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Yearend Reviews

2012: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

Location Google Map: Philippines (Palawan, Cuyo Islands, Iloilo, Bacolod, Apo Island, Guihulngan, Balanan Lake, Oslob, Siquijor, Manila, Cebu, Santander, Dumaguete , Moalboal, Ilocos, Mindoro, Roxas City, Romblon, Gen San City, Davao City, Tagum City, Mati)

Pursuing Happiness
I viewed a documentary on what it takes to be happy. Ten of humankind's great philosophers were put to the task and interestingly enough, all of them gave sound but sometimes diametrically opposed hypothesis on what it's like to be happy. One such philosopher was Epicurus who among others, required having friends and the freedom to do what you want to do. His third ingredient to achieve happiness is to have an examined life. It resonated with me. Without an examined life, we just keep going into a loop, on auto pilot, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It's a rut most people don't even realize. So in keeping faith with that, here is my examined life in 2012.

2012: A Year in Review
one of the many inter-island pumpboat rides

Lake Diving, Wreck Diving and Island Hopping Tours in Coron, Palawan
I was still in Coron when the New Year fireworks filled the sky. For the first time, I tried wreck diving, going inside 3 WWII Japanese wrecks. It was eerie, not unlike trespassing into a hallowed graveyard. I also tried diving Barracuda Lake, a most surreal of all dives. It's true what the divers say - if you only have one dive to make in Coron, it's Barracuda Lake. The underlake limestone walls were reminiscent of Lords of the Rings, there were several thermoclines and the lake bottom was just out of this world. I tried several island tours from the white sand beaches of Malcapuya to secret coves, free diving marine sanctuaries and snorkelling in Calumbuyan Island, perhaps the most intense concentration of reef systems I've tried ever.

Blurring the Lines of Work and Play
While diving inside a Japanese wreck, I wasn't sure if I was working or simply having fun. I was having too much fun so I can't be working. But I was making money out of it, so I was probably working. With that perfect fusion, I blurred the lines of work and play. Once you reach that point, you don't have to work a day in my life anymore. I was simply getting paid to have fun. This realization was truly powerful and would demand a bigger stage for me as I continue to push ahead.

2012 Travel Route

travel route

Cuyo Islands
From Coron, I boarded a ship to a newly opened route to Cuyo Islands. This group of islands clustered in the open sea has been a long time curiosity. Interestingly enough, I learned it's a secret haven for kite surfers who want peace and quiet without the maddening crowds of Boracay. Through the tourism office, I got to explore 3 satellite islands and assess its tourism potential. Their mandate is to promote tourism, but not exactly sure how to go about it. Given what I've seen in my travels, I more or less have an idea what feature could be banked on for tourism dollars. This is the first time I realized that it pays to talk to the tourism office and have them open doors for me, as I open doors for them.

Developing a Travel Portal
I realized in Coron and Cuyo that my social enterprise can open up a place for tourism on the internet. Instead of just a business directory, I can develop a travel portal addressing the information needs of the traveller - how to get there, things to do there, hotels to sleep in, etc. With the help of the local tourism office (to the extent they are really serious about tourism), I can make it happen. I have the machinery in place, I have the travel background and I have the technical expertise.

Bacolod Tour with Michelle Tupaz
From Cuyo, I took the boat to Iloilo, and another boat to Bacolod where I hung-out with Survivor Philippines fan, Michelle Tupaz. She was a loyal fan during my stint as castaway. We had been friends since. Now in Bacolod, she was my gracious hostess and tour guide. It was a bus ride back to my home in late January, Dumaguete, where I began to think about what seems to be shaping up on the horizon for me.

Thinking Abundance
I realized that given the same work I do, if I only tweak the thinking into abundance, the entire dynamics of the game also changes. From roughing it in holes-in-the-wall lodging, I get to stay in plush high-brow hotels. From selling a piece of something, I can bundle it up for a bigger package. Ah, the mind is indeed a powerful ally. This thinking would empowerful me to take on a most intrepid move - to be permanently homeless by choice and live life on the open road armed only by my web skill, my appetite for life and verve for all the uncertainties that lay ahead. In the parlance of String Theory thinking, I don't have to comply to reality as I see it. As the observer, I manifest reality as I shape it. This puts a spin on things a full 180 degrees.

Guihulngan Earthquake
The catastrophic earthquake in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental brought me together with my mountaineering friends in Dumaguete, the Cuernos de Negros, as I joined them together with the Red Cross in the distribution of relief goods. Being there at ground zero watching the victims elbow their way for whatever they can get, made it real for me. It wasn't just news on the tv screen.

Cantabon Caves of Siquijor
I also joined the former production crew of GMA's Survivor Philippines in February as we explored the Cantabon Caves of Siquijor. How Siquijor capitalized on the sorcerer hype was nothing short of genius. They themed the Holy Week in parody of its mystic arts. In so doing, they were able to demystify the stigma and at the same time generate tourism dollars. This approach would be followed by the creative people of Capiz, but unfortunately, the Catholic Church put its foot down in disapproving the festivity - to the loss of Capiz, in my humble opinion.

Amazing Race Phiippines
I was invited by a Dumaugete friend to join her for the Amazing Race Phiippines, so when I got back to Manila, I worked on all the papers - passport rewal, international driver's license, etc. I got all the papers done, but the partnership didn't survive. When she was late for our first meeting and a no-show in the second, it was it was deal-breaker for me.

Facebook Shoutout
Apart from family bonding, I got to bond with acquaintances as well. I made a simple 'shout out' in Facebook - " anyone?". It opened up doors. I would make that my standard 'shout out' whenever I go to a new place. It made it convenient to connect for chats and drinks. I welcome the ensuing social interaction. Of course, I have friends I make a point to see whenever I'm in Manila.

Manila's Peoplescape
Manila, increasingly, is becoming a place to touch base with friends - not so much for partying. I'm glad I hooked up with Vehm at Scarlet's Blues event, I enjoyed my marathon chat with Anna Gonzales, my after-treatment coffee with friend ,Raddy, who's also my dentist. I got reacquainted with Rachel who I first met on the set of QuickFire when I guested as a Survivor Philippines castaway. I got to meet Marj who I continue to communicate with. Of course, no Manila visit would be complete without media friend Pia who goes to work on her folding bike. I'm grateful for the friendship of these people. They make Manila a place I look forward to.

Siquijor Bike Ride with Kram Bachero
In April, I was back again in Siquijor, this time to ride an 86km coastal loop with my UP Mountaineers buddy, Kram Bachero as he raises funds to help a hospital in his hometown. We all seem to find a niche where we can give back and be useful benefactors to society. Kram continues to do this, making it an annual tradition.

Homeless by Choice
After signing up for a 10-day silent meditation in Cebu in April, I also decided to give up Dumaguete as my homebase - paid my last rent, had my internet disconnected and gave away whatever I couldn't fit in my 65-liter backpack. What followed next was an unshackled life free from the need to 'go back home'. I could indefinitely stay 'out there', going wherever life takes me, meeting interesting people, sharing myself with newfound friends, eating regional delicacies and exploring new places. More importantly, I'll get to know myself better and the world I live in.

My Vipassana meditation in Cebu was an ideal grounding for what lay ahead. Moreover, I made friends from my new Vipassana community in Cebu. Claire is doing a great job founding a Cebu-based Vipassana center. I would keep that objective in mind as I continue to look at angles on how I can be instrumental.

Cebu's Yoga Lucid Thoughts
From the Vipassana circle, I was introduced to temple meditation at the Chu Un Temple where I met Jeanne and Gem from Cebu's yoga community. They absorbed me into their orbit and introduced me to rest of their circle - Arlien, Robert, Noricel, Nandinii, Blanne, Jang, Jason, etc. I would be anchored to them in Cebu. I would join them for their yoga sessions, chillout with them, and move within their circle. As another LoneRider, I would hangout with Nandinii, who now plays a role in my social enterprise. I've always been an outsider most of my life. With them however, it didn't seem that way. In Golum's parlance, Jeanne and her yoga community was 'my precious'. I would be more aware of things I say and do, careful not to have my self-perceived abrasiveness alienate me from what I now hold dear. They have more or less redefined Cebu for me. Cebu would always remain a special place - a city I would keep coming back to for the wonderful people it keeps.

