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Turista Boy’s Best of 2017

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Turista Boy Best of 2017

2017 has yet been another year of travel and I have explored some of the beauty and attractions that can be found in and about the Philippines. This year, Turista Boy Best features 18 provinces, 21 cities, 19 municipalities, 59 travel days, and 1,416 travel hours. Ranging from exploring new provinces, new attractions, delicious (and weird) food, and new friends to mention a few, We still have a lot to discover! But here are my personal bests from 2017. 🙂

See also: Turista Boy’s Best of 2016!

Mount Timbac and Highest Point of the Philippine Highway System (Atok, Benguet) – January 7

What kicked off my 2017 is a climb to one of Benguet’s highest peaks, Mount Timbac. With a height of 2,717 meters above sea level,  this is one of the lesser known mountains in the province of Benguet as it is hugely vegetated and a number of people live in the area. Their main crops include cabbage, lettuce, and potatoes to name a few.

At the peak, you will get to see three crosses that symbolizes the Calvary. Mount Timbac is also a famous pilgrimage site during Holy Week and you can also find the Stations of the Cross. The climate in the mountain is cold all year-round and you can see the nearby provinces of La Union and Ilocos Sur on a clear day.

pic of highest point of highway

Selah Garden Hotel Staycation (Pasay City) – January 14-15 and June 3-4

My staycation in Selah Garden Hotel did not just happen once, but it happened twice this year. For my first experience, I was invited by ate Marge of coffeehan.com for an all-in staycation in Selah last January 14-15. There we tried their different rope courses, had a hotel tour and dinner with the executives, and we also had SCUBA diving lessons the day after.

My second experience with Selah is with my friends from The Other Bloggers last June 3-4 coinciding with the World Streetfood Congress in nearby SM Mall of Asia. Here we get to experience a more laid-back life during the rainy season as we again tried their different rope courses. If you want to experience something different, visit the links below!

Hotel Review: Selah Garden Hotel

5 Reasons why I love Selah Garden Hotel

Miss Universe Dinner at the Baguio Country Club (Baguio City) – January 18

This was a goosebumps moment for me as it is so far my first time to grace an event of the Miss Universe Organization. When the Philippines hosted the 65th edition of the pageant last January, the contestants visited various and famous tourist destinations in the Philippines, including Baguio City. Their one-day visit in the City included a floral float parade, art exhibitions, and a Gala Dinner at the Baguio Country Club where I got the rare chance of meeting some of the delegates of Miss Universe! *Giddy*

Mount Cayabu and Mount Maynuba (Tanay, Rizal) – January 28

My ascent to Mounts Cayabu and Maynuba is quite a one-of-a-kind and is so far the most challenging. When we have climbed the mountains, a strong rain poured the day before, making the trails muddy and slippery. Literally, it was one of the muddiest climbs I have ever been to but the views of the summits are promising. We also had a few side trips into 2 of the mountains’ 8 wonder falls!

The Other Office – birth of The Other Bloggers (Baguio City) – February 4

One of Turista Boy Best highlights of 2017 is the ‘birth’ of The Other Bloggers – coincidentally, the group was conceptualized in The Other Office. This group is composed of influencers, bloggers, photographers, creatives, and the like that share a common goal in the blogosphere. To date, we have quite a number of influencers joining the group, making (and hoping) it would be the biggest blogger-slash-influencer group in Baguio (under Norte Bloggers.)

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Pampanga) and Philippine International Pyromusical Competition (SM MOA, Pasay City) – February 11

This is the second time I have witnessed the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark. As one of Turista Boy Best of 2017, it highlighted different kinds of hot air balloons and everything that flies (we even witnessed an Airbus A380 fly above us!)

Also on that day was the first weekend of the Philippine International Pyromusical Competition with the Philippine contingent as the opening act at the SM Mall of Asia By The Bay grounds. The competition lasted for six weekends. I bet the Pyromusical this 2018 would be grander!

