My Most Traveled Year (So Far)

Even as I write this post, I can hear Christmas music being played in our neighbor’s house, just across the street. Being reminded that December is near also reminds me that the end of 2017 is also just around the corner. This has also made me think about the trips I have done this year.

Well, it turns out that I have only done one trip this year! By a trip, I mean taking a plane or a boat to travel away from our city. I did not include driving trips that took less than hour from our place. On the other hand, I looked back to 2016 and realized I actually made a total of 6 trips that year! In fact, it would be more than 6 trips if we consider the connecting flights/boat travel that I also had to go through to reach these 6 destinations. Three of my travel destinations in 2016 were new ones for me, two within the Philippines and one abroad.

Count it memory gaps πŸ™‚ but until today I was thinking that 2014 was my most traveled year but it turns out that I made 5 trips for that year. So overall, 2016 is the winner πŸ™‚

Here’s what my 2016 travel itinerary looked like:

February – I was in Bohol for about a week. I run a training focusing on Cultural Anthropology and then spent a few days with my family in Bohol. My two brothers and their families are based there. I also had a really fun time swimming in the pool of my late Uncle’s home together with my nephew during this trip. It turned out that this was my 2nd to the last time of seeing my uncle as he passed away this year.

My trip to Bohol required that I fly to Cebu first (Butuan-Cebu) and then I took a fastcraft from Cebu to Tagbilaran. I also spent a couple of days in Cebu.

Working with this view 😊 Thank you, Lord #Bohol

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MayΒ – I finally got the chance to travel to Bukidnon for the 1st time πŸ™‚Β  I was asked to help facilitate a training there for LGUs. Bukidnon, I would say, is the equivalent of Baguio in Mindanao. The temperature was much cooler there. Aside from the pineapple plantation there and of course, Dahilayan, I would also remember the clean and green surroundings.

Loving nature & the cool weather in Dahilayan, Bukidnon πŸ˜„ #dahilayan #breaktime

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July – My sister based in the US decided to visit our home province, Bohol, and my husband and I decided to go home and spend time with her and the family. Together with my other siblings, we checked in at Dumaluan Beach Resort. It was also nostalgic when we met the resort owner who had served as mayor in Panglao for several years. Our families had been neighbors when we were kids and my older siblings were his friends and playmates along with his other siblings. This trip also meant my passing by Cebu.

October – I was invited again to hold a training on Cultural Anthropology this time in Kalibo, Aklan. This was my 1st time to Kalibo and it made me discover that KaliboΒ is one key gateway to Boracay πŸ™‚Β  And so after the training, I traveled to Boracay πŸ™‚ To get to Boracay from Kalibo, you can take a bus or a van. I opted for a van. The last time I was in Boracay was about a decade or so already! So obviously, there were changes πŸ™‚ It’s still a beautiful place. I had to pass by Cebu again to fly out to Kalibo.

But my trip in October did not end with Kalibo or Cebu. My husband and I also traveled to New Zealand in October πŸ™‚Β  Our travel there meant we also had to fly to Manila and then to Bangkok, Thailand first. Our stopover in Thailand gave us the opportunity to still go around Bangkok. In New Zealand, we attended a leadership gathering of leaders and pastors upon invitation by a church there. An added bonus for this trip is that we also got to spend our 7th wedding anniversary there πŸ™‚ We left Butuan on the 26th (for Manila-Bangkok-Auckland) and got back home on November 9. New Zealand is my first travel destination outside of Asia.

Amazing Akaroa #NewZealand

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November – Just when I thought my travel schedule was winding down, it turned out that I had one more trip to Kalibo, Aklan again πŸ™‚ I was asked to run again another training, this time on Resource Development. I just explored some parts of the city on this trip. There was a typhoon during the week that I was there, just when I was about to finish the training. My flight back to Cebu was even delayed because of the bad weather. But thank God, I was able to fly home safely together with some friends from the training course. I was back in Butuan in one piece soon after πŸ™‚

My initial plan is that I might take up graduate studies next year. So that might mean less travel time for me. But we’ll see how it goes. I might have just one more travel to do before 2017 ends but it is pretty clear that this year is more of a restful year for me, for us than 2016. All in all, I am thankful to God for all the travel opportunities that have been given to me not just in 2016 or 2017 but for all the past years as well πŸ™‚

Visiting Pegasus Town, New Zealand

When we went to New Zealand late last year, we both spent time in the North and South Island. We arrived in Auckland (North Island) and stayed there for a day before proceeding to Hamilton where we spent several days. We then went to Christchurch (South Island) where we also stayed for several days.

