Places I’ve Been To So Far…

My love for travel started in 2010 when I had the chance to travel 12 hours (by bus) away from busy Manila to what is called the “Boracay of the North) – Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. While quieter than well-known Boracay, it is no less beautiful.

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Saud Beach
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Bangui Windmills
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Patapat Viaduct
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Burgos lighthouse (Cape Bojeadour)

On our way home (same trip), we passed by Vigan, Ilocos Sur – well known for its historic, ancestral houses. I was not able to truly go around the area but what I saw is historic enough for me!

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2010 was also the year I first went to Boracay Island, found in the province of Aklan. Boracay is well known as a beautiful beach and it did not disappoint. From beach and water activities, to different kinds of food to all night partying, Boracay is the ultimate vacation getaway.

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Station 2
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About to go snorkeling
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Flying Fish, similar to a Banana Boat
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Station 2
(Note: This picture is owned by Rachel Peralta. I do not own this picture.)

I was able to go back home to Iloilo (my mother’s province) for the first time in 15 years, home of delicious batchoy and sweet butterscotch. The province is both agricultural land and urban hub. While we mostly stayed in my mother’s barrio, I made it a point to also visit Iloilo City.

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Molo Church
Molo Church
Magdalena Jalandoni's house
Magdalena Jalandoni’s house

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As I have been to places in Luzon and Visayas, going to Mindanao is a natural choice. Currently researching on Davao, =).

I have also been to places outside of my country, though staying mainly in the Asian region. I always have to travel on a tight budget and so Europe and Norther America is out of the question for me for now. Can’t wait to blog about my travel to Europe and Northern America in the future!

So far, other countries/regions I’ve been to are Singapore (2010), Malaysia (2010), Hong Kong (2011), Macau (2011), South Korea (2012), Vietnam (2012) and Cambodia (2012).

SINGAPORE

Singapore, in my eyes, in urban through and through. Even with Palawan Beach in Sentosa island or the huge Botanical Garden right smack in the middle of the city, Singapore will remain urban for me. What I liked most about Singapore is its discipline and orderliness. They have low crime rate (they leave their iPhones lying around), an efficient public transportation system and charge fines (thus the name, “Fine City”) for every law violation, including crossing the road. And of course, this is the place where I fell in love with Charles… & Keith (haha!)

Merlion by the Singapore River
Merlion by the Singapore River
Universal Studios = AWESOME!
Universal Studios = AWESOME!
Singapore City by night
Singapore City by night
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens

MALAYSIA

My first impression of Malaysia, specifically Kuala Lumpur,  is that it is very similar to Manila, except that majority of the population is Muslim and races include Malays, Indians and Chinese. I liked the urban landscape of KL and at this point, nothing beats Malaysian chocolate for me (chocoholic me!)

Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

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Batu Caves

HONG KONG

When talking about a bustling metropolis, it is but natural that Hong Kong be mentioned. This tiny Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China is a free port, finance/banking center and a popular vacation spot. What I loved about Hong Kong is their MTR (which covers most of the region), endless night markets and of course, my beloved DISNEYLAND!

Giant Buddha at Lantau Island
Giant Buddha at Lantau Island
Hong Kong Disneyland at Lantau Island
Hong Kong Disneyland at Lantau Island
Mongkok at night
Mongkok at night
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Victoria Harbor on Avenue of the Stars with Hong Kong Island as background.
(Note: The picture is owned by Jennifer Panaligan. I do not own this picture. Thank you.)

MACAU

Macau is also a SAR of China, one hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong. This region is well known for its lavish hotels and casinos as well as for it’s Portuguese architecture. The egg tarts are delicious, the whole vibe more relaxed and the showcase of opulence can be quite fun to observe.

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Macau Peninsula
St. Paul Ruins
St. Paul Ruins
The Venetian
The Venetian
Macau Fisherman's Wharf
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

SOUTH KOREA

Now this is the place I was most excited about. My mother and I share a love of Koreanovelas and I’ve recently become addicted to K-pop too. We stayed in Seoul, the country’s capital though I would also want to have seen Busan or Jeju Island (I will definitely go back!) What do I love about this place? Pretty much everything. From the food to the efficient MTR to the fact the most of the Koreans we encountered were extremely helpful (we got lost a lot, haha!) Not to mention my growing addiction to their cosmetics that are about half the price it’s sold in Manila. Yep, I will definitely be going back.

N Seoul Tower in Namsan
N Seoul Tower in Namsan
Hongdae with its vibrant youth scene
Hongdae with its vibrant youth scene
Myeongdong, cosmetics capital
Myeongdong, cosmetics capital
Insadong, traditional district
Insadong, traditional district

CAMBODIA

Just this November, I made my way to the countries of Cambodia and Vietnam. For more reading on this particular trip, please see the blog post:  13 Things Mine Eyes Have Seen In Khmer and Saigon.

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King’s Palace

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VIETNAM

I felt that I did not have enough time to see more of Vietnam. I would’ve liked to go through their beautiful boutiques, drink more coffee and check out the Mekong River Delta. These are definitely on my list should I have the chance to go back.

View from our hostel
View from our hostel
City Hall
People’s Committee Building
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Sunrise over the Saigon River
Ben Thanh Night Market
Ben Thanh Night Market

In the coming 2013, I’d like to go to Davao or Palawan, South Korea (a much longer visit this time) and GUAM. Who knows, maybe I’ll see Florida and Texas too (*o*)!

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