Travel in the Year of Quarantine

2020 will go down in history as the year people would most likely want to forget. So far. Many naturally look forward to 2021 and hope it’s a better year. But with the end of this pandemic seemingly nowhere in sight perhaps the best attitude for the New Year is summed up in what John Wooden, the coach with the most number of U.S. national collegiate basketball championships, once said: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

As far as travel is concerned, here is how we tried to make the best of the way 2020 turned out:

fifth waterfall and catch basin, Kalayaan Twin Falls
Looking for a quick getaway from the city at the start of 2020, we drove with two of Nina’s high school friends to the eastern shores of Laguna de Bay and into the town of Kalayaan, Laguna and its Twin Falls. The name’s a misnomer as there are at least 6 waterfalls here.
cabbage roses at Northern Blossom Flower Farm
February is the usual time of the year when flowers bloom in Benguet province in northern Luzon. We’ve heard a lot about the Northern Blossom Flower Farm in Atok town and we finally decided to pay a visit. It was just in time. Two days later the farm would close as a precautionary measure against Covid19 – a portent of things to come.
Bontoc House at at Winaca Eco Cultural Village
On the way back home from Atok we had an overnight stopover at Baguio City which was our home back in the late ’90s to the mid-2000’s. It was supposed to be the time for the colorful Panagbenga Festival but the threat of the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the celebrations. At least there was relatively light traffic in town allowing us to visit some new destinations such as the Winaca Eco Cultural Village in nearby Tublay.
Friends Jeff and Gina invited us to visit Boracay Island with them also in February. It was our first trip to the island famous for its powdery, talcum powder-like white sand beaches in more than 20 years. Precautionary measures against Covid19 were very already widespread at this time and the number of travelers to the island was noticeably down. Little did we know that Boracay’s would be the last beach we would visit in 2020.
takeout food during quarantine
Metro Manila and other parts of the country were placed on lockdown beginning March. With many restaurants either closed or open for takeout orders only, eating out was practically non-existent. Dining in the safety of our abode was the norm with food orders centered mostly around Mid-Eastern and local dishes with Vietnamese food sometimes thrown in when Nina wasn’t cooking.
plans at home
Cultivating plants became a widespread trend during the quarantine but we’ve been in the bandwagon long before. Most of these plants were already at our place since last year. To our surprise the Alocasia (center top) which we didn’t pay much attention to – we left a few of it unattended in a plant box outside our residential unit – turned out to be an expensive plant.
Harbor Square Sunset
After 7 months of staying mostly indoors we finally got to travel more than 10 kilometers from home early October – to Harbor Square, our favorite place for watching the sunset at Manila Bay.
view of the Sierra Madre foothills at the view deck of the Boso-Boso Shell station
When travel restrictions from Metro Manila were eased somewhat in October, we made for the Tagaytay highlands in Cavite, then later to the foothills of the Sierra Madre which we got to view from the Boso-Boso Shell station in Antipolo, Rizal province. However a checkpoint unexpectedly stopped us from proceeding further into Tanay town.
Ternate-Maragondon coast, Cavite
Travel restrictions in the country are still prevalent as of the time of this writing. Although a number of tour destinations in other provinces have opened up, the time, effort and money required to go through health protocols have discouraged the vast majority of travelers from taking advantage. For the moment we’ve decided to focus on short trips outside Metro Manila to less-visited places like the western and northwestern coasts of Cavite and the surrounding Mount Palay-Palay National Park.

14 thoughts on “Travel in the Year of Quarantine

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  1. How lucky that you were able to do some travelling before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. And yes, seems like everyone took up gardening this year!! I love your plant collection. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and have a wonderful New Year. Cheers!

  2. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” I love this quote and I think it’s so true! I’m going to try to remember this as we go through 2021. Gorgeous photos and I’m glad you managed to get some travels in. Boracay looks amazing, as does the food and the sunsets over Manila Bay! Your photos just make me want to visit more and more 🙂 Happy New Year to you!

    1. Thanks and a blessed New Year to you too! That quote is from a coach who won 10 national collegiate championships in 12 years but who was a person of tremendous character outside the court as well.

      1. Thanks for the invitation. Unfortunately we’re not able to blog that frequent these days due to a busy schedule – we know it’s ironic to be busy in a time of lockdown in our country.

      2. That’s absolutely no problem at all! I know what you mean about being busy during all of this, it’s mad isn’t it! Anyway, thanks for responding, I wish you a lovely weekend 🙂

  3. Lucky you were still able to squeeze in some travel this year. We are also getting more travelers here in Bataan. It was lovely to see your plants! And yes, the prices now are crazy.

    1. Yes most of it was before the lockdown. But even now when you think it’s okay to visit a place the local authorities will ask for a health certificate from our barangay before they let you in.

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