because life is a journey.
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
~ Terry Pratchett
I’ve travelled the world and now I’m back home. This time I want to go explore the 7000 islands in my own country. Perhaps you’d like to join me?
18 – 20 January 2013
ati (n.) – a word referring to the native dark-skinned, curly-haired people of Panay island, of the Negrito ethnic group.
ati-atihan (adv.) – to make one look like an ati; to pretend to be an ati.
The Ati-Atihan Festival is one of the most well-known celebrations in the Philippines. Held in honour of the Santo Niño (Holy Infant Jesus), the town of Kalibo hosts this event on the third weekend of January. What was once a weekend festival has extended into a month-long party, and the event still reigns as the queen of all Philippine festivals. Witness participants in black body paint and colourful garb, marching and dancing to the chants of hala-bira!
After all that frenzied activity, I might just book a short getaway to the famed white beaches of Boracay. What better way to unwind than to watch the sunset while sipping a piña colada, or take a stroll down D’Mall and marvel at the sand sculptures that seem sprout at dusk. Once recharged, I’ll head down to Bulabog Beach for some kite boarding and wind surfing – adventure is in my veins, after all!
21 – 24 February 2013
Now in its 18th year, the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta began as a drive to boost the local economy after the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 1991. It is the biggest aviation sports event in the country, hosting 60,000 visitors from around the world.
Watch the balloons take flight at daybreak, then try your luck at getting a balloon ride at $200 a pop. Less expensive pursuits include watching aerobatics such as skydiving, remote-control airplane exhibitions and ultra-light fly-bys. For the kids and kids-at-heart, kite-making and kite-flying is also on the agenda.
While you’re in the area, take an extra day to climb the now-famous Mt Pinatubo. The trip starts with a 4×4 Jeep ride across a breath taking lahar landscape. Then don your trekking shoes for a two-hour easy climb. The final stretch may get you huffing and puffing, but you will be rewarded with stunning views of the crater lake. Take a dip – the teal waters are completely safe to swim in. On the way back, a pit stop at Pinatubo Spa Town can help relieve those tired muscles.
Clark / Angeles City is three hours from Manila by land. Cebu Pacific Air and Tiger Airways flies direct from Singapore to Clark daily.