Turista Boy’s Best of 2022
2022 is a year full of surprises for me and this year brought me to extremes that I never imagined to have done in this year. From visiting over 17 provinces (12 old, 5 new provinces) this year for my personal quest for #Project82, I can say that there is really more than just traveling – it is an adventure that I took to know more about myself and more about life. Traveling to the different parts of the Philippines opened my eyes to more stories that made my heart full and my experience bank richer. Although this year has also its fair share of ups and downs, experience is still the best teacher. Here are some of the highlights of my year going to places! Read along!
Turista Boy’s Best of 2022
New Year Sunrise at Mines View Park (Baguio City)
Welcoming in 2022 is better fitting when you greet its first sunrise in Mines View Park. Luckily enough, I just live near the famed park and I got to see the first sunrise for the year. I also had a good cup of taho (soya bean curd) after witnessing the sunrise.
- Camp Ragsak
Read also: Camp Ragsak: Finding happiness in the Woods
To kick things off for 2022, me and a good friend, kuya Mike started the year by camping in Camp Ragsak. This off-the-beaten-path camp is one of the newest attractions in Baguio City and is strategically situated between the City and the municipality of La Trinidad. You can enjoy a complete glamping experience in Camp Ragsak with their warm bonfires and serviced tents. You also get to see a generous view of La Trinidad Valley on one side. Oh, and haven’t I said that you can see the sunrise and the sunset in one setting, too?
- Valleypoint Campsite
One of the most popular campsites in Tuba, Benguet, Valleypoint Campsite is a place that should not be missed. With its well-appointed accommodation types (tents or rooms), you also get to see a 180-degree view of Tuba and the Badiwan Viaduct below. This spot is also perfect for sunsets.
- Red Door Campsite
If you want some peace and quiet, Red Door Campsite in Barangay Bakakeng is for you. Nestled in one of the quietest neighborhoods in the city, Red Door Campsite is a perfect hideaway for family or friends who just want to escape the city’s hustle-and-bustle. You can also enjoy conversations over a warm bonfire, or watch a movie or two from their selections! This is also where Cafe Kafagway is located!
Colibra Island, Cabongaoan Beach, and Death Pool (Dasol and Burgos, Pangasinan)
This is my first out-of-town trip in 2022 and Colibra Island in Dasol has delivered. This unique, naked island is one of the most popular destinations in the municipality. After that, we headed to a same-level destination, Cabongaoan Beach and Death Pool in Burgos. During low tide, you get to experience the vast shores of Cabongaoan and see the tidal pools created by the sea in its “Death Pool.”
Mount 387 and Aloha Falls (Carranglan, Nueva Ecija); Tayug Eco-Park (Tayug, Pangasinan)
Read also: Mount 387 and Aloha Falls Travel Guide
143 from Mount 387! This popular mountain in Carranglan is becoming one of the major hotspots in the province of Nueva Ecija. Its name is derived from the total land area it covers and the exit point of the trail is the simple Aloha Falls. We then enjoyed a hearty boodle fight meal after the hike and visited the Tayug Sunflower Farm in Pangasinan a few hours after.
Visiting the Province of Aurora once again is a little bit nostalgic for me. But now, heading a little south of its capital town, Dingalan is also a paradise on its own. Dubbed as the “Batanes of the East,” Dingalan has so much to offer in terms of nature-seeking and adventure. I got to see its interesting rock formations, its underground river, its lighthouse, and its view deck, among others. We also again enjoyed a sumptuous boodle fight buffet after all the activities in the municipality.
The Rocky Valley Restaurant (Baguio City)
Read also: The Rocky Valley – More than meets the eye
The Rocky Valley Restaurant in Barangay Sto. Tomas Proper is one of the more interesting restaurants I have been to. Being a former Korean School, they have converted the property into a hotel and lodge facility with a good view of nearby Loakan Barangay and the Loakan Airstrip. Not to mention, they serve some of the best Western food you can imagine (and a wide space for events and gatherings!)
Swissotel Clark (Pampanga)
Finally, I got to have a taste of Swiss Hospitality right in the heart of Clark, Pampanga. Swissotel is one of the newest 5-star hotels in the area and offers everything not short of perfect. I have toured around its different amenities and facilities and I also got the chance to tour its neighbors – the Clark Marriott Hotel, Widus Hotel and Casino, and Hann Casino Resort. This interconnected complex features a wide array of entertainment – from casinos, pools, and bars. This is a mini-city of its own!
