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In many of my travels in the Island of Negros, I have passed by Escalante several times but I never had an opportunity to wander around this humble city until recently. It was short yet full of amazing experience under June’s blazing sun with the hint of salty breeze from the Tañon Strait.

Bounded by Sagay City on the north and west, and the town of Toboso on the south, Escalante was established as a city on February 28, 2001. Still a very young metropolis, this up and coming town is not just sugar canes and seafood as there are so much about Escalante City than meets the eye.

So here are the 10 reasons why I love Escalante City.

 

1. Meeting the locals.

The most favorite part of any trip is meeting the locals. It is through them that you get to experience the authenticity of the place. From the city’s famous cuisine down to the local’s secret spot, these and more are just one of the perks of having a local as a tour guide.

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Escalantehanons are divided into two, people who speak Cebuano and those that have Hiligaynon as their native tongue. Like any Spanish inspired town names, the women from this part of the island is called Escalantinas and the men are called Escalantinos. They are the proud settlers of Escalante who will treat you like family whenever you found yourself in the shoreline of their beaches or in the busy streets of their poblacion.

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2. Sunset in Pamaauan Island.

The highlight of my trip is soaking my tired feet in the soothing waters of Pamaauan Island as I watch the sun go down in the horizon. This fine stretch of soft white sand paradise is like a quiet sanctuary in the middle of the ocean. Anchoring here will strip you from all the worries of the outside world; deadlines, spreadsheets, heartaches, debts, your next Instagram post, and whatnots. Just getting lost in the moment spent in this small piece of paradise.

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Walking on its bare 500 meters of white sand makes me ponder about this place. Nature is truly an underappreciated artist who molded this very island to make wanderlusters like me marvel in this timeless piece of canvas. The cocktail colored hues of the sunset make this place dreamy that one can make all the “hugots” in the world worth posting on Facebook.

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How to get there: Rent a boat from Escalante’s Tourism Office.

 

3. Sand Bar in Jomabo Island.

Long and curvy sandbar, giant water pots to collect rain water, and turquoise clear water. If you are not sold to come and dip your weary bones on this island’s warm and salty retreat—then I don’t know what else to say.

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A mere 30-minute boat ride away from the main poblacion, Jomabo Island is the town’s

only island that offers all the facilities of a modern resort. Guests have an option to stay overnight, camp, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing or just spend the day with friends and family. Camping here is such a delight for those who loves the outdoor and sleeping under the million stars.

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How to get there: Rent the boat from Barangay Barcelona, or Barangay Old Poblacion.

 

4. Traditional Native Crafts

There is something about handcrafted goods and how each design tells you a story. Each intricate creation mirrors the artist’s soul as it becomes one with the material. There’s no shortage of artisans in this part of Negros as most locals are still engaging in traditional native crafts. You can witness these and more in Barangay Rizal where the locals take pride of their crafts that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

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From age-old basket and mat weaving, this coastal part of the city thrives in their crafts while the rest are fishing or working in the sugar plantation. My only hope is that these artisans will never get tired of making all-Filipino designs amid the plastic generation and modernization.

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How to get there: Rent a tricycle in the city center to drive you around Barangay Rizal.

P.S. And please, help them by buying their products. Support local crafts and small enterprises.

 

5. Wondering/Wandering in the Ruins

Running my fingers against its ragged walls leaves me in awe at how the old ruins of Saint Francis Church captured the feel of old Escalante. Built in 1856, the structure has witnessed the rise of Escalante and its people from the Spanish to American regime until the present day. Certainly, the ruins stood the test of time as it represents the indomitable spirit of its parishioners. 

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Other than being a site of culture and history, this place stood witness to Escalantihanons who have celebrated their love for each other and vowed that only death can separate them. A fortress that kept them safe when the tides of life came rushing down. A sanctuary for most people where they can share their deepest thoughts, wildest dreams, and to give thanks for their blessings. And if those walls and pillars could talk, it will tell you the generations of Escalantihanons who braved the unknown just to make this city what it is today.

