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My 2010 travels in review

By on May 16, 2011

2011 - a
This is a rather belated review, but I still would like to share some of the mandatory solo photos taken at various Philippine destinations I’ve been to last year. I rarely show my narcissistic takes by the way, because I don’t want the whole world to know where I’ve been to for the past few months or the past few years for that matter. I never write about my travels too, except for a few blog entries where I dropped a line or two about my recent trip. It was then only in May 2010 that I realized that travel writing is not at all self-indulgent when you have other purposes in mind.

That’s when I decided to write again. The tipping point for that decision was a memorable trip to Sitio Kangko in South Cotabato in Southern Philippines. It was indeed both an unforgettable and humbling adventure, especially when the opportunity of giving back to the community presented itself to our group. I dragged myself to write again so that I could tell their stories and to some extent, their hopes. After Project Aerie, I realized too that when you meet new friends, unlearned some inaccurate history lessons and go beyond the usual shopping malls, your weekend travels would not end as just another photo album in your Facebook pages.

2011 - b

I could not forget as well Project Windmills, a 4D-3N backpacking journey that took me and 3 of my friends all the way to the Ilocos region in Northern Philippines. I really enjoyed the careful planning that we undertook considering the places we’d like to see, our limited time and our very limited budget too. I was able to strike off 2 items in my overdue bucket list as a result. Well, I was also few thousand pesos poorer afterwards. But I would not change any thing major in our travel spreadsheet if I could do it all over again.

And finally, Project PPS rounds up my top 3 highlights for 2010. I remember that the itinerary was made just a few days before my almost-forgotten flight departs for Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Although I was traveling alone in of the most beautiful destinations in the Philippines, I would not have done it without the assistance of a few trusted friends. This trip also introduced me to the idea of solo backpacking which has its pros and cons.

2011 - c

In summary, I went to 10 provinces, visited 4 UNESCO-recognized sites and 2 National Geological Monuments, participated in 3 fun runs and risked 4 zipe-line rides for 2010. There were also 23 domestic flights, 13 boat trips, unaccounted but numerous bus rides and the unavoidable yet incredibly enjoyable kilometers of walking in between.

However, 2010 was not all rosy for me. I remember too that there was a flight that I wished I did not have to take in November. But looking back, I could still say that life is beautiful despite the seemingly insurmountable circumstances we face along the way. Our God somehow never gets tired in giving out grace for those who beg for it, who plead for a second chance and continue to hope no matter what.

2011 - d

So you may wonder what happened to the other travel stories? Trust me when I say that everything’s already on queue and that I promised myself to write more this year. It is a challenge to find the time to organize my thoughts, select good photos and proofread my posts every time. As to how travel bloggers like this guy, this guy and this girl maintain their sites is simply beyond me. But I have to start somewhere and hope that I could catch a pace that I can sustain.

But in the meantime, I’d like to finally put 2010 behind and look forward to all the adventures for 2011, or the remaining months of it.

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Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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