PROJECT GIVE BACK YEAR 4: The Travel Teller’s Year End Special

CHRISTMAS IS IN THE AIR! And ’tis a season of giving again. Now on it’s 4th year, join The Travel Teller and his friends for the annual “The Travel Teller Gives Back” with its theme “Magpasaya ng mga Kabataang Mandaya Ngayong Pasko!”.
TTT Gives Back 2015 1This year’s recipients are pupils of Patong Elementary School,  Spur Dos Elementary School and May-Laya Primary School, three of the farthest schools in Cateel where 90% of the population are Mandayas. These schools are among the hard-hit places when Typhoon Pablo ravage the town in December 4, 2012. These kids were among the survivors of the monstrous disaster.
TTT Gives Back 2015 1BE OUR PARTNER and become a way to make our little IP brothers and sisters merrier this Christmas. Contact us and we will be delighted to have you as our sponsors. We invite you too to join us in my hometown of Cateel for this gift giving affair scheduled on December 18-20, 2015.
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For your pledges, you may call or text 0939-342-3939. Salamatay gayud kamayo.

THE TRAVEL TELLER IN VISAYAS: How It Started.

3 Regions | 10 Provinces | 20 days | Pho 10,000.00
This is #TheTravelTellerInVisayas Travel Series.

The Travel Teller In VisayasIt was a sudden plan. Or maybe something that came to mind out of boredom. Or maybe the itch to travel and challenge myself for something that I’ve never done before.

It all started when I wrote down all the 81 provinces in the Philippines and grouped them into the three major islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. As I checked the provinces that I have been to, I found out that I have visited more than half of Luzon. And since I am from Mindanao, I have visited most of the provinces we have there. When I checked provinces in the Visayas, I found out that out of the 16, I have gone only to 4 provinces.

4 out of 16. How come? I asked myself when Visayas can even be accessed by boat from northern part of Mindanao. And so out of nothing, this journey was made.

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So what’s the plan? Honestly, no plan at all. Just pack my bag and fly to Visayas. No fixed IT. No bookings. Just couchsurfing. Staying with friends. Cheap hotels. Backpacking. Hitchhiking. Go with the flow. Free rides. Meeting new friends. And more.

THE CHALLENGE? Roam around the three regions in Visayas visiting the 10 Visayan Provinces with Php 10,000.00 budget. That’s the plan. That’s the challenge. That’s

If you’re on the road where I’m going, I will be very happy to meet you.

FOLLOW MY JOURNEY THROUGH THIS DIARY:

1. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ONE
2. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWO
3. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THREE
4. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOUR
5. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIVE
6. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIX
7. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVEN
8. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHT
9. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINE
10. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TEN
11. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ELEVEN
12. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWELVE
13. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THIRTEEN
14. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOURTEEN
15. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIFTEEN
16. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIXTEEN
17. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVENTEEN
18. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHTEEN
19. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINETEEN
20. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWENTY

The THREE REGIONS 

☑ Central Visayas Region
☑ Negros Island Region
☑ Western Visayas Region

The TEN PROVINCES 

☑ Province of Cebu
☑ Province of Bohol
☑ Province of Siquijor
☑ Province of Negros Oriental
☑ Province of Negros Occidental
☑ Province of Iloilo
☑ Province of Guimaras
☑ Province of Aklan
☑ Province of Capiz
☑ Province of Antique

Tintin and OlanPS: Tintin is traveling with me. My favorite little Travel Buddy!

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM HOME: A Year After The Great Storm

Cateel, as you know it, was hard-hit by Typhoon Pablo last December of 2012. It was the most devastating calamity that flattened the whole town and spared nothing including the many beautiful natural wonders we have there. Like our very homes destroyed completely by the ravaging typhoon, these natural attractions are like our own homes where we find joy and pride everytime we visit there. Thus, our great sadness seeing them in awful state. But a year after that dreadful catastrophe, these natural wonders are getting back to their beautiful shape like our people there getting back to their feet – this time with a great promise of become more beautiful, more enticing.

Cateel 2013 Christmas (192)Last holidays, I spend my whole two weeks break there celebrating the Christmas and New Year with my family and friends. Like an old practice, vacationing there is never complete without roaming around visiting the places I grown up loving with. And the best way to make love with these magnificent places is though my lenses – frozen and cherished!

HERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES THAT RECONNECTED ME THERE AGAIN.

Cateel 2013 Christmas (218) Cateel 2013 Christmas (168) Cateel 2013 Christmas (162) Cateel 2013 Christmas (1647) _DSC0028

_DSC0007 _DSC0012 _DSC0084 _DSC0094 _DSC0127 _DSC0166 _DSC0191 _DSC0233 _DSC0236 _DSC0239CATEEL: Love Ko ‘To! 

