I know it’s already five months overdue but still, I would like to write a personal post about my 26th year, highlighting the travels I’ve had and the people I met along the way.
Contrary to my 25th year’s travels which were mainly as a solo backpacker or with a travel buddy, 2013-2014 was more of a group travel kind for me. It’s also during this span of time that I’ve met several important people in my life — from CouchSurfing acquaintances to really great friends, and from total strangers to favorite companions and partners in crime. And yes, ’twas also late last year that I met someone whom I’m looking forward to have more travels and adventures with.
As I’ve mentioned before, it takes a lot of willpower and natural beauty for me to be dragged out of bed at sunrise. Luckily, the scenery in Bolinao is one such wonder that I was able to force myself to step out of my room (I had to anyway coz it’s early work day for farmers’ training) at El Pescador Resort and watch the fishermen go about their business. The water was calm, except for the ripples from a fisherman’s small boat and nets being cast in the sea. It was said that before becoming a hotel and resort by the sea, El Pescador used to be a small fishing village, benefiting from the rich marine life of Bolinao in Pangasinan. It’s not exactly a swimming beach, especially with some kind of seawall separating the waters from the resort area. It is, however, still a nice sight to behold in the morning. I wonder how El Pescador sunset looks like, since Bolinao and Pangasinan generally belong to the sunset magic hour area. (Photo taken 08/31/2010)
One of the things I love most about traveling is the learning that comes with it — just like the way I was taught of Brunei’s water villages not from the books but by experiencing it myself! Though there’s no sand and sea (in the sand, sea and sky peg of #100days), the river that flows through Kampong Ayer and the web of water villages in the area deserve some attention and focus too! As Brunei, or at least the Sultan, is among the richest in the world, i didn’t really expect to see water villages as it reminds me of slums in the mega cities. I was, however, amazed at how and why the people of Kampong Ayer, though most likely as rich as the average mainland Bruneians, chose to preserve their history and local heritage by living and thriving in the water villages. To learn more about the water village life, read my blog post on the Kampong Ayer and do some armchair traveling via a walking photo tour and a viahera vlog.>
Phuket was my 8th city/province in my 6-county 12-city South East Asia backpacking tour of four weeks back in October 2011. Of the entire time, I’ve only actually been in the beach (as in, in the water or the islands) twice. Viking Cave was part of the one-day island hopping tour of some Ko Phi Phi (or was it Phi Phi Leh) islands in Phuket, which looked so much like El Nido in Palawan. Although we didn’t really go into the Viking Cave (we were on a BIG boat for like 90 or so people), the scene just got my attention. I actually called it shipwreck cave coz of the bamboo structure in the facade. Only while reading Matt Smith’s Blog did I learn that it’s actually a platform where the “guardian” of the cave stays during he entire month that he watches over the nests of swiftlets, the highly-valued resident birds of the cave. He also shared that it was called Viking Cave because of the painting of ships in the cave’s walls. If you want to take a word tour of Viking Cave, you should visit his site.>
During my solo backpacking South East Asia month in 2011, I mostly stayed at hostels and dorm-type accommodations. So, even when I was momentarily joined by two friends in the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia leg, they were made to follow the backpackers way of hostel-type accommodations. And, I would like to think that we all had a very good experience staying at the Beary Nice Hostel in Chinatown, Singapore.