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 😉

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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

Helping Land with Project Pearls

Peace. Education. Aspiration. Respect. Love. Smiles.

Project PEARLS is a non-profit organization that aims to help marginalized children, especially the urban poor. One of the communities they help are those in Helping Land, also called Garbage Land, in Tondo.

This is where the trash from the metro are dumped. And this is also home to some urban poor who rely on food they get from the trash to live.

My friend, Hope Vega, was so gracious in inviting me to join their feeding program to celebrate her birthday, along with her friends. We went early morning on a Sunday and took various public transportation from Cubao to Tondo, Quezon City.


  
  
  

Tried talking and interacting with the kids while waiting for the program to start. Many of them attend school in nearby communities. They get help from the Ate’s and Kuya’s of Project PEARLS who visit them on weekends.
  

We started the day’s program with a prayer and praise.

Part of the feeding program was some art activity to help develop the kids’ creativity. The day’s art activity was to create a Christmas Card for the kids’ parents.

I hope the parents got to read their kids’ heartfelt messages.

On our walk back, these kids gamely posed for a picture.

I hope there’s more that can be done to uplift the lives of the people in Helping Land. As a start, I hope more will consider sponsoring a day’s feeding program which costs about Php 8,000.

For more information, please refer to Project PEARLS’ Facebook page.

P.S. My left eye looks a bit weird since I had vitrectomy seven weeks before for my detached retina. Eye was not yet fully healed but I felt well enough to be part of the activity.

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.

Philippines: The Top 12 Beaches

So many more beaches to visit in the Philippines! Panglao next!

winairtravel

I have always loved rankings of world beaches but when no Philippine beach appears on the lists, I would surely get disheartened. How could someone produce the list of the top 10 beaches in the world when in fact they have not seen all! They could have just came up with the title, “The best beaches we have seen so far!” Sometimes, you cannot fathom why a beach in filthy Kho Phangan in Thailand is ranked higher than the immaculate beach in Playa del Carmen in Mexico. CNN produced a list of the world’s 50 best beaches and it created overwhelming disapproval when beaches in the Greek Islands, in Bermuda and in the Philippines’ Palawan were missed out. Also, Yahoo Travel featured an article ranking the Philippines’ best beaches and I thought it was not so properly done, placing El Nido at the top without even singling out any of…

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Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan (4/19/2014)

Our family decided to take the 3-hour drive from our place in Aringay, La Union to Lucap Wharf in Alaminos, Pangasinan to visit one of the must see sights in the Philippines, the Hundred Islands. There are actually 123 islands. Our tour took us to probably a fifth of the islands. Among the known islands were Romulo Island (where Claudine Barreto shot some of her scenes for her show, Marina), South Island, Children’s Island, Governor’s Island, and Quezon Island. Quezon Island was the most popular and, expectedly, it had most of the visitors. We chose to drop off the Quezon Island, too, since it’s the one with most ‘sights’ to see.

For details about Hundred Islands – how to get there, things to do, places to stay etc. – visit http://www.hundredislands.ph.

With the family on our way to Alaminos, Pangasinan. My sister took this groupie while driving.
With the family on our way to Alaminos, Pangasinan. My sister took this groupie while driving.
On our way to the islands
On our way to the islands

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People can pitch tents and stay overnight on the island.

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Overcrowded Quezon Island

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Other islands from a distance

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Mt. Pinatubo Adventure (3/2/2014)

This place came about after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo 20+ years ago. It displaced a lot of people and affected their livelihood. Now, thousands of tourists visit it to revel in the beauty that was created.

For this trip, my sisters and I joined Vagabond Pinas who arranged everything. We met in Cubao and left at around 2:30 AM. We arrived in Capas, Tarlac at 5:30 AM, got registered and got assigned to our guide and 4×4 ride.

Vagabond Pinas

Mobile:+63 917 852 2845
Email: vagabondpinas@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/vagabondpinas

Bought 'walking sticks' from these kids who were hoping to earn some lunch money from their merch.
Bought ‘walking sticks’ from these kids who were hoping to earn some lunch money from their merch.

 

Rest stop before we continued our journey up the volcano. This 4x4 was our ride in the rugged terrain.
Rest stop before we continued our journey up the volcano. This 4×4 was our ride in the rugged terrain.
With our handy walking stick
With our handy walking stick
Already tired! We're not even half way yet!
Already tired! We’re not even half way yet!
We passed by this small Aeta community on our way up
We passed by this small Aeta community on our way up
Sulfur
Sulfur

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With our guide
With our guide
We're close to the crater!
We’re close to the crater!
Almost there!
Almost there!

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Jumpshot... fail. Lol
Totally did not expect this view! Water accumulated at the crater creating this majestic view.

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Sisters
Sisters
Jump shot.... fail
Jump shot…. fail
Enjoying the view at the crater. According to our guide, some tourists set up camp here and stay over night. Permit has to be secured at DENR.
Enjoying the view at the crater. According to our guide, some tourists set up camp here and stay over night. Permit has to be secured at DENR.

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We left the crater around noon. It was scorching hot!
We left the crater around noon. It was scorching hot!
Aeta kids and their mothers
Aeta kids and their mothers
Tried talking to them but they don't understand me.
Tried talking to them but they don’t understand me.

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Rest stop on the way down
Rest stop on the way down
4x4's waiting of their passengers
4×4’s waiting of their passengers
Yep, we passed through this shallow river
Yep, we passed through this shallow river
These kids didn't mind the heat and the dust. According to our guide, they like watching tourists that visit their 'domain'.
These kids didn’t mind the heat and the dust. According to our guide, they like watching tourists that visit their ‘domain’.
Until next time, Mt. Pinatubo!
Until next time, Mt. Pinatubo!