2D1N DIY Guimaras Experience

After the success of our Gigantes Trip, we went for lunch right at Tagbac Terminal together with Flo and Lea. I remember my wife asked for patis (fish sauce) but they gave us toyo (soy sauce), we said it’s soy sauce but they insisted it’s fish sauce. Oh my! Really?! It was really funny I even said to the woman “may toyo ka ba?” of course it’s a joke but I don’t think she got it. Not sure if she got offended but she didn’t react at all. Maybe they don’t have patis that’s why.

Since it’s four of us this time, we took a cab going to the port right after lunch. Instead of going to Ortiz Port we went to Parola Port to get to Guimaras. Parola Port was used as an alternative entry point for Guimaras because of strong waves at Ortiz Port making it difficult for boats to dock and for passengers to board the boat. If I were to choose which one is better I’d go for Parola. Ortiz Port doesn’t look nice, looks very crowded and disorganised.

At the port, we paid our tickets and waited for the 3pm boat to Guimaras. Boats here leave almost every 30 minutes and fare costs just 14 pesos. Shortly after we arrived at Guimaras and registered at the local tourism booth inside the port. Nothing much to see yet but the port looks organised and clean. A lot of construction was going on when we arrived, a sign of development in the area.

We met up with Kuya Charlie, our tricycle driver and tour guide, he was referred to us by Kuya Gerald (his brother) who was already booked at that time. We started late in the afternoon so our tour was a little rushed but we managed to get the most out of every minute we have. It’s best to arrive in Guimaras in the morning so you have more time to enjoy the tour.

Our first stop was The Smallest Plaza in the Philippines. It’s really small that even a crowd of 50 would not fit in. This looks more of a monument for me not a plaza. 🙂

Smallest Plaza in Guimaras

We also did a quick stop somewhere along the way where you can see the vastness of the island.

Overlooking View

 Excited over Mangoes, we stopped at a fruit stand along the road. To match our mangoes we also bought bagoong (shrimp paste). Yum! They also sell mango hopia and mango piyaya.

Fruit Stand

Next stop was Museo De Guimaras but unfortunately it was closed for renovation. We did some jump shots instead. 🙂

Jump Shot in front of Guimaras Museum

Flo and Lea Funny Shots

Flo and Lea’s Jump Shot

This one I love! Our next stop: The Pit Stop Restaurant. What’s best to try here is their very own Mango Pizza. They also have Mango Ketchup to match your pizza.

The Pit Stop Restaurant

The Menu

Family Size Mango Pizza – The Best!

Mango Ketchup

After having a great snack, we went straight to the Trappist Monastery. It was past 4pm already so souvenir shop was already closed. They sell Mango Jam, Guava Jelly, Pineapple jam, Mango Bar, Otap, Biscocho and Pulvoron. They have vast greenery in the area perfect for relaxation and meditation for those who want to stay overnight here.

Trappist Monastery

Before heading to our next stop we asked Kuya Charlie to take a picture of us.

Our mode of transportation in Guimaras. Thanks Kuya Charlie!              Land Tour costs 1200 pesos, thats 300 pesos / head.

Somewhere along the way, we noticed an interesting view and asked Kuya Charlie to stop.

Wide Shot

The Tree with No Leaves

Feeling like a Kid

We also stopped at Camp Alfredo to check their rates/facilities but unfortunately there is a minimal fee required for you to get in. This is an adventure camp at Brgy. Ravina, Sibunag, Guimaras, Nueva Valencia they have ziplines, high rope obstacle course, hanging bridge, campgrounds, cabins, tree house, trails, infinity pool and rappelling facility.

Camp Alfredo Guimaras Entrance

Glaring Sunset taken along the way

At around 530 pm, we finally arrived at our last stop before heading to our hotel. The Guisi Lighthouse is an 18th century Spanish Lighthouse at the Guisi Point of Barangay Dolores in Nueva Valencia. It is known as Faro de Punta Luzaran and is the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. They close at 5pm but Kuya Charlie managed to get the key for us to get in. We also didn’t pay the entrance fee anymore.