Panagbenga 2017 (Baguio City) – February 25-26

Every year in Baguio City, the Panagbenga Flower Festival is a major tourist draw. Held every February, this month-long festivities boasts the fragrant flowers and different cultures and traditions of the Cordillera Region. This year, I was fortunate enough to cover the Grand Parades (as I was a parade performer from 2002-2013.) Read more on the links below to know what I have experienced during the Panagbenga!

My Panagbenga 2017 experience

Pangasinan Food Crawl (Dagupan City and Lingayen, Pangasinan) – March 17-19

Talk about food coma and food porn? Well, this is the real deal. Turista Boy Best of 2017 also featured many (and I mean MANY) restaurants in the province of Pangasinan last March. We covered several restaurants in Dagupan City, Lingayen, and some in Alaminos City as well.

This is part of Shareable Media’s project of promoting gastronomic adventures up North. The team also had food crawls in Isabela and Cagayan in the latter part of the year. Read more below for the #NorteBloggers food experience!

Pangasinan Food Crawl | Pangasinan Bloggers x Turista Boy

Mount Costa (Benguet) – March 20

As one of the newest attractions near Baguio, Mount Costa is a place worthy of visiting. Though far from the main business district, Mount Costa will give you the peace you deserve. With its 24 carefully-curated gardens with different themes, this green living room will definitely take you to a whole new dimension. Read more below and see what it looks like!

Mount Costa: 5 reasons why this green living room is your next destination

Locked In Experience (Baguio City) – March 21

Have you experienced being locked in a room and it requires you to solve something in order to escape? Locked In Baguio is just the right place. Similar to Mystery Manila, this escape room experience will definitely bring you chills and will make your brain cells work to ‘survive.’ Read more about The Other Bloggers’ experience here!

LockedIn: Baguio’s Ultimate Escape Experience

Enchanted Kingdom (Sta. Rosa, Laguna) – Tagaytay City (Cavite) – March 25-26

Celebrating birthdays have never been sweeter. As one of my personal highlights this year, me and my BFFs went on a rare adventure in the Enchanted Kingdom (brought out the kids inside of us! Seriously!) To celebrate my and Nico’s 25th birthday, we treated our friends to the Enchanted Kingdom. It was my first time going to the place and all I said was “wow!”

Enchanted Kingdom offers free entrance to birthday celebrants as long as it falls within a week (upon presentation of a Valid ID.) All your companions will also get 10% discount on all rides! How cool is that?

After which, we went to see and explore the beauty of Tagaytay City in Cavite and there we saw the world-famous Taal Volcano.

BFFs at Enchanted Kingdom! Turista Boy Best of 2017

Bulacan – March 27-28

As part of my personal journey of traveling to all the 81 provinces of the Philippines, I am in constant search for provinces that I have never been to before. One of which is the province of Bulacan. Being the 24th province on my list, Bulacan is undoubtedly rich in history and culture.

Being the seat of the First Philippine Republic (particularly in Barasoain Church in Malolos), Bulacan is an attraction on its own. Will be blogging about this province soon as long as I get to explore the province even further!

Baguio Food Crawl (Baguio City) – April 8-9

Being one of the reasons for me getting a bit fatter this year, The Other Bloggers launched its first-ever Baguio Food Crawl! (My second this year!) Here we featured 20+ restaurants, ate over 100 kinds of dishes, all in a span of two days! Food coma is real! Read more on the links below about our gastronomic adventure last April!

Baguio Food Crawl | Turista Boy

(art by Chino Chow)

Baguio Food Crawl | The Other Bloggers x Turista Boy (Day 1)

Baguio Food Crawl | The Other Bloggers x Turista Boy (Day 2)

Ifugao – April 14-16

Being the 25th province on my list of #Project81, Ifugao is home to the world-renowned Banaue Rice Terraces and the UNESCO World Heritage Site amphitheater-like terraces of Batad. I went here last April, while the Holy Week was celebrated. We got the chance to visit the terraces of Banaue, the Hot Springs of Hungduan, and the “Living Museum,” Kiangan Shrine, and Yamashita Surrender Site in Kiangan. I will be blogging my experience here real soon so better watch out for it!

