Sweet Escape to Singapore

After a good 5 years, I accidentally got back in Singapore last August. It was not part of my travel plans since I still have other places to explore. However, given our situation, I am now required to visit Singapore, at least every other month (you’ll do anything for love, right?)

Singapore is the epitome of a modern, sophisticated, and chic city. No wonder why this city is one of the world’s most expensive city to live at. So what’s the difference now after 6 years? I used to stay in Choa Chu Kang, nearby Woodlands (your gateway to Malaysia), and this time, we’re staying in Telok Blangah, nearby Harbourfront (just a few thousand steps to Sentosa). Before, I came to visit for leisure, this time I come to visit for love. Before, I’d be taking trains and cabs more often, but now, I got to memorize which bus number should I be riding, and if it’s past midnight, we take the Grab (Hello South East Asia!) We got to explore more places, and even the less tourist-y side.

Arrival in Singapore

I remember, back then we didn’t arrive in Terminal 4, because terminal 4 is relatively new. I still consider Changi Airport as my best airport in the world (Yes, I got to see a bunch already, and Changi boasts world class!)

Transportation

6 years ago, Grab app was not an option. It’s either you take the bus, train or your regular taxi. Whenever I arrive, I choose to take the Grab for convenience. It’s too hassle to move around carrying 2 luggage and I need to transfer from train to bus. If I take the bus or train, I use the EZ-link MRT card. You can buy this at train stations for SGD 10, pre-loaded already. It’s a stored value MRT card, and I just reload it every time it gets below minimum. I also suggest that you download the Citymapper app. It helps you plan your travel, and the timings are very accurate. It also works offline. Just in case, you no longer have an internet connection, the app will remind you when you need to alight the bus or train, make sure to set point A to point B. However, if you are with senior citizens or babies, it’s best to take Grab.

Wi-fi Connection

Free wi-fi is almost everywhere, especially in tourist-y areas.

Attractions

  • Merlion Park– You’ll surely meet and greet with the symbol of Singapore. Just a few months back, the Merlion went to a restoration, but now it’s open again for public viewing. Aside from the Merlion, you get a view of Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, and the Singapore Flyer. (Free)
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    Merlion, Symbol of Singapore

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  • Haji Lane– Located in the Kampong Glam District, you’ll see a lane of artsy fartsy cafes filled with murals and graffiti. The area gives you a very chill atmosphere. (Free)20180901_173623-01[1]20180901_173823-01[1]20190208_150645-02[1]DSC01092-01[1]DSC01080-01[1]DSC01088-01[1]

 

  • Masjid Sultan– Also located in Kampong Glam, this mosque is an important focal point for Muslims in Singapore. You can enter inside the mosque, and their staff will lend you an abaya or a robe, if you’re non-Muslim. After visiting the mosque, you can stroll in nearby Arab St. and Baghdad, and you’ll find a bunch of Mediterranean restaurants, as well as stores that sell goodies from Middle East. (Free)20190208_152104-01[1]20190208_152116-01[1]20180901_174516-01[1]

 

  • Universal Studios Singapore– I’ve been here before, but I went back here around last week of September. Just in time for the opening of Halloween Horror Nights. They have set-up at least 5 horror/haunted houses, with different themes. For 2018, one of their houses featured a Netflix series, which is the Stranger Things. We were in the line for about 2 hours! For the rest of the houses, the line was pretty fast moving. The other haunted houses include Killuminati, The House of Oiwa, Pontianak, and Pagoda of Peril. Zombies were around too, especially in the areas of Apocalypse Earth and Cannibal Blood and Bones. Apart from the Halloween special at USS, we were able to ride also the Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride 3D, without having to line up. (SGD 58- Gen. Ad. Non-Peak)
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  • S.E.A. Aquarium & Maritime Experiential Museum– The aquarium in Sentosa Island is home to various sea species. Surprisingly, the place was packed with tourists even if it was a weekday. For the museum, it featured the expeditions or explorations that passed through Singapore in the old days. (SGD 40) 20190207_150501-01[1]

 

  • Skyline Luge and Skyride– This is one of the thrilling  activities offered in Sentosa Island. We availed for the 2 luge and skyrides combo (SGD 24)LUSGAACD97H123043_1809271030564-pre-01[1]20180927_145900-01[1]

 

  • Singapore Cable Car– We took a one way ride from Merlion Station going to Harbourfront (SGD 15)20190207_192518-01[1]View from the cable car

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  • ArtScience Museum– This is the iconic landmark that you can see near Marina Bay Sands. It houses different exhibits. During our visit, we gaze upon Future World and Minimalism. (SGD 27- We got the local’s rate)20181129_162420-01[1]Screenshot_20190601-043619_Instagram-01[1]Screenshot_20190601-043628_Instagram-01[1]Screenshot_20190601-044202_Drive-01[1]

 

  • Garden’s by the Bay– If garden, plants and flowers are your thing, then this should not be missed. The place is beautifully curated. We got a chance to see the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. (SGD 18- We got the local’s rate)0101-2019-1029346117797925268244-01[1]20190206_171617-01[1]20190206_171801-01[1]20190206_175542-01[1]DSC01195-01[1]DSC01197-01[1]

 

  • National Museum of Singapore– We had a chance to visit during a holiday, and surprisingly, it’s free. It features different eras of Singapore which includes pop culture, religion, history, etc. (FREE- it was a holiday when we visited) DSC01174-01[1]DSC01178-01[1]DSC01175-01[1]DSC01179-01[1]20190206_131320-01[1]

 

  • Marina Bay Carnival– This carnival was up for a few months beside Marina Bay Mall. It’s your typical carnival wherein you have the game booths and ride or die kind of ride. (FREE  if you’ll just go around and not take any ride or play in the booths)20190213_184252-01[1]20190213_193915-01[1]20190213_194207-01[1]

 

  • Telok Blangah Hill Park– It has a nice trail wherein you can walk or jog at whatever time of the day. It leads all the way to Mt. Faber through a suspension bridge. (FREE) 20180927_113538-01[1]20180927_115445-01[1]20180927_121405-01[1]

 

  • Chinatown– Never miss a Chinatown in every country that you visit. The place is very festive, and colorful. You can bargain for the things that you wanna buy. (FREE) 20190208_104222-01[1]20190208_121535-01[1]20190208_121632-01[1]

 

MALLS, CAFES, RESTAURANTS

  • Jewel Changi– This is a newly opened mall just across Terminal 1. Apart from boutiques and stores, it has also a nice architecture, which includes an indoor waterfall.20190426_210659-02[1]

 

  • Selfie Coffee Cafe– Passed by this unique cafe along Haji Lane. Your selfie will be on top of your coffee.20180901_163826-01[1]20190208_142128-01[1]

 

  • Hawkers– Every corner seems to have a hawker. Price varies depending if it’s a touristy side or not. It serves all kinds of local favorites. My faves, however, are Newton ,Chinatown and the one in Geylang. 20190206_150315-01[1]20190206_150321-01[1]20190206_150511-01[1]20190208_112337-01[1]20190207_114146-02[1]

 

  • IMM Mall (in Jurong East), Changi Point– If you’re into outlets, don’t forget to pass by these malls. If you have spent a minimum SGD 100 in a single receipt, you are entitled for a tax refund (applies to tourists only)

 

  • Toastbox– I’ve been a Toastbox girl ever since. Never miss this one, for that Singaporean vibe without going to a hawker. 20190206_110917-01[1]

 

  • IKEA– Since we do not have this in Manila, it’s like a haven for our furniture and home shopping needs.