Guisi Light House Entrance

Rusty Stairs going up the lighthouse

Sunset View

After sunset, we walked back going to our tricycle and travelled more than 30 minutes to get to Raymen Beach Resort. People were so hooked up watching TV at the reception area. This was the only time we realised the magnitude of the earthquake we experienced back in Gigantes Island. Right after checking-in we called our relatives to let them know we’re safe. Thank God!

Raymen Entrance – Taken the Next Day

Room Rates

After check-in we went to JM Carinderia for dinner. I recommend you to eat here. You can ask what fresh catch they have and they’ll cook for it you right away. We requested the fish to be cooked as Sinigang and Fried and requested for Pork Liempo as well. It’s worth the wait I’m telling you. Yum! It was really delicious!

Since the water was very calm and it’s still very early for us to sleep we went to the beach for a swim.

The following morning we went back to JM Carinderia for breakfast before we start our Island Hopping tour.

JM Carinderia

JM Carinderia

To arrange an Island Hopping Trip, simply speak to the receptionist of your chosen hotel/resort. Sometimes boatmen will also offer you the service while at the beach. For us, we arranged it at Raymen the day before. They have a flat rate of 500 pesos for the first 2 hours plus 150 pesos for every succeeding hours. To save, ask if you can join any existing scheduled trip that day. Lucky for us, 5 people shared the same boat making it less expensive.

Our Island Hopping Trip started early and our first destination was SEAFDEC or Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. Here they study and breed different species of fish funded locally and internationally. Once docked at their floating station you’ll be welcomed by one of the staff who will tour you around. Lapu-Lapu here is extremely big! For a different experience instead of just fish feeding, you can get to feel the mouth of the milkfish here by dipping your toes in the water (a fish spa experience like no other)

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Right after SEAFDEC, we went to a snorkelling area just few minutes away. Sorry I don’t have an underwater camera to show you what’s underneath.

Snorkelling Time

Snorkelling Time

On our way to the Turtle Sanctuary we saw these beautiful Islets/Rock formations.

Finally we reached the Turtle Sanctuary. We expected many of them but there’s only one. Still lucky to see at least one of them.

After seeing the turtle, we continued and circled the nearby islands. Most are privately owned now so all we could do was to just see them from the boat.

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After a little over two hours we’re back in Raymen for a swim before check-out

More pics at Raymen Beach Resort

Last glimpse of the beach before we left.

Raymen Beach

Raymen Beach

After checkout we went to JM Carinderia for lunch. We really LOVE the food here because it’s not only good, it’s also not expensive so we didn’t have the chance to try the food at other restaurants. Maybe next time.

Kuya Charlie picked us up at the resort to get to the port with few stops at the Pasalubong Center and Pit Stop Restaurant. It was a memorable experience with the randomest couple we have ever met. Thanks to Kuya Charlie for being nice. Goodluck on your studies!

Back in the mainland, Flo and Lea took a cab going to Iloilo Airport. For us, instead of taking a jeep to get to the closest Biscocho Haus to grab some pasalubong we took a cab going to the closest mall to get new flipflops for my wife. For some reason it got cut off whilst in the boat from Guimaras to Ortiz Port. On our way to the mall, heavy rain started to fall making it impossible for us to walk around to get some pasalubong. Still raining, we took a cab going to Tagbac terminal. Not really sure of the last trip to Kalibo, we decided to be there early. We had a choice between a Ceres bus and UV express van but the van offered to bring us directly to Kalibo Airport so we booked for the van. It was almost 6pm when the van was about to leave when we realised we still don’t have the Butterscotch from Biscocho Haus. Oh my! We ended up buying Toasted Mamon right at the terminal.

