the 8 (famous) travel bloggers that influenced my thirst for travel

2013 was one horrid year for me in many aspects of my existence, im so glad its going to be over in roughly 4 hours. but despite that, what kept me sane and grounded this whole time was the fact that no one was able (or did try) to get into my travelling addiction (except for my uncle sonny’s death that caused my thailand-cambodia trip to be cut short because i needed to be home for him).

with this year’s round of travelling:

– i gained a new true blue friend, a soul (sole) mate to be exact. (ikaw yun juna)
– i traveled once again with the pinaka kengkoy travel buddy, its always the best of times when im with this a-hole (ikaw yun jb)
– i finally made peace with someone very dear to me, proper closure, no holds barred, with all honesty kind of closure (and that is you claudinne, love you more, my best friend)
– i became a true blue environmentalist, 2014 is for the earth. (kayo un mga giraffe ng coron)
– i fell in love, got hurt, got shattered even.. but with that comes an aftermath i did not expect – i’m much more stronger now, and it actually opened my doors and my heart to a possible ‘the right one’ (ikaw yun singapore la’)

2013 might not be the banner year for me but with these travel bloggers and my addiction erg passion for travelling, i can say i successfully carried on and for sure will make my 2014 rock! hongkong,siargao,myanmar and hopefully beijing your just a plane ride away in 2014!

enough of the lenghty and wordy melodrama (mervin of pinoyadventurista.com hates that lol), i present to you the 8 travel bloggers that i admire and follow big time…im one big fan for each of them. thank you so much for the fan signs, i know kinulit ko kayo big time but you still happily obliged. =)

SINJIN PINEDA – www.libotero.com

sinjin

im sure sinjin is probably the one i know the longest among these 8. skyscrapercity days pa lang. he was still very suplado that time, i remember one sinulog, i was already part of those photo contest events and i would bump into him in the middle of the street and guess what – deadma. he probably did not see me because he’s taller than i am. an opportunity came to finally have my photo taken together with him during one of Cebu’s blogging summit a few years back. he already knew im his avid fan so he was already extra kind to me. hahaha! see yah around sinj. see you this Sinulog! and yes im hoping to travel with you soon, not with sinapore though lolz.

DOI DOMASIAN – http://thetravellingfeet.com/

doi

what can i say with doi? she actually is the most inspiring blogger/friend among the 8. like when we first met in my first trip with travel bloggers in Sagada, she made it a point to make me realize that travelling is all about passion and chasing not just my dreams but what i truly believe in. during those times i only felt i needed to travel for no apparent reason, and yes doi made some sense as to why i wanna travel and wana do it over and over again. super bait! shes also one of my closest now. we dont meet very often but its always hours upon hours of facebook chat when were both online. i really hope i can bump into you before i leave cebu doi, may ref magnet pa ako sayo eh haha! see you sinulog!!!

AC CHUA – http://iwandered.net/

AC

meet the very accomodating AC Chua. very friendly and very masunurin among the 8 haha… i first bumped into his blog when i was doing some research for South Korean Visa. but lo and behold, i did not get what i need but instead, i found some really precious information about my ultimate dream international destination – NORTH KOREA. i so envied him that it took me 3 days to get over the fact that a Filipino (with no political connection, not even an OFW – North Korea based) was able to set foot in North Korea. i already have planned on how to save for my North Korea fund because i knew it will be that hefty but when i was able to ask him questions (actually interview na yun eh lol), i found out i can actually go there without even hurting my pocket. i wont delve into details yet because i want to be one of the pioneering Filipinos to make it in North Korea haha (selfish eh lolz).

his blog also has one of the most extensive collection of places he traveled which are deemed to be the ‘off the beaten track’ type – and most of which are in Europe! im truly blessed i met AC, and im looking forward to finally team up with you in your future travels (im still working on my shenzen visa though lol).

