Posts Tagged ‘ Philippines ’

Boracay: Places To Stay At

Whether you’re on a tight budget or you wanna pamper yourself, there’s a place that can cater to your every whim. :)

Boracay Regency Hotel

Boracay Regency Beach Resort & Convention Center

View from the top, well, 3rd floor that is :)

Located in Station 2, this is the largest hotel on the island. Whenever I’d go there with my mom, we’d stay here. I guess she likes the fact that it’s very comfortable there but it’s not as expensive if compared with other big hotels in the area. They have a package wherein you’d be paying 7500php per person for a 3D2N stay at the hotel inclusive of transfers (900php) as well as (6) buffet meals (500php). They have 3 pools and a gym that guests can use. There’s no free wifi access in the rooms though. I had to go to the lobby, lounge area or even by the pool for some free wifi.

Frendz Resort

The path that leads to Frendz

Frendz native style cottages

Located in Station 1, this hostel is popular with backpackers. The place with its 15 native style cottages is a 2-minute walk towards the main road from White Beach. I went there twice with a friend who stayed at the place for almost a month. The employees there were very nice. the place has a common area where guests can talk to each other and share travel stories and experiences. They have a billiard table, books and board games as well as wifi for their guests. Dorm rooms are good for about 4-6people (400php/pax) while private rooms start at a little over a thousand pesos.

La Carmela de Boracay

La Carmela

Located in Station 2, though I thought it was already in 3 seeing as how far way it was from D’Mall, etc. hehe La Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel seem to be a popular choice with people traveling in groups. They have promos wherein you’ll pay 2500php per person for a group of at least 3pax and that includes a 3d2n stay + meals. :)

La Fiesta Resort

La Fiesta's non beach front rooms

Contact Person: Armarlda Tupas – 0919 8610886

Located in Station 1, several meters away from the beach front. But they have rooms on the beachfront too. We paid 1000php per night for a room for two. Our airconditioned room was on the second floor and it was very spacious. We had a mini ref too. The caretakers on the floor below us provided us the assistance we needed; if we’d be needing some utensils coz we bought some food, they’d lend us some etc. I like the fact that it was a quiet place yet it’s a very short walk away from the beach.

Residencia Boracay

Residencia Boracay's beach front

Bird cage-like swings :)

Located in Station 1, Residencia Boracay has a very good location on the island. It has a large beach front and is surrounded by nice hotels. The rooms here are spacious and the rates aren’t as expensive as the others. The employees are very helpful but more so the owners, Tirol-Labios Family. I stayed here with almost 40 of my friends and we had a truly wonderful time. :D

Two Seasons Boracay

Located in Station 1, this hotel likes its rooms in a zen minimalist  style but is still looking very nice and comfy. The presidential room can cost as high as 30,000php per night! The rooms here basically have the same price as the other hotels in the area (it starts at 6,000php but they have promos from time to time so do check it out).

Villa Simprosa

Contact person: Noriel Pascual – 09173274076/ 09228491950

Located in Station 2, this place is right smack of the hustle and bustle of the island. We paid 1200php per night for an airconditioned room that accommodated all 4 of us. We had to add another 300php (or the extra mattress) when another friend decided to join us. We had our own porch and it was a beach front room; a convenience store was below us. At least we didn’t have to go far for our necessities.

PS: There are tons more to choose from that I haven’t included here. We even found a dorm room for 200php but you can get the whole room for 500php (max of 4pax), but I wouldn’t recommend the place as it’s in Angol Point (at the far end of Station 3) already and the room isn’t so nice. Also, all prices are invariably dependent on whether it’s the off or peak season and on your haggling skills. hehe If you don’t like the room you booked in, move on to another place. There really are tons to choose from. Unless it’s super peak season, probably. ;)

Vacant rooms...

...abound

Related Posts:

Boracay

Getting to Boracay (and back)

Boracay: Where To Eat

Boracay: Where To Go

DIY: Getting to Boracay (and back)

For first timers to this beach island (I know lots who haven’t been there yet), there’s no need to avail of package tours to get there since it’s simple. Here’s a guide on how to get there. :)

Last update: July 13, 2011

Boracy Island's many sails :)

Catch a flight from Manila bound for (preferably) Caticlan or Kalibo by booking flights with local airlines. For Caticlan, check out Airphil, CebuPac and Seair. Aside from the first two, PAL and Zest Air also have daily flights for Kalibo. OR ride a RoRo from Batangas pier to Caticlan port. It will take about 12 hours and costs less than 1000php.

In Kalibo:

Outside the airport are buses/ shuttle vans (200php) bound for Caticlan. Get in on one of those. It would take around an hour and a half to reach Caticlan.

In Caticlan:

Caticlan’s newly renovated airport was unveiled on June 25, 2011. They added a second floor to the building and modernized it along the way. Though it’s not as big as the other airports in the country, it definitely got style. ;)

Caticlan Airport

Upon landing and being ushered inside, there’s a desk there wherein visitors would have to register. They also made it “more” tourist friendly by having this section, just beside the registration area, wherein you can pay for everything (tricycle and other fees if you’re doing it DIY)  at once so that you don’t have to go through many lines to pay for various fees.