Theosophical Society
From there, I would be introduced to the Theosophical Society headed by Lovorn. His wit and sense of humor engages everyone in the Saturday meetings. I would attend their weekly gatherings as they deliberate on higher spiritual evolution through living a mindful life based on universal ethics and brotherhood. I don't necessarilly agree with all their tenets, but it's an intelligent group from which I learn a few things.

Resorts and Hotels
After the 10-day meditation, I didn't know where to go, or even where to sleep that night. This was my first challenge in my new life of homelessness. Somehow, through the friends I met during the meditation, I found myself in a plush beach resort in Cordova where I spent 2 nights - Cordova Reef. That would be the start of life in fancy resorts and nice hotels (in exchange for my web services) as I continue to look for a roof over my head.

Everybody Happy
I used to be concerned only of my well being. I had to survive. If I get sick or injured, no one will look after me. That has always been my fear. But now, I begin to widen that sphere beginning with my 30-day stay at the prestigious Parklane Hotel in Cebu. With my +1 entitlement for breakfast, I was able to invite my Cebu friends to be my +1 guest. We'd spend quality time over good eats and discover things about the other not possible in a group setting. I would later expand that sphere futher by inviting all 14 of them to be my guests at the polished Hale Manna Beach Resort in MoalBoal. Now, I'm able to gift hotel rooms to friends and loved ones - even as I struggle looking for one myself wherever I end up. At some point, I would like my efforts to benefit society as a whole, the operative rule being, I play to win, but when I win, nobody loses - everybody happy. That would be the underlying cornerstone of my social enterprise. I was a cyber monk with a mission.

Manila Friends
I made a trip to Manila for my Dad's birthday, and I also celebrated Greg Hutchinson's birthday at this swank place in Makati. I passed by my old neighborhood to say Hi to boyhood friends. To my shock, they were all dead from preventable health problems. All 3 of them dead. I was still in shock. I began to appreciate my fitness routine and my sensible eating habits. It was a quick trip. Cebu friend, Nandinii, was also in town so we chilled out as well. I only had a chance to see my dentist Raddy and meet up with newfound friend, Minnette and see Claire, who was embarking on her own style of travel blogging. Yes, travel blogging seems trending among women!

Apo Island
I was really a drifter when I arrived Dumaguete. I haven't been there 2 hours when I bumped into Amanda Ackiss who invited me to dive with her in Apo Island. Sure! It was a good overnight in Apo Island to chillout and do some snorkelling. I got to watch Amanda do her marine biology stuff too.

Ziplining Balanan Lake
Upon my return back to Dumaguete, I bumped into my Cuernos friends who were on their way to Balanan Lake for ziplining. They tagged me along. Sure! Apparently, they had been commissioned by the municipality to design and construct a zipline traversing the lake. Cool! We did a few attempts as they tweaked the system. Always good hanging out with the cool peeps of Cuernos!

Dumaguete and Oslob
I chilled out a few days longer in Dumaguete, this time feeling more of a tourist than a resident. Of course I tried the usual staples - pizza at Neva's, tablea and budbud at the Painitan, movie at Robinson's, etc. On my way back to Cebu, I passed by Oslob where I got to squeeze-in an overnight snorkelling at an obscure marine reserve. No, I didn't bother with the butandings. I've seen enough in Donsol.

