BORACAY

Boracay Philippines

If you are planning to go to Boracay on a solo trip under 4,500PHP for 7 days – then this is for you.

If you are planning to go to Boracay to help the local children – then this is for you. 

I skipped the expensive hotels – I don’t have money for it. I stayed away from the famous island activities snorkeling, diving, sunset tour and parasailing – again, I don’t have money for it.  I went to Boracay with just 4500PHP for a week vacation, all by myself. This is my FIRST SOLO TRIP and no definite plans on my mind. I’ll just sort it out when I get there.

MANILA to BORACAY via KALIBO AIRPORT: 

1. Board a plane from Manila to Kalibo airport.

2. From Kalibo Airport, pay an ALL IN FARE PACKAGE (bus and boat transfer) for 200PHP + environmental fee.

3. When you reach Caticlan, transfer to a boat for another 40 minute ride going to Boracay island.

I did not pay any fee when I reached the Caticlan port but I filled up a form and signed a tourist log-book. It was a smooth ride all the way but I reached Boracay around 11:00 PM.

The island was packed with tourists. I have never seen this much people in a long time. I was stunned. I did not go in the water. Instead, I played with the kids.

I met Andrew, a local 12 year old kid of Boracay. He has been carving the sand for 5 years to help his parents earn a living. He takes any amount of money in exchange for pictures of his masterpiece. At the end of the day, he brings 50PHP – 200PHP home. Just enough to buy rice and fish, and some snacks for school.

Andrew Boracay

On my first day, I gathered the kids and I handed them paper and pens. They did so good with Math. I see a lot of potential in them. All these kids are locals of Boracay. I sat with them for hours and they told me a lot of happy stories.

Kids of Boracay

I also met another boy named Rick. He carves the sand every single day, starting around 4PM to late night. Like Andrew, he is working to help his family.

Boracay

It only takes 30 minutes for Nick to complete a sand art. This boy is an artist in the making. He didn’t mind the heat, not heard a single complain. He was bouncin around, happy and so full of energy.

Boracay

I helped Nick carve the sand. This is something I have never done before.

Boracay

The final result. September 4, 2015.

Boracay

The sunset is pretty in Boracay. I waited to see it along with the crowd. It is one of the best I’ve seen in the country, next to Puerto Galera and Manila Bay.

Boracay

At night, I paid to lit up this sand art for David to see.

Boracay

The Other Side of Boracay

After spending time with the kids, I got so interested with them. I decided to explore the backside of Boracay. I met a lot of people that became the channel for me to reach out to the kids and see their living condition.

I went to see the kids through the help of Pastora Theresa of Sitio Cagban, Manoc-manoc. She is the head of a congregation with the goal to make an impact to the community and put up a day care for the kids who can’t afford to go to expensive schools.

Boracay Food

I saw the kids eat “lugaw” as snack and I thought to myself, maybe I can come back and bring them more foods.

Feeding the Kids

These kids don’t have much but they are genuinely happy.

Boracay Kids

I love how they enjoyed our simple present. A bag that we filled with punch juice, cupcake and some candies. We played some games and told them that we will come back.

HOW DID I SPEND 4,500PHP in BORACAY for 7 DAYS

1. I stayed at FRENDZ for the entire trip. It is a cheap hostel situated in Station 2. I paid 400Php per night for a shared room of 6. That is 2,800PHP for one week. I would never trade this place for anywhere else in Boracay.

2015 Room Rates: OLD

  • Deluxe Room Air conditioned- 1,400PHP per night good for 2 persons
  • Standard Room Fan cooled – 1,000PHP per night good for 2 persons
  • Dorm Fan cooled with shared room and bathroom- 400PHP per night for 1 persons

2019 Room Rates: NEW

  • Deluxe Native Room Air conditioned- 2,400PHP per night good for 2 persons
  • Casa Family Room Air conditioned – 2,400PHP per night good for 4 persons
  • Bed in 5-bed Native Mixed Dorm with shared bathroom- 600PHP per night for 1 persons

Please CONTACT Frendz Hostel Boracay at frendzresort@hotmail.com or visit their website Frendz Hostel Boracay to confirm their latest room rates and amenities.

Frendz Boracay

Every guest gets a FREE pasta on Friday + live entertainment. This has been one of the best nights I had with people from all over the world.

Frendz is the best option for backpackers and everyone going to Boracay on a budget.

Boracay Fun

I bet you don’t want to miss this kind of fun! I had a great time. Go to Frendz and you never have to go out to party.

Frendz Boracay

Everyone that works for Frendz are very friendly and accommodating. Here are some of the Frendz staff that I had the chance to meet and spend time with.

Frendz Staff

2. I basically live by with Andoks and Mang Inasal foods. On some days, I go to McDonalds and food stalls. Two meals a day- lunch and dinner. I don’t eat breakfast. 

3. I did not try any of the water activities but I joined Pubcrawl for 500PHP. 

Pubcrawl Boracay

4. I only bought 200PHP worth of pasalubong from the local vendors – mainly seashells. 

shell puka beach

Cost Breakdown:

  • Transportation: 350PHP
  • Accommodation: 2,800PHP
  • Food: 450PHP
  • Pubcrawl: 500PHP
  • Feeding the Kids: 200PHP
  • Pasalubong: 200PHP

TOTAL: 4,500PHP

I made it work, I don’t know how but I made it work.

The awesome people I worked with to see and feed the kids:

Pastora Theresa Atienza and her husband Rolando Atienza of Church on the Rock Boracay, kuya Gilbert and Josefa from Portugal.

Boracay Frendz

Ate Lowelyn and Mae. They are both great employees of Frendz. They helped me prepare the snack bags to bring to the kids.

Kids of Boracay

Andrew. He is from Australia and also a guest of Frendz. He worked with me to help the kids. He got a little shy and emotional when he saw them.

Random people I met in the trip:

I spent time with the little people but I also had some good time with the big ones.

Puka

Picture above are some of the guests of Frendz that I met during the Free Pasta Night. A simple “Hi” and “Hello” can really go a long way. We all are from different countries that decided to spend time at Puka Beach.

Puka Beach

HOW TO GET TO PUKA BEACH FROM FRENDZ HOSTEL: 

  1. On the main road, look for a tricycle.
  2. Tell the driver to drop you at Puka Shell Beach – a 20 minute ride from Station 2.
  3. Pay 150Php for 3 persons when you arrive at your destination.

The water at Puka Beach is a lot cleaner although the sand is a mixed of shells and small rocks. The beach was spotless, there was hardly anybody in there. There are sheds that you can rent for 50Php and refreshments like shakes and coconuts that you can buy for cheap.

Boracay as you see in Philippine postcards, represented by the finest white sand and golden sunset is not as glamorous on the back side.

Boracay

Boracay

Boracay

But despite the poverty of many locals, you see happiness in their eyes. They have learned to make ends meet in the most creative and unique way.

Boracay Sand

Boracay

I was not greeted by the white sand beach nor the golden sunset but with smiles and warm welcome of the locals. I have never felt so accomplished in all my travels than in Boracay.

Teacher Pam

Boracay

To feed the children, to visit schools and be a teacher for a day, to meet strangers and hang out with them, to help a local vendor sell some snacks, to help a kid carve the sand, to talk to the locals and learn their living situations – they were all not in the plan. But they happened like I was set to travel for a purpose. It was a 4,500Php well spent.

Manoc-manoc

The Kids of Church on the Rock Boracay, Inc.

I am reaching out to everyone to come and visit Boracay. Enjoy the place to the fullest, the fun is endless in this party island. But I also want to ask that you visit the kids of Boracay and for the little money you can give, bring them foods and organize a mini party for them. A little give-back to the community that gives a lot to keep millions of people relaxed and entertained.

You can find these kids at: Sitio Cagban, Brgy. Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island, Malay Aklan 

Please contact Pastora Teresa Atienza through her Facebook messenger. This organization also supports education, so please reach out to Pastora Teresa if you want to sponsor a child in need to go to school.

I went to Boracay with no exact plan, with money that I have to stretch for a week. I was very unsure of how my days would be like but I found something that my heart loves to do. I discovered the reality of the island but I also discovered myself. I may or may not be back but one thing is sure, I had the best 7 days of my life when I was there.

Boracay

CARAMOAN

Caramoan? Where in the world is this place? Caramoan is one of the many remote islands in the province of Camarines Sur. The foreign TV series “Survivor USA” was filmed here, causing a huge change to the tourism and local livelihood of the province. And yes, I made it to this place along with four super gorgeous ladies last 2014, a few months before my wedding. 

IMG_2230

I was just invited to join this trip. The plan was originally made by my friend Joy and her friends. And given the time and budget, I would never say no to travel.

IMG_6946

Travel time? It was long but smooth. A total of almost 3 hours from Manila to the resort.

IMG_6947

40 minute plane ride from Manila to Virac, an hour of motorcycle ride from Virac proper to Codon port in Sabang and another hour boat ride going to Tugawe Cove Resort – what? Was it worth it? A big YES to that.

DSC_0372

We opt to get the 15,000php/5pax with free breakfast. It was a great deal as we get to enjoy not just pure nature but also the good foods. For those looking for a place to meditate or maybe a romantic getaway, Tugawe Cove Resort is the perfect choice.

DSC_0388

DSC_0394

DSC_0389

The 5 of us were all in one cottage. We separate ourselves in these 2 master beds. Hey look at these two lovebirds, ain’t that the sweetest welcome?

IMG_2092

Nature at its finest – this is how I would describe the resort. Rooms are very well maintained, the beach side is very clean, water is so clear and resort staff are all very friendly. Please someone tell me we found a piece of heaven here.

DSC_0398

This infinity pool overlooking the wide ocean is like the cherry on top of the ice cream – it stole my entire heart and soul, I swear. It was so unreal to be here.

DSC_0424

Where does your 3,000php take you? Just picture all of the above + an island hopping tour.

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

Caramoan Philippines

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

We had the island all to ourselves. The sharp odd-looking rocks, the white sand and the crystal clear waters, we have them all to ourselves and that calls for a group jump shot.

Caramoan - Travel and Tell

We ended the day with a small climb to a hill overlooking the entire Caramoan islands. The view was 100% breathtaking.

We never got the chance to visit the exact site where they filmed the Survivor but we have this infinity pool with the best view of the ocean. You can never get enough of this place.

The resort also offers tons of water activities like kayak and jet ski ride.

An alternative to the wide open sea – this tiny pond is much preferable to me. See, even hot momma Joi agrees.

The resort serves meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you should believe me when I say they are the best in the world. I may have to thank these lovely ladies of Tugawe for making our tummies full and happy.

We woke up to realize it was our last day in the island. We are bound to a very long trip going home, 3 hours to take us back to Manila.

But it was also 3 days in this very beautiful place, 3 days of fun and friendship that was built closer than ever. What is 3 hours compared to that?

Stayed at: Tugawe Cove Resort

Days: 3D/2N

Transportation: Plane – Tricycle – Boat

Expense: P3,500

Enjoyed most:  the warm infinity pool overlooking the big ocean

Missed: snorkeling

Overall Impression: 9 stars

Do you have questions about this trip? Did I miss something? Write them down in the comment box!

CAGBALETE

Cagbalete in Mauban, Quezon is popular for its sandbar and ripples during low tide.

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

At around afternoon, you can see the island’s famous sandbar. It appears to me as if I’m looking at a long stretch of diamond glitters.

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

How to Get to Cagbalete from Manila:

1. Take a Jac Liner bus in Buendia, Pasay going to Lucena, Quezon. Bus fare is 225Php. Travel time is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
2. From Lucena bus terminal, transfer to a mini bus that will take you to Mauban port. Bus fare is 40Php and travel time is approximately 2 hours.
3. At Mauban port, pay 50Php environmental fee at the Municipal hall. Find a boat that will take you to Cagbalete Island. Boat fare is 50Php per person and travel time is approximately 1 hour.

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

The sandbar is something I have never seen before – this is so unique to Cagbalete. Fresh sea breeze, pristine sea water and the pines – they all blend so well. No noise, no distraction, just pure nature.

Cagbalete Quezon Philippines

Cagbalete was dubbed as the “Boracay of the Pacific”- I would say Yes to this but a more peaceful, cleaner version of it.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

We stayed at Donia Choleng for a night and paid P2,000 – that didn’t include the meals.

Donia Choleng Room Rates:

  • Island Hut. Good for 15 persons. 5,000Php per Night
  • White Sand Hut. Good for 6 persons. 3,000Php per Night
  • Pacific Hut High-Elevated. Goor for 4 persons. 2,500Php per Night
  • Bali Hut. Good for 4-6 persons. 2,000Php per Night
  • Open Bali Hut. Good for 6 persons. 1,000Php per Night

Cagbalete Island Quezon

The God of the sea has showered us all the luck when we came – good weather and empty island. There was no one other than our group when we arrived.