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6. Forest Bathing

Nature has its way of healing the body and soulforest bathing is one way of getting your physical strength back while you take a leisurely walk in the company of old trees. Holy Rosary Garden is the perfect retreat for pilgrims as they do their way of the cross, or strolling while praying the rosary.

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While bathing in the ancient forest, make your soul ease as the smell of Ylang Ylang brings this holy place to a whole new spiritual level. As you delve deeper into the forest, you will find a chapel that the locals help built, and where visitors lay down their prayers and thanksgiving.

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How to get there: Hire a tricycle to get to Ave Maria Garden and Holy Rosary Garden.

 

7. River Trekking

Overlooking the highest peak of Escalante, the River Mazano is one of Barangay Paitan’s hidden gems. The road going to the river is already an adventure aboard the 4×4 jeepney of Captain Richard Pios. We started the river trek at the peak of the afternoon with the sun on our backs and water on our feet. The Manzano river spans from Danao River to Barangay Binaguiohan, before emptying into Tanon Strait. 

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Jumping from rock to rock over the flowing stream of water brings me back to my childhood–innocent, buoyant, and wild. It’s one of those days when the weather is too beautiful to be ignored and your heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. The local government has big plans for this river but I can only hope that whatever modernization will be happening in this place—its wildness and innocence will be preserved.

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8. Breezy Hike to Mount Solitaire/Mount Lunay.

Derived from the name of the shell that comes with a bitter taste, Barangay Paitan is the jump off point to Mount Solitaire, or better known as Mount Lunay. The trek to the summit was such a delight due to its well-paved trail and the view on the summit is simply breathtaking.

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Standing proudly at 308 feet above sea level, Mount Lunay overlooks the whole city of Escalante. With the view of the river on top of its peak, the hike will take you to the summit that gives you a 360 degree view of the whole city. A gigantic metal cross above its peak signifies the strong religious belief of the city as it serves as the guiding force for the locals.

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9. Sunrise in Bonista Cliff

White sand beach, wide open spaces, gorgeous garden, and a hill overlooking the ocean with the view of the sun rising in the west. These are just a few things you can expect when you find yourself being blown by the wind in Bonista Resort.

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But among the sights of Bonista Resort, nothing beats witnessing the sun on its morning glory after a starry night. Camping is also allowed in the vicinity as guests can be rewarded with the view of the milky way in a cloudless night. They can spend all day frolicking in the beaach, and have chillaxing night in the pool.

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10. Chill lifestyle in the countryside.

A city with a chill lifestyle, Escalante doesn’t disappoint when it comes to their rich resources. The coastal barangays are well taken care of thanks to the ocean’s overflowing kindness, while the upland barangays are surrounded by sugarcane plantation and various crops.

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The lifestyle here is not as flamboyant as the nearby cities, but I can see from its people the contentment and happiness of the simple life. They are beaming with pride to what this humble city has achieved and are looking forward to what Escalante can become.

How to get there: From Bacolod, take the bus from the North Terminal.

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Romancing the Nipple Peak

I don’t really see myself as a mountaineer, but lately I have this impalpable thirst for nature that needed to be quenched. Mountain climbing has never been a sport of mine nor do I like straining myself just to get to the top. I don’t know what got into me, but once in a while, I longed to be in commune with nature and seek refuge in the mountains. It is indeed true that once you started conquering greater heights you will always go back and push yourself to your limits to conquer some more. And this amazes me every time I do things like this. Call it a hiker’s itch and this time I’m starting to feel it.

So to quench this thirst I packed my things and joined the group of Talahib and Higher Grounds of Iloilo for the 3rd Mt. Napulak National Friendship Climb. For three consecutive years, the group has been hosting this climb in order to showcase the beauty of Napulak and to let other climbers experience Dinagyang. This is the perfect to time to visit Iloilo for those who are coming from other parts of the country and climbing this mountain is just a huge bonus. I was thinking that this could be an interesting climb because I’ll be meeting new faces from all over the country who shares the same passion as mine.