 

  • Central Perk Cafe– If you’ve been watching FRIENDS, then this is a must see. It recreated the set of the series. It’s located near Clarke Quay. Prices can be a little over than average.20180924_195229-01[1]20180924_200432-01[1]

 

  • Bugis Junction, Mustafa (Little India), Fire Sale Grocery– For your souvenirs and pasalubongs, you gotta give this a visit. It sells the cheapest yet quality items.

Since I will be frequent in Singapore, I’ll make another entry sometime soon to share another side of Singapore.

 

A Day in the East, Mt. Daraitan

“Salt water is the cure for anything- sweat, tears or even the sea.” I have always been the beach type of person. I could stay in the beach for as long as I want and enjoy the waves while I watch the sunrise or sunset. My country is so blessed with many pristine beaches, and I have a lifetime to visit them all. Aside from the beautiful beaches, we are also blessed with mountains that boast breath-taking views and home to many lives. I have visited a few, and would love to see more. However, my work schedule and physical fitness are giving me a hard time to conquer the mountains. I work on a shifting basis, and I do not have a permanent sleeping pattern. You definitely need a goodnight’s sleep before going up the mountains. Second, you need to be physically fit in order to get up and continue moving. Different mountains have different assaults, trails, and difficulties. If you have not prepared, you will likely have a hard time climbing up the mountains.

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I have visited several mountains before, some are volcanic in nature, others are home to breath-taking falls. There is always this enchanting experience whenever I go for a climb. It feels like I’m in a different world/dimension. There are still a lot to see, and I wish to visit all of them. I’m hoping and praying for strength and safety, so I could pay them a visit.

Last December, my friends, invited me for a climb. To be honest, I was not totally prepared for it, but I was game to do it. December weather is way better than the scorching heat of summer, just kept our fingers crossed that it will not rain. We were on a search on which mountain are we gonna climb. We selected it based on location, summit view, and difficulty. We ended up with Mt. Daraitan, in Tanay, Rizal. Just about 2 hours away from Manila. It offers an amazing view of the country’s east side and the Sierra Madre range. It also holds a difficulty of 4/9, which means that it’s a minor climb and beginner friendly.

12.08.18- Mt. Daraitan, Tinipak River in Tanay, Rizal/General Nakar, Quezon

A few days before our planned trip, we searched for “group tours”, on Facebook’s Buhay Bundok group. It’s not really a group tour, but rather, you’ll be all coming from Manila and taking a van going to Tanay, Rizal and back, and your group will be given a local tour guide. This is the best way to visit Mt. Daraitan, as their government is limiting the people going up to the mountain. It is also mandatory to get a local tour guide, because it’s for your own safety, and they know their mountains well, and you are helping their livelihood. The base of Mt. Daraitan is very countryside, and locals live through their tourism.

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Trivia: Mulawin, the series, was shot here

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Mt. Daraitan is partly Tanay, Rizal and partly General Nakar, Quezon

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Our local guide

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Our group met up in Mcdonald’s Shaw at 12 midnight, and we arrived in Daraitan, Tanay at around 2 in the morning. There was a cold breeze, and little drops of rain and we were welcomed by sellers of flashlight, gloves, warmers, etc. If you have forgotten to bring some of the essentials, worry not, it’s available in the area. It is very important that you know how to balance yourself as we stood on a bamboo raft to get us to the other side. Then a 10 min. ride trike, took us to the barangay hall for our briefing (the DO’s and DON’Ts), registration and introduced us to our guides. Before starting our trek, we were given an ample time to eat breakfast and do our bathroom breaks, so at exactly 4am, we started moving.

As we moved up, it’s getting muddier, slippery, and steeper. The rain wasn’t also stopping, so imagine the hassle. Thank God for flashlights, tree barks, and occasional man-made handles. We were literally grasping for every rock that we can reach. We were already near the 1st station, when I can loudly hear my heartbeat. We tried moving again, but this time, my friend’s shoes gave up. Since it wasn’t safe to carry on, we decided to go down, and instead, we trekked along the Tinipak River. The crowd along the river is opposite of the mountain. It was getting crowded as groups of people started hiking, while it was only the 4 of us (my 2 friends and I, plus our guide) who were trekking along the river. We enjoyed it more! The whole place was just to ourselves. It was so quiet that you can only hear the gushing of water and the chirping of birds. Tinipak River is one of the clearest waters I have ever seen and it was so clean. We enjoyed wading in the water.

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We had a hearty breakfast meal near the river, before we continued moving to the rock formations. Again, it was all to ourselves. According to our guide, they do not classify Mt. Daraitan as a beginner’s hike because of it’s 90 degrees assault, and 4/9 difficulty increases especially when it rains. For them, it is not a minor hike. Now, I’m wondering why it is classified under beginner’s hike, when according to locals it is not an easy hike.

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It has been a good day despite of not reaching the summit (but we’ll get there too), we were one with nature, and it’s just good to be with her.

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Budget:

PHP 850/pax for RT van transfer Manila-Daraitan, registration fee, guide fee, environmental fee

PHP 100 (up to you) my tip for our guide

PHP 20- use of shower rooms

PHP 200- total I spent on meals

 

Vietnam Vibes

Vietnam may be popular as part of the Indochina backpacking series (Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-Thailand), so most travelers under this category, spend only a night or 2 in the city of Ho Chi Minh, before moving to another country. We were in Vietnam for 4 days, and you’ll never go wrong if you want good food, budget and city vibes in your itinerary.

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Saigon City Hall at night

Ho Chi Minh is an hour behind Manila and would take about 2.5 hours of flight. Based from my experience, your budget will have a long way to go because Vietnam is actually cheaper than Manila, and it’s best to bring US dollars. You can have it exchanged in Vietnam Dong at the airport for your Grab fare or taxi fees, and the rest around the Ben Thanh Market for good rates.