  1. Tricycle – 80php for a tricycle that’s good for 3pax
  2. Boat – 25php
  3. Terminal Fee – 25php
  4. Environmental and Admission Fee – 75php

You can register and pay your fees here

Waiting for our backpacks :)

Caticlan and Boracay make use of two ports depending on the season. During summer months, it’s Caticlan’s jetty port which is just around 5 minutes away from the airport on a tricycle. One can probably walk towards there but I have yet to try that. hehe Then, you get on a boat that would sail for around 15 minutes to get to Boracay’s  jetty port. During the rainy season though (July-October), they make use of Caticlan’s Tabon Port which is around 10-15minutes tricycle ride away from the airport. Then it’s a few minutes boat ride til you get to Boracay’s Cagban Port. Get on a tricycle (100php flat rate) to take you to wherever your destination is on the island. If there are many of you, better get on a multicab for 250php.

Riding a boat to get to Boracay Island

Multicab terminal at the port

Heading back to Manila, you only have to retrace the steps given above. Though this time, you would only have to pay for the boat (25php). Caticlan airport’s terminal fee is 20php while it’s 40php for Kalibo International Airport.

Checking in at Caticlan Airport

At the pre departure area one rainy afternoon

If you can get to the airport early, it’s possible that they’d let you in on the earlier flight. It happened to us twice for my last trip there. Also, if you’re going there during the rainy season, always check with your airline for changes or cancellation with your flight schedule to avoid hassles.

Related Posts:

Boracay

Boracay: Where To Stay At

Boracay: Where To Eat

Boracay: Where To Go

Boracay

July 2, 2011

Boracay, one of my favorite destinations in the country! :D

Boracay Island is approximately 7kms long , dog bone-shaped with the narrowest point being less than a kilometer wide. The island is located just off the north western corner of Panay Island.

A dog bone-shaped island

Boracay Island is a popular destination for beach lovers. It was voted again and again as having one of the best beaches in the world. Its white sand is its most popular draw in. But I guess what draws visitors (like me) over and over there again is the fact that its white sand is just so powdery soft! Also, the sand never gets “too hot” to thread upon barefooted. The island also has beautiful sunsets. These days, aside from its beaches, it’s the lively atmosphere that makes it a must-visit vacation place. Its party reputation however has kept others who are seeking for a quiet vacation away. I say that Boracay island can offer solitude too. One just has to keep one’s distance away from its main attraction, White Beach.

Boracay's White Beach

Getting there is easy. Catch a flight bound for Caticlan or Kalibo, or ride a RoRo for Caticlan then get on a boat that will take you to the island. Lastly, ride a tricycle or a multicab to take you to wherever your destination is.

Enroute to Caticlan from Kalibo airport

In Boracay's Jetty Port

Whenever I go there with the family, we’d stay at Boracay’s Regency Hotel. ;) However, when I’m with friends, we’d try to find the cheapest room we can stay at (that has a good location) or couchsurf if possible. :)

Residencia Boracay's comfy swing :)

There are a lot of stuff you can do at the island: for sea loving people… island hop, helmet dive, snorkel, dive and swim; parasail, skimboard, kitesurf and cliff dive if you want a more adrenaline rush kind of activity. Others ride the zorb or go around parts of the island on an ATV. While there are those who enjoy lazing most of their day away by the beach.

Kite surfers going at it :D

My first trip there was because my cousin, vacationing from the US, wanted a trip to somewhere we’ve never been to. I kept coming back ever since! :D The craziest of which was when a friend celebrated her birthday and decided to host all of her guests there. There were probably around 40 of us coming in from different flights  in a span of 2-3 days! We were there for 4 fun days. The most chill was my last trip. I stayed for a week and having done most of the activities I mentioned before, I spent most of my time by the beach or explored parts of the island I have never been to. I thought I’d be bored by the end of it but days flew me by and the next thing I knew, I had to leave. :(

Staying out late with friends

Happy faces after a day of ciff diving :D

Lazy day at the beach

Think happy thoughts: I’ll be going back there next week! :D

Related Posts:

Getting to Boracay

Boracay: Where To Stay At

Boracay: Where To Eat

Boracay: Where To Go

Sohoton Cove and Non Sting Jellyfish!

June 26, 2011

Due to insistent public demand (well, more like from friends haha) I’ll skip the first day of my trip to Surigao in favor of this entry. Friends want to know the details as soon as possible so here it is! Read away guys ;)

Destination: Bucas Grande Island, Surigao del Norte

We got up early because our next stop wasn’t exactly near. My friend Sam wanted to come along for this trip for the sole purpose of being able to swim alongside stingless jellyfish. I’ve heard of them but don’t really know much. It turns out that they’re found only in few places in this world, the most famous of which is in Palau. I only know of one person who has been there and i know a lot of people who travel!

Bucas Grande Island is part of the much larger Sohoton National Park. To get there, we rode a tricycle and told the driver to drop us off at the city’s integrated terminal. There, buses, shuttle vans and jeepneys plying to different destinations can be found. We got on a shuttle bound for Claver, Surigao del Norte (100php) and waited for few more passengers. We left after 20minutes eventhough it was yet to be filled with passengers (14pax maximum). We bought some water and snacks first. After an hour and a half of land travel, we reached the small town of Claver. I told them that from what I’ve read, there would be no eateries in our destination so I was quite adamant that we have something heavy for breakfast coz we don’t know when our next meal would be. There were some eateries in Claver’s terminal so we had our breakfast there. Next, we got on a tricycle (25php) and told the driver to bring us to Baranggay Hayangabon where we’ll hire a pumpboat (lantsa) to take us to Bucas Grande Island.

