Thursday, May 23, 2013

On My Birthday: 31 Best Travel Memories

Today I turn 31. So I decided to do a post about 31 of my favorite travel-related memories. As I recount them fondly, I recognize God's hand in each and every one of these, and I praise Him for his graciousness in blessing me with the the beauty, joy, thrill, peace, amazement, that each of these has brought to me. 

Here's to the years ahead of discovering more and more of his goodness, his faithfulness and his love. 

1. Climbing the snow-covered Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling

2. Snorkeling under a crevice in the limestone cliff to get to asecret beach  (Matinloc Island) in Palawan

3. Touring the old streets, old houses and old towns of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, with my grandmother.

4. Riding a hua thong (a traditional Thai long tail boat) to get to Hong Island in Krabi, Thailand

Phulay Bay resort Krabi Thailand 

5. Exploring historic Fort Isabelle in Taytay, Palawan with the tourism secretary, the congressman and the mayor. (And secretly coining silly phrases in Nihonggo with my best friend, to bewilder the official representative from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation).

6. Gourmet lunch of poached lobster, khao pad and salad in a sunny island in Krabi, Thailand

7. Autumn in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

8. Gypsy kings, a lounge chair, and the star-strewn sky in Bantayan Island, Cebu.

9. A sad sorry carnival, and a sad sorry duck mascot, which we surprisingly enjoyed, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

10. Sunbathing on the expansive sandbar of Manlawi island, Caramoan, Philippines.

11. Shopping and sweating in the maze of stalls of Chatuchak market, Bangkok.

12. Dining on succulent mussels for dinner in colorful Krabi town.

Krabi Town, Thailand 

13. Epic family trip, with my uncles riding on top of the jeepney, in majestic Sagada.

14. Dolphins swimming alongside our boat in Ragay Gulf, Camarines Sur, Philippines.

15. The perfect jump shot on rocky cliffs of Taejongdae, Busan, South Korea

Taejeongdae Cliffs, Busan South Korea

16. Scaling the craggy cliffs in nothing but beach slippers, and arriving in a claustrophobic cave filled with bats and bat droppings in Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur.

17. Delicious amok dinner and a friendly Flilipino waiter in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

18. Tasting Cebu lechon for the very first time in a restaurant owned by a friend in Ramos Street, Cebu City 

19. Sipping hot and steamy pho noodle soup after getting soaked in evening rain in Saigon, Vietnam

Pho in Ho Chi Minh

20. Dinner inside a cave surrounded by dozens of flickering candle light off the coast of Apulit island, Palawan.

21. A big, surly guard breaking into a smile and saying "Mahal Kita," as he checked my passport on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia.

22. Feeling like a princess in the Royal Villa of Phulay Bay, Thailand.

Royal Villa, Ritz Carlton, Phulay Bay, Krabi Thailand

23. First time diving  in El Nido, Palawan --  swimming among blue starfish, clown fish, and parrot fish.

24. Seeing the amazing Banaue Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, Philippines for the first time.  

25. Dinner in splendid Sala Sri Chan, surrounded by water and four walls of flickering candle light in Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand. 

Sala Sri Chan, Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay

27. Lying awake in a tent in Pinagcastillohan island, Camarines Norte, while the rains and winds threatened to uproot us all.

28. Drinks on  a two-decker boat, that sped into the sunset and brought us to Club Noah, Isabelle, Palawan.

29. Doing the zombie walk with co-workers, late in the evening, in Orchard Road, Singapore.

30. Hitching a ride on the back of a pick-up, after arriving in the Davao International Airport, alone.

31. The majestic Angkor Wat, appearing out of nowhere across the moat, as we rode on a tuk tuk in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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