2016 is never an easy and smooth sailing for me as I am struggling personally, but I made it to the cut after all with so much determination and hard work. I never imagine I visited 5 countries despite my tight budget and limited vacation days. My heart is all out with gratitude and I am truly thankful for this year for bringing me with so many blessings, self-discovery, adventure, and exploration.
Here are my 5 travel highlights in 2016:
The first quarter of the year when I paid my vacation to my own country – the Philippines. It was one of the most memorable time for me because I brought my father to the beautiful island of Palawan and celebrated my birthday together with two of my relatives. Aside, it was also a reunion with my aunt whom I haven’t seen for over ten years.
During my travel to the Philippines, I hopped along many islands in El Nido, explored the underground river of Puerto Princesa, swam in the chilly waters of Estrella Falls, detoxified my body in the hot spring in Narra, and above all climbed the highest mountain of the country which is the Mt. Apo.
As a Filipino, it is our privilege to enter in Singapore with only passport as a requirement. This happens during my way back to Dubai (always happen every time when I go back home). And because I have 23 hours to catch my next flight and I don’t want to stay at the airport doing nothing, I decided to go out to the city and meet some friends who are working there. With limited time, I only strolled in the city and experienced the nightlife (as always).
Middle of the second quarter when I’ve been to the exotic island of Zanzibar. It was the first African country I visited so far. I came to this country in order to celebrate the birthday of my friend whom I traveling with, and explore the beauty of the archipelago.
With only 6 days to stay, we searched the dolphins in Kizimkazi (unfortunately, we haven’t seen one due to bad weather condition), snorkeled at Mnemba Island, fed the giant tortoise in Prison Island, close encounter with the endemic red colobus monkey in their natural habitat at Jozani Forest, toured in the spice farm, walked along small alleyways in the Stone Town, captured the sunset during cruise tour and last but not the least, swimming in the beautiful beaches of Kendwa and Nungwi.
This was my second time in the country. First was during Pope John Paul’s canonization to sainthood and the second was last September. I admit that Italy is my favorite country so far; the food, the old city, the architecture, the culture, the language – È Bellissimo!
Roaming around the eternal city is not much of my priority that time but rather to visit my two sisters and explore the south coast part of the country and the northern part as well. And so, I went to taste the origin of pizza in Napoli, explored the luxurious island of Capri, tasted the limoncello in Sorrento, captured the colorful cliff houses in Positano, breathed the fresh air in Ravello, rode the gondola in Venice, and made a wish by spinning myself once in the Torino’s Bull in Milan.
This was a 3-day quick visit to Paris after having a good time and exploration in Italy. Since time was limited and because I am not much of a city person, I had only visited the nearby tourist spots around Paris. To name a few are the grand Eiffel Tower, the red district Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Le Louvre, L’arc de Triomphe, Le Sacré-Coeur and Avenue des Champs Elysèes. Moreover, having experienced the city nightlife was rewarding as I had not done anything like that in Italy.
There are other countries and places I may have in mind to visit this year but I am hopeful it will make happen this coming year.
As I close my 2016 chapter and bid farewell to the amazing year, I am optimistic that the new year will even bless me with more travel and will surpass the great things that filled me during 2016; wish to all of you reading this too.
May all of you will live life through travel, find happiness in it and share the amazing beauty this planet is offering.
Wishing you all a blissful new year ahead!