Showing posts with label Year-end Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Year-end Review. Show all posts

Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Year Travel Bled to Death And Why 2021 Not Yet The Time For Adventure

January 02, 2021 0
The world in the time of pandemic

The year that altered the way we lived, changed the way we moved, and shutoff the travel industry, has finally gone, but can we celebrate its departure?

Will 2021 be the year traveling rise from its ashes? Perhaps not yet. We are still in the time of pandemic. 

Though vaccines to fight the disease that brought the world down to its knees in 2020 are already out, it's still not yet  safe to say we are finally out of the woods of horror from COVID-19.

It's still very much out there. The threat is still dangerous, thus, traveling in comfort this 2021 might still not be the norm. It may take a while before we can enjoy preparing travel itinerary and truly get back to adventure.

It's still uncertain when can we travel again without the fear of being infected with the virus. Plus there is a new variant of covid-19 quickly spreading everywhere.

Having vaccines is not an excuse to be lenient with health protocol. One thing is for sure, even if some countries will open its borders, life will never be the same again for travelers.

A lot of changes can take place. Apart from the complex travel requirements to be imposed, there would be a massive shift in accommodation arrangement and tour packages. Health protocol would still be in place by that time. 

These circumstances will shape the way people viewed traveling and planning a trip, reconsidering options that adhere to health guidelines.

There's going to be a major change in the travel perspective of many adventurers and the travel industry needs to adjust its services and approach to fit the demand of the new normal.

The Casualty of COVID-19

The year 2020 has brought so many catastrophes across the globe, but nothing more fatal than the way COVID-19 impacted to the whole travel and restaurant industries. Its devastation was so disastrous it bled profusely every facet of the travel and food sectors.

Apart from the death toll and number of infection around the world related to coronavirus, the year 2020 is a fatal roller-coaster ride of the food and travel businesses. Many were forced to halt its operations. And lots had lost their jobs. 

Airlines, even the biggest names, were forced to shut off globally, the luxury cruise trips and travel tours were abruptly stopped and visiting a restaurant, even local fast food. was prohibited. 

It's so hard to imagine how these industries absorbed the loss and the catastrophic ordeal but they needed to adhere to government regulations to curb the spread of the disease.

Eventually, service-oriented industries would soon to follow the list of coronavirus casualties. Hotels, tourist-inns, beach and nature resorts and amusement parks were also forced to cease its operations.

COVID-19 sounded like a death emissary that crawled to every doorstep of these industries. Along this devastation, came a bleeding economy as mobility of people and some industries like schools, shopping malls, and transportation were halted.

For nine months, the world watched itself tumbled in pain and misery as the infection and deaths rose to an alarming level in all six continents.

The year of being stranded abroad

As more countries closed its borders and issued a "do not travel" advisory, more travelers were stranded abroad in 2020 and could not come home. Many had to beg for help to put them on the next flight. Others were forced to sleep in the airport or terminals. 

The inconveniences of these unfortunate circumstances prompted travelers to make the most of what they only had, even sought the help of locals to let them stay during the duration of lockdown, making their travel experience truly a nightmare for the year.

The year of nightmare requesting a  travel refund

Being stranded somewhere was not the only agony most travelers experienced in 2020, getting refund from airlines and traveling agencies for cancelled flights and trips also became a traumatizing ordeal.

Due to shutdown of the operations many of these entities could not release refund right away and just offered travel funds or credits. 

Others were forced to agree with this arrangement but some travelers insisted to get the money back, making the situation unbearable to both parties. 

Towards November, some countries slowly open its border to travelers to revitalize its dying tourism industry, but the strict requirements of getting to places prevent travelers from planning a trip. 

Traveling supposed to be a time where we need to be comfortable exploring the environment but how can we do that if there are restrictions imposed? Clearly, not yet a time to pack our bags and go somewhere.

The year of travel inconveniences

The year also defined how we should travel in the new normal. The health protocol where wearing facemask is a must, the social distancing rule, the tons of requirements and documents we need to accomplish and present to authorities, the restrictions on many borders and places.

All of it sum up a punishing and strenuous year of traveling. Plus, the constant threat of catching the virus. Surely, no one wants a disastrous travel experience for the sake of just, uhmm, traveling.

Twenty-twenty has been a year where all things went crazy. From our job setup, daily activities, and the way we moved in public. Everything changed drastically. The feeling of being trapped at home was suffocating. We felt like being punished harshly from the mistakes we never did. 

People are socially-inclined creatures who are not meant to be shut off from the world. The pandemic altered this natural facet of a human existence. Suddenly, we were immobilized, controlled by authorities and scared all the time we might encounter the unseen enemy. 