You might be wondering why we’re heading to Kalibo. It’s because we only bought our return tickets less than a week before this trip and Kalibo flight was the cheapest to get to Manila. We’re scheduled to return to Manila only 3 days after but I find it too short for the trip so I ended up booking for a later flight.

So after 3 hours, we finally arrived at Kalibo International Airport. It was still early for our 330 am flight, we decided to look around to see if there’s any place we can sleep or stay whilst waiting and ended up staying at the Kalibo Airport Lounge in front of the terminal. The lounge is actually an airport hotel and restaurant being operated by Discover Boracay Travel & Tours. They have rooms and they also offer spa services and transport services. They also have waiting area similar to the airport boarding area.

Kalibo Airport Lounge

Check my previous entry about our Isla Gigantes Trip here: Isla Gigantes 3D2N Trip

You can also check my entry about Iloilo here: Iloilo 2D1N DIY Trip

This is part of our Iloilo 5 Day DIY Trip last October 12 – 17, 2013. See detailed Itinerary and Expenses HERE.

Sample Itinerary: Coming from Isla Gigantes below was our Itinerary

DAY 1
0600 Breakfast
0730 Prep for Check-out (Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort)
0830 Check-out Time
0845 Boat to Estancia (80 pesos/head)
1030 Back at Estancia Port
1130 Van to Iloilo (150 pesos/head)
1330 ETA Tagbac Central Terminal
1350 Lunch at Andoks
1430 ETD going to Parola Port
1445 ETA Parola Port (Alternative to Ortiz Port)
1500 ETD Boat to Guimaras (14 pesos per head)
1515 ETA Guimaras Port
1530 Start of Land Tour (1200 pesos good for 4)
1830 End of Tour
1900 Check-in Raymen Beach Resort (700 pesos/room good for 4)
2000 Dinner at JM Carinderia
2200 Night Swimming

DAY 2
0530 Breakfast at JM Carinderia
0710 Start of Island Hopping -1st 2hrs 500 + 150/ succeeding hr
0930 End of Island Hopping
1000 Free Time/Swimming
1110 Prepare for Check-out
1200 Check-out Raymen Beach Resort
1215 Lunch at JM Carinderia
1300 Tricycle to Port (300 good for 4)
1330 Pasalubong Center
1400 Pit Stop
1440 ETA Port
1500 Boat to Ortiz
1515 ETA Ortiz Port
1530 SM Stopover
1615 ETD to Tagbac Terminal
1630 ETA Tagbac Terminal
1800 ETD going to Kalibo
2100 ETA Kalibo Airport
2130 Dinner/Stop Over at Airport Lounge
0100 Check-in going to Manila
0330 ETD Flight to Manila
0500 Back in Manila

Summary of Expenses: For 2 pax from Tagbac Terminal

DAY 1
180 Lunch
80 Taxi to Parola Port
28 Boat Fare to Guimaras
25 Lanzones
100 Mango
60 Mango Hopia
135 Snacks at Pit Stop
600 Land Tour
350 Dinner

DAY 2
160 Breakfast
940 Raymen Total Bill (Room accommodation for 2 + extra towels + Island Hopping & Snorkeling Rental for 2)
290 Lunch
150 Tricycle to Port
407 Pasalubong Centre
234 Pit Stop
28 Boat to Ortiz Port
80 Taxi to SM
15 Snack
190 Taxi to Tagbac Terminal
650 Van to Kalibo Airport

Total Expenses: 4,702 Pesos

Contact Information

Kuya Charlie: +63946 196 6887
Kuya Gerald: +63908 474 8122 (Alternate Contact – Tricycle/Tour)
Raymen Beach Resort: +63918 520 7271

For a quick link about Guimaras, simply visit http://www.guimaras.gov.ph/tourism/

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3D2N Enchanting Isla Gigantes Trip