Cagbalete Island Quezon, Philippines

Cagbalete Island Quezon

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Did you know? This mangrove is over 100 years old according to the local that lived in the island.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

We are the Cagbalete Team Wagi:

Cagbalete Island Quezon

Cagbalete Island Quezon

Cagbalete Island Quezon

Cagbalete Island Quezon

Cagbalete Quezon, Philippines

And the gang!

Cagbalete Quezon, Philippines

I was so stunned by the island’s vibrance. It is one of the most relaxing place I have been.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Could you see yourself chilling under a pine tree and enjoying this view? All for less than 2,000Php – you could have this to live for a day.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

We made a short tour to see the other side of the island.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Looking down, you can see the sand – just pure soft sand. The water is so clear you can see the bottom fish and few little shells.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

Cagbalete Quezon Province

And at the end of the island tour, we treated ourselves with some seafoods.

Cagbalete Quezon Province

And a some volleyball.

Helpful Tips when you Go to Cagbalete:

  1. Avoid weekends and peak season. The island is much nicer when there are less people.
  2. Phone signal is weak so bring your power bank.
  3. Bring enough drinking water and foods as they are expensive in the island.
  4. Watch and sunrise and sunset.
  5. Forget about slippers. Get to feel the sand in your feet.

Cagbalete Quezon

Wish I can stay here forever. This is a dream place come true.

 

OCCIDENTAL MINDORO

I have to take a deep breath with this one – I just don’t know where to start. Apo Reef is so much of a place, I can’t begin to describe it. Imagine this crystal clear water and sea view – all around you, no obstruction!  Somebody please just kill me!

Who said there’s no heaven on Earth? Oh boy, there sure is  – I found one when I found Apo Reef.  All six of us Karen, Tal, Jean, Rochelle and Crystall – we planned our trip to Apo Reef via Cebu Pacific. We opt to take the fastest route to the island:  Manila – San Jose – Sablayan – Apo Island.

IMG_3479

Sablayan market, where we picked our foods for our 1 night stay in the island. Yes, it was a lot of hardwork and tons of stopovers but we made it!

IMG_3481(1)

It was a 12 hour trip to the island from Manila. The longest ride was on the boat going to the island from Sablayan – approx. 4 hours. But that didn’t seem to bother me – the island was so spectacular. It’s like nothing I have seen before!

Welcome to Apo Reef – one of the most preserved reefs in the Philippines situated on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro. The island relies on generator for electricity and there is no safe water to drink.  You can find a couple of military men in the island, paid by the government to watch over the island from illegal fishing.

DCIM148GOPRO

Declared as a protected area, the city government only allowed a number of people to camp in the island – 20 maximum. To be accommodated, you need to call the Apo Reef DENR office and submit your information including flight arrival. You need to do this ahead of time.

We setup our camp and stayed a night at Apo Island. It is the largest island in the Apo Reef and has a lighthouse, white beach, lagoon, mangroves and karstic rock formations.

 

IMG_3534

The lighthouse is something that you shouldn’t miss. It was actually the main reason of why I joined this trip – I read blogs about this island and the pictures of overlooking view from the lighthouse had left me speechless. I couldn’t believe that such place exists.

IMG_3629

It wasn’t an easy climb to the top as the wind was blowing and I feel like I was holding a thousand pound camera. But we reached the peak and it was heaven. This was our view for 3 hours – I feel like I’m just an inch away from the sky, so magnificent!

What could be better than a selfie in this exact spot?

DCIM148GOPRO

IMG_3566(1)

And the backside view of the lighthouse where we watched the sunset. You can see the lake in the photo.

DSC_1508

We stayed until sundown and the view was out of this world! The night offered us a sight of countless sparkling stars like I have never seen before in my life. The sky was just so full of them and it felt like a fairy tale!

IMG_3610(1)

Our second day in the island was just as glorious as day one. We were greeted by the most beautiful sunrise ever!

IMG_3637(1)

With the fresh sea breeze and smell of coffee, I’m done! If not of the clean drinking water, I’m staying here!

DSC_1440

Being the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the Philippines, it is not surprising to see a vast ecosystem of marine life in Apo Reef.

IMG_3489(1)

Under this boat are corals and fishes. I’m hoping to find Nemo and sea turtle at this very time.

DSC_1464

A group photo please!

APo Reef team

And me!

DSC_1453(1)

I needed this picture so bad, I didn’t care about the sun eating up my skin.

DSC_1547(2)

And another one – what can I do, the happy kid inside me won’t just go! And oh, don’t forget to try the longest island to island zipline in Asia before you say bye-bye to Sablayan. It’s one of the coolest things to experience for 500PHP or $10.

IMG_3727(1)

G0534636(1)

Another dream unlocked. It took a while for me to switch back to reality after leaving Apo Reef. And did I just forget the underwater marine life? It’s another story. For now, all I can say is beautiful – the island and reef was beautiful, the locals were beautiful and the experience was priceless.

IMG_3704

Here’s to share our breakdown of expenses – for a group of 6. Prepared by Karen’s angels.

apo reef it

Accommodation: Tent set up at Apo Reef Island

Days: 2D/1N

Transportation: Plane, van and boat

Expense: P5,480

Enjoyed most: The overlooking view from the lighthouse

Missed: The famous sea turtle of the island

Overall Impression: 10 Stars

Do you have questions about this trip? Did I miss something? Write them down in the comment box!

MALAYSIA

Malaysia

It was a quick drop to Malaysia before our plane sends us to Singapore and I was totally blown away by the rush of people – of different colors and of different languages. If not of the translations and symbols, I probably have lost myself.

And it starts to get to me – I am totally far away from the Philippines – heading to somewhere where I could be foreign.

*AirAsias main hub is in Malaysia – at this airport.

IMG_9483

IMG_9476

IMG_9490

The trip to Johor Bahru – Malaysia was supposed to be part of our tour package from Reliable Travel and Tours but they pulled out the place’ inclusion as we fall short of number 2 days before our trip. The close proximity of Singapore to Johor Bahru – we crossed the country for 30 minutes by bus – has intensified my eagerness to see the place even just for 4 hours and even without the tour – YES 4 hours was all I got for Malaysia with travelmate Rejolene, good friend Rey and my sheet of paper with the 12 places we could possibly enjoy.

Honestly, I know nothing of the place, haven’t even done long hours of research – all I’m certain is it’s near Singapore and I have to see it.

So what my short visit to Johor Bahru has dashed me into?

1.The Town.

IMG_0332

IMG_0367

2. The Hindu Temples.

Temple it is!

IMG_0335

IMG_0363

IMG_0344

I could have took a lot more photos but I was a bit disturbed by the arrival of Indians and their suspicious stare – OPS!

3. The Foods.

Local dishes in Johor Bahru could almost appear entirely the same as the one’s we have at home if not of the added spices. With noodles to get first on the menu, their list can be a challenge to your active taste buds.

IMG_0322

4. The Structures.

While it’s true that each place has its own beauty and attraction, Johor International Convention Centre could be just a perfect welcome to someone who doesn’t know where to go.

IMG_0378

5. The People.

These creative caricaturists have impressed me with their talent to create an outstanding colored sketches amidst the noisy and curious crowd. As I glanced to how quick and detailed their brush has laid on the thin sheet of paper, I was thinking of getting my own piece too. *suyaon.com ko diri. But time was short so ba-bye caricature.

IMG_0391

LEGOLAND MALAYSIA

We opted to visit Legoland Malaysia – a famous theme park in Johor Bahru from among all the remaining temples on my list. The $15MR taxi fare and approximately 10-minute drive wasn’t that bad as I get to see not only the lively side of the town but also the mix of various races.

IMG_0392

For interested adventure-goers, other prices and tickets are FOUND HERE.

That was the entire 4 hours of our visit to Johor Bahru – quick but fulfilling. As we pushed ourselves to our smooth return to Singapore, there comes my smile again as I get stamps from crossing 2 borders just in one day.

We were supposed to spend the remaining hours in Sentosa – to pursue our plans to go inside Universal Studios but the long line and limited time have detoured us to Chinatown – the famous pasalubong area for all those who are skimping on their budget,

IMG_0420

We ended the day here and returned home exhausted but happy.

Special Thanks:

1. Ang Super Maasahan Friend – Rey

IMG_0348

2. My Travelmate Rejolene

IMG_0326

Travel Tips:

1. Don’t get a tour – you can go around the place with the taxi or better yet walk.

2. Go to Woodlands MRT station to catch a ride to Johor Bahru – bus fare is $3.

3. Legoland is much less than Universal Studios – so decide wisely whether to go inside and pay almost the same price as Universal.

4. Walk the town – it is more fun.

5. Fashion is not too much in the place – so your jeans and shirt might just be right.

6. Have your passports ready for another set of stamps.

7. ENJOY – it’s fun to stroll a place you know nothing about.

IMG_0401

MalaysiaDays: 1 day (4 hours to be exact)

Transportation: Bus

Expense: 2,000

Enjoyed most: Walking without any hints of where to go and how

Missed: Legoland

Overall Impression: 8 stars

SINGAPORE

Finally it’s not the turquoise Philippine beach or another rocky shore – I made a quick switch to explore the city lifestyle and its grand offers – to where the millionaires make billions and more – Singapore!

To tell you, no city has ever impressed me. The still and lifeless sights of buildings, the playful lights and bursting sounds may be surprisingly astounding to some but they aren’t entertaining to me. These attractions seem not even half to compete with the beautiful white-sand beaches I always bring myself to. But who would ever say NO to Singapore for Php2,500 AirAsia airfare? Parang local flight lang!

So here’s the famous shot: MERLION at One Fullerton – Singapore

IMG_0586

With so much love to beaches, I almost forgot to get a good round to places that might as well provide me a new experience. My passport has laid flat inside my cabinet and there was my lonely self asking: Kanus-a man tika magamit passport??Kung expire na lage ka??

I booked a flight and arranged a tour: Tri-city Tour (Singapore – Malaysia – Indonesia) costing Php10,500 for 3N/4D. 

Welcome to Singapore.

Singapore

The initial plan was to go with Ms. Wayne and Rejolene but it turned out to be just me and Rej with Ms. Wayne to attend to some important matters – this lovely lady has something good to get soon in exchange of her failed trip with us.

It was my first time to travel out of the country!

So why Singapore? I haven’t set a special preference of which country to go. However, with the opportunity of cheap fare and availability of the tour to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – I was certain I’ll get off soon!

Singapore doves

To travel Singapore is to take good captures of its highly-acclaimed architectures and gardens – that’s the norm. But when I finally arrive to the place – seeing the different races, the unique designs of buildings and the lively mix of lights at night – I got the instant feeling that I would be getting more of what my camera can hold – and there’s the smile on my face.

See how these impressive and eye-popping Singapore pride may just get you to go:

1. Changi Airport

Proclaimed as the World’s 2nd Best Airport both in 2012 and 2013 – what more would you expect inside this well-structured building? I was like a lost child bouncing and dancing while leading my steps out the door – I couldn’t get enough of everything inside the airport.

Singapore Airport

welcome to Singapore

Each corner, if not directions are great pieces of engineering artworks that are uniquely crafted for a great welcome. Dust and mark-free, well-lighted and organized – this airport is truly deserved of what it claims – world-class!

2. High-end Condominiums

Contemporary condominiums are all over Singapore, they are a common scene. With a small land area of 710 km², people have no way to build their homes flat on the ground but rent the expensive rooms which cheapest could cost $6,000 SGD – $10,000 SGD a month. Price may go higher as you choose a more advanced, city-centered and spacious living space.

Singapore

This one in Orchard is among the most expensive condominiums in the country costing more than $50M SGD. Singapore is absolutely squatter-free. Everyone has got a good sizeable room from managers to janitors. *Prepare enough cash for your ACCOMMODATION if you got no one to stay in Singapore – it’s the highest expense to eat up your budget.

3. Architectures

For a first-world country, high-rise buildings may just be expected. I’ve seen a couple of good ones in Makati and Global City – fair enough we got ours too. But what sets Singapore architecture to “what seems common” to me is ABSOLUTELY the DESIGN of these competing skylines.

Singapore

They’re absolutely beautiful – I could just die – overness.com.nes. I never have adorned a city before but Singapore – it was such a unique charm to see human artworks and nature perfectly combined. Dirt-free and noise-free, I could just sit here forever and watch the day go by.

Singapore

Singapore

MARINA BAY SANDS – Inside Marina Bay Sands is this man-made river patterned to what Venetian Hotel in Macau is known of. Wow, Macau ikaw ba yan? Drown yourself to shopping and to all other pleasures – top-notch brands and everything you imagine are inside this huge – modernly crafted structure. For shopping-addicts, this might just be your heaven on Earth.

Singapore

GARDENS BY THE BAY is one of the most famous attractions in Singapore connected to Marina Bay Sands by just a short Lions bridge. If you are on the MRT, just drop at the Bayfront MRT station. If you get lost, don’t worry you have all the directions to follow or just simply let the flock of people carry you – it’s more fun!

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is the home to attractions including the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, The Supertrees, The Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, Dragonfly Lake and Garden Cruiser. Note * access to the outdoor gardens at Bay South is free while admission charges apply to the Cooled Conservatories and OCBC Skyway for $12/adult and $8/child.