Santander, Dumaguete and Moalboal
Restlessness in Cebu got in the way and pretty much, I moved south for a few days in Santander at Eden Beach Resort - chilling out on my beachfront balcony overlooking the Tanon Strait. I moved further south and crossed the water to be once again in my old neighborhood, Dumaguete. I stayed at Harolds Mansion and saw improvements laid down to make it a backpacker haven. Soon after, I was headed back to Cebu in Moalboal where I spent 2 weeks and eventually met up with my Cebu yoga group. This is the first time I tried extending my benefits not just to one friend, but all 15 of us. There were some unexpected kinks with management, but it all worked out ok. The reef system in Moalboal is stunning - a vertical plunge on the drop-off that goes down 50 meters. That was the first time I did a 3km drift snorkelling with some yoga buddies. That entire time in Moalboal, I was coding what would become my global websites.

Speaking Engagement at Ilocos' Extreme Adventure North
Sherwin, a blog reader, passed my name as resource speaker to a graduating class of tourism students at the Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos for their tourism convention. That took me on a plane to Ilocos to talk about my travels, my nomadic life, life as castaway in Survivor Philippines, and also to impart my insight on what works for tourism and what does not. I thought it would be a cut-and-dried speaking exercise. But I stayed on to became part of their outdoor activities to Kapurpurawan Rock, Palpalukada Plateau and Paoay's sand dunes the following day. In the process, I bonded with some of the students - Jim Paul, Zyrelle, Cullen, Yna, Maja, etc. A lot of them became friends and we continue to communicate to this date.

On the way back to Cebu, I stopped a few days in Manila where I chilled with Vipassana friend Jan and high school classmate Tony. I met with Cebu yoga teacher, Jeanne, who herself was breaking her own ceiling by doing a 200-hour teacher training certification. I thought aloud that we should meet exactly a year after and take stock of how much we have accomplished in the last 365 days. Of course there's bonding with my Dad who's not getting any younger.

Back to Cebu
I love being in Cebu. It's the closest thing I have to home. It was my chance to be with my yoga community, the Theosophical Society and the Chu Un Temple people. I stayed at the Dynasty Tourist Inn where I had my friends be my +1 breakfast guest again. At this point, I also met yogi, Veer Rana, who seems to be starting a different kind of yoga movement in Cebu. I've gone to his ashram a few times and always come out of it learning a few more things. Cebu this time also meant hanging out with Ferd, a good friend from high school who was somehow stationed in Cebu. Together with Nandinii, we'd chillout, eat out and have some fun. I could have stayed indefinitely in Cebu if not for the invite of Australian friend Greg Hutchinson to join him in Busuanga. Here's the thing - now that I'll be out of Cebu, I now open myself to anything that can happen in Busuanga which can take me to other places. In short, as much as I love Cebu, I would not know when I can see this lovely place again, or if at all.

Mountain Biking, Kayaking and Beach Bumming in Busuanga
Greg Hutchinson organized a mountain bike charity ride to raise funds in completing a high school in Busuanga, Palawan. Soon after, I was back on the saddle crossing rivers and climbing hills. I stayed in his remote beach resort in Cheey, Camp Calauit, where I had a nipa hut perched on a hill overlooking the beach. It was 'da life'. I would kayak, snorkel or just be lazy on a hammock. Soon after, I moved to Coron Town where I stayed at the newly built Sophia's Garden Resort. With a nice comfortable room and a wifi, I was able to entertain friends as my +1 for breakfast and also catch up on my mounting work. I would also be able to gift some of my room credits to well-meaning friends.

I got restless and decided to finally visit Romblon. I've been wanting to do this. But first I have to take the 9-hour nauseating boat ride to San Jose, Mindoro. That boat ride was the pits. The Amihan wind just tossed and slammed the boat the entire time. Nobody could eat until we got to Mindoro. There wasn't too much happening in San Jose so I moved on to Roxas on the east coast. I enjoyed the few days I stayed at a modest beach resort, the Mitasha Beach Resort. I was very chill just talking to the owner, walking the beach and catching up on work. Roxas seems a little more optimistic and promising than San Jose.

