January is about to end but here I am, still scrambling to complete these pieces pertaining to the previous year. As part of my 2018 throwback, I have rounded up some of the most memorable pictures of my local travels.

2018 wasn’t as productive, travel-wise, compared to previous years but still I had fun. Here are some of the reasons why I always want to be out there, to be in the moment. An international version will be published in the coming days. Do watch out for it.

My first adventure in 2018 started in the mossy trails of Malipunyo mountain range in Batangas. Mossy forests aren’t my thing yet its rich flora and fauna can leave the most hesitant of adventurers in awe. That was how I felt when our guide pointed out this giant shell.
Wild berries, which can be found on the trails, are a good alternative to jelly ace as a trail food. It is even healthier. Over in my hometown, we call this “pin-pinit”.
To reiterate, the wildlife in mossy forests is truly astounding. We saw countless mushrooms on the trails of Malipunyo. This is just one of (very) many we saw.
A practical advise: Always take time to pause and breathe in. We were not built to endure everything, every single day. Taking breaks is not taboo.
See, even the dog pauses and takes a break. Taken at Mt. Tangbaw, Bokod, Benguet.
The green fields of Benguet. It saddened me when many Benguet farmers had to throw away their produce due to “oversupply”.
“I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier,” sings Sia. But this is a different kind of chandelier, a more natural one.
More mountaineering adventure followed at Pampanga’s Mt. Arayat. I always pass by it whenever I travel to Baguio and vice versa. I was so happy I could finally climb it.
Mt. Malindig is Marinduque’s highest mountain. It is definitely one of my favorite mossy mountains (the mossy trail is shorter! haha).
One of the reasons why I fell in love with Mt. Malindig is because of this thing of beauty. When our guide spotted it and pointed it to us, I was beyond stoked. It is very rare to experience the beauty of nature this close.
When our Mt. Napulauan hike was rained over, I lost all hopes for a wonderful clearing the next morning. Mother Nature had other ideas. Who doesn’t love sunrise like this? It can bring out the romanticist in anyone.
The Ifugaos are renowned wood carvers. Look, they even carved a mini-bulol on the tip of the trekking stick. How ingenious!
But Hungduan has more to offer beyond Mt. Napulauan. Its cluster of webbed rice terraces is recognized as part of the UNESCO Heritage Site collectively referred to as the “Rice Terraces of Ifugao”.
Different mountain, similar trail, similar site. Ain’t mossy forests a thing of beauty? I can’t help but marvel at these magnificent displays on the trail. Makes the trouble all the worth it.
The historic Simbahan ng Boac (Boac Cathedral) is a must-visit site when one drops by Marinduque.
Mariduque, a small province-island off the coast of Quezon province, is considered as the geographical heart of the Philippines. However, it is more renowned for its Moriones Festival which is celebrated every Holy Week.
Camiguin is often referred to as the “island born of fire” because of the presence of active volcanoes in the province. This may sound ominous but doesn’t stop visitors from dropping by. It is undeniably blessed with natural marvels such as this towering waterfall.
Remnants of the volcanic activities in Camiguin can be found all over the island. One such remnant is the Old Guiob Church Ruins in Catarman municipality.
The Sunken Cemetery is another vestige of the volcanic activities in the island. However, it is even more beautiful (and perhaps more symbolical) when captured during sunset (or sunrise).
There are numerous swimming spots in Camiguin. I have to admit, these cold pools are refreshing.
The beaches of Camiguin are also fine, very fine.
When blue meets blue. A boat anchored on the famed island of Mantigue.
Adrenaline surges as the rapids do. White river rafting is a must-try activity. Crossing this one out in my bucket list.
Here’s another bucket list item that I ticked off during my North Mindanao trip. Come to think, I had three firsts there: 1) first trip to Mindanao; 2) first white river rafting experience; and 3) first zipline experience. Mindanao is such a blessed place and I want to go back for more.

But perhaps the most important of these trips are the stories and memories that I get to share with amazing individuals, whom I can now call my friends.

Hoping for a great year of travels in 2019! Safe travels everyone!