How I Started Traveling and Blogging - From Beaches to Mountains

How I Started Traveling and Blogging

A travel journey of an adventurous girl who loves exploring, hiking, and eating new food around the world.  Never in my wildest imagination did I think that I'd be able to make this kind of life that I have now. I was brave enough to leave my homeland in search of myself and pursue my strong desire to see more.  I built myself up and saved enough cash to study abroad.  I enjoy my wanderlust life of seeing new lands and feeding my mind and soul while also satisfying some life-threatening, adrenaline-rush cravings.  I've managed to stay alive through it all.  Let me tell you about my travel stories.  Let's go!

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Where am I now?

I'm living in California now - one of the famous travel destinations in the United States of America.  It is also considered the most diverse state in America.  We have warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.  People around the world dream of being here - the home of the rich and the famous.  However, there is more than meets the eye behind the limelight of California.  It's not just about the Hollywood prestige and the big Malibu houses.  California has much more to offer.  My husband and I are enjoying the beautiful California hikes and National Parks

Born in the Pearl of the Orient  Seas

Before this all happened, I was just a simple girl living in the Philippines who loved to spend all her time at the beach.  The Philippines boasts an exquisite kind of natural beauty.  I'm blessed to have been born in an environment that is rich in coconut trees and pristine, white sandy beaches.  Not only that, but our mountains are not paved and all its glory remains untouched.   Aside from our rich biodiversity and the famous Boracay Island, Filipinos are known to be one of the happiest people on Earth.  Rain or shine, our spirits will not be crushed.  I feel like a tribal warrior saying this, but truth be told most of us were born resilient.  That explains how I'm able to be on my own for years and still enjoy the thrills of traveling. 

I strongly believe that you should travel to your country before you go abroad as you don't want to be a foreigner in your own land.  Here are my unforgettable destinations in the Philippines.  First, the charming island of Bohol, also called "God's Little Paradise," is where you'll find perfectly cone-shaped hills that look like chocolates.  Second, Palawan - The Last Ecological Frontier - is known for its dramatic cave formations and crystal-clear waters.  Third, I Climb to Mt. Pulag, the third-highest mountain in the Philippines.  Fun fact: it is also a dormant volcano. And last, the most daring adventure of all time, Sky Diving in Bantayan Island, Philippines. 

My playground!

I grew up in Cebu, Philippines, and the beach was my world!  We have the best beaches in the country.  If I wasn't home, I'd be hanging out with my friends at the beach, island hopping, or snorkeling.  I was so addicted to the beaches that I almost went to all of the Islands around Cebu. I knew I'd get far one day, just like the Disney Movie, "Moana," where the lyrics go "See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me" - I was like, I feel you, girl!

What inspired me to blog about my travels? It all started in Sumilon Island, one of Cebu's best-kept secrets located on the southeast side of the province.

The Adventure begins...

This is the country where it all happened - all my dreams of traveling.  My courageous soul led me to one of the wealthiest countries in Southeast Asia: the clean and safe country of Singapore.  Chewing gum is banned here, so be careful not to pack not even a single one in your suitcase.  As this is a "fine" city, they have strict fines and firm corporal punishment for misbehavior.  Yes, I became a good girl here - I mean, in a good way.  What I love most about Singapore is the food diversity!  No wonder it is also called the Food Capital of Asia.  The cuisines range from Chinese, Malay, Indian, and other diverse international influences.  Just thinking of my favorite dish "Hokkien Mee" makes me drool.


First Backpacking Experience!

I did my first backpacking trip on my birthday.   I had my first sleeper bus experience where you wake up sore in a new city after a long, scary bumpy ride but still have the ecstatic, "thank goodness we're alive!" kind of feeling.  My friend, Tyne, and I went to meet Angelina Jolie in Cambodia.  No, not really.  We actually went to the place where they filmed the movie "Tomb Raider." The place is called Angkor Wat, considered one of the Wonders of the World, and also the world's largest religious building that still stands strong all through these years.

Countless Memories in Thailand

Thailand reminds me of home with its gorgeous beaches and captivating sunsets.  My mum and I went to Phuket where I met the most gentle creatures in the animal kingdom.  Thailand is also known for Great Food like the famous "Pad Thai" which I genuinely love.  No matter wherever else I travel, I can never find the same taste as from their night market.  Not a single restaurant has matched its expert flavor when it comes to preparing Pad Thai. 

