One of the things I am looking forward to upon returning to the Philippines is the summer season! As a tropical country with 7,107 islands (yep, you read it right!), Philippines proudly boasts of white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, and palm frond shorelines!
“The sun goes down, the stars come out. And all that counts, is here and now. The universe will never be the same, I’m glad you came.” – The Wanted, I’m Glad You Came
Actually, this photo of the setting sun in the island of Guimaras in western Visayas was taken way before this song was released and I just thought it’s a nice intro.
I am a big fan of sunsets (coz I can’t wake up early for sunrise) especially when the sea is close by. So when, in one of our official trips, me and my colleague had a chance to go for a four-hour side trip from Iloilo to Guimaras, we did not waste any time and boarded the passenger boat to the island.
Known mainly for the Guimaras mangoes (claimed to be the sweetest in the world), this small island province (actually several islands in the general bay area) also holds its own when it comes to its swimming beaches, caves and rock formations, and turtle conservation!
We barely noticed the time while sailing through its waters as Guimaras, for me, held such beauty, pure and untouched, radiating as the golden orange hues of the setting sun graces the sand, sea and sky. If ever you are in Iloilo or Guimaras or Western Visayas, a spectacular view of the setting sun is really an experience you must not dare to miss!
After visiting the Kampong Ayer (water villages) and having lunch at CBTL where Zaza met me, we then went to the Royal Regalia Museum, one of the must see places in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB).
The Royal Regalia Museum houses the “treasures” of the Sultan and the Sultanate of Brunei, ranging from personal collections of photos and memorabilias to gifts from various State leaders and governments. I guess you can say that just like in old times where the visiting envoys or monarchs or sultans/datus/rahas present exquisite gifts to the host, visiting State leaders or Ambassadors also present tokens from their countries as a gesture of “friendship” between countries. The collection included birthday gifts as well as anniversary gifts for the commemoration of the Sultan’s coronation.
(I didn’t really want to break my Backpacking South East Asia series but really, really want to share my recent trip in El Nido while the memories are still as clear as its waters.)
My heart really felt heavy when I left El Nido. And I am not saying this cause I’m being cheesy or anything. Truly, El Nido has captured my heart that morning as I walked on the beach, just basking in the calmness of the sea. The islands had such an effect on me that I just couldn’t stop myself from gazing in awe. To top it all, meeting people from different places and seeing cultures blend seamlessly right before your eyes is but an icing on the cake for a memorable El Nido trip. Continue reading El Nido: a paradise and a promise
Day 2: Walkabout the City Center-Jesselton Point-Sapi Island, TAR Marine Park
If there was one thing I really hated about the cancellation of my flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, it would be the full day I was supposed to spend at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
You see, I’m not much of a shopper so not being able to go to the Sunday Market at Gaya Street did not really get me too frustrated about it. But, I am a beach person–not necessarily a swimming one but more of a stare-at-the-horizon-while-doing-nothing kind. Plus I like to go underwater too–if only to snorkel and see the little fishies I only see in aquariums or TV shows. So, when I was planning the trip, it was the only must-do in the list. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Kota Kinabalu – Sand, Sea and Sky