Friday, January 4, 2013

Wandering Through 2012

Wandering Through 2012
Don't Worry, Be Happy

If you only think of things that you haven't got
You could have it all and still never have enough
So don't worry (don't worry), be happy (be happy)

And if you're trying to make a move
But you're stuck in mud, under water
And you don't know which way's up
Yeah, don't worry (don't worry), be happy (be happy)

Now if you think you've heard those first two paragraphs then you've just caught me. I just ripped off the two paragraph chorus of Guy Sebastian's single "Don't Worry, Be Happy", heck, his album is even called Armageddon. I'm always amazed by Guy Sebastian's vocal calisthenics, he sings like the end of the world. Just perfect for what 2012 has been on for me and much of everyone else, rumors, jingles and all that end of the world cults may have sank its fangs unto me unconsciously like tomorrow is going to be the end. 

Like a jack rabbit, I happily sharpened my skills for backpacking all through those 12 months, rather random and some spur of the moments. Never complaining about the long road, the faulty and musty fan rooms, the midnight rush to the bus station, my total lack of sleep jumping off from a night shift work unto the road, planning trips for friends who would cancel on the last minute, the early morning walks to capture that picturesque sunrise only to be greeted by rain, I shrugged it all off. I'm on the road, yeah, don't worry, be happy.

Instead of presenting you with collages from all those photography exploits, let me show you instead the photos that I've proudly captured. They all correspond to the months I labelled them to, guess it right. The  the very same months that they had been taken.

The most memorable photo I captured in a photowalk with members of Sykes Photo Club, it was with an early grey cast Sunday morning along SM Mall Of Asia baywalk area. A mother, protectively guarding her daughter from falling over the edge of the baywalk ledge, it's chest high for most adults, so imagine how high it would be for this little girl. What endeared me to this photo is the fact that the little girl is trying to get away and walk off on her own, she even looked up at me with that defiant eyes. 

Don't get me wrong, a photowalk in SM MOA is hardly a trip you'd consider to write a travel post, but my January has been filled to brim, I went on a trip to Puerto Galera for the nth time. Captured photos of the rainy Sunrise and beautiful sunsets, even captured photos of fire dancers in action, hey, something I'm proud of as it landed me the first place for Asian Traveler Magazine's photo contest. I was drunk then for the most part, but if you travel with friends, its easy to get lost in the stupor.

January as it is for me, is saved for short trips so I could save for the next month, which is my favorite month to go on long hauls.

The name Coron, Palawan would always bring looks of wonder or amazed eyes to those who wish to step on its shores or had a memory of being in this paradise. Coron is a tropical paradise, through and through and if I could find a better adjective, I'd use it here. This featured photo is taken at the peak of Mt Tapyas at the back of its iconic cross. I chose to circle the site since most travelers with heavy and bulking camera are gathering on its frontal facade, and here with the darkening sky closing in. To climb the 700 plus of concrete steps was a little effort to me, what's the use of hours I spent on gym and running around. It wasn't the climb, but the unmistakable beauty of Coron, Palawan that took my breath away. I like to wander around, but when presented with a breathtaking landscape, like the sound of silence calling, the world go still.

On this month, I also got to be invited with a media pass to International Pyromusical Contest, in none other than the balcony view while everyone else is busy with the bits of space available to watch the night sky.

It's always at this time of year that I pack my back pack and head home to where my family is. I don't always go home on Christmas breaks, I find it too short or too busy. Just as well, I can enjoy all the this time with my siblings and friends that I left home. What's more fun is to take on trips or Do-It-Yourself heritage tours with your siblings. As you can see, they aren't camera shy, I have beautiful and good looking siblings you, got it from our Dad, and our nice beautiful Pinoy skin from our Mom who was once a Barrio lass.

But alas! Going home is not always my cup of tea. Though my stay is longer, and my airline tickets are cheap I only take this trip for this month simply because I tend to spend too much when at home. You'd always want to make your family happy, being the Kuya and first born son, I'm happy to oblige even if it would scrunch up my savings.

The best things in life are for free, and when you get mauled in a hot summer day spent in Splash Island and lucky to be standing  in front of these dancing Babes. Pretty Pretty please! Oh I got lucky today. My sojourn home is not over, apparently. As I get to fetch my two younger siblings brought over by my Aunt for their summer vacation, just in time for our company Summer Outing in Splash Island, all expense covered with even the transport and my two hard headed younger bros.

