Naturally beautiful, exotic, and utterly captivating… Vietnam is one of those countries where you can expect to receive true Southeast Asian hospitality. A humble country that’s been torn several times in different wars and now a communist nation, its people are naturally kind, with a happy semblance that bears no grudge or regret, only contentment and peace. On my journey I had traveled between Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Mai Chau… and what I saw made me fall in love with the country’s rural beauty.
Despite being born in the Philippines, I haven’t really had the chance to travel around my own country that much. I guess its the same as most other nations, many of my friends haven’t even seen their own country’s landmarks. So many travelers from around the globe travel thousands of miles just to see sea turtles in my country, while I fell into the trap of choosing destinations that allowed me to check off my list almost all of Southeast Asia.
So, after quitting my job recently in Shanghai, I decided that I will take a break and go back home to be with my family. My boyfriend also wanted to come visit, so we made a plan to travel for a bit. I chose Dumaguete because I had been to the Apo Island marine sanctuary ten years ago with my mom and fell in love with the corals there. And on the map we saw that Bohol and Cebu are not too far either, so we flew in to Dumaguete and flew out from Cebu. In between we took a 5 hour bus ride to get from Dumaguete to Cebu.
I must admit though, that the travel in this journey was indeed one of the most painful ever. Lol. We ended up enjoying snorkeling in Apo Island a bit too much and came home with a really bad burn. The worst part was we didn’t realize how bad our skin was feeling only until evening, it was like a gradual roasting. By the next day we could barely get out of bed – and this was also the day we had chosen to take the 5 hour bus ride to our next destination. The bus arrived late, of course… and when it came, all passengers scrambled to save a seat – because reserved seating does not exist yet. I was high-fiving myself in pain from the bad sunburn, hot humid weather, and all the other passengers pushing each other to get on the bus. Luckily we were welcomed into Cebu with a very nice garden hotel, and we were able to book through the hotel a Bohol day tour for the next day which was very convenient.
Scroll down below to see some of the photos we took on our trip.
Dumaguete – Kav’s Beach Resort. Details here.
Cebu – Montebello Villa Hotel. Details here.
Just last week, we went to Apo Island near Dumaguete in the Visayas region of the Philippines. Our main goal was to see the famous corals of Apo Reef, which I had seen 10 years ago and still remember to this day how beautiful it was when I was still in my teens. Colors of gold, purple, different shades of blue and green used to fill the bottom of the sea in the marine sanctuary of the island, but recently two typhoons had struck the island and destroyed the beautiful corals in the Sanctuario. Despite this, marine life is still very busy and bustling underwater, and we got the chance to spend a day on the opposite side of the marine reserve, where we saw countless huge Pawikan turtles and had a good day swimming with the dolphins.
Every year I say it’s a year of firsts – first time to do this and that, or go someplace new. Despite growing up in the Philippines, I never had the chance to visit Bali before. Although I know my country has similar things such as rice terraces and beautiful coastlines, coming to Bali still seemed very fresh to me. My now fiancee took me here on our first trip together, and the pictures below were what we saw in our few days there.
Being single and financially independent in your 20s has some really fun perks. It would take a really long post to name every single perk but just to say, one of my favorites is that you get to travel alone or with friends and have really memorable fun. In a sense your travels allow you to explore who you really are. Call it self research or meditation next time you’re justifying why you travel.
It was a first for me and my friends to travel to Cambodia. We planned it out to fall exactly on one of the national holidays so we could have a nice holiday without worrying about taking leaves. Sharing with you a story, one of the most memorable nights we had in Cambodia was one when me and my friends went to a hippie outdoor market. There were delicious food, nice bands playing, and people dancing anywhere they wanted to. At some point we decided to try some space cake, thinking it couldn’t possibly be strong… three of us shared one small slice of cake and by the end of the night we were swaying to the drumming sound in our heads. I can still remember how the ride back to our hotel went when we had to pass by miles of pitch-black dark fields in a tuktuk, and we couldn’t control ourselves from laughing. We were completely gone. It was one of those nights I will never forget.
Scroll down below to see some of the photos from our trip: