Monday, March 5, 2012

Intrepid Woman Traveler: Bianca Ramos

Bianca hails from Antique, and as early as the age of 10, she wanted to escape the land of cannibals to get a glimpse of Manila. She is a self-made woman. Already living a semi-retired life, she now spends her free time climbing mountains, diving, and volunteering that's why she's been up Mt Apo, down Tubbataha reefs and around the other side of the Philippines--USA. She is fearless as she has been to dreaded Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. 

She lives by G. Santayana's words: "A man's feet must be planted in his country , but his eyes must survey the world."  

Hold your breath as we welcome Bianca J. Ramos:

Hometown Antique. Here she is (right), being boiled as human soup,
in the land of cannibals. *insert eerie music*

A. Age you made your first international trip
Actually, I made my parents crazy when I asked them of my first solo travel, not yet out of the country but from Antique to Manila. Believe it or not, I travelled alone at the age of 10. I have a sister working in Manila and wanted to visit, they wouldn't allow me because nobody is available to accompany me. I told my parents I will do it, so I cried from 7pm to 6am until my eyes were bulging red. And yes my parents came home from work with a round trip for 1 week Negros Navigation Boat ticket . 

My first international trip was Bangkok, Thailand at 18.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where? 
From an old Steam Plant Grill And Restaurant  in Spokane, USA- where beer is freshly brewed.
Of course another one is from Germany, forgot the brand. Not a beer drinker.

enjoying her German beer

C: Cuisine (Favourite)
Asian Food. I practically eat anything, but I love shrimps/prawns and all of the sea food. Sorry ocean friends.

D: Destinations. Favourite. Least Favourite. Why?
I don't have any favorites/least favorite or the one that I don't like, as every destination for me is always an adventure, which gives new experience and perspective of the other world..

E: Event you experienced that made you say ‘Wow’.

The Burning Festival in Black Rock City, Reno Nevada

I like adventure and unconventional travels, so when a friend from California invited me to the festival for a 7-day camping in a challenging environment like a desert, I said yes right away. It is in this festival of radical expression when everyone is free to do whatever they want even a very offensive one. From a conservative country like ours, who would not be shocked with men and women walking  completely naked? Or ride their bikes with t*ts exposed? Even the shocking sex act between gays or couples. But the most amazing thing for me were the gigantic structural arts at the Playa which they burned after the festival. So, when I told friends I've been to one BM festivals, they say "Wow".

Bianca (second from right) with BM friends.

Burning Man structures are burnt after the festival.

F: Favourite mode of transportation
Trains and by foot. I always walk around in  a city during my travels especially here in South East  Asia. The most efficient trains are in Europe, Japan and Singapore.

Train ride in Germany.

G: Greatest feeling while travelling
The adrenaline rush especially when I am lost in a  place or city and people don't care to help.

H: Hottest place you’ve travelled to

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where
Pebble Beach Hotel - Monterey, California - A haven for Golf enthusiast - you feel like you are a member of the club. They have to be the costliest hotel I've ever been to. Thanks to my friends who worked there, I got a discounted rate.

the Lone Cypress. Pebble Beach

J: Journey that took you the longest
I travelled for 4 years, one place after another after I dropped my job in  2005, mostly in the US states and all over the Philippines also because of work and volunteerism.

working as a project volunteer organizer for the
World Heritage Exploration (WWF)
Tubbataha Reef (UNESCO Heritage Site)

Bianca is 3rd from Left.
Hiked and Volunteered Sierra Club (Los Padres chapter)

K: Keepsake from your travels
I always bring home a coffee mug and Hotel keys I sometimes I keep,  and even have an album of it.

L: Let down sight. Why and where? 
Hmmmmm- when I see a lot of homeless people. 

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel
When I was 10 when I decided I have to do a lot of travelling whenever I can.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in
Pebble Beach Hotel.

Cozy and posh Pebble Beach Hotel.

O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling? 
Unique ways of people and children's faces.

Children in Basilan

Orang Asli of Malaysia

P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?
Philippines is still my best travel place, even to the dreaded Basilan and Tawi-tawi islands. Hiking travels up to the highest peak of Mt. Apo.

A lot, more than 100 stamps.

The dreaded Basilan



sweet success at the summit of Mt Apo

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where 
Bubble Gum Alley, San Luis Obispo -  An alley where people stick their bubble gums on the wall. Yucky but amazing how people would do it one after another straight from their mouth. A gum dispenser is located at the entrance so you can get your share

Stick your own bubble gum in this alley
in San Luis Obispo.

R: Recommended sight, event, or experience
Everyplace on the map is worthy of a visit. 

S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over for while travelling

T: Touristy thing you’ve done
Just think about thousands photos in my cabinet - a camera on hand says so

U: Unforgettable travel memory
When I tried to be in a sled for the first time and drop 20 meters down, fell bad and broke my ankle. My heart exploded from fear.  Ouch! (Pilatus, Switzerland), went home limping. A month to recover. Too much adventure can kill. Hehe.

V: Visas. How many of them and for where
Schengen, 10 year US visa, Canadian (expired), China etc. Some, just 1 trip visas visited. 

W: Wine, best glass while traveling and where
Whatever brand of wine as long as I am with somebody who catches my fancy at the moment. I will be  far intoxicated by 1 sip. 

X: Excellent view and from where
Any place I visited.

When I'm on  a plane up before take off and when landing and at the window seat trying to get  a glimpse of the whole city.

Y: Years spent travelling
15 years

Z: Zealous sports fans and where
Not really fond of team sports but I always ride a bicycle going around a city, go hiking or diving with a local friend in every country or place I visited.

Bicycling in Redondo Beach, California

with dive friends (Apo Reef, Mindoro)

hiking Mt Batulao

hiking Mt Mayon

UNESCO  site Tubbataha Reef

wrecks in Tubbataha


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