Saturday, January 9, 2010

2009 Wanderlust

Year 2009 confirmed that I suffer from wanderlust. Since I landed in fictional Netopia and began my saga as a corporate refugee, I just could not help it. Come along as I chronicle my wanderlust case last year.

February 2009
Together with a couple of friends, I went to Baguio City to witness the Panagbenga (Flower festival) and to take the 252-steps challenge at the Lourdes Grotto. We also visited the famous landmarks of the summer capital, to wit: Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, Session Road (where floral parade took place), Wright Park, The Mansion, Mines View Park and the Bell Church. We also sampled local cuisine at Pizza Volante, Cafe By The Ruins and Everything Nice Cafe at Camp John Hay.

After Baguio, we went to Our Lady Of Manaoag Church in Pangasinan to pray for the inevitable.

July 2009
It was our first out-of-town trip as "lovers", and Baguio seems to be the perfect getaway. Warning ahead: I'm made of cheese. It was the start of my relationship journey. Click at your own risk. And here's more... and more... and some more.

April 5-May 19, 2009
Last April 5 2009, I was sent to Charlottesville, Virginia for on-site training at LexisNexis, a publishing company which offers a widely used content from legal documents, among others. Our group of four flew via Narita and Detroit on Northwest Airlines. We travelled for almost 24 hours on different time zones.

I fell in love with the suburban Charlottesville at first sight. The Marriott Residence Inn in Millmont Street near the Barracks Road shopping district was our home for six (6) weeks, save for some days when we flew to other states. I was amazed with the beautiful campus of the University of Virginia, which is only a stone's throw away from the hotel.

Virginia has lots  to offer to its tourists. We explored the mountaintop home and the vast and colorful gardens of Thomas Jefferson called Monticello. We also did the Monticello Wine Trail wherein we had wine-tasting at three wineries located in Greenwood, Crozet and Afton. It was followed by a hiking activity in a pioneer homestead in Blue Ridge Mountains. We saw the famous bluish haze of the mountains, hence the name. We also did some outlet shopping in Williamsburg Prime Outlets where signature items are way much cheaper than in the Philippines. As if shopping still did not exhaust us, we went to Colonial Williamsburg, the historic district of the independent city of Williamsburg, Virginia. The Lanthorn Tour in the place was simply magical, and I captured lots of spirit orbs in my digicam. On Easter Sunday, we did some hiking near the Rivanna River. We also had a Jamaican dinner in a trainor's house in Palmyra. On our last weekend in the Old Dominion (Virginia's nickname), we explored a geologic cave in Front Royal, Virginia called Skyline Caverns, where the largest calcite anthodite in the world is on display. We also passed by the scenic Skyline Drive of the Shenandoah National Park in Front Royal to take pictures.

Last May 1, 2009, I went to McKinney, Texas to visit my aunt and her family via U.S. Airways. It was pretty challenging to fly interstate in a foreign country for a neophyte traveller like me. All in all, travel time from Charlottesville to Dallas lasted for six (6) hours, waiting time included. I flew via Charlotte, North Carolina to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport where my aunt welcomed me with open arms! During my first day there, my aunt brought me to Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, where she shopped for pasalubong for me to bring home. After shopping, we went to Downtown Dallas, the main business district in Dallas, Texas. The windy yet sunny atmosphere contributed much to our leisure walk in West End Historic District. Sights like Dealey Plaza, Old Red Museum and Sixth Floor Museum, the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President JFK, were captured by my cam.
New York City
I also had my first bite of The Big Apple last May.

First day: We flew via U.S. Airways in Richmond International Airport, which is a two-hour drive from Charlottesville. Due to zero visibility, the plane had difficulty landing in LaGuardia Airport in Queens County. Instead, we landed in Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania and a three-hour road trip ensued from there to Marriott Fairfield Inn in Astoria where we stayed. We rode the famous subway to Battery Park. From there, we saw the Lady Liberty amid the foggy afternoon. As we walked along Wall Street and Broadway, sights such as the old U.S. Customs House, the Charging Bull, Trinity Church and Isamo Noguchi's Red Cube fascinated us. Then, we saw the Ground Zero site and shopped at the nearby Century 21. We wasted no time exploring "the city that never sleeps", hence we went to Times Square and had dinner at TGIF. We also saw the glittering lights of Broadway theatres on the same night.

Second day: After breakfast, we went to Battery Park which faces the New York harbor. We rode the Staten Island ferry and the famous Statue of Liberty left me in awe. The ferry made a quick stop at the Ellis Island. After the breezy ferry ride, we immediately went to Manhattan area and had our pictures taken at some landmarks such as Grand Central Terminal, Koreatown, New York Public Library, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Trump Tower and the Apple Store in Fifth Avenue. Our last stop was the famous Central Park before we headed off to LaGuardia Airport for our flight back to Richmond. I'd like to think that we were able to drop by at all the landmarks in our short visit to The Big Apple.

Washington, D.C.
Also during May, we visited the state of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. From Fairfax Country, Virginia, we rode the Metrorail (popularly called as "Metro") to Smithsonian station. We saw the Washington Monument  and the U.S. Capitol from the National Mall, an open-area national park in downtown D.C. We took pictures of some Smithsonian museums such as the Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Air and Space Museum (where we had Mcdo "museum" lunch), National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History. We continued our walk-a-thon till we reached the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Of course, we didn't the miss the notable spot in Pennsylvania Avenue - The White House. I also caught sight of the Freedom Plaza, which was renamed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who worked on his "I Have a Dream" speech in the nearby Willard Hotel.

June 5-8, 2009
Our family bonding in Papa's hometown in Loay. If interested, click here.


September 16-19, 2009

It was probably the most unforgettable island adventure in my dormant life. Our trip to Calauit Safari Park brought out my boat phobia. Still, it was an oddly amazing getaway.


November 19-22, 2009
The boyfriend and I pledged that we'll go back to this island paradise. And yes, I'd bring the same tsinelas.

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