2018 Travel Recap: Highlights, Firsts, and Repeats

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Is it too late to do a 2018 recap now that we’re halfway through January 2019? Doesn’t matter. I’m still gonna do it anyway!

2018 went by really fast, I tell you. At least for me anyway. One minute I was spending Sinulog in the woods, the next thing I know I was slowly counting down to 2019… in my office cubicle… because I am now a corporate slave who had to work while everybody else was enjoying their round-shaped fruits and the visually pleasing but lung-damaging fireworks displays all over the city. Oh, I am not complaining. I love my job. It funds my travels. Anywayyyyy…

While 2018 was still ongoing, I really thought it had been boring. But now, as I am looking back, it was actually quite eventful! Is this a thing that people go through or is it just me and my constant lack of sleep and being totally unaware of what’s going on around me half the time? Okay. Going back to the subject…

It was a year of many firsts and repeats.

It’s sort of embarrassing being from Cebu and all, but it was only last year that I got to try canyoneering in Kawasan Falls and go to Sumilon Island in Oslob for the very first time, which are very popular tourist destinations. A reminder to explore my own backyard more, perhaps?

But most of the other firsts that I had last year involved four-legged creatures, like seeing the animals in Cebu Safari, the elephants in Bali, and sea turtles in the wild. I’ve seen sea turtles in sanctuaries before, but never in the wild, until last year, when I spent a lot of time freediving. I got starstruck. Seriously.

My repeats, on the other hand, included Bacalla Woods, where I spent my Sinulog weekend with friends; Moalboal, where I went freediving with my Dive ta Bai family; Camotes, which was a collaboration with an online magazine; and Siargao, as usual.

Unlike the previous years where I planned my travels months ahead, last year’s adventures were mostly sort of last minute, except for the two major trips: Siargao and Bali.

2018 was full of surprises, just like how I landed a collaboration with an online eco-travel publication called SeventyOne Magazine, where I got to go on adventures and write about them. I finally got to try canyoneering in Kawasan for the very first time (as previously mentioned), and had the chance to revisit Camotes Islands and got to know it a little bit more in terms of history and sustainability. I could never fully explain how grateful I am to be part of a project that does not only feature amazing local destinations, but also helps spread awareness about sustainable tourism and marine conservation.

In addition to collaborations I had last year, I say yes only to those who match my real interests and I do believe that I choose them well. This includes Kubo Siargao Homestay, Kawasan Canyoneering, Haru, 4ocean, Dynamik Bodyworks, Sew Local, and Hookers n Baits Co. I’d like to thank all of them for trusting me to help promote their businesses and brands. I may be quite a nobody in the blogosphere and in the Instagram world, but I do my best to deliver quality content. 😉

Going back to my firsts, I finally traveled outside of the Philippines last year. Yes, after 27 years on this earth, I finally did it.

If you’re wondering why… well, for starters, there’s just so much to see here in my homeland. The list of local destinations that I wanted to visit kept growing longer, which made it harder to leave. And there’s Siargao- the tiny paradise that I keep going back to, which also eats up my travel fund all the damn time.

It also took me a while to decide where I really wanted to go if I were to step out of this country, even if it’s only for a week-long vacation. And lastly, I was never in a hurry. I wanted to travel outside of the country for the first time when the timing was right and when my heart was really in it.

So, one day, I decided on Bali. It was a close fight between the Indonesian island and Thailand, but I picked the former for several reasons, including currency exchange rates, of course. Haha! When the opportunity (and by that I mean, super cheap flights, thanks to my accumulated GetGo points), I decided to jump on it and turned the dream into reality once and for all.

Bali gave me some of the happiest days of my life and that’s when I knew that I made the right decision of choosing it over everything else. And although I had been posting photos of my trip on social media, I never really got into much detail because I wanted to keep the memories to myself a little longer.

But this year, I am finally going to talk about it in a series of posts: what to do, where to eat, accommodation reviews, photo diaries, and the likes. Because being the scatterbrained rambler that I am, I simply cannot fit everything into a single blog post.

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I try to remind myself every day that I have so much to be grateful for. Writing this post and looking back, it made me realize that even though I had stumbled several times last year, I made a hell lot of good memories and met new friends that made life a lot more exciting than it ever was.

Happy new year!

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