Coron, Palawan 2017

My third trip to Coron is a bit remarkable compared to my other trips.

Since I had folks visiting from the US, we stayed at a more decent place, Busuanga Bay Lodge (I usually stay at boutique hotels that are less pricey 😊). This place was established in 2013 by its Canadian owner and his Filipino  partners. They picked a great part of the island with an amazing view.

We had this part of the property to ourselves, that’s our room at the corner.


All rooms have a view of the bay. We got one right by the shore.


Instead of the usual island hopping trips, we took the recommended trips by the hotel which only included three stops – Lusong Gun Boat (ship wreck from WWII), Coral Garden and South Cay Island.

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We rode an outrigger boat to the islands

We snorkled about a mile of lavish coral reef with plenty of fishes with varying sizes and colors. Too bad I was not able to bring my underwater camera with me.

South Cay Island was exclusive to guests of Busuanga Bay Lodge. We were lucky to be the only guests at the island the entire Saturday afternoon. It was such a wonderful experience to be on a beautiful island by yourself. There were some rainshowers throughout our stay but it was enough to cool the place down from the hot and very humid weather.

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We had a view of the other beautiful islands around South Cay

Apart from the new sights and places, the most remarkable about this trip is being able to experience it with someone special. Thanks, Gabriel, for being with me on this trip ❤

Labor Union Festival in LU (2017)

Back in La Union for an R&R with highschool friends.

Since Gab and I were late in coming back from Baguio, we missed the group who left for Tangadan Falls at 6am in Agoo, La Union. Tangadan Falls is located in San Gabriel, La Union which was about 2 hours from Agoo.

We took the motorcycle ride (habal-habal in local terms) from San Gabriel’s town proper to the parking area near the falls. It was my first time to ride a motorcycle – I was scared and excited at the same time (prayed hard as well that I don’t fall off the steep cliffs along the road).

What a relief when we made it to the falls without any scratches (knees were trembling, though).​


Folks are allowed to jump off the 15-ft cliff behind us for some thrill.



Walking back was more difficult, but was still fun since we’re with friends.



The boys had a thrill riding on top of the jeepney.



They joined us inside once we hit flat ground.


We spent the rest of the afternoon at San Juan Surf Resort where we had late lunch at 4pm at Coast Call.


A lot of folks were gathered in SJSR grounds for the Labor Union Festival.


We ended the trip with a visit to the Bacungan’s in San Fernando.

P.S. Thank you, Eric, for guiding us on this trip. And, by the way, you have one cool mom 😉

Bohol Escapade (April 2017) 

One place I have always wanted to visit was Bohol. Finally had a chance to visit when Gab invited me to join him as he attends a seminar there.

First thing we did when we arrived was to look for a restaurant with a view of the sunset.

While Gab was at the seminar for the next two days, I got busy with working remotely. On the second day, I decided to work at the same hotel where Gab’s seminar is, Bohol Tropics, and picked an area with a view of the water.

The seminar ended early on the second day so we took some time to see some sights in Panglao.




Tried to get a glimpse of the sunset at Alona Beach, but it was too cloudy.



We had grilled food for dinner by the beach before heading back to the main island.

Before our noon flight the next day, we went to see more sights. First stop was at the famous chocolate hills.


Next was a brief stop at the butterfly farm.


We went to see the tarsiers as well. They were as small as rats!

Also stopped for some pictures in the middle of the road for this man-made forest.


Our last stop was lunch at a cruise by Loboc River.

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Of course, my visit to Bohol will not be complete without seeing our Tagbilaran girl, Jare. She was my classmate in college. She took us to one of the best restos in Tagbilaran, Gerardas. It turned out she and her husband play tennis. Gab will bring his tennis gear next time we visit so he can play with them 😊

Sagada 2017

Went back to Sagada with my high school friends last February 2 to 5. We took a van from Manila at 1:30am and picked up more of our friends in La Union. We drove through Tagudin, Ilocos Sur to get to Sagada.

We stopped by Bessang Pass for bio break.


We got to Sagada at around noon, then had lunch at Misty Lodge which was about two kilometers from Sagada’s town proper. Their burger and tinola were really good.

St. Joseph Rest House

One of my friends booked us at St. Joseph Rest House. It is the best place to stay in Sagada with its wide ground coverage which makes it accessible through the church and through the market.