The climb’s itinerary consists of a 2 day-2 night trek. The first night is to camp in Igbaras since we are accommodating people from Luzon who are taking the last flight from Manila. The next day is the start of the trek and camp at the peak for our second night. The last day is to traverse down to Nadsadjan falls and go straight to Iloilo for our socials. It is a perfect time to get into the beat of Dinagyang.

We gathered in Molo Plaza right in front of the famous 1831 gothic architecture, the St. Anne Church. At 10pm everybody was all geared up and we started to head to Igbaras, the home of Mt. Napulak. After more than an hour of travelling, we arrived in Barangay Curucuan and logged our names for the municipal record. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by its barangay officials headed by its captain and a few armed men who are on duty at that time. We were the first group that made this barangay our first pit stop. After our courtesy call we fixed out tent for the night and tried to get some sleep for the long ascend the next day.

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During the first day of our climb, we started with a big breakfast. Oh yes, I have to forget about my diet and start filling my belly with lots of carbo. So carbocide it is! For breakfast I had scrambled eggs, sausage, adobo, and rice. Not bad right??? Most of my friends who had been to Napulak were telling me that this climb would not be an easy one. It may not be the highest mountain but it would give you a lot of challenge. So with that in mind, the whole group offered a short prayer which was led by Mitch, a fellow climber from Baguio. While she was saying the prayer in Ilocano I manage to have a short prayer in mind and offered this climb to Him.

Jay Plantinos, the climb organizer gave us the last pep talk and instructed us to prepare for the extreme heat. I was quite concerned with this because most of my climbs are all tree lines and thick vegetation while Napulak is a bald mountain. But oh well, bring it on then! After that we gathered around for our first group picture as we introduced ourselves to the whole group. We were 33 climbers in total; 4 from Manila, 4 from Bagiuo, 1 from Cagayan, 2 from Sultan Kudarat, 1 from

Koronadal and the rest are from Iloilo. Armed with my 30 SPH sunblock and 2 liters of water I tied my shoelaces and embarked on my journey to the picturesque peak of Mount Napulak.

Me together with some newly found friends volunteered for the lead pack so we could start putting trails signs for the rest of the group. We passed by dirt roads and two barangays before we diverge from the beaten path and the evidence of the past two nights rain are still there. The real work begins when we reached the foot of the mountain. The zigzag open trail leading us to the peak was quite exhausting, I was blaming myself for stuffing a lot of things in my bag and the heat was starting to get to me. I have to constantly rehydrate myself and always the first one to say “take 5 please” because I was already running out of breath. Taking breaks were always the best part of the climb because this is the time when everybody gets to know everybody. This was the part where everyone shared what they have, especially stories of their past climbs or what just happened a few minutes back. But the best part about this break and this climb was that I can eat chocolates without feeling guilty about it. Sometimes the 5 minute break will lead to a 10 when stories are getting juicier and the sun was getting hotter.

Thankfully we arrived at the tree line before noon just in time for lunch. Each of us was busy looking for the perfect spot where we could rest for a while and cook our lunch. But before we could even enjoy our meal, the rain started to fall and so we managed to cramp ourselves underneath the little plastic just to keep us warm. But despite the rain everyone was too busy filling up their water containers for this would be the last water source en route to the peak. The next water source was on our way down from peak so we have no choice but to jam our bag with water. Fortunately the rain stopped before I had my dessert and then the cold wind started to blow. I was secretly praying for the rain so I don’t have to endure the scourging heat of the sun. But Mother Nature has a better plan, she just covered the sun with clouds so I could enjoy the view of the mountain range without the risk of getting a heat stroke.