My little brothers, they left me the sooner that they got past the entrance and the little Air-conditioned Hut to house our belongings, all with the dried fishes and fresh giant Bangus (Milkfish) for my pasalubong. I spent the afternoon in Splash Island, getting lost while looking for them and getting dizzy with all the slides and the beers I drank. Summer of 2012 was indeed hot.

The wet and dry season in this country was to the extremes in 2012. I've planned well ahead of time, promising that I'd visit the highlands in the midst of all the scorching heat Manila can deliver. This dreamy landscape on the Hills of Kiltepan Viewpoint  in Sagada was the price I paid by waking early after taking a Six Hours Cave Connection Spelunking adventure. I got paid well, and paid good, plus the bone munching cold weather was a good respite. Preferring for myself, a numbing cold than scorching heat. I've planned this trip by myself, brought some friends to share and enjoy. It was a 2nd time for me though, so everything felt like nostalgia overload except the body and locomotion disruptive Spelunking.

This month brought about one of my most anticipated trip, though again its the 2nd time to visit. I decided to make it more meaningful by backpacking and by adding a few joints like this visit to Twin Beach of Nacpan and Calitang (referring to the photo above). I've saved up for this trip, knowing that the first package trip to El Nido left my savings ailing and me working overtime to make up for it. It had been great, with many things that happened, feeling the same elation of being in this group of islands, the white sands, the karst rock spires. 

This time I went hunting for the local carinderia's, paying a visit to the local bakery for my early morning coffee and pandesal, my Php 500.00 fan room accommodation, and the discounts I have in island hopping just because I'm a travel blogger. I went DIY with everything from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, and it turned out I brought home more out of the trip and I normally could. I'm still not finished processing some photos as I can't decide which one is better, I need to print some soon if these photos were to be useful to me.

This month brought the first death in my family. I lost a great uncle, little did I know it would be the first, the next one would be someone closer to my heart. I literally had no trips done this month, except going down South to Tanauan, Batangas for the interment of my uncle. This photo above was a solo sojourn I did in Tanauan's tributary. I had long since wanted to wander through its spring waters, doing this solo nature trek was refreshing and altogether a great soul searching experience.

August had seen me backpacking the country's Queen city of the South. Going to Cebu City, the long road hauls to Bantayan Island, then to Malapascua Island and back again to Cebu with a DIY City Tour. 

It felt good, especially that I traveled with a hot chick around, I taught a friend of the perks of back packing. The biking through Bantayan Island, late night beer drinking in Malapascua while enjoying the full moon lying face up on its white sand beach, or that the Basilica De Sto Nino had been a great place for photowalk. I came from a different Visayan City, but Cebu would now be extra special to me.

Another trip to Batangas, this time on a different route. I am always fascinated with how diverse and big is this province just down south of Manila. Rich in culture and Heritage, it also has its own offerings of the best beach locations. Considering the long road trip to San Juan, Batangas, one would think twice about bringing in a group of people to Laiya for a team building. Luckily, my friend who was their team manager is one that doesn't think twice is he knows it's possible. All I have to do is invite myself with the pretense of being the tour photographer. 

The rain, the long road trip, my lack of sleep, it was all paid off. This sunrise shot photo made it all worth it, and of course it always worth to travel with people who have eager hearts to embark on an adventure.

Another back packing and DIY trip. By this time, I've already exhausted all of my work leaves, but it didn't stop me even if I have to go leave-without-pay. My travel buddy was the one who planned this trip out, although I have been putting the province of Aurora in my bucket list for quite some time now. To conquer and experience surfing in Baler, it was all worth it even though I have to leave Manila in the middle of the night. This Baler surfing and DIY Aurora tour is a must do, with the number of pending blog post, I have yet to tell you what made Aurora all worth the visit in October's midst.

By this time, I have become so used to back packing and DIY trip that I can't imagine going on to a package one. This is no exception, even if November was the month that I always go to a grander place. The province of Pangasinan made sense and is a perfect spot for me. Though I have to say that I am starting to get more raised eyebrows in the office. I just got off a trip almost two weeks ago on Luzon's eastern seaboard, now I'm off to its western counter part. Most can't really complain, I'd still go even if it would cost me my job, I'd be happier on the road. Besides its my birthday month, and the Armageddon end of the world thing is approaching.

This has been an amazing trip, I spent some time in Alaminos, Pangasinan snorkeling and island hopping in Hundred Islands before going off to Bolinao, Pangasinan to spend some time in Patar Beach. It was the first week of the month, my travel buddy and I planned it that we would be arriving at Bolinao once the long weekend is over. Good choice as we have the Patar Beach all to ourselves, swimming through relaxing caves, jumping through Bolinao Falls, the scenic Lighthouses and rock formations, there is a lot that I have yet to share about Pangasinan.