Traveling in the future

No doubt, COVID-19 has transformed the way we live and travel in 2020. From tucking alcohol and sanitizers in our pocket all the time to wearing face mask and face shield. Everything was strange.

For long distance travel, there's swab testing requirements not to mention the complex travel documents needed to be presented to authorities. Everything really brought unprecedented discomfort and sufferings. The once liberating escape to beautiful destinations suddenly became a hideous ordeal we don't want to be in. 

So what would be traveling looked like in the year 2021 and beyond? Can we finally go back searching cheap flight rates again for a trip somewhere?

The new normal is here to stay. That's for sure. Though the year 2021 could be the start of slowly getting back to our feet and for travel and restaurant industries to bounce back, it is still not the best year to spread our wings and explore the world.

The world is not yet fully "cleanse" from the virus, despite the availability of vaccines. The environment has not fully recovered yet. Safety is not yet guaranteed. Vaccines are still in the infancy period and experts are still monitoring its long-term efficacy result. 

Though many are already vaccinated, it's not yet a full guarantee that we are finally free from getting infected this year. It's still a dangerous year to go on adventure. It is better safe than sorry.

However, in case we should decide to travel this year, for the sake of our soul recovering from stress, it would be surely a different scenario and experience. There would be some discomfort along the way.

Government protocol in traveling is still very much in place, though restrictions slowly ease, it is still not a completely free world to enjoy a trip. 

There would be changes, big changes in the travel requirements we need to accomplish should we decide to travel this year. And we will shell out a lot of money to accomplish additional requirements like swab testing. 

Budget wise, it would be an expensive adventure due to travel requirements. Reduced capacity in accommodation means high rates. 

Additional health services also means added financial burden to guests as businesses will pass through customers and clients the added cost of its specialized packages to ensure safety. 

New normal in traveling

As the world slowly reopens this year, there are some who are considering to push through with their travel plans. It's really been a stressful year and we need to breathe somewhere to get rid of tension.

But the question now: Is it really safe to start planning and booking a trip in 2021? The new normal of mobility gives a glimpse how the world of traveling and dining outside would look like this year. It would be an entirely different setup. 

Wearing facemask is here to stay and perhaps it would not be lifted until autumn this year. So we will be traveling and exploring the places in facemask, and worst, the inconvenient face shield in some countries like the Philippines.

The new normal also means a shift in travel accommodation. Vacation rentals will now be favored than hostels and hotels because it will provide a safer environment than staying in crowded places like tourist inns.

Dining outside poses a lot of inconveniences too as family or group of friends cannot stay close to each other in a table but will be required to spread across, making it a bit uncomfortable to engage in a conversation.

Whatever in store for us this year, we can only hope it is for everyone's advantage. It's quite uncertain to predict the future of travel at the opening of the year, but one thing is certain - traveling will surely change. The way we travel in the new normal will have its makeover. 

Here are some possible scenario the way we travel in 2021

  • Strict security screening in the airports and terminals
  • Tons of travel and health documents, like medical certificate, swab test result that you are negative from COVID-19, to be required in all establishments, airlines, hotels, resorts, etcetera.
  • Long queues everywhere due to security scrutiny
  • Facemask, face shield, PPE might be required.
  • Expensive accommodations due to the level-up service they will provide to ensure safety.
  • Flight ticket, even bus ticket might be more expensive.
  • Restrictions and limited exposure in the destination to ensure everyone is safe during the trip.
  • Reduced capacity per room or tour due to social distancing. Limited capacity means expensive packages to cover up the entire cost of the trip.

Going Local

Due to travel restrictions and scare of infection, it would be best to go local for the mean time. Exploring near destinations has many benefits to offer. Both for travelers and local tourism. 


We have the opportunity to see our beautiful local destinations, discover local culture and taking pride on the charm of the local heritage we have not discovered before the pandemic.

Going local means we don't need to fly, cross the ocean or travel more than five hours to reach the place. It means nearest destinations.

It could be a local resort nearby, a vacation rental next to our neighborhood or a quaint town to get lost in its charm.

Armada beach resort, Magalawa island, Zambales

The purpose of going local is to minimize our exposure in the environment. The longer we stay outdoor or travel, the more chances of catching the virus.

It will also help bounce back our domestic tourism, which carried the brunt of the pandemic in 2020 when most of the establishments and resorts shut off. This is our chance to give back to our community and help boost the local tourism industry.

Whatever awaits for the travel sector this year, for sure there will be changes, a huge shift in the concept of traveling. And the local tourism is projected to shine as more travelers are considering the option of going local.

