On being travel crazy in 2010

When 2010 started, I didn’t really have a concrete goal. I had ticket that I hoarded during airline seat sales, so I knew I was going to those places. What I never expected was that I’d end up traveling at least one a month this year!

Lakbay Norte
Lakbay Norte group at the Paoay Church. Photo by Bong Bajo

I had no trips for January except for the week-long Lakbay Norte media tour with other travel bloggers and members of the media. In seven days, we covered 1,798 kilometers through 7 provinces on North Philippines: Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Zambales and Pampanga. It was a crazy seven days, made crazier with a very tight itinerary, truckloads of food, videoke contests and several bottles of bagoong.

Lakbay Norte marked the start of travel season and it was also when I started burning out of traveling and travel blogging.

Seven Commando Beach
Seven Comando Beach, El Nido

Went back North for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta with Lakbay Norte friends, and to Clark airport for the flight to Kota Kinabalu. Though I brought my netbook with me, I didn’t blog until the last day, while waiting for the car going to the airport. I ended up going to La Union, Baguio and Pangasinan shortly after I got back, then to El Nido a week later. Didn’t blog about the 3rd trip up North and only blogged sparingly while in El Nido. Seriously, who’d want to blog when there’s a gorgeous stretch of beach and about a dozen evil lounge chairs?

Calaguas Island
Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas

Met Chyng for the first time at Terminal 3 before boarding our separate flights to Bicol. We met up at Naga en route to Calaguas, which we both agreed was worth the travel and sunburn. Aside from the long stretch of fine white sand that we share with less than a dozen people, another thing I liked most about Calaguas is the fact that there’s no electricity and cellphone signal. It was great to completely disconnect from the world even for just 12 hours. The only other trip for March was a drive to Tagaytay for a friend’s wedding.

Carlos Celdran
Walked with Carlos Celdran

I typically avoid traveling during the summer months and long weekends since I know there would be hoards of travelers doing the same thing, but I was starting to go batty so I went to Baguio with Hazel. Despite it being my 5th time in the City of Pines and my 3rd time in 2010, we still managed to visit places I’ve never been to before. April was also the time I took that Carlos Celdran tour of Intramuros, as part of Team Manila’s Ang Pambansang T-shirt launch.

Macau Bungy
I did it!

Traveled only once in May, but it was a biggie: the Macau familiarization tour. I went with Ivan, Ferdz and Estan, all of whom I’ve traveled with before, Christine, who I met for the first time and Kaoko, who I’ve known since 2006 but haven’t traveled with. It was four days of seemingly non-stop walking and non-stop eating. It was glorious. I capped the trip with a very expensive jump off the highest commercial bungy platform in the world: the Macau Tower.

Cua Dai beach
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An

June is like summer to me — it’s when I usually travel around Southeast Asia because it’s the start of the low season. From Manila, I flew to Ho Chi Minh using the one-way ticket I bought during a seat sale for only Php 36. From Ho Chi Minh, I flew to Da Nang (unfortunately, not a promo seat) and headed down to Hoi An. From there I took the bus to Hue, then onwards to Hanoi. From Hanoi, I flew to Bangkok, staying only for a day, before flying down to Krabi. Just so you know, June in Krabi is not a good idea. I then flew to Malaysia for my flight back to Manila.

People's Park in the Sky
At the People’s Park in the Sky

July was the lull between trips. I had tickets to Cagayan de Oro, but the Vietnam trip wore me out (even without much blogging) and the Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur leg cleaned out my wallet, no thanks to Kinokuniya. I did have a gift certificate for Summit Ridge, so I invited Sunshine (who was supposed to travel with me to Vietnam) for a relaxing weekend in Tagaytay.

Adi and his Wayang
Adi, the wayang maker in Jakarta

I received a very interesting invite in August: a dinner reception aboard the USS Blue Ridge, which was docked at Pier 13. The Blue Ridge is a “Command Ship for the United States Seventh Fleet” and “is the most capable command ship ever built, with an extremely sophisticated Command and Control system.” I don’t know what that means, but I do know it’s a very big boat and they make very good chocolate chip cookies (the kind that grandma used to make). August was also the month when I went back to the first country I ever traveled to: Indonesia. I flew via Singapore and entered Indonesia through Yogyakarta (for Borubudur and Prambanan), back tracking to Jakarta to see what has changed since 1995 (a LOT), then flying east to Bali (for the beach, the boys and the babi guling).

Old Charm Guesthouse
One of my travel buddies by the Old Charm Guesthouse’s lily pond. My other travel buddy is…shy.

It was back to Bangkok for me and Cla for what is starting to become an annual pilgrimage to the Thailand Open. Only this time, we actually made it to the Impact Arena to watch a tennis match and harass the player’s standees. It was our first time to try Bangkok’s new Airport Link, which made me angsty about the state of airport transfer option in Manila. That trip was also our first time to visit Patpong, a place I managed to avoid even after numerous visits to the city. It’s not like it’s a place you visit when you’re traveling alone and you’re shy…

Calbayog, Samar
I love Calbayog’s padyak

October was supposed to be my no-travel month, as I needed to save up for upcoming trips. Somehow, I ended up going to Cebu (via Clark) to buy danggit and Zubuchon and to Calbayog, Samar to watch colorful padyaks go by.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Guess who was excited about Disneyland?

Trixie of Nuffnang gave me some good news in late October: I’ll be going to Hong Kong Disneyland! It was a fun weekend with Ferdz and Oggie, and the Disney experience was simply magical. More on that in January. I got back with just enough time to sleep and pack for my birthday trip: Brunei and Myanmar to complete the ASEAN member countries. It was, however, the people I met during the trip that made it so special.

Dela Cruz House of Piña
Dela Cruz house of Piña in New Buswang, where you can buy the finest export-quality piña, abaca and nito products

Just two weeks after I came back, I fly out again, but this time with family. My brother and his family are home for the holidays, and I joined them for some fun in the sun, sand and sea. Though I usually fly to Caticlan when I’m headed to Boracay, I decided to fly with them to Kalibo and stayed back to for a four-day slumber party at Chris’ hacienda house. Chris showed me and Cla that there’s more to Kalibo than just the airport big enough to accommodate planes from Manila, Seoul and Taipei. Another high point of this month was winning the Philippine Blog Awards’ Best Travel Blog for 2010. Did not expect that at all.

RELATED:   So why travel solo?

I suppose you can say it’s been a pretty good year, both for traveling and my personal life. The funk I’ve been feeling at the start of the year has finally left, and I’m finding myself more motivated to actually start on the projects I’ve been putting off. I’m hopeful for 2011, but I don’t expect to travel as much as I did this year (despite having 2 trips in January, 2 in February, 1 in March already scheduled). That said, I hope to see YOU traveling more in 2011!

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 38 Comments
  1. chyng says:

    For having named as Best Travel Blog Winner for 2010 – it was surely a good year for you! Lucky me, ikaw ang mentor ko! Thank you Tey! ?

    Next year na natin pag-usapan natin ang life (and accidental death) insurance.. Paakkk! =)

  2. Marky says:

    the bungy jump in Macau, Vietnam, Jakarta, the best travel blog, definitely a long list of highlights…what a 2010 – inspiring much. Hope your 2011 will be double your 2010. :)

  3. Sino ang matanda? Basta kami ni Nina Forever 21 :) Congratulations again for winning the best travel blog this year

  4. Christian S says:

    Great year Nina! And what a great way to cap it off with winning this year’s Travel Blogger of the Year! =)

  5. well done for doing the bungee jump. Pure madness but well done.

  6. kassy says:

    WHat do you do for a living? this is really awesome!!! :)

  7. wow! wow! wow! yun lang masasabi ko.

  8. Ed says:

    It was nice to meet you even if it was a short jeep ride in Clark, Nina! A lot of travels this year for you indeed! Cool, we bungy jumped on the same year! Sakit talaga sa bulsa di ba? hehe. pero worth it naman :D

    More opportunities this year definitely! :D

  9. flip says:

    happy new year nina. wishing you adventures sa 2011

  10. kate says:

    what a great year, Nina! Keep traveling :) Looking forward to your posts this 2011! Btw, I want to visit the house of Pina :P

  11. kaoko says:

    Apat na taon na pala tayo magkakilala? Time flies by so fast. Sa lagay na yan di pa tayo nakakapagsayawan sa beach!

  12. BNP says:

    Hi! Would like to invite you to join Blogs Ng Pinoy, the online directory of blogs made by Pinoys worldwide. Kindly visit http://blogsngpinoy.com for more details. See you there!

  13. dyanie says:

    Ikaw na talaga ang jetsetter! At ayaw mo pang mga travel nyan ah? Haha! :D Best travel blog, traveled every month, may career, san ka pa? Isa nalang talaga eh! Yaan mo, pray natin yan kay Lord. Ahahaha!! :D

    Excited na ko sa u know natin! :)

  14. Photoblogger says:

    Wooot! great adventure! Sayang lang we didn’t meet when u came here to Cebu. was celebrating my bday that time kc (would’ve invited you sana :P)

    Hope to see u this Cebu Blog Camp 2011

  15. bertN says:

    Happy New Year and keep on traveling.

  16. Micamyx says:

    Yung Macau Bungee Jump talaga ang bentang-benta hehe :P Gusto ko din mag-Bali soon woot :D

    Happy New YEar Nina! Thanks to your blog for helping me out in many situations LOL :P Congrats din sa Best Travel Blog award. Wander lang ng wander :D

  17. Ferdz says:

    2010 is the year of the Evil Martian haha. Congrats Nina!

  18. I rmmbr date me nagsabe saken, gael chck this blog, your site is redirected to hers, she has a nice blog. I said, “ayoko sa kanya, mataray xa, d xa namamansin!” haha But I was so wrong! :) Thanks for everything Nina, I’m so excited for our Calaguas trip. And congrats again for winning in the PBA awards, you deserved it. ako naman ngayon ang tinatamad na mag-blog, at pati mag-travel. hala! :(

    Happy Travels Nina! *hugz*

    • nina says:

      Walang katotohanan yan! Mataray at di talaga ako namamansin! Hahahahaha!

      Hinay hinay lang… just ask yourself kung alin ba mas importante: mag blog or mag travel? ;) Basta gawin mo lang kung ano gusto mo, yung mga bagay na napipilitan ka lang gawin, wag mo na munang pilitin na gawin kundi baka mas lalo kang mainis ;)

  19. Rae says:

    hi,i like your travel blogs…travel tips,budget get-aways etc. i’m a traveler myself but not a blogger. just wondering if there’s an all-pinoy travel group where i could meet and join(to have company) other people when they travel? thanks and more power!


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