Ho Chi Minh, VIetnam in a glimpse of 3 days, 3 nights (06.10.18-06.13.18)

Our flight was via Cebu Pacific and left Manila around 10pm, and arriving a little past midnight (Vietnam time) at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. We had our dollars exchanged for their local currency to pay our Grab ride. Airport to our hostel in District 1 was about 20 mins., and we were charged 108K VD. My parents and sisters arrived a day earlier than us, so they were already in the room when we arrived.

We stayed at Polygon Hostel, which is a few blocks from Ben Thanh Market. We had a good deal from Agoda, and booked it for only PHP 9659.52, considering we’re 5, all with breakfast buffet. We just made additional payments for early and late check in that cost us 1M VD. It was a total of  597/hd per day. Good deal indeed. The hostel was the perfect one if you’re looking for strategic location, value for money, complimentary breakfast, and staff that speak good English. If you’re a first timer, their lift is quite shocking. It stated that it can fit 8 pax. We’re 5 when we took the lift, and we were packed inside. It turns out that most buildings have that size of a lift. It was really small and I think it was made for locals. I barely saw a fat or big Vietnamese.

Since we arrived at midnight and we were hungry, my parents recommended a nearby Japanese restaurant. The restaurant was already closing, but thanks to my sister’s convincing powers and the staff welcomed us. Each of us got a rice meal and gyoza and our bill was a little more of 1000PHP but not more than 2000PHP.

06.11.18- Independence Palace, Cu Chi Tunnel Tour

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Independence Palace

We woke up at past 7 for our breakfast before going for a walk. Our first stop was the Independence Palace. It’s about 10-15 mins. walk from our hostel. Independence Palace played a vital role during the Vietnam War in the 60s-70s. It used to house the French Governor during the French Colonial Period, and the South Vietnamese force during the war. Many historical events occur in that building. The interiors were preserved from how they look like nearly 50 years ago. Some of the fighter planes were also on display at the grounds of the palace. Entrance is at 65000VD.

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Pres. Nguyen’s office

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First Lady’s Portrait

It was really hot that day, and at the same time my mom was experiencing jet lagged.  We were forced to leave earlier than expected because my mom was having a headache. We took a cab going to our hostel. We stayed at the hostel until our tour fetched us at the hostel.

It was past lunch when our tour group arrived. We were taken to the Cu Chi area, an hour away from downtown. Cu Chi Tunnel was a base camp used by Vietcong. They lived in the tunnel during the war, and have the complete supplies to survive. I would really say that Vietnamese are smart people based from the tactics used by the guerrillas. Everything was planned out well, that Americans couldn’t spot their enemies. We were toured around the area, and showed us how everything was well maintained down under. We were also given the chance to go under the tunnel and tried to fit ourselves going down and up from the tunnel. The effects of the war have lasted until today. You’ll see bomb craters, and the effects of Agent Orange (chemicals used to kill crops and forests) to  forests and  even to humans. You’ll get to see how traps are made, and even their combat sandals. We get to taste tapioca (local cassava), which was their food while living in the tunnel. You also get a chance to fire a gun, but for a fee. Our tour only includes transfers, tour guide, cassava, and entrance to Cu Chi Tunnel. Our tour was booked from Klook. It was 22USD per head and we availed the premier tour. I still got a 5USD discount from the total because of my rewards points from previous bookings.

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Viet slippers are weather proof and leaves no trace of footprint

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Making of bombs

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A kind of trap made by the Viets

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One of the entrances to the tunnel

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Bomb crater

When we got back to our hostel it was past 5 in the afternoon and rested for a while before we had our dinner. While looking for some restaurants to have dinner we spotted the Saigon Street Food Market. We went inside and we didn’t go wrong because it was a haven of good food. We had pho, barbecue, and some rare fruit juice for drinks, and it was in big servings. I didn’t quite expect that good food will come this cheap.

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06.12.18- Mekong Delta, Saigon Cathedral, Post Office, Opera House and City Hall

DSC00976-01The next day, it was my birthday, and we had the whole day for tour. After breakfast, we were picked up by our group tour bound for Mekong Delta. It’s roughly a 2-hour bus ride from our hostel in downtown Ho Chi Minh. Before we reached Mekong Delta, we had a stop over at Vinh Trang Pagoda, a Buddhist temple and monastery.

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After several minutes, we transferred to a ferry ride going to Unicorn Island. We were welcomed by folk singers and served with native fruits and tea. We had a tour to the cocoa, honey and coconut production. We had the option to buy their products as souvenirs. Part of our tour was to be served with local lunch and a cruise down the Mekong Delta tributary, it’s actually like a swamp. We availed the tour from Klook and bought the premier tour for Mekong Delta full day tour at 25USD per head.

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Native fruits and tea were served

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A folk singer sang to me their version of Happy Birthday song

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Cacao drying before turning into coffee

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Candies for souvenirs

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Snake wine

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After the Mekong Delta tour, we still have time to go around the city. We had the chance to see French architecture through the Saigon Cathedral, Post Office, Opera House and City Hall. We wanted to go inside but the cathedral is under construction, while the post office was already closed when we got there. There was an on-going show when we passed by the opera house. We didn’t bother to go in, because our stomachs were already asking for dinner.

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Saigon Cathedral

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Post Office

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We, once again, had dinner at the Saigon Street Food Market. We had a sumptuous meal for 5 persons, and believe it or not our bill didn’t go over PHP 2000. You’ll never go hungry and broke when you’re in Vietnam.

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06.13.18- War Remnants Museum, Lunch Lady

After having breakfast, we went out for a walk until we reach the War Remnants Museum. It is a museum dedicated to the Vietnam-America War in the 60s till 70s. You get to see to see the planes and choppers used by the Americans, as well as the impact of the war to the civilians.

After our museum tour, we hailed a cab going to district 4 where the famous Lunch Lady is at. I was actually expecting a restaurant when we arrive, but what we saw were few tables and chairs in the middle of an alley. I’ve learned about the Lunch Lady from Anthony Bourdain, wherein he features local dish of every country that he gets to visit. It was not a disappointment to spend our lunch with the Lunch Lady. We ordered a set meal, and it was so good and in large servings. Definitely good food! A little bit around PHP 2500 were spent for lunch, and definitely worth it.

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Sumptuous lunch for 5

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With the famous Lunch Lady

In the evening, we flew back to Manila and bought some souvenirs from the airport, since we didn’t have a chance to go around our hostel after having lunch.