After a 4-hour boat ride from Roxas, I finally reached Odiongan, Tablas, Romblon. After a few days stay, I moved to Romblon Island. It was at the approach to the town harbor that I noticed how charming this place is. I was fortunate to find good lodging at the Romblon Plaza Hotel right smack in the center of town. At night, the expats and locals would hangout at The Romblon Deli, owned by the animated David. It was like the sitcom 'Cheers' where everybody knows your name. There was a healthy community for interaction and an almost infinite number of getaway destinations to island hop, to go scuba diving, snorkelling, explore waterfalls, springs, climb Mt. Guiting-Guiting, or just plain bum on an empty beach. I had the most memorable dive at the Alad Marine Sanctuary. I wanted to dive the Blue Hole - a vertical opening that goes down 30 meters and exits out to the open sea. Too bad that didn't happen. I spent a few days at the island resort of Punta Corazon and dived with the 3Ps Dive Center and stayed in their quaint cottage resort.

Romblon to me is a diamond in the rough. It's hard to imagine how they could have kept this lovely place a secret for the longest time. I was so captivated by Romblon, I didn't want to leave the place even after staying there 3 weeks. I already forfeited my Boracay plans just so I can extend my Romblon stay. I haven't even been to the third island, Sibuyan, but already, I had to leave to catch my flight from Iloilo to GenSan.

Roxas City
From Romblon, I took the boat ride to Roxas City. I have always wanted to visit this place since 2005. Finally, I'm here. An unexpected turn of events happened when I casually asked a fellow passenger, Nick Bartolome, about rides going to the main town from the port. We got into a nice chat. Soon after, he invited me to his place, introduced me to his lovely wife, Rems, and to the rest of his family. I joined them for breakfast and before long, I was with them in celebrating Rem's father's birthday. It was nothing short of a town fiesta where games and food abound for everyone. The town's who's who were not to be missed either.

On a different occasion, I met some locals (Yeyeng, Angel Blancaver, Kat Aguirre) who extended a Roxas-style hospitality to me. They took me to Pueblo de Panay, an ambitious development designed to increase the visibility of Roxas City on the map. After, they took me to a seaside resto where we spent the rest of the evening talking over good eats. It was a meaningful 2 day stay for me in Roxas City. Again, I could have stayed longer, but I had to rush to Iloilo to catch my flight to GenSan.

Gen San City
The Sunrise Festival at Sarangani, the reason I went to GenSan in the first place, was so minor it wasn't visible at all - in fact, I didn't see it. It was dominated by the annual Munato Festival.

A pleasant surprise in GenSan was meeting and bonding with Laiza - a fellow traveller, blogger and IT geek. She was my hostess who showed me around GenSan, pointing out places that mattered. I was also fortunate to find a nice roof over my head - the newly constructed Hotel San Marco. I had a comfortable wifi room to catch up on work. I had Laiza and her friend Kathleen be my +1 for breakfast.

Now in Mindanao, GenSan would be the start of my nightly indulgence in durian - that most esoteric of all fruits! Gen San is a working city. It doesn't have the charm of resort towns like Romblon or Sagada, but it's a viable place for people to relocate to and start all over again. It's safe, not congested, places are close together and cost of living is relatively cheap.

GenSan's Mystery Lady
In GenSan, I accidentally stumbled on a lovely lady who recognized me from my blogs. She approached me and that started an intimate friendship over my entire stay. We were practically inseparable, getting together whenever we can over good eats and conversation that ranged from A to Z. As perfect as things got, the friendship remained platonic and wholesome - she was happily married. If not for that constraint, I would have asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. I didn't cross the line. Our friendship was one I tempered with restrain. She was my best reason for staying, and my best reason for leaving. Still missing her, I had to pack up for Davao.

This friendship was one of many pleasant surprises that unexpectedly happened along the way - a morsel-of-life my benevolent universe throws my way. And I regard them as such - a gift to me by this collective universe. I accept it with grace and gratitude, treating it like delicate poetry.

