New Site!

I won’t be updating this blog anymore. Transferred all blog post and photos to my new site. 

http://www.thebigblackbackpack.com 

http://www.thebigblackbackpack.com 

http://www.thebigblackbackpack.com 

http://www.thebigblackbackpack.com 

 

Cheers guys!

 

My Tao Philippines Expedition Roundup

It’s exactly 1 year ago when I joined this awesome crew of like minded individuals, exploring the remote islands of the Philippines last frontier, served with fresh catch, beers in hand, just a short break from reality. Here I present my Tao Philippines experience roundup, just incase you guys wanted a feel of paradise.

10.Rhum, Beer, Coke and Pineapple Juice

The cheapness of Filipino liquor is always a hit to foreigners, rhum mixed with coke or pineapple is a sure ball hit. These stuff usually start something, from a getting to know conversation to showing your hidden craziness-slash-dance-moves. Man, I’m telling you that it definitely served its purpose.

9. Party

During our second night on the camp, we heard some locals singing the drunk-old-pinoy-song of all time, guess what, My way. We know something fun is about to happen. With the usual Filipino karaoke machine, everybody loosen up, danced to the beat, showed their crazy dance moves to the tune of YMCA. And of course, who can forget “Wonderwall”? It’s basically the anthem of the expedition. Ofcourse, I wasn’t shocked when everybody showed some mad emotions while singing that song.

8. Sunsets and Sunrises

I can still imagine the sun rising to its full glory and setting down amazingly. It’s how tao philipines choose base camps with a stunningly awesome backdrop. With beer in hand, prepare for an dramatically amazing sunrise/sunset viewing, life is good.

7. Camp

The first time I checked tao’s website, I have seen photos of people sleeping on this kind of setup so it wasn’t a surprise for me. It just adds to the experience, sleeping on a beach hut, crashing waves as your lullaby’s, and the wind from the ocean as your natural airconditioning. Sleeping in bliss.

6. Food

This one is something. The just-got-it-from-the-ocean seafoods and fresh organic veggies and fruits from Tao farm, combined with the 2 amazing cooks we have on board, what do you expect? Too good meals served thrice daily and banana/sweet potato snacks in between.

5. People

United with the will to travel and experience, 26 people from all parts of the globe sailing away from the craziness of their own life routine. Started as strangers on the first day and ended up as good friends on the last day. It was nice knowing these people, the laughs, late night conversations, and stories about anything, admittedly, it was everyone who made this trip so special. Connections just got bigger!

4. Tao Projects

Ecotourism at its finest. I admired Jack and Eddy’s efforts on putting up several projects like helping out those kids with their education by putting up small day care centers, and also being self sufficient expedition organizers where every food they serve to the travelers are all from their farm.

3.Beaches and Reefs

I haven’t tried any snorkeling activity on these awesome kind of reefs. This is actually one of the highlights of this trip, with just your snorkel gear, you’ll be able to witness this kind of amazing underwater world. Awesome.

And the beaches? Made it to my top ten list! Some are comparable to Boracay, for god’s sake, Philippines is really blessed.

2. Unspoiled Islands

This is the reason why I joined this trip, to experience an off the beaten path route and not just your ordinary island hopping tour. We have visited islands where there’s actually nothing to do, but just lay around, think about how amazing your life is, and just appreciate the scene. This I say, the Tao’s exploration team is doing pretty good on locating these kind of islands.

1. The experience

Everything was worth it. Being disconnected to the real world for 5 days is something, letting loose of yourself, experiencing things outside of your comfort zone, making connections, sailing to the unkown. Living the life. It was 5 days of pure bliss.

My detailed trip report about the entire experience will be on another post. 🙂

Goals to define my 2014

When life gave you an amazing 2013, well.. its a foreshadowing of things to come.  And the only thing to do for now is to embrace the thought that 2014 will be better.

So for 2014, some will be ticked from the bucket list, things will be experienced, some off the beaten path destinations will be visited and many more connections will be made because this will be the year where I would like to have – travel, experiences and connections to define my 2014.

To give you some snippets of my 2014 travel related plans, goals, resolutions or whatever new year cliches it is…

Amazing beaches, lagoons, stingless jellyfish, chill surfer-living. Stoked!

Every pinoy’s dream local destination.. those rolling hills, the culture, ahhh.

Again, my favorite beach. No words.

Been waiting for this, those world renowned product of the forefathers of the north.

To elephants and drunk backpackers, to water fight and temples, and to hippie living.

 To the amazing landscape, murky water tubing, to the waterfalls and french inspired cafes.

And will be back to the most beautiful place in the country…

And yes, this is also the year to learn and get a Scuba diving certification.

So what are you up to this 2014? Pack those bags, buy those tickets and go experience. 😉

“Most journeys have a clear beginning, but on some the ending is less well-defined. The question is, at what point do you bite your lip and head for home?” – Tahir Shah

PS. Only the shots of Calaguas and El nido are mine, everything else is from google.

2013 in a nutshell

Time to look back. 2013 was nothing but Amazing.

Year of self discoveries, making lifetime connections with strangers, learning the art of moving on, first times, breaking down.. Basically, it was another roller coaster year.

Here’s a rundown of  2013 travel highlghts.

Started the year with a courageous mind to join a 5day expedition along the remote islands of El nido and Coron. Joined the 23 other strangers from France, Italy, UK, Australia, Taiwan, US, Sweden,  Canada and Japan all with a common trait of adventurous mental heads. And yes, aside from the Expedition crew, I was the only Filipino on the trip.

This is my  paradise, a place where I found my bliss, engaged with nature and topped my where-to-settle down list. Went Island hopping, saw the most amazing islands the Philippines can offer. Yes, I’ll use a travel cliche to summarize this place, yeah this is the most beautiful place in the country.