We left the last water source with a heavy load on our shoulder and the climb was getting harder as we approached the final assault towards the peak of the mountain. A wide open field right before the final assault greeted us and the view was simply breathtaking. The group called this area the “bakahan” since this was the grazing area of cows. I even noticed some fences to prevent the cows from wandering around. So for a few minutes we laid down our heavy bags and went for a photo shoot. Of course the jump shot was always there and we had the clear cumulus clouds and green grass as our background.

The cogon grass covered trail was an absolute challenge and not to mention that one wrong step will lead you to the ridge. The grass was even taller than me so instead of enjoying the view I focused myself on the trail. A friend of mine warned me about this and while I was busy clearing my view of the trail I can’t help by asked myself “Riza, what did you get yourself into”? I just smiled to myself and said “You’ll see it when you get there.” And after 2 hours of fighting for my space in the cogon-filled trail the famous nipple peak greeted me by surprise just in time for the gorgeous sunset.

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I was in a total awe of the multi-coloured horizon that I can’t help but to put on my earphones and started listening to Jack Johnson’s Constellation. With this soundtrack I savoured my first sunset of the year. A sense of pride filled over me and I did conquer another mountain. I watched the sunset until

its last ray of sunshine as if bidding farewell to another day. A one last sunset picture immortalized that moment as the whole group pitched their tent. Cold winds were starting to blow that some of us retreated to their tents while others were busy cooking for dinner.

After our sumptuous meal, thanks to our talented cook Charmie, we gathered around for socials while others called the night. We opened two bottles of tequila just to warm us up while we shared stories of our mountain adventures. Most people in my group have known each other for the longest time but even then I didn’t feel much of an outsider. The group’s warm hospitality was top notched but their sense of humor was way better. I went to sleep with a smile on my face as I can’t wait to see the sunrise right on top of the peak. I thought I would dose off immediately but the cold and whizzing wind was just too much for me. I have to put on almost every clothes I brought just to keep me warm and then I blacked out. The last thing I remember was checking my phone for messages.

The sound of the wind woke me up the next day. I was afraid that my tent would be blown away and when I checked the time it was almost 7 and man I missed the sunrise. But oh well it was still a good day and so I geared up to climb the rock peak. But climbing it is no joke, rock climbing is one of my worst nightmare and I almost went back to pass up the opportunity of romancing the nipple peak. But one of the goals of this climb is to conquer my fear, so I put on my “rock on” (CHANGE) face and started climbing the sharp rock edge. Making my way up is not a walk in the park, I have to leave my shoes at the bottom so I could get to the top.

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The view from the peak was magnificently orgasmic. Pardon me for my choice of words but the view was indescribable and since I was at the peak of the nipple the word “orgasmic” was just appropriate. Being there feels like I’m walking on clouds. The only thing that distracted the perfect view was the metal cross built on top of it. I respect what the cross symbolizes but it doesn’t have to be right on top of it. But oh well, this is just me. According to our guide some peaks were also visible during cloud-free days like the famous Mt. Kanlaon in Negros and the wicked mountain of Madia-as in Antique. After taking loads of pictures we decided to go down. If going up was tricky, going down was way trickier and I needed to get some help to manoeuvre myself from the sharp edges of the rock. After almost 15 minutes of making my way from the peak I reached the ground scratch-free.

We arrived just in time for breakfast and after we ate, we packed our bags again and started our descent. But this climb won’t be complete without a group picture at the peak, and so after taking a few shots we started a journey to Nansadjan falls. Going down was not always my favourite part, so I stayed behind and went with the last group of people. And so my nightmare begins when I saw the dry and loose trail. With the sun’s excruciating heat and water was scarce I can only hope for the best. I forgot how many times that I almost landed on my butt and many times I was holding for my breath as I slip down along the trail. Good thing I stayed in the last group so not everyone could see how I gasped for air while others were just gliding their way down.

