I asked for twelve wonderful blessings this 2012 and I got them all. Now, here’s how I rolled the past year.

1. Got lost. (Tarak Ridge)
Went climbing the famous ridge of Tarak in Mariveles, Bataan twice and got lost on our second visit. Funny, right? Ending was a painful 4-hour ascend. No, I did not ask to be lost but prayed to find the right track back to where we should be.

Top: First attempt was great and a success. Below: Hiked for four hours and got lost.

2. Met 90124923747329583 new friends. (Mount Pinatubo)
I just still couldn’t believe that I was a part of Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Bagets edition’s biggest meet-up. Where else? In a volcano so active that it cooled the planet during its 1991 eruption, Mount Pinatubo. There, I got the chance to finally meet the people behind the awesome travel blogs you and I have been reading: Dong Ho, Oman, Doi, Andrew, Nel, Robx, Chino, Brenna, Byron, Ivan, Marx, Mich, Ada, Renz, Heiz, Lauren, Ian, Melo, Josh, and Jerome among others.

I’m sorry but I cannot recall who owns this picture (grabbed this from Doi’s FB account though).

3. Tied the knot. (Calaguas and Bagasbas)
Probably one of the highlights of my 2012 was marrying Rowjie whom I’ve been with for more than six wonderful years already. Right after the civil ceremonies with no sleep, we went on an 8-hour road trip and 2-hour boat ride to once again witness the beauty of Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas, Camarines Norte which Rowjie and I fell in love with. We went straight ahead to Bagasbas in Daet after beach bumming to wrap up our stoked weekend.

Top: (L) Backpackers in love, (R) That’s me gaining some weight.
Below: Our first Polaroid photo as a married couple (taken in For The Road bar).

4. Went back to childhood. (Mount Bulalo)
Whoa! I gained some serious fats when I tried on my old college uniform and realized that it now barely fits me. And why would I think of wearing my ancient uniform after some six years? Because it’s the theme for this year’s Kidlat Climb in Mount Bulalo! I wonder where the next Kidlat Climb will be held and what theme will it be. Hmm.

Left: (1) View of campsite from the uphills. (2) A trip down the memory lane with our old school uniform. (3) Kidlat while blowing the candles off his crappy-looking cake. Right: Tatay Mapalad and Kidlat Mapalad

5. Almost eaten by an albino tiger. (Subic Bay)
Okay, I was just exaggerating. The seemingly-harmless albino tiger from Zoobic Safari wasn’t trying to eat me but it sure scared the shit out of me. Went on a Tree Top adventure with bloggers Brenna, Darwin, Ivan, Jerome, Eric while assisted by our great host, Subic Homes. No, I did not ask to be eaten by a member of the feline clan but prayed for courage against my fear of animals.

(1) Subic Homes’ office (2) Interactive Free Fall of Tree Top Adventure (3) The famous albino tiger of Zoobic Safari

6. Became broke and had nothing to eat. (Marilaque)
It was famine in the Galang Mansion that we couldn’t go anywhere but a two-hour motorbike ride to Marilaque (Marikina, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon). With just Php 500 in my pocket, we managed to cross four towns and even paid for a bowl of a sumptuous Bulalo along Sierra Madre. No, I did not ask to be broke but prayed for fresh breeze, something the busy metro doesn’t have.’

Can you find me and Rowjie?

7. Wore cocktail dress and heels in the mountain. (Layong Bato)
It was a peculiar activity but our Gala Night in the base camp of Mount Talamitam was frikkenly fun. We didn’t mind bringing our coats and ties and heels and cocktail dresses just so everyone could participate in YABAGMC Friends’ annual Christmas party. Beat that!

For a second, I thought I was stepping on a trekking pole then suddenly realized that I was wearing heels!
(Photo by Sir Jeff of YMCF)

8. Watched The Dark Knight Rises. (Mount Gulugod Baboy)
First, a late Christmas party with my friends in the office. Second, JC’s birthday climb. Third, a cancelled hike due to extreme bad weather some of us literally walked in the flooded streets just to get to our meeting place) which eventually led to a movie date with Robx, Byron, and Jerome. And oh, I must say that Anne Hathaway nailed the catsuit!

Top: Uphill Mount Gulugod Baboy. Below: Boardfest in Anilao!

9. Thought of never going back to the PH. (Bangkok, Thailand)
After spending two days in Bangkok, which is a lot like Manila, I seriously thought of staying there and not to go back in the Philippines. But then Adobo and Tinola back home is way, way better than any cuisine I’ve tasted!

Top: Traffic, just like in Makati. Below: The famous Khao San and its backpackers.

10. Outsmarted by a person who warned me about hold-uppers. (Saigon, Vietnam)
Despite all the warnings I received and readings I made, me and Rowjie were still scammed by a cab driver who even had the nerve to remind us to take care of our belongings since District 1 of Saigon is known for its notorious outlaws. No, I did not ask to be outsmarted but prayed that this not happen again.

(1) Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, is Asia’s scooter country. (2) Looking for cheap outdoor gears? You’ve come to the right place! (3) One of Saigon’s landmarks, the Reunification Palace. (Photos by Rowjie)

11. Disappointed. (Phuket, Thailand)
It has been a dream since I was little to visit Phuket in Thailand after watching Leonardo di Caprio’s The Beach. Just imagine the disappointment I felt after seeing how Maya Bay really looked like, picturesque yet not as beautiful as the beaches here in our country. No, I did not ask to be disappointed but prayed to be more appreciative of the beauty of nature.