I've been to Thailand several times for several reasons.  One of which is the Shopping Mecca of Southeast Asia where you can find inexpensive dresses, electronics, you name it.  They say everything was made in China, but everything you want to buy is in Thailand.  Another reason is that I get to experience something magical, such as my first-ever Snorkeling with Bioluminescent Planktons at Night.  It felt like I was swimming with the stars.

First Solo Trip!

Bali is a great place for solo travelers.  I consider it the most solo-friendly destination for female backpackers.  My friends who went to Bali also said they had the most unforgettable experiences.  It's a daring adventure to be alone.   You have to be witty to find good bargains and careful to trust your gut feelings.  I did a lot of firsts on my Solo Trip in Bali, like my first sunrise hike in Kintamani, my first headstand with the most amazing yogi at Serenity Guesthouse, and my first scuba diving in the clear waters of Padang Bai.

Indonesia is also one of my favorite back-to-back trips in Asia.  I did my First Paragliding Experience in Jakarta, Indonesia together with my cousin, Junboi. My Most Exhilarating Seaplane Flight was also in Bintan, Indonesia. 

Upclose and Personal Trip with My Mum

My mum loves Chinese food like wonton, dumplings, handmade noodles, and more.  Imagine the joy she had when we went to Hong Kong.  This trip reminded me that our parents are not getting younger and we should spend more time with them.  A few things I enjoyed in Hong Kong was our visit to Disney Land as I'm always a child at heart.  Hong Kong Disneyland is also known for having the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle where the little girl in me saw the most magical fireworks display of all time.  My mum also joined me with all the rollercoaster rides in Ocean Park and take note she was afraid of heights.  We also crossed the border to Macau, China which is nicknamed the "Las Vegas of Asia."

"Pho" is Pronounced as "Fuh"

There are two main things I remember about Vietnam: the amazing number of motorcycles on the streets and the sumptuous "pho" noodle dish.  "Pho" is pronounced as "Fuh" and not "Foh." And let's not forget to mention the fresh rice paper rolls!  My mum and my travel buddy, Idell, joined me on this trip.  We explored the impressive network of connecting tunnels in Ho Chi Minh, which was used during the war. 

Another extraordinary place in Vietnam is Mui Ne.  For me, it was a real taste of rural life.  Mui Ne is a hidden gem nestled in the southeast part of the country.  Not long ago, it was an isolated province but is now well-known for its unique white and red sand dunes.  Not only that, but I had the cheapest massage package of all time in Mui Ne - a hot mineral mud bath then a mineral bath with aroma and floral petals floating around your glorious body.  To top it off, I had a relaxing massage and a snack by the pool.  It felt like heaven on Earth!

An Unforgettable Climb 

My friends, Kath and Ross, took me on my first-ever trip to Malaysia.  We visited Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, and the 400 million-year-old Batu Caves.  We also did a side trip to Genting, Malaysia, a popular resort and casino destination with locals and weekend warriors from Singapore who want to gamble.  Fun fact: this is because gambling is discouraged for locals living in Singapore!

I've always loved the mountains besides my endless water adventures.  One summer night, my hiking buddies, Idell, Kath, and I decided to Climb the Highest Mountain in Southeast Asia. I am proud to say that we did it with lots of strenuous training, determination, and a big dose of humor.  Undeniably the best climb of my life! 

The Motherland of Bubble Tea!

I believe 99% of my body is made of bubble tea, or also known as boba tea. I'm so addicted to this drink that I made an oath to myself to visit its homeland and give thanks for the joy it has given me.  When my travel buddy agreed to go to Taiwan, I was overwhelmed with happiness.  Idell and I went to Taiwan to get bubble tea and also to try Taiwan's best street foodsas they have the best foods in the world per word-of-mouth.  We explored the small towns of Taiwan to find the best bubble tea ever, and, of course, did some awesome activities like River trekking in Hualien and the Fascinating release of sky lanterns in Shifen

There's always a balance when it comes to my travels.  First, we have to do something extreme such as an air or water adventure.  Second, we have to do a hike.  And lastly, it must end with a sunset view or a massage.  So we did something extreme like jumping into the cold waters of Hualien.  For the hike, we visited Yangmingshan National Park.  It is a very interesting park as you'll find Taiwan's tallest dormant volcano!

First Solo Winter Hike with no Crampons!

