Taking the Open Road

An update on my future whereabouts – some trips planned for December 2012 and January 2013.  Happy for you to come along!

To see my full list of upcoming trips, please make your way to Wanderlust.

Banaue Trek

07 – 10 December 2012

I’m heading for the hills, and I’m taking three of my girlfriends with me.

The Ifugao rice terraces have captivated me since I was a child, a spark of light in the middle of lectures on Philippine History and Culture.  I’ve seen the photographs, climbed the miniature version, and watched the documentaries.  Now it’s time to get up close and personal with what Filipinos liked to call the 8th wonder of the world.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the rice terraces are truly feats of engineering.  Indigeous peoples carved the terraces into the mountainside 2000 years ago, complete with an extensive irrigation system for the rice paddies.  Some of them are still being used to this day, though many have fallen into disrepair.  Along the way we’ll visit some local Ifugao communities, whose way of life have remained largely unchanged through the years.

I’m excited to  go on a rough trek  and commune with nature once again – a chance to go back to basics and just be with friends, without the distractions of daily living.

Ati-atihan Festival (http://aklanforum.blogspot.com

Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival

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!

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