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I finally did it. I conquered the Philippines (well, sort of). I completed visiting all the 81 provinces in the Philippines. I know it’s not too much and it’s been done by many travelers already but the self-fulfillment is phenomenal. 

Inked by Apo Whang-Od. The tattoo signifies a traveler. The three dots is her signature.

I started this personal project of exploring the Philippines in 2013 when I traveled around the country for 50 days (See PHL50 : Backpacking Around the Philippines in 50 Days). But, for some reasons, I stopped and it was only last month that I decided to continue the project. I was stuck in my 69th for over a year and I thought it’s the right time to fulfill this little dream. 

It was challenging at first as the provinces left are far from each other and some are supposed to be connected geographically but not in terms of road networks.

I started with Sulu to complete the Mindanao provinces then went to Capiz after. I went home for a while and continued my journey about a week later. 

Hello to my 71st! The province of #Capiz. Yung wala kang karapatang magreklamo sa kinalabasan ng larawan kasi nakisuyo ka lang sa mga dumadaang lokal. Hahaha
I took the bus from Davao to Southern Leyte. It was a grueling 25 hours of land travel before I reached my 72nd, the province of Biliran which was also the last province I visited in the Visayas. 
Hello to my 72nd. The island is all mine. Wala pati ang caretaker. Ikaw, kelan ka ba mapapasaakin? Hahaha 

I continued my journey to Luzon and got stranded in Bulan, Sorsogon due to typhoon #LawinPH. When the gail warning was lifted, I visited Masbate then Catanduanes, Marinduque, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro and Tarlac. 

Hello to my 73rd – the island province of #Masbate. It was a challenging journey but I made it here safely. Booked this resort through #airbnb and so far so good. 
The angels brought me here. Hello to my 76th – the province of Oriental Mindoro. Thanks Zerg Montero Capapas for recommending this place. Iikot na tayo sa Mindoro sa susunod kong balik. 

Hello to my 74th – the island province of #Catanduanes. This is what I missed yesterday. Just what I needed to unwind and destress today. Mas maganda daw sa Binurong Point kaso wala na akong energy. Hahaha. Tuloy ang labaaaan! 
Chasing sunset in my 77th – the province of Occidental Mindoro. 
Walang ATV so I went biking here in my 78th – the province of #Tarlac

At first, I wasn’t really sure which province should be my last. With the help of some friends, I finally decided to make Kalinga as my final destination. So, together with my friend Allen, I visited Abra and Apayao as my 79th and 80th respectively. 


Isang makulimlim na hapon mula sa aking ika pitumpu’t siyam – ang lalawigan ng Abra.
I am almost done with my project #PHL81. Isang push nalang. Hahaha. Today, we went caving in my 80th – the province of #Apayao.

Then, we traveled hundreds of kilometers to reach Buscalan to have the highlight of my 81st province. I met the oldest mambabatok in the Philippines and got myself inked. It was extraordinary. I felt honored to be inked by Apo Whang Od. She’s adorable. I witnessed the other side of her. She’s funny and witty.  I think she’s great and she deserves to be awarded as a National Artist. I have so much respect for her. She’s such a wonderful woman.

Getting inked by Apo Whang-Od together is one of the best bonding experiences travel buddies can have. Thanks Albert for joining me in my quest to visit all the 81 provinces in the Philippines. Congratulations din for achieving the same goal. You are one of my inspirations along with Harly, Mervin and other travelers who unlocked the same achievement.#EscapeManila #PHL81 #DreamItPossible 81/81
It was a great decision to end my journey in Kalinga. It was one of the best trips ever. I totally enjoyed every bit of time I had in Buscalan. Congratulations to me, achievement unlocked!

***Photos in Abra, Apayao and Kalinga were taken by Albert Realto. Follow him on instagram at @albertowz. Thank you, Allen for being a great travel buddy!

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