On the northern coast of Iloilo in the town of Carles a hidden paradise of what we know as Isla Gigantes awaits all curious visitors. White sand beaches, clear blue waters and scallops. It’s not very easy to get here and it will take you a day to get to the island but its all worth the trip. The island was named as such as it was believed that giants once lived on the islands. Stay at least 3 days here to fully enjoy what the island has to offer

To get here you have different options. If you’re flying from Manila it’s best to go to Roxas as it’s only two hours away via Ceres Bus. Regardless of where you’re coming from as long as you reach Estancia Port before 1pm you’re good to go as there’s only 1 passenger boat plying Estancia-Gigantes route. Boat leaves between 1pm-2pm daily and to be sure which boat leaves for Gigantes, ask around.

Tip: Book the earliest flight as much as possible. Take a van to significantly cut your travel time but for a cheaper alternative simply take a bus.

1. From Iloilo (Max of 5 Hours to get to Estancia): Get a cab (around 400 pesos) going to Tagbac Terminal or take the shuttle to SM City Iloilo (50 pesos) then take a jeepney going to Tagbac Terminal. From Tagbac Terminal, take either Ceres Bus/HPQ Buss (4 hours) or UV Express Van (2 hours) going to Estancia. Fare costs around 150 pesos. From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).
2. From Roxas (Max of 3 Hours to get to Estancia): Take Ceres Bus (2 hours) going to Estancia. From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).
3. From Kalibo (Max of 5 Hours to get to Estancia): I’m not sure if there’s a direct bus or van going to Estancia but you can take Ceres Bus or UV Express Van going to Roxas (2 hours) then to Estancia (2 hours). From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).

Tagbac Van Terminal. Further to the right is the Bus Terminal

Estancia Van & Bus Terminal

Estancia Tricycle Terminal in front of Van & Bus Terminal

We checked-out from our hotel at around 8am and took a cab going to Tagbac Central Terminal. Between bus and van, we chose van for a much shorter travel time going to Estancia because they have fewer stops unlike a regular commuter buses. We had to wait though for all other passenger. We left at around 10am and arrived 2 and a half hours after. From the terminal we rode a tricycle going to the port. At the port, we hurriedly run to the nearest shed because of a sudden heavy rainfall. We waited for the rain to stop for like an hour before getting on the boat and lucky enough the sky cleared like it never rained. 

At the port, we were welcomed by Joel Decano who guided us to the boat and introduced us to our guide Joeneber. It was a slow 2-hour boat ride. Instead of just staring blankly on the horizon, we started making friends and met a very nice couple.  Meet Flo and Lea. 🙂

Flo and Lea

Since it was low tide when we arrived at Gigantes Norte, we had to transfer to a raft and balance ourselves while the boatman pushes it to get to the shore. Cool! From afar you can clearly see a mountain like pile of scallop shells along the shore.

Getting ready to ride the raft. You see that mountain of scallop shells over there?

Slowly but surely

On the raft

Along the shores of Brgy Asluman

We then rode a Habal-Habal to get to Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. We had coffee as our welcome drink under the shade of a Talisay tree. My ex-girlfriend and I together with Flo and Lea agreed to follow just one itinerary and go on one boat for our island hopping the next day. Since Joel originally arranged separate boats and guides for us, we agreed for a 2500 pesos boat fee for the island hopping instead of 1800 pesos per couple. That’s 650 pesos saving!

After the arrangement, our guide brought us to our cottage. Here, they have a fix rate of 200 pesos per head per night if you stay in a fan room. They have cottages/rooms for small and big groups. They also have a tree house and cottages facing the sea. The resort has a very wide open space ready for expansion and a mini pool.

Our Room

Mini Pool

Food Hall

Tree House

Main House – AC Rooms are here

Cottages facing the Sea

Coffee Area

Not wasting any time, we asked our guides if there’s any place we could go nearby. They suggested to visit Parola/Lighthouse. We rode a Habal-Habal then trekked for about 5mins to get to Parola. You also have the option to walk. If you’re not afraid of heights, you must go up. This is also a perfect spot to catch the sunrise.

