“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

Despite the scarcity of moolah I experienced throughout the year, I somehow managed to scraped off some travel funds and get my butt across 13+ destinations, both locally and abroad.

So before a new calendar goes up the wall – unless the world comes to a stand still today thanks to the prediction of the Mayans – I would like to take this chance to reminisce and look back to those crazy times I had on the road.

Anawangin / Nagsasa / Capones, Zambales
January  2012 


PTB Bagets at Anawangin Cove, Zambales. Photo credit to Ian of Brownmantrips.com

This spontaneous trip to Zambales paved the way for all my wandering adventures in 2012. Out of nowhere, I ended up joining the birthday trip of a co-blogger named Ivan where I also met other adventurous souls like Elal, Chino, Byron, Ian, Cai and JL.

Together, we traversed Mount Pundaquit in the middle of the scorching heat of the afternoon sun (believe me when I say I almost died on that trek!), scared ourselves senseless during a kwentuhan-slash-takutan session in Nagsasa Cove, marveled at the night sky veiled with thousands of twinkling stars and bathe in the rough waters of Capones to reach the rustic Faro Punta de Capones. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable trip made even more remarkable by new-found friends.

Bulubudiangan Island, Iloilo
February 2012 


Going solo in Bulubudiangan

It only took a few glimpses at a local tourism brochure to seduce my travel-junkie soul into visiting this island. Four months and a seat-sale after, I left Manila for what will become one of the highlight trips of my life; a 3-day escapades to Bulubudiangan / Sandbar Island,  a secluded destination tucked in the northern part of Iloilo.

Getting stranded has never been more fun until that fateful three days I spent just bumming on the beach, lying on a hammock and watching those playful waves. It was the closest thing to solitude I got, considering I was the only visitor in that island for the duration of my stay.

Getting personal with the kind owners and hearing about their simple life stories inspired me in more ways than one. Through them, I learned that sometimes it’s the simple things in life that counts.

Sagada, Mountain Province
February  2012


Tired but happy inside Sumaguing Cave. Photo credit to Eileen

Only five days after I came back from Iloilo, I found myself stuffing my backpack once again for yet another exciting trip, this time for Sagada. Two buses, one jeep, and more than 13-hours later, me and my St. Luke’s buddies (Lancy, Mage, Elaine, Kat, Jim, Piolo, Louie), finally laid eyes on this charming little town in the Mountain Province.

Sagada left us nothing but fond memories. I would always smile when I look back on those times when we were lying on our backs trying to squeezed through a tiny opening inside Sumaguing Cave, or when we were splashing water like little children at Bomod-ok Falls, or the wonderful picnic we had at Kiltepan Peak, or the failed sunset we got in Lake Danao and the sumptuous buffet dinner that came afterwards.

As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes it’s really the people you travel with that makes the journey more memorable. :)

Hong Kong 
March  2012 

     Sleeping giant panda in Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Santa, can you please give me this one?

The month of March marked one of the most important trips in my life: my first ever International Travel.

Not only was I able to set foot on another country, but I also got to ticked off a few items on my bucket list such as see a giant panda at Ocean Park, shop-till-we-drop in the shopping districts of Hong Kong, ride a double-decker bus, ate authentic noodles in one of the hole-in-the-wall restos, and took pictures with Shakespeare, even if it’s just his wax figure. LOL! For these simple reasons, Hong Kong will forever hold a special place in my heart.

March 2012

                                                Venetian Hotel, Macau

Find the bridge where Jun Pyo and Jan Di broke up in Boys Over Flower series = Check.

