F Where I went in 2022? Here's the list - jeepneyjinggoy

Where I went in 2022? Here's the list

When in Camiguin: Go see the Tuasan Falls

The travel itch needed to be scratched -- ASAP. The time was ripe to hit the road (and skies), called out to the Universe to take me where I should be. It was answered. Where I went in 2022? Here's the list.

Imagine the feeling of hopping on a plane and gliding over the clouds again. It was like traveling for the first time. Borders opened and travel restrictions eased, armored with four shots of vaccine and being mindful of self protection, it was the green light for me. 

Bangkok is a bi-annual trip I make. After more than two years, I was on the Sawasdee Krub and Khob Khun Krub trail again. I waited for lifting of the quarantine and test requirements upon entry before I gave the first post-lockdown international trip a go. That shaved off more than a couple of hundred dollars on the travel budget. All that went to food. 

What else is new? Along the life of traveling, priorities change. Shopping (on the premise that it’s cheaper in the country of origin) and ticking off hotspots on dream destinations topped the list. Today, the palate rules! Dieting takes a back seat. 

I zipped through Thai immigration (the fastest in my visit history- 10 minutes!), which allowed me quicker access to Mango with Sticky Rice and Phad Thai. The three-year longing sated! Along the same path of the city routine, I discovered a few more dishes (which happens to be Michelin Bib Gourmand) to add to the must-eat list. So much to savor, so little time. 

It was good to touch base with Thai pals who welcomed me back to their hotels. Shangri-La Bangkok was at its usual regal stature by the Chao Phraya River while the newly revamped Le Meridien Bangkok is adding to the excitement at the center of Silom with its art-inspired vibe. 

When in Bangkok: Shangri-La Bangkok's "usual" regal accommodations

When in Bangkok" Le Meridien Bangkok is set to excite every guest

Nostalgia and comfort play big factors in travel decisions. With direct routes from Davao to several domestic destinations reinstated, it was a good time to revisit cities that I fell in love with, like Iloilo and Cebu. 

In Iloilo, Richmonde Hotel was the ideal home. While the place offers an amazing food selection, including degustation menus, other local delights are steps away—the batchoy, kansi and grilled fare. 

When in Iloilo: Batchoy at Inggo's Batchoy, Festive Mall .

When in Iloilo: Kansi at Pat-Pat's

The graciousness of Richmonde as a host extends to taking me and my friends for a ride (in a very good way). The City Tourism Office and Southwest Tours took us to the must-see spots in the city center and the countryside. Iloilo’s heritage churches are breathtaking—and I haven’t seen all of them yet. THat’s a good reason to return to the city again, along with another bout with the batchoy, kansi, piaya, barquillos. 

Miag-ao Church in Iloilo

San Joaquin Church in Iloilo

In Cebu, I didn’t have to exit Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino until i checked out. The gastronomic trail along the hotel’s Gourmet Walk was all I needed to recover from a tiring trip before arriving in the city. I dove into the seafood buffet served on a Friday at Cafe Uno, enjoyed la dolce vita at La Gondola’s Italian food, feasted on exciting bites of superb Chinese cuisine at Tin Gow and Mizu’s Japanese servings took me back to the Land of the Rising Sun. Best of all, I met all the chefs behind the hotel’s cuisine. 

Good night rest in Cebu at Waterfront Cebu's Executive Suite

All the restaurants along Waterfront's Gourmet Walk is now open. Italian at La Gondola, Japanese at Mizu, Chinese at Tin Gow & International cuisine at Cafe Uno.

If an invitation to travel pops up, I dare not say no. For the first time, I had a taste of freshly picked lanzones during the Lanzones Festival in Camiguin Island. The quick trip to the Island Born of Fire was a thrill. Skipping the island visits on this trip, Camiguin showed how its inner soul was as exciting as the famed blue waters embracing the island. 

Lanzones Festival & freshly picked lanzones in Camiguin

After eight years, it was good to revisit the charming twin cities of Dapitan and Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte. Home for the visit? Dakak, a bigger resort this time with the addition of the new golf course and driving range and a new, upscale wing with cliffside casitas. 

When in Dapitan: Dakak's amazing view captures the new golf course & the waters beyond.

When in Dapitan: WInter wonderland, one of the new features of Glorious Fantasyland

While I may be familiar with the popular stops in the two cities, the upgraded and new attractions give a preview of the growing tourism developments in the areas. Dipolog has turned its former city hall into a museum and library while in Dapitan, Gloria de Dapitan is now Glorious Fantasyland, a more exciting theme park, and the new must-see spot will thrill anyone who visit—Balay Hamoy, once the residence of Don Mariano Hamoy, a good friend of Jose Rizal, now a museum. It shows another facet of the hero’s life in his place of exile. 

When in Dipolog: Inside the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral.

When in Dapitan: Must visit, the Balay Hamoy Museum

Come 2023, I will take off to other domestic and international destinations I love — Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Boracay, Baguio, and perhaps discover new ones to add to the list. Perhaps I will bump into you in one of those spots? 

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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