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Free cake from our hostel coz it’s my birthday

Budget for this trip:

Accommodation- PHP 11900.3 (3 days plus early and late check-in fee, 5 pax with breakfast)

Cu Chi Tunnel Tour- PHP 5250 (5 pax with snack; premier tour)

Independence Palace Tour- VND 65000 (PHP 146 per head)

Mekong Delta Tour- PHP 6250 (5 pax with lunch and fruits/snacks; premier tour)

War Remnants Museum Tour- VND 40000 (PHP 90 per head)

Lunch/Dinner- PHP 7000 (5 pax; large servings)

Taxi- PHP 1000 (assuming, including airport transfer)

TOTAL-PHP 32580.3 for 4 days (PHP 6516.06 per head without airfare and shopping)

Cooling Down in Calaguas

All the 8-hour van ride and 2-hour boat trip were worth it. There may be no phone signals nor electricity, but it is still worth visiting Calaguas Islands in Vinzons, Camarines Norte. I’ve read and heard stories about the boat ride going to Calaguas, and most of the time, they will share how wild the waves are, since it is in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, the weather was nice and the sea was calm, going to and back from Calaguas when we sailed out.

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Weekday in Calaguas

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DIY Calaguas Tour organized by Grezel aka Byaherang Barat (4th from left) along with friends who love to travel

I was on my 5-day leave, and I was supposed to go to Bali. However, my favorite travel buddy has work, and we have to adjust for his 2 days-off. He insisted that we go around the country instead. It was a choice of either Calaguas or Sagada, since his off was falling on a weekday, we almost had no chance of going to Calaguas. Calaguas trips are usally on weekends. Do it on a weekday, make sure that you’re bringing all your friends to share the expenses or you have the money to splurge for 2 people. I searched for DIY tours, and it usually falls on a weekend or a holiday. Fortunately, I chanced upon the post of Byaherang Barat on Facebook, and she was looking for joiners in her Calaguas Weekday Trip.

Without hesitations, I messaged her. She was very responsive and has answered all my inquiries. DIY tour that she organizes for Calaguas is good for 12 pax (we were only 9 in our tour though), and includes almost everything: Roundtrip van transfer from Manila to Vinzons port, roundtrip boat transfer from Vinzons port to Calaguas, environmental fees, island fees, tents, buffet meal for day 1 and 2 (2 lunches, dinner and breakfast), island hopping, trekking, snorkeling gears and kayak. There were no hidden charges. Our tour was charged at Php 3400/head. I was very satisfied and happy in joining her tour, Good thing that it was also a weekday, the whole stretch was almost ours. I highly recommend her if you want to join DIY tours, and she has plenty of places to visit.

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Meet Byaherang Barat

Calaguas Island in a glimpse of 3 Nights and 2 Days (05.07.18-05.09.18) 

We met on May 7, 9pm at McDonald’s Shaw. We had dinner first (own account) before leaving at 10pm. Exactly 10pm, we left. We traveled for about 8 hours, with several stops in Laiya, Lucena, and Pagbilao. It was around 6am, when we got in Daet for breakfast (own account).

05.08.18- Calaguas Island

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Vinzons Port

At past 7am, we boarded our boat from Vinzons Port. It was a river port, then later on connecting to the Pacific Ocean. It was a smooth boat ride for 2 hours.

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Upon arrival, our tents have been assembled, and we get to choose our own.

DSC00699_1-01Since it was still early for lunch, we swam in the sea until noon. For lunch we were served with ginataang santol, tuna, shrimp, and watermelon. It was unlimited food for everyone.

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Lunch for everyone

We went back to the sea at 2pm, and didn’t mind the heat at all, and lasting until sunset. For dinner, we were served with bicol express, laing, seafoods and pineapples. Honestly, it was the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted. Before the night ends, we had a little drinking session, and for everyone to have a chitchat.

 

 

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Tinaga Island of Calaguas Group of Islands

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Lovers in Calaguas

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Sunset in Calaguas

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05.09.18- Island Hopping, Trekking

We were up by 5am, because the sky was already bright. We walked along the shore for the nice morning breeze before having breakfast. Breakfast includes scrambled egg, sword fish, danggit, salted egg, and another type of fish which I forgot. After breakfast, we hopped into the boat and went to another island for trekking and picture taking. The other island has a cool view comparable to Batanes. Although, we went at the wrong time since Mr. sun was shining brightly already. It’s best to go trekking early in the morning or before sunset.

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Afterwards, we head for snorkeling. We had a good hour of snorkeling in the open sea. It was at 10am, when we got back in the main island. We still had a good time for swimming before having lunch. For lunch, we had lechon kawali, pork adobo, and seafoods. After lunch, we walked around to buy a souvenir, which I got for Php 75.

A little past 1pm we left Calaguas, and before heading home, we bought several goodies and pineapples.

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What’s not to love

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Nobody else in the shore but him

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Balagbag Island- where we trekked and had a little view of Batanes

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Budget for this trip:

Php 3400- DIY Tour all in/head

Php 900- 2 Dinners and Breakfast (own account for 2 pax)

Php 600- Souvenirs and other pasalubongs (2 bags of pili tart, 1 bottle of pili nuts, 1 bottle of laing and 1 bottle of bicol express)

Php 100- 10 pcs of pineapples (bought in the highway)

Php 75- ref magnet

Total: Php 8475 for 2 pax all in including souvenirs

 

Anawangin, 5 years ago

Pundaquit Shore, I have been visiting this place since the 90s, thanks to our cousin in law who hails from this beautiful place. Most of the time, I was just in the sand and playing because the waves were too high (which after several years becomes a surfing destination) and the oldies will always say that once you go far, the waves will throw you to the other island across, which happens to be Capones Island (which I got to visit only in 2013). However, I only got a chance to see Anawangin Cove in 2010 (I believe this is an Aeta Village). Thanks to my aunts and cousins who pushed for the island hopping tour.

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2010: Pundaquit Shore

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Anawangin 2010

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2010: with my aunt

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All to ourselves, Anawangin 2010

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Anawangin 2010

 

Take me back, 5 years ago.

2013

Not long ago, when I first visited the remote coves of Anawangin. It was in 2010, when I first stepped into this beautiful beach. This can be reached through boat (20 mins) or trekking (not sure how long though). We opted for the boat, because a cousin in law, happens to have an uncle with a boat. There were no phone signals nor electricity in the area, and only a single store to cater your basic needs. The whole stretch was ours, and it was crystal clear clean. After 3 years, I was back with my officemates. It was Holy Week, for sure there will be a lot of people to flock the place. Indeed, I was right. The camp site were full of tents, and full of people.

