The Table Mountain

I didn’t know what to expect weeks before my trip to Cape Town in South Africa.  I had mixed emotions and like what I normally do before traveling, I lower my expectations.

I did my research about South Africa. I looked at pictures, read its history and browsed some personal experiences of people who have been there in the internet.   With only a week to go around Cape Town, I did my usual top 10 list of  where to go, what to do and which ones must see.  Table Mountain ranked number 1 on my itinerary which I based on the many personal accounts of people from travel sites and blogs.  What I read excite me.  The Table Mountain grew on me as the day drew nearer to my trip to Cape Town.

The Table Mountain is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, I have been to the 2 others on the list (Underground River in Puerto Princessa in my country the Philippines and Halong Bay in Vietnam).  The Table Mountain definitely deserved its spot in this prestigious list though (I believe) there are just so many that should have been included or the list does not just consist of 7 (make it 12 or something!).

This captivating mountain which I found absolutely remarkable and nothing like I’ve seen before became the backdrop of my stay in Cape Town.

The Table Mountain as seen from my hotel room made my every morning in Cape Town truly awesome.
Table Mountain as seen from the Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront is a prime tourist area in Cape Town. The Table Mountain makes the waterfront even more picturesque.
Table Mountain
One blogger wrote, “it is a mortal sin to miss the Table Mountain”.. I didn’t want to commit such sin, so off to the top I go.
On top of Table Mountain
On top of the world, I mean the Table Mountain overlooking the stunning Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean.
On top of the Table Mountain
On top of the Table Mountain overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
The Table Mountain
The Table Mountain as seen from my seat on board the Emirates Airlines. I surely left my heart in Cape Town.

Cape Town is probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world and South Africa is on my top 7 list of the world’s most picturesque countries.

The Chocolate Hills


The Chocolate Hills are in the Visayan Island of Bohol in the Philippines.  These hills turn into brown during the summer months which resembles, yes, chocolates. There are more than a hundred of them scattered as far as the eye can see which is truly a magnificent landscape to behold.  These hills were under water millions of years ago as shown by the fossilized sea creatures found on its summit.

The Blue Mountains Down Under

When I thought of Australia, the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge always come into my mind.  These two landmarks have always been on my list of must-see places.  I have never realized that just a few miles outside the charming city of Sydney is the spectacular Blue Mountains, it is listed on one of my favorite coffee table books, 501 must-visit destinations!

It was a blessing to see the Blue Mountains on a spur-of the moment decision of my traveling group to hire a bus and head towards one of Australia’s national parks..  These mountains are part of the Great Dividing Range which stretches from Melbourne to Cairns.

These rock formations called the Three Sisters are Blue Mountains’ most famous peaks.
The mountains’ blue hues are because of the vapor that rises from the millions of Eucalyptus trees that grows there.
This is one of the canyons in the national park.
Breath-taking view of the Blue Mountains from the Princess Rock Lookout.
This is one of the best ways to see the view of the Blue Mountains.
The top of the Blue Mountain range is a plateau where rivers have carved deep valleys. This is one of the spectacular views here, the Wentworth Falls.

I marveled at this scenery for hours.

The Blue Mountains National Park is a wonderful place for walking, climbing and abseiling.  This place is designated as a World Heritage Site in 2000 and is now a well-protected forest reserve.   What a wanderful experience !

The Stunning Landscapes of Batanes

Every so often, people ask me of the most beautiful place that I have ever been in the Philippines and I always respond without batting an eyelash, BATANES !

A trip to Batanes was yet another dream come true.  It was a dream because of all the 7, 107 islands in the Philippines, Batanes is perhaps the farthest yet most amazing destination.

This is the view from my guest room window; to wake up in a stunning view like this is something to look forward to everyday.
The shorelines of Batanes is one of the country’s most versatile. It showcases a splendid line up of smooth, rough, rugged and very rocky beach fronts.

Batanes is the northernmost part of the Philippines, it is also the smallest both in population and in land area.

The rolling hills provide a splendid view of the sea, the coast and the lighthouse.

On a clear day, a tour around the island can take about a day, but with a place like this, you would wish that the day never ends.

One of the unique features of the islands are its rolling hills. This stunning view can be seen from the Philippine weather station. The tall grasses you can see are used as land partitions by farm owners.

The best way to see the islands is to dilly dally, enjoy and savor each passing moment, simply speaking just let the day pass and do not rush.

Mt. Iraya, a dormant volcano is a majestic feature in the landscapes of Batanes. Standing in this place is a fierce battle against the strong winds coming from all directions.

Batanes is a gateway to typhoons that visit the archipelago without fail every year.

This tree can be found on top of what the locals call as the “Marlboro Country” has undeniably succumb but survived strong winds and visiting typhoons.  It is also a perfect shade from the heat of the sun.
The rolling hills of Batanes offers a majestic vista of the island, the nearby Mt. Iraya and the oceans.
Batanes is also home to many lighthouses that played a vital role to early and modern sea navigation in this part of the country.

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The rolling hills of Batanes is a graze land to many of the farmer’s cattle.
At one side while on top of the rolling hills you will see rugged shorelines, this one on the other hand is a picturesque view of a smooth beach front.
Rocky Beach
Rough beach facing the South China Sea
Boulder beach
Rough-edges beach
Batanes is not only a gateway for typhoons, it has also been shaken by strong earthquakes. This beach front where this typical Ivatan stone house once stood have been inundated and ruined by a massive tsunami.
Beach front with ‘touches’ of man
The weather is quite unpredictable here in Batanes; but whether its bright or dark just like this one, it is still a marvelous sight.
Blue Lagoon
A ‘casa’ perched on top of the hill made out of Ivatan stones is also a hotel.
After a whole day of sight-seeing and marveling at the beautiful landscapes of Batanes, I wished it never ended. But like how they say it, all good things must come to an end.
Consider Batanes as your next possible destination, and believe me its all going to be worth it!

The best time to visit Batanes is during the Philippine summer months (March to May). You may enjoy a winter climate from December to February while it is safe to travel and the skies are mostly clear from March to April.  Plan your next trip to Batanes and see the ultimate marvels of nature in this tiny island North of the Philippines.  I know I did !