Our host for our stay in Christchurch was my cousin Jaireh and his family. One of the places they took us to was Pegasus town in North Canterbury which is about 40 minutes away from Christchurch. The plan was to have lunch at the Pegasus Golf and Sports Club, particularly at The Bunker Cafe and Bar. By the way, I wrote a separate post about some of the food we enjoyed in NZ which you can find here.

The Pegasus Golf and Sports ClubΒ First opened its doors in December 2009 and hosted the New Zealand Women’s Open in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It has anΒ 18-hole championship course. It also has a driving range, practice greens, pro shop, tennis courts and a well-equipped gym.

After enjoying our sumptuous brunch, we drove around the area to check out the town. It was all clean and quiet πŸ™‚ Β But then again the weather back in November was still cold. Summer time paints a totally different scenario where families would be sitting by the lake and kids and adult would be enjoying a swim. As it is, it was just us enjoying the quiet and relaxing beauty of the place that morning. And of course, we tried to capture the memories of that day with photos. If I did not feel so cold that day, we would have more photos πŸ™‚ Let’s just say I am not really used to below 10 degrees Centigrade weather.

Here is a video of Pegasus town which I found on YouTube. It tells more about the town, the story behind it. It also shows how the seemingly “deserted” parts of the place we explored are filled with people during the warmer seasons of the year.

By the way, we were in Pegasus during our anniversary πŸ™‚ We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in New Zealand. How cool is that? πŸ™‚ We are truly thankful to God and to our family and friends who encouraged us and helped made our NZ trip a beautiful reality.

  • How We Got There:Β 
  • We flew round trip via Thai Airways from Manila to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Auckland.Β We booked online and got good fares. We also got to choose our seats round trip and also the food served to us during the flights when we did the booking.
  • We were picked up in Auckland by our Hamilton host and we traveled by land going to Hamilton. Private land travel from Auckland to Hamilton is about an hour and a half.
  • To go to Christchurch, we went back to Auckland and took a flight to Christchurch. We flew via Jet Star. Flight time is about one hour and 45 minutes. Hamilton is located in the North Island of New Zealand while Christchurch is in the South Island. It is advisable to book early to get good fares for domestic flights (the same with that of the international flights).

Exploring Food in NZ

Our travel to New Zealand during the last quarter of 2016 allowed us to sample food regularly served on the Kiwi (New Zealander) table.

I have often been told by Kiwi friends that Fish and Chips is the standard favorite among Kiwis. And so as we took our late lunch shortly after our plane landed in Auckland, I was eager to order Fish and Chips. We had lunch at Szimpla Gastro Bar which was just beside Ibis Budget Hotel where we stayed in Auckland.

This is how my meal looked like πŸ™‚ Plenty of chips and fish slices in there. And if you’re wondering if it’s really a newspaper on which it was served on, you’re right πŸ™‚ That’s how they served it there.

Our host for lunch was my former boss while I was still working in Cebu, Cherry. She now resides in Auckland with her whole family.

While we were in Hamilton, we had one Sunday lunch together with the rest of our travelling group from the Philippines upon invitation by a fellow Filipino now based there. We ate at a Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant: Sultan’s Kitchen. My meal was a variation of the Fish and Chips. Note that the fish here is not fried unlike the usual Fish and Chips but was steamed instead πŸ™‚

The last stop of our trip before going back to the Philippines was in Christchurch. My cousin welcomed my husband and me there and hosted our stay. While we were there, Jaireh made sure that we tasted the country’s unique ice cream flavor (with a cool name, too!).

Here’s our Hokey Pokey ice cream for the night πŸ™‚

Are you hungry yet? Hmmm. Wait. I think I’m ready for some scoop of ice cream. Excuse me. Getting my ice cream now πŸ™‚

  • How We Got There:Β 
  • We flew round trip via Thai Airways from Manila to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Auckland.Β We booked online and got good fares. We also got to choose our seats round trip and also the food served to us during the flights when we did the booking.
  • We were picked up in Auckland by our Hamilton host and we traveled by land going to Hamilton. Private land travel from Auckland to Hamilton is about an hour and a half.
  • To go to Christchurch, we went back to Auckland and took a flight to Christchurch. We flew via Jet Star. Flight time is about one hour and 45 minutes. Hamilton is located in the North Island of New Zealand while Christchurch is in the South Island. It is advisable to book early to get good fares for domestic flights (the same with that of the international flights).

It Is Well

The first week of the year proved to be already challenging for my husband and me. Β How does one brave challenges through life?

Well, we do things that help us cope. Like focusing on people we love, focusing on the good things that we have been given, blessed with. I count the opportunities to travel specifically from the previous year as one of that.

And I set my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith.

I can say then, despite what challenges life may bring us, that it is well with my soul.