Gardens by the Bay

GIANT FLYER – A quick snap of the Giant Observation Wheel at early 6:00am.

GIANT FLYER AT NIGHT

SENTOSA – A trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without the visit to Sentosa. This place have probably been captured by millions and enjoyed by thousands – not too much of myself as I’m not a fan of rides and theme parks. The entire place is extremely entertaining with corners in full colors and merry-making. You have 2 ways to get there from Harbour Front MRT Station:

1. take the Sentosa Beach Tram

2. take Sentosa Express: Beach Station.

Universal Studios Singapore is becoming the most popular highlight of Sentosa with more than 10 high-budgeted attractions including Skyride and Climbmax. Admission is $69.90/adult and $53,90/child – valid for 1 day 9am – 7pm.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Songs of the Sea brings you a mesmerizing show with a life cast and dramatic effects like pyrotechnics, water jets, brilliant lasers, special computer imaging, stunning flame bursts and captivating music. Ticket price is $12 and showtime starts at 7:40pm and 8:40pm ONLY.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

The show was spectacular, only that it’s short and quick. We were comfortably sitted at the center row and getting a good view of everything. I could only imagine my younger self captivated by the lights and sounds that appeared and moved together – it was a delight.

4. Foods

If you are rooting for some authentic Asian cuisines then heading to Singapore may just be the perfect thing to do. Served hot and mostly spicy, the country has different varieties of foods from noodles to soups. Indulge to the flavorful Singaporean dishes for prices ranging from $4 – $10. *carenderia price. Anyways, try chicken rice for $3 – I had and liked it a lot.

Singapore

I also noticed a line of stores selling durian. If you think Filipinos are wild about it, just think about this picture.

DURIAN

Singaporeaan Foods

Singapore Foods

Ice cream in bread. Plain but good-flavored street-food that we quickly grabbed while leaving One Fullerton to catch another train ride at Esplanade MRT station. The bread was just as tasty as the mango-cheese flavored ice-cream. Definitely a must-try for $2.

bread with ice cream

5. The People

My eyes were rolling to the different sights while walking around Bugis street but my mind was in full wonder to how would I connect to these people who look and speak entirely different than me – then I start to feel strange – I’m not in my country.

Singapore

Singapore holds 5.3 million people yet the variations of races appear to be greater than this population. Though locals are friendly and kind, I still feel confined with the fact that “I am not from this place”. Most of the people in Singapore are Chinese and not all can understand English. Despite this, Singaporeans are very disciplined and organized – reflected on their clean and safe country. They live a fast-paced lifestyle with no time to waste. You see elderly locals as old as 70 to still do simple jobs to earn a living – dependency is quite a shame.

Singapore

Singaporean Lady

The amount of Indians in the area could almost get me lost – I was imagining Singapore to be only for white Asians. Nevertheless, their existence has made the country even more interesting. They were the ones to give us more help in getting to places – thank you.

Indian Kid

One can stroll the busy street of Bugis and find this tight avenue with all different things to see and buy. It was hard to get through the crowd as we hope to find a reliable money exchanger. *I have my PHP exchanged to SGD in Singapore.

Singaporeans

6. The Culture and Religion

Behind the competing structures are well-preserved temples that tied down Singapore into its roots. This Hindu temple on the corner of Bugis avenue was loaded with praying locals and there I was on the side admiring them.

Singapore Chinese Writings

Singapore religion

Temple in Singapore

Another city highlight is definitely this Chinese Temple masked by the tall mega-structures at Telok Ayer St – accessible through Raffles Place MRT Station. Filled with a glittering Golden Buddha and all other Chinese religious relics and Gods, the place is a living reminder of the rich and interesting Chinese culture. A must-visit!

Chinese Singapore

Chinese Temples

7. The Transportation

The subway transport of Singapore is a thing to admire in the country – tourist-friendly, clean, huge and fast. Almost all stations are connected to huge shopping malls – please don’t get too tempted. To save some cash on the transportation expense, we decided to get the ONE-DAY pass for $25 with $10 refundable (tourist privilege) which you can claim at Changi Airport. *Tourists are granted 7% discount on purchases higher than $100SGD.

card reader for this bus

Travel is a breeze with the wide highways to accommodate all types of vehicles. Singapore is traffic and smoke-free. However, annual road tax is expensive in the country – granting only those few privileged to own and operate a car.

riding their train

8. The National Orchid Garden

I know someone who would do anything just to switch places with me at this very moment – Mama. From the Orchard town, we get to the taxi for $13 to reach this place.

Orchid Garden

Orchard isn’t only the shopping location of Singapore but also the home of these beautiful and colorful orchids. With giant orchid laboratories to secure their growth and speed-up their propagation, this place could almost make you feel out of Earth.

White Orchids

IMG_9812

Orchids of different varieties thrive around each corners. I’ve never been around to so much flowers like this before – they were all in full-bloom when we had our visit. We could see the butterflies kiss them gently as they hop from one stalk to another – they are all lovely to the eyes. Entrance fee is $5/adult and $1/student with 8:30am – 7:00pm daily service.

Orchids Singapore

9. The Chinese Garden

It was about to go dark when we decide to rest at Chinese Garden – a park situated at Jurong East where the best sunset can be seen. The place is so relaxing with the combination of Asian architectural features to nature. Apart from its clean, airy ambiance, you could see the trimmed plants giving colors to the tall pagodas – making Singapore well-worth to be called a “City in a Garden”.

Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden

This silent place is surrounded by statues of the most influential Chinese philosophers and scientists with some I recognized as Confucius and Mulan. And as I dragged myself closer to each of the replicas, it got me thinking “When will I have mine?”

Chinese Garden

Our last hours in Singapore was spent inside this park as we waited for the sun to hide. It was a dramatic moment to savor as we continue the good conversation with our selves laying lazy on the flat soft grass.

It was indeed a life-changing travel that I was happy to pursue. Thank you God.

And to the best PEOPLE I owe this trip:

1. MY COUSIN and HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE and KIDS

Kuya Dennis

Kuya Den – THANK YOU so MUCH for all the best treats given especially for the shelter and company. Your guide and presence has helped us enjoy this trip a lot better than our arranged tour. SALAMAT kaau Kuya – see you soon in Bohol!

2. My best amiga CHARLINE.

Cha THANK YOU and sa imung madamdamin at nakakatawang stories. HAHA..I’ll never forget Orchard and the fun we had as we walk those busy streets. You’ve given me so much to bring home – you’re a friend to keep. ENJOY your athletic days out there – balika sad tawun mi diri pag may time!

Chinese Garden

3. My Travel Buddy – REJOLENE!

REJ – for every struggle – nawala at nagutum na tayo at lahat lahat na – SALAMAT! It was fun to travel with you kahit nadala kana sa di ko pagpasok sa Universal Studios – haha! It was fun to have you as my big ate! Thank you for the guide and patience – I’ll always remember all your advices. More travels for us!

my travel buddy

My Short Travel Tips to Singapore:

1. Don’t get a tour package. You can always go around SG all by yourself.

2. For GIRLS, forget your jeans – wear your skirts. Ladies there are just so in-love with skirts so better be in.

3. Forget the TAXI – experience MRT – it will give you a challenging experience.

4. Get the EZ-Link card to get to the public transportations. Load it with $20 and your 5-day train and bus transport is saved.

5. Be always on the left especially when riding the escalator.

6. Just bring enough of cash – it’s not too expensive there if you have someone to stay with.

7. Ask and just ask – you will never be lost.

How would I ever forget this trip? Never in my entire life.

When everything with working online gets me entirely bored, I bring myself back to this travel where I get myself a pleasant treat. With this confinement comes the great desire of stepping out and achieving something bigger and bolder.

GET OUT – EXPLORE – its a HUGE PARADISE out there – I’m just HAPPY I DID!

Singapore

Stayed at: Hotel 81 Geylang 20 Lorong 16 Geylang, Geylang, Singapore and Parc Vista Condominium – Lakeside

Days: 6N/7D

Transportation: Airasia Airbus via Malaysia

Expense: P15,000

Enjoyed most: The stroll to the busy Singapore streets and the locals

Missed: Universal Studios

Overall Impression: 10 stars

 

VIGAN

I haven’t had a chance to see my grandfather as he passed away a decade before I was given birth – he is a pure Ilocano born in 1890s. Ocol’s were originally from Ilocos and I haven’t been in the place nor know any relative in the area. When the F8 group has finally settled to visit Vigan and Pagudpud, I instantly included myself in the list, excited to discover the pride of the northern region and hopefully a family trace.

IMG_5064

It was around 1:00am when we leave Manila for an 8-hour drive to Ilocos. I couldn’t almost make it to the meeting place (SM Trinoma) as I was trapped in the heavy traffic of EDSA. Luckily, I was advised by the bus driver to take the MRT as the town was packed with people leaving for the November 1-3 holiday – whew, that was a relief!

This entire tour was organized by GAFA Travel and Tours with the following inclusion:

Expense: 3,600/head for a group of 14.

Day 1: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
1. Visit to San Agustin Church – Bantay Bell Tower – Chavit Singson Baluarte – Crisologo Museum and Vigan Pottery
2. Sightseeing to Marcos Mausoleum – Paoay Church – Paoay Lake – Paoay Sand Dunes

Day 2: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
1. Visit to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse – Bangui Windmills – Kapurpurawan Rock Formation – Blue Lagoon and Bantay Abot Cave
2. Trek to Kabigan Falls and Quick Stop at Patapat Bridge

Day 3: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
3. A Visit to Vigan Heritage Village – Souvenir Shops and Empanadahan

Quite a lot of interesting spots to visit, huh? Like how I always feel every travel, I was very excited. And sitting in front of the van makes everything even more comfortable as I got this wide access to the outside sights as we travelled along.

And off to Ilocos we go! The first stop? Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

We arrived in Vigan at around 6a.m and instantly ready for a set of picture taking.

INTRO

And here’s to greet you a good morning: Bantay Bell Tower.

IMG_4941

Bantay is a town next to Vigan which houses a Spanish-old belfry. The tower is situated on top of a hill approximately 10 feet – overlooking the peaceful Bantay town. This magnificent historic structure was built by the Augustinian Missionaries in 1591 as part of the San Augustine church nearby. It was so amazing to be able to climb this 400-year old masterpiece as you see and feel the bricks, rocks and even seashells on its walls. It’s said that there were only minor restorations done, mainly on the stairs and the rest of the parts were preserved as how they were built.

IMG_4966

Above the tower were spots for 6 average-sized bells and a single huge bell used every church mass. Unfortunately, 4 of the original bells were removed as the tower could no longer sustain the weight due to age.

We need to fill in our empty stomach before we get into the real battle so here’s a taste of good breakfast everyone – Kainan NA!

IMG_5004

Ilocos region, I would say is one of the most popular origins of many influential and powerful names in politics and showbiz including Gov. Chavit Singson.

IMG_5058

For those who love to get near tigers, parrots and some cute interesting animals, I suggest you visit BALUARTE. This zoo is open everyday from 7am – 6pm with FREE entrance and FREE rides. Let’s jump for JOY sa free entrance and rides – YEHEY!

IMG_5039

An eye-catcher inside a place where everything seems to walk, chew and fly. Another expensive collection Gov. Singson?

IMG_5067

A not-to-miss historical spot in Vigan is the famous museum owned by the mighty and wealthy Crisologo family.

IMG_5068

This ancestral home invites both calm and mysterious ambiance. Every corner is a reminder of the family’s past as they are filled with memorabilia and private collection of religious figures.

Inside the home’s kitchen were these “rare-to-find” cooking tools. It’s said that only rich families can afford these types of kitchen materials at those times, which then concludes the Crisologo as being among the prominent clans in Ilocos.

IMG_5105

Not far from where the big and old mirror stands were black-and-white photos of the family and their events.

IMG_5086

As soon as you take your steps into the dusty staircase, there’s a couple of family collections beautifully hanged and framed including these antique chandeliers.

Vigan Ilocos

 

Everything inside this historic museum has pulled me back to times when everyone’s into slow retro and love letters. And deep inside me, I have felt a lot blessed to have seen and experience a piece of Vigan’s past. And I know there’s still more for me to see.

IMG_5123

Another interesting spot to not miss in Vigan is this pottery where you can see pot makers in action. Can I bring home one of these for FREE?

IMG_5127

Oh walang kukurap – heto na si Manong Potmaker para ipakita kung pano gawin ang mga pots. Everyone: Wow – ang galing, palakpakan!

Vigan Pottery

 

And here’s what Vigan is mostly known for: OLD SPANISH HOMES

Vigan is among my most desired destinations due to its scenic Spanish ancestral homes. I could only imagine dressing myself with those long and elegant Filipiniana gowns with a piece of umbrella and finely woven fan as I walk this narrow and quite avenue.

IMG_5869

Every corner of Vigan is a powerful reminder of the rich and warm Filipino culture tens of decades ago. Your hours of exploration in the area gets you deeper to how the entire community have gloriously thrived to create a peaceful and historic site.