Pampanga and Tarlac Excursion
When one of our colleagues got married in Pampanga, me and my other officemates also grabbed the chance to tour around the City of Angeles and the Municipality of Capas, Tarlac. From here, we got to visit the Holy Rosary Parish Church, Museo Ning Angeles, Susie’s Delicacies, Aling Lucing’s Sisig (the hometown of the original sisig recipe), and the Goshen Resort and Capas National Shrine. This is one of the most memorable excursions for me as I got to spend time with my colleagues outside of work! Talk about work-life-balance. 🙂
Panagbenga 2022 (Baguio City)
Read also: Panagbenga 2022 Schedule of Activities
After a two-year hiatus of the annual Baguio Flower Festival because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the staging of Panagbenga 2022 has finally come to fruition. Though downscaled from the traditional activities and sans the grand street parade and floral float parade, some community-led and popular activities were pushed through aiming to boost the city’s tourism and encourage tourists from every part of the Philippines (and the world) to experience Panagbenga firsthand. The reopening of the Baguio Botanical Garden was also the precursor to this event.
Siargao Island (Surigao del Norte)
This is the first time I celebrated my birthday in Mindanao! And what fitting destination to celebrate my 30th birthday is the island of Siargao! This island consists of 8 municipalities and is part of the province of Surigao del Norte. We did Island hopping and island tours during our short-but-sweet stay. I even had a personalized buffet table when we arrived in Daku Island for our late lunch! Thanks to kuya Noy Cartatibo, our tours were enjoyable and hassle free! (Plus their human drone expertise!)
Nagsasa Cove (San Antonio, Zambales)
Read also: Nagsasa Cove – Zambales’ Quiet Escape
After a short trip to Mindanao, I was immediately whisked away to the quiet town of San Antonio, Zambales – in Nagsasa Cove. This popular beach destination in Zambales is one of the most sought after spots in San Antonio because of its pristine environment and good views from its view deck (overlooking the cove). Me and my colleagues spent a night in the cove, sort of a teambuilding activity, in order to break the monotony of the pressures of our jobs.
1000-Peso Challenge – Manila
The million-dollar question alway is “Saan aabot ang 1000 pesos mo?” With this, I have made it a point to include this 1000-peso challenge segment in my blog to tell you, my readers, that we can still enjoy some parts of the Philippines on a 1000-Peso budget. With this, I have explored several cities in and around the National Capital Region and tested if my 1000 pesos budget would fit the price tag. I will be publishing the challenge in the coming weeks so you can have an idea on where to go and what to do with a 1000-Peso budget.
As I enjoyed summer this year, I have also been to one of Pangasinan’s top summer destinations – Bolinao. This calm municipality right at the western tip of the province is a silent paradise. From white sand shores, natural sites, and to historical sites, this place is a surprise for me. We have visited the Bolinao Lighthouse, Camp Puor (a must-visit!), Bolinao Falls 1, 2, and 3, Sungayan Grill and Floating Restaurant (it reminded me so much of Bohol’s Loboc River Cruise!), and their Enchanted Cave (with lots of surprises, too!) This place is a must-visit if you want to experience a perfect mix of history and the contemporary all in one place.
Alibijaban Island (San Andres, Quezon) + Burias Group of Islands (San Pascual, Masbate)
Read also: Alibijaban Island Travel Guide
Right at the southern tip of Quezon Province lies an island that is waiting to be discovered more. Alibijaban Island is one of the province’s treasures as it is also a sanctuary for mangroves and white sand shores. This island barangay is a simple paradise that is becoming a popular destination in San Andres, Quezon. I was also in awe when there was so much to do in the island – one of which is visiting its neighboring islands in San Pascual, Masbate, namely: Animasola, Tinalisayan, and Sombrero Islands. These islands have there own stories to tell and each island has a unique feature I surely will not forget. (Don’t miss to eat some snacks in Animasola and Sombrero Islands, too!)
Badi Falls (Kapangan, Benguet)
Read also: Badi Falls – Kapangan’s Beautiful Escape
This hidden paradise in Kapangan is, I can say, one of Benguet’s well kept secrets. Now that it is not a secret, Badi Falls is a wonder cascading from the cliff-cut mountains and its water is a powerful force to be reckoned. the long and dreadful 2-hour hike to the falls is cumbersome, but I tell it is worth every second. You just need to ready yourself physically for the hike challenge.
