Travelers of The Month: THE WORLD Through The Lens of George And Angelo

“Save the best for last,” they say.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing here as I conclude my 2012 (travel) blog project — by featuring two of the most well-traveled people in the country I can think of: George and Angelo. 😉

No specific country or place will be highlighted in this post because as you’ve seen in the title, THE WORLD itself is the focus.  From Africa to North America, Europe to Asia, my featured travelers surely went and will go there!

Best of all, the photos you’ll see in this post were ALL taken by themselves.  And despite not being professional photographers, I definitely had a hard time choosing which photos to include here not just because of the number of albums (they’ve been to A LOT of places!), but because of the endless great shots that truly captured each and every place they’ve traveled to.

So I’ll stop rambling now and share with you what George has to say about TRAVELING…  and why it’s always better when he’s with his “better half,” Angelo.

Angelo and George in Borobudur, Indonesia

Angelo and George in Borobudur, Indonesia

“I never counted the countries I visited; even if I would, I would’ve already lost count.  I just remember places and faces and even if I revisit, something novel will emerge or I will simply make it happen,” George answered when I asked him about the number of countries he’s been to.  And it’s true.  If you counted the countries he has traveled to, you would’ve lost count too! 😀

But like most people, George‘s first take on traveling happened in the country.  He shared, “I first ventured out of Manila when I was four or five years old (1981 or 1982); we went to see Mayon Volcano.  It was a great experience just to leave but then one had to endure long hours of land travel and as a child, I never looked forward to this.  I can’t remember if I successfully articulated in my consciousness that passion for travel; what I know is just that I was glad that we left and that I went to a place that I’ve never seen before.”

It wasn’t until a few years later when he found himself traveling to Japan — his first international destination.  “I first ventured out of the country when I was 9.  It was a dream come true because I grew up being fascinated by Japanese pop culture and anime.  Godzilla, Voltes V, and Daimos amongst many Japanese cultural artifacts have become indelible memories.  Tokyo Disneyland was so surreal.”

A young George in Tokyo, Japan (top) and Taipei, Taiwan (bottom) both in 1987

A young George in Tokyo, Japan (top) and Taipei, Taiwan (bottom) both in 1987

And thanks to those childhood memories, Japan — as it turns out — is now one of George‘s favorite countries to visit.

That AND Spain.  When I asked him about his favorite countries, this is what he said: “Spain and Japan are the foremost countries that come to mind.  The diversity of experiences and cultural depth have always inspired me and my soul mate [Angelo].  I’m not so sure if it’s the historical/cultural connection but I guess it all boils down to what I learn regardless of repeat visits.

“I’m just drawn to the rich art scene in Madrid, while Barcelona breaks the boundaries of art.  Think of Gaudi and one will just want to stay.  On the other hand, Valencia has exquisite and modern architecture (Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences).  Spanish food (eating authentic paella should not be dismissed), markets, and the warmth of the Spanish people are always worth looking forward to.

(photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay)

Clockwise from top left- Cordoba, Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, La Alhambra, Madrid, and Garden of Alhambra

Clockwise from top left- Peñiscola, Parque Guell, Streets of Granada, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Toledo

“On the other hand, the paradox of the modern and the traditional core is the contradiction that defines Japan.  For me and Angelo, Japan has become an annual journey.  I don’t even know where to start.  I guess the historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto so much so that it’s named UNESCO World Heritage City; it’s only second to Rome.  We also make it a point to go to Japan not just to welcome the new year but to spoil ourselves with all the fukubukuro (mystery bags) in all our favorite Japanese stores and signature labels.  With such significant discounts, we shopped like hoarders to our hearts content.  Never mind overspending in this time of the year.  The food — need I say more?  The precision/attention to detail in all aspects such as gift wrapping makes Japan what it is.  More importantly, the civility and strict order that defines Japanese society are truly remarkable and exceptional.”

(photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay)

O-torii

Clockwise from top left- Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima, Shinkansen, and Okunuin

Top- Arashiyama; Bottom- authentic Japanese food

As a seasoned traveler, those two countries must be really special to stand out among the number of countries they’ve visited…  and still counting.  Having said that, how does “traveling” still affect them?  George admitted, “Traveling is empowerment and a liberating activity that must be experienced; imagination becomes a reality and it is essential precisely because it’s education.  It removes you from your shell of ignorance.  My work and ministry as an academic have been largely enriched by this.  Creativity, innovation, and inspiration at work and my relations with other people have largely been nurtured by my travels.”

More thoughts on traveling: “There are times that you have to venture on your own (business trips) but the better half and I have always valued shared experiences and yes, we discuss the lessons that we’ve learned simultaneously as we discover the people, places, and the cultures we experience.”

The World

all photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay

Bandar Seri Begawan

Vienna

sampling authentic Japanese food

Brussels

Vancouver

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Shanghai

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya

Penang

Penang

The Great Wall of China

Clark Quay

Vatican Museum

Zagreb

Prague

London

Chateau de Versailles

Delphi

Budapest

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Borobudur

Gyeongbok Palace

Montenegro

Marrakech

Auschwitz

Bangkok

Bangkok

Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Starbucks mugs (personal collection)

Seeing those shots, it makes you wonder, “What’s next for these two?”  Well George said, “Nepal.  Simply because I haven’t been there.  You always want to visit an unchartered territory.  The unfamiliar excites me.”  In fact, he recently posted this on Facebook,

“Thanks to National Geographic, Gelo and I will welcome 2013 on a spiritual note which is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism and by the grandeur of the Himalayan peaks — most notably, Mt. Everest.  A lifelong dream that will finally become a reality.”

