2012: A year of new experiences

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.

Kalibo Ati-Atihan
Kalibo Ati-atihan

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.

Marimegmeg Beach
Marimegmeg Beach in El Nido

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.

USNS Mercy
We rode this!

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.

Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa
The view from my beach chair

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.

Wilson's Place 13
Wilson’s Place in Indang, Cavite

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.

Toronto 032
Four down, three more to go

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.

Shirakawa-Go, I’ll come and visit you again.

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.

RELATED:   2007: A year of travel

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.

PHL360 113
The PHL360° Finale screening at 10A Alabama with the cast, crew, and fans!

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.

Van Gogh is Bipolar
Dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar is always an 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.

RELATED:   5 reasons why I travel

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!

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 19 Comments
    First time natin nag travel together this year!

  2. docgelo says:

    I wish to try Van Gogh is Bipolar when my family and I get a chance to be home by the end of 2013 hopefully.

    Happy New Year, Nina! You deserve nothing but good things.
    May you have more exciting and inspiring adventures this 2013!

  3. chyngreyes.com says:

    Japan! cant help but be inggitera, as always.

    this year’s been really good to you. super saludo for the PHL360 project. =)

  4. thelighttraveler says:

    Wow! A helicopter ride! That’s one thing I’ve been wanting to try, too. =)

    And, being an anime fan, Japan has been part of my bucket list ever since I can remember. Congrats on an awesome year!

    Happy New Year and here’s to more adventures in 2013!

  5. blissfulguro says:

    apir sa travels teh! ikaw na talaga! :)

    congrats to joanne!:)

  6. Jie says:

    Happy New Year Miss Nina! :)

  7. Had the same outlook as yours this year–not make travel plans or book tickets in advance to save up for big trips. But it turned out to be my biggest travel year yet! :)

    Life does bring us to pleasantly surprising places, and hope it does again this year! :)

  8. Helicopter ride, 2 trips to Palawan, Japan and four continents down. Just wow. Congrats to your great year and for the successful PHL 360 series, Nina! :)

  9. joan says:

    Japan pa lang bawing bawi na! Nakakainggit!

    Congrats sa PHL360! Excited na ko for your Season 2. :)

    By the way, salamat ulit sa voucher!

  10. So glad to have been part of your 2012, Nina! Happy New Year!

  11. B Chai says:

    It’s been such an awesome 2012 for you and I can only imagine what 2013 will bring. You know you’re gonna have to top it! Somehow, I have a feeling you will, my dear. ***COUGHCOMEVISITMEHERECOUGH***

    I wonder what this year has in store for you! Also, I totally loved watching PHL360°. So cool to see you were a part of it too!

    Cheers to you & to 2013!

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