Don’t Hurry, Don’t Worry

Some six (or seven) years ago, I entertained the idea of wanting to set foot on all 81 provinces in the Philippines. The goal seems far-fetched until I noticed that after a couple years of local traveling, I have been to more than half. And so, I became more assertive to put that goal into fruition.

At one point, I went to a certain region for 5 days and visited one province per day. It was exhausting. Later, I realized I have missed a lot because it felt like I was racing just to see more. And as I am given more travel opportunities, it has dawned on me that it should never be about how many places you’ve been (provinces or countries or continents). No offense to my friends who are aiming at going to all 81 provinces, or those who have already achieved such a feat. I am close to ticking all 81 with just 5 more to visit, but it made me think that there should be more to this goal.

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My Europe trip in 2017 gave me a chance to visit countries I have always wanted to see. It was an almost 3-month backpacking but obviously, it wasn’t enough to see entire Europe. Not even an entire country. I didn’t even get to see all the “basic” sights of each key city I have been to. When I came to Europe, I have set my mind to take everything slow and easy, and shy away from the idea that “I should be able to visit all places that I want to see”. I didn’t see Spain or Switzerland and other must-see countries in Europe during that trip. And it was okay. I told myself that missing out some would serve as an inspiration for me to come back.

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Traveling taught me that when we are out there, we must slow down and try not to rush. It may not be true for everyone but, I have come to ascertain that people who do everything quicker also do it worse. I always say, “Take it easy” and it is but proper to really go slowly. Being in a new place usually makes us feel excited and it is no surprise if we find ourselves not wanting to miss out on anything. Hence, the tendency to try everything, see every place like a mental suitcase that’s one size too small. Every traveling person should battle this temptation because one will end up weary and worried and end up missing out the fun and the very essence of being in a certain place.

Ever since my Europe backpacking, I am becoming more of that “slow down and try not to rush” kind of person. I have been trying my best to take time in everything. I have learned to enjoy every bite of food I eat and at times closing my eyes, allowing my palate to relish every taste. Instead of taking a taxi and the metro, I have come to enjoy long walks at a slow pace and be more observant of the things I pass by. This allowed me to have more meaningful interaction with people I encounter along the way. Things like this one made me appreciate the importance of letting every other person finish their side of the conversation while I listen attentively. Perhaps, one of my favorite thing to do in every place I went to was to stop in the middle of the day, (whether I was in a park, a busy street, a food house), closed my eyes for some fleeting moments, and be aware of my breathing. And it felt so good.

Funny, and ironic it is to ponder that as we hurry more, we experience less. Although we may do more things, eat more food, or visit more places, in our haste, we end up seeing less of them. We end up feeling tired missing out on the actual fun, and that surreal sensation being in that place. From now on, remember that when you travel, make the most of what you’re doing by allowing yourself to remain in the present moment as much as possible.

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Of course, I still want to visit my country’s 81 provinces. BUT for now, I don’t want to see more, instead, I want to feel more, and BE more! And I will take my time. Take it, easy everyone.

Snapshots from Stockholm

Stockholm – a beautiful city on water. Where modernity meets tranquility. With its vibrant, trend-setting cafes and restaurants; lovely buildings, and idyllic coastline – Stockholm is a feast to the sense of sight.

Here are some of my photographs in Stunning Stockholm, Sweden!

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Be a Travelspiration

So I just coined a new word for my self called “travelspiration”. I tried to google it up afterwards, and i’m pretty surprised some people use it too. Obvious as it is, “travelspiration” is a portmanteau of the words travel and inspiration.

Traveling has to be one of the most satisfying experiences a person can do in his/her lifetime. Many times, I have claimed that traveling awakens my soul, arouses my senses, and colors my world in a new hue. It is a way of living, it is my way of living…

So here are some thoughts that have personally inspired/ motivated me during my travels. I have made use some of my favorite travel photographs.

Warsaw PolandBratislava SlovakiaBucharest RomaniaRiga LatviaBudapest HungaryVienna AustriaVilnius LithuaniaComo ItalyReykjavik IcelandTallinn EstoniaYogya IndonesiaRotorua New Zealand

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

*PS: Will add more as I travel around. You are most welcome to share these “travelspiration.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formations (Ilocos Norte, PH)

Every rock they throw, I use it as a stepping stone.