 

 

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Anawangin 2013

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Anawangin & Capones: 3 Days 2 Nights

For this trip, our good friend drove for us from Makati to Zambales. Our first stop was at Pundaquit Market in San Antonio, Zambales. We bought all our fresh food from here, which was good for 3 days. We shared 500/head for our food. It was more than enough for 5 people to share. After 20 mins., we were at Pundaquit shore to meet our boatman, who happened to be our tour guide too. We haggled and he gave us 5000 for 3 days 2 nights that includes boat transfer, island hopping tour, camping needs/tools, trekking and even offered his house to shower on the last day. 1000/head was a good deal! The whole trip cost us 2500/head, which was pretty good, since we didn’t share our trip with other tourists.

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Capones Island

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Spring at Anawangin

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Anawangin view from top

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Trekking

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The lone store

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Quite pricey for 50 bucks

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Fast-forward 2018

I’m not sure if the place remains to be the same, without any electricity or phone signal. I wonder if it is still the same that they set up tents and they do bonfire. Last thing I remember, goods from the store were pricey. A bottle of beer would cost you 50 bucks. Since it’s known to many now, I wonder if it is still peaceful like how it used to be.

 

 

 

 

The Charm of Coron

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A 45-minute plane ride from Manila can take you to the world’s best island, according to Travel + Leisure’s website . After garnering a score of 93.15 from its survey, Palawan, Philippines landed in the no. 1 spot of The World’s Best Island category published last July 2017. It feels so proud to be living in a beautiful country, envied by many. Although issues may arise like safety, I would still consider myself lucky being a local. I can freely move from islands to islands, without the fear that someone would just abduct me. If I could only purchase an island, I would have done it, and spend most of my free time there. The town of Coron in Palawan is so blessed to have such natural beauty, therefore it doesn’t need any theme park to “promote” or “beautify” the place.

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Coron, Palawan in a glimpse of 5 days and 4 nights (08.24.17-08.28.17)

I took the earliest flight possible from Manila via Cebgo. Knowing that most flights going to Coron are always full, I did not take the risk and took the first flight. Flying stand-by, can be heart-pounding so I kept my fingers crossed, and I was able to smoothly checked-in. When I asked the ground crew about the flights back to Manila on the 28th, he told me that all flights are over-booked.

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Francisco B. Reyes- Busuanga Airport

We arrived 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time of arrival in Busuanga Airport. After getting my checked-in luggage, I took the van that will drop me off at our hotel. It was  a 30 minute ride with a picturesque view. I was wide awake at past 7 in the morning and trying to capture the beautiful scenery.

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Lush of green in Busuanga town

Our hostel was in downtown of Coron, and a few minutes away from the port. I was planning to sleep before all my colleagues arrive, but I was too early to check-in and all rooms are still occupied, so I waited for another 4 hours in the lobby and trying to get some sleep.

08.24.17- Mt. Tapyas

After several hours of waiting, we strolled around the town to look for a place to eat. First, we passed by Tea and Shake place to satisfy our cravings for shake. I got myself a mango shake while others got avocado. It costs PHP 119, and it was worth it. A few blocks away, we found a place to have our lunch. We ate at Island Boy Grill. They serve different seafoods, adobo, sisig, and a whole lot more that is budget-friendly.

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Tea and Shake place

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In the mid-afternoon, we went to hike Mt. Tapyas. It’s about 700 steps going to the peak, and it’s the second highest mountain in the town of Coron. You don’t need a tour guide to go here. Just navigate through your phone to get into the jump-off point. Once you have reached the summit, you get a nice view of the town. However, when we went there, it was a bit gloomy, and the sun was hiding behind the clouds.

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The giant cross at the summit

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We were supposed to take a dip into the Maquinit Hotspring after going up, but we all got hungry. We walked around the streets to search for a food place. We ended up eating at Altrove, where they serve pizza and pasta. The restaurant looks like an old house converted to a food place wherein you have to remove your shoes or slippers before entering.

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08.25.17- Hidden Lagoon, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Smith Beach, CYC Beach 

Our wake-up call is at 7:00 am. We had our complimentary breakfast with a choice of pork tocino, chicken hotdog, longganisa and danggit with rice and coffee before leaving for our day’s activities. We were transferred by the van going to the port to meet our tour guides and boat men. We availed the ultimate tour (3-day tour) for only PHP 3400 per head, which includes boat and van round trip transfers, lunch buffet and snack, entrance fees, tour guide, and lifevests.  We pay extra to rent snorkeling gears and kayak boat.

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Hidden Lagoon

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I could have just imagined how it looks like on a sunny day

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Kayangan Lake

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Our first destination is at the Hidden Lagoon. It’s so beautiful and quiet. Then we moved to Kayangan Lake. There are about 300 steps to reach the viewing deck and lake. The line to the viewing deck was so long, so we went first to the lake. We dipped into the lake with our vests on. It was not crowded when we were there. I could just imagine how it looks like during peak season. When we started leaving the lake, the clouds are getting dark too. The rain poured when we were about to go to the viewing deck. We were not able to enjoy the view because it was too foggy. We got into our boat and moved to Smith Island to have lunch. Our lunch includes pork liempo, seaweeds, shrimp, pineapple, banana and rice. The rain has stopped while having lunch, so we were able to enjoy the moment and we have spent some time in the beach.

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After lunch, we moved to CYC Beach (Coron Youth Club). The weather cooperated well, and we got to paddle a kayak along the shore and near the mangroves. It was the first time that our friend was able to fly his drone, since drones aren’t allowed in the lagoons.

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For our final stop, we went to the Twin Lagoon. As we were approaching, the rain is getting heavier. We still continued and swam in the lake. The water here is a mixture of hot and cold. You have 2 choices to go to the other side of the lagoon. First, you take the stairs, or you swim under the rocks. I opted to take the stairs instead, because I could see the sharp edges of the rocks, and you have limited movements.

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Swim must go on at Twin Lagoon

Before going back to the port, we had banana cue for snacks.

For dinner, we went to Carl’s BBQ and ordered ribs and barbecue. They serve good food, and ambiance is nice too.

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Carl’s BBQ

08.26.17- Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Bulog Dos Island

It was a 2-hour boat ride from the port of Coron, and waves were a bit strong. We were soaked in water for half the trip because of the waves. Our first stop was at Malcapuya Island. The beach is nice as well as the sand. The sand is comparable to the sand of Boracay. We got to enjoy it before the rain has fallen. A store is available in the island, and we got ourselves a fresh buko juice, turon and banana cue. There was also a free taste of squid. If you like it, you can buy a pack for PHP 200.

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Malcapuya Beach

We needed to hurry up for Banana Island, because it’s almost lunch time. Luckily, the rain has stopped when we reached Banana Island. Banana Island is quite developed. There were nice nipa huts, hammocks, swing and a volleyball court. Perfect for your selfie needs. For lunch, we had pork liempo, tulingan fish, squash and stringbeans, banana, watermelon and rice, and for snacks, we had the Kababayan bread.

