October 2014 musings: propagating travel bugs

It’s not even 2015 yet & I have started my Visit Philippines adventure. Ticking off this entry on my bucket list: the pink beach of Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga City. Beautiful!

How much travel bugs do we need to breed? As many as possible.

Luckily, the Universe has been very generous and made the world smaller. Traveling is within reach for everyone. The question is, do you want to? Say yes!

Conniving with the Universe on the local front is the Department of Tourism. 2015 has been designated as the Visit Philippines year, and for the past months, we have been beating our drums—louder as the new near approaches—for the world to focus its gaze on us. Soon, new visitors and returning ones will be hashtagging their own It’s More Fun in the Philippines experience.

The launching of the Visit Philippines 2105 got me adding more local destinations on my travel list. In fact, I think I will concentrate my traveling around the PI next year.

Although this program targets travelers from the rest of the globe, it also encourages us, the Pinoys, to go around and not be a stranger in our own soil. There are more than 7,000 islands in this nation, how many have you gone to?

Woot! The DOT’s campaign got me excited that I made a solemn promise to devote most of my travel time in 2015 to explore the wonders of the PI, starting with my very own Mindanao. Believe it or not, I haven’t been moving much around my neighborhood (blushing & cringing in shame here).

Well, I’ll be. It’s not even 2015 yet and just a few days after the Davao launching of the Visit Philippines 2015 campaign, the Universe let me have a taste of the feast that lay ahead of me—a visit to the famous pink sand beach of the Great Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga City. Lucky me!

First step on the pink sand island of Sta. Cruz in Zamboanga City.

This bucket list entry was recently added, along with several others, when DOT-XI took me with them to this year’s Philippine Travel Mart in SM MOA. It was traveling the LUZVIMINDA in one go. Mindanao, however, was the most colorful and culturally rich of the offerings. A chat with the island’s tourism regional directors and hearing “what happening now” and “what’s coming” made me want to pack my bags and go ASAP.

DOT ASec Ar Boncato, Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Director & host MaJune Bugante, Caraga RD Letty Tan with the Davao media on the way to the pink sand beach of Sta. Cruz Island.

I didn’t have to wait long as Ms. Majune Bugante, DOT regional director of the Zamboanga Peninsula, took me to one of her region’s famed attraction. That’s a check in my bucket list.

How about a peek into our neighbor’s place? It’s a good thing that Davao hosted a BIMP-EAGA Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference. It was a chance to meet the residents of the nations next door, exchange ideas and strengthen ties.

In Davao, the city went abuzz with the recent BIMP-EAGA Trade Fair & Business Leaders’ Conference. It was nice to mingle with our neighbors.

Everyone who made it to SM Lanang a week ago must have enjoyed the shopping and culinary tour of the BIMP region in a single destination. If that was not enough, “hop to the neighbor’s place” for more, it’s just a short plane ride away.

Chocolates from Jakarta. Tamarind-Dark Choco (in the clay pot packaging) was good.

This must be the most fragrant spot in the BIMP-EAGA Trade show--the Malaysian booth filled with spices 

Here’s another month-end eye-opener: have you heard of the Pantatan Festival? It’s a festival of catfish and it’s just in Bgy. Los Amigos in Tugbok. It’s on its 10th year and I just heard of it now.  I had fun and I got to eat pantatan (aka hito) in its different cooking preparation.  

Did you know there is a Pantatan Festival in Tugbuk? It’s on it’s 10th year, believe it or not.

James Blanco of the City Tourism Office mud wrestling a pantatan aka catfish. The biggest & heaviest catch got to win.

Here’s my wish to all: may the travel bug bite you. Go near or far and hashtag your adventure photos away on social media!


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