Cebu, the famous gateway to the Visayas and to most known because of its booming capital city, its touristic hotspot Mactan Island or the seductive beaches of Bantayan and Malapascua. But definitely not the first address that comes to mind when thinking of a motorbike adventure off the beaten track. As I had planned to go to Cebu anyway, I did some research on possible motorbike tours and came across a route not well documented – the so called Vegetable Highway. It seemed a bit mysterious, something not a lot of people have done, something new and hence just what I like. It all took off from there and with the help of some Cebu expats and more research, I was able to design a trip itinerary which seemed promising: A 4-day tour which would take me across the island’s mountain range, along the coast, down the secluded Vegetable Highway, and finally to Moalboal for some scuba diving with the famous sardine storm. Born from just a fleeting idea, this motorbike adventure quickly turned out to be one of the best tours I did in Southeast Asia. Read more
It’s was on my mind for quite some time and I knew I would eventually do it. Getting to know the people behind all the avatars, the profile pictures and the anonymus nicknames. Taking the blog from the virtual world to the real world and finally creating an opportunity to personally meet and thank the people who have been supporting me during this incredible journey. A meet-up with my readers and followers – that was the idea. And since I was about to head over to the Philippines, Manila just had to be the place. What started out as an idealistic idea, soon turned out to be a tough challenge to make it really happen. Especially since my trip finally came together on a very short notice, hence not leaving much time to get it all on the right track. But with the help of some amazing friends and all of the great people that came out that night, we made it. And what eventually came out of it, exceeded my hopes and expectations by far. It was for sure a night to remember. Read more
The road is rocky and bumpy, taking me deeper and deeper inside the island of Bantayan. Small patches of rice, coconut trees, some badly bent by the recent typhoon, and scattered settlements pass by slowly as we rumble along. I’m on my way to Maia’s Beach Resorts, my home away from home for my brief stay on this Filipino gem. Bantayan Island itself is already a little paradise but what a lot of people don’t know, is that it has its very own little Garden of Eden. On the way East, towards Bantayan town, tucked away from the crowds of Santa Fé and embedded in a lush green oasis, you will find a place so enchanted, so beautiful and designed with so much love for detail that it comes as a big surprise. That Garden of Eden is Maia’s and as I finally arrive, I instantly know that the little journey was well worth it. Welcome to Bantayan’s own little Garden of Eden, welcome to Maia’s Beach Resort.
Finally! Finally Bantayan! A place I could not visit during my three months journey across the Philippines but which I always longed to see. The beckoning stories of a magical and authentic island getaway still rang in my ears as I received the invitation to join some of Cebu’s finest bloggers and writers for a tour of this Filipino gem. It would be a jam-packed itinerary, a mix of sightseeing, couch sessions with local politicians and officials, networking and a also charitable work. However, what I found during this eventful journey was a place not only impressing by its sheer beauty and its authentic charm but also by being a perfect example of the renowned Filipino resiliency. Bantayan, a mosaic paradise. Read more
Just a couple of days ago I returned from my recent adventure in the Philippines. An adventure which was a brief whirlwind tour through cities, islands and remote villages. Although I had only ten short days and an insanely packed itinerary which occasionally had me traveling faster than my mind could handle, the trip was just wonderful. But rather than the many attractions along the way, the most memorable thing was once again the hospitality, kindness and welcoming attitude of the Filipino people. You will never stop to amaze me and I am grateful to call some of you my dear friends.
After just one day back in the country it just clicked and it was as I’ve never left. Last time I came as a tourist, this time I came as a friend and it made for a whole different experience. I traveled to meet old friends and to make new ones and both just worked out perfectly. Read more
If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you might already know: I am about to embark on another adventure which will take me back “home” to the Philippines. The last days and weeks have been busy and stressful preparing this upcoming whirlwind trip but also preparing an even bigger adventure which most of you don’t yet know about. As I am writing this, killing those last couple of hours before boarding my flight, I am contemplating about this trip which will be a journey back home and straight into the unknown… Read more
Last week I introduced you to Timothy Allen, one of today’s most renowned travel photographers. Timothy is probably best known for his work with the BBC’s Emmy awarded landmark televisions series Human Planet. He is a multi-award winning photographer having been commended 13 times in various categories in the prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year awards, including the overall title in 2013.
In the first part of this interview series Timothy talked about traveling, his connection to backpacking and how it all changed over the years. This part is all about his photography. Timothy speaks about travel photography, how recent developments have changed his work and about a very special picture of his which might surprise you. Read more
Following his inspiring work for a couple of years already, I recently had the opportunity to interview Timothy Allen, one of today’s best and most renowned travel photographers. Allen, 43 years old and from Tonbridge, Kent, is probably best known for his work with the BBC’s landmark television series Human Planet. In charge of the productions photography, Timothy traveled around the world for two years, to more than 80 locations in more than 40 countries and to some of the remotest locations on this earth. During this epic project, he captured the world’s most incredible human stories. Timothy has dived with sea gypsies 40 meters beneath the South China Sea in the Philippines, climbed huge trees with honey pickers in Central Africa, and roamed the Mongolian Tundra with the local Nomads.
There are two sides to everything. Good and bad, black and white, light and shadow and a whole lot of different shades of those. Traveling is no exception here. Especially during my year-long journey across Southeast Asia I developed what you could call a differentiated approach to tourism and travel. On the one hand it enables people to have amazing experiences, to broaden their horizon and ideally to learn about other cultures and ways of living. On the other hand, the massive influx of travelers can have a huge impact on traditionally societies. Sometimes even to the extent of total extinction of their culture and customs. But what’s right and what’s wrong, does the one inevitably come with the other and how should we as travelers deal with this? Read more
Another year is ending and I don’t know if it is just me but I can’t believe how fast 2014 passed. I have been back home in Germany for a little over a year now and it feels like time just flew by. It’s that time of the year to reflect on the past 365 days, the good times and the bad, all the things that have happened and to dare an outlook into the upcoming new year.
I can say it’s been a mixed year but taken the fact that I really didn’t expect too much in the first place, it actually turned out ok. It was a time of transition, re-adapting and settling back in, things that not only took a lot of time but also commitment and perseverance. And it was a time of new opportunities with the blog taking off, getting writing opportunities and officially being endowed with the Filipino nickname of Pipoy. Exciting and eventful times. Here is a little run down of what happened after my return from Southeast Asia and an outlook of what will be up in 2015. Read more