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For our last stop, we went to Bulog Dos Island. It’s a small island that has a sandbar, visible during low tide that connects to Bulalacao Island, where the Two Seasons Hotel is located. It has really a nice view, and quite plenty of underwater creatures. We hung out by the sandbar, and we saw a starfish. There was also a jellyfish, as big as a fist, that stung my boyfie. I told him to pee on his legs and ask the boatman to pour vinegar on his legs. It worked well, and the day after it was gone.

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Just a few meters away from Two Seasons Coron

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Glad to have seen a starfish during our trip

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For dinner, we went to Winnie’s. They serve exotic seafood dishes. Since I’m allergic to seafoods, I had porkchop instead and it was delicious.

08.27.18- East Tangat Gunboat, Lusong Gunboat, Pass Island

Our activity for this day is mostly underwater. We got to see the Japanese shipwrecks from World War 2. They are shallow and is easily visible once you go underwater. We went to the East Tangat Gunboat and Lusong Gunboat. Both can be viewed while snorkeling. There were also beautiful sea creatures living within the area.

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Getting ready for the day’s activity

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A Japanese shipwreck from World War 2

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Our next destination is at Pass Island. For me this is the most beautiful. Crystal clear water, fine sand, mangroves on the other end, coconut trees and plenty of sea creatures. Even in the shallow part, school of fishes are swimming with us. Some of our friends even saw a stingray when they went a bit far. Just don’t forget to wear your aqua shoes to avoid stepping on sea urchins and stone fish that can be poisonous. When we were half way eating our lunch, the rain poured. We have the same set of meal, but this time we have mangoes and chopsuey.

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Approaching Pass Island

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Plenty of fishes in the shallow water

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We spent the whole time in Pass Island, so we weren’t able to see the Lusong Coral. It houses beautiful corals according to our guide.

After a long day, we had dinner again at Carl’s Bbq. This time we ordered barbecue, chicken cordon bleu, chopsuey, and sizzling gambas.

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Barbecue for dinner

After dinner, we went around town to buy souvenirs like shirt, ref magnet and dream catcher. Of course, we will not forget the famous cashew nuts of Palawan.

08.28.17- Busuanga Airport

We have to leave our hostel after eating breakfast to catch our flights. I tried my luck to get into the first flight, but it was overbooked and I was bumped off. I waited for the next flight and I was told that it is full again. I already considered flying to Clark just to get home, but luckily, I got a slot for the midday flight. We were ahead of scheduled time of arrival again.

For our itinerary and total damage to our wallet, feel free to click Itinerary- Coron, Palawan 2017

Staycation at Pico de Loro

My last hurrah for Summer 2017 came in June. It has been raining for almost everyday, and I was already losing hope to get myself a tan. However, on that weekend of June 17 & 18, the weather was with us. It was a pretty good day to get ourselves soaked in the water.

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Passing by this beautiful scenery on our way to Pico de Loro

Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club in a glance of 2 days, and 1 night. (06.17-18.17)

We are expected to check-in at our room at 2 in the afternoon. Instead of leaving early, which we normally do when we go out of town, we left our house at almost 12 noon, and reached Nasugbu, Batangas at 2pm. It was a pretty decent ride, and I didn’t expect that it will only take about 2 hours going there from our place. We usually take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu route, which takes about 3 hours or more, depending on the traffic in Tagaytay. Based from our navigator, Waze, we’re suppose to take NAIAx and Cavitex, and take Noveleta Exit, and you will pass by the towns of Tanza, Naic, Maragondon, and Ternate, until you reach the Kaybiang Tunnel, and just a few minutes away from Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club.

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Kaybiang Tunnel

Pico de Loro is actually a members-only leisure club, but thanks to Airbnb, we found a way to get in there. After weeks of searching for an affordable, yet worthy escapade, I ended up in the page of our host who owns a unit at Pico de Loro. Our host’s unit is the cheapest among all those who have their units rented at Pico de Loro. For only PHP 3658 per night (all in) her space is fully furnished, and you’re allowed to cook and use her appliances as well. Although, you need to pay PHP 1200 per head as guest fee for the use of  facilities for non-members (as per management of Pico de Loro)

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Registration area

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Our room is at Carola B

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Mt. Pico de Loro in the background

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We arrived just in time for check-in, and we’re all hungry. As expected, we ended up eating at the restaurant. We had bulalo, pancit luglug, and beef salpicao, good for 4 pax. Afterwards, we headed to the pool and stayed there until sunset. My sister and her friend left the pool earlier, because they are tasked to prepare dinner.

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The night before we left, I went to the grocery to buy the essentials for our trip, and to actually save more money on food. We had Buttered Chicken with Salted Egg for dinner, and it was a good one. We’re suppose to drink beer for the rest of the night, but my sister fell asleep and we ended up watching k-drama instead.

06.18.18- Day 2

I woke up earlier than the rest so I prepared the breakfast. I cooked corned beef, hotdogs and fried rice. It was quite plenty for a group of 4. At 0900am, we headed to the beach. I wasn’t impressed with the waters (compared to those I’ve been to). It was so hot that day so I stayed under the umbrella for a long time, while my sister and her friend enjoyed riding the jet-ski. After a few more hours, we left and prepared for checking-out. I’m glad that in our whole stay, it didn’t rain and ruin the fun.

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Jellyfish warning to swimmers (but luckily I didn’t see any)

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Lifeguard on duty

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Maxi dress from Forever 21

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For itinerary and budget, feel free to click the link Itinerary- Pico de Loro 2017

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PS. They do not accept cash instead they prefer debit/credit card and cash card which you can reload with your cash.

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Ice-cold beer on a hot day

 

When Disaster Aftermath Leads to Nature’s Beauty- Mt. Pinatubo

Almost 26 years ago, it was the most devastating natural disaster that occurred, not only in the Philippines, but in the world. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales has gotten so many lives, and buried them underground alive. Many people were forced to leave their houses without any idea when they can comeback. The ashes from the volcanic eruption went as far as Hong Kong, and the world temperature for 10 years was decreased by 1 degree Celsius. I remember in the late 90s, whenever we spend our summer in Pundaquit, Zambales, we always pass by the province of Pampanga, and the remnants of the lahar look so fresh, and the surroundings were very much like a zombie land.

The calamity of yesterday turned out to be a beautiful disaster. As we trekked for 2 hours going to the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo, we passed by several smiling Aetas, the locals of the area. Afterwards, we’ve seen the most rewarding view of the lake.