IMG_5891

Imagine going back to the era where the only lights you can find at night are lamps and the circling fireflies – amazing! There’s probably over a hundred ancestral homes preserved in the area, making this slow yet elegant city a major favorite to both foreign and local tourists . Vigan is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO last December 2, 1999 and has an annual visit of 10,000 tourists a year.

IMG_5935

The roads are short and narrow, perfect for all-day walking. Your eyes will be entertained by the Spanish homes dated as early as 1600s. There are Kalesa that you can pay for around P150.00 to tour you around the small city but walking can give a lot more fun especially if you are in a group.

IMG_5930

Our time was limited so we never wasted the remaining hours. We reached the center of the town just a couple of minutes na lakaran galore. It was amazing to discover how the city has remained intact despite the change of time. There were food (McDo, Jolibbee and KFC) and bank establishments (BDO, BPI and Unionbank) settled in different corners but traces of Spanish colonial period were still evident through the building’s window and wall designs.

IMG_6023

We went to their Empanadan station, the famous delicacy of Ilocos but ended up not eating but JUMPING.

IMG_5861

I heard that it’s a lot beautiful at night in Vigan as they start to fill the village with lamp lights. Too bad, we weren’t able to witness this sight as we were scheduled to head back to Manila at 4pm.

My visit to Vigan has been a lot more fun and extraordinary due to my college friends who took the time and effort to fly all the way from Iligan just for this tour. Thank you F8 and all the ampons! It was fun to have you all.

IMG_4993

Vigan is very mystical. And if you’re fascinated to learning how the Philippines has started, get a touch and experience of how the northern locals have spent the Spanish colonization, then this is the place to visit.

And as for my grandfather, this entire Ilocos trip is for you. I may have failed to see you but I wasn’t late to experience a piece of what you had. I hope that one of those steps I had were once your steps too.

IMG_6013
Vigan, Ilocos Sur

More exciting reads in Pagudpud post.

Stayed at: Laoag Parklane Hotel

Days: 3D/2N

Transportation: Van

Expense: P4,000

Enjoyed most: the stroll around Vigan town

Missed: a conversation with locals and hearing their native language

Overall Impression: 9 stars

GAFA Travel and Tours on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAFAtours

See my Pagudpud post HERE.

SIQUIJOR

Often regarded as the island of thousand witchcraft activities, the boundaries of Siquijor are either loved or feared. Long before the stunning postcards of white sand beaches and thick forest of this silent island were stories of creepy rituals and black magic, driving away unbrave travellers including me. But when you have so much itch to explore places and meet locals, no fear can ever move you, even the thought of possibly being around the presence of “mangkukulam” on a full moon – well, they say.

For 2,500 airline ticket, my best travel mates Lady Christine and Coleen have geared up *not with bawang but our pieces of bags and camera as we, once again, head to another adventure and seek of truth.

Siquijor, where would I start telling everyone how beautiful you are?

Siqujor Island

The island at a glance may look a bit like the rest we’ve been – clean and natural. But as our tricycle traveled us to each and every edges, we slowly discovered a paradise masked by the tall trees and green rice fields.

Siquijor island is a home not of witches but beautiful, almost surreal, turquoise beach water. It’s a home not of racing jeepneys but bicycles and motorbikes. An island that preserves simplicity of living and family ties – an island far to be feared.

Siquijor with Friends

Siquijor is not populated. No food chains – famous Jollibee and McDonalds aren’t there. No shopping malls and absolutely no drinking bars. Churches are evenly distributed in the island. You could still see homes from strong bamboo sticks and nipa alongside the well-paved roads. Beach water – beautiful. Locals? Even more beautiful – you see them farm or fish.

The place is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve visited in this country. And here’s more to tell you why:

1. The rich vast forest.

The island is wrapped with different shades of trees – even the ones that have lived for over 500 years.

This balete tree alongside the road of Larena is one of the most popular attractions in Siquijor. Apart from being obviously old, the bottom of the thick intertwining trunks is the home of playful small fishes. One could just lay lazy on the side and have their feet being played by the colorful tiny swimmers.

Balite Siquijor

The water is cold and fresh. It’s not deep but something about the cloudy bottom is scary. See it yourself when you visit Siquijor.

IMG_8090

See how this huge tree had made us all feel so small?

2. Convents and Churches

One thing about the island is sure – it is a home of beautiful churches.

Siquijor convents

Just across the Lazi convent is an old church which was constructed in mid 1800s by Augustinian recollects. The church structure looks so calm and still while the trimmed grass is an absolute beauty.

Siquijor ChurchesThe area is so peaceful. You hear the birds and the gentle local conversations, very laid-back. Siquijodnons are Bisayans and they are very warm and friendly.

3. The Foods

Who would thought that inside this silent island are foods as good as those in metro? You can still have a share of delicious vegetables and meat dishes served hot and well-presented.

foods SIquijor

You can have a meal for as low as Php120 including a cold drink or coffee. For seafoods, you can get them for Php120 per serve.

seafoods Siquijor

For this tasty grilled squid – it was worth the Php150 for our hungry tummy and excited tongue. Foods are fantastic in the island. Clean water is never a problem.

Siquijor bread

For all those wandering for a good restaurant – you can never find one in Siquijor. Just as you imagine a fine dine with wines and private butler, I hope you consider a dinner, barefoot on the seaside much more beautiful and romantic or even this hot soft bread alongside the road – more fun for Php5 each!

4. The Oldest House in Siquijor – Cang-Isok House

Old and dull as it looks but this house is nearly 200 years old. It has battled a hundred storm and faced strong waves a thousand time yet it stood strong. The Cang-Isok house, popular for being the oldest house in the island was built in 1800s.

old larena house Siquijor

Due to age and environmental damage, the roof was rebuilt but the family chose to keep the other parts intact. Situated just a few steps from the main road – this century-old house can either stun you or bring you a different feeling. I walked into the other side, my curious eyes laid closely to the old weak posts and wall – they all seemed fine and normal but we did not stay long.

5. The Cambugahay Waterfalls

What makes this trip extra fun was this short stop to Cambugahay waterfalls. I once thought of white-sanded beaches and “rots rots daw na mangkukulam” about Siquijor – never of waterfalls. I wasn’t expecting that there is one in the island.

Waterfalls Siquijor

The water is clean and clear – the green color is very inviting. The mix of warm and cold is perfect for anyone to plunge or soak all day long. I would agree to return here for an all-day swim though I missed the jump that Lady did repeatedly.

waterfalls Siquijor

The sound of the dropping water can put you to sleep. The trees are all fresh and soothing. As I sit down under the cool shade to see my friends all having fun, I was also enjoying the ripe sinegwelas I bought for Php10 from a local child – it was a good time.

Siquijor Cambuhagay Falls

6. The Hot Spring and Marine Sanctuary

“Naa na ta Ma’am”, the tricycle stopped into the side of the road that looks so ordinary. “Subay lang mo anang dalan, diri lang ko maghulat”. And yeah, we followed the wooden path and what welcomed us was a very relaxing and beautiful seaside view.

Siquijor hot spring

Each of these steps will guide you going to a small eatery house with karaoke. If not of the noise from the big speaker box, I could have just lived here all my life. Covered by the seaweeds are tiny fishes and sea urchins.

Siquijor hot spring

The distant view of the sleeping mountains and green bakawans are all so relaxing. So this is the Guiwanon Spring Park – a place you should never miss in Siquijor.

Siquijor hot spring

We spent our last hours in this hot spring – the one I remembered the most. The entire place can make you feel the real magic of nature working for us – it is extraordinary! The water coming from the ocean and the spring makes it a good mix of hot and cold. The uneven bottom is sandy. You lay here surrounded by bakawans, hear the water rush from the shore, feel the warm water – it was heaven for a minute.

Siquijor hot spring

Guiwanon spring park also offers overnight accommodations for Php750. If you think about being extra romantic to your special someone, the place can do the work for you.

7. The Beach

I don’t have the words to describe Siquijor beach water – I just had that feeling of being able to reach my dream place and I am extremely impressed. I couldn’t say a thing.

Siquijor white sand beach

Water so clean – sand so soft. The stretch of white sand reminds me of why I love to be in the shore so much.

Siquijor white sand beach

Every island has its own beauty to surprise you and Siquijor has done me a lot of surprising. I would give it 10 stars for being so beautiful.

Siquijor white sand beach

I’ve never seen a water as clear and clean as this – the mix of blue and turquoise green was WOW! Climp jumping is perfect here. I never tried. I am not a master of swimming but Lady!

Friends Friends Friends!

Yes, you see them most on my travels – I am dependent on this two! They are the best to walk me through the places I am excited to go. Coleen and Balingling – you know I love you both and my kisses and hugs are all for you.

Siquijor Island road trip

Siquijor is mystical that it makes you think how nature could blend so well into this small land. I had my days and I have my camera to prove that the place is more than the witches and magics we think about Siquijor. I am a lover of nature – head over heels inlove with beaches and Siquijor had made me do a bit more.

Pamela Jane Ocol Siquijor
Siquijor – May 2013

Siquijor is my 2nd best island in the Philippines and will be so excited to return here.

Stayed at: –

Days: 3D/2N

Transportation: Plane, Ferry and Tricycle

Expense: P6,000

Enjoyed most: the entire of Spring Park experience

Missed: CLIFF JUMP *sobber

Overall Impression: 9 Stars

PUERTO PRINCESSA

Yes, was burned by the scorching heat and exhausted from Coron’s tour but my mind and body still wouldn’t want to stop from exploring the rest of Palawan’s best. 45-minute plane ride from Coron awaits another magnificent nature blessing, another Philippine pride to the world. Just look how beautiful the island is from top.

IMG_0009

Palawan holds one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or locally known as the Palawan’s Undeground River. Curious about what made it to the top, I booked a flight not to El Nido but to Puerto Pricessa for P1,200/person!

IMG_0015

Weather was fair when we arrived and super sarap ng hangin. Palawan is one of the cleanest provinces I’ve visited, walang kalat in short. Everything is just wonderful in the place from people to foods and of course, the sceneries.

IMG_0019

Palawan – One of the National Geographic’s Top 20 Best Destinations in the World for 2011! Naman and couldn’t agree more. Puerto Princessa, the capital city of the province is blessed with so much of nature and people. Lahat amazing and super sarap sa mata.

Our Tour Story (Bow):

IMG_0023

This entire trip was arranged by Audissie Pension Hous. *thanks Bayoi for the recommendation. Check website for cheap Puerto Princessa tours and packages.

Our first stop? Honda Bay. Going to Honda Bay, me and David were entertained by various native shops that are selling wooden crafts for a cheap price. I got my share of carved wooden sun for only Php200 for 2, YAY sulit na sulit, perpek!

IMG_0025

The famous Honday Bay at the back, very calm and beautiful!

Palawan Philippines

Palawan Philippines

Palawan Philippines

I can feel na malapit na talaga kami sa Underground River ng magsisulputan na ang mga limestone caves. Palawan got a couple of them, making the place even more unique and a must-see.

FOODs Palawan

It wasn’t only our eyes that was fully treated but also our hungry tummy. The tour staff has served us the most delectable foods, super perfect pang-lunch. Not far from where we were sitted was this amazing and relaxing ocean view.

Palawan Philippines

After an hour of lunch, we were called to prepare for our next drop: Underground River na!

Palawan Philippines

This is what I came here for, super amazing talaga si Nature! The sand was soft and the water was crystal green. Our boat dropped us at this exact spot and we have to walk a few meters more to reach the cave. Excite na excite na ako sa point na to..tug tug tug!

Palawan Philippines

Ta Dah...Welcome boys and girls! At eto pa si Mr. Bayawak. Kung naa pani sa amuang dapit, sure ko sud-an nani!

IMG_0118

IMG_0120

We walked a few steps to finally reach the cave! In my mind, ano nga kaya talaga ang nasad loob nya? Ba’t nga kaya xa nasali sa 7 wonders?

IMG_0144

 

IMG_0129

Water was cold and tide was getting high. Super green ng tubig and sometimes around 3pm, mi-rainbow pa daw na sumusulpot. WOW, can I have this view in our home too? Kakawala ng pagod! I was so exhausted but delighted when we finally arrived here.

IMG_0162

THE SAD PART: my Canon camera has stopped working when as we sailed deeper inside the cave, ayaw gumana ng flash! I only got a few shots mainly sa entrance nalang when the camera finally picked some light.

IMG_0160

Inside were glittering figures of a rosary, cabbage, carrot, Virgin Mary, and many others carved over thousands of years. Waters dripping over the limestones and bats were just waiting to be disturbed. We were at the front of the boat and experiencing so much sights as we lightly paddle the allowed 7-kilometer proximity. *the cave is 24-kilometers long kaso wala nadaw hangin sa distance na to kaya YES, go go nalang sa 7-kilometer kesa lagutan ng hininga.

Sa loob, mapapa-isip ka talaga, pano kaya na-form ang mga structures nato, perfect na perfect!

