2015 Travel Appreciation and Realizations

Hey guys, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a blast in 2015 and are enjoying the first few weeks of 2016. Guess what? Tarlaqueno Traveler has just turned one on its WordPress platform! Yeah, it’s been a year but, unfortunately, I had not been able to post quite often because of my busy schedule at work and school.

Ati-Atihan in January with the Suerte Felipes
Colorful costumes filled the streets of Kalibo during the Ati-Atihan Festival
Finally got to experience some serious rock climbing in Sagada
No dates, just new friends on Valentine’s Day in Sagada

Given all the responsibilities that I had to take on during the previous year, I initially did not intend to travel that much. But still, God had been so generous and I am very glad to have been blessed with a good number of adventures and experiences in and out of the country. Except for most of my family trips that had been planned way ahead, the rest of my trips were more of spontaneous or only required short planning periods. They were unlike the trips I’ve embarked on in the past where flight bookings were made a year in advance, where research was done as early as six months before the trip, where solo travel was the preference, and where itineraries were very structured. Spontaneous or not, traveling throughout 2015 made me appreciate and realize quite a number of things, and they go beyond the mere beauty of the places I’ve visited.

Going to Palaui Island was two years in the making
Anguib Beach is simple yet highly mesmerizing
Climbing mountains is not my thing, but Mt. Pulag was worth trying
Raft-riding in Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija

I had better appreciation of traveling with family, relatives, close friends, new friends, and big groups in general.

The people closest to me know that I prefer traveling alone. Solo travel gives me the flexibility and the freedom to do things without having to consult anyone, without having to wait for anyone, or without having to adjust to anyone. While it was fun and fulfilling traveling all by myself, my 2015 trips gave me a better understanding and appreciation of traveling in groups. I realized that consulting others could mean being more open to suggestions and other ideas; that waiting for others could mean having a brief ‘me’ time to breathe and cool down; and that adjusting to others could mean being more accepting of them and of the fact that we all have our differences. Traveling in groups also meant that I no longer had to keep all the excitement to myself. I could still imagine myself during my solo backpacking days when there was no one else to share my amazement with whenever I see breathtaking sceneries or experience something extraordinary. I had to save my remarks until I get home, only to be disappointed because the people I share my experiences with couldn’t really relate to what I was saying because they did not have firsthand experience of what I was sharing to them.

Celebrated Mom’s birthday in rustic Aurora
How about getting yourself some grilled fix straight out of a Beetle?
These kids from Isla de Gigantes were more than willing to pose for the camera!
The kids from Asluman Elementary School express their gratitude to the donors of the Lakbay at Lapis Project
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Malalison Island in Antique

I got to appreciate the memories and experiences with the people I traveled with more than our actual destinations and activities.

I must admit that in the past, I traveled mainly to fuel my hunger to see a new place, to take photographs of tourist attractions, and to enjoy the sights and experiences these new places showcase. And since I used to travel alone, it was just really about my personal satisfaction. I guess as we age and become more mature (whoa, you see, I did not only age, I also became more mature! Hahaha), our perspectives change. Traveling in 2015 had made me better appreciate the presence of people close to my heart and even the ones who I just met, without however giving much less attention to the destinations themselves. I got to enjoy the experiences I’ve had with the people I had traveled with better than the places we had visited.

Taking some time off at work with my colleagues from the University
Forgot what this one’s called; locals sell it in Virgin Island, Bohol
Buenos Aires Elementary School was the second beneficiary of the Lakbay at Lapis Project
Playing crazy with my cousins

I outgrew the “visit as many places as you can in a day” mindset.

Similar to a panic buyer, I had been a “panic traveler” in the past. I made sure that I covered as many places and attractions as possible because I always wanted to get my money’s worth. To do that, I strictly followed an itinerary that I had prepared way ahead. Looking back at my trips in 2015, I’ve noticed that they were less structured, more laid back, and more slow-paced than the previous ones, but equally enjoyable and satisfying. I realized that missing out on a few attractions gives me the opportunity to go back to a place.

Met a cool bunch of waterfall lovers in Cebu
This is where Bojo River flushes out into the sea

I found a greater purpose in traveling.

My most important realization would probably be finding a greater purpose in traveling. One of the highlights of my travels in 2015 was the launch of Lakbay at Lapis, a humble project that aimed to provide basic necessities to school children in places that I visited. We were able to conduct the project in Isla de Gigantes in Iloilo and in Carmen, Bohol. It was simply overwhelming to witness the generosity of the people around me and it was such a joy seeing the kids with big smiles on their faces. Given more opportunities to travel this year I hope to conduct the project in every place that I will visit, with more travel buddies to help me out this time. I also hope that more people will take part in the project to ensure its sustainability.

Definitely my most awaited trip last year–with my family, of course
Sydney Harbor Bridge at night, taken at Milsons Point
Chose driving along the long bumpy road over walking for an hour or so to reach Tangadan Falls in La Union. Photo credit: Bisdak Explorer
Time for some action with cousins and nieces on Christmas Day
Probably the clan’s favorite sport

What have your 2015 travels made you appreciate or realize? Feel free to share them in the comment section below! Wishing you all a meaningful year ahead. Happy traveling this 2016!


One Comment

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  1. Very nice son.

    Liked by 1 person

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