Exploring Downtown Kota Kinabalu on Foot

Far-flung places, exotic destinations, and “safe” cities are what you would often see on the bucket lists of many would-be travelers. And if you chance upon typical Filipino globe trekkers, you’ll be sure to spot Paris, Maldives, and NYC on their respective lists. I was 22 when I first met myself on the streets of Kota Kinabalu (KK), just 2 weeks prior to my birthday celebration as it was graced with cheesecakes, travel magazines, and hiking equipment for my 23rd birthday. Most Filipinos I know barely wish to travel to Malaysia, or to Southeast Asia in general. They always desire to kiss France’s concrete floors or take photographs with Japan’s exquisitely-dressed geishas. – Continue reading.>

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Wandering Solo Around Bangkok, Thailand (Chatuchak and Street Stalls)

(As mentioned in the first blog post, the author went on a solitary Yuletide trip in December 2013 to Thailand and Cambodia for more than two weeks. In a series of blog posts, he shall recount his travel experiences as a first-time solo backpacker at the young age of 22.) 

ARRIVAL IN BANGKOK

After months of convincing my loved ones that I’d be all right when I traveled on my own, I found myself traipsing vigilantly in the Suvarnabhumi (pronounced as soo-wah-na-poom) International Airport in Bangkok just minutes before midnight. I was filled with enthusiasm, until my roaming subscription did not work and I was worried that my parents were worried about me. I was also afraid that my Bangkok-residing Filipino friend (Guill), who promised to host me while I was in Thailand, would not be around to fetch me. He would be returning to the Philippines three days later as I explored Bangkok on my own. Continue reading

Trekking the Rounded Mountain (Mt. Mabilog + Bunga Falls + Underground Cemetery)

(The author and his friends climbed Mt. Mabilog on June 7, 2014.)

  • Where: San Pablo and Nagcarlan, Laguna
  • Difficulty: 2/9
  • Hours required to reach summit: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
  • Trail description: soft loam and clay, with high tendency to get muddy when wet; grassy and not steep; last leg of trail is moderately steep
  • Attractions: abundant banana and coconut trees, scenic views of lakes, panoramic vista of neighboring Calabarzon mountains

This year marked a sudden change in my life as an adventurer, and my life had been catapulted into the once unknown realm of mountaineering. Just last December, I embarked on a solo backpacking trip to Thailand and Cambodia for 17 days just because my intuition told me I was not Asian enough, nor did I feel Asian enough to call myself one. And no, the trip was not spontaneous. In fact, preparation was already underway by August 2013, so at least four months of intense research was poured into this trip to ensure my safety and to learn as much as I can about the history and culture of the Siamese and the Khmer empires. Continue reading