Buying some snacks

Van bound for Hayangabon

It’s the first time that I saw a mining town and a sad sight it was indeed. Everywhere in Mindanao, lush forests abound. I was enjoying the view of the sea on my left whenI first noticed the red dust on the road.  On some parts, they had to put water so that it wouldn’t be as dusty but i became a bit muddy. As I looked at the mountains on my right, it’s bare and red. And there were huge machines digging up the mountain. :(

The mined mountains seen from afar

Our driver dropped us off at the port (pantalan). The men offered their boat for 2000php roundtrip. I saw a tourism center building by the main road so I told my companions that I want to check it out. They might have some useful infos for us. Inside though, it was more like a small store and the information they gave me, I already know. They did let us change our clothes and use the toilet for free. ;) I asked them why they let a mining company mine their land (the town has huge deposit of nickel, one of the largest in the world), the elderly man answered me by simply saying, we have nothing else to live by. I wanted to contradict, tell him of the harmful effects of it but would it change the way things are? This is why I think tourism is vital to our country. *sigh*

Our ride at Claver's Brgy. Hayangabon port

The water polluted by the mining operation

Fishing :)

We went back to port and agreed with the said amount. but we weren’t too keen on going back to Claver nor Surigao City. We’d rather spend it in Bucas Grande or Siargao Island, surf’s up! :D It took less than an hour (probably 40minutes) for us to reach Bucas Grande. Along the way, we even saw a huge yellowfin tuna jump out of the water. Totally woke me up! Then, it was the islands in front of me that got my attention. More like islets clumped together. El Nido’s lagoons came to mind. And then we saw one orange jellyfish! Got us all going again! :D Before we went there, there’s a wooden structure built, the reception area, wherein guests would have to register and pay the necessary fees before being allowed to explore the area. I told the lady manning it if it’s possible to swim with the jellies first, she said yes but gently reminded me that Sohoton Cove is accessible only during low tide so we have to check it out first before the other.

  • Mandatory Fees
  1. Entrance Fee – 25php/pax
  2. Environmental Fee – 25php/pax
  3. Docking Fee – 100php
  • Boat – 500php
  • Tourguide /s- 330php

You can also rent out a life jacket (30php) and snorkel gear (100php).

Welcome to Enchanted Sohoton! :D

Once that was done, we transferred on another, definitely smaller, boat. The one we arrived in won’t get through the cove’s only entrance, a cave which is accessible only on low tides.  I liked the place! Islets abound! And we wove through them. It wasn’t lacking in beauty though. Colorful corals and its waters were crystal clear you can see almost all the way down! Our guide pointed out some ironwood trees, the hardest tree you can find. Cool! hehe We went to some caves filled with stalactites (Snoring Cave) and then we made another stop at Diving Cave. Diving coz inside the cave is an upward path that leads you outside the islet to a man made platform wherein you can dive. Cliff diving anyone? ;) I was so excited to have another go at it that I actually volunteered to go first! Did I say that the place was beautiful? :D Green mountains all around and the water was so clear I can see all the way down, down, down. Uh oh! I couldn’t make myself do it!  I have no problem submerging myself there but to initiate the jump! *gulps* Safety wise, our three guides were waiting for me and I even told them I want one life jacket in the water! haha But still… I told Abby if she could please jump first. hehehe No, she said. After what seemed like ages, but was technically just 5minutes from the time our guide jumped to when we decided who should go first to me volunteering, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and (with great trepidation and shaking knees, they told me I was turning white and I’m so tanned lately at that! haha) I jumped off! It was several seconds before I was in the water (or so it felt) and I was on my way up when I felt our guide’s strong grip trying to help me out of the water. I needed more help convincing myself to jump. ;) It felt sooo good afterwards! Yay! I heard Abby shout from above. “Cathy, are you alright?” I told her I was good and I’m alright. It was her first time to cliff dive and I wanted to reassure her. And she was in the water in a snap. Great job! When it was Sam’s turn (she did some cliff dive before too), she also hesitated. Whew! It wasn’t just me then! :D We would have stayed longer but our guide reminded us of the jellyfish and that we have to get back before the tide gets high or we’ll be stuck there. The only problem we encountered was the lack of snorkel gear being rented out. There were only 2 groups ahead of us and they ran out of snorkels for rent for us. We made do with only 2. I should have brought mine. We went back to the reception area to wait for  our turn with the jellies. :D

On our way to the cove :D

Ironwood trees, hardest trees!

In the cove. :)

Who's gonna jump first???

