I started the year without any plans. I told myself I won’t be traveling much, since I have to save for bigger and longer trips, but life always has a way of diverting one to more exciting paths.
First off, my friends and I got to see someone we’ve been fascinated with (me more than the others): The Wonder Woman of Aklan Ati-Atihan Festival. Not only once, we saw her twice! That was also the first time I really enjoyed a festival.
I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to Palawan twice this year, once to El Nido (via Puerto Princessa), and to Coron. We swam, we snorkeled, we ate well. Except for that tamilok, which was not bad as it sounds, but it’s not something I’d be craving for.
I also got to ride a helicopter! It was just a short 30-minute ride, but it was long enough to be awesome! Though it wasn’t one of them fancy sightseeing helicopters, it was awesome because it’s one of the US Navy’s choppers.
Another fabulous invitation I received was an invite to ANY Shangri-La property of my choice. Given the time constraint and my depleted resources, I chose the Rasa Sentosa Resort in Singapore. This was my first time to stay in a hotel in Singapore, since I started visiting in 2000. The trip also gave me a chance to hang out with friends who are now working in the tiny island.
I’ve been asked how I get invited, and all I can say is that I just get them. I don’t seek them out, they just arrive unexpectedly. Like yesterday, we were lunching at Balay Indang, and saw Anton, who was there with his family. He introduced me to Marge Tan, the manager, who extended an invitation to check out their new property, Wilson’s Place, also in Indang, Cavite. Most of the time, it was just a matter of being at the right place, at the right time.
Another invitation got me to my fourth continent: North America. Philippine Airlines took me on their maiden flight to Toronto, which was also my longest plane ride. This was completely unexpected, and I was only too happy to get another chance to use my cold climate clothes.
Which brings me to one of the highlights of my 2012: Japan. It has been on top of my dream destinations for so long, and I honestly never expected it to step foot in Japan so soon. It was an amazing 13-days, and I’m already making plans to return within the next five years.
Can you find me?
This year was also the year of the video. The Amazing Race Australia episode featuring the Philippines, finally aired, months after we watched them shooting it in Legaspi and Misibis Bay last November 2011. Matt Harding’s fourth Where the Hell is Matt video, also came out last March, and we were in it! I also got interviewed on national television sometime last May, but I’m not linking to that.
Of course, a post about 2012 isn’t complete without our pet project, PHL360°. This took up most of my year, from the time I joined the production in February to its finale in November. It was one heck of a ride, and a completely new experience.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed all the unplanned excitement 2012 brought (which included being a server for a night at Van Gogh is Bipolar), I’m now more inclined to make a plan for the coming year. I’ve already started filling out my calendar, and if things go as planned, it’s bound to be good. Then again, as this year proved, unexpected things make a year even more exciting.
Now, to make YOUR 2013 exciting, it’s time to announce the winner of the Deal Grocer giveaway! The one going to Crosswinds Resorts and Suites in Tagaytay is Joanna Jane Liwag. Congratulations and I hope you have a lovely time!