THREE ASEAN COUNTRIES | TEN DAYS

VACATION HANGOVER. This is what I feel now as I tried to recharge myself from the recently concluded 10-day trip I made to three ASEAN countries. I am back now to where this journey started but my mind and heart are still stuck at the beautiful memories I had while journeying these neighboring countries of the Philippines.

MLY-SING-IND COVER 001MALAYSIA-SINGAPORE-INDONESIA. Three ASEAN countries for 10 days. I’ve been to East Malaysia in 2010 but traveling to Peninsular Malaysia along with Singapore and Indonesia was my first. Aside from these firsts, what gloriously thrilled me was that this trip was my first solo travel abroad. As always, I find so much thrill in solo wanders as it always brings out the best in me. And the fact that I will be hosted by my friends based in these countries was something I looked forward to.

3T MLY-SING-IND PHOTO COVER
These are photos from wikipedia.com that inspired me to do this trip.

Unlike most of my travels, I didn’t exhaust myself from planning too much about my itinerary for this trip. In fact, I didn’t do much research of places I will be visiting. And since I’ll be hosted by my friends there, I let them decide which places best to see and experience. But for places that I’ll be traveling alone, I treated it to be a slow travel where I can go anywhere spontaneously without minding time. Happily, aim reached – traveled three countries in ten days and what’s more, I traveled the cheapest way possible.

Join me as a chronicle these exciting travel stories that have left me with wondrous memories I’ll surely carry with me wherever I go – not only for the beautiful places I marveled at but with beautiful and kindhearted people I met along the way.

MALAYSIA, Truly Asia!
MALAYSIA, Truly Asia!

From the chilly Genting Highlands to the world’s most renowned Petronas Twin Towers, from the mind-blowing Batu Caves to the captivating Putrajaya, from the bustling roads of Kuala Lumpur to the tasteful street of Jalan Alor, from tidy buses to posh mono trains, from delectable chicken rice to my favorite char kuey teow – this is MALAYSIA, Truly Asia!

MALACCA, a UNESCO World Heritage City of Malaysia.
MALACCA, a UNESCO World Heritage City of Malaysia.

From the quaint Melaka River to the crowded Jonker Street, from the aged Malay Museums to the remarkable ruins of St. Paul Church, from the old Christ Church Melaka to the exceptional Masjid Kampung Klim, from the Heritage Sites to the River Cruise, from the beautiful Quayside Hotel to the towering Menara Taming Sari – this is

SINGAPORE, The Merlion City.
SINGAPORE, The Merlion City.

From the famous statue of Merlion to the captivating view of the Esplanade, from the grand Marina Bay Sands to the grandiose Marina Gardens by the Bay, from the famed Sentosa Island to the laid-back Kampong Glam, from skyscrapers to the well-preserved century-old structures of Arab Street, from spicy char kiew to mouthwatering laksa – this is SINGAPORE, the Merlion City!

WONDERFUL INDONESIA
WONDERFUL INDONESIA

From long queue at Sepukang Immigration to the Golden Factory Outlet, from delectable Indonesia cuisine served at Golden Prawn Batam to the city’s famous Chocolate House, from the old Chinese temples to the quiet Masjid Al-Hikmah to the interesting batik houses – this is my quick visit to Batam, INDONESIA!

HEAVENLY!
HEAVENLY!

TRAVEL + FOOD = HEAVEN! Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are food havens. And just like other countries I’ve visited in the past, my trip to this country will never be complete without trying out their most delectable cuisines – Malay, Indian, Nyonya, Chinese, Indonesian cuisines. And for 10 days, I travel these places tasting their rich culture through these gastronomic trips. Mmmmmm, heavenly!

Of course these beautiful stories didn’t only spin around the awe-inspiring places I visited but these even started and ended with people that I met along the course of this 10-day journey – friends who welcomed me to their homes, meeting old friends I haven’t seen in years and making new friends on the road. These people made this journey even more exhilarating.

PEOPLE 001
Meeting old friends. Making new ones.
  1. Joey and Krissy – my two most generous and equally energetic hosts/tour guides in Malaysia. They opened their beautiful home and embraced me as a member of the family for four days. I will never forget this lovely couple.
  2. Ivy and Cynthia – two beautiful Taiwanese ladies we met also in Putrajaya. We had a quick chat but I think that was the best quick chat I had in Malaysia. They were just darlings and I hope to see them in Taiwan, soon.
  3. Sediq and his son – my new Iranian friend whom Joey, Krissy and I met when we headed for Putarajaya. The heavy rain didn’t stop us from moving around Malaysia’s seat of the federal government.
  4. Azlan – my Malaysian friend I met three years ago in Kota Kinabalu. I was lucky he was in KL when I got there. I learned a lot talking to him exchanging views/opinions about our two countries. Thank you Azlan. I hope to see you again.
  5. Stuart – the handsome General Manager of Quayside Hotel in Malacca. Thanks to this guy, my stay at Melaka was one truly remarkable.
  6. Monien – one of closest friends back in college. She’s based in Singapore and it was a huge surprise we got to see each other unplanned. She toured me around enjoying the night scene in Singapore.
  7. Bongie – a colleague of mine here in the Philippines before he moved to Singapore last year. Because of him I was able to roam around Singapore in one day visiting key destinations one should see in Merlion City.
  8. Glendy – a bubbly and friendly girl Bongie and I met as we headed for Sentosa Island. Because of her, I got to visit the southernmost point of Continental Asia.
  9. Arlene – a fellow Cateeleno. We had an instant meet-up after I had my day-tour at Batam Indonesia.

