1/4/10

Restrospective: Travel 2009

Taj Mahal

For many people, the worldwide recession impacted travel, including yours truly. While I did only a few overseas and domestic trips the past year, I feel they were all worth every penny spent. As we look forward to a 2010 hoping for more places to discover and explore, I recollect my most memorable travel experiences last year:


1. Washington DC - the promise of a big change happened as Barack Obama was sworn into office as the 43rd President of the United States. We went there the day before the big event to witness then Pres. Bush landing at the White House south lawn for the last time. We went there again in spring to witness the Cherry blossoms that truly made the usually staid capital of the US very colorful.

Marine One at the White House
Cherry blossoms

2. Airbus A380
- flying the world's largest aircraft from New York to Dubai aboard Emirates was proof to the adage that it's not just the destination but the journey that counts. This double-decker of the skies did not disappoint in the wow factor: more room, quieter cabin, mood lighting, bigger windows, mind-boggling choice of inflight entertainment and for those in First Class, an onboard shower.


Emirates A380 photo courtesy of Airliners.net

3. India - where do I begin? It is such a huge country to cover that two weeks are not enough. But I was happy doing a solo trip to some of the India's very captivating spots. From the chaotic capital city of New Delhi, I traveled to Jaipur and saw how the Maharajahs of a bygone era lived. In Agra, I came face to face with the iconic Taj Mahal at three different times of the day: full moon, sunrise and sunset - really bewitching! Luckily, I happened to be there during the very colorful Holi festival.

One of India's best rural destinations can be found in Orchha, a place that seem a million miles away from civilization. On the other hand, Khajuraho is quite a shock to the conservative senses - talk about Kama Sutra and this is just the right place to admire temples dedicated to carnal wisdom. For the spiritually hungry, nothing is closer to the divine (for the Hindus at least) than being in Varanasi - no one questions the faith of the living as they dip into the waters of the Ganges along with ashes of the cremated dead.

charmed by cobras in Jaipur

dancing to Bollywood music during Holi festival

life is unhurried in Orchha

details on a Hindu temple in Khajuraho

sunrise at the Ganges river in Varanasi

4. Stockbridge, Massachusets - Catholic faith takes a feverish pitch at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy as thousands gather for the annual Divine Mercy Sunday Weekend, offering me a chance to witness how America has not forgotten God contrary to what others say. The beautiful setting shadowed by the Berkshires couldn't have been more appropriate.

a beeline to confession

5. Intercourse, Philadelphia - in a digital age, no one would think there are still people in the US who live like it's the 18th century. But that's the Amish way of life - no cars, no electricity, and they're proud to wear conservative dresses. A peek into their unique lifestyle is like stepping into a period movie and one that gives the visitor a lesson in simplicity as opposed to our excessive ways in the big city.


the Amish taking an earth-friendly ride

6. San Francisco, California - it's only my second time but the City by the Bay never fails to capture my heart - after all, many visitors leave their hearts behind (remember the song?). A trip to the Redwoods National Park gave me a glimpse of what it must have been during ancient times in the Northwest - the only thing missing were the dinosaurs!

Redwoods National Park

6. New York - closer to home, I sampled what the upstate could offer: a 5-mile trek on a section of the Appalachian trail and hiking up Sam's Point Preserve in the Shawangunks; kayaking in the Hudson just as New York celebrated its 400th year since its re-discovery; biking at the Cornwall-on-the-Hudson; and strolling on Huguenot Street in New Paltz, considered America's oldest continually inhabited street.

a view from the edge in the Shawangunks

hiking the Appalachian trail

kayaking the Hudson river

7. Philippines - as always, there's nothing like going back to my place of origin. And I wouldn't tire going back year after year what with more than 7,100 islands to choose from. Besides visiting family and old friends in Davao, I did a detour to Siargao Island, the country's surfing capital and to Gumasa, a very rustic beach destination in Manny Pacquiao's Saranggani Province. In Davao City, our adrenaline was pumped-up as we took zip-lining at Outland Adventure and reunited ourselves with the endangered Philippine Eagle in Malagos, Calinan.

I'm hooked on zip-lining in Davao

Siargao

Philippine Eagle

Gumasa, Saranggani

15 comments:

  1. I bet that your most memorable travel of 2009 is your trip to India, "Lonely-Planet" style. I don't know, but traveling alone freaks me out. Urgh.

    Happy 2010 Kuya.

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  2. Some Indian colleagues are encouraging us to visit India. Especially the Kerala and Kashmir area. Let's see. But not this year. =)

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  3. Every traveler should go to India, IMHO. It's one of my many many more places that I'd want to visit.

    I have friends from India and it would be easier to go with them as tour guides, knowing all the local places to get good food, etc. I should start saving now.

    And I also wanted to see the other parts of this great nation.

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  4. Ah, the recession. I also got affected by that, coupled with another factor, the dissertation. I didn't use my passport at all this year. Blah. However, I suppose it allowed me to further explore the USA by car, finding myself in the middle of Kentucky to visit the Mammoth Caves, and also being chased by a tornado afterward. I've also seen quite a few historic areas of Pennsylvania, and we even did a car trip finding the wooden red-painted bridges in Amish territory.

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  5. Amazing travels for 2009! I like the India and Redwood ones. I hope I can visit India soon. Hear its cheap there as well :D

    Happy new year! More travel and adventure in 2010

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  6. awesome photos of india! got to browse that post soon. thanks for sharing your amazing travels.
    cheers to more exciting trips and adventures!

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  7. The Nomadic Pinoy8:08:00 PM

    It doesn't have to freak you out - traveling alone gave me a sense of freedom to see and experience as I want while affording me opportunities to meet strangers down the road. Subukan mo in the future!

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  8. The Nomadic Pinoy8:09:00 PM

    If I have to go back to India, I'd definitely want to visit the Hill stations up north - the photos I've seen are all beautiful.

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  9. The Nomadic Pinoy8:17:00 PM

    It's surely advantageous having local friends as guides. One good thing is that India is quite affordable so your savings will go along long way.

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  10. The Nomadic Pinoy8:21:00 PM

    Going local is good - the US is after all is a very immense country. I have a lot of ground to cover and I haven't done much!

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  11. The Nomadic Pinoy8:22:00 PM

    Yes Ferdz, India is friendly to the budget traveler.

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  12. The Nomadic Pinoy8:23:00 PM

    You're welcome Doc Gelo. Please feel free to check my posts on India.

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  13. dennisvillegas11:17:00 PM

    So much wonderful adventures you have for 2009! Looking forward to more of your travels in 2010! Great captures!

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  14. Happy New Year Pinoy Nomad!



    More travel pa this year of the tiger!

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  15. wow!! i'm so jealous you got to experience day of the holi in india!! maybe you have some travel tips for me? i'll be there in a week :) going to see taj mahal too!

    zip lining in the philippines sounds so fun and adventurous!! i'll have to look into that.. and i definitely want to see the redwoods again soon!

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