My 2015 Travel Wish List5:21 AM
Now that we are still given the luxury of time by doing freelance work, The Lifestyle Hub is ready to make 2015 a huge travel year. I don't consider myself a hardcore traveler. I've never been to the most exotic places but I'd like to think we've visited a lot of places.
We have a list but we can never be sure where to go next. This photo is taken across the famous Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We didn't plan for that trip when 2014 started. We knew we're going there just 72 hours before hitting the airport.
In the Philippines, it will still be about the beach. I've been to the finest swimming hot spots including White Island in Camiguin, Dakak in Zamboanga del Norte, Panglao in Bohol, Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Boracay of course, and my favorite Bantayan Island in Cebu, but I'd love to see more. For 2015, let's go less commercial and visit beautiful beaches of not so familiar names. Let's promote the (other parts of the) Philippines, yeah?
Meanwhile, I had the usual destinations when we talk about international trips. Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, Singapore - nothing strikingly special so far. Well, Siem Reap maybe when we visited the Angkor Wat in 2013 but let's go for places only a tiny fraction of the world's population know about. The less pictures on Google, the better.
So I drafted my travel wish list for 2015. At first, I tried to list down possible destinations basing on my current financial and Visa capacity, but who cares. This is why this is called a "wish list." I promise to work hard to see all these magnificent places. So, here they are in alphabetical order. Will you go with me?
Adams, Ilocos Norte
Scanning some travel blogs, I was surprised when I read an article about how one town in Ilocos Norte has 18 waterfalls. Eighteen!!! I was more intrigued to know that this fifth class municipality is home to only 1,900 people living in 5 barangays. They have more waterfalls than villages!
I also learned that Adams town's typography is similar to Baguio city, cold and full of lush vegetation. It maybe a long bus ride from Manila to Pagudpud (9- 12 hours) and from Pagudpud to the town (2 hours), but it will be a beautiful escape when you start to hate the noise of Manila (again).
Now, this exotic. I may have been told with not so happy stories by some friends about the beaches in Bali, food and sanitation among others, I am still willing to see this Indonesian island. My wish is not really related to the Bali segment of Julia Roberts's blockbuster "Eat, Pray, Love", but I'd love to see how Indonesia's Hindu community survive being in a predominantly Muslim country. And yeah... fine. Maybe some "Eat, Pray, Love" would be nice too.
We've been to as far as Ilocos, twice to the east in Bicol and scaled the Zamboanga peninsula but for some weird reasons, I've never visited two of the biggest cities in Mindanao: Davao and General Santos City. I have some friends there and looking for company will not be a challenge. This year, we're going there!
I was about to arrange a trip to Japan in 2014 but we succumbed to several practical adjustments when we left the corporate world. Being reasonable, some plans have to be moved. In 2015, I swear we are turning Japanese!
I am considering flying from Manila to Osaka instead of Tokyo to prioritize the new Harry Potter park. Some friends also say that Cherry Blossoms are prettier in the outskirts of Osaka. That is if we can make it there in 2 months since Japan's beautiful spring season fully blooms in the first two weeks of March. While Osaka is the sure choice, I am crossing my fingers for a quick "Lost in Translation"side trip to Tokyo! That would be so Scarlett Johansson! :)
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Have you seen the Cinemalaya movie K'NA: The Dreamweaver? If you did then you already know why I want to see Lake Sebu. So picturesque, so calm, so creatively inspiring. I am wondering how many personal blog posts can I finish there.
Lake Sebu is not really just a lake. It's an entire municipality with a lot of people, around 80,000 of them. What to do here other than enjoy the lake? Experience the T'boli (also Tboli) culture which is one of the most colorful and literature-rich indigenous groups in the Philippines.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Now, this is the part where we're going ambitious. But for those who don't know, traveling to Brazil doesn't require a Visa for Filipinos. What it does require is a transit Visa for the USA or Dubai (It depends on your flight route) and close to PhP200,000 for flight expenses alone! As what they say in Brazil, that's "Oi!".
Of all here, this destination maybe the most challenging but God knows how much I wanna dance the Samba! Why Rio? Why not?! Fresh from the successful FIFA World Cup, the city is abuzz in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics. And who doesn't want to see Copacabana (and some Brazilian hunks)! Did I just write that?
I've been to Baguio several times but I've never been to Sagada. When I will finally have the chance to visit the town, I intend to stay there long. Not just days, I am looking at 2 to 3 weeks! I don't want to enumerate because I know you're knowledgeable already of what to do in Sagada. Besides, I don't wanna be there as a tourist. I want to be a local. :)
Singapore (Gardens By The Bay and Singapore Sports Hub)
For our second trip to the Lion City, we are going specific. While we may experience another sunset viewing from the topmost floor of the Marina Bay Sands and spend hours shopping in Chinatown, I'm excited to finally experience Gardens By The Bay. We were there in 2012 and picturesque park opened a few months after. This would be a perfect backdrop for some dramatic blog post, don't you think?
You might be curious what the Singapore Sports Hub is. It is the new facility the wealthy Singaporean government is building to host the 2015 Southeast Asian Games. For those who know me personally, you will not be surprised why I pick this place. I have such a deep fondness for international sporting meets like the Olympics, the Asian Games and the SEA Games. The country is hosting the biennial event from June 5 to 16 and we're hoping we're there to witness all the spectacle. Knowing Singapore, we are assured that it's going to be lavish.
The truth is, I had a long list but I am always a fan of spontaneous travels. I want the thrill in seeing myself in the airport unplanned. Of course, we want to celebrate the New Year's with the Eiffel Tower bursting in fireworks or attend a mass at the St. Peter's Square with the Pope officiating or lounge in a coffee shop in Casablanca. But for the 365 days of 2015, we're making all of the above happen together with other exciting surprise trips.
Happy New Year! Happy Travel Year! :)