Happy New Year, everyone! The year 2016 had been great for me in terms of traveling. I visited 23 local and five international destinations. Every place has its unique culture and stories. But there are these five local places on top of my list that I hope you visit this 2017.
Last year was the year of a bunch of changes. It was the year of being the real me and doing the things that I had really wanted. It was the year I moved out of my comfort zone and decided to follow my dreams and do what makes me happy. Probably, quitting my job to travel was the highlight of my 2016. It was the biggest move I did and I don’t regret anything at all. Before that, I was so afraid to give up the good things in life (i.e. good career) that I never knew that there was something great waiting for me.
Related Article [The Day I was Torn Between Working and Traveling]
So, who is Cai Dominguez now? Well, I’m now the kind of person who doesn’t have a direction in life. Seriously, I don’t have a plan at all and I don’t see anything wrong about it. I’m now the kind of person who doesn’t let the society dictate what I should do with my life. I feel like growing up in the Philippines has a pattern. Well, for the majority I guess. Everybody seems to tell you to follow this cycle: be good in school, finish college, get an 8-5 job, save money, and get rich.
Who doesn’t want to get rich? Acquiring a car and building a dream house is every Filipino’s dream. I’m still dreaming of having those things. But for now, I will just enjoy the liberty that I got after quitting my job.
Do you think that 2016 ended too fast? Me, too and I’m not yet ready to welcome 2017. Before 2015 ended, I booked a lot of flights for 2016 and planned my trips well. This 2017 though, the only flight I booked is the one going to Vietnam. If you are still undecided on where to go this year, I hope my top five places in the Philippines will be part of your final itinerary.
5. Cagayan De Oro
Let’s start with Cagayan De Oro. Honestly, I spent only 24 hours in the city, but I loved it instantly because of River Rafting. I’m a self-proclaimed water sports enthusiast that’s why any activity that involves water attracts me.
At first, it was scary, but it was fun when I got the hang of it. You might think that you will get injured when you hit the rocks. Well, quite the contrary. It’s totally safe. Never leave Cagayan de Oro without trying out River Rafting. Believe me, you have never been to CDO if you don’t try this activity!
For neophytes like me, you can get enough of the beginner level. I was fine with an almost 3-hour activity with less than 20 rafts. This is something you should not miss! It became more fun because of our funny and cool guides from Great White Rafting. Clink this link for the rates and details.
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Approximately 4-5 hours away from Cagayan De Oro City is one of the smallest island provinces in the Philippines–Camiguin.
I fell in love with Camiguin because of its perfect ambiance. There are a lot of white sand beaches in the Philippines, but if you’re looking for a place where you can truly reconnect with nature, Camiguin is perfect for you, because there are fewer tourists. You can also travel around easily.
Most of the things that you might be looking for a quick vacation are in the province. They have an impressive island with white sand which is fittingly called White island. Mantigue Island is a good place for snorkeling.
The province also has cold and hot springs. We visited Ardent Hot spring and Sto Nino Cold spring. If you love waterfalls, they have the Katibawasan Falls and Tuasan Falls. And the adventure doesn’t end there, as they have old churches, ancestral homes, and of course, the Sunken Cemetery.
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3. Ticao Island, Masbate
Who the hell will go to Masbate? Me! Well, the underrated province of Masbate is now gaining popularity among travelers. I believe that one day, the province of Masbate, with its untouched beauty, beaches, and marine sanctuary, can match and keep up with its neighboring province.
I love the rawness of Ticao Island; the beach is surprisingly beautiful. The island, in general, is so peaceful and so relaxing it oozes with a sense of exclusivity. I’m really looking forward to going back to that place because I never had the chance to swim with Manta Rays, as there was a storm when we visited Ticao. The island is dubbed as the Manta Ray Capital of the Philippines.
Related Article [Ticao Island: The Untouched beauty of Masbate]
Looking for discounted hotel in Masbate – Click this link!
Sorsogon is love! I can’t think of anything to hate about the province. The food is great! We all know how good the cuisine in the Bicol region is. And the people are hospitable. I will never get tired of saying that among all Filipinos, Bicolanos are the most hospitable.
I love Sorsogon because everything is surprising. They have a pink beach, they have the most beautiful lake I have ever seen here in the Philippines, they have a unique river cruise with thousands of fireflies, and they offer an amazing underwater experience. Sorsogon is positioned to be a rising surfing destination. The province is widely promoting eco-tourism. Visit Sorsogon before other travelers storm to the place. Soon, it will be the next big thing in the Philippines!
Related Article [Sorsogon: Bicol Region’s Freshest Tourist Destination]
And the number one spot goes to Buscalan! If there’s one place that touched my soul and felt like home, it was Buscalan. When I was there, I didn’t feel that Ii was different. The people made feel that I belonged to their family.
I only have one tip if you’re planning to visit Buscalan: travel solo. That’s the best way to embrace the community. I was there for four days and I didn’t expect anything, but to just get a traditional tattoo. It turned out I had a hard time to leave the mountain. I experienced homestay and eating with my host family. I drank with the locals, visited different houses and dined with the families living in each of them. I planted palay and shared stories with people. It was a travel experience that I will never forget and these are enough for me to go back to that place.
P.S Don’t travel with big groups when you visit Buscalan Village. I’m not being a killjoy here. The community is too small to accommodate hundreds of guests. Wang-od is too old to give a tattoo to everyone. Your trip should be more of showing respect to the community and to their culture. I swear if you are planning to visit the place, leave your friends in the city and go explore the village all by yourself.
Related Article [I Found my Second Home in the Arms of Buscalan Village]
I would like to thank you for continuously reading my articles. I promise to write more stories this 2017. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so keep on moving, keep on traveling, keep on discovering different places. Never stop chasing your dreams. Let’s claim that 2017 will be a good year for traveling!