Even if we only spend a day in Macau, we made sure that we maximized every second of it. Hence our amazing race-like adventure including several highlights such as  hunting for the bridge where Jun Pyo and Jan Di broke up in the hit Korean series ‘Boys Over Flowers’ inside The Venetian Hotel, watching the Dragon’s Treasure show at the City of Dreams, going gaga over Stanley Ho’s treasures inside The Grand Lisboa, gorging our way through Largo de Senado and St. Paul Ruins, marveling at the Fortune Diamond Show at The Galaxy Hotel and doing an evening stroll at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Baguio City, Baguio
April 2012

     Ben Cab Museum, Baguio

Photo op session at Ben Cab Museum, Baguio. Photo credit to Dong Ho of Escapeislands.com

Thanks to the sponsored trip courtesy of Azalea Residences, me and a bunch of other travel bloggers were able to spend our weekend at the City of Pines once again. In a span of two days, we were able to visit the tourist spots in Baguio among other places.

Burot Island, Batangas
April 2012

      Burot Beach, Calatagan, Batangas

Burot beach, the lesser known beach in Calatagan, Batangas

Summer wouldn’t be complete without an escapade to the beach. So while everyone flocked to Boracay, Palawan, Puerto Galera, Anawangin and other popular beaches, we opted to camped-out on one of the lesser known beach of Burot  in Calatagan, Batangas instead. And the best part was we only spent Php800 each!

Jomalig Island, Quezon
May 2012

      Jomalig Island, Quezon

Balancing act at Salibungot Beach, Jomalig Island. Photo credit to Melo of Outoftownblog.com

Jomalig is one island I never knew existed until the trip itself. It was only an open-invite coming from a fellow travel blogger that paved the way for me to see this hidden paradise for myself.

Hosted by the Honorable Mayor himself, we spend our three precious days bumming around in different beaches, visiting a mangrove nursery, touring the surrounding islands and feasting on SEAFOOD. Think of crabs and lobsters for breakfast! LOL! Happy thoughts, if only I could bring back those times… Chos!

Davao City, Davao
July 2012

     White water rafting in Davao

Tired but happy after our adrenaline-pumping white water adventure.

Sometimes it pays to be a die-hard romantic… especially when your cheesiness ends up in you winning a round trip ticket to Davao for two plus a 3-days hotel accommodation out of nowhere. As crazy as that sounds, that’s a true story that happened to me last July. Thanks to a cheesy tweet I made on twitter, Air Asia chose me as one of their lucky winners. So yeah.

Highlights of this trip includes the white water rafting adventure which was a lot of fun but a bit heavy on the pocket, petting a baby tiger at Davao Crocodile Farm, and the amazing fire dancing show at the Tribu Kamindanawan.

Considering it was the first town I visited in Mindanao, Davao made a pretty good impression on me. Can’t wait to be back!

Bantayan Island, Cebu
September 2012

     Bantayan Island, Cebu

 Beach bumming with Lancy and Kat.

I’ve heard nothing but raves for this island and for good reasons. Any certified beach bum will no doubt succumbed to the calling of its long stretch of white sand beach, turquoise blue waters and its over-all summery vibe. And unlike other popular beaches out there, Bantayan remains to exude a secluded feel, with only a handful of tourists lurking on the beach.

Bantayan will always leave an indelible mark on me, literally. Up to now I could still feel a slight ache on my left ankle when I accidentally fell trying to learn how to ride a bike. 5 days after that fall, my left ankle looked like a small squash because of the swelling. Painful, yes, but sometimes it’s the only way to learn.

Oslob, Cebu
September 2012

     Whaleshark interaction at Oslob, Cebu

The tuki took my breath away. Chos!

Nature has a way of transforming me into a bubbling idiot from time to time and this was one of those many occasions. I just couldn’t hide my excitement from seeing these gentle giants that I end up screaming the words Ayun, ayun, ayun with frenzied delight while pointing at their directions. Our boatman hurriedly told us to jump into the water to swim with the tukis (whalesharks) and we did, with no extra prodding needed.

