Many of my friends who have embarked on Asian backpacking adventures have told me that The Philippines was their favourite destination along their journey.
While I have no way of confirming whether they're just saying this to make me happy, I can confirm that it does indeed make me very, very happy.
However, many of the adventures and sights they've engaged with are ones that I myself have yet to experience. I'm fortunate that I've had many experiences to visit the Philippines, but these trips are often commandeered by familiar responsibilities.
One of my goals for this trip was to get out of Manila, and properly explore. Thus, my cousin Maru and I found ourselves on an overnight bus to Vigan, a city in the North.
This was a whirlwind of a day trip. Maru and I took the overnight bus, and arrived right and early at 4am in the morning. Then, later that night, I took the overnight bus back home. Truly a DAY trip!
This area's colonial Spanish architecture is the best preserved of its kind in Asia. As such, it's earned a UNESCO Word Heritage designation, and status as one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World".
Built in 1591, the Bantay Watchtower served as a lookout against pirates attempting to invade the area.
A few more misc shots of our day trip. At some point, I could tell my cousin was getting a little peeved at the number of photos I was taking.. until he accidentally left his cellphone on one of the trikes we took. Lucky for him, his little cousin had bad been documenting the entire adventure - including the license plate of the trike driver in question!
Don't worry Mom, this is a Vigan tiger. Vegans don't eat meat.