Another solo travel I did was visiting the most romantic place in Asia.  South Korea is known for its global influence, especially in the fields of pop music and TV dramas.  I can't deny I was a big fan back then; so, for old times' sake, I went to Nami Island which is a popular shooting location for Korean dramas. As a solo female traveler, I looked lost but with a happy grin on my face.  Most travelers I know would stay in the city; but I, for one, am different.  I believe to truly realize a country's authenticity, you must travel to its provinces.  

I did a lot of hiking in South Korea, like the famous Mt. Seoraksan, which is the third-highest mountain in the country. Then I took a flight to the "Hawaii of Korea," Jeju Island, the ultimate paradise for nature lovers. This is where I did something foolish, hiking Mt. Hallasan, South Korea's Highest Mountain in winter without crampons.  Crampons are attached to your footwear in order to walk safely on ice.  I should have known why my fellow Korean hikers kept their distance from me as I was asking for trouble without this safety device. 

The Friendliest People I've met!

I don't know if I'm just lucky but Burmese people are the sweetest people I've met in all my travels in Asia.  Even when I was working in Singapore, my Burmese patients were the most patient, forgiving, and respectful group.  In return, I admire and salute them.  Myanmar is formerly known as Burma and they sheltered themselves from the world for 60 years.  I was thrilled when they opened their borders for tourism.  Idell and I packed our backpacks to celebrate her birthday with for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the "Golden Land" of Asia. Myanmar is not your ordinary Southeast Asia trip, as transportation around the country is difficult and they rarely speak English.

This is the place where I found the most special sunrise of all time.  Watching the sunrise on top of a temple has a distinct feeling of seeing the world in a different way.  The long, bumpy rides were not fun but then you woke up in another stunning location and made it all worth it.  Inle Lake is a must-see in Myanmar.  Just make sure to get here at dawn and see the sunrise together with the one-leg rowing fishermen. 

First Surfing Experience

Sri Lanka is known as the "Teardrop of India" for its unique location just off the coast of India.  I did my First Surfing Lesson here and the Most Scenic Train Ride on my travel list.  This trip was the most rugged destination I've ever experienced in all my Asia Travels.  The country also offers lush green tea plantations and surprising hiking trails. 

Where I Fell in Love

After years of traveling, I decided to stay in one place.  I chose Canada as it offers the best healthcare in the world.  I studied and worked in Toronto and it was the most rewarding experience of my life. I thought to myself, I found a home away from home.  My First Helicopter Ride happened in Toronto overlooking the World's famous CN tower.  A short drive away is the Majestic Niagara Falls and, if you're willing to go the extra mile, Tobermory's Cyprus Lake is worth visiting with the most mesmerizing lake I've ever seen.

Oh yeah!  Then I met the love of my life in Niagara Falls which, of course, is nicknamed the "Honeymoon Capital of the World."  Before we jumped on the wagon, we agreed to travel together.  I strongly believe that couples should travel together before saying I do.  We went to Canada's most amazing cities: Old Quebec, Ottawa, and Montreal.  Saying yes felt easy, light, and right.  He melted my heart in the winter months in Canada and brought me to his summer paradise.


Overslept in Paris

I waited long for this dream to visit Europe.  And when we got there on the very first day of my dream, we overslept!  Funny as that may sound.  Our art teacher was angry like an overcooked tomato as she repeatedly called and waited for nothing that day.  We offered our sincerest apologies after we woke and she was forgiving enough to give us our art lesson the next day.

I've always imagined myself living in this country one day, but I guess life has a different plan for me.  Paris is renowned as the "City of Love" for a multitude of reasons.  One, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular places where couples propose. Two, Parisians are expressive when it comes to love through architecture, food, and PDA (public display of affection). And three,  Parisians value their Landmarks as Signs of Love.

I Left My Heart in Italy

There are countless reasons to fall in love with Italy.  It takes you back to simpler times when apples and blackberries were just fruits. We went to Siena, Italy's bewitching medieval cityand almost got lost on our way to our long-awaited hot-air balloon ride.  From the best winemakers in the world, we sipped the drink of the gods.  And we challenged the only marathon that served wine while running through a wine vineyard.  

My heart was bursting with excitement for Amalfi Coast.  Known for their limoncello, idyllic beauty, and dangerous, winding roads, they're overflowing with delicious food and public fountains made of boobs.  A short ferry ride away is Capri Island and my favorite Margherita pizza.  For the nature-challengers, test yourself at the Hike of the Gods.

And finally, to top the cheese of your pizza, Rome was the ONLY place that said "yes" to my wine and rose request.  We were utterly surprised that it finally happened.

Stay tuned for more adventures!