(1) Maya Bay, the perfect beach shown in The Beach. (2) On On Hotel where the famous Daffy suicide happened. (3) The aquarium in Bangla Road of Patong Beach.

12. Hated and was late. (Melaka, Malaysia)
The almost-50 Ringgit bus ticket from Melaka’s central terminal to LCCT we paid for just went down the drain. But it didn’t end there. We also had to spend another 50 Ringgit and 130 Ringgit just so we wouldn’t miss our flight back to Manila. If you’re a currency conversion freak, you might be cursing us now. No, I did not ask to hate and be late but prayed for patience and strong will not to give up when something bad comes up. I still have to blog about it.

A panoramic night shot of Melaka’s landmarks.

Now, I must have been a very good girl that I only prayed for twelve yet received more than what I asked for.

13. Saw the King’s and Queen’s private parts. (Sagada, Mountain Province)
I didn’t know that the private parts of the King and the Queen were these big! Whoa! So happy to finally have been to Sagada with our long-time friends, Migs and Agot. We did nothing but eat, drink, eat, drink, and eat again.

Friends since 2007

14. Stepped on pebbles bigger than my feet. (Surigao City)
The only thing I regret about this trip was forgetting to take photos of the pebbles in Mabua alongside coins or anything that could show how big the pebbles are!  Guess wut. I’ve seen one of the landmarks of Surigao, the famous Wandering Soles of Nathalie!

Top: Mabua’s Pebble Beach is really amazing. Below: With Ate Nathalie.

15. Shed tears. (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
I was teary-eyed after reading Gay’s blog about the Killing Fields but the feeling is surreal once you set foot to the fields. I seriously cried while wandering around Choeung Ek. No, I did not ask to be a cry baby but I prayed for a thankful mind that I do not have to bear the pain that the victims of the genocide endured.

Left: (1) The Killing Fields. (2) On a Tuktuk
Right: One of the real torture beds displayed in the S-21 Museum. (Photos by Rowjie)

16. Hubby’s first official tour! (Baguio City)
Weeeeeeeeeeee! The hubby finally had his first ever Baguio tour and can proudly say he now knows how the Burnham Park looks like.

Left: With travel blogger friends on two different trips. Right: Rowjie, who else.

17. Nauseated after seeing sea snakes (Siargao)
Cloud 9, a dream came true with a bonus of three more superb beaches: Daku, Guyam, and Pansukian. But hold on. Didja know that I almost puke after seeing the sea snakes lurking around the corals of Cloud 9? Not to forget that they were exact corals I was sitting on the other day. No I did not ask to be dizzy but prayed how thankful I am not to see those sea snakes before I went swimming.

The wonders of Siargao.

18. Became Angelina Jolie. (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Pulled an Angelina Jolie during our temple hopping activities in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I was dropping jaws upon seeing the temples of Siem Reap that I became really exhausted even before sunset. Thank you Doi and Ed for taking care of us during our short stay there!

(1) The marvelous Angkor Wat. (2) With travel blogger friends, Doi and Ed adopting us during our stay in SR. (Photo by Doi) (3) LOTR-like scene in Preah Palilay.

So there, a rundown of where I had been during the past year. I now aim not to be to 12 different places but to learn more culture, meet more friends, eat more, climb more mountains, swim more beaches, and travel like there’s no 2014. Happy new year, everyone!


  1. No one can ever beat number 3. There is really no going back after that. Kahit gaano pa kasarap ang tinola sa iba haha! You had a great year and I bet you will have another one 🙂

    1. Indeed, no going back. haha! Hope to see you again, Drew, wherever you are. 🙂 Stay safe palagi! Postcards naman. 😛

  2. huwoowww!!!

    BFAT (Be FAT) – Baguio Food Appreciation Tour! haha may cooking challenge pa! PG na PG tayo sa baguio kakalamon..haha

    1. Salamat sa may-ari ng Azalea (ikaw) sa isang nakakadagdag-timbang na BFAT. 😀

  3. hi there kaiz and rowjie! Congrats on a fun-filled 2012. Congrats again for tying the knot! So glad that we got to spend time together sa Siem Reap. More travels for you! Happy 2013!

    btw, lol at the photo sa SR. yan talaga ang napili. starring si Doi! hahahha

    1. Syempre, si Doi kaya ang reyna. hahaha. Atsaka sikat ka sa circle of mountaineering friends ko. They were asking if I know the blogger who spent three months daw sa Indonesia and became a waiter. haha! Kita-kits ulet! 🙂

  4. dami kong tawa sa landmark na yan.haha thank you for making me a part of your Surigao trip. Sana makasama na ako sa next mountian(s) nyo. 😉

    1. Yey! New climb buddy! See you again, Ate Nath! 🙂

  5. Who would have thought that you were in the mountain in #7? 🙂
    Happy New Year Ms.Kaiz!

    1. Hello Joan! Were you there that time? 🙂

    1. Congrats on your first Baguio gig! 😀

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