 

Mud surfing at Echo Valley Trail

First stop after lunch was hike through Echo Valley trail.



Bonding by the Fire




 

Spelunking at Sumaging Cave

We went to Sumaging cave at 8 in the morning to ensure there won’t be that many people in the cave.

 

Hiking to Bomod-ok Falls

On our third day, we decided to wear our batch shirt. We took a different trail to avoid the throng of people who wanted to see the falls. I’m glad we did because the view along the trail was breathtaking.

When we arrived at the falls, it was full with people. After about half an hour, my friends and I were just the only ones left. We had the falls to ourselves!

On the way back, my friends opted to take the trail by the river. Turned out, we had to walk by the cliff!

We took a few stops to appreciate the view and enjoy the cool breeze.



Sea of Clouds

Saw this sea of clouds on our way from Sagada to Baguio. We parked by the road to take these awesome pictures.

VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/203144645

Summer in Yosemite (2015)

One stop before my flight back to Manila two weeks ago was a visit to this breathtaking place, Yosemite.

This is my second visit. My first visit was I think in 2011, with my good friends from high school. (I just realized now I never got to post about that trip. Will correct this soon.) Back then, we went in October, during Fall.

This time, I went with some of my officemates from Manila… on a Summer. Someone told me I should try going once each season. Because this beautiful place looks different for every season.

Bridal Veil Falls looked almost the same, but you know that the place has been affected by the drought since the stream going to the falls was dried up.

  

These mountains are a sight to behold.

  
  
  
  
  

Took me a while to find this bridge with a view of one of Yosemite’s falls. It’s called Swinging Bridge.

  
  

We decided to go the other way since we thought we’ll get to the road past the meadow. We were wrong. Glad we were, since we got to see this beauty.

  

Unfortunately, we lost so much time when we ‘got lost’, that the parking was already full when we get to the main area.

It was already past 1:00 PM when we took the shuttle for a tour around the area. While waiting for the shuttle, I couldn’t help but get a snapshot of Half Dome from behind the trees.

  

Our first stop was Mist Trail. I thought this stop will have a view of Half Dome, I was wrong (again!).

  

Saw some guys fly fishing by the water. I don’t think they caught anything.

  
  
  
  

Then we went to Mirror Lake. Sad to see that the lake was a bit dried up. We didn’t get a good reflection of Half Dome. And there were people camping there, swimming and playing volleyball games.

  
    

My first Hawai’i Trip: Around Oahu

Finally made it to Hawai’i last May.

My highschool barkada, Jazel, wed the love of her life, Wilbur in the beautiful island of Oahu where Wilbur grew up.

Lalaine and I made arrangement to fly at the same time via Hawaiian Airlines and stay at Kahala Resorts where the wedding was held.


         
       

The Wedding

It was a simple yet beitiful wedding by the beach.

                      
Island Tour

Among the new friends we met at the wedding were Imelda and Onassis who graciously offered to take us around the island.


                                        

Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, Kai’wi Trail


                                                

   
                               

Palawan Adventure 2014: Nacpan Beach, El Nido

Nacpan Beach is not part of our itinerary. Mang Berf, our van driver from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, told us to visit it since we have enough time that afternoon after we reach El Nido. I quickly did some research and all the blogs I checked raved about it. With a little bit of convincing my friend, Edward, agreed to go. One interesting fact about the place was that there are actually two beaches in the area and they share the same landmass. The area is also called Twin Beaches.

Getting There

There are three ways to get to Nacpan Beach:

1) By van which costs about Php 2,500. The van can accommodate 10-12 people. It’s economical for a group.
2) By tricycle. It costs around Php 150 per person. This is the least comfortable ride because of the road condition – muddy, uneven – and when it rains you will surely get wet.
3) By motor bike. There are a lot of rental shops for motorbikes in the town proper. The rent is about Php 700.

Edward and I decided to take the van option with Mang Berf as our driver. Instead of the usual fee, he only charged us Php 2,000 (Php goes to the middleman). We’re glad we took this option since I don’t think we will endure the very bumpy 45-minute ride by tricycle.

Before we got to the beach, we made a quick stop at an outpost where we were asked to register. I expected a short list of visitors since this is one of the less popular places. Surprisingly, there were two pages of visitors names for the day. Those who were listed before us were French, Canadians, Israelis, etc.

