Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: The Year That Was

2012 has been a great year for me. It was a year of spontaneous travels, numerous food trips and finally took the road that I've really wanted since I was a kid. Truth be told, it was my most extensive travel year yet. I have traveled to as far as Lingayen, Baler, Clark, Baguio down to the most underrated province, Siquijor. Oh, I shouldn't forget my Kota Kinabalu trip!

There were times that I have doubted myself if I am doing the right decisions. Well, even though that I haven't achieved some of my goals, at least I have learned so many valuable lessons not just in traveling  but life in general.

This shouldn't be long. Now presenting, the obligatory year-end post: 2012: The Year That Was

Believing that the world will end this year, I decided to take traveling to the next level. Ha!


The story goes like this. Two days before new year 2012, Robbie invited me to climb Mount Pinatubo together with some 30 travel bloggers, mostly from Manila. Fast forward, we rode the 4x4, traversing the lahar-stricken landscape. It was surreal... and dusty. Haha!

Crater lake of Mount Pinatubo

Lahar overload

Because the 'skyway' was unavailable during that time, we hiked for at least three hours before reaching the crater lake. Stunning and beautiful.


Fairy land

Yet another spontaneous trip, but this time, it's farther than Pinatubo. My kaladkarin friends invited me to visit and explore Baler at Aurora Province. I never thought that the province of Aurora offers a lot of must-see places - Ditumabo Falls, the half-millenium old Balete Tree, and the big waves of Sabang Beach.

I look bigger than the gentle giant. LOL

Fog started to kick in

Two weeks after our Baler trip, we explored the southern side of Cebu! We climbed Osmeña Peak, the highest peak in the whole island of Cebu, swam together with the whale sharks in Oslob, and ate as if there was no tomorrow at IT Park. Due to some reasons, we decided to ditch our plans to visit Bohol and visited Dumaguete and Siquijor instead. Truly, it was a blessing in disguise because SIQUIJOR WAS THE BEST PROVINCE THAT I'VE VISITED TO DATE! The photos say it all.

Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor

Sarap itulak no?


This was the month when I tried solo traveling, whether if I could do it or not. I flew solo all the way to Dagupan, Pangasinan and met up with my hosts, Josh and Me-an (you guys are awesome, btw). We explored Lingayen, La Union, La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio. I was supposed to have a 5-day solo vacation but I booked an earlier flight back to Davao. I know it wasn't a success but I'm still open with the idea of traveling solo.

SM Baguio, we cut it all for you!

Pre departure area of Clark International Airport. 


It was a family trip to Boracay. We went there to attend my cousin's wedding (I know it an overrated thing... but yeah, Boracay is Boracay). It was our first time to visit this famous island and dude, Filipinos were outnumbered by foreigners. It felt like I wasn't in the Philippines! Well, despite the crowd, we still enjoyed our Boracay experience. Let's paaaaaartttyyyyyy... and eat.

Chasing the Boracay sunset! Finally I've witnessed it!


Drum roll please! This is prolly the highlight of 2012: My epic KOTA KINABALU TRIP!

I booked a flight 11 months prior the trip, thanks to AirAsia's zero fare sale! But things didn't go smoothly weeks before my trip. Brenna, Yancy, and I were worried that this particular trip might be called off due to the severe weather system in Manila. All major streets, including the expressway to the north, were flooded and impassable. But thank God, the weather improved when we went there.

But the ordeal didn't end there. I got almost got held up at Clark International Airport, thanks to the super efficient and super relevant immigration officer of Clark. Sarcasm intended. He asked a lot of questions, most of them were irrelevant such as why I didn't pursue a medical career, how did I earn money online, and etc. But Aal iz well. AAL IZ WELL.

Mr. KK 2012 LOLWAT

Picturesque mosque of KK

Malaysia and Sabah State flags

It was my first international trip and I had fun. Well... fun is an understatement. I ate a lot of Malaysian food (which was really delicious by the way), met new friends from Europe, got chased by monitor lizards and swam on the clear waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.


Left my beloved hometown, Davao City to pursue my lifelong dream to become an air traffic controller. I know that it entails a lot of sacrifices but I am pretty sure that everything's going to be worth it. :,)

New friends!


I am very thankful that I did all of these for the past 12 months. I believe that I pushed myself to do all these things that are beyond my comfort zone and because of it, I learned a LOT. Truly, it was a humbling experience!

To the people whom I have met along the road, and to my kaladkarin friends (you know who you are), thank you for making my travel experiences fun, exciting, and memorable! To my readers, thank you for the traffic, unique hits, and for the $$$. LOLJK

2013 may not be a fruitful year for me in terms of traveling, but I do hope I'd share some tidbits about the road that I'm currently taking.

When can we do this again? When can I see you again?

Happy holidays, everyone!

Remember, life is short. Make the most out of it.


  1. Blog hopping and glad I did stop. The photographs are amazing and so are the narrations. I hope to travel more next year and will make one like yours, copy cat me. Kidding aside, never been to Davao so maybe a great blog to visit again so that I can make plans for July of 2013. More power and Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Jonathan! :D Happy New Year!

  2. what a year for you :-) goodluck sa 2013 at feel ko mas productive at mas exciting pa para sayo

  3. daming experiences this year renz. Good luck on your career! Continue pursuing your passions in life! I'm sure I'll read about it next year! :)

    1. Thanks Ed!!! Laagan lang jud ko. Hehe. Same goes to you bro. Can't wait to read your next adventures. Woot! Happy new year!

  4. Hello! Nice meeting you RM. Interesting post and nice blog. I like the idea that at your 20s you began exploring places and culture and what a fun adventure you did in 2012. I wish I could rekindle it again too and share it in a blog though my 2012 seems a little simple.

  5. Glad you had a great year, travel-wise! Hope 2013 will be the same, or even better!

    Great blog! I voted for you on the SkyScanner Blog Awards. Good luck! :)

  6. Glad you had a great year, travel-wise! Hope 2013 will be the same, or even better!

    Great blog! I voted for you on the SkyScanner Blog Awards. Good luck! :)

  7. Capturing one's great adventure is simply surreal. I hope to see more of your travels this year and nice blog! :)


Comments are highly appreciated. Spread love, not hate! :)