Mt. Pinatubo in a glance of a few hours (02.20.17)

My very good friend invited me to join their group, who will trek the Capas, Tarlac trail of Mt. Pinatubo. Without any hesitations, I said yes. I don’t normally do hiking, due to my very demanding work that requires me to sleep during my days off. I tried several before like trekking in Mt. Buntot Palos, and Mt. Isarog, and I have loved the rewarding view of the falls in those mountains. I strongly felt that I can do Pinatubo, since I got to experience spelunking at Biak na Bato, but heck that was in my freshman year in high school, almost 12 years ago. For someone like me who considers walking as a form of exercise, I got to reach the peak of Mt. Pinatubo without giving up.

In the Monday morning of Feb. 20, the group met in Ortigas. The trip was organized by my friend’s friend who happens to be working for Nat Geo, and they create new trails for mountains. Such a cool job, you get to discover a lot of new adventures. We were a group of 10, 3 of them were my batch mates in high school, and the rest were from the same circle of flying.

Our van left Ortigas, at 3:30am, and before the sun rises, we were already at the jump-off point in Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. We were required to register at the tourism office and once our 4×4 rides were available, we started our adventure.

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The ride was around an hour and a half, and we were the first ones to make a trip, so we created the path that will be followed by the other trekkers later.

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Toblerone-shaped lahar mountain

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We had a short stop-over at the Toblerone-like mountain. The mountains were created out of lahar.

After our 4×4 ride, this is when we started to trek. It was probably 3-4 kms in distance. They say that it used to be a very long trek, almost 7kms if I remember it right. However, according to what I’ve heard, some areas have been bulldozed to give way for “VIPs” who will be visiting/inspecting the area. Such a shame, it’s nature who will adjust for those people, and that’s the ugly truth.

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Another area for registration

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After several mins., i found a bathroom with water. Yehey!! I’ve been wanting to pee for the longest time, but I have to hold it or else, I’ll do it somewhere in the bush.

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Where do you belong?

After several walks again, we found a banner stating that it’s 20 mins. more to the crater. I saw some locals doing their laundry by the stream, and didn’t mind the scorching heat. There were families of Aetas living in that part, so please if you happen to go here, bring some snacks or anything for the kids. I’m sure they will appreciate it.

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Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations

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Finally!

At last, we reach the peak. It was 9am and the view was rewarding. My trekking was worth every penny.

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Happy, my hs batchmate & volleyball teammate during our varsity days

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Cat, beautiful friend since 2nd grade. 18 years of solid friendship.

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Kev, my good friend since 1st year high school

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Thank you to these beautiful people for the wonderful time

 

We stayed for an hour and camp by the lake. I suggest that you bring your own food and drinks and load up on carbs. There’s a lone store there, but the prices of his goods are way too high.

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High school never ends

Before we went back, we made sure that we didn’t leave any trash.

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Leave nothing but footprints

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The expenses for this trip was PHP 3100 per head for a group of 10. It includes transfer rides from Manila to jump-off point and vice-versa, registration fee, environmental fee and 4×4 ride. Pack light and wear something comfy that can cover you from heat.

After our trek, we took a shower in one of the houses near the jump-off point, and paid 50 bucks.

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Since it was still early to go home, we had a side trip in Angeles, Pampanga, and ate at Funnside Ningnangan.

For itinerary and budget, click Itinerary- Mt. Pinatubo 2017

The Blissful Paradise of Bantayan Island

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The island of Bantayan is at the northern most part of Cebu. It takes about 6 hours to reach this paradise from Cebu City. The locals from the island speak different dialects, because they are very near to the islands of Masbate, Leyte and Panay. There are two beaches in the island, namely, Alice and Sugar. I tried walking on both shores, and they’re just almost the same. There were tons of resorts to choose from, depending on your budget of course. I chose a resort located in the town of Bantayan, a bit of traveling before reaching the beach proper in the town of Santa Fe.

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Bantayan Island, Cebu in a glimpse of 1 day and 1 night. (07.30-31.16)

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Shore of Santa Fe, Bantayan Island

Land, air and sea.

The crowd in Bantayan Island are mostly tourists (foreigners and locals from Manila), and it could be time-consuming before you reach the island. 3 domestic airlines travel from Manila to Cebu daily, and flights are almost hourly. There are also available flights going to Cebu from our neighboring countries, Middle East, and USA. Domestic flights from the different provinces also fly to Cebu daily or weekly. Seat sale is offered by airlines months before your scheduled vacation, and sometimes even weeks before.

Manila flights are usually an hour and 30 minutes flying time.

Take a regular(white) taxi from the right side of the arrival hall of Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and tell the driver to take you to the North Bus Terminal.

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Scheduled trips from Cebu City to Bantayan Island and vice-versa via Ceres Bus Liner

There are scheduled trips going to Hagnaya Port, and it takes about 3-4 hours from the bus terminal to the port. It’s better to take the air-conditioned bus.

At Hagnaya Port, pay the terminal fee, and avail the next available trip to Santa Fe Port, Bantayan Island.

Where to Stay?

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The resort where we stayed

There are many resorts to choose from, depending on your preference and budget. I booked at Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort (09189408066). I called up the contact number I found online, and reservations were arranged after I made a 30% down payment. The resort is located in the town of Bantayan, and it takes about 20 mins. to reach the shore of Santa Fe. They picked us up from the port of Santa Fe.

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View from our hut

 

07.30.16 Food trip in Santa Fe

After 6 hours  of traveling from Cebu City, we finally reached this paradise on a gloomy day. The currents going to Bantayan were quite big, and I kept my fingers crossed that our trip won’t be cancelled. We were picked up by the resort’s “gardener”, and later on I found out that she is the wife of the owner, and we belong to the same circle of flying. She was a very gracious host, and full of energy. We were greeted by a resort that looks very natural: forest themed. It has a beautiful infinity pool, pool cave, mini zoo, library, etc. Our villa is surrounded by trees and has a nice view in the morning. A complimentary breakfast was also included in our accommodation. We planned to rent a motorbike, so we could go around the island, but it wasn’t available at that time. Instead, we availed the drop-off/pick-up to Santa Fe.

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Complimentary breakfast

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I enjoyed eating at the famous MJ Square, where various restaurants and food stalls are located. A variety of food that you can choose from, yet at an affordable price.

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Sumptuous meal for two

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Variety of meals to choose from

 

07.31.16 Land Tour in the towns of Bantayan, Madridejos and Santa Fe

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Aside from swimming, we had a tour around the island of Bantayan. A package is offered in our resort. It took 2 hours to complete the tour. We visited the towns of Madridejos- where the ruins of Kota is found, Bantayan- where the oldest church (2nd in Cebu) of Sts. Peter & Paul is located, and Santa Fe. We passed by Ogtong Resort, where we had our picture taken at the Ogtong Cave. The rest of the time, we just eat, swim and sleep.