Out next pit stop was lunch in the house of contacted by the organizer wherein we indulged ourselves with native chicken soup. The lunch was a perfect reward and it was all worth it. After the meal we continued our hike down to Nadsadjan Falls where the cold water awaits us where everyone was so excited to take the plunge.

After an hour of picture taking and we headed back to the city for the socials. We arrived in Barbeque Park around 8pm just in time for dinner. I never enjoyed a chicken barbeque just as much as I enjoyed it after Napulak.

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The awarding ceremony started right after dinner and everyone were ecstatic to get their T-shirt and certificate. Others were busy reminiscing their experiences while some were yawning and just can’t wait to go to bed. As I scanned the room, I noticed that everyone was wearing a smile on their faces, a smile of pride and relief that everyone made it safe and we live to tell our tales.

Warning: This climb/expedition is not for the faint hearted.

To kick off this year’s mountaineering adventure I got myself ready to conquer Mount Nangtud. I literally conditioned my mind and not my body since I just heard about this climb just a couple of weeks ago and getting in shape was already too late. Armed with my guts and some experience, I packed my bags and headed south to Antique. I knew that this hike is nothing but easy since I’ve been warned many times by people who have had experienced the wrath of this mountain. Mount Nangtud has a reputation of being one of the most treacherous mountains in Panay, if not in the Philippines.

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Together with 18 climbers we started our Mount Nangtud adventure with a feast and so everybody were in high spirits. We logged in to the town’s police station and had a courtesy call to the mayor in which she talked about her plans of making Mount Nangtud as one of the tourist attractions in Barbaza. With that said, she informed us about the sightings of Rafflesia at the said mountain.

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March 28, 2012 is when we embarked on a journey that turned into an extreme expedition. The original plan is to use the river trail and backtrack our way back, but due to the changes in the weather we ended up taking the high road. But mind you, this is no ordinary trail; this is where water is scarce with an open invitation to sunburn and heatstroke. We passed by ridges that seems to be impossible to pass, going through various summits we thought unconquerable, cliffs that were way beyond our expectations and trails that we almost thought that we were lost. Well, there is one time that we actually got lost and had to make our own trail where we had to be extra fast to avoid the falling rocks. Yep, you read it right falling rocks are no exception in this climb.

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As the sun rose to its midday glory, we are slowly feeling the toll of waking up at the break of dawn and the diminishing supply of water. But after hours of feeling the drought, we found some water that is good enough to take us to our next pit stop. Man, I can still remember when I was trying to eat some crackers and finding it hard to swallow since my mouth was all dried up. I don’ t want to go back to that 2 hours of extreme thirst and heat. And boy, oh boy the first drop of water feels like heaven. The occasional rain showers made the heat bearable and I could not be happier when I heard our guide saying that the next camp is only a few minutes hike.

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And finally, after 12 gruelling hours of hiking up and down we found our camp for the night. We were the last group to arrived and so I was thankful to find that Shiela already fixed our tent and I can’t wait to get out of my wet clothes. At this time I was already shivering from cold and I just wanted to collapse in a soft comfortable bed. Oh well, it was just me having a wishful thinking. By 7pm we were already enjoying our dinner and by 8pm I was lost in deep slumber.

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The next day, wake up call was at 4 am and everyone were busy fixing their tent as we had to move on to the next phase of the climb, and this time its the summit. The plan was to get to “rachohan” as early as possible, leave our bags there and head to the summit and back before sunset. The hike getting to our next camp is absolutely picturesque but fraught with danger. Imagine walking in a ridge at 8 in the morning while the sun is shining with clear blue sky but one misstep will lead you to a vast of nothingness. Aahh.. but with this kind of view, you know that whatever you’ve been through to get to this point was all worth it. Arriving at “”rachohan” at around 10 in the morning, all of us were busy cooking lunch and getting ready to hike up to the summit. During this time I was contemplating on staying behind since I knew that I couldn’t make it up to the summit and back without slowing down the whole group. The trek will take around 6 hours and its not going to be a walk in the park.

