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 ❤

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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 😊

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.

Summer 2012: Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte

I’ve never heard of Calaguas Island before. When my sister asked if I wanted to join her and her friends to a packaged tour to the island, I was hesitant. What’s in that place? I looked it up and I saw a natural beauty – white sand, blue sea, green mountains – somewhere in Camarines Norte.  People who go there stay in tents and cook their own food. There is no electricity on the island and you bring your own drinking water. Interesting. It’s gonna be a great adventure. So, I signed up for a trip from March 30 – April 1.

We met at around 9:00 PM at the Shell gas station along Edsa/Ayala. The organizer was a group called Vagabond Pinas. We were going with another group and they were all from Chevron Phils. There were 2 vans – one with our group – me, my sister and her friends, May and Pao – and the other the Chevron peeps.  We were 2 hours late from the original time we were supposed to leave, but I just took that time to either read my Hunger Games book or take a nap.

We left at around 10:00 PM.  I slept through most of the 7 hour-trip. We had a quick stop in Daet for breakfast  and to buy some stuff.  While walking around we saw this wide variety of rice cakes being sold. We got samples of each!

Rice Cakes!

The ride to the port took less than five minutes. This is where we had our bags put in large plastic bags so they are protected from water during the boat ride to the island.

One of the outrigger boats to Calaguas Island

We passed through this little body of water before we got to the sea. There were kids maneuvering their canoe as well.

When we got to the sea, we had to get everything covered in plastic. There were huge waves and it rained a lot. I wish I wore my swimsuit during  the boat ride. My shirt and jeans were soaking wet when we arrived on the island  almost two hours later. But, it didn’t  matter. The island that welcomed us was such a beauty!

Welcome to Calaguas Island!

It was sunny for a bit then it went overcast with some rains. It was a bit gloomy that afternoon, but it did not dampen our spirits as we walked down the shore and took pictures. There were only a few of us on the beach. And I did not see a single foreigner. Definitely, this place is not yet known.

The other groups and their tents

By mid-afternoon, our group started pitching our tents. My sister and I shared one tent.

With my sister, May and Beth
What’s inside our tent
Our wet stuff
Cow sled
Poso. Where we fetch water for bathing and for flushing the toilet.
Spent the rest of the afternoon in this cabana where I took a nap, listened to music and read a book 
My pillow, music source and book
Almost sunset – my view from the cabana
Attempt at capturing sunset

There was no electricity on the island. So we lighted lamps as we ate the sumptuous dinner prepared by our organizer. The group had a campfire as they shared stories and had drinks. I decided to just stay in our tent and sleep early since my head started throbbing. The sound of the waves from the nearby beach quickly lulled me to sleep.

Was up by 5:00 AM the next morning and felt well-rested and refreshed. The sun was just rising, too.

Sunrise in Calaguas Island

It was a beautiful, sunny morning, the sky was almost clear and the beach was much lovelier.

Good mornng

Attempt at some yoga

Had a quick breakfast before we headed off for a bit of hiking in the hills.

Corned beef, scrambed eggs and rice for breakfast
Iyah, May, Pao
We are headed to that hill
We’re on our way
Cow and its calf
Passing through the swamp
Half-way I think
This girl was our guide along with her brother (at the back)
Almost there
Empty hut at the top of the hill
With the Chevron peeps

It was starting to rain on our way on our way down.

Uh-oh

We got ready to leave by noon.

The group with the Vagabond Pinas crew
Bye, Calaguas Island

I hope we could stay longer to relax and enjoy the scenery. I hope the next time I visit the place, it won’t be commercialized yet and we still get to sleep in tents.

For more information about Vagabond Pinas and their upcoming tours, visit http://www.vagabondpinas.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/vagabondpinas.