2013 YearEnd Post: Project Philippines Update

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When 2013 entered, I created a post and highlighted some plans to work on for the rest of the year. One of the things listed is to visit at least 20 provinces of the Philippines. Slowly but surely, I tried to book seat sales, considered the routes of my trips and tagged friends to join me on my tours. Before 2013 ends, I want to give you an update on this item listed on my to-do-list.

22 provinces in 2013.

JANUARY

Before January ended, I joined the Byaheng Victory tour to Nagsasa Cove in the province of Zambales where I enjoyed camping under the stars as well as capturing a magnificent sunset on the cove.

Capones Island in Zambales.

FEBRUARY

First weekend of the love month was spent riding on a 4×4 jeep and trekking to the crater of Mount Pinatubo via the Capas, Tarlac jump off point. I was drenched under the rain ‘coz I forgot to bring rain protection.

Disadvantage of not bringing a raincoat.

The following weekend, I traveled solo to Albay and Sorsogon for 4 days. Highlight of this trip was my ATV ride to the lava wall of Mayon Volcano. I also visited the most photographed view in Albay, the ruins of Cagsawa. I also found myself lost in the province of Sorsogon.

At the adventure hill of Legaspi City, Albay.
Hot spring at Irosin, Sorsogon.

Last Saturday of February was spent enjoying everything that flies on the 18th Hot Air Balloon Festival in OMNI Aviation in Clark, Pampanga. I was able to watch a spectacular show of the Breitling Jet Team, some aerobatic demonstrations and the flight of hot air balloons.

18th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival at OMNI Aviation, Clark, Pampanga.

MARCH

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Summer starts during the month of March so I decided to go to Baguio City, Benguet during the first weekend of the month. I dropped by Pugo Adventures in Pugo, La Union to try their adventure activities.

Pugo Adventure’s wall climbing activity (on jeans, LOL).
First attempt at flower photography in Baguio City.

My first festival experience this year happened in my hometown, Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan’s Corn Festival where street dancing and cook fest were held.

Streetdancing during the Corn Festival in Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan.

APRIL

For the first time, I joined the annual Aliwan Fiesta tagged as the festival of festivals with contingents coming from known festivals in the Philippines to participate in the Grand Street and float parade. The next morning, we went to a newly opened resort in Calatagan, Batangas to experience the first wave of summer.

First time to try kayaking at Calatagan, Batangas.

The following weekend, I was invited to visit the Puzzle Museum of Gina Gil Lacuna in Tagaytay City, Cavite who made to the Guinness World Records and also let us stay on her Puzzle Mansion Bed and Breakfast.

Together with Gina Lacuna and her Guinness World Record certificate.

Highlight of the month was my long trip to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro with a paradise experience in Apo Reef Natural Park, the second largest atoll reef in the world.

Paradise experience at Apo Reef Natural Park, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

MAY

Intense heat of the sun was felt during this month so together with some members of PTB, we decided to visit Mahabang Buhangin of Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. But before that, we spent an overnight weekend in the island of Magalawa in Palauig, Zambales.

The island of Magalawa in Zambales.
Long stretch of Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte.

JUNE

I welcomed my birthday month with a solo trip to Sagada, Mountain Province where I tried spelunking in Sumaging Cave, trekking to Bomod-ok falls and tasted the local Sagada food being offered in the locale.

Spelunking in the caves of Sagada.

To cap the month was a food trip in the streets of Binondo checking out some authentic Chinese cuisines available.

Searching for authentic Chinese cuisines in Binondo.

JULY

All weekends of July were raining but we found ourselves on a relaxing and pampering stay at the Luljetta’s Hanging Garden and Spa in Antipolo City, Rizal.

A pampering weekend at Luljettas Hanging Gardens and Spa.

The following week was spent on a tour around the city of Cabanatuan and nearby towns of Nueva Ecija. We were accommodated by Microtel Wyndham Cabanatuan with a sumptuous dinner at Hapag Vicenticos.

A scrumptious Crispy Pata of Hapag Vicenticos in Nueva Ecija.

AUGUST

I reserved some leaves and travel funds for my trip for the month, my 5-day travel to the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental. An unforgettable boat ride happened during our Guimaras island hopping activity. I was able to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Miag-ao Church and The Ruins of Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Atop of the Guisi Lighthouse in Guimaras.
The beautiful door of Molo Church in Iloilo.
A captivating view of The Ruins in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

SEPTEMBER

Instead of going out on a weekend trip, I invited some of my workmates to do a food trip in Quezon City. We started at Mang Larry’s Isawan to some of the restaurants in Maginhawa Street. I also stayed in Microtel Tarlac for a weekend.

Mang Larry’s Isawan and Maginhawa foodtrip with workmates.

OCTOBER

Meanwhile, the craziest plane ride happened during a cloudy morning trip from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Busuanga, Palawan. I was reunited with nature with my island hopping experience. Before the month ends, together with PTB’s, we also tried the Cavinti route going to the famous Pagsanjan Falls of Laguna.

Panoramic shot of CYC Island in Coron, Palawan.
The famous waterfall of Pagsanjan, Laguna.

NOVEMBER

Batad is always a part of every traveler’s list and I ticked another UNESCO World Heritage site with my grueling trek to the amphitheater-like rice terraces in the province of Ifugao. I was able to see the magnificent beauty of Tappiya Falls.

Bucket list checked at Batad, Banaue, Ifugao.

DECEMBER

I promised not to travel so much for this month since I needed to save some for Christmas. But travel bug didn’t allow me when I found myself having goosebumps on my first Giant Lantern Festival experience in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Giant Lantern Festival 2013 at San Fernando City, Pampanga.

For 2013, I visited 22 Provinces: Zambales, Tarlac, Albay, Sorsogon, Pampanga, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Batangas, Cavite, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Mt. Province, Metro Manila, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Laguna, and Ifugao. Other statistics can be found below:

That’s it for 2013 and hoping to visit more provinces next year for my Project Philippines. Happy New Year guys and more travels to us!

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