It’s the last day of the year. In less than 24 hours, it’ll be 2013. And I have yet to firm up my travel plans this coming year. Been putting it off for sometime. For once, I’ve either run out of ideas or I have grown so confused on what I want to do the year I turn senior. So, I’d give it a rest. And for the moment, I’m looking back on how my travel calendar went this 2012. The photos show what kept me “busy”.


The Park Near Fort San Pedro in Cebu City


3 hours on the road, but no luck with tuki sightings in Oslob, Cebu



Just before I left for Madrid in February, I made a quick trip to Cebu. No luck with tuki sightings (whale sharks) in Oslob, so we instead toured the towns of Boljoon, Dalaguete, Carcar in Southern Cebu. In Madrid, I helped a niece set up house. Stayed nearly 3 months, and blogged every other day! Walked the streets of Madrid every single day. Visited way too many churches and museums. Lucky to be in all the right places to witness Holy Week Processions especially in Sevilla and Cordoba. Went on random day trips to Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Alcala de Henares, Valencia, El Escorial, Valle de Los Caidos, Aranjuez via car, bus and trains and planned a few weekend get-aways to Andalusia and Barcelona. In between furniture shopping, palenque trips and household chores, I was busy!




Cloudy Day in Parque del Retiro in Madrid


Day Trip To Cochinillo Country in Segovia. And Not Just Once.


Good Friday in Cordoba. Some religious procession!


Toledo, Valencia, Aranjuez, Alcala de Henares, Segovia, Avila, El Escorial, Valle de los Caidos, Barcelona, Segovia, Cordoba. Then there’s Plaza de Toros, Plaza Mayor, Almudena Church, Palacio Real, Retiro Park, Puerta del Sol, the Museos of Prado, Reina Sofia, Morolla, Thyssen, Riza’s Favorite Haunts, Senado, Plaza de Cibeles, etc just around Madrid.


Photo Credit: Sarah. All my photos of this great monument were epic failures. Thank you, Sarah.



Spain was many things to me. I was alone often and my human interaction was limited to just a few hours a day. When I got back to Manila, I missed the daily walks and the solitude so much that I started on many solo trips to Chinatown, Intramuros, University of Santo Tomas, Batangas, Cavite, Pampanga, Bulacan, as well as trips to the National Museum, Metropolitan Museum and Ayala Museum.




The lovely Betis Church in Guagua, Pampanga


University of Santo Tomas. Oldest in Philippines. Oldest in Asia.



Before long, I left again. This time, to South Africa and Zambia. Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape of South Africa did not disappoint. Well, except for the botched cable car ride to Table Mountain and whale-watching adventure. The weather did not cooperate, but luck was on us searching for the Big 5 and other beasts. Yes, the trip highlight was the African Safari. But I must say Victoria Falls in Zambia was such a delightful surprise!




In the kingdom where lions are kings, the males are def prettier than the mane-less females. Entabeni Park.


And if there is a Big 5 of the Safari — elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and cape buffalos, the GIRAFFE ranks high up there among the Lovely 5.


The Wildebeests of Entabeni Park. Just before sunset of the 2nd safari day, one of these served as early dinner for them lions. 😦


We kept still and quiet as this lone rhino walked ever so slowly, and passed the side of our safari jeep. (Look Ma, no protective bars!)


We had the best hotel in Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Champagne and Oysters for breakfasts? Who’s complaining?


Our Biggest Surprise : Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. Double Rainbows were so uncommon!


In Zambia, it is a must to take that 25 minute helicopter flight if only for this vista! Zimbabwe on your left. Zambia on the right. That bridge spans both countries.



The African adventures fired me up so much I needed to do more than the usual day trips once I got home. My niece and I planned on a Mount Pinatubo trekking adventure but ended up spending a long weekend in Sagada instead. Not bad, especially in terms of many “firsts”.




Spelunking in Sumaguing Cave? At my age?


Roadtrip from Sagada through Bontoc to La Trinindad Valley



A few more day trips and …… a cemetery tour. And that was it for me in 2012. I should be heading back to Madrid, likely in 2 separate trips as there’s the May election and a grandson’s March graduation. I also have Myanmar, Laos and Hanoi in my mind. There’s a few more, but I will likely confuse myself even more. The only trip “fixed” for now is autumn and Christmas in Madrid in 2013. Before then, who knows where my feet will take me?




Scene from Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. Taal lake and volcano in the background.


Corregidor Island Tour for some history lessons. A 1 hour ferry ride back and forth from the Sun Cruise Terminal in CCP Complex.