From the bottom of my heart, TERIMA KASIH! 

This is The Travel Teller’s “THREE ASEAN COUNTRIES | TEN DAYS” The Travel Series

MESMERIZED BY THE RICE TERRACES OF BONTOC

From our quick stop at Mount Polis, our trip went on. It was already past 3:00 o’clock and we had to get to Sagada before dusk. Hence, we all agreed not to make any stopovers as not to delay our trip. But of course this didn’t matter when we started seeing thousands of astounding rice terraces as we began entering the town of Bontoc, the capital town of the Mountain Province.

Rice Terraces of Bontoc (1)And just as I guessed, all of us hurried down when Andrew, our driver-slash-tour guide, stopped the van near the view deck of Bay-yo Rice Terraces situated in one of villages of Bontoc. Like soldiers armed with heavy weapons, we ran and started our combat – but ours were cameras and candid poses with the spectacular view of Bay-yo Rice Terraces.

Bay-yo Rice Terraces Bontoc (1)Bay-yo Rice Terraces is a wower. It is not as big like those I see in Banaue but it seemed to possess an exceptional charm that made us all at awe seeing it. Unlike the ones in Banaue, there were no houses built in the middle of the terraces. Instead, houses were built on one side complimenting the stunning view of the terraces. “Gorgeous! Just so gorgeous!”

Bay-yo Rice Terraces, surrounded by the lush Cordillera Mountains
Bay-yo Rice Terraces, surrounded by the lush Cordillera Mountains
Bay-yo Rice Terraces' exceptional charm that wowed us.
Bay-yo Rice Terraces’ exceptional charm!
Absolutely, a wower!
Absolutely, a wower!
houses were built on one side complimenting the stunning view of the terraces
Houses were neatly built on one side complimenting the stunning view of the terraces
“Gorgeous! Just so gorgeous!”
“Gorgeous! Just so gorgeous!”

From the view deck, I went down somewhere I could get another good shot of this little stunner. An old man dressed in tribal wear came near me and chatted with me for a while. He was stunned to learn that we came all the way from Davao City in Mindanao just to see their “little pride”. Talking to him, I can sense how proud he is of his home and their culture. He even lent me his sword and shield for a photo op. Before he left, he even asked to tell my friends to come and see this place like I did. He was a charmer.

HELLO BAY-YO!
HELLO BAY-YO!
Me and my new friend! :)
Me and my new friend! 🙂

Done with short our relationship with Bay-yo Rice Terraces, we rushed back to the van to continue our trip. But just thirty minutes after we left another awe-inspiring view of yet another set of rice terraces of Bontoc were laid before our very eyes. They were the most beautiful rice terraces I’ve seen in this trip and I can’t afford not to take photographs of it. And so Andrew stopped and I hopped out of the van and started clicking my shutter button.

I was lost for words looking at this incredible creation.
I was lost for words staring at this incredible creation.
I say HEAVENLY!
I say HEAVENLY!
This sure will take your breath away!
This sure will take your breath away!

I don’t know exactly the name of the place but sure I know this is one of the best places to appreciate the breathtaking view of the Rice Terraces of Bontoc. Honestly, I was lost for words staring at this incredible man-made creation. But sure these photos I took would definitely speak for themselves. I say heavenly!

HELLO SAGADA!
HELLO SAGADA!

From there, our trip continued passing the proper town of Bontoc and then finally traveling up to Sagada. This crazy adventure thrilled so much making me savored the feeling that I was there – experiencing firsthand the many exciting things to see and do in this part of the country. Honestly, everything seemed surreal – and there I was enjoying every inch of this experience.

This is The Travel Teller’s Ifugao-Mountain Province-Benguet Diaries

1. DREAMING OF YOU CORDILLERA (The Beginning)
2. BANAUE, OH BANAUE, AT LAST I’M HERE!
3. THE ROAD TO SAGADA: Quick Stop at Mount Polis
4. MESMERIZED BY THE RICE TERRACES OF BONTOC