It’s cold and dark inside the cave and malalim daw talaga ang tubig. Ang daming paniki at huwag na huwag mo silang gigisingin! The only guide we had were our flashlights and the voice from the boatman behind.

Quick Facts:

1. On November 11, 2011, Puerto Princesa Underground River was provisionally chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. This selection was officially confirmed on January 28, 2012.

2. The cave also includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites and several large chambers, including the 360-meter-long Italian’s Chamber with approximate 2.5 million square meters volume – one of the largest cave rooms in the world.

newboat

Yes, it was indeed exhilarating to physically experience Puerto Princesa’s main PAMBATO. And YES, deserved xa to take the spot as one of the NEW 7 Wonders of the World.

But wait, there’s still more: BEACHES!

2nd Day: Island Tour

IMG_0210

Clean white sand beaches are all over Puerto Princesa!

IMG_0250

and more!

IMG_0271

According to our tour guide, Luli Island is derived from the initials of Lulubug Lilitaw as the island is submerged during high tide and shows up on low tide. The water was a bit rough so we didn’t proceed to Snake Island nalang.

We also had a quick snorkel pero sad to say, David wasn’t too impressed by the corals unlike Coron. Waves were high that time, too.

3rd Day:

Our 3rd and last day on the island was spent on this bike! Yes, nag-tour mi using this rental bike (800 for 8 hours and our gas).

MOTORBIKE

Our first stop was the Palawan National Museum.

Artifacts

Old artifacts dated 1,000 years and used by native Palawan settlers.

 

*Nalumos ko’s kanindut sa mga wooden crafts na hastang baratoha. And ending, nipalit nalang mi og preserved butterflies na tua sa balay (Iligan City) karun.

Me and David have also dropped at Palawans Special Battalion WW-II Memorial Museum owned by the Mendoza family. It’s said that the museum was built in memory Dr. Higinio Mendoza Sr. (grandfather of Matthew Mendoza), who was killed in 1944 due to his resistance to the Japanese.

Some of the museum pieces that are very interesting is the historic typewriter and stenography machine, which Mendoza claimed was used by Gen. Douglas McArthur in Manila, old vehicles used during WWII, rusting guns and ammunition, uniforms of American soldiers who fought with the guerrillas, miniature war planes and ships and old paper denominations used during the war.

typewriter

I can’t believe we just ended a 4-day tour in Puerto Princesa. Everything in the area is magically preserved through the years. I always look forward to coming again to the place and experience its other side, perhaps El Nido this time.

To my best travel buddy who was with me all throughout the trip, I hope you had a great time baby!

newcliff

And to myself? Thank you sad – sa imung kalaagan, nadungagan nasad imung kagid!haha.

Still it’s a beautiful and complete life, something I’m always thankful to all those I owe!

IMG_0137
Puerto Princesa, Palawan – January 2012

Stayed at: Audissie Pension House

Days: 4D/3N

Transportation: Plane, Boat and Motorbike

Expense: P5,000

Enjoyed most: the whole Underground River experience

Missed: a drop to Snake Island

Overall Impression: 9 Stars

PAGUDPUD

What could be more exhilarating than to be welcomed by this 3 century-old Paoay Church on your first day to the area?

Good afternoon Ilocos Norte!

1. Paoay Church

IMG_5150

This 110-meter high and 40-meter wide coral stone church has started its construction in 1694 and was completed after 16 years. It was originally founded and designed by Father Antonio Estavillo and proclaimed by UNESCO as one of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Paoay Church is one of Philippines oldest churches in the Northern region. Completed in 1710, the church’s both internal and external architectures are highlighted by massive amount of buttresses. I walked through the sides to feel the hard powdery stones – and to my surprise they’re cold and moistened!

IMG_5179

I wasn’t impressed of the inside structure as my expectations were playing around colorful high ceilings and old-faded bricks much like the Baroque churches. Little I know the church was doing another construction and it’s got all these hanging metal supports to obstruct your sight. SIGH!

IMG_5164

2. Malacañang of the North

Another highlight of the trip was the visit to Pres. Ferdinand Marco’s mansion in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

IMG_5211

Locally known as the Malacañang of the North, every step inside the mansion will get you closer to knowing the life and works of Marcos – this time deeper.

IMG_5199

IMG_5237

This photo has somehow captured my attention – the feared but highly-regarded man to show his soft fatherly side is such touching sight to me. Looking at all the family framed photos, it seems that Pres. Marcos has got a good share of both victory and failure.

IMG_5232

IMG_5224

Hallway that connects to the spacious veranda.

IMG_5257.JPG

Artista na yan!

IMG_5240

3. Paoay Sand Dunes

We need to travel another hour to reach this heavenly-like place that glitters along with the sun. I took advantage of the low light to get this capture.

Showbiz Trivia: The sand hills of Paoay Sand Dunes is the location of the films Ang Panday (Fernando Poe Jr.), Temptation Island (Marian Rivera), Born in the 4th of July (Tom Cruise) and Mad Max (Mel Gibson).

IMG_5273

We hired a 4×4 truck to tour us around the area for Php2,500. I was catching my breathe as we drove the rounds and humps of the gray powdery sand. And there was the soft touch of the sun as we get closer to the shore with the long-stretch of sand waiting to be admired.

There were grasses to cover some portions of the area and they gently sway with the wind making the place a lot more admirable.

And to heighten the fun is to stop at the shore to touch the water with our playful feet. Waves have been our best playmate that time. – ayaw lang jud pag-gara gara og layo ki kusog kaU xa..bira jud imung beauty!

IMG_5294

It was a magnificent moment to savor made even more dramatic with the setting sun. The cold gusting wind was perfect to combine with the little warmth of the dusk. Murag naa lang jud ka sa laing world – hahay!

IMG_5325

A must-try? The sand boarding!

IMG_5416.JPG

I never thought this would be possible – to ever surf on the surface of a sand hill. I was good to go down swiftly but fell when I’m about to stop. Fail! But this was a really cool first-time experience!

IMG_5413

Well, I got this cool ladies with me to feel the mix of dust, grime and sand so okay rah.

IMG_5345

4. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

IMG_5452.JPG

The Spanish-old Cape Bojeador Lighthouse was designed in 1887 by Engr. Magin Pers. Despite its old-face structure, the lighhouse has served more than 100 years as welcoming beacon to international ships to enter the Philippines in the South China Sea. Thank you lighthouse!

IMG_5442

The tower is much like the other lighthouses I’ve visited – beautiful but mysterious.

IMG_5475

The faded cracked walls and weak wooden-floors have obviously seen the sweet and bitter of times.

IMG_5459

 

And who could ever stop us from making another pose? No one in the world bahalag magkalisud-lisud pa – pang Facebook nani!

IMG_5457

5. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

25-minute drive away from Cape Bojeador lighthouse is Iloco’s another pride and I must say, the best to all of what the province can offer – Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.

IMG_5536

 

 

The sun was all out when we reached the area but this has never discouraged our excited eyes. From above the small cliff, the rock seems to spark, inviting us to step down and walk the steps closer!

IMG_5606More closer…

And closer!

 

 

 

IMG_5539

 

I was in total amazement to stand face to face with this beautiful rock formation. As I stare closely to its structure, I was in deep curiosity to how nature has able to shape such a perfect masterpiece.

IMG_5509

 

We reached the area and was welcomed by this beautiful coast – the sprinkle of big waves can be inviting but rocks were sharp to not hurt your feet. Enteng Kabisote (2012 entry to Manila Film Festival) has just recently filmed their scenes in the area. They leave some marks which had slightly caused damage to the ground.

IMG_5540

The back part of this huge rock has just offered equaled grandeur – totally breathtaking to ever find a place like this in our congested country.

IMG_5576

 

It’s said that Kapurpurawan is among the top picks of many photographers for its creamy white color. During the months of April and May, the rock formations become even whiter according to locals.

6. Bangui Windmills

We pushed along and it seems to never stop as we moved further North, this time to witness the giant breathtaking whirls of Bangui Windmills.

IMG_5618

 

It was a sudden change of weather when we reach these gigantic windmills. Facing the mighty South China Sea, we could have been blown by the circling wind but we’re tough to hold on..hehe!

IMG_5672

 

According to PinoyChizmiz, each windmill is 236 meters apart on shore. The beautiful structures have 41 meters blade and the its height is roughly equivalent to a 23-storey building (ang taas mo windmill, ikaw na). There is a total of 20 windmills and they are considered the largest in Asia.

7. Patapat Bridge

To reach the winding Patapat Bridge, we passed the popular Pagudpud gate and here’s a welcome jump from the group of happy Ilocos explorers. How happy we are? See it in the jump!

IMG_5693

 

Have you been to San Juanico Bridge? I haven’t but I know we were heading to a place with comparable beauty.

IMG_5707

 

And I was right! Patapat Bridge is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines with 31 meters elevation over sea level. This place must have been captured a million times but here’s my best piece to share with you – huwag selfie!

IMG_5713

 

As soon as the van dropped us to see the bridge up-close, we all have gone out fast like we’ve been freed. So this is Patapat Bridge, one of the famous bridges in the North region to connect Ilocos and Cagayan Valley. The end of this snake-like structure is the starting point of Cordillera Mountain Range. I’ve seen this bridge in magazines and online but it was different to see it upclose – more beautiful.

8. Bantay-Abot Cave

What’s with the cave? Notice the hole. It could be the strong restless waves that carved this bizarre shape – another natural formation.

IMG_5743

 

An unusual rock formation Bantay Abot Cave on the shore of Brgy. Balaoi has caught many traveler’s attention. It’s said that the name literally translates to “mountain with a hole” which could be well-seen in the structure.

 

So here’s myself getting my own share of thrill sa mga tuyum after I realize I had the wrong camera lens and it was way too exhausting to go back and change. Thanks kuya Arnel!

IMG_5756

9. Blue Lagoon

A few-minute drive from Bantay Abot Cave is Ilocos Norte white sand Blue Lagoon. I wasn’t very impressed with the sand to mix with the trash and soil or maybe it was just the gloomy weather or maybe I just had seen enough of sparkling white-sanded beaches and this one doesn’t seem to compete. But well, one of the striking features of Ilocos coast are the strong waves and here’s a good snap to verify my claim.

IMG_5779

 

Just a perfect moment to share with my lovely close friend Mona. Follow her most treasured experiences as she gets inspiration from her own and other’s life roundabouts at Pages of My Life.

IMG_5759

 

10. Kabigan Falls

Kabigan Falls in Brgy. Balaoi may be a 40-minute walk but when you do the trail along with your friends and other groups on the tour, walking seems to do a change. Exhaustion was totally covered with the sight of the green flatland and the clear flowing river on the other side – just totally nature around. Small wood planks fill in the gaps in between streams making the cross a bit easy.

IMG_5785

There’s a Php20 parking fee plus a tour guide that you can pay for any amount you decide. The rest of the fees were paid by our tour agency.

 

So here’s what nature will pay you when you reach the final bridge cross. Sulit ba? Super sulit! If not for the unfavorable weather condition and cold water, one of us might had just jumped straight into the water. The falls is 87 ft. high with a concave basin that would sometimes turn blue under good weather. See the falls in full clarity HERE.

IMG_5816

11. Onions and Garlic

You see small stalls of garlic and onions displayed along the road of Ilocos and they’re a hundred peso cheaper than Manila.

IMG_5865

 

Vinegar from sugarcane is also a good buy – a unique pasalubong for the family – province na province lang jud!

It was a 3-day tour that brought me and the rest of my friends to the heights of nature’s wonder and 3 days to totally captivate me. Ilocos region is more than just a trace of history and immaculately carved rocks – it’s a place mile greater than warm pleasant locals and other treasures that can only be experienced when you go see the place.

Visit Ilocos and pack a bulk of happy memories home.

IMG_5171

 

Thank you F8 and Ampons for this very memorable trip. I miss you all except Mona haha!

IMG_5524

 

Stayed at:

Days: 2D/1N

Transportation: Private van of Gafa Tours

Expense: P4,000 (Vigan + Pagudpud)

Enjoyed most: The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation Sightings

Missed: Enjoy the water of Kabigan Falls

Overall Impression: 10 stars

MANILA

Like how you think a big city in the country would be – noisy, crowded and polluted – Manila is all of them. But what makes Manila the “undesirable place” can also be a reason of why many people still want to stay and live in this metropolis.

What’s so lovable about Manila and why I am here?

IMG_0125

Manila on the last 2010 population survey is housing 11M people which is 11% of the entire Philippine’s population – that’s a lot to contain. Along with this bursting number is so much of the nuisances from the environment.

On your side are the rushing people going to the train stations and at a distant is the long pile of impatient cars at EDSA. Trash and beggars are common sightings along the sidewalks. Thieves are lurking at corners. The poor settled to the most dangerous places you could imagine – alongside rivers and inside cemeteries. Weather is extreme at times and dark is oftentimes not safe. That is Manila – the part that scares.

