Thursday, September 25, 2014

12 of My Most Unforgettable Travel Experiences (at the age of 40)

I started to travel at the age of 32 in 2006.
I had to finish my pre-law, law school, and pass the bar exams in 2000.
I started my career in shipping and then endured three (3) years in different law firms.
And then year 2002, I started my career in teaching.

And again, I was aged 32 when I started to travel. 

My first one-week travel was in Ilocos. 
My friend Agatha Mauricio opened my eyes on the spectacles of travel and from then on I traveled and marveled.

At the age of 40, I am sharing my unforgettable travel experiences. 

Here are the twelve of my most unforgettable travels in no particular order.

1. Davao White River Rafting

How could I forget Davao! I almost died in Davao doing river rafting. My first experience was in Cagayan de Oro and after two days in my Mindanao tour (2012), I was again in a raft but this  time in Davao. I had to experience both for me to compare them. 

The raft capsized unexpectedly and I found myself being taken by the strong current for more than five minutes hitting the rocks left and right. I was losing my instinct of self-preservation, everything was blurred.  Then, I was underwater for less than a minute and was still being taken by the strong current. Then, a faint voice emerged out of the confusion and I saw the light from the horizon. I heard anew the voice shouting:  "straight body and don't move!"  I extended my hand and somebody grasped it! It was still not my time! 

And it was one experience I would never forget! 

in the middle of the action in Davao

2. Sagada Cave Connection (Sumaging and Lumiang)

It was my first spelunking experience! The cave connection was really unforgettable! I left Manila 11:00 pm, arrived in Baguio 6:00 am, reached Sagada 1:30 pm and was doing spelunking around 2:30 pm. It was my first time in Sagada and I was traveling alone (as usual). I joined a group whom I met in my bus ride to Sagada and by the time I knew it, though tired and sleepy, I was already inside the cave and endured three (3) hours of spelunking in the cave connection. Spelunking was really awesome!

enduring the cave connection in Sagada

3. Two Mountains in One Day

I was organizing a trek for my students and I had to survey the terrain of the climb. The problem was prior to the hike, my siblings and I had a late night drinking spree and the following morning, I had a terrible hangover! I had to woke up 4:30 am and boarded my bike en route to Cuenca, Batangas. Past 6:00 am,  I hired a guide, climbed Mt. Maculot and then, descended. Past 11 am I was again onboard my bike to Mt. Makiling. And I climbed another mountain and descended anew. I arrived in Tanauan, Batangas past 5:00 pm.

At the top of Mt. Maculot with fellow hikers

4. Seven Falls in One Day

Normally, I would visit only one to two falls in one day, But seven falls was really extraordinary! It happened in Lake Sebu,South Cotabato. I treasured that experience! The breathtaking zipline aerial shoot was a first for me and the long hike was really nerve-wracking!

One of the seven falls in Lake Sebu

5. Motorbike Accident in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

I was going to Nuvali. From Tanauan City, Batangas, I boarded my bike and went to Sta. Rosa. I was 3-4 kilometers away from Nuvali when the accident happened. I was enjoying the ride and not mindful of the road. I reached a blind curve and I failed to notice that there was an approaching car. And before I knew it, I was on the pavement and the bystanders helped me get on my feet. There were so many people who witnessed the event. I could not breathe but I had to look strong. Luckily, I did not hit the car but I was thrown out of my bike and I literally flew from my bike. 

after the motorcycle accident in Nuvali

6. Signal No.3 in Samar onboard a habal-habal

It was my Eastern Samar tour (2012) and it was the first semestral break. I went to Calbiga Caves and did my spelunking. I had to go to Lulugayan Falls within the vicinity. And travel time to the falls was almost one hour onboard a habal-habal. We reached the jump-off point but it was already raining hard because of the typhoon. I told my guide that we have to proceed and we did. By the time we were finished trekking the falls, the wind was really strong and there were three of us onboard the habal-habal (guide, driver and I). It was a descending terrain, the road was muddy and wind was pushing us apart. Good thing we reached the town.
at Calbiga, descending slopes onboard a habal-habal  

7. Bagasbas (Bicol) to Boracay

From Daet, Bicol, I boarded the bus en route to Boracay. Travel time to Sto. Tomas, Batangas was more than 10 hours. I reached Sto. Tomas past 6:00 pm. Boarded another bus going to Batangas City in 1.5 hours and passed my town. Unfortunately, I had no reservation on the boat to Boracay and I instead boarded the boat to Calapan. In Calapan, I boarded the fx ride to Roxas and boarded the Ro-Ro to  Caticlan. I was really tired and sleepy. But I had to endure the long queue before boarding the Ro-Ro. There was no place to sleep in the Ro-Ro and I had to stand while sleeping. I arrived in Boracay past 6:00 am the following day. 

Early morning shoot in Bagasbas beach

8. Cotabato City Airport

I was very optimistic in my Mindanao tour (December, 2012). Again, I was traveling alone. I alighted from the plane and saw a tank at the airport. Yup! a tank was parked at the airport. There were a multitude of military personnel with high-caliber guns and I asked one of them about the area. And all I got were warnings, tips against the city and shocking revelations. I immediately transferred to adjoining province. Natakot! Please do not get me wrong. It is safe in Cotabato City. The problem was bad timing!

at the Cotabato City Airport

9. Quirino's Accommodation and the Aglipay Caves

The Madella Falls and the Aglipay Caves were part of the itinerary. But not the spooky resort. I was not able to sleep for the whole night. There was really something. It was really eerie! But the experience did not stop there. I had to do spelunking the following day, exhausted and without sleep, I survived the Aglipay Caves on the 24th of December. 

Inside the Aglipay Caves

10. Camiguin's Homestay

Holy Week 2011. From Bohol, I was able to catch the only ship going to Camiguin (it was Holy Friday). I reached Camiguin and my first instinct was to have my tour of the island. I was able to finish the habal-habal tour past 4:00 pm. And I realized that I had no accommodation. I was so tired and hungry! And I started searching for my stay. It was past 9:00 pm when I was able to find one. Lesson learned: book first before you tour. 

at the Sunken Cemetery

11. Late Evening Travel in Bukidnon

I finished river rafting in Cagayan De Oro, went back to the hotel, got my stuff and when to the bus station going to Bukidnon. Arriving at the bus station, there was no direct trip to Manolo Fortich Bukidnon and I had to wait for a couple of hours for my ride. Finally, past 9:00 pm I was able to board the trip to Bukidnon. There were no seats available and I was standing on the front door of the bus with only one hand holding to a railing and my feet barely touching the platform. I endured the 2 hours ascending and zigzag travel. I thought I was going to die that night. One false move and I would fell off the bus. I was so tired! It was the last trip and I had to squeeze myself to the door of the bus. Arriving at Manolo Fortich, the next problem was accommodation and it was already 11:00 pm. 

12. My First International Travel (5 countries and I was alone!)

My last is a happy experience. I went to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Five countries in two weeks and it was the best!

At Phuket, Thailand

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