National Geographic?  Mt. Everest?  A dream turned into a reality?  By the looks of it, there’s no doubt that 2013 will be another great travel year for these two!  As George put it, “I look forward to equally interesting journeys next year.”  And so do we!

Lastly, George leaves us with one, but very useful travel tip: “Research, research, and more research so you will welcome, appreciate, and enjoy the unique absurdities that will come your way.  Just go and be modern-day global nomads.”

♥♥♥

Once again, I’d like to say thanks to Sir George (and his partner, Angelo) for sharing with us their travel adventures.  It’s truly an honor!

As for all of you, it has been a wonderful year sharing with you the different travel stories of “people like you and me — who just happen to have ‘wanderlust’ as their middle names!!! ;)”  May all of us embark on interesting journeys this coming 2013 as well!

To repeat what George advised,

“Just go and be modern-day global nomads.”

The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project…  signing off. 🙂

Happy New Year in advance, everyone!!!


This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.

You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.

Traveler of The Month: Anthony’s (South) African Story

St. Augustine once said, “The world is like a book.  Those who don’t travel read only a page.”

Well, if the world was indeed one book, then my featured traveler for this month would already be near the last chapter, if not in the sequel already.  Why?  Simply because he’s been to ALL CONTINENTS, except Antarctica — but even Antarctica isn’t slipping his mind!  He plans to go there, too — hopefully SOON!!!

And that person — June’s featured traveler who will wrap up the first half of my 2012 blog project — is none other than my friend Anthony. 😀

Ton and Mika 😀

He has been to 25 countries (including the Philippines): four in the Americas (North and South respectively), two in Oceania, one in Africa, four in Europe, and the rest, in Asia.  In fact, two more countries will be added in his list this year as he plans to visit Japan next month AND Burma in September!  Cool, huh?

Some of Anthony’s travel destinations – “some” being the operative word! 😉 (Top from left- Brazil, Australia, and the U.S.; Bottom from left- Maldives, France, and India)

But before knowing about the African country he has been to, let’s take a look at how his interest in traveling started.  Anthony shared, “My first travel as far as I can remember was in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China way back in 1994.  It was followed by an American vacation four years after. From 1999 until 2005, my passport was never stamped for several reasons.  First is school, second is — I guess — it’s expensive for me to travel since I’m from Davao, and third, I really never thought of traveling then.

“My addiction to traveling started when I was in college.  During my college days, I was learning a lot about other countries and that made me interested.  The next thing I knew, I was bookmarking travel-related websites here and there!”

skydiving in Hawaii; bungee jumping in Costa Rica

And TRAVEL was exactly what he did!  Luckily, our featured continent for this month (Africa) is one of Anthony‘s favorite places.  He said,“Whenever people ask me my top three favorite visited countries, I usually say Brazil, India, and South Africa.  Brazil for the Caipirinha and drinking marathon, India for its food and intact culture, and South Africa for having Cape Town.”

The South African Story

Anthony traveled to South Africa with one of his closest friends named Daby.  “This South African trip was supposed to be with her cousins and siblings but because of certain unbelievable reasons, they all canceled.  If you travel with her, the best thing to bring is a camera.  She drinks thrice of what I can, and the only way to remember events is by checking out the photos the following day.”

Anthony with his friend Daby

Anyway, they both went to two South African cities: Johannesburg and Cape Town.  Anthony recalled, “South Africa geographically is on the southernmost part of the African continent.  For the flight, it took 15 hours (or maybe more) to get to Johannesburg via Hong Kong.  South Africa is the richest country in the whole of Africa.  Its economy is two times larger than the Philippines, so it’s not surprising that 1 South African Rand is equivalent to 6 Philippine Pesos.

“Actually, I find South Africa expensive.  But according to locals, city centers are really expensive and the suburbs are cheaper.”

African Safari, anyone?

But between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Anthony felt more drawn to the latter.  He remembered, “Cape Town was really unbelievable.  It’s the best place I’ve been to so far.  I was able to try their food called ‘pumba.’  It’s a warthog and it tasted like baby back ribs, but it’s a little bit expensive.  I also enjoyed our wine tasting tour, but that gave me a hangover after.”

“pumba” was served! 🙂

during the wine tasting

As mentioned earlier, Anthony‘s not yet done with traveling the world.  Aside from Japan and Burma, he has other dream travel destinations.  He admitted, “I actually made a list of countries that I would love to visit.  It’s so long but the ones on top are Nepal, Egypt, Argentina, Peru, and Turkey.”

As for his travel tip, he has only one: “Spend less to see more.”  True that!

All in all, Anthony considers traveling an investment.  “Traveling is where my salary goes.  I invest in it a lot because I think that it’s something that will remain with me for as long as I live.”  Well, I couldn’t agree more!  After all, memories will always be GREATER THAN material things!  Riiight? 😛

So thanks to Ton for “touring” us to South Africa!  And of course, thanks to YOU for reading THIS and my other “Traveler of The Month” features!

As always, KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON! 😉


This post is brought to you by The Lady’s 2012 Blog Project.

You can also check out my other featured travelers HERE.