To get to the jellies, we had to ride a paddle boat. Manned by one paddler and can sit up to two visitors. BUT as I’ve said, they’re not used to visitors so when it was our turn, no paddle boat was available. They solved this by making us  use the boat we were on in the cove. Headed towards the cove’s opposite direction it was less than 10minutes and we’re there, Tojomon Lagoon, home of the Philippine’s own non sting jellyfish! It is easy to imagine why there was no need for their sting. The place looked so calm and as we were told, there were no predators out to get the jellies so there was no need for them to develop sting/venom unlike their counterparts out in the open. From further readings, it can be gathered that these jellies have a life span of about four months and as such, their population peaks during summer months (March-June). They’re descibed as having brown color but looked more like orange to me. hehe Aside from the “orange” jellies that can be smaller than your closed fist or as big as a plate, there are also bigger white jellies in the area (blue according to our guide but to be more accurate, it’s transparent with some blue markings on them). They are fewer though and are more likely to be found deeper in the waters.  The sight above water was eye catching but our eyes were glued to the water, on the look out for them, orange and white jellies. Upon the lagoon’s entrance, we saw a few and then there were more and more of them until suddenly, you’re in the middle of a lagoon surrounded by orange jellies! It’s understandable how we were hesitant to touch them. So many past encounters of swimming by the beach/sea and getting stung taught us as much. To give us courage, our guide scooped one out of the water for us to touch. Waaah! haha I was sitting on the boat’s floor just staring at the view below me. Enthralled. I decided to put my hand in the water. I wanted to touch their head. Just a very light touch at first. It was sooo soft! It didn’t hurt. Non sting, yes! I had to check it out first before jumping in the water. ;) Unfortunately, I have no underwater cam but a friend of mine brought hers so I hope she took lots of shots underwater. I think I’d be too busy enjoying myself to take one even if I have one. hehe Above water, we were surrounded but it didn’t look THAT much but looking below the surface, I was blown away! Imagine crystal clear waters filled with these gentle, lovely creatures everywhere you turn! I had to remind myself to not move too suddenly as they seemed fragile, I saw tentacles floating around. Did I cause it??? Oh no!!! Or was it from the boat’s propellers? I got a lot of teasing from my companions when I told them about it. That’s probably the reason why they paddle to get to the lagoon.  The only other experience that gave the same feeling was when I swam alongside whalesharks (butandings). But with the whalesharks, it was very quick & fast with the jellies, it was chill. I was in the water until my fingertips were getting wrinkly. I didn’t want to get out of there. hehe

Non sting jellyfish abound in Tojomon Lagoon!

So gentle!

A white non sting jellyfish! Cool!

Swimming with the non sting jellies! :D

As I’m writing this, I can’t help but feel excited again! It was such a wonderful find! I only hope that to those who read this and is planning on going there themselves too, guys, please please practice responsible tourism. Do not throw your trash just anywhere especially in the sea. Some marine creatures mistake them for food, eat them and choke on it. No to vandalism. Avoid stepping on corals as it takes a year for it to grow just 1mm! Basically, just remember this:

TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES. LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS. KILL NOTHING BUT TIME.

That being said, hope you can all visit this wonderful place. :D

PS: If you’ll read from other sites, the other visitors usually took the Siargao route. That would be feasible but as we only have three days, I do not want to backtrack on any of our route to maximize our time. If you’re already in Dapa, Siargao, it’s best to start there but if you’re coming from Surigao City, just like us, it would be wiser to take the route we took. Siargao is 3hours by RoRo from Surigao and it’s another 3hours of travel to get to Bucas Grande’s Sohoton Cove.  While you can travel by 2hours to Claver and 40minutes by boat to get to Sohoton. :)

Some high resolution pictures from my travel companion, Chockie. :)

Up ahead, Bucas Grande Island!

They don't sting. They even attract small fishes! :D

In the water with hundreds and hundreds of them!

 

Related Post:

Rushing Surigao

Getting to Camiguin

June 1, 2011
This is my second trip to this small volcanic island. This time, I wanted a laid back pace and to just get lazy. I had just been on a crazy camping weekend. ;)

NAIA Terminal 3

I met Farah, first time to travel with her, at the airport where she was waiting for almost an hour. It wasn’t really my fault as she was just too early. hehe Our goal for this trip was to travel cheap (or at least attempt to) but still have fun.

Cagayan de Oro touchdown :)

Anyways, when we got to Cagayan de Oro Aiport, we rode a jeepney for the city (17php).  We dropped by Limketkai Mall for some snacks and other stuff. Then got on a cab for Agora terminal (54php). Once at the terminal, we rode an airconditioned bus bound for Butuan (143php). It was a comfortable trip that took an hour and a half.

Balingoan Port

At Balingoan terminal, tricycle was our next mode of transportation (10php) to get to the port. Turns out that the port was just across the road. We could have walked! But our bag was heavy! Well, that’s what I  told myself to not feel bad about that ride. haha The next leg of the trip was to cross the sea via ships. The next one was in leaving in 10 minutes so I got tickets (170php) for us via RoRo. There’s a fast craft from Balingoan to Camiguin’s Benoni Port that will take only 20minutes but it will leave in 2hours that was why we took the “regular ” trip that will take an hour but left in a few.

