopening was held with much anticipation by the Team RH gang. And so on the first day the island opened, we were there in full force. Lodged on our forever hotel partner, Ferra Hotel Boracay, we frolicked on the now virginal island and partied the night away as if Boracay has never closed down.

 

 

 

DECEMBER • I honestly cannot recall why we went to Beijing on the last month of the year. But I’m glad we did. Although the food wasn’t as good as those in Shanghai, the sights were astoundingly more impressive—spell, the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. Before the month ended, C and I went north of the Philippines to see Baguio. We miss traveling locally and it has been a couple of years since we last went up the City of Pines. So to mountains we went, traveling to Buguias and Atok in the process and coming home right before Christmas Eve. A great way to end the year, traveling like fools with no itineraries, like we did years back around the Philippines.

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