2014 Highlights :)

IMG_3124(From Southeast Asia to South America, The Middle East and South Asia)

Although 2014 is now a memory, I look back with a smile and a grateful heart. It has been a great year. And since this blog is a reservoir of beautiful experiences turned into unforgettable ย memories so let’s save them here ๐Ÿ™‚

1) My most meaningful trip for 2014 – INDIA.

I have mix emotions about India. I always look at it as a mystical place. I had delayed traveling because friends are discouraging me to do so as they say it is not safe for a solo woman traveler. But I am glad that I did. The journey had taken me back in time. While the mind occasionally think of the future that doesn’t exist. The biggest challenge has been to live in this present moment. Perhaps it’s just a tip of the iceberg. I’d like to give myself a big hug for I was able to follow through the 10-Day Meditation Course of silencing, shutting down from all forms electronics devices and getting up as early as 4am!!! and yes, I became a vegetarian for 11 days :).

India's most popular landmark - Taj Mahal. Agra, Uttar Pradesh
India’s most popular landmark – Taj Mahal. Agra, Uttar Pradesh

2) The happiest Christmas and New Year in 5 years – PHILIPPINES.

Although, I visit home at least two times a year, I purposely skip going home for Christmas. Because I equate Christmas to happiness. Perhaps a reason is not needed to state but since I intend to be more open.. All those years I was somehow haunted and feared that my folks will keep insisting asking me about a failed engagement and an ex-fiance – a promise of a beautiful future that turned into void. When I can talk freely about it now, that means I am OK and had moved on. After all, real happiness is something internal. And yes – “All heal wounds time!” haha my version ๐Ÿ˜›

Burnham Park, Baguio. The summer capital of the Philippines
Burnham Park, Baguio. The summer capital of the Philippines

3) The country that feels closest to home – BRAZIL.

I realized that when it comes to culture, I am able to relate and identify myself to South America. Of course, we speak different languages. But the people’s way of life – love for fun and easygoingness, their cheerfulness and friendliness where everything seems relax (although problems exist) – but the way they live their life; where they’re bestowed with beautiful landscape, the mountains, the beaches, the islands, religion and festival are so much like the Philippines. Same same but different ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world - Iguassu Falls. Parana, Brazil
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world – Iguassu Falls. Parana, Brazil

4) Where I experience adventure to the max – BOLIVIA.

Adventure is an understatement. Bolivia is one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The landscape looks like out of this world. It’s totally humbling to be in this place where my body had conquered bravely the altitude sickness thru drinking coca or cocaine. Thanks to my traveling folks who took great care of me when I had high fever and hyperventilation. Where I received endless help from strangers – when I had vomited non-stop to the person next to my seat in the bus, the medication they gave me, the thermal blanket I’d take, the place where I wish to have lived shall I have no work commitment. Sucre, I might see you again! Or maybe La Paz! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our five-day adventure at  Salar de Uyuni. Potosi, Bolivia
Our five-day adventure at Salar de Uyuni. Potosi, Bolivia

5) Daring risk(s) I had taken – PARAGUAY.

Don’t cry for me Argentina. Because you didn’t let me see the side of your breathtaking Iguazu Falls. Muchas Gracias Paraguay for your leniency. I managed to see part of your interesting country. Thank God the police didn’t catch me for stepping in your land without visa. Shall they approached me though, I am more than willing to leave my passport as a guarantee that I will leave the country before it gets dark. Opps, I am not promoting an irresponsible form of traveling. I don’t advice people to follow what I did. I just tried to test the water ๐Ÿ˜‰

The unassuming Justice Palace. Ciudad del Este, Paraguay
The unassuming Palacio de Justicia. Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

6) An encompassing Peace after the storm – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

With your surreal skyscrapers, colorful merchants, elegant mosques, quiet desert – My heart finds peace. Mission accomplished. Sometimes we need to put a closure into something so we can start anew. They say the moment of letting go is accompanied by pain, it’s always been that way. My heart had bleed but it got recovered now. I cried a river but thanks for the tears that cleansed my eyes – it saved me from blindness. Thank you for showing your beauty. You did not fail me at all.

Dubai city skyscrapers from Palm Jumeirah
Overlooking Dubai city skyscrapers from Palm Jumeirah

7) Traveled with friends and friends of friends – MALAYSIA.

Seeing Batu Caves, Petronas Tower and Genting Highlands straight in a row is quite a trip. Never mind the mishaps we encounter along the way. The joy is in the traveling. A destination is just a name. When we loose ourselves a little bit and let spontaneity ruled, a sense of rapture follows. And oh Kota Tinggi Falls I almost forgot you – yes I am from Malacca ;). Yes looks can deceive sometimes. Thank God I can both pass for a Malay, Indonesian, Thai or Burmese. But in India, I’m always either a Korean, a Japanese or Chinese! (haha it’s a separate story ๐Ÿ˜‰

A limestone hill with several temples - Batu Caves. Gombak District, Malaysia
A limestone hill with several temples – Batu Caves. Gombak District, Malaysia

8) Great friends and delectable food! – VIETNAM.

My recent visit to Vietnam has been extra special because of reuniting with old friends, making new friends and meeting fellow travelers who are just as great as they are filled with spirit of altruism, generosity and humility. Happiness resides in the simple things – food. I am a number one fan of Vietnamese food now next to Thai cuisine! ๐Ÿ™‚

A mouth-watering Vietnamese dish - rice cake with meat, prawn or vegetables, super YUMMY! Saigon, Vietnam
A mouth-watering Vietnamese dish – super YUMMY! Saigon, Vietnam

ย 9) I was lost and found… – CAMBODIA.

The first time I visited Cambodia a few years back, I was so lost, figuratively. My heart was breaking into pieces. I need a refuge if only for a while to ease the pain, console the sadness, and an assurance that everything will be alright after sometime. The second time I visited I got lost, physically! Or rather I was gone missing. The bus left me! It’s a kind of an epic experience learning that anything can be taken away from us in an instant and a realization that there must be something larger-than-life makes us focus on the things that matters most albeit less on the material stuff.

The best way to explore Angkor Wat - thru bicycle! Siem Reap, Cambodia
The best way to explore Angkor Wat? Thru bicycle! Siem Reap, Cambodia

10) Where I am always pulled to go back – SINGAPORE ;).

I have said my piece of thank yous. I have composed a few irrevocable resignations. But you are not letting me go. Thank you for the endless opportunities you are pouring on me. I will always be grateful for all of this. Thank you for teaching me a lesson that a person can always start from scratch and do well in whatever path s/he chose to take and be successful. Singapore, I owe you so much. Here I was able to stand on my own, became independent yet dependable, the moment I left my comfort zone.

A view of the Central Business District from Singapore ArtScience Museum
A view of the Central Business District from Singapore ArtScience Museum

Thank you for reading. Hope you had fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great 2015!

KEEP CALM & TRAVEL MORE! Marks my 2015 Theme ๐Ÿ™‚


2 thoughts on “2014 Highlights :)

  1. Mafey! Haven’t heard from you for a while or in Viber. Decided to stop by .

    My you have been busy. We have traveled to many places, my friend this year. And though we keep traveling, somehow we also get more lost – adrift in a sea of longing and discovery. hopefully, in 2015 we will find our anchor and where we’re going.

    Drop me a note sometime. Miss you!

    1. Kate! Spot on!

      Truth is, I don’t know where to go… I just knew, I need to leave.
      Is this one of the downsides of “Explorer” type of people?

      I miss you more! Let’s viber catch up one of these days. Hope you are well wherever you are. Take care!

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