Enroute to Camiguin

And finally we docked at Camiguin! :D From there we rode a multicab for Mambajao town (25php), one of the island’s municipality where we’d look for a place to stay at. :)

Benoni Port

Exploring Mindoro Oriental

February 21, 2011

Well, parts of Mindoro Oriental.  ;)

I wanted to go to Tamaraw Falls. We’ll hang out in White Beach afterwards plus there would be some events later in the day there. Tricycle and motorbikes from Sabang were quoted to us for 600-800php to get to Tamaraw falls and back. Too pricey! To get to the falls without it being too heavy on the pocket, we’d get on a jeep for Puerto Galera town. Still, they really tried to persuade us to get on a motorbike instead. Told you they’re pushy. Anyways, we asked other locals about how to get there. A jeep bound for town leaves every 30minutes whether or not it’s full (20php), it’s mandated. From there, we have to catch a jeep for Calapan. It will pass by the falls (35php) which is just by the main road.

Our half-filled jeepney

In town, our first agenda was to look for an ATM so that my friend can withdraw some cash. There’s an Allied bank as well as Western Union but she had some problem with her (international) card. It’s alright, we’ll survive for the day. Next up, lunch or in our case, brunch. Walking around, we came upon another port. I was told that this is the actual Puerto Galera port. There were a number of pubs lining the area. We went to this one place with free wifi. hehe We ordered nilagang baka but it was too sour (sinagang?) and the meat was hard to chew.  :( The servers there confirmed that we can just take a jeepney for Calapan, no problem with that but that we might have some troubles getting  back coz according to them, the jeepneys depart only when full. It was fine with us, we have no problem with doing top load. This they found hard to believe. hehe

Downtown Puerto Galera

From Puerto Galera town, 14kms to go!

The ride took us through the mountains. Also, there was an ongoing road construction that was why traffic had to be controlled. After around a 30minute ride, we got to our destination.

Ongoing road construction

I first saw a number of vehicles parked by the roadside then I had my first glimpse of the falls. The fact that it’s a series of small falls merging into one pool was a sight I liked looking at. Of course we wanted to get closer to it. At the other side of the road is the entrance to falls. There is an entrance fee of 20php for adults and 10php for kids. There are two pools you can bathe in with the water coming from the falls. There’s no direct path to get nearer to the falls so you’ll have to climb the rocks to make your way towards it. The water’s refreshingly cool too. While we were there, turns out that almost everyone knew each other since it was a company outing. Their guide wouldn’t believe that it was just us 2 girls. Come on people! hehe

Tamaraw Falls

Beautiful cascade :)

Refreshingly cool waters :)

We’re lucky we didn’t have to wait long for a ride back to town. An almost empty jeepney bound for town passed by so we got in it. He didn’t drop us off town though, some distance after it (heading towards White Beach) since he was on his way home. We had to pay a bit more though (40php). Then we got on a tricycle that took us to our next destination (20php/pax)

En route to White Beach

It felt too hot to be in White Beach. We were going to lounge by the shore but decided against it. We had snacks first. Then waited for it to cool down a bit. When it felt that we can bear the heat, we took a spot and settled in then we fell asleep. :) We decided to hang around because there were live bands that night. Not long into the other bands’ performances, unfortunately, it started to rain. It was light at first but quickly became a downpour. We wanted to go back to Sabang (home) but the tricycle drivers were exploiting our situation and wouldn’t agree to anything less than 400php. There was this one tricycle driver who wanted to help us out but then, the first we talked to came up to him and told him that there’s a queue they have to observe. They wouldn’t let him drive us to Sabang but then they wouldn’t agree to our price (150-200php). Since the rain’s pouring really hard now, we got in the kind driver’s tricycle. We’ll try to wait it out since the other sheds were filled with people. Kuya Jaime (0908 2045252) just got settled in the island less than 4months back. He used to live in Fairview. He wanted to help us out but there were rules to observe. He came up with a plan though. He’d get a few passengers by the White Beach (they won’t object to drivers fetching their contact passengers) then he’d pick us up along the way. To which we readily agreed since there was even a black out! We got out of the tricycle. Went to a sort of shed. Waited for his go signal. Then started walking. It was fine with me until Len had to bring to my attention that it was very scary to walk in complete darkness (while it’s also raining). She said we should walk slowly so we won’t get too far away from the other people. Len! I scare so easily! Don’t say stuff like that! haha Luckily, we didnt have to wait long. We had to squeeze ourselves (4 pax) into the backride though, . hehe There was just one glitch in this, the passengers he picked up was headed towards the direction of Calapan when we had to make a turn to Sabang. So back in town, he  talked to a friend of his and asked him to get us to Sabang. He told the other guy that we’re his cousins and to please take care of us. Aww, thank you Kuya! He asked for only half of the agreed upon amount (200php) and gave the other half to the other guy. :)

White Beach

Dinner!

Free wifi ;)

Once in Sabang, the rain had stopped falling and there’s electricity. Woot! We decided to check out the local scene. There were a number of discos in the area but it’s more of a PG-rated stuff if you know what I mean. There was this one club, The Venue, that had live bands with a dance floor (50php entrance fee) so we chose to go there. We went in totally wet. Went to the toilet and came out looking fresh in dry clothes! :D We brought a change of clothes for White Beach but we weren’t able to change into them. Had a fun and relaxed night of watching, listening, dancing and singing along with the band. We even got free drinks!

Related Post:

Sunny Puerto Galera

Bacolod Food Feast (day 1)

January 14, 2011

Whilst everyone was flying to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival, I along with 2 of my closest girl buds flew to stay overnight in the city of Bacolod for some food tripping. Mmmm!