CHYNG REYES – http://chyngreyes.com/

chyng

among the 8, dito ako pinakatakot haha… one of the first few blogs i lurked when i started to insert the ‘researching’ part of travelling is hers. i admire the courage, the angas, the lakas ng loob that this female travel blogger withhold. such a commanding presence (and intimdating at some point haha). she’s also probably the most famous among the 8, being interviewed by jessica soho when she got busted in Bali, Indonesia. that sparked national interest in both Indonesia and Philippines regarding issues on racism and women oppression…naks! how i wish i can finally meet this lass and join one of her travels. she went to india by the way and soaked her newly pedicured feet at the ganges river. lakas lang eh no? lol

KIRK ACEBRON – http://www.kirkanatomy.com/

kirk

the youngest and the ‘freshest’ among the 8, haha. pinaka gwapo din andami nagkaka crush according to… hahaha. quiet nako. he’s the one who helped me with my Coron trip just this year, another very accommodating blogger. i also envy his ‘endorser’ status for tourism Malaysia. how i wish i’d be able to do what he has done, yung tipong, you get invited by all these tourism boards across countries around the world. he is now in flight to Kuala Lumpur to GUEST in the new year’s eve count down. iba na talaga pag celebrity. lol. he also celebrated his birthday in Yogyakarta Indonesia… mas lalo ako na inggit. hope to see you around here in Pinas Boy Malaysia!

EDCEL SUYO – http://soloflighted.com/

ed

this whole travel blogging thing (and a whole chunck of my travelling passion)- i owe it to this guy. he was my ticket to my very first travelling stint with total strangers (who happens to be travel bloggers also – and now good friends). if not for him, i wouldnt be able to grab some guts to finally travel with strangers, travel solo and look at travelling at a whole new light. its all thank yous to this guy and i keep on counting the days to travel with you and the rest of the guys again. na inlove kasi kaya backstage si travelling, haha! stay crazy! – crazy lolz.

GAY (and Luna) MITRA EMAMI – http://www.pinaytraveljunkie.com/

gay

i would not want to think that she could be the most stressed out among the 8 for having a baby tagging along in all her travels around the world… such an awesome travel blogger mom… bow down to the queen. lolz. i met her in Baguio during our Sagada trip and i gaind so much from her experiences from all the travelling to having luna around… luna getting sick, luna getting homesick, luna hating the food, luna missing her homies (or the other way around) etc. grabe, most probably i wouldnt want to know anymore how she managed it. for someone like me who gets easily irritated with a sling bag during travelling, how much more with a baby (toddler na today) haha. i also envy how she and her family has almost (yes almost) tour the world already. im guesiing theyre halfway already…

p.s. i had to grab some photos from Gay’s website because up to now she still hasnt provided me w/ her fan sign, mamakalimutin daw. lolz

MERVIN MARASIGAN – http://www.pinoyadventurista.com/

mervin

Saving the best for last….and keeping it short – my best friend among the 8, haha. he’s probably the closest to me. and the most meet ups too. unfortunately though, except for that Be Careful With My Heart tour in Pila Laguna, we havent had the chance to travel together, like the hardcore thing. ironic ei? haha. puro lang kain, inom, chika2x, fireworks2x lolz. i know the best is yet to come for our travelling dreams mervs kaya siguro we do not have the chance yet to travel trogether. it will come sooner than we expect, fingers crossed lolz.

so there you go, if i neede to go into rehab for travelling abuse… you better bring these 8 too or any of them, id be effin fine with it.

THANK YOU big time for inspiring me… in 2014 for sure it will be a blast, more places to explore, more experiences to go by with, more people to meet, more airline tickets to use (and put into waste haha) etc….

Let’s get lost in THAILAND – on drinking diaries and drinking buddies in Khao San road

Aside from hosting hundreds of dirt cheap backpacker’s hostels (as well as middle priced boutique type hotels), Khao San Road has lived to its reputation as one of the world’s most celebrated backpacker’s mecca because of how it has developed into a 24 by 7 party hive for every foreign tourist in Bangkok.

in Khao San, it is a MUST to:

binge on local side walk foods such as the pad thai

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eat cockroaches and other insects that are deemed not edible in your local country

crickets. 10 baht for picture taking (that explains the blurry part of this photo)

crickets. 10 baht for picture taking (that explains the blurry part of this photo)

use a tabo (water dipper) as your ‘solo’ shot glass when drinking beer

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in accordance to the item above, use a straw when drinking a beer

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shisha everywhere

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dance the gangnam style again (we went there gangnam style was at its peak)

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take an obligatory photo with a tuktuk

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take an obligatory photo with the famous “I love Kao Shan” edifice

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take an obligatory photo of an authentic Siamese Cat

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dance your heart out w/ some street urg, break dancers

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use some shopping for souvenir shirts at 150 bhat each.