Parola

The Light

Group Pic – Flo was too scared to stand up.

To have a group pic, we sat beside Flo

Back in the resort, they served us the below for dinner. (To give you an idea how much it cost – this is good for 2)

Sizzling Scallop 110.00
2 Sticks of BBQ Scallop 36.00
Fried Fish 40.00
Squid with Chili Sauce 90.00
Grilled Pork Chop 60.00
   Rice 30.00   
Total 366.00

Day 1 Dinner

They really serve a lot so if I were you forgot about your diet. Just let your guide know if you only wish to be served with 1 or 2 viands. You can also ask for coffee, soda or beer and they would only charge you depending on how much it cost at a nearby store. Yes I think there are 2 sari-sari store near the resort where you can buy some stuff like shampoo, soap, toothbrush and even crisps.

During our dinner we learned a lot about Flo and Lea, they were very open and it felt like we know them already for a very long time. We talked about almost anything under the sun. After dinner, instead of going inside our room we decided to take a dip in the mini pool and continued our bonding with the lovely couple. I am not sure but I think we finished past midnight.

The following day we woke up really early to catch the sunrise.

Good Morning Gigantes

Breakfast was served at 7am. They gave us coffee first whilst preparing the table for breakfast. Everything was very organised here and it’s like having your very own PA. Since we requested for a smaller portion they served us light breakfast (still with rice).

Coffee Time

Plated Breakfast

After breakfast we prepped up for our Island Hopping adventure. We started past 9am already because of our amazement with the countless number of scallop shells near the shore.

Shells Shells Shells

Jump Shot

Our first stop was Tangke Lagoon. It was a challenge for most of us to get in because of strong waves making it hard to cross a makeshift bridge from the boat to the lagoon. Going back was another story. I even forgot to wear my slippers which made it even harder for me to walk through the rocks. Inside, it felt like I was in Coron. If you don’t know how to swim, this place is perfect for you as it’s not too shallow nor too deep.

Our next stop was Cabugao Gamay Island. This is the most famous island here. I think the shape of the island adds up to its charm aside from its powdery white sand and pristine blue waters. Group shots, jump shots, selfie, wide shots, stolen shots. We did all of it here.

To even more enjoy the island, we decided to have our lunch here. We had crabs, stuffed squid and fresh coconut juice. Yum Yum! We even took a short nap under a shade of a tree. Once on the island you wouldn’t want leave. It has a strange charm unlike any other islands. 🙂

Just before we left, we were shocked to hear an explosion-like sound only to find out a fisherman threw a dynamite to catch some fish not very distant to where we were. I hope authorities are doing something to stop this madness. I’m sure they know it.

Our next stop was Bantigue Sand Bar. This served as a playground for us. The strong wind from an incoming rain triggered non-stop waves and made the water warmer. We played like kids jumping on every waves we see. We loved it so much!

Our last stop was at Antonia Beach. Whilst on the island, it rained heavily making it impossible for us to swim or snorkel. Instead, we stayed inside the kitchen of the island’s caretaker to have coffee and to eat spicy noodles. We met JayR here, a solo traveler who works in Singapore. After the rain, we immediately went to sea to snorkel and swim.  Just before leaving the island, they sold us 1 sack of wasay-wasay perfect for dinner for just 100 pesos. Nice!

Wasay-Wasay

Our next trip was supposedly the caves but because of the rain and it’s almost 5pm we decided not to go anymore. There are more than 30 caves in the island so ask your guide and try to explore at least one. Just take extra care and make sure to bring insect repellant.

Back in the resort for dinner, they served us steamed wasay-wasay, fish escabeche and adobong squid. Brrrppp! We were so full after. JayR also joined the feast.