Aliwan Fiesta (Pasay City) – April 22

Every year, too, the Grand Festival of Festivals is being held in Pasay City every April. The Aliwan Fiesta is, for me, the grandest fiesta in the Philippines as it celebrates and showcases the different festivals in the Philippines. This year, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo took home the grand prize! Know more about the results on the link below!

Aliwan Fiesta 2017 Results

Mount Kalugong (La Trinidad, Benguet) – May 13

This rocky mountain in La Trinidad is now becoming one of the up-and-coming mountains to be climbed in Benguet. Mount Kalugong is usually paired with a day hike with Mount Yangbew. Kalugong means ‘hat’ in English, as it resembles a hat when viewed from far away. What will surprise you after that climb will be a Mini Park-slash-Camp and a café atop the rocky summit.

Food Park Stories:

Hungry Yard (Tarlac City – May 27)

Hungry Yard is the very first food park I have ever been to and this place gave me the idea of having “Food Park” stories on the blog. Located in the heart of Tarlac City, this unique, container-van concept food park is a first in the province. Turista Boy Best will soon be featuring Food Park Stories as part of the blog!

Kantorini (Quezon City – July 9)

Talk about having Santorini right in the heart of Katipunan in Quezon City! This themed food park caught the hearts of many because of its catchy name and witty posts on its Facebook Page. Just picture Santorini and transform it into a giant food park – Kantorini is the answer!

The Yard Underground (Pasig City – October 7)

One of the few food parks I have visited in the Metro, The Yard is a hole in the wall. The place is unexpectedly chill and there is a diverse selection of food and drinks! Even though the place is quite small for such a successful brand, The Yard for sure delivers – from sun up to sun down.

The Food Truck Manila-QC (Quezon City – October 8)

Think about container vans put on top of each other – Food Truck Manila is just that! This uniquely designed food park is one of the more famous gastronomic places in Manila. Its original location is in the City of Manila itself, and this branch in QC is as equal. Here, we tried crablets, paella (which I really really love!), and some fries on the side!

Carnival Food Park (Marikina City – October 8)

One of the more popular food parks in Manila, Carnival Food Park is quite out of place. Far from the main thoroughfares’ traffic, this food park’s surrounding is more peaceful.It is also sad, though, because when we went there, almost half of the stalls were closed limiting us to a number of food and beverage choices. However, the ambiance of Carnival is promising and ‘instagrammable.’

Carnival Food Park Marikina | Turista Boy

Photo by Queenie Mae Narciso

Mount Pinatubo (Capas, Tarlac and Botolan, Zambales) + Capas National Shrine (Capas, Tarlac) – May 28

I have termed this blog as a beautiful disaster as Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1990 is one of the largest and devastating in history. It caused tremendous damage and lahar to many parts of Central Luzon and many of its remnants are still seen up to this date. I have been to Pinatubo with my Wander Pinas <link> friends and saw the majestic view of the crater lake that has become because of the eruption. Read more below and know how came to get across this famous landmark.

As a side trip to the Pinatubo ascent, we also went to the Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. Here, the shrine commemorates the lives of those heroes who served during the World War II and whose names are engraved in an elliptical wall with a tall obelisk at the center of it.

Travel Guide: Witnessing the beautiful disaster of Mount Pinatubo

Capas National Shrine | Turista Boy Best of 2017

Capas National Shrine

Mount Pinatubo Outreach (Sitio Dalig, Capas, Tarlac) – June 12

One of the reasons why I like traveling and hiking with my Wander Pinas friends is that they have a heart to exnted to everyone. Especially when they conduct outreach programs, it is just heartwarming to give to people whatever we have. For the first time this year, I have joined them in doing an Outreach Program in Capas, Tarlac, just outside the outskirts of Mount Pinatubo. We also did a similar outreach program in Damas, Tarlac (December 2016), where we also catered to the Aeta Community there.

If you want to join Wander Pinas‘ trips, hikes, outreach programs, or even share your travel stories, see and click the link above!