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have an authentic thai massage – before your drinking binge (not a good idea though haha)

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and well, just get drunk and be with drunk, happy, crazy people from all over the world.

Let’s get lost in THAILAND – Thai Food yum yum!

finally! authentic thai food!!! (at half the price compared to Pinas lol)… for 50 baht (75Pesos), i had tom yum already, its roughly 300P per serving in Thai restos back home.

so how do i describe my ‘authentic’ thai food experience? spicey, fragrant and oily lolz…. but very delicious. my type of food! i specifically loved their fried rice… there’s just way too many things happening in their fried rice….lol.

indulge!

tom yum - pambansang thai food - pinoy perspective

tom yum – pambansang thai food – pinoy perspective

spicy fish fillet

spicy fish fillet

some random spicey chicken meal

some random spicey chicken meal

epic dessert!

epic dessert!

street food menu, cheap as pinas.

street food menu, cheap as pinas.

tom yum and fried rice, makes an awesome combo

tom yum and fried rice, makes an awesome combo

hilaw na mangga bangkok style

hilaw na mangga bangkok style

crickets. 10 baht for picture taking (that explains the blurry part of this photo)

crickets. 10 baht for picture taking (that explains the blurry part of this photo)

pork barbeque 10 baht per stick

pork barbeque 10 baht per stick

pad thai! my first authentic thai meal

pad thai! my first authentic thai meal

dinner by the beach.

dinner by the beach.

Crazy and Awesome things we did in Korea – getting lost in Incheon International Airport

First it was Changi, then Kuala Lumpur, then Hongkong and now Incheon…. NAIA, now what?! –

these were the thoughts looming in my mind as i deplaned from our 3 hour flight to Incheon SK. it felt surreal the moment i stepped out of the plane and breathe the cool South Korean autumn air. moments later, after immigration duties were fulfilled, it sank on me…i am in Korea… it didnt take much effort to dig the fact that i was already in Korean soil – the airport itself is screaming ‘yes tof you are in 1st world Korea! you have every right to feel oblivious! lol’

more info about Incheon International airport here.
photos c/o Lot2x:

hindi yan touch screen tof!

hindi nga touch screen yan eh

laser lights

may walkalator sa Pinas, wag masyado excited mag papicture sa walkalator

english lot, english ba… panic mode

Crazy and Awesome things we did in Korea – the DMZ

shared credits to my travel buddies lot2x,ashley and Jen for the photos used in this entry.

 

experience (and indulge) DMZ – the Demilitarized Zone

i have to admit it, by now, i am a fanatic of the North Korea (DPRK) and its socialist single party state of dictatorial rule that has been existing for the past 50++ years. i ‘m so wallowed w/ how elusive this country could get and how it stopped ‘evolving’ and got stuck to an early 80”s era up to this time. i’m dead serious about  how they brainwashed their people (and how people allow themselves to be brainwashed) .

i would want to know how it is to live in a country where mobile phones are just being introduced (GSM technology at that – think Nokia 5110), no internet – basically no access to the outside world, having only one fast food ‘concept’ store, only one soda flavor (second rate copy cat of coke), department stores selling VCDs of madonna and elton john (90’s album), only one channel on tv w/ endless and ‘paulit2x’ propaganda TV shows celebrating their ‘Dear Leader’ and lambasting the US, etc etc i can go on and on and on…so i’ll stop it there lol.

so, with that… a visit to a DMZ could actually sum up my whole trip to this wonderful country lol (madami pa tof chill lang wag muna uwi agad)

basically, DMZ is a 4KM demarcation line stretching hundreds upon hundreds of km from east to west that divides the Korea to a north and to a south. i wont go too much w/ the details but the whole experience was capped off w/ a ‘176 meters away from north korea’ infiltration tunnel experience – and i was extatic.