The city at a first glance is probably not your choice of place – it was once not mine too. But I’ve discovered a charm behind the crowded streets and black suffocating smoke as I prolonged my stay. And the decision to live here for awhile starts to get in.

Join me as I get you around the best things about Manila and why its worthy of a visit or maybe a permanent STAY.

1. The Foods

Manila Foods

What do you wish for your food? Or simply what food do you love? Manila has them all. From the most flavored Italian dish to exotic Thai soup – Manila has plenty to serve for you. Explore Manila corners from the most established resto to the busiest turo-turo for 500php – you’ll love both the experience and the full tummy.

Manila Foods

Eat-All-You-Can restaurants serving all different local and foreign dishes are all over Manila. You can try them for as low as 350php – 1,000php. Bistro and coffee shops are not out of place with their growing number inside malls and hotels.

2. Entertainment and Parks

  • Smart Araneta Coliseum

Manila hosts several foreign and local concerts each year. The Smart Araneta Coliseum is the most popular concert arena of famous performers including Westlife.

Westlife Live in Manila

YES it was Westlife and I was there to see them perform last September 2011. It was the band’s last concert – and it was a “HAPPY me” for not missing it. Manila has also opened me up to comedy bars but not to drinking and stripping bars. *I wonder about that sometimes.

  • Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park is another beautiful attraction to see in the city. It is a walk-in sanctuary to over 1,000 marine species. Visit Manila Ocean Park Official Website to view their exciting attractions, tickets and promos.

Ocean Park - Manila

  • Mall of Asia

Or known as MOA is a huge shopping mall and has been a popular spot for dining, shopping and all other pleasures.

Mall of Asia

The bay area gets even more alive at night with entertainers on different corners. I took the chance to join these 2 lovely men on their efforts to entertain the crowd. *Dili ni libre – at least drop them coins or bill.

MOA invites extra attention every February for hosting the annual Pyromusical Show – a competition of fireworks display joined by various countries including Finland, Australia, China and United Kingdom. For schedules and tickets, you may inquire HERE.

4. History

Everyone must have heard of Rizal’s writings Noli Me Tangere and My Last Farewell. The first draft to one of these books is in Fort Santiago – sealed tightly in a glass for public display along with some of his personal belongings including his suits, oil lamp and pens. Visit Fort Santiago at Santa Clara St – P65 entrance fee.

IMG_0877

Old Manila – the center of Philippines most famous universities and fortresses offers various sights that can either warm you up or give you dismay. Personally, I am not too happy to see Intramuros crowded with illegal settlers.

I was delighted by “Manong Kalesa” when his wave greeted me – I would sure love to experience a ride on his humble kalesa.

IMG_0762

A jeep ride away from Intramuros is the famous Manila landmark – Luneta Park. Families gather at night in this park to watch the fountain show. It would be fun to bring your loved ones here and have a share of crackers as the water and lights sway in front of you.

IMG_0978

The fountain show starts at around 7:00PM. Be sure to be there before the crowd gets you.

5. Churches

I thought of Bohol to be the only home of beautiful old churches but my last Visita Iglesia proved that Manila has churches with comparable beauty too.

Quaipo

This famous Quaipo Church at Quezon Boulevard keeps the sacred Black Nazarene. Its said that this statue was made by an anonymous Mexican sculptor and the image arrived in Manila via galleon from Acapulco, Mexico around 1600s.

*We were restricted from taking photos of the Black Nazarene inside the church.

Binondo Church

So here’s the famous Binondo Church. The contrast of the church’s faded surface to the rest of the buildings sets beauty to the tight place. I hope Binondo continues to live on.

6. People

One thing is sure – Manila is full of people.

IMG_0727

And if you like the idea of being around with so much crowd then this place is for you. *The more the merrier!

The city is almost everyday busy. You see people on their suits running their way to work. You see a mother bathing his dirty son alongside the road. You see mornings are for beers and cigarettes to some big old men. You see that evenings are for young ladies to party. You see that rains are for naked street children and their wooden toys. You see them and they either give you joy or tear your heart.

Personal Unfortunate Experience:

March 15, 2014 – Pasig Palengke: I just got my earrings pulled by someone from behind while walking towards the taxi. Its my first unfortunate encounter of the danger that people have been telling me about Manila. Its real and its true!

Lesson: don’t invite the bad guys with your dirty fancy earrings. *Kuya, imu nalang unta to gipangayo sa akua – imu pajud gidagan na dili man tawun to ma-prenda.

To my earrings: I will miss you – please take care. Thank you for your service. * the sad part

7. Inspiration

One great thing of being inside this big city is having the close chances of meeting the people you admire.

IMG_2377

Manila opened up the door for me to meet my most favorite travel blogger – Sabrina Iovino of Just One Way Ticket.

Sabrina is someone you would be glad to meet. She never allows her fame get into her head. She’s always ready for good conversations. She shares what she knows and not doubt it. She is beautiful and got good humor – she is never boring. She is brave to stand for our country (her posts talk mainly about the good things she experienced in the Philippines). I could brag about Sabrina all my life and it wont stop – this adventurous lady is simply amazing.

Be one with Sabrina as she explores the Philippines and the world. Follow Just One Way Ticket or feel good to see Boracay HERE – one of her famous posts.

8. Buildings

The top locations of high structures in the country are in Makati, Ortigas and Global City – all in Manila.

405182_2266881281278_2133095087_n
Enter a caption

Makati – the business center of the country has a couple of them that are well-maintained. Most of the buildings in the area are transformed to be either a shopping center, condominium or office. PBCom Tower – an office skyscraper ranked officially as the tallest building in the Philippines since 2000 is in Makati. The 259m tower is composed of 55 floors.

IMG_0286
Enter a caption

9. Cars

The busy streets of Manila are not only for jeepneys and buses. Expensive Porsche, Camaro and glittering Lamborghini also own a good share of space around the town.

IMG_0077

This car caught my attention with its perfect finish and color as we passed Ayala Triangle. I thought of “Bumbble Bee” with the “yellow” that is so sexy and stylish. On some days, you could see these kinds of pretty cars running in town and you would think of the day to when you can have one too.

The Faces of Friends

Manila makes me enjoy the company of my long-time close friends. The bond gets a lot better and happier with the activities and celebrations we share every time.

MOA

To notice, I have the same set of pretty friends since in Iligan and Manila is doing a good job in taking care of us.

428759_2847786163537_1954516153_n
Enter a caption

I love how these friends can bring me closer to home – not a single time that I feel alone with them.

Pamela Jane Ocol Friends
Pamela Jane Ocol Friends

I am currently in Ortigas and working home as a freelance writer and VA. My time is mostly tied up to work but I have them to pull me away from this serious relationship I have with my computer. HA!

Pamela Jane Ocol Friends
Enter a caption

And bring me outdoors for some fun.

Pamela Jane Ocol Friends
Pamela Jane Ocol Friends

Who would ever want to leave Manila when almost all my closest friends are here?

The Phases of Manila

Sure there’s still a lot more I have to know about Manila. I haven’t explored it fully but here’s to give a quick view on how it gets through the day!

1. 8:00AM

IMG_1008

2. 4:00PM

IMG_0131

3. 6:00PM

IMG_0181
Enter a caption

It’s a tough but wonderful city. The vast opportunities to expand your career and networks are here. To know and be close to the country’s most influential people and learn about modern lifestyle is greater here. But Manila is also the big place of what this nation should still work on – the bigger place that reflects what this country is still lacking of.

And if you are to visit Manila anytime soon, be sure to set yourself ready for the good and the worse.

I have been prepared for the good – not yet for the worse.

Resorts World Manila - Pasay, December 2011
Manila, December 2011

Note: Manila has fired up my passion to travel. This place has powered me to explore.

Thank you Manila and with that I love you the most.

LEGAZPI

It’s a long weekend (August 25 – 27, 2012) and this only means one thing: laag again sa mga suok-suok! To where this time? Sa bayan ng Mayon Volcano, Legaspi – Albay. Promo na naman ang CebuPac, ang mga wak-wak nangatol nasad. For a roundtrip fare of P2,190 for both me and Coleen *The SEO Traveller, ay wala na talagang atrasan to!

Meet my Travel Buddy:

IMG_2869

The truth is: Na-byaan mi sa flight, pastilan Dolores, Colores! I couldn’t miss the chance to go, I was excited and I couldn’t disappoint Coleen. And since it was an unintentional fault (og akung sala, aku jung sala..og akung pinakadakung sala), I re-booked the flight right then and there sa halagang – SECRET! And Yes, dayun mi but waited 5 hours for the next available flight!

I’ve seen Mayon Volcano around several magazines, even inside my elementary books. It has turned a very popular spot to represent the country due to its perfect cone shape but getting close to this magnificent masterpiece of nature has given me a lot to think – ba’t xa ganyan, ayaw magpakita? chos rasad kaaU.

I have my cousin in Legaspi, Ate Marilou who gladly welcomed us! We were pampered and secured with her and her family’s presence all throughout our stay in Legaspi. Thank you so much ate Mar – kuya Roy – beautiful Lila and playful Gab!

IMG_2812

 

So here are the exciting adventures we tried and experienced in Bicol:

1. Albay Park and Wildlife

IMG_2790

The park is open from 6:00am to 8:00pm daily except Monday. Entrance Fee: P20 for adults and P10 sa mga bulilits. Kids will surely enjoy the spacious playgrounds, mini-zoo and biking areas. Sulit for the entire family and mga isip-bata like me.

Meet my cousin’s smart son: Gab-Gab

IMG_2764

Ate Pam: Gab oh, my peacock! Ba’t kelangan ng peacock uminom ng tubig?

Gab: Para di po sila tumanda! O.O

Pwedi.

2. Cagsawa Ruins

IMG_2800

The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of an 18th century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church. It was built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano. They are located in Barangay Busay, Cagsawa, in the municipality of Daraga, Albay.

Feeling nag-basa, wala raba jud! *chus sa self!

3. The Mayon Valcano

IMG_3099

We missed to get a clearer and nicer snap of the volcano when we’re close to it. Both its base and peak were covered with thick clouds though weather was extremely fair. But its beauty was still extraordinary, you would really wonder how nature was able to shape it so perfect. At all points of Albay, you will see this giant landscape standing firm and strong as if guarding the entire place.

IMG_2805

4. The Embarcadero Mall

Embarcadero’s special setting makes the place perfect not only for various shoppers but for the entire family and couples. Facing the fascinating Legaspi harbor, you have the options to either listen to a live band, indulge yourself to great cuisines, relax inside the first-class accommodations or just freely stroll and savor the coldness of the night.

IMG_2834

Embarcadero Mall is owned by the same person who owns the luxurious Misibis Bay – Zaldy Co!

And who would dare to miss the famous Bicol Express? Bicol region is known for their spicy foods. Almost all forms of dishes in the area are flavoured with SILI – katakot-takot na amount ng sili!

The Original Bicol Express fresh from 1st Colonial Grill in Legaspi !

IMG_2913

Kainan na!

Bicol isn’t just blessed with wonderful sights but also with warm and very polite locals. In every corner are souvenir shops in interesting colors made even more inviting by the smiles from friendly and gentle Bicolanos.

IMG_2902

Our very friendly and nice tour guide:

IMG_3082

You have all the time to shop for every possible crafts you have in mind in Bicol. Apart from Sili, they also have a bunch of Pili. They also produce statues out from volcano’s ashes – something you couldn’t find anywhere else in the Philippines.

IMG_2906

HIGHLIGHT of the TRIP?

The ATV RIDE at the Base of Mayon Volcano

It wasn’t too long ago when the ATV ride is made available so I guess we were among the few privileged to even try it. At P2,500/ head, you’ll get the chance to marvel the ma-rocky, ma-river, ma-bumpy yet ma-exciting na trail going to the base of Mayon. *Hay naku – ma-arte lang!

IMG_2936

I’m glad to be able to come with Coleen, she’s always on the go to try new adventures.

IMG_2977

ATV controls are so easy to master, you just have to practice proper control of your pace para iwas baligtad.

IMG_2983

The ride going to the base of Mayon was for about an hour. The sun was still up and biting but it was nothing to what we were able to witness when we reached the top!

The climb-climb session- para ingnun climber (murag unsa kataas sa gikat-kat, sus!)

IMG_3015

Would you believe that these hard rocks were once hot lava released from the last massive eruption of Mayon Volcano in 2006? Yes na lang gud, mao may ingun ni tour guide gud.

IMG_3020

The view was out of this world. On every side, there was a unique piece of wonderful sight! I couldn’t believe to how close I was to Mayon. He’s so huge but its surface was so calm that time. It would be hard for anyone to believe that this sleeping giant has already killed thousands of locals.

IMG_3034

On the otherside is the top view of Albay, an extremely laid-back, peaceful and clean town at the Southern part of Luzon.

IMG_3063
Coleen and Pam – Backdrop: Mayon Volcano Base

So much memories to keep with my encounter with nature again! This is what I love most of travelling – the unique experience I’m able to bring home each time I leave – from the place itself, foods, people, to friends.

All Smiles – its a great Life!