Sitio Dalig, Capas, Tarlac Outreach Program | Turista Boy Best of 2017

4 Falls Day Hike: Talay Falls, Hidden Falls, Hulugan Falls, Aliw Falls (Luisiana, Laguna) – June 17

What is a better thing to do when visiting Laguna (aside from their buko pie)? – chase waterfalls! It is quite a popular thing to do in the province as it boasts many waterfalls in many different municipalities. Here, I, with Joshua and Rannz visited four equally beautiful waterfalls – definitely a first for me. First, we visited the Triple Falls Hike which included Talay, Hidden, and the popular Hulugan Falls. Each falls can be reached in an hour or so and every falls is picturesque. Then when we were done to visit the first three, we went on to visit Aliw Falls (20 minutes away from Hulugan) and experienced the same awe.

My four falls hike and experience will be out here in the blog soon! Watch out for it!

Laguna - Chasing waterfalls (Pinterest) | Turista Boy Best of 2017

Zola Food Group: Food Walk (Baguio City) – June 26 and July 1

The Zola Food Group was extremely generous to host The Other Bloggers and some of Baguio’s elite photographers for two separate days of the Zola Food Walk. In here, we tried, ate, and gave comments on different dishes served in Zola, Drop Out, Sala, Just Another Damn Good Sick Joint, and Hardin. This was also an opportunity for us to collaborate with the photographers and bloggers alike on future projects that would benefit both brand and bloggers and photographers!

My blog will be out this 2018!

#NextPH – Social Media Day Northern Luzon (Robinsons Calasiao, Pangasinan) – July 4

Last July 4, me, together with some members of The Other Bloggers were invited to speak and share our experiences as bloggers and influencers in front of a huge crowd in Robinsons Place Calasiao. In this #NextPH Social Media Day event, we highlighted topics on Travel, Instagram flatlays and photography, YouTube-ing, and a whole lot more!

This was the very first official event of The Other Bloggers outside Baguio City and we are glad to share insights to all!

Forest Cabin Holiday Home (Camp John Hay, Baguio City) – July 6-7

The Other Bloggers and “The Other Photographers” were again invited to share and blog one of the many Log Cabins inside Camp John Hay. Here, we experienced living in a cabin for 2 days and a night, letting our readers and viewer know how it feels to live a day in Camp John Hay’s serene landscape. If you want to book a night or two at our Cabin, click this link to know more!

Cebu – Bacolod – Guimaras – August 26-28

Here’s to my 5th, 27th and 28th Philippine Provinces this year. I have been to Cebu last March 2011 for a field trip and all I can say is that I definitely missed this province and I was so glad to come back this year. (Click on the link below and know what we did during our layover in CEB!)

For the first time, I have set foot on Negros Occidental, particularly in the City of Smiles, Bacolod! Though our time was limited, we were able to visit the Negros Occidental Capitol, and the famous The Ruins.

After Cebu and Bacolod, we now went to the Mango Capital of the Philippines, Guimaras! In just one day, we were able to tour the whole island and experienced it different sights! Look for the link below and know if I made the #1000PesoChallenge possible or not!

Things to do in Cebu (during a layover)

1000-Peso Challenge: Guimaras

Mount Ulap Climb with ATravels (Itogon, Benguet) – September 23

With his Project Aspire, kuya Adrian Fernandez of #ATravels invited us to a worthwhile tree planting event in Mount Ulap last September in celebration of his birthday, too. Unfortunately, heavy rains welcomed us but we planted our tree saplings! We were not able to complete the trek but the experience is worth it!

Robes Elegantes – Kifahari Productions Launching (Baguio City) – October 15

The Other Bloggers were glammed up last October 15 and showed their support for Robes Elegantes, a fashion show showcasing creations from local Baguio designers and the launching of Kifahari Productions at Venus Parkview Hotel!


Baguio Country Club Christmas Village 2017 (Baguio City) – October 27

Since the Philippines celebrates the longest Christmas season in the world, it is but rightful to celebrate it in the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Particularly in Baguio Country Club, the annual Christmas Village opened its doors to the public and lets their visitors experience Christmas to a whole new level! Click on the link below to know more!