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By 12 noon a group of 9 climbers started their way up to the summit and the rest of us who were left started to prepare our food. After 6 hours the group went back shivering, complaining about the hike and were so hungry they ate almost everything. The bad news was they haven’t even reached the actual summit but the EBJ summit instead. Hats off to these 9 climbers who brave the cold brought about by the foul weather while going through the unforgiving trail. Not to mention the blood sucking leeches that crippled them along the way.

After dinner we retreated to our tents and the thought of going all the way down the next day scares me. This is in fact the first time that a group of climbers will traverse Mount Nangtud. Tomorrow is a brand new day that poses another challenge for each of us to face. Our guide started waking us all up at 4am to have an early descent. By 6am we are on our way up again, passed by the same ridge and then our nightmare begins.

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The ridge trail was getting narrower and more technical as we went down. “Talahib” covered paths are almost everywhere which makes it even more difficult. Thanks to the rain last night, the moist soil and wet leaves makes a very slippery descent. But besides all that we were treated by a postcard-like view as we reached the final summit. We were blessed with a good weather because the heat was way bearable than before. As we reached the river bend we were greeted by the rushing water that crossing the majestic Libacao River is almost impossible. This site brings back a lot of memories when we were trying to cross the river in Mount Baloy. With His guidance we survived the river crossing and reached our destination, but not without difficulty and some bruises and scratches left in our body. We effin did it after 12 hours of ridge walking, ass sliding, cliff hanging and river crossing. I can’t say that we indeed conquered the mighty Nangtud but after everything that we’ve been through I can truly say that we’ve done enough.

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The thought of giving up played in my mind but it was immediately replaced with the sense of accomplishment each time I reach every camp. The best of part of it all was the bonding times shared with fellow climbers. In the real world all 19 of us were just acquaintances and some were even strangers but each climb we are slowly cementing our friendship. A friendship built in high altitude. Only in higher grounds that we see each other us equals, no one is above anyone and that’s what made each climb as meaningful as the other.

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To all my fellow climbers thank you for the opportunity to climb along side with you. To the guides and porters, our deepest gratitude. And most of all, I thank Him for giving us the chance to experience the beauty and grandeur of His creation and letting us live to tell our story.

–      Summer Solstice

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The smell of the fresh ocean air at dawn while aboard the Black Pearl at Halong Bay… Meditating on the vastness of the open sky while listening to Jack Johnson’s classics as I waited for the perfect swell of the Pacific… Swim with the whale shark and snorkel the turquoise water of the Philippine seas… Gaze on the cosmic horizon and walk in the clouds on the rooftop of Southeast Asia… Marvel on the beauty of the sunset, star gaze on a moonless night, and enjoy a glass of Mojito while sharing a comfortable silence with a stranger… These are just some of the few things that fuel my wandering soul. So the million dollar question is, ladies and gentlemen, why I travel alone?

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I travel alone because I’m in search for my true calling. Travelling has always been a passion of mine. It gives me a sense of fulfilment every time I set foot to the unknown or does things I thought were impossible but ended up having the time of my life while doing it. It makes me realize things that matter the most and things that didn’t at all. Makes me value things even more: like a roof on my head and a soft bed at night, showing kindness to a stranger because you’ll never know when you’re gonna need a good karma. How a warm smile can be a start of a lasting friendship. Travelling solo makes me experience all these things and more.

I travel alone because it makes me questions things I never dared to ask. What makes a happy person? Why do we always want things that we can’t have? How come the things that make me happy don’t interest everyone? Or questions about life and death, good and evil, love and hate, and the whatnots? Oftentimes the answer lies within the question; however we are just too preoccupied to notice. Or maybe too afraid to voice that question out loud.