Left to Right: Lea, Flo, JayR, Cleo and myself

For our last night here, we asked our guides to set up a bonfire near the shore. It was lovely!

Kuya Joeneber setting up our Bonfire

The next morning, we packed all our things then had our breakfast.

Breakfast – Day 3

Kuya Joeneber showed us the ancient wood coffin known as “Longon” displayed at the back of the food hall whilst waiting for the details of the amount we need to settle before checkout. In total (3D2N food and accommodation + island hopping for 2) we paid 3,480 pesos.

We were almost ready to leave but then we suddenly felt dizzy and saw the water in the pool spilling over. We heard the staff shouting and couldn’t believe we just experienced an earthquake. It was scary! What if there’s a tsunami?Aftershocks? Where’s the epicenter? What made it worst is that we have no way of checking due to lack of internet and mobile network signal in the island. Thank God we’re safe!

We left still a bit nervous but we had to say goodbye to the nice staff of Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. A trip we will never ever forget. Amazing island indeed. Very accommodating staff, well-mannered guides, endless supply of scallops, fresh seafood and picturesque white sand beach. Life is Good!

JayR, Flo, Lea, Cleo and myself plus our 2 guides. Joeneber – in yellow short.

With a bigger boat this time, it only took us less than 2 hours to get to Estancia port.

Estancia Port

Oh I forgot to mention, Flo and Lea joined us on the next leg of this trip. 4 is better than 2!

Check my next entry about our Guimaras Trip: <————>

You can also check my entry about Iloilo here: Iloilo 2D1N DIY Trip

This is part of our Iloilo 5 Day DIY Trip last October 12 – 17, 2013. See detailed Itinerary and Expenses HERE.

Sample Itinerary

DAY 1
0700 Wake Up Call
0800 Check-out at Chito’s Hotel
0830 ETA at Tagbac Central Terminal via Taxi (150 pesos)
1000 ETD to Estancia via Van (150 pesos/head)
1230 Estancia Transport Terminal
1245 Estancia Port (via Tricycle 10 pesos/head)
1430 ETD Estancia to Brgy Asluman via Boat (80 pesos/head)
1630 ETA Brgy Asluman
1640 ETA Hideaway Resort via Habal-Habal (10 pesos/head)
1700 Check-in (200 pesos/head/night)
1730 Parola (via Habal-Habal 30 pesos/head/way)
1830 Back at Hideway Resort
2000 Dinner Time
2200 Night Swimming (Pool)

DAY 2
0600 Wake Up Call
0700 Breakfast Time
0830 Prep for Island Hopping
0900 Habal-Habal to Boat
0910 Start of Island Hopping (2500 pesos/boat good for 4 with 2 guides)
0940 Tangke
1100 Cabugao Island (20 pesos entrance fee/head)
1200 Lunch at Cabugao Island
1340 Bantigue Sandbar
1430 Antonia Beach (20 pesos entrance fee/head)
1630 Back at Brgy Asluman
1645 Hideaway Tourist Resort
1900 Dinner Time
2100 Bonfire by the Beach
2300 Lights Off

DAY 3
0600 Breakfast
0730 Prep for Check-out (Total Bill: 3480 pesos)
0830 Check-out Time
0845 Boat to Estancia (80 pesos/head)
1030 Back at Estancia Port
1130 Van to Iloilo (150 pesos/head)
1330 ETA Tagbac Central Terminal

Breakdown of Expenses

DAY 1
77 Breakfast
150 Taxi Fare to Tagbak Terminal
300 Van going to Estancia
20 Tricycle Fare to Port
20 Water
160 Boat Fare to Gigantes
20 Habal Habal to Hideaway
120 Habal Habal to Light House

DAY 2
100 2 Buko at Cabugao Island
140 Snacks at Antonia Beach
100 1 Sack of Wasay-Wasay
20 Habal Habal to Hideaway
52 Toiletries

