“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
“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
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)
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.”
all photos by Angelo Lacanlale and George Binay
Bandar Seri Begawan
sampling authentic Japanese food
The Great Wall of China
Chateau de Versailles
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.