Achievements Unlocked in 2013

It seems like only yesterday when I decided to put up this blog to chronicle my real and virtual adventures. But here I am, writing the third edition of a year-ender post, which is apparently my 200th blogpost as well! Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s been a really awesome year in gaming (separate post on this) and not a bad year in terms of travel. I wasn’t able to travel internationally, but I discovered a few off-the-beaten path destinations closer to home and got to tick a few places off my bucket list. Here are some achievements unlocked and noteworthy adventures in 2013:

calayan tawi-tawi TravelUp


  • Epic Fail: Started the year with my first mountaineering experience ever – Mt. Pulag
  • Down South: Traveled to the southernmost province in the country: Tawi-Tawi (I have now set foot on the 3 island provinces in ARMM: Tawi-Tawi, Basilan & Sulu)
  • Up North: Endured a 7-hour long boat ride on a cargo boat through open seas to Calayan, Babuyan group of islands (the northernmost place I’ve been to in the country)
  • Beach-bumming: Visited some unique beaches in the country including the pristine Sibang Cove in Calayan, a pink sand beach in Zamboanga City and Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte
  • Take a Hike: Got jam-packed like sardines in a van (and probably ripped off by the online travel agent I booked) during a hike up to Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake with friends
  • Dream trip: Finally got to visit my dream destination Coron, snorkeled amidst shipwrecks and saw the most amazing coral reefs; embarked on a meaningful journey to Culion & got a taste of Africa in the Calauit Safari Park
  • Haller Baler: Chased waterfalls & fell in love with a tree in Baler
  • Health on Wheels: Traveled with a health caravan doing medical missions & health fiestas in different provinces
  • Hostel-Hopping: Met new friends and played random drinking games while staying in hostels in Manila, La Union & Zambales
  • Castaway: Pushed a boat to a deserted island in the dead of night with fellow castaways during an island trip in Zambales
  • Land, Sea & Air: Drove an SUV for the first time; tried surfing in 2 new surf spots in the country (Baler & Zambales); and took a couple of paragliding lessons just for the heck of it

paragliding suv surfing TravelUp


  • Traveled differently to familiar places
  • Revisited Binondo, Corregidor, Vigan, Capiz, Zambales, Baguio and Laguna
  • Rediscovered the charms of my home province (Bicol); including trips Iriga City & Legazpi
  • Explored the more adventurous side of my hometown Naga City
  • Got an old blogpost article and travel photos published in a book about Naga City


Food tripping was a big part of the adventures this year, thanks to a regular restaurant review gig with a major broadsheet. I discovered so many great places to eat. I also made it a point to try every single restaurant on the street where I live, which has proven to be a difficult feat because new restos keep opening up in the area. In short, I ate in a lot of restaurants. A LOT.

foodtrip for style weekend

  • My blog now seems to be the most comprehensive resource on Maginhawa restaurants, with over 50 restaurants sampled. This resto directory is also responsible for a bulk of my page views. It peaked at almost 10,000 views in a single day just this month.
  • Discovered the wonders of local craft beer.
  • My beer collection has surpassed the 99 bottles target and is now up to 140+


biking corregidor coron mayon maarat TravelUpI got to explore more locales by mountain bike this year, thanks in part to Art who started taking his Outside Slacker blog seriously this year. Be sure to check out his blog. It’s got really great resources on biking around the metro and beyond for weekend warriors. Some of the interesting bike rides this year include:


A lot of the trips this year were personal trips that I spent for, and I really need to save up for trips lined up this year. But I did get invited to a few sponsored trips for work and for the blog. I want to thank all the companies that sponsored trips and those that provided travel gear this year including Targus for the very useful backpack, Spyder Philippines for all the cool motorcycling and biking gear, and Ford Philippines for trusting me enough to test drive their vehicles (Ford Focus and Ford Explorer) for trips.

travel up targus bag motorcycle


I haven’t been able to write about a lot of the motorcycle adventures yet this year, but I enjoyed a lot of great rides. This year, I used the scooter more for everyday use in the city and also went on a few random rides around Marilaque, mostly on the lookout for good restaurants and weekend spots. I was also able to squeeze in some motorcycling during some trips to other provinces:

motorcycling naga mayon calayan laguna TravelUp

Illustrado, an international magazine, took interest in and commissioned me to write about some destinations in the Philippines ideal for motorcycling. illustrado magazine issue 73 - Motorcycle Diaries

Oh, yeah. One last thing. Earlier this year, I also got featured on GMA News TV’s television show Motorcycle Diaries hosted by Jay Taruc on a segment about Philippine Photography. All in all, not a bad year! :p

travel up motorcycle diariesHere’s to more adventures in 2014! 🙂 Happy New Year, everyone!

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