What was once considered a dying industry, now expected to boom under the new normal. 

The domestic travel is the answer to adventure-hungry folks who could not wait to get back on the road again.

Luljetta's Hanging Garden and Spa, Antipolo City

In the Philippines, rural areas are not short of destinations to amaze local travelers. The country is endowed with rich natural resources, beautiful beaches and relaxing countryside scenery. 

Everywhere is an endless beauty of calmness, adventure and stunning discovery. Local tourism will be in full swing this year as resorts slowly reopen to local guests. 

Though strict regulations will be implemented, it would be an exciting idea to know we can go back traveling again.

Tinuy-an falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur

There are wonderful places in our neighborhood worthy to be explored while the world tries to gravitate from the devastation of COVID-19.

Traveling in 2021

It might still be too early to hatch a travel plan or say anything but the year 2021 is a year we need to ponder if we really want to go for a trip.

For sure there would be inconveniences as resorts and hotels continue to implement strict health guidelines. It would be a nightmare accomplishing requirements and adhering to health protocol.

So 2021 might not yet a great year to plan a trip as far as comfort in traveling is concerned. The disruption of services, controlled mobility and complicated travel requirements might give us a headache going somewhere for leisure.

Pearl Farm in Davao del norte

If we do not want the idea of traveling local this year, perhaps, we just save the money for a grand trip someday. 

We do not travel just for traveling itself. We travel to experience life in another place. We travel to heal. We travel to relax, explore a free world and see wonders without restrictions.

The time of pandemic is arguably a difficult period to experience all of it. There are changes. There are complex guidelines to follow. 

Unless the trip is very necessary, like business or going home in the province, or unless you consider escaping to a local resort as a therapy to heal your "wounded self", it is better to just postpone it some other time when traveling is safe again without strict regulations.

A time to reflect and hope

We can only hope for a peaceful earth, free from virus this year 2021. Now is a great time to reflect on what we can do to help make this world a better place to live in. 

As travelers, we all have a chance to help get things better. We have seen the world in other places. We have seen its beauty. We have experienced the thrill of adventure. We have witnessed how locals behaved.

Bantayan island in Cebu

The year 2020 gave us a grim picture what will happen to our planet if we are unconcerned the way we treat our environment and wild species. If we keep on abusing them and never cared for its existence, we are always in the losing end.

On a personal note, I really wish the world will get back to normal again. I want to see our environment bounce back to its natural charm. No restrictions. No closed borders. No facemask. Just a free world spreading its loveliness and good vibes to all.

I wish to be in different places again where environment is timeless. I love to take long walks in an unknown town, exploring cultures and landmarks and local history.

Getting lost in adventure, discover new language or recipes, enjoy a cup of coffee in a bistro, relaxed in a public park, taste local dishes.  

I wish to experience a free life in a far away place again, travel to an island, feel the warmth of the morning sun falling at my back, walk barefoot in a beach, chase the waves, gaze at the horizon while enjoying the crisp breeze rolling from the ocean, lay in the sand and wait for the sunset to come. 

A sound retreat. A great escape. A welcome respite from weariness we all experienced in 2020. A beach trip would be a relaxed reclusion from the distress, scare and uncertainty brought by the pandemic.

beach trip surely be my first adventure

Soon, planning a trip and packing for adventure will be the  norm again. Beach trip will surely be my first adventure. Beach atmosphere is so liberating. 

The view of the mighty ocean. The sounds of the billowing of the waves as it rushes to the seashore, the warm morning sun, the dramatic sunset, the smell of salty hair, the sand beneath the toes. It feels everything is so relax and calm when we're in the beach.


Hoping for a free world this new year sounds like the highlight of the holiday season. We are truly grateful we have survived the disease.

Wishing everyone a prosperous New Year! Happiness often comes in small packages. Let's appreciate what we have right now and be thankful we have come this far in life, safe and sound.

Until our next travel and food trip! Thank you for being part of our adventure in food and travel.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Life of a Gourmand Traveler: 2018 Year-end Travel Review