DAY 3
3480 Hideaway Total Bill
600 Tip
20 Habal Habal to Boat
160 Boat Fare to Estancia
40 Water
103 Food
30 Tricycle to Van Terminal
300 Van to Tagbac Terminal

Total Expenses: 6,012.00 Pesos

Tips:

  • Mobile networks are not available in the island so forget about checking your facebook or instagram. Forget about calling or texting, just enjoy and have fun.
  • Bring a nice camera with you all the time and capture every moment.
  • Electricity is only turned on late in the afternoon until 11pm then it switches to power generator. So don’t be surprised if you wake up the following day with no electricity.
  • Be sure to arrive at Estancia Port before 1pm-2pm or else you’ll wait for the next trip the next day.
  • From Gigantes Norte, boat leaves for Estancia at around 8am so make sure to tell your guides to avoid being left.
  • If you wish to stay in an air-conditioned room check with Joel first for availability. During peak season, make sure to book ahead of time to secure a good room. If you own a tent, you can also bring it and set camp inside the resort.
  • Guides don’t have a fixed income/salary so give them the tip they deserve. They solely rely on the tip.
  • Cooking Charge is up to you as well so if you have any request for lunch or dinner feel free to tell them but don’t expect any vegetable dish as they don’t really have a market to buy vegetables on the island.
  • If you sleep late, your guides too. 🙂
  • Each cottages have its own toilet and bath.
  • If you’re looking to have a massage, they have 2 local masseuse in the area but don’t expect it to be a spa-like experience. Just ask your guides if you’re interested.
  • If you are travelling solo and want to spend less, be friendly and join other groups.
  • Local water may taste weird for some so better bring your own supply of mineral/distilled water.

Schedule of ferry from/to Isla Gigantes:
Estancia Port to Isla Gigantes : 2pm (80 pesos)
Isla Gigantes Langub port to Estancia: 8:30am (80 pesos)
Carles Bancal Port to Isla: 10am (75pesos)
Isla to Carles Bancal Port : 2pm (75pesos)

From Roxas City you can take bus going to Estancia and alight in Balasan, then take a tricycle going to Carles Port if you want to catch the morning ferry.

Contact Jedden, one of the tour guide and he will assist you. +639468516513

Isla Gigantes Contact Information:

Joel Decano
Proprietor/Tourism Officer
09184685006 / 09155796612
Facebook: Isla Gigantes
Email: isla.gigantes@yahoo.com
Joel Decano is a tourism office who also owns Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. He will arrange everything to make sure you enjoy your stay in Gigantes. If DIY is not your thing, he can also create a package/itinerary for you.
Alternative Contact Information:

If you are not able to reach Joel you may contact the below that was given to me by a friend who visited Gigantes May 2014
Remia Pesta of Arjan Resort at 09199314248 or
Boy Pestaño at 09999918643 and get Glenn as ur guide.

*Arjan Resort is located at Gigantes North and is along the shoreline. They also have boats plying the route of Estancia and Gigantes North. Boat departs between 12 to 1pm. For more information please contact Remia directly.

Iloilo DIY Trip: After 6 Hours of Delayed Flight

Right after work with no sleep but full of excitement we took a cab around 3am to get to NAIA Terminal 4. Heavy rain started to pour as we near the airport. Remaining optimistic, we successfully checked-in at around 4am and waited for our flight scheduled to leave at 6am via Tiger Air. I bought a coffee and watched tv whilst waiting for the boarding time. 5 mins to 6am and yet no announcement of boarding. Few minutes later, flight was moved to 645am due to additional aircraft servicing. I was fine with it but then another announcement came saying 745am instead of 645am. Wow!

8am – no announcement, no nothing. Several people started approaching the one and only Tiger Air staff stationed in the boarding area. No clear picture of what is happening and what is going to happen. As time passes, more and more people were complaining and shouting then the Tiger Air staff left. No one was there to answer questions which made us more pissed off. Even the staff from the paging room started calling for any available Tiger Air personnel. When one finally came they still failed to give a definite departure time for our flight. Bacolod flight was also affected. Flights from other carriers were all leaving as scheduled.

