2017: A Look Back

2017 is almost over. Some heartaches. Sad moments too. But also plenty to rejoice about. And a good deal of memorable travels as well. Here’s a visual rundown of our travel adventures this 2017:

Potipot IslandThe start of the year led to a return trip to Potipot Island in Zambales. We’ve visited this island before in 2012 but our second visit was a much better experience.

bent palm, Cabongaoan BeachA long trip including a drive over a stretch of rough road and spartan accommodations couldn’t prevent us from enjoying peaceful Cabongaoan Beach in Burgos, Pangasinan, another of the beautiful beaches along the province’s western coast.

approaching Tinalisayan IslandOn our bucket list for the longest time, Tinalisayan Island was finally scratched off last March. This island with its beautiful sandbar, turquoise waters and rust-colored rock mass is just one of the beautiful islands located off the town of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate.

the natural pool at Animasola IslandInteresting Animasola Island is another of the islands off the coast of San Pascual. Within the island are several rocks of interesting shapes and massive sizes. But probably the most interesting feature of Animasola is its natural pool.

sunset near the Philippine Navy Headquarters and the Manila Yacht Club, Manila BayFor a few years now we’ve decided to stay at home during Holy Week rather than join the masses of tourists on vacation. This time we decided to visit Manila Bay to observe its famous sunset.

sunset at a beach in Bolinao, PangasinanWe’ve visited Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan twice before, in 2003 and 2011. Our third visit last April brought us to a few attractions beyond Patar Beach but when we tried to re-visit the latter we backed out upon seeing a huge throng of visitors. The place had become popular over the years.

Tiamban Beach, Romblon, RomblonRomblon has long been famous for its excellent marble. What few people know, however, are its incredible beaches. Tiamban Beach in the capital town of Romblon in the island of the same name, is one of them.

Bonbon Beach and sandbarProbably the most beautiful beach in Romblon Island is Bonbon Beach with its long, curving sandbar. Bonbon, Tiamban and Talipasak Beaches in Romblon town are all within easy access from the town center.

the sandbar on Logbon IslandBesides its mainland beaches, Romblon Island also feature three smaller islands off its western coast. Cobrador, Alad and Logbon Islands also feature white sand beaches, sandbars, rich marine life and laid-back island life. All 3 islands can be easily reached via boat rides from Romblon town’s port.

Bonbon Beach and sandbarMalilison Island in Culasi, Antique was our last summer destination. Located just a few minutes boat ride from the Panay mainland, Malalison has a white sand beach and another long, snaking sandbar.

Bonbon Beach and sandbarCalled Mararison Island by the locals, Malalison’s other attraction is its beautiful rolling hills on the western part of the island. Trekking these hills offered a unique experience among most island adventures that we’ve done.

the falls at Bumbungan Eco-ParkNeeding a quick getaway on a rainy August we drove over to Cavinti, Laguna to visit the Bumbungan River Eco Park and to visit a lake that we’ve frequented in the past.

sand ripples seen underneath clear and shallow waters, Playa la Caleta, Morong, BataanAlthough just less than 3 hours away from Metro Manila, Bataan was usually bypassed as a  destination by nature lovers. In the past year or so, however, the province’s coastal destinations have become popular almost overnight. We were initially aiming for the Five Fingers Cove and Laki Beach in Mariveles in September but ended up at Playa la Caleta in Morong instead.

at the mouth of Sugong Cave, Bagac, BataanWe had also wanted to visit the sea turtles at their sanctuary in Morong but found out that the turtles only go there to lay their eggs in November. The Sugong Cave in Bagac, however, was a wonderful find with its sparkling emerald green waters.

colorful pottery at Ugu Bigyan's Pottery GardenWe’ve been frequenting Tiaong, Quezon for the past two years but only got to re-visit celebrated pottery artist Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan’s home and pottery garden last October.

Balagbag Falls, Real, QuezonIt was back to Real, Quezon in October to savor its fresh seafood and visit an old friend: the Balagbag Falls.

sunset at Cagbalete Island, Mauban, QuezonWith the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit clogging many of the roads heading north from Metro Manila we decided to go south with a group of friends – to Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon. It was to be our third visit in less than 5 years to Cagbalete but there were new things to discover about the place.

the basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal, BatangasTo give our travels a historical feel, we headed to Taal, Batangas for a tour of the Heritage Town. It’s not a UNESCO World Heritage site like Vigan in Ilocos Sur but the charming town boasts several Revolutionary War heroes and their abodes, many of which have been turned into museums.

Paradise Beach, Bantayan IslandOur last major travel for the year took us to Bantayan Island in Cebu, a place that we visited way back in the 1990’s  and even before we set foot at Boracay, Puerto Galera and Palawan. Still, it was our first time to see gorgeous Kota Beach and Paradise Beach, both in Santa Fe town.

Paradise Beach, Bantayan IslandTwo smaller but no less stunning islands off Bantayan’s eastern coast – Virgin (Silion) Island and Hilantagaan Island – helped bring a colorful year of travel to a fitting end.


6 thoughts on “2017: A Look Back

  1. It’s been so wonderful looking at your gorgeous photos of the Philippines as you explore all of its delightful islands. Looking forward to seeing more of your explorations in the new year.

  2. Epic photos! I love all of them, especially the Fire & Rain. I think it should have a place in National Geographic 😉 It’s a little bit late but I wish you two a wonderful 2018!

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