A beach lovers paradise which is ranked as one of the best in the world. The place has everything for everybody whether you long for action and activities in the White Beach or just take a leisurely stroll in the Puka Beach. My planned 4-day stay in this island paradise was extended for a week and for those seven days, no single day is the same. I love this place.
I instantly fell in love with this place the first time I set foot on it. The landscape here is lush and varied - from the remnants of a volcanic eruption to the serenity of its white sand beaches. The white island is a must-place to visit. This place is eco-tourism at its best.
From the Spanish-era mansions of Vigan, to the stunning churches of Paoay and Laoag. From the eerie lighthouse of Burgos and surreal windmills of Bangui Bay to the white beaches of Pagudpud. The Ilocos Region (Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur)is definitely a worthy-place to spend long weekends. There is so much things to see here whether you crave history, religion or just plainly wanna have a good time.
Home to the world-famous Rice Terraces, the province of Ifugao is a must-place to visit at least once in your lifetime. The Rice Terraces of Banaue, Batad, Hapao, Mayoyao and Kiangan are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I was able to trek the first three and was rewarded with the amazing view of Tappia Waterfalls and Ducligan Hot Springs.
Known as the City of Golden Friendship, the best thing to do in this place is to Whitewater Raft. I have braved the rapids of Cagayan De Oro River for more than two hours and I consider that as one of the best activities I had in 2008. On a lighter side, one could spend the night hunting for bargains or enjoy grilled barbecues in the center's Night Cafe held every Friday and Saturday nights.
This trip is a memorable one because this is the first time I joined Dong Ho and the Lingkod-Alabang Brothers. Also, this is one of the roughest boat rides I ever endured which was cause by an approaching typhoon. But casting that aside, Capones Island offers verdant greens of its hills and valleys as well as fine white-sand beaches. A perfect place to stay and backpack overnight.
Carabao Island, also called San Jose and Hambil is more of a day trip from Boracay than a destination in its own right. A perfect place to escape the crowded beach of Bora, the beaches of Carabao Island, particularly Inobahan Beach, offers solace and tranquility. In fact, some says this place reminds them of Bora of the eighties. I particularly enjoyed my trek here to Tagaytay Combot where I had an amazing view of seascape and the surrounding islands.
This is one of my favorite places this year. And thanks to SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) this place is just a couple of hours away from my place. Think virgin beaches with no electricity where you need to go back to basics. A backpackers's beach paradise. Also, there is an emerging heritage city in Bagac where ancient homes and old structures are being rebuilt.
The Hundred Islands, Lingayen Gulf and Bolinao Lighthouse and Beaches were among the places I have visited in this coastal province. And because of the proximity of the place to where I live, I frequent this place if I long for great sunsets and rolling breakers or if ever I want to fix my island-hopping urges.
In addition, I have not included this on my Top 10 because the list above were all local trips. But I was also fortunate to be given a chance to go out of the country last year and experience the exotic beauty of Bangkok and Ayutthaya in Thailand:
And lastly, it was also last year where I got to share some facts and interesting places of my hometown that I deemed it proper to include it in this post. And if ever you wish to visit my province, just mack me and I am very much willing to give you assistance.
As I have said, Year 2008 was a great year for travel and I really do hope that I can share more travels with you in 2009. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone and TRAVEL SAFE!!!