Kyla’s Cocina

We had our lunch at Kyla’s Cocina where you can get a good meal at Php 200.

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We sat facing the ocean to enjoy the view while eating.

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The View: Nacpan Beach

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The View: Calitang Beach

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Twin Beaches

We went up the hill for a view of the two beaches.

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I was accompanied up the hill by Rolando, who showed me an easier trail.

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Until next visit, Nacpan Beach.

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Palawan Adventure 2014: Getting to El Nido

For his birthday week this year, my bestfriend and I decided to go to the beautiful islands of Palawan. Edward has not traveled much outside Manila even when he was still living here. He now lives in Singapore, so it would be good to take him to some well known beautiful islands.

Delayed Flight

His flight from Singapore was scheduled to arrive at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, October 7. It was already 2:45 PM and he still wasn’t out at the arrival area. I went to the check-in counter for our flight to Puerto Princesa which was scheduled to leave at 3:40 PM. I was worried we might miss our flight even if we already checked-in online. Gladly, he was able to join me at the check-in counter a few minutes later. One thing one must consider when traveling in October is the weather. Even if there is no typhoon, most of the flights can still be delayed because of the strong rains due to monsoon. Our flight was delayed for an hour. It was past 6:00 PM when we got to Puerto Princesa.

Quick Night Stay

We chose to stay the night in Puerto Princesa, and just travel early the next day to El Nido. El Nido is 5 to 7 hours away from Puerto Princesa – 5 if by van, 7 if by bus. I think there is also a ferry to El Nido, but I did not get to research it. There are no direct commercial flights from Manila to El Nido. You get a special direct flight if you are staying at El Nido Resorts, a quite expensive resort.

We stayed at Go Hotel, which is near the San Jose Terminal for buses and vans that go to El Nido and neighboring towns. The hotel is right beside Robinsons Mall where we bought last minute stuff – chips, toiletries, bottled water. For a quick night stay, Go Hotel is awesome. We got it for only Php 1,200 including airport transfer. Our room has twin beds, TV, A/C and warm shower. Since we were leaving before 6:00 AM the next day, the hotel had our breakfast packed so we can bring it with us.

We took a tricycle to the terminal and the driver helped get a van for us. We originally wanted to take the RoRo bus, but apparently its franchise was suspended in August.

The Ride to El Nido

It was not a comfortable ride since the van is small and we were seated beside the driver, the only seats available because we were among the last few passengers to ride. But, it was okay since we got to chat with the driver about El Nido.

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The road goes around mountains so expect a lot of turns (a lot of sharp turns). There were few vehicles on the road, most are buses and vans going to El Nido and neighboring towns and some tricycles.

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Some parts of the road were still under construction especially those near El Nido, so it could get bumpy especially when it rains.

There were at least two stops along the way. We got to eat our breakfast at the first stop.

Our nice driver dropped us off at our hotel, while the rest of the passengers alighted at the terminal.

The Hotel: Ipil Suites

One of the recommended budget hotels in El Nido is Ipil Suites not only because it is relatively cheap but also because of its proximity to the port and to the town proper.

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The hotel also has a nice view from its lobby.

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Some Helpful Information About El Nido

– Bring enough cash for the duration of your stay.
– The only ATM available is FCB – First Consolidated Bank, a savings bank in Palawan.
– Only a few establishments accept credit card.
– Electricity is only available from 2:00 PM to 6:00 AM. This is for the entire town.
– Download google maps on your smartphone to help you get around. Sometimes your destination is only a block away but the tricycle driver won’t tell you.
– The environmental fee is good for 10 days. Get your ticket when you pay so you can reuse it everytime you book a tour especially if you book with different tour agencies.
– if you take the same van back to Puerto Princesa, they will offer to pick you up at the hotel so you don’t have to take a tricycle to the terminal. It’s free.

What To Bring

– Sunscreen
– Baseball cap
– Waterproof bag for your wallet and other personal belongings
– Sunglasses
– Snorkelling gear (or you can rent)
– Aqua shoes
– Waterproof camera
– Hand sanitiser (lunch is served in oen of the island where clean water is scarce)
– Mosquito repellant
– Headache tablets (I had migraine after our second island tour)
– Plastic bag (For wet clothes). A big plastic bag for your beach bag while on the boat would be ideal.