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If you’re a seafood lover, this is the place to be. They offer it fresh and in a variety of seafood viands. Different cuisines can be found here too- from local to international. For people who have a sweet tooth, like me, your dessert cravings can be satisfied. I highly recommend the leche flan sold at Dessert Zone. You can never go hungry in this island, and they’re all affordable.

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Bantayan is far from the developed beaches in our country, and I appreciate it that way. It is comparable to the famous Boracay Island, however, it is its quiet and affordable version. It has so much to offer, that you can really enjoy your stay in the island.

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For itinerary and budget, feel free to click the link Itinerary- Bantayan Island 2016

I would love to visit this paradise again someday, and try out the water activities, that we failed to do due to weather.

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Overnight in Thailand

Bangkok may be known for spicy Thai food, temples, lady boys, and shopping. The latter, for me, is the most attractive, and that made me flew to Bangkok on a short notice.

Bangkok, Thailand in a glimpse of 1 day and 1 night. (04.29.16-04.30.16)

Everything was planned and booked last minute, but surprisingly it was not that expensive. It was my first time to try the Airbnb app. It’s an app that could let you choose your accommodation depending on your budget and preference. After browsing through different accommodations, I found a hostel fit for my preference. It is not in downtown Bangkok. However, it’s just a few minutes away from Chatuchak, the shopping destination. Our hostel is at PHP 793 per night plus a surcharge of PHP 94. It includes twin beds with toiletries and complimentary water and noodles. The front desk officer was very accommodating, and can speak good English.

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Room @ VIPA Hotel

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Our hostel from outside

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Hostel’s lobby

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Twin beds in a fairly nice room for only PHP 793 per night

I have searched online for the different tour packages available, and I found my most preferred through Royal Exclusive Travel. The package includes pick-up and drop-off from your hotel (hotels must be in downtown Bangkok or if you’re hotel is not within the area, like in our case, we had Asia Bangkok Hotel as our meeting place), elephant ride and floating market tour in Damnoen Saduak, English-speaking tour guide and a complimentary drinking water. You can book this tour at http://www.asia-discovery.com

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Waiting four group tour at Asia Bangkok Hotel

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Day 1- 04.29.16

We took the red eye flight MNL-BKK, and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport at midnight. Since our hostel is 20 minutes away from BKK airport, we had no choice, but to take a cab. We rested for a few hours before we prepared for our tour.

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Another check on my bucket list: to ride an elephant

  • Elephant Village

It took an hour and a half before we have reached the elephant village at Damnoen Saduak. After a short briefing, we had our turns to ride the elephant and tour the forest. The “elephant driver” offered some souvenirs after our ride. Each souvenir costs around THB 150-300. It was my first time to ride an elephant, and it was an item to mark-off on my bucket list.

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While waiting for our turn to ride the elephant

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Forest bound

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Not your typical ride

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A view of the forest and wild monkeys from the elephant’s perspective

  • Floating Market

A few minutes away from the Elephant Village is the famous Venice of the East, the Floating Market. You take a canoe around the area and you can shop from a variety of Thai products. You can even ask for a discount especially if you’re buying bulk items.

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Bathroom break before we continue our journey

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A Thai local in their daily work

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Different items for sale

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Feel free to haggle when buying

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Souvenir items for sale

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Blending in with the tourists

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Plenty of tourists around

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After our tour, we were dropped off in downtown Bangkok. We were figuring out how to take the train, but there was no English translation and nobody speaks English. We were left with just one option, and that is to take the cab going to our hostel. Before we left, we walk along the streets and we found some local delicacies, and we gave it a try. We also passed by a stall that sells an authentic Thai milk tea.

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Authentic Thai milk tea & the ivory bracelet bought from the elephant driver

When we got into our hotel, we rest again for a bit, then went out to look for a temple. There is a Buddhist temple a few streets away from our hostel, and we paid a visit, because we could no longer visit the famous temples due to time constraint.

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A Buddhist temple we found near our hostel

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Light a candle, say a prayer and let it flow

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Or you may write down your prayers and hang it on the tree

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After a tiring and productive day, we got very hungry. There is a restaurant at the lobby of our hostel, and they serve authentic Thai food. I know that most of the Thai food are spicy, so I ordered for a mild spicy food. To my surprise, it is still very spicy, and to my friend who happens to love spicy food gave up too.

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Spicy bacon and rice

My friend needed to leave early, because she booked the wrong date of her flight, and I was left alone to do all the shopping. As a token of appreciation for my friend who came along even if unprepared, I bought her a passport holder.

  • JJ Market

Have you heard of shopaholics flocking Thailand to hoard items for business or personal use? Yes, it’s true that they sell quality stuff for a very low price. In fact, I tried to compare them with our very own Greenhills Shopping Center. They sell almost the same things but there is a big difference in the price.

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JJ Night Market

The front desk officer told me about this place beside Chatuchak. According to her, there is a night market every weekend that are preferred to be visited by the younger people. I checked it out, and it was indeed catered for the younger people. I started shopping at 7pm, and I ended at midnight, and got home with shopping bags on both hands.

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Passport holders

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How they customize it

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Shoes

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Find your stuff

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Day 2- 04.30.16

I was supposed to have the whole day for shopping, and taking the red eye flight going back to Manila. However, I realized that I have an early morning duty the next day, and I need to rest. As a result, I took the midday flight going home. Before my trip ends, there’s another side story I have to share. The night before I left for JJ Market, I told the front desk officer on duty that I’ll be checking out the next day at 7pm. I changed my mind and took the earlier flight instead, so I needed to leave the hostel at 7am. Unfortunately, there was no one in the lobby to inform that I’ll be leaving. Make things more impossible, the hostel’s location is in one of the alleys, so taxis don’t often go to that area. Good thing, the wifi was turned on, so I tried to use my Grabtaxi app. I made 3 attempts, 2 failed because they cannot contact me because I have no local number. Luckily, the 3rd one arrived, but he can’t speak English at all. I told him to take me to the airport. I remember I kept a copy of my itinerary translated in Thai, and I showed it to him. When we were near the airport, I know that he was asking whether we are going to the departure or arrival area. He cannot understand when I said departure, but I was in good fate, and I saw a translated sign of departure and I pointed it to him. I was really thankful for his willingness to understand, and to show my appreciation, I told him to keep the change.

For itinerary and budget, feel free to click the link, Bangkok 2016- itinerary

Hopefully when I have a chance to visit Thailand again, I get to see the famous temples, Patpong district, Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, and many more.