Went back to my favorite beach with the awesome people from the office, the 2hour boat trip to the island was a… lets just say it was gross enough to discuss.(Damn the waves). There are some changes since the last time I went here, there are few resorts already popping the shores of this majestic island. Well, the beauty is still there, the sand was still powdery white, and the water was as still as clear as your rich neighbor’s swimming pool. Still worth the 14hour trip.

Yet another trip with my Travel Buddies, another happy-laugh-all-you-want trip with these happy people. From the old churches, to the past president’s north palace, to the first attempt to sand boarding, to the rock formations, and to the overly touristic falls.. it was all injested by a doze of laugh and adventurous mental heads.

…(continuation) Then continued to the south, to the old structures, the old everything. This is a UNESCO heritage site worth visiting for a day trip, again, just a day trip unless you want to spend few hours in Mcdonalds.

Yes, another trip with ze’travel buddies.  Interesting trip as your mums secret recipe book, as our inital plans were dropped due to the cancelled flight-turned-staycation on a hotel in Makati, all thanks to Cebupacific. A trip of desire to try new things, as we are damn well adventurous lads to try the longest zipline in asia(Meh) and a 4hour advance white water rafting course.

Just added this amazing small island to my PH Island faves, why? The things to do, the amazing people, the spots, the beaches, the falls, the food, the places to stay, not to mention the yummy as your favorite online baker’s red velvet cupcake, Pastel. A really chilled out island and a definite will-be-back place.

First out of the country destination, the highlight of my 2013. Enjoyed the getting-lost moments with my 2 best friends/travel buddies. To the over the budget night outs, to the first 3 layers of clothing experience, to the colours of autumn, to the never ending subway rides, to the mighty soju, to the most amazing hostel you could stay in Seoul, to the stranger hostel mates turned awesome seoul travel buddies and some as life long friends, and to the hard to top first out of the country experience, *Sam-yuko-sam-yuko* Cheers to traveling!

Well.. the third time. With a different set of people, 2 of my best friends and a good friend  from Australia that we met in Seoul(Woo! Yeah, that’s his name). Not as excited during my first 2 trips, but still happy to tour around these people and looking at their poo-like-coloured-bums after a 6hour cave spelunking brought a smile on my face. And to end, something happened during our stay which I would be glad to share but of course a beer in hand is needed, and that “something” was the reason why I don’t see myself back into this Shangrila’s arms in the next few years.. we’ll see.

Yearly holiday trip to my hometown, nothing special actually.. just did some catching up over a bottle of Gilbeys, Old jokes and Whats-new stories was the core of the daily conversations with these lifelong friends. Went to the beach to celebrate one of my best friends birthday, and that’s it.

That was my 2013 travel whereabouts… now looking at my 2014 itinerary and it’s going to be craaaazy. And yea, how was your 2013 nomadic heads?

POSTCARD | Just of one those islands…

Palawan, Philippines. Now I am back to online atmos, expect to be flooded with these kinds of photos, everything the beach, islands and experiences from the 5 day expedition to the most remote islands of Palawan. Nothing but pure bliss!

One of those islands… (Palawan, Philippines)

POSTCARD | Mountain, Clouds and the Sunrise

“Photo that will make you want to hit the road.”

I’ll be doing this kind of segment in my blog, so as my blog’s first postcard, here’s Mountain, Clouds and the Sunrise.

Almost a year since I started traveling, and I know this is just the start of many more years of discovery, amazement and making connections. I will never get tired of The Philippines, there are alot of places waiting to be visited and I will continue on searching for these kinds of places. With this segment, hopefully it will inspire and let you realize that you should stop wandering and start taking this kind of photo.

Kiltepan Peak, Sagada, Mountain Province(April 2012)

Backpacking tips for the Yuppies

Wake up – Eat – Commute – Coffee – Work – Eat – Work – Commute – Eat – Sleep (Repeat).

An employee of a daily routine. You work 8 hours a day, spend 2-3hours of commuting, 4 days of hoping that Friday comes faster, 14 days of  hunger games or to other people, its 30 days waiting game. I know you want to do something different, something that will probably help you regain some energy for another who-knows-how-many-months-or-years of working without a simple weekend break.

Help yourself and use your earned leaves. Its given because employees need it, so instead of filing a Vacation Leave(VL) and only plan to use spend that day in your house, bumming, why don’t you pack your bags and travel? Leave those paper works behind, get out of the metro, forget the fast paced life, venture to something different, far away from the comfort of your home. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and use those hard earned “sweldo”, wisely.

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan your short weekend trip, or help you maximize your earned vacation leaves. Be smart in traveling, find little ways to be be on the cheap but worry free trip.

Lets start,

A Backpack, a bit of self confidence, sense of adventure, and you.

Continue reading Backpacking tips for the Yuppies

Whereabouts of 2012 and Counting the days of 2013

A simple summary of my whereabouts of 2012. I wont be blogging some of the places anymore because first, I am lazy, and secondly some details about the place were already forgotten. I will only post some of the memorable ones and the experience I had in 2012(just to keep the blog running, kidding:P)

This is my 2nd blogpost and yes, my blog’s on-live now. I had months of trial,  made a simple post of how this young wanderlust has started, which served as my first ever blogpost.

So here we go, lets start in April

April – Marinduque

Continue reading Whereabouts of 2012 and Counting the days of 2013

Wanderlusting

It all started on a warm summer afternoon during my on the job training in a company somewhere in ortigas. I have nothing to do during that time, so what I did was browsed the internet, searched for places around the Philippines. Until I discovered the blogs of Jerik De GuzmanChyng Reyes, and Grandeur Traveler, everything was changed. I started to wander.

Continue reading Wanderlusting