Although we maintained the allowable distance between us and the whalesharks, the mere experience of swimming in the same water  with them was enough to fill us with awe. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to swim besides a 40-feet fish with a mouth large enough for you to fit into. Morbid thoughts, but there actually was a time that I feel a little nervous when they came feeding a little too close. Feeling ko kakainin nila ko. LOL!

Digyo Island, Leyte
September 2012 

     Digyo Island, Leyte

One of my fave beach ever. Kindly disregard my Hagrid hair. LOL!

Wow! That’s the first word that popped into my mind upon seeing this stunning island in Leyte. White sand beach, crystal turquoise blue water, long stretch of sandbar, abundant tropical trees and a glorious mountain backdrop. What more can we ask for?

Banaue / Hapao / Hungduan / Alfonsolista, Ifugao
November – December 2012

     Give Ifugao 2012

Smiling with the Ifugao kids after their heartwarming presentation. They’re so cute!!!

When GOD blesses you, it’s your responsibility to give back. And that’s what we did last November, the Give Ifugao Project.

Together with other Pinoy Travel Bloggers (Heiz, Ian, Mich and Miguel) and new Polish friends (Marek, Magda and Shemeck), we visited 5 secluded schools in Ifugao to distribute school supplies to 300+ students.

Some of these children need to trek a maximum of three hours just to reach their classrooms and seeing their smiles as they accepted our gifts and their excitement upon putting on their new slippers were enough to put tears on our eyes. It was simply a one-of-a-kind feeling that will be forever etched on our hearts.

- – - – - – -

So there you have it, the highlights of my 2012. My best year yet, my year of perpetual summer. Thank you LORD for giving me a blessed and colorful year full of crazy adventures.

Likewise, I hope you had an amazing year as well. Here’s to hoping for a better year ahead! May God bless our 2013!

Pinoy Travel Blogger's Blog CarnivalThis is my third entry to Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival for December 2012.

Theme: “2012: This Year In Travel”.

Hosted by Gay Mitra-Emami of Pinay Travel Junkie and
Regine Camille Garcia of Between Coordinates 

Click on the PTB Blog Carnival logo on the right to see the previous entries.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Joanna Jane Liwag
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31 Comments to “2012: A year of Perpetual Summer”

  • aaww, perpetual! love it! =)

    • ang arte ko lang mag-title di ba? hahaha. :)

  • wow! jampacked year it was! more adventures for us in the coming year!!! =D
    ian recently posted..Plant Your Own: TomatoesMy Profile

  • That island in Ilo-Ilo looks stunning! great year round-up cheer for 2012 and more travels to come.
    carlo | visa-freeworld recently posted..My Year 2012 in 3 MinutesMy Profile

  • You had a great year! Dami mo nakasama sa trip ah. Kelan kaya tayo magsasama? hehe more travels and blessings to come <3
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Paraw Sailing in Boracay as the sun setsMy Profile

  • Where’s the Isla Puting Bato trip? hehe. Full-packed this 2012 ah, with Jomalig Island pa. Cheers for an even better 2013.
    Marky recently posted..Nomadic Experiences of 2012: From the Halifax Airport Lounge Until a Long DecemberMy Profile

    • Hehehe wala kasi akong picture nung sa Isla Puting Bato natin. Isa pa naman yun sa mga memorable experiences last 2012. Sana makasama ko ulit kayo nila Lauren sa mga future trips nyo. Cheers for a more jampacked year ahead! :)

  • Wow! what a great post! your 2012 is really packed with adventures. And I like your photo with the Ifugao kids. :)

    • Oh thank you Ephraim. I love that picture too. Brings back fond memories. :)

  • looks like you’ve had the time of your life this year! 13 trips, andame na nyan girl!
    have a blessed Christmas and cheers to more travels!
    thepinaysolobackpacker recently posted..Zamboanga City Cheap AccommodationsMy Profile

    • It was indeed an amazing year. Hoping one of these days makasama din kita idol sa isa sa mga trips mo. Happy New Year!