Legaspi is an interesting and beautiful spot and would surely not doubt to visit again. If mahitabo, mu-hapit kog Sorsogon, hadlukun naku si Whale Shark a.k.a Butanding, rar!

Legaspi, Albay – August 2012

Stayed at: Sampaguita Tourist Inn

Days: 3D/2N

Transportation: Plane and Jeepney

Expense: P11,000 (due to re-booked ticket)

Enjoyed most: the ATV ride

Missed: clear and clean sight of Mayon Volcano

Overall Impression: 8 Stars

ILIGAN CITY

MY HOMETOWN. Iligan City is where I was born, raised and finished my school. It is the place of my family and friends. Iligan City is so dear to me and I couldn’t wait to see it again. 

Have you been to Iligan City? There’s something irresistible about a city like Iligan where most days are like Sundays on a slow gear. Apart from the local taste of long conversations you see along the streets, the “slow-down-we-got-time” attitude of most people makes the place more laid-back. Add to the diverse cultures of Muslims and Christians is the serious boom of fashion, photography and trading business in the place, slowly making Iligan a prime city.

ILIGAN CITY

 

Iligan City, located in the Northern part of Mindanao and facing Iligan Bay 795 kilometers southeast of Metro Manila is known to be outside the typhoon belt, relatively an earthquake free zone. The fastest and most convenient way to get to Iligan would probably be to take a plane; the sea route will of course take a little bit longer. Climate is characterized by short, low sun dry season for one to three months and rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.

ILIGAN CITY

 

Iliganons, the term used for the native settlers of the place, are known to be warm and very hospitable. Majority of Iliganon’s population are from Visayas and migrants from other places in Mindanao. Though Iligan settlers are mixture of different cultures, peaceful co-existence of the varied cultural mix on the community is enjoyed by the Iliganons all these years.

IMG_1074

Kasadya Festival, an annual fiesta celebration honoring the city’s patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel is just one of the evidences of the said harmonious peaceful living.

Iligan City Kasadya Festival

This festival is one of the most awaited celebrations among local and foreign visitors because of its remarkable colorful dancers, puppeteers and entertainers dancing along more than one and half kilometer of the road.

IMG_0979

IMG_1016

What’s so Special with Iligan’s Fiesta?

Iligan City’s joyous fiesta is brimmed with several interesting activities from Palamiay sa Bingka, Ingiday sa Lechon to Annual Silent Drill Competition.

IMG_3569

Nearby locals flock to Iligan not only to witness the display of several colours but also to grab a taste of the most delectable foods that can only be found in the area.

IMG_4342

Being the “City of Waterfalls”, it is the place of more than 12 majestic waterfalls which provides attractions to both local and foreign tourists.

maria cristina

ILIGAN CITY

The city’s economy is export-driven, where major export markets includes Europe, Korea, Singapore, USA, Japan and other Asian countries. Iligan City is also known to be the “Industrial City of the South” which houses more than 10 major industries well- known to manufacture cement, flour, steel, coconut oil and pellets. Indeed, visitors are in awe of Iligan’s natural and industrial attractions, it is the city’s real magic. And for those who want a burst of fun during the night, the city streets are alive with sounds and sights. Get lost in the rhythm of pulsating beats and rainbow of colors on among the top visited bars in the place.

Iligan night merry-making has changed over the years – this time it is more alive. To fulfill your fantasy of an exciting and fun night in this tiny city, there are places like Pala-o and Tibanga that you can go. This places are perfect for who never say No to wild smoke, loud music and heavy drinks.

 

This quiet city has become more popular nowadays in the country. With this excellent government administration headed by Mayor Laurence Cruz, Iligan is seen to be capable of having an excellent economic growth. More than that, Iligan has one of the best records for peace and order in the region and considered to be one of the most productive cities in the country.

Hon. Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz

Iligan is not JUST about taking it slow and easy- and having a good time. Iligan has also a wild “good” kind of vibe that you can really enjoy. And if you are to visit a place in Mindanao, make sure Iligan City is on the list. Come and experience the place in its totality.

Family

Family and Friends

Friends

Friends

pamela jane ocol
Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

CORON

So here comes my own travel story of Coron, Palawan – probably the dream place of many including myself. I’ve only seen Coron in full colors around magazines and televisions. I thought it would take me 10 decades and more to visit this stunning island until I stepped into its borders last January 9 – 11, 2012 together with David.

I’ve always wanted Palawan, and everything that surrounds it. I pulled out MetroDeal and found Shore to Shore Travel Services tour package to Coron for 2 at P8,499. The 3-day, 2-night stay at Coron Village Lodge with free breakfast and van transfer sounded just so perfect to me so I grabbed my card for initial reservation of P2,000, hit Confirm button and all was set.

Plane was booked prior to this reservation – Air Philippines for P892.00/person roundtrip. *cheaper than ever!

So here comes the voucher!

Coron_Pamela2

So I’m coming to Coron with my fiancee – such a good way to start the year.

It was a mix of thrill and happiness that overwhelmed me the night before our travel. At last it’s Coron that I’m visiting and I just couldn’t wait. However, time and weather wasn’t on our side that day and that somehow gave me an ill-feeling.

We should be out in Manila at exact 12:35pm and be in Coron at 1:30pm but it was an hour and another 2 hours of waiting at the gate . San ka na ba plane? Ididang tika run!

Missing One Day at Coron, WHY?

Due to the unfavorable weather condition, flights were delayed, pushing ours at the edge of the clock. It was 5pm when we were called to board the plane. When everyone’s already seated and feeling the relief to finally go, the pilot announced that we could no longer proceed due to the lack of runway light at Coron’s airport. The runway doesn’t have enough light and guide for any plane to land beyond 5pm. To end, we have to stay in Manila for another night and get the earliest flight on the following day. Our tour was supposedly to start at this day at 2pm, so we just have thrown 1 day paid-tour away.

Kahilakun na kos kalagot, naghulat pami, wala pajud mi gipadayun! Atimana!

To somehow ease the tension, AirPhil offered all the passengers a free overnight stay at a hotel in Malate, Manila and free dinner. Still, I’m frustrated but hopeful to get a glimpse of the place I’ve been dying to see.

Panawagan: Ayuha intawun ninyo ng airport sa Coron palihug. Butangi na og runway light. AirPhil, CebuPac, PAL og Zest Air pag-amut amut nalng mo, please!

Meeting the Beautiful yet Humble Ms. Dindi Gallardo

Who would thought that this unfortunate circumstance would lead me to meeting Ms. Dindy Gallardo upclose? 😀 I spotted her instantly while we wait for our flight . She was so simple, no make-up at all but still stunning!
We’re on the same flight. The bus that picked us up was packed of people so David offered her his chair so we were seated right next to each other. She was very soft-spoken, young than her age and humble. I couldn’t even think of words when she asked me a couple of questions. Right after the plane dropped us off to Coron, David asked her if we can have photos together and right away, she said Yes!

At last we arrived. It was a 40 minute drive from the airport to Coron Village Lodge, our temporary shelter for 2 days. The transfer was made perfect by the relaxing view of the outside.

Right after tasting the flavorful lunch, we hopped to witness the majestic beauty of Coron! *huli na kami so kelangan bilisan.

the Waiting Boat

The Top Sights we Explored!

1. Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake

Huwaw, mao man jud ning naa sa postcard oh!

Who would dare to miss the chance to be in this exact spot? The most popular representation of Coron – Kayangan Lake! It was around 4pm when I took this shot, if only there was a bit of light. Entrance fee is P200 pero covered naxa samung tour. You need to take a small trek to reach this area.

The other side of Kayangan Lake

The edges of these cliffs are extremely sharp, be careful. Fishes and other marine creatures are still visible despite the shade of the old grassy rocks.

2. Atwayan Beach

Atwayan Beach

Atwayan Beach offers a couple of spectacular inside and outside views. Feast your eyes to all these small and giant islands competing in beauty.

And more!

394027_2348696646611_439030947_n

Feeling tourist ko ani na time, nakiblend sa ila. 😀

3. CYC Island

CYC Island Coron

According to our guide, CYC Island has once nestled Palawan’s cleanest and whitest sand. It was during the Marcos time when the locals nearby have sold almost 10 trucks of the island’s sand to complete the construction of a resort owned by the mighty President Marcos. *Hay naku, nanipis na nuon ang island plus nahugawan pajud!

*Nakikita mo ba ang nakikita ko B1? *Ang alin ba B2?

The Sleeping Giant

Mr. Boatman gladly pointed us the sleeping giant and it took me a couple of minutes to find it. Can you see the figure? 1..2..3…Sige nga paki-point daw!

4. The Twin Lagoon

The Twin Lagoon

The way going to the Twin Lagoon was breathtaking. You’ll be welcomed by an array of beautiful cliffs stuffed with some greens. With the blue water that’s within reach, you could almost feel heaven in your hands.

And more!

CLIFF

There were small fishes underneath, so cute! The water was a bit scary though, especially on the other side where a much larger lagoon can be seen. It was a mix of cold and hot and my mind was playing on the shark that could come up anytime for a bite. *Sus ko, huwag naman sana!

5. The Coral Garden

Coral Garden

The spot where David enjoyed the most that I could hardly get his puwit off the water. I regret I didn’t join the group to see what’s beneath but he told me it was the most amazing marine sanctuary he has seen in his entire life. *Ai sayang, takot kasi ako sa blue na tubig.

Not far from here is a ship wreck where thousands of fishes and corals are found. Who wants a dive? I absolutely love but needs to learn the swimming tricks first!

What I love the Most in Coron!

1. The awesome cliffs!

sharp cliffs that are unique to the place

I swear Coron is one of God’s most wonderful masterpieces!

friendly visitors to greet you with a smile

According to history and geography, Palawan was once part of Java that drifted close to the Philippines. Now this made me realize why it’s so different from the rest of the country’s lands.

2. The foods and more foods!

394848_2348667805890_1054442182_n

Grilled tuna, a must-try at Coron! Taste? Guaranteed out of this world!

FOOD

3. And YES, the time I had with David.

me and my best travel buddy

And what could be more exciting than to spend the 3 magical days with my sweet man?

perfect place for a romantic dinner

All the struggles experienced just to get to the place were totally chipped away by what my eyes have seen and heart has felt!

Coron, I’ll soon embrace you again!

Coron, January 2012
Coron, January 2012

Stayed at: Coron Village Lodge

Days: 3D/2N

Transportation: Plane and Private Van

Expense: P5,000

Enjoyed most: the sight of the cliffs and meadows

Missed: snorkeling at Coral Garden

Overall Impression: 9 stars

Contact Shore 2 Shore Services: 4758806-07

Email: shore2shore.mlaofc@gmail.com

CAPONES

Capones Philippines

We had a quick drop to Capones as part of our Anawangin tour in 2011. Anawangin + Capones = 2,500php/5pax. I recall not having enough time in the island due to bad weather. It was rainy and the waves were getting really rough. We managed to climb and see the island from the top but only for a very short time.

I had a feeling that I have not seen the best of Capones and I promised to see it again. I returned a year later, this time with my sister and husband.

Capones Philippines

How to Get to Capones from Manila: 

  1. Left early and board a Victory Liner bus in Pasay going to Olongapo, Zambales. Bus fare is 218Php each. Travel time is approximately 3 hours. There is also a Victory Liner bus station in Cubao if that is more accessible to you.
  2. From Olangapo Victory Liner bus station, transfer to another bus going to Iba, Zambales. Tell the bus driver to drop you at San Antonio market. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes.
  3. From San Antonio market, take a tricycle going to Pundaquit. Tricycle fare is 100Php for 3 passengers and travel time is approximately 30 minutes. .
  4. That would be 3 transfers in total before you arrive to Capones: Pasay – Olangapo – San Antonio – Pundaquit – Capones.

Capones Philippines

Capones Philippines

Under a cool sunny weather, Capones is no doubt, beautiful. It is like a sleeping island. You only hear the waves and some birds. Nobody was there but us.

Capones Philippines

Capones is popular for its by rocky cliffs, rocky shores and light cream sand.

Capones Philippines

Capones Philippines

The edge of the island is guarded by big chunk of rocks. Facing the mighty South China Sea, these rocks get hammered with the big waves every day.

Capones Philippines

IMG_0524

There is no shed nor a single house in the island. There is no electricity and no source of fresh water.

IMG_0486

IMG_0490

Capones Philippines

Capones Philippines

Capones Philippines

It will take you about 1 hour to hike the 2-kilometer distance going to the top of Capones. You can wear reliable slippers or shoes but the trek is not hard. There is no signage going to the top of Capones. You will have to follow the steps so I suggest you bring the boatman to avoid getting lost.

IMG_0517

IMG_0480

IMG_0478 - Copy

From the top of Capones, you will see the Camara Island.

IMG_0460 - Copy

One of the hidden treasures of Capones is this old Spanish lighthouse which was first lit in August 1, 1890. This solar-powered lighthouse was constructed to guide and warn the passing ships of the dangers of the rocky shores of the island.

