Saturday, April 21, 2012

Travelife's great adventure issue

TRAVELIFE Magazine's April-May issue, packed with adventure and with a special cover feature on Malacca, is on sale everywhere now. It's one of our best issues yet, so we hope you get your copy at the bookstore as soon as possible.


We all make New Year's resolutions at the start of the year. Perhaps it’s this natural resolution to venture out of one’s comfort zone into unknown adventures, at the start of the year, that prompted so many of our editors and regular contributors to test their travel limits by embarking on some of the most amazing adventures in the world in this first quarter of 2012 alone.


Their determination to travel off the well-trodden path has defined Travelife’s April-May 2012 issue, which is all about wondrous destinations and the thrills associated with these. It is literally an issue packed with some of the most interesting adventures, both near and far.


This issue’s award for extreme travel probably goes to contributing editor Jerome Velasco, who crossed three continents and then rode a chartered jet and a dogsled to spend a week SLEEPING IN THE COLD at the Icehotel in the northernmost part of Sweden. He gets an A for effort, as far as I'm concerned.

Lots of people thought he was crazy for wanting to do so and I was one of them. But after editing and reading his article, I (someone who avoids snow and anything winter like the plague) actually found myself googling the Icehotel for reservations how-tos.

This was literally an epic journey in every sense, including that of temperature. Jerome traveled from 35 degrees in Manila to -35 degrees in Jukkasjarvi.


For his regular Hungry Traveler column, as well, Jerome writes about one of his many Michelin three-star meals on a separate and equally epic eating journey around Europe. For this issue, he describes a dinner at Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain, one of the best restaurants in the world. He so enjoyed his meal, as well as meeting the father-daughter tandem at Arzak, that he was literally left SPEECHLESS AND SATISFIED afterwards.


Contributing editor Dondi Joseph didn’t stray far from home (although he wrote and sent in his article from quite an exotic destination which I hope will appear in our magazine pretty soonZ), but his 36-hour drive to get to Banaue to attend a local festival, is certainly one for the books. There were no SHORT CUTS here.

In fact, what should have been a 400-kilometer drive one-way turned into a circuitous 800-kilometer trip that he enjoyed all the same. Previous to this visit, the last time Dondi was in Banaue was over 20 years ago, when there was only one very basic hotel and a tin can system for a shower.

Banaue hasn't changed much in that sense, he says, but neither has it been preserved as well as it should have been, unfortunately. But it is most certainly worth the difficulties of getting there -- so read about his adventure in Travelife's latest issue and then head over to Banaue yourself soon.


Our editor at large Gabby Malvar, forever in a moving contraption exploring some part of the Philippines, dove straight into clear waters around Mount Apo and then almost immediately afterwards headed in the opposite direction to climb the mountain. He records his journey into the extremes in this adventure issue of Travelife Magazine.

Meanwhile, our international editor at large Rafe Totengco, always one step ahead of everyone in terms of stylish destinations, spent a wonderful weekend exploring Prague, and he shares his Czech blackbook of the most interesting hotels, shops and restaurants with our readers in this issue.


Meanwhile regular contributor Mike Saycon threw a couple of board shorts into a knapsack and flew out to Palau on a long weekend. Palau isn’t usually at the top of most people’s shortlist, and neither was it originally on Mike’s. But it was precisely because he knew so little about the place that he decided to go on the spur of the moment on a long weekend – and he discovered a PARADISE FROM ALL SIDES that proved easier to visit than to leave.

Again, reading his article and looking at all his beautiful photos propelled Palau several notches higher in my destination bucket list. I went as far as looking through my Blackberry for a free weekend later in the year to check out this island paradise myself. Mike's photos are really beautiful, and his description of swimming in a pool with thousands of jellyfishes certainly got my attention.


Jeck Simbulan gathered five good friends in an RV for a LONG DRIVE SOUTH across beautiful New Zealand. Along the way, they strengthened friendships, feasted on incredibly fresh salmon and saw stunningly beautiful scenery. I've been to New Zealand lots of times and I've actually driven from one end of the North Island to the tip of the South Island. And reading Jeck's article made me want to do this all over again.


This year, too, I’ve decided to knock as many exotic destinations as possible off my bucket list. I'm actually pretty good at knocking stuff off my travel bucket list, as you can imagine; but there have been a couple of places that have been sitting in this list for too long, and I'm headed to these places this year.

I'm off by boat soon to Tianjin, last home of China's last emperor and a place that's been on my list since I watched the Bertolucci movie; and last month I finally climbed Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka on my second visit in 12 months.

In February, I spent over a week in Myanmar, returning full of TALES OF A FLOATING WORLD. I've written about my trip in this April-May issue of TRAVELIFE Magazine. Next on my list are Istanbul and the Czech Republic in June, with a couple of Asian cities in between.

At Travelife, we’re forever breaking barriers to uncover and share with you the most fascinating travel stories. Get your own copy of our April-May issue at the bookstore and discover more of this amazing world with us.



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