Bantayan Island, Cebu
Cebu is one of my most favorite provinces in the Philippines, not to mention, having a direct flight to and from Baguio would make it easy for me to easily visit the Queen City of the South. But more to its usual grandeur, Cebu Province also boasts several natural attractions that are at par with international headliners. One of these attractions is Bantayan Island in northern Cebu. Just a 4-hour ride away from the heart of the province, this island also has a thing or two to tell you. This island has also been the site of a popular Filipino movie, that is why this place rose to fame instantly because of its “Camp Sawi.” This island is also famous for its white sand beachfronts and more peaceful and laidback setting. (And I will definitely come back here for a sky dive experience!)
Badian Canyoneering (Badian, Cebu)
Read also: Badian Canyoneering Adventure
Your Cebu experience will not be complete if you have not tried jumping in the canyons of Badian. This half-day canyoneering experience will raise your adrenaline levels in ways you could never imagine. As someone who is somewhat fearful of heights, this is a nice thing to do to overcome your fear. It is just all about the jumping and going to high cliffs that made me a coward for a moment. Hahaha!
Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Going back to my 30th province and to the “City of Gentle People,” Dumaguete, Negros Oriental never loses its charm when welcoming guests from anywhere. Its warm and humid air makes it a good place for the city as its people also welcome you with warm smiles. This is also the home to one of the most prominent universities in the Philippines – Silliman University. After rediscovering the wonders of Dumaguete, we also got to explore the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park, the Sulfur Vents, Pulangbato Falls, and the famed Manjuyod Sandbar (dubbed as the Maldives of the Philippines).
As a came back to my 31st province, the mystical island of Siquijor is one that should be included in your travel bucket list – ASAP! This island province is one of the smallest in the Philippines that is why you can explore the island in more or less than 1 day. The main highlight in this island province is its Cambugahay Falls where you can jump off from swings in this multi-tiered beauty. You may also want to visit the Enchanted Balete Tree and buy witchcraft items which the province is also known for. Might as well visit Salagdoong Beach, Lazi Church and Old Convent, and the Siquijor Boulevard at night.
RNG Interview (Baguio City)
Fortunately this year, TuristaBoy.com has been a constant placer in the Top 100 Blogs to Follow in the Philippines By Feedspot. With this, I had the chance to be interviewed by RNG Northern Luzon and ask me about my journey as a travel blogger. This has been one of my highlights for the year as I have lobbied my advocacy of sustainable and budget travel to a wider scale and platform (and I! Thank you!)
Amare Restaurant Treat (Baguio City)
Who would not be mistaken not to eat a Neapolitan-style Pizza when visiting Baguio City? Amare La Cucina will always get you covered fam! I was lucky enough to be invited by Sir Edmark Bustos to try their signature dishes and he made me try, and I got first dibs, of their 24-Karat Collection! I got to try their 24-karat Hot Chocolate and 24-karat Steak. They also offer their 24-karat pizza (a must-try)!
Kaparkan Falls (Tineg, Abra)
Read also: Kaparkan Falls – Abra’s Hideaway Gem
One of the wonders of Abra province is the hideaway destination that is Kaparkan Falls. This natural beauty cascades its away down to the mighty Abra River. This unique waterfall system is one of the most popular tourist spots in Abra. I do not mind its 2-hour monster truck ride if what will welcome you is this natural wonder.
Baguio Day Run
One of my personal achievements this 2022 is to run for 12 Kilometers straight in celebration of the 113th Charter Day of Baguio City. The Baguio City Foundation Marathon is one of the major events last September 2022 and I was fortunate enough to participate in this event.
Surigao City (Surigao del Norte)
Going back to my 38th province, the province of Surigao del Norte is also dubbed as the “City of Island Adventures.” True enough because of its numerous islands including the famous island of Siargao, the province is an adventure on its own. In Surigao City alone, you can get to anywhere in Mindanao as it is one of the major gateways in the island group. This is also the entry point if you want to go to the province of Dinagat Islands.
