F On the 2012 bucket list - jeepneyjinggoy

On the 2012 bucket list

2011, I traveled. I am grateful.

At the start of each year, I come up with a list of places I want to visit. I believe in what the Dalai Lama said, "visit a new place every year," and I did, I always do. The experience is always enriching, and sharing it is even more gratifying.

The photographs of these new places I pin on my vision board in my bedroom. It's one of the first things I see every waking morning and the last at the end of the day, and I see myself in the photo. Visualization works. Proof is in every spot I have visited and in every travel story I have written. If it worked for me, it will work for you.

Last year, I asked to be in Agra, Prague, Kyoto and Turkey. All things in due time, it's not my time to see the places yet. Though the chance to see the Taj Mahal came, I chose to sign a project contract. This year, I can go. I will go. These places will remain in my vision board. Joining these will be these new destinations around the Philippines that I wish to visit.

Donsol, Sorsogon. I want to swim with the gentle giants of the sea -- the butandings. Who won't be in awe of these graceful sharks, the largest of the extant fish species? It’s only found in the tropical and warm waters, and in the Philippines, a large number of these whale sharks pass by the seas of Sorsogon.

Swim with a butanding

A lot of my friends swam with the harmless, gentle and friendly butandings and I am so inspired by their excitement.

Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental. I want to be in the midst of the unique pygmy trees of the world’s only bonsai forest.

Almaciga Bonsai trees, Mt. Hamiguitan, San Isidro, Davao Oriental

With its short distance from where I am, I am surprised (and ashamed) why I haven't visited this 6,843-hectare mountain reserve. The trees in the 225-hectare mossy forest have an average height of only 1.4 meters with a diameter of 8 centimeters; the highest average height is 2.4 meters. The reserve is a candidate World Heritage Site of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur. I want to ride the kalesa along the renowned cobblestone streets of the Mestizo District.

Ride the kalesa at the Mestizo District, Vigan

Vigan is one of the few Hispanic towns we have in the country and this is a World Heritage Site. Built along the famous pathways are structures bearing its unique architectural design -- a fusion of Philippines, Oriental and colonial European. It will be great to take a leisurely stroll through history.

Palawan. As lover of beaches, I should be going to this place. There are almost 2,000 kilometers of irregular coastline dotted with roughly 1,780 islands and islets, rocky coves, and sugar-white sandy beaches. This place is heaven!

Get inside Puerto Princesa Underground River

With numerous places to visit, I want to be in Palawan's UNESCO Heritage Sites -- the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, now a candidate to the new list of the seven wonders of nature, it features a large limestone landscape and an underground river that emerges directly to the sea; and the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park with its very high density of marine species in its atoll reef. I am not a diver but I could give it a shot.

The colorful underwater world of Tubbataha. Will I have the courage to go diving?

Batanes. If not in any of its ten islands, Basco will do. It's our smallest province (in land area and population) and the northernmost. The place is so Wuthering Heights or Hihintayin Kita sa Langit, if you prefer, and at the same time very Sound of Music with its hills and mountains. It’s been a dream to stay in one of the Ivantan’s homes and interact with them.

Be at the northernmost province of the country & interact with the Ivantans.

The Banaue Rice Terraces or the Payew or "Eighth Wonder of the World" as we Pinoys refer to it. It may be impossible to walk up and down the 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by the ancestors of the indigenous people but it will be great to see it with my own eyes and be struck with its awesomeness. It is said that if the steps are put end to end it would encircle half the globe.

Now, to act on this..... (all images from the net)

For more travel and lifestyle stories check out: http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ & http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 05, 2012.