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A big percentage of the earth is said to be made out of rocks. Rain, wind and other geophysical factors have worn down the Earth’s land surface through the years. Interestingly, these forces of nature have shaped inimitable and striking rock formations across the world,

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The Philippines does not only boats off some of the world’s most stunning beaches. We fortunately also have some outstanding geological features that have amazed visitors. One particular rock formation that has graced several various travel magazines in the Philippines is the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation,

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Kapurpurawan is located along the rocky coastline of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Its name was derived from the Ilocano word “puraw” which means white. True enough from its etymology; this geological formation is creamy white in hue making it standout from where it perched. The stunning limestone formations are believed to have been sculpted by various oceanic and weather forces.

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Today, this natural wonder stands proud of its rugged beauty. The grand scenery of the West Philippine Sea and the windmills built around the undulating area has added charm to the entire place.It is definitely one of the must-see destinations in the province and in the Philippines.

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When we were kids, our grandparents used to bring us to this place. I could hardly remember those memories. My most vivid encounters were my visit in 2010 and 2014. I was fortunate to have experienced Kapurpurwan up-close and personal since visitors were still allowed to climb the rock. In recent years (like my 2014 visit), clambering to the area is no longer allowed due to some irresponsible visitors who would vandal the place. But don’t worry; one can still admire its beauty from a distance where a viewing deck was constructed.

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This is just one of the numerous tourist attractions if you decide to pay Ilocos Norte a visit. Great thing about visiting Kapurpurawan is that, it is free. An ethereal place to marvel at natures gifts to mankind indeed!

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How to go to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation”

Ilocos Norte is a 10- to 12-hour drive or bus ride from Manila. Visitors may also take a one-hour flight from Manila to Laoag, and rent a van (or even a tricycle tour) to reach Burgos. If you’re using a private car, just drive along the main highway of Pan Philippine Highway in Burgos Ilocos Norte. Once you reach Bangui and Cape Bojeador, it’s easy already as there are signboards going to the place.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Sandboarding (Ilocos Norte, PH)

 “You don’t need to be the tide to rise and fall, 
you don’t have to be a wave to touch the shore;
just be a little sand-grain and feel them all” 

– Munia Khan

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I have always wanted to try snowboarding. But since I live in a tropical country where we only get to experience summer and stormy seasons, that dream shall be put into hold until Ii set my foot somewhere “snowy”. What we do have, however, are sand dunes that serve as playground for sandboarders and sandboarding-wannabes – like me.

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Surprise surprise surprise! Sand surfing and other leisure activities in the sand are a bit unheard of from among Filipinos. Moreso, only during the early 21st century was the activity on sandboarding introduced in the sand dunes of Ilocos. These natural hill and ridge of sand that lies behind the part of a coastline in Ilocos, cover an area of 52 square meters wide. These are the La Paz sand dunes in the city of Laoag and the Paoay Sand dunes that stretch to nearby town, Currimao..

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So what is sandboarding?  Just like surfing, one rides on a board (sans the waves) instead, one cruises down a vertical ridge of sand, all while keeping your balance. Indeed an ideal adrenaline-inducing sport!

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In August of 2010, 3 friends of mine joined me as we went on to try the La Paz Sand Dunes adventure. This included a super overwhelming 4X4 ride trailing the elevated undulating sands of La Paz and the heart-hammering sandboarding.

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The first segment of the adventure was a ride around the dunes, where we got to experience the jarring trails, up and down the sheer hills. It was a bit scary at first but you’ll get through it.

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After which, the sandboarding basics will be taught. I am quite poor in describing the “how to” details so just check out our pictures. Well, we were given the option to whether sit down or stand up while our feet were strapped on the board. We did try both. We headed to try first our sandboarding skills (skills???) at an easy, not so high hill and boy!!!! It wasn’t easy at all!! We found ourselves stumbling from time to time. Nonetheless, it was fun.

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Then, we were asked to do it on a high vertical slope. We were all apprehensive at first. But our sandboarding mentor (Kuya Glenn) was more than encouraging and supportive. He repeatedly told us to be focused and that we should try our best to maintain good balance. And so we braved the sheer slope, and failed.. many times… some of us even literally ate some sand. Hahaha. It was full of fun though. We did a few more tries until we were able to find our balance.

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The entire activity costs Php2,500 for the 4 of us. And it is all worth the stumble and fall from the sandboard, and the palpitations induced by the 4×4 ride. Will I do this again? Will I recommend that you try this? An astounding YES of course! Just don’t forget to bring some energy drinks and lots of water PLUS prepare your staying power because the key to this activity is a lot of patience and stamina. Additional heads up: Wear clothes that are comfy, clothes that can get dirty (or even ruined).