One of the less visited provinces in Mindanao, the province of Dinagat Islands is a definite surprise for me. This province is formerly part of Surigao del Norte until it became an independent province. With its numerous beaches and coves, this province should be visited by anyone who seeks solace. It is a very laid-back place and its nature-cladded environs are a must-see!
Butuan, Agusan del Norte
This is also the month where I visited my 41st province, the province of Agusan del Norte! Visiting its capital Butuan City, the province oozes with a perfect mix of tradition and modernity. From historical sites to the famous Balangay Boat, this province whispers that they offer more!
Bislig and Hinatuan (Surigao del Sur)
Visiting my 42nd province of Surigao del Sur is one of the farthest I have been to this 2022. In this trip, we have visited two of the most popular sites in the area: Tinuy-an Falls (in Bislig City) and the Enchanted River (in Hinatuan). These sites are some of Mindanao’s best and must be visited whenever going to Surigao del Sur.
Blogapalooza Travel Influencer of the Year
October 2022 has been the month I am that my happiest. This is the month where I get to receive my first ever award as a travel blogger and as a content creator, huge thank to my BlogaFam in Blogapalooza. I was voted as the Best Travel Influencer for the Year besting two other bets for the category! More awards to come this 2023!
Ibagiw Creative Crawl (Baguio City)
Read also: My Ibagiw Creative Festival 2022 Experience
With the 5th staging of the Ibagiw Creative Festival, this edition of the Creative Crawl is one for the books! I was lucky enough to be included in its first batch of influencers to experience the Creative Crawl featuring some of the popular art and culture tourist spots in Baguio City.
Cebu Layover (Cebu)
Read also: Things to do in Cebu (during a layover)
Being one of the most popular layover destinations in the Visayas, Cebu Province is a major hub that is known for connecting Visayas to other parts of the Philippines at ease! Having a layover in Cebu can be as productive because you can visit a number of tourist spots while waiting for your connecting flight! (Read on the link above to find out what tourist spots you can visit – with a suggested itinerary!)
Mount Apo (via Sta. Cruz, Digos City, Davao del Sur)
November 2022 is one of the most memorable months for me because I have successfully summited the three peaks of the highest mountain in the Philippines – Mount Apo! At 10,311 feet above sea level, this is my biggest challenge to date and I still cannot believe that I climbed the roof of the Philippines. This is only my second major climb since my ascent to Mount Pulag in 2015.
Tuguegarao City, Cagayan
Now where my Pancit Batil-Patong at? As I visited my 43rd province in my personal quest for #Project82, Cagayan Province is a bustling province with so much more than meets the eye. Known for its warm climate all year-round, Cagayan and its Capital, Tuguegarao City is a metropolis of many sorts. Will blog more about the province in the coming days!
Since Decembers are usually always busy, here are some of the highlights of my December!
Christmas Tree Lighting and 14th SLU Lantern Parade (Baguio City)
Read also: My SLU Lantern Parade 2022 Experience
To usher in the Christmas Season in Baguio City, the annual lighting of the City Christmas Tree followed by the SLU Lantern Parade is one of the main highlights during December. Held every December 1st, this event welcomes all to celebrate the yuletide season in the City of Pines and enjoy its cool climate.
Farm Ridge by Desmond Farm (Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija)
Read also: Exploring Farm Ridge in Nueva Ecija
Traveling to Farm Ridge in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija is one of the last events for me this 2022. This popular farm site is one of the must-see attractions in Pantabangan. You get to see a generous view of the Pantabangan Lake from afar while enjoying the most of what nature has to offer. Farm Ridge also showcases a Cacao Farm and Falls and Dam Tour! This is a must-try when visiting the province!
Content Creator Awards (Taguig City)
To cap the awarding season this 2022, I have received my second award for the year being the Best User of Short-Form Videos by Vloggers Philippines, co-presented by Canon Philippines. This award is one of a surprise because I am still exploring the world of vlogging and using short-form videos! Hope I can cinch another award of this sort next year!
Clark International Airport Tour (Pampanga)
Read also: My Clark International Airport Experience
As one of my last events for 2022, my Clark International Airport in Pampanga is a new sight to see. This new terminal building is an additional to international airports in the Philippines with the aim of welcoming more visitors in the country. The experience is unique as it is also my first time to tour an airport without flying! Check on my blog above for more information!
Here’s to a bigger, better, and brighter New year for 2023! Wishing us all love and light!
We’re born to travel!