Davao City
In Davao City, I defaulted to family - my Mom's sisters to be exact. They are a big clan living in one compound. I have many nieces and even cousins I hardly know. With my lifestyle, the concept of family has been redefined many times over. Through their kindness and hospitality, I am reminded of why it's essential to have family - why it's the basic fabric of society.

Davao, much like GenSan, is a bigger scale of a working city - a place to find work and perhaps start family, or a place to escape the escalating crime rate of Manila. Being close to the holidays, none of my business efforts amounted to anything. I got restless and moved on to Tagum.

Tagum was not even on my radar until I reached Davao. Curious, I set out for it. Tagum is smaller than Gen San but similar in many ways. Altogether, I would put Tagum, GenSan and Davao in one category of 'working city' - a place where you can find work and make a living. Gaisano Malls rule here - they have about 3 clustered practically in one area. No SM or Ayala or KCC.

Tax collection is efficient in Tagum, but unlike most places where tax revenue enriches local politicians, you see public spending on infrastructure. Roads are paved, there is peace and order, and people are disciplined. Of all the tricycle drivers I asked about their mayor, all of them say he's doing a good job. Lucky for Tagum!

Tagum has only one downside for me - durian is a whopping P80/kilo! Knowing it sells for P40 in GenSan and Davao, I refused to buy at that price. Without my nightly indulgence, there wasn't much reason to stay longer :)

Mati is 3 hours away from Tagum towards the south. It's a big town but hardly a city. There is ER Mall, but none of the more familiar names like Ayala or SM. There is no movie house and most hotels are dated. It doesn't seem to benefit from the economic boom I see in big towns like Coron or small cities like Dumaguete. However, with their new baywalk and public market, Mati seems to inch its way in keeping pace with this emergent growth. Durian? Still expensive at P70/kilo.

Dahican Beach
The main action in Dahican Beach is Amihan Surf and Skim, founded by environmental visionary and boarding enthusiast, Jun Plaza. Amihan is more of a surf camp where local boys (and a girl!) live to train as podium finishers, and live a disciplined camp life. They all have their camp chores. The camp has been Mecca to surfers and skimmers from far and wide as they gather together as a community, partaking the sun, surf and fun. From its ranks came Bayogyog, now Asian's ruling skim boarding champion. From a tourism perspective, the beaches of Dahican and Masao are the big drawers for Mati.

Back in Davao City
After 2 days at Amihan, I was back in Davao City where I resumed my daily fix of durian. I was surprised to learn that my previous blog about Davao City, the part where I said people of Davao are honest, was shared on Facebook by no other than the city mayor, Inday Sara Duterte. From her page, my blog as since been "Liked" 1576 times, "Shared" 127 times with 114 "Comments". I guess honesty strikes a chord!

As I was doing my workout routine + yoga at People's Park, a couple approached me and expressed interest in learning yoga. I said I'll teach for free. They welcomed the gesture and assured me there will be many who will attend the morning free yoga at People's Park. Maybe that's my cue. As far as places go, Davao City is the end of the line for me in 2012. This is where I begin the New Year.

A Black Hole Called Work
Usually, there's just enough work to keep me busy. But beginning in Cebu, I was swamped. And this endured until the end of the year. It felt like drowning in work as I reach the surface to gasp for air...only to be sucked-in again in a sea of codes, graphics and analytics. At times, I'd lock myself in my hotel for days or weeks just to keep pace with all the work stemming out of my AHA Moments. From developing an external corporate website, to nurturing my Phil-based social enterprise, to launching 2 global websites...and then there's where I document what's been happening in my life. I realized the work that needs to be done is infinitely unending - there is always something to be done. It simply depends on me where to draw the line and say, "enough for now."

Cosmic Dance
I know most people who only read my blog (and don't personally know me) think I live a charmed life of hedonistic pleasure - going from one destination to the next with blind abandon on responsibilities. Well, that is not exactly true. Underlying all that hedonism is a ton of work that takes priority over anything else. When I say work, it's not so much meeting a deadline for a client, but pursuing perfection until I can't find room for improvement any more. In that state of exhilarating rush, time stops, the adrenaline pumps and work becomes a cosmic dance - catapulting me to dizzying heights with a single-minded focus on perfection. I maintain that anyone who experiences this process (not just read it in a blog like this), will have a redefined perspective on what it's like to earn a living. Perfection is not really a lucrative endeavor. Given all the work I've done with blood sweat and tears, I've earned very little - just enough to pay my next bus fare with loose change left. But then again, money is no longer my currency of choice.