I was able to book really cheap tickets a few months before. Our roundtrip airfare costs 550php and that’s for the 3 of us! To maximize our stay there, I booked the first flight out and the last one in. We were tempted to travel to Cebu for the Sinulog but the thought of spending 6hours to travel from Bacolod to Cebu made us decide against it. And since we were flying into Bacolod, might as well enjoy what the province has to offer. ;)

We got to the airport at quarter to 4am and our breakfast was at the 7-11 store inside the airport. When we got to our gate, the other passengers had already started boarding the plane that was why when we got inside, there was almost no space for our bags in the overhead compartment, well, almost ;)

Negros Occidental’s Silay Airport is new and looked nice. To get to our hotel by not spending much, we first rode a tricycle parked just outside the airport’s premises. If we’d opt to wait for other passengers to reach 6pax, that means we’d only have to shell out 10php each. However, we got a special trip so that’s 60php for us 3. We were dropped off at the main road  wherein we rode a minibus bound for Bacolod, bus fare costs 13php each.

New Bacolod Silay Airport

Getting out of the airport

Tricycles waiting in line

First in our agenda was to check in to our hotel. We stayed at Luxur Place. I wanted to stay at The Suites at Calle Nueva but the former’s pool swayed the majority into its favor. Wifi’s provided for; rooms were quite spacious and their housekeeping’s efficient. Turns out that Luxur Place used to be the convention center in the area but almost half of the place is being rented out to a call center. That was why there were people almost always hanging out by the pool, smoking. And there’s no direct jeepney route to get to the area. :( If you’re heading down to Bacolod,  the most convenient place to be is at Lacson Street. It’s being developed for tourists because this is where their famous restaurants are located as well as where you’ll find  landmarks like their Capitol. After settling in and getting refreshed, it was time to head out. :D

I love sweets! Since Calea is famous for their sweets, this is the perfect place for me to visit! The place is located along the corner of Lacson and 14th St. If  you can’t choose since they all look so good, just ask for their best seller. ;)

Ice cream chocolate cake!

Mmmm!

After satisfying my sweet tooth, the next in the agenda was where to eat proper lunch. hehehe We want some chicken inasal and the place to have it is at Manokan Country which is near SM. But since we’re still full, we decided to walk to get there. Not a bad choice really since we did pass by several landmarks like the city’s Capitol, Cathedral and a museum. Gave us enough time to digest our food. :)

Children running around by the Capitol

With travel buddy, Irene...

...and Abby :)

The Cathedral

It was too hot to walk all the way since we weren’t using any umbrella. We decided to ride a multicab for the last stretch to get to Manokan Country. Probably a hundred meters ride. hehe Manokan Country reminds me of Dampa though you wouldn’t be buying your chicken live. It’s just that there were many eateries selling the same kind of good food side by side and at an affordable price at that (it can cost anywhere from 20-65php). Also, they serve oysters for 30-40php per plate! Nice!

Since it was already late in the afternoon, we went back to our hotel. But passed by SM to buy some drinks and snacks (fruits) to munch on. When we got back to our room, we took a nap. But our nap turned into a sleep for several hours. I was woken up by the sound of the rain pounding our window. I figured, we wouldn’t go out at such a weather and went back to bed. We were planning on going to Mambukal for some spa. They woke up at different hours too. We did get out of room though but only because we were hungry. We bought some foods and ate it by the pool. It would have been a very good place to hang out save for the other people loitering there with cigarettes on hand. Well, we’d just wake up early to compensate for tonight. ;)

Sunny Puerto Galera (day 1)

May 20, 2011

Destination: Puerto Galera

When people say Puerto Galera, they also meant to include Sabang and White Beach, both of which are different albeit smaller towns.

La Laguna Beach

Me and a good friend, Len, went there for a weekend.This is my first trip to this popular municipality in Oriental Mindoro Island. This fact usually surprises my friends who know how much I love to travel since Puerto Galera is pretty accessible from Metro Manila. It took 4 hours to get there from my home. We didn’t make any plans. And we sent only 1 sms to each other the night before, meet up in Batangas pier at 10am. Got that. I’m good to go. ;)

I had 10pm-6am shift at the hospital so as soon as i got home, I had to finish packing, grab a bite or two then head out. Instead of joining my friend in Buendia, I headed to Alabang because I do not want to backtrack. In Alabang, there’s one big terminal for buses and jeepneys. Just ask around for a bus heading to Batangas Pier, don’t forget to ask for the (one-stop) express bus, fare is 137php. Travel time is about an hour and a half.  I’ve been to other ports and piers in the country and it was either small, unorganized or looked old that was why I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s a big, well maintained, organized place. I got to the pier first so to while away the time (and since I was hungry too), I went to a small store and got some chips. When Len got there, we proceeded inside to get our tickets.

