"Focus on the JOURNEY, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in DOING IT. " - Greg Anderson
As the title of this post implies, my trip to Pangasinan was indeed a day with many firsts. All I could exclaim during the trip was , "Wow, First time ko to! ". Aside from the fact that it's my first time to visit Pangasinan, I also had many new experiences during this 2-day quick trip! ^_^
1. A trip with a stranger
When we were young, our parents often tell us not to talk to strangers. And with talking they also mean not to go anywhere with a stranger. I broke both rules.
My travel buddy to Pangasinan was Kuya Josiah, a travel blogger. We met only once before the trip when we were invited for a dinner at a newly-opened restaurant in Marikina. We knew nothing about each other except for the recent posts in facebook or twitter. But, since he's off to Pangasinan just in time when I wanted a quick trip on a weekday, I readily asked to join him! ^_^ So, there we were, two strangers on a bus, excited yet anxious about the new experience.
2. Backpacking (literally) all the way
I have tried traveling solo and following a strict "budget". But, traveling the backpackers' way is a new thing for me. I have always wanted to try backpacking but the idea of bringing your bag all the time gives me headaches.
|Buying Puto from Manang|
We arrived in Pangasinan at 2am. Pitched our tent for the night at 7pm. Traveled around Bolinao from 8am-3pm. All this time, I was carrying my backpack. Yes, we did not have any reservations to any hotel or the like to have the time to change our clothes or put our travel bags away. We were practically carrying our stuff all the time! And, to my surprise, I did not complain. In fact, I was glad. Finally, I'm doing it Dora-Style or the Backpackers' Way! Yey!
|Off to Hundred Islands, still with the backpack|
3. Goodbye hotel rooms, hello tent!
This experience was totally a first to me! If Dora was there and ask me what's my favorite part of the trip, I'd definitely answer the camp out! ^_^
As mentioned in item#2, we did not have any reserved rooms for the night. All we had was that compact tent Kuya Josiah had in his backpack. (Yes, he had a tent, his personal stuff and a complete cooking set in his backpack! ) Before we ended the day, we pitched our tent by the shore, laid a sarong just outside the tent and enjoyed the star-lit night in Patar Beach.
Wait, there's more. We woke up at dawn, witnessed the almost-full moon shining brightly across the sea, cooked and ate our breakfast enjoying the cool breeze and the sight of racing waves just before us. All this, a first time experience for me! ^_^
4. Off the Beaten path we go!
If you take tour packages, everything will be smooth, from the airport transfers, checking-in, meals, tours, etc. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your trip.
But the backpacker's way is definitely not always about relaxation. Sometimes, you have to see the unknown, take the beaten path instead of the usual and comfy routes most of us take. But, it's this part of the trip that makes it more exciting and all worth it!
In Bolinao, we hiked and explored Patar Beach for an hour under the scorching heat of the sun. It would have been a nice experience for all of us, but hiking in Patar shore is really not that easy as your feet just keeps on sinking on the fine golden sand. But, at the end of the hike, lies a little paradise. And for the hike back to our origin, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen.
My Bolinao Experience was by far the best trip I ever had. It may not be the most comfortable or most relaxing trip I had, but it was an eye-opener, almost life-changing. Now, that is PRICELESS.
**Photo Credits: Josiah Sicad