Ending Thoughts
The one surprise I noticed about being homeless is that any place I go to now defaults to being home. I thought I would always be on travel-mode 24/7, eager to squeeze whatever I could do in any place. But since I'm not in a rush to leave (there's no home to go back to), I take my time as though I'm just home. Thus, I might stay a full week in a place even if all I do is just walk around town buying fruits from its wet market, or just locking myself up in a room to do some work.

2012, to say the least, has been pivotal and the most radical with more peaks than valleys as I committed myself fulltime to a life of homelessness. If I had my drop-dead money in some bank account, it wouldn't be as exciting. But contrary to what most people think, I only have loose change in my pocket - sometimes barely enough to swing a full month. As such, I am always on my toes with no room for complacency. The sense of urgency is heightened and my mind constantly races always keeping an eye on the abyss looming before me. Yes, I'm glad I now live life at this level of uncertainty. The food tastes better, colors are more vivid and moments are more precious.

2013 holds a lot of promise. The global websites will hopefully take off, perhaps fulfilling what the fortune-telling Dada told me in 2009. Perhaps I end up longer in Davao teaching free yoga at People's Park. Somehow, I feel there's something for me here in Davao. Instead of being off to my next destination (MalayBalay), I'll try to stay as long as I can here and find out what's in store for me.

As far as my lifestyle goes, I see no reason to settle down, so I'll keep travelling. As I always say, the next magnificent life I'll meet is just around the bend.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

To all who made my 2012 far richer than I imagined it to be, thank you! I keep saying this: after all the waterfalls, the hiking trails and the good eats, at the end of the day, it's always the people-connection that lingers. I don't know where 2013 takes me, but if and when our paths cross again, let's celebrate...over coffee and good eats! PM me, message me or email me. I always look forward to people connection.

Year-End Review Blogs:

Reader Comments:

Tony AnchetaTony Philippines
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe
(Jan 2013) Awesome... May you accomplish what you set out to do and may your inner purpose guide you always in your next journey

(Jan 2013) same thing to you, Tony. I think you already know your inner purpose....and have taken steps towards it. Best of 2013!

Judy Tolentino PazonJudy Philippines
(Jan 2013) happy new year Gigit. I always enjoy reading your blogs and learn a lot from them. I and my husband will be in davao and south cotabato on the last week of this month. perhaps we might see you around somewhere. let's have coffee.

(Jan 2013) that's awesome, Judy! Let me know when you guys arrive Davao 🙂

Leticia Faed-DacaweLeticia Faed-Dacawe
(Jan 2013) Reading your blogs actually gives me a treat...a stop from my ever-demanding work and go places through your writings.

AnnaAnna Philippines
(Jan 2013) What a trip Gigit! I love your portable life. 🙂

Mystery Lady of GensanMystery Lady of Gensan
"I would have asked her to spend the rest of her life with me" -- TheLoneRider
(Dec 26, 2012) Sobra naman ata yon...hindi ka na magiging LoneRider nyan kung nagkataon.

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General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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Abundance in Cagayan de Oro Lucid Thoughts

Abundance in Cagayan de Oro

(Feb 10, 2013) My first night in CDO, instead of scrambling for a place to stay, I already had a one-night reservation at the iconic Pryce Plaza. This was followed by a stay at the posh Uptown Condotel. The good folks at CDO seem to appreciate what I can do on the web for them. A friend from my New York days suddenly popped-up, and a clothing store owner gifts me a pair of their latest footwear, at the precise time when my shoes fell apart. This positive start gave me a glimpse of the abundance that lay ahead...more »»

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