January 02, 2019 0

Jomalig Island!
The year 2018 has been one of my most exciting years as a travel and food blogger. I made several out-of-town trips, had my first solo travel in April, wrote several food reviews and finally did video logging or vlogging. I have also created a video channel for this site in Youtube and in my instagram account.
I also got a nerve to explore another interest, which for so long had not crossed in my mind to be pursued - landscape photography. I like capturing moments in the environment and having developed this interest into a skill felt like a breakthrough in my blogging passion.
It has been my great interest to write stories about the environment, the nature, the new places I have been into, and snapping outdoor moments through photography is always priceless. So I always make it a point to take photos of the surroundings when I am on the road.
My only failed travel goal this year is a supposed trip to South Korea in September. It was not materialized due to some issues in schedule with my friends, we could not agree with the exact date of the travel and other stuff.
I am yet to do a road trip adventure. It has been in my bucket list for my travel blog for so long but still got no chance to do it. A road trip to a countryside, or near the lake or to the mountains, is a perfect idea of an outdoor adventure. And a unique material for my travel blog. But I could not make it alone. I need someone to go with me. I still have no courage to explore the risky trail and landscape alone. 😔😏
I made new friends this year, people who shared my passion in food and travel. But more than anything else, I cherished the moments I spent in the adventures. Those were special. Felt like I have just started living an amazing life.
My food trips were mostly in the oriental restaurants, particularly Japanese, and had reviewed several food establishments. Most of it appeared in Zomato, the largest restaurant search platform in the world.
Among the restaurants I have visited, Tim Ho Wan is one of my most favorites. It is the only Michelin Star-rated restaurant I have been to this year. My tastebud is always oriental and prefer my meal to be in a moderate serving. Tim Ho Wan exactly fits this category of my preference. Food has been so great, tasty, flavorful, and in moderate serving. Not too heavy, nor too light. Just in a precise amount and taste.
This preference in food sounds like a great contrast to the title of this blog. Gourmand in French means a person who has a large appetite, who likes to eat big or loves fine dishes. But I love food, yes. Only that I prefer a small serving.
Another favorite food destination is Hello Kitty Cafe in Uptown Mall, BGC. Though a little pricey, but the food selections are luscious, decadent and super scrumptious which offer the best value of money. Plus the cute interior. Hello Kitty retains its authentic Sanrio design, however, serves French-inspired dishes.
I made quite a number of travel adventures this year, mostly beach, exploring three destinations for the first time. In February, I joined five of my female friends to Balai Sa San Juan, a private beach resort in San Juan, Batangas.
In July, I was with my sister and her two friends at Stilts Beach, dubbed as a Maldives-inspired resort in Calatagan, Batangas due to its floating villas. It was only a day trip but a well-deserved weekend getaway.
Towards the end of September, I joined three colleagues, embarking into a two-day island adventure to Jomalig, Quezon province, so far, the farthest beach destination I have traveled in Luzon and the riskier.
Initially, we were 10 taking the plan, but towards September, the weather became harsher and there was even a forecast of a typhoon. Our friends had cancelled the plan but the four of us decided to just proceed with it.
Jomalig is part of Polillo group of islands and the sea travel took five hours under a rough sea. But it was an incredible island, still unspoiled and unexplored, the experience made the difficult travel worthy every bit.
Jomalig is one beach destination that should be in every traveler's bucket list. Aside from its very peaceful tropical surroundings, beaches are gorgeous with irresistible clear blue water and white sand. Food is fresh and accommodation is cheapest. Well, this is a secluded island afterall.
But what really made this year a very memorable one in my travel pursuit was the solo trip I made in April. It was the most exciting because it was my first solo travel out of town. It was my birthday and I wanted to do something different in traveling for the first time. I haven't gone solo in traveling yet, though I have always wanted to do it. But I don't have a nerve to push through with it.
I am always scared to travel alone. Scared to encounter trouble in the road, scared to meet bad guys. But on my birthday this year, I wanted to accomplish something. So I mustered enough courage to go solo traveling. Because it would be my first time to do it, I chose the safest and nearest destination - Tagaytay.
It was one of the most exciting things I ever did in life. As though I was learning a new skill, or discovering a new hobby. I left Manila at 8:00 in the morning and returned at 5:00 in the afternoon. I was able to visit Twin Lakes and the most beautiful Starbucks in the Philippines.
In October, I joined my two friends visiting Upside Down Museum in Pasay. It was my first time to visit a unique museum where displays are not related to history and culture but inverted objects that made you look upside down.
My life as a gourmand traveler and blogger is an exciting one. It allows myself to hit three special interests at the same time - writing, traveling and photography. I have a passion that allows myself to see the beauty of the world in traveling, discover how far my courage could go in adventure, record moments in the environment through taking pictures. And write stories on the road. It gives me enough time to relax, recharge, chill, loosen up, and wander. There's nothing more interesting in life than to be a travel blogger.
May the year 2019 will be finally my breakthrough year chasing my travel and photography passion. And hopefully, my courage will take me a little farther. Another solo travel perhaps. And out-of-the-country trip. So help me God. Happy New Year!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎈🎈🎈


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