tips:

conversion – 1000 WON is 38 Pesos

there are 2 major DMZ tour types: the infiltration tunnel tours w/ other areas of the DMZ (1) and the Panmunjeom Tour ( JSA Tour ) (2). the latter should be ‘a must’ since this is the tour where you can enter the freedom house and have a glimpse of the thin demarcation line dividing SK and NK. unfotunately though we only got the first tour since its a lot cheaper compared to the JSA tour. if given the chance to visit SK again, i’d deinitely try Panmunjeom…chance ko na makakita ng authentic North Korean haha.

tour 1 costs 46000 won while tour 2 is at 87000-90000 won

passport is a must to enter DMZ.

photos:

entrance to the infiltration tunnel that leads to that 176 meters away from North Korean end of the tunnel

at the Munsan Train Station – the last SK station. officially wala pang trip ang train na ito since Pyongyang NK ang destination, not until unification will push thru then saka pa lang bibyahe ang train dito.

lot lot and the verrrry tall SK army men. p.s. DMZ is heavily guarded by both US and SK troops.

the railway leading to NK

a taste of NK propaganda on SK soil….

flora ornaments sa TOILET…

the bridge of no return

the viewing deck, about 2 KMs away is supposedly our first view of NK… unfortunately its a foggy autumn weather so we didnt see a thing.

nobody can ignore the red and orange (smells like shit) autumn leaves. diba lot? lol

the bell of Peace – you have to pay though to ring it

meeting fellow travel bugs – meet Jennifer from Singapore

and who can forget ‘Philip and his angry bird’ haha. diba lot? hahahaha.

My random ramblings about Puerto Galera

Galera sand…not as white and as fine as Boracay’s but carry na…

I know it should be the worst time to blog just about anything pertaining to summer while we are awaiting more and more typhoons to hit our country. this could either make you recapture your best summer escapades a few months ago, or this could piss you big time for making it clear that too much rain is such a bummer – special thanks to habagat for the 3 day rain marathon. im stuck at home due to so much flooding (thus the time to blog.)

summer of 2011 was such a loser for me that i failed to fancy myself w/ a beach trip w/ all the basking in the beach and stuff (excluded was the summer company outing and Cebu’s Summer sunscream event held on the same day as my birthday – sobrang pa konswelo ito for a summer 2011 that has gone into waste). i promised myself that by 2012 i could at least spare a weekend and a 1-day VL exclusively intended for a beach binge. good thing my equally ‘tigang sa beach’ friends readiluy said yes to this plan and we eventually came up w/ Puerto Galera as our destination of choice.

Why Puerto Galera?

Welcome ‘Let-Let and Friends!’

its near the metro. and as they say, its the ‘nearer’ and cheaper version of Boracay. for the Cebuano in me who grew up in the most beautiful white sand beaches of the Visayas (counting in Bohol, Siquijor, Cebu and of course Boracay), i did not set my expectations that high, i would say better stick to our beaches there in the Visayas. no need to spend on airfare just to be in Galera.

getting there by public transpo…

Bus ride w/ mami let and rovi (at the back) – quite comfortable

the 50P environmental fee

nga-nga at the boat ride…

from anywhere in Manila, just drop by Buendia Station and look for Buses that says “Batangas Pier’. this route is quite common and a bit hectic so no worries on the no. of trips and the time these buses leave (15-30 mins interval). bus fare is around 150P and travel time is 2 hours average. tip #1: leave manila as early as 4am so you can reach Galera at around 8-9 AM.

no need to fret where Batangas pier is since the bus will take you right smack the pier (alam mo naman siguro itsura ng isang pier). there are a lot of ticketing offices their for boats plying the Galera route so again no need to worry. boat fare is around 300P. tip #2: you may ask the tticketing agent for the schedule of boats that dock directly at white beach since a few trips often side trip at other areas of Galera w/c takes time rather than the usual 1 hour boat ride.

