Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yearender: It Comes and She Goes

"Even though I took a step back from things that the metropolitan world would describe as success, I could say that it is one of the best years of my life. It is the year when I discovered my love for the mountains, my affection for the waters and most importantly, my passion for traveling." - Paulakwatsera in Baler, December 2013 

My first job (2009 - 2010) allowed me to become a Mabuhay Miles elite member and be up in the air almost every week but even though I constantly travel during that time, I had the littlest appreciation of the places that I'd been to. Going back home is the first thing that I have in mind the moment I set foot on a new place back then. 

But 2013 is the year when I have discovered a comfort in dislocation. This is the year when I started to enjoy traveling solo, the year when I conquered my first summit, the year when I fell in and out of love in a week, the year when I almost died doing the thing that I love, the year that I experienced my highest highs and my lowest lows, and the year when I developed my love for travel blogging. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Baler: Coming of Age and Uncovering That Secret Spot

I had planned to be somewhere extra special in celebration of that day when my parents screwed up their lives. I was thinking Batanes or Bali in Indonesia just so I could have bragging rights of being somewhere significant on my day. But just like most of my travels, out of no cognitive reason I ended up in a place east of Nueva Ecija.

If you do not already know, Baler is best known for surfing. I am no surfer nor am I a swimmer, and my surfing stint in La Union was probably out of pure luck or weak waves so there is no real reason why I choose to be here for my birthday. But I guess it is the mindless decisions that always lead me to the most blissful moments.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My First Not-So-Couchsurfing Experience

A global community of 7 million people in more than 100,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.
With Couchsurfing, you can stay with locals in every country on earth. Travel like a local, stay in someone’s home and experience the world in a way money can’t buy.

I first heard of this website while researching an itinerary for the South Korea trip. I came across the blog Chronicles of Marianne and I've read about the author's couchsurfing experience in Korea. I thought it was interesting to get free accommodation whilst getting to experience a place on a local's perspective, safely away from the tourist traps.

I immediately signed up and was surprised with how massive the Couchsurfing community is in the Philippines. It turned me off a bit though because most of the meet ups in Manila are in a bar on a Thursday. Being that geeky introverted person that I am, I knew for a fact that it is not my kind of crowd.