Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

The year has just ended.  To say that my travel life on the year that was is a blast is an understatement.  For a quarter of the year, I was visible on the road, outside the confines of the space that I was accustomed to.  A year in the life of a semi-vagabond, can it really be measured?

Of the last 365 days, only once had I witnessed the sun rise from its horizon.  I was at Balabac, South Palawan.  I had visualized what a blue hour really means with one eye unconscious yet the “automated-self” clicks the camera on one hand.  Then, I had to sleep back.  It was almost always the routine for the past year.  A travel of no fixed itinerary yet focused on the goals set.  No pressure.  No race of time.

blue hour of Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan
Instagram post - sunset at Balabac, Palawan
Night trekking on the steep rolling slopes of Mt. Batulao (while slightly intoxicated), surfing for the first time at La Union (slightly intoxicated again), overnight stay at BaguioCity in time for the lowest recorded temperature of 8 degrees-Celsius and not to mention the recent Quirino province’ #DiscovertheUndiscovered spelunking and trekking, were some of the unforgettable stints of this would-be adventurer.

slightly intoxicated at the bus terminal bound for Batangas

the "socials" at Mount Batulao, Batangas

mandatory group picture with Mt. Batulao slopes

makapicture lang sa bundok
La Union escapade
back to Baguio City after ten years - now at 8 degrees Celsius
spelunking at Aglipay Caves, Quirino.  Photo by: Ferdz Decena
For work commitments and so-called priorities, I have wasted a number of airline tickets to my hometown, Tacloban City, to the dream destination of everyone, Batanes, and to one of my favorite Southeast Asian countries to meet friends at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  As a consolation, I was bronzed on the scorching heat of Shanghai, meet friends to party and wander at UNESCO World Heritage Site gardens of Suzhou, China, and the highlight of all my trips – visiting Japan - Tokyo, Osaka, Nara and Kyoto (a long lost native land) and a vacation with my family to welcome the New Year at Macau-Hongkong.

In the local scene, I am fortunate to have visited the newly bestowed New 7 Wonders Cities of the World- Vigan City, the only UNESCO World Heritage city in the country and one of the four baroque churches of the Philippines, Santa Maria Church of Ilocos Sur, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.

Shanghai skyline

the Bund
Instagram Post - at Pingjiang Street, Suzhou, China
at one of the gardens of Suzhou, China

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove of Kyoto, Japan
the unforgettable Tokyo, Japan
at the Vigan Heritage Village, Vigan City
Santa Maria Church, Ilocos Sur
The beach is one default destination in the Philippines.  It is an all-year round summer event in this country.  For this year, I have revisited Puerto Galera in time for the Malasimbo festival, Puerto Princesa City’s island hopping tour and the sheltered and secluded Dasol, Pangasinan.  The tropical paradise of Balabac, Palawan, the now touristy yet powdery fine white sands of Calaguas Beach and Patar Beach, Bolinao, Pangasinan as well as the Grecian-inspired pillars of Fortune Island of Batangas, longest beach of the Philippines, San Vicente, Palawan and the black sand beaches of Vigan City and Caibiran,Biliranwere some additions to the never-ending list of beach destinations in the Philippines.

White Beach of Puerto Galera
Starfish island of Puerto Princesa City Honda Bay
Dasol, Pangasinan with my great travel buddies

Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan

Punta Sebaring, Balabac, Palawan
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte
sunset at Patar Beach, Pangasinan
Fortune Island
San Vicente, Palawan - longest beach in the Philippines
black sand beach of Caibiran, Biliran
fine black sand of Mindoro Beach, Vigan City
In the aspect of nature trips, one may wonder if I have visited falls as well.  Yes I did.  But all these do not require trekking.  After I visited Tappiyah Falls of Batad Rice Terraces of Ifugao, I swear I will never trek just to visit a falls.  Fortunately, there are some known falls that do not require too much sweat and knee-shaking moments, thus, I was lead to plunge at the waters of Tinago Falls of Caibiran and view the Bridal Veil Falls of Kennon Road, Tuba, Benguet (slightly curing a hangover).

Tinago Falls of Caibiran, Biliran
Bridal Veil Falls of Tuba, Benguet

Part of Philippine traditions and customs are the festivals and the culinary feast that comes with it.  Going back to my hometown, I have witnessed my second Kasadyaan Festival at Tacloban City, Leyte and before the year ends witnessed the award-winning making of the Giant Lanterns of San Fernando,Pampanga. 

Pampanga and Dagupan’s culinary masterpiece were the highlights of my food trip not to mention the stays I had with travel bloggers at the varied known hotels in the metropolis and outside Metro Manila.  And the year 2014 started at Linden Suites of Ortigas, Manila, followed by a number of invitations with good friends from #TeamRedhorse.

Linden Suites, Ortigas, Manila

from Patar Beach, Pangasinan.  Photo by:  Marx Velasco
Hotel Luna of Vigan City
Baguio City

with Cebu blogger friends and Mr. Marlon Gochan, owner of Cebu's Original Lechon Belly

Session Road of Baguio City.  Photo by: Kirk Acebron
Tagaytay City
What about off-beat destinations?  Yes, I had a share of some for the last year.  The landlocked provinces of Abra and Quirino are two of the most special destinations I visited. 

Abra province
the great ensemble of Quirino Province
And what’s even more special for this year?  It is the opportunity of being able to travel with the respected and known travel bloggers and photographers of the country which I am highly grateful of and of course, the gift of friendship that comes along.

So, how do we measure a year in our life?  Indeed, it is immeasurable.  We just live by it.

Where shall my slippers take me this year?

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  1. Seasons of love lang? Hehehe! Happy New Year, atty! Gala pa tayo! 😀

    1. Haha! A year of love ganun. Oo madami pa tayo gala for 2015. Haha happy new year!

  2. More travels for #TeamRedHorse
    Happy New Year!

  3. Magtatampo sana ako dahil hindi ko nakita yung Dagupan, tapos binasa ko ulit. Andun naman pala haha :D

    Happy New Year Atty! More trips and food... and money sa ating lahat! :))

    1. Hahaha! D nagbabasa. D ko na nilagay pics nakakagutom kac. Anyway, happy new year also!

  4. Replies
    1. happy new yr ma'am shugah! Pnta ka uli mla! Then party na. Hehe

  5. Replies
    1. Hahaha oo para my kunting drama ang post. Lol happy new year! A more sociable self for all of us! Hahaha