I travel alone because it teaches me to be responsible. Being sensitive to everything that surrounds me makes a journey to an unfamiliar location hassle-free. Being accountable of all my actions and decisions makes me a better traveller. To live this fulfilling life I have to dive into the unknown in the quest to find myself. Travelling solo makes me embrace the solitude as I make each of these decisions. Gone were the days when I have to wait for friends before I start eating or change my food preference because a companion is a vegetarian or is allergic to crustaceans. I don’t have to consult anyone on things like where to eat, which train to catch, what time of day to wake up and if I want skip breakfast so I can sleep some more. It doesn’t really matter anymore because I’m not answering to anyone.

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I travel alone because it makes me enjoy the art of doing nothing. Travelling solo allows me to make time for myself and do things I will never do if I were in a group. I do things for my own satisfaction even if it means catching up with my reading while lounging at the beach until my skin hurts and get that extra tan. Who says idling is bad? When I travel, the idle moments are the best times. It’s a total freedom from stress, appointments, deadlines, meetings, ego-tripping bosses and whinny travel companions. It’s just me enjoying my awesome company to the point that doing nothing makes me achieve something.

I travel alone for me to get lost and be found for it makes me stretch my limits and challenge myself. Wandering around the unfamiliar is what makes every trip unforgettable. It’s like experiencing things for the first time and taking everything in instead of taking it for granted. I’m the type of person who is not afraid to go where the wanderlust takes me and getting lost is like how the universe trying to tell me to leave my own footprints. At times, I end up stumbling on to places or people who makes travelling even more fascinating.

I travel alone to experience the world and its complications. You know life could be so boring and uneventful without some hitches. For me, chaos are the spices in life, like getting stranded in the middle of traffic when you are on your way to catch your flight or to find yourself homeless when just last night you were staying in a five star hotel. There are times when we just rely on the kindness of a stranger. Although there are times when people get suspicious when they see a woman travelling alone. Sometimes I can’t avoid some curious stares and questions I can’t even begin to fathom. But all these will be gone when I told them I am a travel writer. This excuse always works like a charm. People will strangely share their life stories and interesting things that happen in their town. I travel alone long before I write what I do and it’s just getting better now that I can share it to the world.

I travel alone because I want to experience the culture in a local’s perspective. Being in a group makes me feel I am limiting myself to all possibilities. While being alone opens up a whole new world of opportunity to meet the locals and experience there culture in a deeper level. Most of the time I will be lured to try the local delicacies and uncover secret destinations that only the locals know. And it’s amazing how people can be so open and kind to someone whom they’ve just met. Learning the language is also a plus and there are no better teachers than locals themselves.

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I travel alone to let go of my attachments, even for a short period of time. While on the road I really don’t care how I look, or if my shoes match the dress I wear. Bad hair days don’t even exist in my travel book because all I need are the essentials. Attachments such as updating my Facebook status, wearing a cologne and make up, relationships, kiss-ass friends, not caring about what people think of me and mostly importantly, time. Letting go of these attachments makes me enjoy each moment to its fullest.

And lastly, I travel alone to find love. According to the words of Joseph Campbell, “You are that mystery which you are seeking to know.” These words are my guiding light to find what is truly missing in my life and embarking to a solo trip is like waiting for love to happen. I’m a hopeful romantic not a hopeless one and somehow travelling solo is an opportunity to love myself more and share it someone. But finding love while being on the road is a tricky thing, it may be the most exhilarating love affair you can have but often times it is short-live. Trust me I know what I’m talking about and as I go further in this journey I somehow develop a talent to read people after a short conversation. Finding love while travelling may be difficult but I am a believer, if I can’t find it I’m sure it will find me.

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So there they are, all the reasons why I chose to travel solo. You may not agree with some of it but I’m having a helluva time in my pursuit of happiness. The life we lead now is our very own message to the world and I’m hoping that what I do could inspire someone to take that first step on travelling solo.

The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. —- Albert Einstein