where we stayed (rather where we left our things):

goofin’ around our room…

we stayed at Mendelluke Suites in white beach Puerto Galera. not as fancy as other hotels bearing the surname ‘suites’ but the basics are there. it has free wifi (very good thing), 2 queen sized beds, a big CR , TV and aircon of course all for 3,500P. tip #4: wifi password is still the same as the hotel name but all letter ‘e’ are changed into ‘3’ (amazing password lol)…

what we did:

cheers to a good night

Party party in Galera!! for a summer beach trip into Galera, it was sad though that my group got quite isolated from the happenings in there since we had our own time w/ Don Jose Cuervosss in the farther, more quiet side of the beach. it was a bit intimate for us that we kinda excluded the Galera flavor in it…meaning no Mindoro sling samplers (w/c i totally forgot), no drag queens and stand up comedy acts along the beach fronts, no fire dances, and no B2B eye witness accounts (oops…rated SPG).

doin the hybrid reggae dance… get up stand up, stand up for your right…;p

reggaethon. Galera is also home to reggae music enthusiasts that their nos. in this beach are quite more compared to otther beaches. be ready to be transported to Jamaica (or the Carribeans) once you opt to enjoy reggae rather than the dance music saturated bars in the white beach.

banana boat ride babey

classic banana boat rides abound Galera. there arent much water sports there except for the usual jetski, snorkeling and island hopping (i cant quite recall if there was a parasailing there). we did the banana boat ride and got really exhausted after all the falling apart but it was fun though.

on sunsets and the AB

majestic sunset. we settled down on the beach front after to await for the sunset. yes galera also has a view of the amazing sunset. tip #5: beach fronts during sunsets tend to be TOO crowded. so if your not so much into crowds, you dont have much of a choice.

‘sudden deep’ (biglang lalim lol)

swimming by the beach isnt as fun as Boracay since the water tend to get deep a few meters from the beach front (basta biglang lalim sya). so if your not a swimmer, better be careful… its also crowded in the shallow waters. quite hard to swim freely.

tshirt kayo jan….

for the shopaholics, a lot of souvenir shops are found in Galera, for 100P one can buy a ‘Puerto Galera’ white sando or thsirt. the usual keychains and coin purse and a whole lot of stuff can be found in these shops. bought myself a pair of board shorts for 100P (kinda looked the original if at a distance lol).

shake shake shake!!!

Galera during summer time is scorching hot! i myself had to rant about it (unlikely of me). fruit shakes and milk shakes were aplenty in Galera (and very delicious too). i devoured quite a number and i specifically liked the melon shake. afternoons were spent chilling w/ milk shakes and burgers, siomais, squid,fish,crab and all other kinds of rolls… for short street foods are teeming around Galera’s beach front (one edge of galera vs. Boracay). i was specifically very happy when i saw a barbequed banana (totally different from a sweet bananaque, basta yung bnibenta sa labas ng skul na may margarine)…. i had too much of it i had to hit the comfort room 2x. lol.

resiliency and nationalism at its finest

henna. i wanted some so i decided to have my henna tattoo (w/ mami let, salamat sa impluwensya lol for 200P. bad thing it smudged 2 hours after due to a very bad experience on our way home.

what we ate:

a feast of chicken, pork bellies and sea foods

simhot!

a lot of mid priced food strips are lined in the beach front of Puerto Galera. i was hoping i’d find a lot of sea foods in the menu but unfortunately most of their offerings consist of chicken, pork bellies and tilapias. it was a bit of a struggle for us to finally find a resto w/ calamares and some salt fish tinola. but heck, when one is hungry, one eats everything…yum2x! tip#6: try to haggle for the price as some restos tend to offer cheaper compared to the others. try also the set menus as they tend to be more cheaper compared to ala carte.

tip #7: must read – leave Puerto Galera w/ the 3PM boat trip so you can still catch the 6PM buses bound for Manila… 7PM onwards will be quite a struggle already as buses going back to Manila become fewer.

tip#8: there are a lot there who offer package tours for otther activities in Galera such as hiking, biking etc. so if you want more than beach escapades, no problem in finding alternative things to do there.

greetings from Puerto Galera!