Inside Batangas Pier

There are 3 main destination for Puerto Galera: White Beach, the most popular choice; Calapan, the capital city of Oriental Mindoro; and Sabang, a diving destination. She asked me where I wanted to go, I said, anywhere. To help me choose, she quoted room prices. A typical room in White beach would cost anywhere between 1000-1500php while it’s around 600-800php in Sabang. Sabang won. hehehe Tickets for Sabang is 230php/pax and then you have to pay for terminal fee (30php), conservation fee (30php) and environmental fee (50php). Once inside, there weren’t that many passengers (it’s a Friday and it was almost lunchtime). We were told outside that our boat’s about to leave so finding the doors closed wasn’t gonna deter us since we saw our shipping line’s boat was already filled with passengers. We got the attention of one of the guys working there and he let us out then they escorted us to our boat. We could have been left behind if we just sat there (since they weren’t giving last call or whatever)! The boat set sail after we settled in. Travel time was about an hour.

Sailing for Sabang

Even if it was my first trip there, that wasn’t the case for Len so she was sort of my guide. We stayed at Red Coast. Owned and managed by an expat and his wife, George and Helen, we got a beachfront fan room with kitchen for 650php/night. If we’d opt to use the aircon, then it will cost us 800php/night. It’s not perfect but it will do and come on, it’s cheap. And we have yet to haggle at that.  ;)

Red Coast

Our 650php/night room

View from our place

After some unpacking, we walked around the area. We went to La Laguna Beach, some 15-20minutes walk from our place. On the way there, the view brought to mind Santorini since the hostels/ hotels built on the mountainside were whitewashed too. It was a bit crowded in Sabang so La Laguna was a welcome sight. We had our late lunch at Kaye ‘n’ Em’s. We had chicken curry with rice and mango shake (360php). Mmmm! We stayed here for an hour or two. We went back “home” to get some rest, I have yet to sleep on a bed for two days now (tsk tsk tsk). After Manila’s sweltering heat, Puerto Galera’s sunny but not hot weather felt so good! :D

Sabang :)

There were many colorful flowers in the island :)

Lunch with a view :)

Your ride to get to the floating bars

Many boats for the divers

Finally getting some sleep (even if it was only for a couple of hours), I’m ready to go out now. That is after I wake my friend up too. ;) I wanted to check out the scene at White Beach. To get there one has to either ride a tricycle, a motorbike or a jeep (last option available only during daytime). When we got to the main rode, we were swarmed by guys offering their services for us. It would have been alright but there was this one very pushy guy. We told him to back off coz we’ll think about their offer. But he followed us around even when we left the main road. That was why we took another’s offer even if it were for the same price (150php for 2pax, one way). Then he got upset about it and wanted to quarrel with us as to why we chose another over him since he offered first and they’re the same price. We told him our reason and left.  Many locals doing business there were too pushy. Didn’t want it to ruin our night. It took around 20 minutes for us to get to White Beach. Our driver, Kuya Oliver, gave us his number (0928 5963113) so we can send him an sms if we want to go back home.

After dinner where we drowned ourselves off a gallon of iced tea (we were thirsty haha), we tried to walk off the calories. White Beach was very different from Sabang. First off, there’s an actual beach (a long shore line anyways) hehe There were more people too (local tourists mostly) and the craziness that goes with it. I enjoyed watching the fire dancers. There were live bands too and a comedy show. If you want some dancing, you’ll be hard pressed to find one though. It felt like White Beach is for hanging out with a number of your buddies, the people that were there were almost always in at least a group of 4. We planned to go swimming that night but didn’t have the heart to actually do it. Didn’t want to get wet then get cold. I laid my sarong down on the sand and we lay there for a while until Kuya Oliver got there to fetch us. :)

Related Post:

Exploring Mindoro Oriental

El Nido Escapade (day 4)

February 25, 2011

It’s decided, another day for island hopping! Happy and excited to be back at sea! Yay! haha :D

We took Tour C. Actually, I was supposed to organize our own trip. I have already talked to someone who’s friend with a boat owner. I’ve got people joining me. Places to go to had been chosen. We’re gonna wake up early to go to the market. The works. And then, other people had to complicate stuff. I was starting to get a headache (it’s so hard to please everyone, it’s just impossible!). My friends were telling me that it’s not worth the hassle it’s causing me and urged me to just scrap it. I did though with a heavy heart coz I enjoy DIYs so much! hehe

Island hopping, day 2! :D

First stop is a hidden beach. We have to swim to get there. I used a pair of fins since I’m certain I would lag way behind the others if I don’t. The spot where our boat was docked was a place good enough for snorkeling. Lots of corals and fishes. Charlie stayed behind and snorkeled around the area. While the others and I swam ahead. In the hidden beach, the fishes were kinda territorial. You can translate that to us being bit every now and then by a few of them. Ack! hehehe

Our guide, Kuya Leo was very funny. He loves to crack jokes while sharing some infos about the places where we’re at. Though his jokes works best if said in Filipino. That was why I was usually laughing out loud while the others just looked on. Hehe He offered to be my guide for my next trip and I would love to take him up on his offer. I told him that I wanted to organize my own island hopping trip but had to cancel because the person I was talking with would always up the price or bring up another concern after a prior price had been agreed upon or after a previous problem had been solved. He told me I should have talked directly to the owner/ boatman, things would have been so much easier. I know that but… what’s done is done. ;)

Kuya Leo, cool guide!