December is always the month were last minute and spur of the moments trip are made. While I'm busy with the parties, drinking sessions, family gatherings my work load is also doubled. It would be very unlucky if the holidays would fall on weekdays because then I had to give up and work on either on Christmas or New Year's eve. But what's with keeping a positive outlook and resting with every opportunity I can. I get to squeeze going back to Liw-Liwa, San Felipe, Zambales for a sought after weekend surfing trip. Honing my skills on the board, and thought of something clever for a finale trip this, but I was mistaken. 

On the last weekend for the year 2012, who would have thought I'd follow the heels of some of the bubbliest travels bloggers I have met on a day trip to the Heritage Town of Taal, Batangas. It had been a great photowalk, one that would definitely get me in throes the time I have to spend processing the hundreds of photos I've brought home. Maybe I should have just stuck on to sharpening the Balisung Knife I've brought. Sometimes I question why I insist of travel blogging when there is a lot of things that I can do on my free time, I just have to imagine its the end of the world, and what am I but a speck, leaving crumbs of trail for my life's adventure. 

Unfortunately for most of you guys, you'll find me writing more, sharing more, enticing you to get off and get on the road. There is no great start to travel, only people that's thinking twice like they have the time of the world. Well wake up, the world has ended, and I just came back to share this. Look up, 2013 is here, don't worry, be happy.

Now if you're curious about the song I plugged in, you can listen to this. I can't share the MTV version. If you can buy the album, the version there is much better. Great lyrics, and fits me as to how I find motivation to go on and not worry about anything else.

Francis Balgos is a Call Center Agent, Weekend Travel Warrior, Amateur Spelunker, Sometime Surfer, Newbie Mountain Climber, Photography Enthusiast, Certified Beach Bum, A first born son, Faithful lover, True Explorer...

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  1. honggonda ng may pic. sarap gro mapadpad dun. :)

  2. Tumah! especially kapag summer at super mainit.

  3. That's the attitude, rain or shine, don't worry be happy! Bago na title ng blog mo ah! :)

  4. Hi Christian.. yup I'm changing the name.. more of marketing, and so its easier for peopel to remember. :)

  5. GREAT photos! Awesome. Inspiring. Creative! You're the man!

  6. Nice! You've travelled a lot in 2012. I also wanted to do a blog post for my 2012 adventures but Im too lazy. and besides, I can't remember the others anymore. haha! I wish you a great new yr ahead. More awesome sharing of your experiences here in your blog.

  7. Great photos to compliment your achievements in 2012. you can make a 2013 calendar out of this post. Thumbs up!

  8. Wow! You've really had a great 2012 :) I love every photo you took and it inspires me to shoot more and travel more. Hopefully this 2013 I can already start going to new places ^^ Anyway, wishing you a great year ahead and cheers to more travels and wonderful experiences!

  9. 2012 was a great year for travel for you. Nice captures of each places you've been to each month. Have a great 2013.

  10. I guess you got the entire 2012 covered with travel photos. Looking forward to your 2013 set. ^_^

  11. This post inspires me to travel to more destination in the Philippines. Hay kainggit naman ikaw! :D

  12. Great pictures an exclamation point to your great year. Your life is awesome!

  13. Great picture, my favorite of all is the first photo of the mother and child. Ang ganda ng mga kiuha.

  14. omg those photos looks so amazing!!! can be postcards lah!! Love this photo collection!! xx

  15. Such an impressive journey for you for the past year. Looking forward to seeing more of your adventures through photos for this year.

  16. nice capture of different nice places. right places for this coming summer vacation.

  17. Great shots, the one I like is the protective mother. Simple yet heartwarming!

  18. i can see that you've traveled a lot this year. you've got awesome pictures as well. i hope i will have the luxury of time to visit those places too!

  19. A travel month after month? That's amazing but costly. How do you manage that?

  20. @earl, I mentioned it in the post.. I do Back Packing trips.. it allows me to afford these trips, and also its more adventurous.

  21. this is a wonderful collection of shots to remember your whole year experience... looking forward for 2013. Yahweh bless.

  22. that was a year of memorable back packing adventures.. more places this 2013!

  23. Oh my gosh. Great photos you got here dear Sir. Love the May, June and July the most but all of them are so enchanting and captivating.


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