Neri: Travel stories (Part 1)


TRAVEL is out of the question nowadays, and the next best thing is to recall unforgettable trips and share memories of places that once filled our hearts with excitement.

Grace Morelos,

Banker/Travel writer

“The year that I turned 50 was a year of carefully chosen trips, and the one that stands out the most was my birthday trip to Tasmania.”

Grace shares that Tasmania (an island state of Australia) was a one-of-a-kind destination and a totally new experience for her. From the moment she and husband Dr. Vicente Avanzado stepped on the soil “Down There” breathing in the crisp spring air, they were enthralled. Indeed, the island’s tourism slogan “Come down for air” proved apt because they felt something spell-binding in the air.

The capital city of Hobart sits on the River Derwent with the majestic Mount Wellington as backdrop. Unlike most capital cities that never sleep, Hobart seems to come to a standstill after 7 p.m. when stores close, with the exception of some restaurants. There are no 24-hour convenience stores to speak of. However, it has its famous Saturday Salamanca Market where all kinds of items are on sale—from plants and produce to knickknacks and clothes, to paintings and books. Another attraction is the city’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) with its amazing collection.

The World Heritage Wilderness was the main target of the Avanzados who are into World Heritage sites. This time around, they “customized” every detail of the trip dealing with a local travel agency instead of going with the usual tours. True enough, they experienced a real Tasmanian wilderness adventure in the conservation areas where, Grace says, “There is no cell site, no electricity and no modern plumbing, and we were at the mercy of a guide we just met that day.” “I felt so free walking around in the rain and listening to Clint (the guide) explain the different types of trees, shrubs, and what have you that surrounded us.” Truly a nature trip like no other into the national parks and reserves of Tasmania!

Ann Momongan,

Managing director of Flaneur Travel & Services International

Ann has been traveling a lot because of the industry she’s in but it took sometime before she finally cleared the number one in her bucket list—to see the legendary Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). It was a dream-come-true and an awesome experience for her when she joined the ”Tales of Lapland” tour which brought her to the Arctic region: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

The Aurora Borealis is “a natural light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in high latitude regions.” The lights show up at night when the skies are dark, and Ann says their nightly watch for the magical Aurora Borealis was exciting as exciting could be. Until now, she is at a loss for words to describe the magical sight she witnessed during those cold nights in Norway.

The days were just as heart-stirring because the tour package included a boat ride to the fjords, sledding with huskies and reindeers, ice fishing and more. Another experience she can’t ever forget was staying in a glass-roofed Aurora cabin where she could view the winter wonderland all around!

Cherry Callelero,

Manager - Marketing Phil’s. of Grand Holidays

Cherry writes about the trip that she remembers with so much fondness... “My most memorable travel experience was my trip to France which was my first European sojourn. Anything about France excites me. In fact, I named my daughter France Nicca.”

“Magnificent and historical spots I’ve heard about and read in books came to reality. Finally, I was able to visit the ‘City of Love’—Paris! It was such a thrill seeing the celebrated Paris landmarks, walking down the well-known Champs-Élysées and cruising along the famed Seine River with dinner onboard. And not to forget, the visit to the fabulous Palace of Versailles. I also did not miss the special pilgrimage sites like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré. Definitely etched in my memory was our visit to Lourdes up the Pyrenees mountains, the apparition site of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous.

That first trip to Europe sparked my fascination for joining pilgrim tours and I’ve since gone to other pilgrim sites in Europe and to the Holy Land. A Marian pilgrimage was on sked for me this year but then the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything.”


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