Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yearender 2012

This year has been great for me. The travel ban to my work place has been lifted by our government at the start of this year. However, my company allowed me to spend my vacation in Philippines in the month of June only. Anyway, due to this, I am now in Philippines for my Christmas and New Year holidays. Great vacation indeed!

During the first semester of this year, aside from bringing my family to Bangkok, I traveled alone by land in several countries namely: Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Ho Chi Minh City

I was expecting a backward Ho Chi Minh City when my wife and I visited that country. Well, it is not yet as progressive as Manila but it is obvious that development is on high gear. To add, I had a great opportunity to have an insight on how the Vietcong won the war when we visited the famous Chu Chi Tunnels. I won't forget that place; I learned that I was claustrophobic while semi-crawling inside those tiny tunnels.

S21 & The Killing Fields

My inner being was deeply touched when I visited S21 (Tuol Sleng) and met the 2 survivors of this security prison established by Khmer Rouge under the administration of Pol Pot. More so, the brutality of killing both young and old alike at "The Killing Fields" (Choeung Ek) was simply unimaginable. I really can't comprehend how this thing happened in modern times.

Siem Reap

Still in Cambodia, I have set foot on Angkor Wat, one of the places abroad I dreamed of visiting. The experience was simply indescribable. I never thought that there were several equally magnificent temple ruins in Siem Reap making my trip more meaningful.

Outside my normal wandering, my wife and I shopped at Bangkok twice this year as well. My newfound baby, an online shop born during my wandering, "Happy Stripes" is doing great. The demand was above expectation thus I now consider Happy Stripes as possible business venture in near future; when 2 of my kids have finished their college studies. I had several business plans before and having an online shop was not one of them but perhaps, fate has played on me.

Going back to my land travel on these 3 countries, I had a very memorable experience. It was when I traveled by bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. It took me 9 hours of arduous travel. I thought I have experienced my worst land travel but I was wrong. Surprisingly, I experienced few days back the most grueling land travel in my whole life and it happened in my own country with my family

It was one of my ardent dreams to drive to northern part of The Philippines. In fact, I envied my friends who were able to drive up to Vigan City; I knew the experience was great and challenging. I had a golden opportunity to fulfill my dream when my daughter opted to see Vigan City rather than go back to Baguio this December. It was an opportunity I gladly grabbed thus wife and I started preparing as early as November.

I knew the drive would be tedious and taxing to my body considering my recurring lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome hence as part of my preparation, I visited our company's gymnasium twice a week to do some workout while I was at work in Yemen.

Traveling to Vigan, it took me 9 hours of driving with 2 stop-over. Our safety was put at risk when my car's rear right wheel blew while traversing Santol, La Union at more than 80 kph speed. Luckily, it was a rear tire otherwise it could have been a disaster for all of us. Upon reaching Vigan City, I asked my family to proceed with their "Calesa Tour" while I searched for a brand new tire.

However, that was not the worst yet. After 1 night in Vigan City, we proceeded to Laoag City. After 2 nights in Laoag City and a visit to Pagudpud, we left the place at 8:30 AM. We reached our home after 15 hours. I was dead tired. In addition, I was recuperating from cough and cold during that 15 hours travel. Well, stay tuned for my Road Trip 1 (Manila/Vigan/Laoag/Pagudpud).

Previously, I thought overseas travel was more challenging and consuming. I proved myself utterly wrong! Next year would be an interesting year for my wandering; we have several road trips lined-up and I would post all details here so as to assist other road trippers.


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