We went next to Matinloc Shrine,  an island owned by the Fernandez clan. The place where it was built is just naturally beautiful: jagged limestone cliffs, crystal clear waters, picturesque view. We had our lunch here. The place took my breath away and is by far, my fave island there! Some pictures of the island I fell in love with. :)

Matinloc Shrine

This time around, there were 8 of us (not counting our 3 guides) and almost all were CSers, except for Emilien that is. We met the others a day or so before.

We took our time here. But soon, it was time to move on to the next island. Make that a secret beach. ;) It’s called a secret beach since you’ll have to swim in between a crack beneath a limestone cliff. The water surrounding it was very clear and you can see all the way down, around 15-20feet down. Once you made it through the crack, you’ll find yourself on a secret beach indeed.

And then off to this rugged beauty of an isle. When we got here, only few got off the boat. The rest took a quick nap or took pictures of the area.

Last stop, Helicopter Island! So named coz the shape of the whole island supposedly resembles that of a helicopter. This was a nice place to just chill. Sit/ lie down on the sand; eat snacks while chatting with friends; take a dip if you feel like doing so; take a nap by the beach if you’re tired.

rugged beauty!

For dinner, Emilien recommended a bistro named Balay Tubay, a cozy hangout place for local artists that’s quite popular because they  have local bands playing there every night. Food is good here. They have free wi-fi too. :D

dinner at Balay Tubay

Mmmm! :D

The famed El Nido soup

Last night in El Nido. *sigh* Think happy thoughts: I will go back! :D

PS: Unfortunately, I lost my phone on my last trip. That is why I can’t post Kuya’s contact number. I’ll update this as soon as I have it again.

Related posts:

Getting to El Nido

1st day of island hopping

Lazy day in El Nido

El Nido Escapade (day 3)

February 24, 2011

So we did a day of island hopping the day before. One of my travel companion is now sunburnt. The idea of another day of it wasn’t that appealing to him. Another wanted a break from the sea (come on guys!). It was decided then. We’re gonna stay in town. Try and trek a mountain, chill by the beach, eat, get lazy. Doesn’t sound bad really. :)

The view that awaits us upon waking up :)

After getting ready and drinking our morning coffee (courtesy of Entalula), we went out and looked for a carinderia for cheap but good foods. We’re going to meet up with  the guys at their place. We walked by the beach to get there, passing by another friend’s place first. :)

My cousin. At Entalula. :)

With newly met Estonian friends

I miss El Nido!

When we saw Nick, he was really red! haha (sorry dear! ;)) It’s a good thing we brought along an after sun spray with us to help relieve him of some pain. After applying it on, we went out on the street to get to our goal: climb a mountain. I had no idea which mountain nor what peak and neither do they. Brenda, my trusted El Nido guide, told me before if I ever needed anything, I should not hesitate to go to her mom. Also, I’ve read from other bloggers that they had a guide with them. But it looks like we have more of the come-what-may attitude so off we went. Plan: just ask the people around for directions. Very organized huh? ;)

We're going up there! But where is "there"?! :D

We walked past the main part of town. Led us to a dead end. hehe We had to backtrack and ask for directions. One lady told us that to get to the top we have to follow the trail and to always make a right turn (or was it left?), our landmark was supposed to be this very big tree (they’re all huge for me). Needless to say, we lost our trail after around, maybe, 20minutes of going uphill. The trail was lost and it led to this fork in the road and we’re not certain on which one to choose. Really should have asked for a guide to go with us! Being the troopers that we were, it was no big deal. We were (or was it only me?) getting tired and it was hot!

Charlie led the way :)

Would have been awesome if we made it up there!

Lost? Uh oh!

We’re now on Plan B. Have lunch and just hang out. Good enough for me! (I’m so easy to please sometimes ^_^). We met Emilien (our French mate) on the way back and we all had lunch at the eatery beneath the place where the boys are staying at. Where to hang out? At Emilien’s place! He’s staying at this nice place just beside Entalula. He has a big room that he got for 1200php a night. It has a spacious balcony with some chairs where we can lounge at. And that’s what we did. Sit back. Admire the view before us. Drink refreshing fruit shakes. Hang out with friends. :)

Beautiful!

A couple of hours after, we walked around town again. It was nice to stretch our legs. We spotted a stand that was selling some halo-halo and the thought of eating one was so tempting, I gave in! They followed my lead. :D

School with a view :)

A glass of halo-halo to beat the afternoon heat!

We decided afterwards to catch the sunset since we have guys with us who just love to take pictures. To be able to photograph it though, we have to go to another beach since the mountains will block  our view. Corong-corong beach is several minutes walk from El Nido town. But we each went to our place to freshen up first so we didn’t have much time ’til the sun sets. We took the tricycle where we paid 50php for the 5 of us. The beach itself is nicer than the one in town but compared to the other, this is somewhat isolated. If you’re looking for a more laid back atmosphere, guess this is the one for you then. When we got there, my companions were almost half running to get to their spot for their shot. It was fun watching them while they were at it. Their enthusiasm was plain contagious! :D

My 3rd El Nido sunset :)

Mission accomplished, we went back to town for some good food. We’re back at Blue Azul Cafe and later met up with other friends by the beach. :)

It was a good day. :)

Related posts:

Getting to El Nido

1st Day of Island Hopping

2nd Day of Island Hopping