IMG_0452

They fixed the lighthouse and painted it white but the rest of the structure is preserved.

Out of curiosity, I asked our tour guide if the lighthouse is haunted. And he said Yes. Some of those who spent a night in Capones have seen a white lady in the stair and heard rattle of chains inside the building.

Camping in Capones?

Pay P400 – P500 for tent rental per night. 3 persons can fit in one regular sized tent.

Tips when you Go to Capones:

  1. Know the weather. It will be very  hard to climb the top of the island when it’s rainy and windy.
  2. Bring a small bag for drinking water and some snacks.
  3. Bring a tour guide or boatman as guide.
  4. Wear comfortable slipper or shoes. Watch out for sharp stones.
  5. There is no electricity and phone signal is weak, so bring your power bank.
  6. Wind is strong and cold at night, so bring something to keep you warm.

My Team Capones:

My sister. I will give this trip to her. She enjoyed it so much. 

IMG_0457

IMG_0484

IMG_0435

IMG_0424

My husband. He discovered he has a super power to lift  a whole rock with one hand.

IMG_0521

IMG_0427

It has been a while since the last time I saw Capones. I would like to visit the island again and see the lighthouse.

IMG_0419

CALAGUAS

Calaguas Shoreline

It was holy week of 2012 and I’m spending it in Calaguas, Camarines Norte. I did not have enough time to plan this trip so I booked a 2D/1N tour via Lakwatserong Kusinero Chef Janjie. I asked my brother and cousin Raul to join me.

IMG_0481

Calaguas is a remote island facing the grand Pacific and is part of the town of Camarines Norte. It would need a 2 hour boat ride from Paracale port to reach this very special island. At the time you reach Calaguas, you would understand why it is worth all the travel hours.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas is nothing like any other white sand beach in the Philippines. The entire shoreline is very fine white sand. The water is turquoise green and on each side are hills covered with green vegetation.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

2012 Package Tour Inclusions: P3,500 per person

  • Round Trip AC Van Transfers – meet up at Cubao at 10PM
  • Round Trip Boat Transfers
  • Fuel and Toll
  • Campsite Entrance Fee
  • Environmental Fee
  • Port Fee
  • Trip Coordinator
  • Local Tour Coordinator
  • Driver/Boat Crew Allowances
  • Tent Accommodation
  • Free use of open cottages
  • Hosted Meals on the Island breakfast, lunch and dinner x 1 day

Calaguas Camarines Norte

IMG_0120

How to Get to Calaguas from Manila: 

10 to 12h trip from Manila

  1. Take a van that would bring you straight to Paracale or Vinzons port, Camarines Norte at Cubao bus terminal. Travel time is approximately 10 hours.
  2. From Paracale port, transfer to a boat that will take you to Calaguas island. Boat ride is approximately 2 hours.

For this trip, I only have to pay our tour organizer P3,500/pax  for everything. Payment was collected at night when we left Manila.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Paracale Port – the boat station going to Calaguas IslandCalaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Island 2012 on a Holy Week:

Calaguas Island
Overlooking view of Calaguas island 2012

Calaguas Tent

Calaguas

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

I would vote for Calaguas as the cleanest and the most picturesque beach in the entire Philippines. The sand is so fine, walking barefoot is a must.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas Island 2012

The sun sets at around 6PM and it  was stunning. The sky was golden yellow and the sea breeze was cool and fresh.

IMG_0326

picturesque sunset in Calaguas

The place has no electricity. The natives use candles and lamps at night as lights. There is also no decent source of fresh water in the island. You have to scoop water in the well. There was also one bathroom for all the guests to use.

Calaguas

Calaguas Camarines Norte
Unlimited drinks from our generous tour team

Don’t miss to try the famous skimboarding. I tried a couple of times but I had no luck.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

Calaguas

Calaguas

The Calaguas Holy Week Team:

Calaguas 2012 Team

With my brother on the right and cousin on the left.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

I would also want to thank our tour organizers at Kusinerong Lakwatsero for the arrangement of this trip.

Calaguas Team Lakwatersong Kusinero

My heart stopped when I saw Calaguas. I can’t believe how beautiful the entire island was. It was starting to gain popularity but I was fortunate to see the island the way I like it – untouched and untroubled.

Calaguas Travel and Tell

 

BUKIDNON

When you think of cold places as only for relaxation and sightseeing then pull out Bukidnon on your list as this small yet fascinating province is the home to a couple of heart-pounding adventures, the home of the longest dual zipline in Asia. While everything else in the place is designed to chase away your stress, there exist an 840 meter cable to test your resistance to heights and staying power. Mainly 1 1/2 hour from Cagayan de Oro is yet another adventure concealed by fogs and tall pine trees. And yes, it was another memorable experience treasured.

It was last April 2011 when I got an invitation along with David to join F8 (a group of great-smart-pretty girl friends) on their Dahilayan adventure + White River Rafting for P2,000/each. Everything was planned and arranged by Ms. Kate Baol *thank you Ma’am. Excited to try things I haven’t done before, I said Yes and tagged David along.

It was early 6:30am when we reached the area and the morning kiss of the sun was just perfect. It was just a 1-day promo with a minimum of 10 persons.

Dahilayan Road

Dahilayan Adventure Park offers a couple of fun-filled activities apart from their famous Zipline.

217377_1629617790089_5247519_n

The place was still under some minor constructions. If not of those limestones and heavy-duty trucks working around, I might have went back to sleep, sarap ng lamig!

207182_1629622070196_5051873_n

In every corner are different variants of flowers! There were also pines and insects around.

215917_1629615310027_7308100_n

We arrived a little early so we took a stroll around the place + picture2 ki wala pay mga tao.

206306_1629628070346_2622464_n

I enjoyed the cold breeze of Bukidnon. It was soothing to me and I guess to the rest of my friends.

207383_1629628550358_6380928_n

You may try the ATV ride for P500. Other activities include Rope Course (P250/head) and Dropzone which is a 120 ft. free fall (P500/head) . I’ve heard na mi winch boarding na daw coming soon, exciting!

Wala ng time kaya Zipline nalang.

The first and the shortest cable (150M) was easy, parang nasa duyan ka lang. The second one (320M) hasn’t moved me either.

207517_1629620110147_4134953_n

Each one has got to experience the adrenaline rush as the length and height of the Zipline increases.

The 3rd and last Zipline was intense, wit two 840M Ziplines with a drop of 100 meters. *YAY parang talo na ata ni Kath si superwoman!

Kathleen on her final stop

I-try ko nga kung superwoman ba talaga!

217500_1629620030145_3790269_n

Who would thought that behind these green, thick mountains lie an exhilarating getaway for everyone to experience. When it’s time to break-free from your recurring routines, bring yourself and your loved ones to Dahilayan Nature Park like we did and enjoy great pleasures!

me and David

Wonder what improvements are already done to the place, hope to see more soon!

pam
Dahilayan Bukidnon, April 2011

Stayed at: Hanna’s house at CDO

Days: 2D/1N

Transportation: Bus and Jeep

Expense: P2,300

Enjoyed most: the entire Zipline experience

Missed: ATV ride

Overall Impression: 5 stars

*Promo prices and tour inclusion may have changed since our last visit, visit Dahilayan Adventure Park website by clicking HERE.

BANTAYAN

My 4-day trip to Bantayan Island last August 2011 was another instant invitation from my close friends and mountaineers, Monabelle and Beth. This was the trip that opened me up to traveling.

Right after my Bantayan experience came another set of trips and traveling became my huge addiction. Never there was a day that I missed visiting Cebu Pacific and Air Phil websites and I started to lose control on my bank withdrawals . *Ano ba tong pinasukan ko?

Bantayan Island, I would say is one the best islands I’ve visited. It’s the seclusion and privacy of the place that makes you feel that you’re in a different world. Add up to the tranquility is the long-stretch of white-sand beach with water and sand glitters. Not far from our spot are the breathtaking sights of small islands to stir your curiosity. This untouched place is so soothing to the soul, made even more special by silent yet very approachable locals.

Bantayan Island, Philippines

Bantayan Beach

It was our first day to the island and everything was perfect from the sunny weather, to sumptuous foods to native-styled accommodation. Prior to getting to the island, we stayed at main Cebu for a night. It was Gen (Monabelle’s good friend) who willingly kept us for the night. Right the following morning, it was an early call from Ma’am Kate that prompted us to prepare. At around 8am, we walked our way to the bus station, Bantayan na!

Here’s how to get to the place:

1. Go to the North Bus terminal in Cebu City near SM Mall.

2. From the North Terminal, you may take the Ceres Coach buses or Cebu AutoBus Corporation. Scheduled trips to Bantayan usually starts at 5am for a fare of P70 to P80. These 2 buses will drop all passengers bound to the island at Hagnaya, situated Northen part of Cebu. Estimated bus travel time is approximately 2 – 3 hours depending on the weather.

3. From Hagnaya port, you will need to take a 75-minute ferry boat to Santa Fe. Boats normally start their operations around 5am and last trips around 5:30pm. Boat fee is P120.

Walay mahay pag maka-abot mo sa Island, nice jud kaaU xa!

You will love the simplicity and serenity of Bantayan. Hay, eto ang kelangan ko, pang-tanggal sa lahat ng esstreesss!!!

Beach 10

We spent our second day with the island hopping tour. It was for P2,000 all-in: food, boat and tour.

228857_2135816447695_3299343_n

First on the list? Virgin Island.

321429_1885058095937_6232211_n

It was an awesome beauty that welcomed us. Virgin Island is a mix of water and rock paradise.

bantayan island

And more!

Beach 1

I thought there’s more white sands to visit but we ended up returning to Bantayan to explore its hidden caves. Bantayan isn’t just blessed with beaches but also old-aged caves where some can be enjoyed for swimming.

Hidden Wonders of Bantayan

This 8 hectare land is owned by a pilot and stewardess couple. We learned from the caretaker that every time they return to the place, they always have cactus with them from the countries they’ve been. Inside this private land are 8 caves and one huge cactus garden! Interesting!

One can truly enjoy the relaxation through spending a couple of hours inside this traditional yet stunning gazebo.

Bantayan
Native Gazebo

Due to the unfavorable weather, all of us decided to extend the trip for a day! Never thought it would end so beautiful.

bike

There’s nothing more interesting and exciting than to explore the island through these powerful bikes that we rented for P200 per 8 hours. We went to the central part of the island for some treats to bring home. It took us almost 2 hours to reach the town where establishments and products are found.

315456_2139521140310_5959993_n

Another highlight of Bantayan is this 432 year old church. *Luma na xa pero ang ganda parin, very historic!

Church

Bantayan is among my best choices of clean, simple and peaceful living. Everything in the place is laid-back that it could almost put you to sleep. No wonder why tourists flock in the place! And if I were to go back, I would probably never leave.

308827_2149135860672_4560226_n

Thank you Juris for joining us, it was fun having you! Mona, Beth ane Eunice and Ma’am Kate, you all rock!

Me
Bantayan Island, August 2011

Stayed at: Beach Placid Resort Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu

Days: 4D/3N

Transportation: Bus and Ferry

Expense: P4,000

Enjoyed most: biking around the island

Missed: snorkeling along with Mona and Beth

Overall Impression: 9 stars

Photo credits: Kate Baol

ANILAO

Anilao Batangas

Anilao, Batangas is a 2-hour drive South of Manila. We stayed at Portulano Beach Resort  for 2 days. I came there with 7 big time travelers including my friend Kathleen of dasocialclimber.com, Chyng of chyngreyes.com and Carla of Blissful Guro.

How to Get to Anilao from Manila: 

1. Board a Tritan bus at Buendia going to Lemery, Batangas.

2. Stop at Lemery town proper and look for a tricycle that would take you to San Luis, Balite parking lot where Portulano Resort boat awaits.

the waiting boat *excited lang teh

2019 Room Rates: Fan Cooled Rooms

Seaview Studio Rooms

  • Single Accommodation: P5900 per person
  • Twin Sharing: P3800 per person 
  • Triple Sharing: P3300 per person 
  • Quad Sharing: P3200 per person 

Seaview Studio Topdeck Fan Rooms

  • Single Accommodation: P5900 per person
  • Twin Sharing: P3800 per person
  • Triple Sharing: P3300 per person

Seaview Hillside Rooms

  • Single Accommodation: P4200 per person
  • Twin Sharing: P3200 per person

Portulano Beach Resort - Anilao Batangas

The Portulano Beach Resort entrance.

arrival at Portulano Beach Resort

What to Do in Anilao:

1. Eat

319996_2428851642338_332936409_n

The resort serves great foods. The people running the resort were also friendly and accommodating.

2. Relax

303560_1932462361014_696182692_n

This is the view outside our deck. Calm water and fresh sea breeze.

3. Snorkle and dive

Anilao is a popular diving spot in Batangas. It hosts thousands of species of corals and fishes. There are 40 dive sites around Anilao and most of them are reachable by a short boat ride.

4. Play

We had the group gathered and shared life stories on the first night and the next morning we played the jenga blocks.