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To kick off another year of travelling since this was the highlight of most of my 2015, let me just list down the places I’ve been to. This will also serve as my travelogue as I didn’t realize creating one as I start this adventure.

To start, 2015 has simply taught me a lot about myself (one of the merits of travelling especially when you backpack; you’ll recollect so much about how life has been doing so far). It has been two years since I left home in Manila to live independently in Davao and it helped me be introduced to the world of travelling. After my climb in Pico de Loro, I committed myself in a goal of exploring Mindanao, and the beautiful islands and diverse natural habitats, culture and traditions of the rest of the pearl of the orient seas.

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So far aside from the home of queen of all fruits, Durian, and Samal Islands which is just 15 minutes away from the City, I have enjoyably explored downsouth such as the Tuna Capital General Santos City, the powdery white sand beaches of Saranggani, the heritage of T’bolis homed at the heart of Lake Sebu and Lake Holon in South Cotabato, the yummy hopia and bibingka of Digos City and the freezing cold free viewing of Mt. Apo in Kapatagan. Although very quick in only a span of 15 seconds, I was able to pass by as well the second largest river in the Philippines, Rio Grande, in Carmen and Kabacan in North Cotabato.

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Going up north, I was able to surf and tried my super fail skim boarding at the newest site for surfing, Mati City and spent overnight in out-of-the-real-world virgin beaches and beautiful rock formations of Cape San Agustin in Davao Oriental. I didn’t thought how enchanting Enchanted River could be with its clear blue and green salt water with diverse species of sea animals freely living in it. Tinuy-an Falls is indeed a must see as the Niagara Falls of the country and be wowed with the virgin islands and beaches of Britania Islands. Β Going in these places has to pass by the 20th most livable City in the country, Tagum City (based on a blog I’ve read).

PS: Blogs about Cape San Agustin and Surigao del Sur adventure will be released soon.

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Still in Mindanao, my first solo backpacking last Holy Week was touring Misamis Oriental. I spent a whole day enjoying the heat of the summer and plunging in the majestic waterfalls of Iligan City such Maria Cristina Falls, Tinago Falls, and Mimbalot Falls. On Good Friday, I had my alay-lakad in Cagayan de Oro and stayed until sunset in the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in El Salvador City. When bound to CDO, never miss to pass by a mountain resort in BUDA road for a hot chocolate and delicious suman.

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I was also blessed to tour some parts of Visayas Region. In Cebu, we climb up Osmena Peak and passed by the “monarchy” of Our Lady of Simala and tour around the metro. I rode a boat for two hours going to Bohol to visit the how-possible-this-could-have-been-made Chocolate Hills. Still in Bohol, I visited the Danao Adventure Park where the famous Bungee Jump is but unfortunately, it was closed due to the danger caused by the Magnitude 7 Earthquake. I also visited the Man-made forest, the Baclayon Church, the Sikatuna Blood Compact with Legazpi and learned about the Tarsier Sanctuary. Don’t forget to be sun-kissed in Panglao the same way you were in Boracay Islands. I was also able to enjoy Campuestuhan and The Ruins of Bacolod and the old churches and the best brewed coffee I’ve tasted (better than starbucks) of Iloilo.

To tell you honestly, this is the only time that I realized how lucky I am to be delighted by these so many wonderful places of the Philippines. From these experiences, I can say with conviction that I am not yet ready to go out of the country to relish the world Β because there are so many things about the 7,107 islands that stuns me. Experiencing all of these in a year made me become so much prouder as a Filipino because, indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines! To everyone whom I was with all throughout this journey, be it friends, strangers I met along the way, tour guides, habal drivers, elders and everybody who patiently helped me especially during my backpacking moments, my sincere and deepest thanks to all of you! I hope to see you again on the road this year!

So for 2016, I am very much looking forward for a more rewarding experiences of travelling.

All is well,

Ton

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