Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Beginning of an Epic Northern Journey

10 Day 10K Challenge: Taytay, RIZAL
Date: MAY 17-26, 2014

I plotted a week-long leave back at the office, and my mind just gave me an awesome idea on where to spend my next vacation – North Luzon! This is not an extra-ordinary trip, because I am planning to visit all provinces north of Metro Manila (except Batanes) in a span of 10 days with a budget of at least P10,000. This would also be my post-birthday gift to myself. 21 years on Earth, 21 provinces on the list. This will be an EPIC ROAD TRIP!

This idea of visiting North Luzon began last March. I plotted a week-long leave back at the office for May, and I don’t really know where to go. As I checked suggestions online, my mind suddenly gave me an awesome idea – travel up north. I was challenged to see other Filipino travel bloggers conquering the provinces one by one. I started to count, asking myself how many provinces I was able to visit in the past: 17 – just 17 out of 81. “That’s it… I have to visit all these Northern provinces!” I told myself. And that’s how this epic road trip began.

I spent the whole month of March and April researching – transport, routes, restaurants and hotels. I had to plan it carefully. In fact, my original route was modified multiple times. I was changing it from time to time, depending on the most up-to-date information that I could find. Some landmarks where crossed out, since visiting all of them won’t fit in my tight, 10 day leave schedule. I wrote down the cheapest hotels where I could sleep, and the restaurants where I could eat, in each city that I will visit. I printed maps, scanned street images on my phone and gathered tips from fellow travel bloggers online. That was my routine each week.

It was a very exhausting task indeed, but the excitement inside me grew bigger as the date of my trip drew closer. March had come and gone, then April, then 2 more weeks before my trip, then only 1 more week to go, 6 days, 5, 4, 3, 2 more days, 1 more day – and FINALLY! The day that I am waiting for is finally here!

I went home to Taytay, Rizal after shift, packed my things, rested for a while, and ate my breakfast. It was 11:40 AM. I took a deep breath as I walked through the doors leading to the outside world. This is it – my first ever solo backpacking trip! I don’t have any idea on what’s going to happen. All I have in my mind is pure excitement.

The challenge had begun, and the first destination on my route is: Manila

The road to the North
This post is part of my 10 Day 10K Challenge that took place between May 17-26, 2014. You are currently reading the first entry. Proceed to the next destination here.

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