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For Sand Boarding lessons, you may contact: Sir Glenn Guerrero at  0908 8853669

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Anguib Cove (Cagayan, PH)

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri

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Who does not love the sea? To most people I know, the beach is a place of healing and happiness. The salt in the air and the water somewhat cleanses our soul and the sun cuddles us in its warmth. So if you have been reading my posts, by now you are pretty much acquainted that The Philippines is indeed a haven of some of the best beaches in the world. This is my 111th post here in WordPress and its again a write-up about a beach you might want to explore sometime soon.

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Santa Ana, the northernmost town of the Province of Cagayan in the Philippines, is known as the Game Fishing Hub of the Philippines since it is bounded by teeming and vast marine life. I just featured a must-see place (Palaui Island) in this town a few days ago. Now, here is another one that is worth visiting too. The place is called Anguib Cove. (Check out Palaui Island write-up here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/palaui/0.

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I was fortunate to have visited this beach on two occasions: first in 201, and then again during the following year. Anguib Cove, a pretty much secluded beach, has become the pride of the town. It features startlingly blue, clear waters that touch the fine, white sand alongside its shores.  Being in a cove, the waters are calm and display stillness as the waves are mild, making the place safe for swimming.

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The presence of agoho and coconut trees around the beach and some rock formations at one end of the cove, add up charm to its enthralling landscape.

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During the time I have been to the beach, it was still underdeveloped as there are very few structures there (which I personally like).  Only a few cottages abound the area. We chose to pitch tents near the shore and it was more than perfect. There is no electricity at this far end of Sta. Ana so those who plan to come here must bring the basics whenever they can.

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How to Reach Palaui Island:

The fastest way to reach Anguib Cove from Manila is to take a commercial flight to Tuguegarao City (capital of Cagayan Province). Another way (long way) is for you to endure a 14-16 hours bus ride to Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Recommended Bus Companies are Victory Liner, Dalin Bus and Florida Bus Liner. (Terminal of these bus lines can be found in Sampaloc and Cubao). From there, take a three-hour van or bus ride to the fishing town of Santa Ana. From the town of Santa Ana, you need to ride a tricyle (P15 per passenger) to reach the port of San Vicente. Hire an outrigger boat that will take you to the cove OR you may rent a tricycle or van to get you to the far-end of Santa Ana, by land, where the cove can also be reached.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Malapascua Island (Cebu, PH)

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder. – Ralph W. Sockman

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Malapascua – an island situated in the Visayan Sea across a shallow strait from the northernmost tip of Cebu Province.

The island became well-known during the early 1990s as a must-visit dive destination. However, even before its dive wonders rose to fame, Malapascua has been famed for its stretch of white sand beach called Bounty Beach; moreover, it has also been identified for its stunning seascape that boasts off wondrous coral gardens

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Today, a great number of divers – local and international alike – come to the island and see for themselves Monad Shoal and Kemod Shoal. Monad Shoal specifically is an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and manta ray are seen on a regular basis.

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What else can one do in Malapascua?

  • Ask your boatman to take you to various snorkelling sites including those with shipwreck wonders.
  • Do cliff diving. Not for the faint-hearted but for those with beaming adrenaline in them. Los Bamboo Point is a good place to do this.
  • Have lunch or picnic along one of the beaches that surround the island. We enjoyed the ones at Bounty Beach and Bantigue Cove when me and my friends where here.

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  • Wait for the sunset, it may be along the beach or make your way to an old lighthouse and wait for the golden hour.
  • Take a motorcycle ride as a means of exploring other parts of the island.
  • Eat lechon! We were surprised that even in such tiny island, lechon Cebu is also available. Yummy!

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How to Get to Malapascua Island:

From Manila: There are a number of airlines flying from Manila to Cebu regularly. Once in Mactan – Cebu, ride a metered taxi going to the North Bus Terminal. Take a bus (usually a Ceres Bus) bound for Maya-Bagay, Daanbantayan in Northern Cebu. Bus ride may take 3 – 4 hours.

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At the Maya Wharf, a large boat will serve as a means of transportation to Malapascua. They also offer special trips of P800.00 – P1,000.00 where you will charter your own boat and you will not have to wait for other passengers before it leaves.

Once you set foot on the island, you take a motorcycle ride to wherever you wish to be brought to.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out.