  • beautiful places and beautiful pictures! more perpetual summers to come!
    nik_rielo recently posted..The Best of #awesome #philippines80: 2012 Year End Rundown with a TwistMy Profile

    • Thanks! Cheers to more travels for all of us. :)

  • i love the pictures and how you present the 13 travels! great job girl and cheers to more fun travels in 2013 – guess ko 14 trips yan haha

    • Thanks Atty. Mhe-anne! Sana nga mas magmultiply pa ang mga lakad natin this 2013. Hehehe

  • Great and fun year! Looks like this year had more sunshine than rain, which is good because we got to enjoy the outdoors more. :-)
    Ryan Mach (@wandering_pinoy) recently posted..Travel Round-Up: 12 Travel Highlights for 2012My Profile

    • Yup, it was really an awesome. Cheers to a more fun-filled year this 2013!

  • babaeng gala, happy new year! nice meeting u in 2012 sana sa 2013 ulit!
    Roniel recently posted..Blast from the Past!My Profile

    • Hello Roniel! Nice meeting you din last year. See you when I see you this year! Happy New Year!

  • I love that sand bar in Iloilo! I’m a sucker for sand bars – period. =) Would you have a detailed blog post about this? I’m interested in going there in one of my future travels.

    Happy 2013 and here’s to more amazing travels!

  • nice. dami mo din palang napuntahan this year. naalala ko nung nagkasama tayo konti palang. kaka inggit yung jomalig, burot at bulubudiagan mo na trip.

    nice to have met you last year at sa samahan sa Azalea.

    happy new year and cheers to more exciting trips in 2013!
    dong ho recently posted..twenty of my most memorable trips in 2012My Profile

    • Wala pa rin tatalo sa trip mo this year. Harbin at Beijing!

      It’s nice meeting you din at sana magkaron pa tayo ng ibang future trips together. Cheers to more travels for all of us!

  • 2012 has been good to you and i hope 2013 will be better. Cheers to more fun and adventures this year :)
    Escape Manila recently posted..12 Escapes in 1212My Profile

  • Congrats on a summer-filled year, Joan! Don’t we all wish to have that kind of year, every year eh? And some of your trips were even free! If people start hating you, don’t take it personally haha! Happy New Year :)
    Drew recently posted..2012My Profile

  • Your 2012 was super packed! I literally was in awe with all the trips that you made.. para tuloy one destination per month..grabe, inggit ako! :P Sama mo naman ako sa mini-trips mo next time.. :P
    Mai Flores recently posted..2012 Travels: Looking Back, Looking Forward.My Profile

  • One of the best things about these year-end round-ups is discovering all the other adventures before discovering a blog. I’m glad I got caught up with your other adventures this year. What an awesome year filled with adventures for you. How cool for you to swim with whalesharks – definitely a major highlight. Wishing you more awesome advventures in 2013.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Viewing the 2013 Rose Parade Floats Up CloseMy Profile

  • “As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes it’s really the people you travel with that makes the journey more memorable” – I agree and 100% to that… sometimes its not the destination at all that makes the trip memorable but with best people you spend with. What a 2012 travels, may you have more this year.
    ian | going places recently posted..The Road to SagadaMy Profile

  • Looks like you had a fun packed 2012. Do holler if you include Surigao City in you next iti. :) Here’s to more places and adventures!

    ~safe travels :)
    Nathalie recently posted..Temple Overload (the untold story)My Profile

  • one of the best things happen to me is I met a kind and sweet girl like you! I’ll never get tired listening to your travel stories, isama na ang mga chismisan galore! Super favorite ko talaga ang Ilo-ilo trip mo, hanggang ngayon di pa rin ako nakakaapak dyan haha! More travels for you girl! You’ve done a great job this year, tuloy tuloy na yan! Cheers for more! :D
    C.A. | Adventurous Feet recently posted..Adventurousfeet’s Best of 2012 TravelMy Profile

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