Baguio Country Club Galaxy Christmas Village 2017

Davao City – November 3-5

Davao Del Sur is the 29th province on my personal list of #Project81 and I visited the land of Durians – Davao City! This City is so big that a 3-day tour is not just enough! One of the highlights of my trip was a stroll at the Davao Crocodile Park and witnessed the Tribu K’ Mindanawan do their fire dance (video below)! And of course, Davao would not be Davao if you have not tried their world-famous Durian!

Watch out for my blog about Davao City this 2018!

6th World Youth Alliance-Asia Pacific Emerging Leaders Conference (Quezon City) – November 9-11

For this year’s edition of the Emerging Leaders Conference of the World Youth Alliance – Asia Pacific, I took part as one of its Secretariat, after being a delegate for the 4th and 5th edition of WYAAP’s ELC. This year, the ELC’s theme concentrated on Migration and Development and was attended by different members of the youth in the Asia Pacific region. With the theme: Our Global Family: Enriching Cultures through Migration and Development, this edition of the WYAAP ELC is a stepping stone for every youth to know that Migration and Development works hand in hand in upholding one’s dignity!

Blogapalooza (City of Dreams, Pasay City) + National Museum (City of Manila) – November 18

As one of the better highlights of Turista Boy Best of 2017, me and The Other Bloggers were once again invited to this annual event for bloggers and brands in Nobu Hotel at the City of Dreams Manila. This yearly affair is attended by almost 1,000 of the Philippines’ bloggers and brands where you can start up with collaborations and building networks within the country’s blogosphere!

La Union Excursion – November 25

Last November, me and my partner explored the nearby province of La Union for our monthsary, in here, we only got to experience Halo-Halo de Iloko and the Ma-Cho Temple! I will be including these on my list on whether or not you can get to visit La Union in P 1,000!

9th SLU Lantern Parade (Baguio City) – December 1

For its 9th year, the SLU Lantern Parade is a major student and tourist drawer as it lights up the streets of Baguio every December 1. This also signifies the start of the Christmas celebration in the City. This year’s theme focused on the different CICM parishes in the country, as symbolized by the different divisions of the University.

Hive Hotel Staycation + Binondo + Quezon Memorial Circle (Quezon City and City of Manila) – December 2-3

I have had the opportunity to have an overnight staycation in Hive Hotel and Convention Place last December 2-3 and we got to experience what it is to live in a hive. This boutique hotel in Timog Avenue, Quezon City and as chic as you could imagine and is simple yet affordable. Their staff are also accommodating and very attentive to our needs.

Will be publishing my hotel review this January 2018! 🙂

Towards One Blogosphere (Baguio City) – December 9

The Other Bloggers alongside with pioneer Baguio Bloggers organized this first ever “Towards One Blogosphere” event at Sala in The Camp last December 9. Here, we gathered influencers, photographers, and bloggers from Northern Luzon and talked about current and pressing issues concerning our country. Hope we could pull a bigger event this 2018!

CLSU Lantern Festival 2017 (Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija) – December 15

For the second time, I was invited to judge again in Central Luzon State University‘s annual Lantern Festival. Here, I judged two events – their Street Dance Parades and their Comedy Duo Stand Up Comedy. Read more below and know my experience at this yearly fanfare!

My CLSU Lantern Festival Experience

Brgy. Mapait Outreach Program + Aulo Dam, Mount Mapait (Palayan City, Nueva Ecija) – December 17

As a year-ender for Wander Pinas,  we always end our adventures with a Christmas Outreach Program. This time, I joined them in giving happiness and gifts to some of the residents in Barangay Mapait. Afterwhich, we then went on to explore Mount Mapait and the Aulo Dam in Palayan as we closed this year’s book of travel!

Travel guide going to Mount Mapait soon here on Turista Boy!

Hope you got inspired by my adventures and other travel hulabaloos this year! Here’s to more travels in 2018! Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter: @turistaboy; Facebook: @turistaboyblog and Google Plus: +TuristaBoy

Happy New Year and We’re born to travel!

Share the love to other turistas! :)
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