905am – announcement of further delay was all we could hear. Departure was set to 11am this time with no guarantee. What’s going on?!

11am – still not very clear but the staff reassured us that they’ll get us boarded before noon. That’s a total of 6 hours delay. Wtf?! 6 lost hours! Anyway, at around 1130 they started giving out food ration and boarding started 1145. Finally! It was a relief for most of us. This made me think if I will ever fly again via Tiger Air. There’s too much negativity already so I decided to just check our itinerary for the day and stay positive.

We finally landed at Iloilo Airport at 110pm. We took a van going to SM City Iloilo for 50/head. On our way, heavy rain started to pour. At SM, we decided to grab a snack at TEDs hoping for a much favorable weather before heading to our chosen hotel.

Van going to SM City Iloilo

At around 3pm, we checked-in at Chito’s Hotel for 750/night. Tired and sleepy but with no time to waste, we took a cab going to Fort San Pedro. Nothing much to see here but Guimaras Island on the other side. Fort San Pedro is located along San Pedro Drive and is accessible if you take Jaro jeep. This is also close to Plaza Libertad. Cab fare from Chito’s to Fort San Pedro costs 70 pesos.

Chito’s Hotel Entrance

Fort San Pedro

We then took a Jaro jeepney that passes by along Bonifacio Drive to get to Museo Iloilo. Fare costs 7 pesos. Admission Fee is 50 pesos for adults and 20 pesos for students. They are open Monday-Saturday 9am to 5pm only.

Museo Iloilo

We got stuck near the museum because of the rain. Oh well! Finally when the rain stopped we found our way to the nearest Biscocho Haus for a quick bite located near the rotunda in front of the provincial capitol. It was almost night-time but we decided to just walk along Calle Real. This is more of like the “Escolta” of Iloilo City. Commercial establishments are here as well as the residences of the ilonggo elite. Before getting a jeepney to SM City Iloilo we bought Lanzones and Rambutan.

Biscocho Haus

Rotunda

Calle Real

Super Sweet Lanzones

At SM, we decided to watch an Indie Film titled Alagwa before heading to Promenade for dinner. It was a film about not losing hope despite all odds. It also tackles issues about child trafficking. An interesting film to watch.

Alagwa

Promenade is located along Iloilo Riverside Boardwalk. This area is now closed to vehicular traffic and was recently beautified with cobble-stone laden road perfect for jogging and biking. To get here from SM, just take any jeepney.

Riverside Boardwalk

At promenade, we had dinner at Punot. We ordered baked clams and a fish dish (sorry I forgot what it is called). The food was great! Highly recommended if you visit Iloilo.

Baked Clams

At Punot

After dinner we went back to our hotel for a much-needed rest.

This is part of our Iloilo 5 Day DIY Trip last October 12 – 17, 2013. See full Itinerary and Expenses HERE.

NOTES

Chito’s Hotel
Phone: (033)3376135 or (033)3377929
Email: chitoshotel@ymail.com
Web: http://chitoshotel.netfirms.com

*Jeepney Minimum Fare: 7 pesos

Other places you can visit here:

Jaro Cathedral – Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary. This was built in 1864. Just take a Jaro Jeepney to get here.

Molo Church – located within the plaza area of Molo district. Very accessible if you take cab from anywhere in Iloilo. By Jeepney, just take one with Molo signboard near Robinson Mall. You can also take Villa/Arevalo to get here.

Guimbal Church – One of the oldest in the Philippines. Just take a Guimbal Jeepney to get here.

Miagao Church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iloilo. This is 30 to 45 minutes away from Iloilo City Proper. One can take a Miagao jeepney from Mohon terminal in Molo district or from Iloilo Terminal Market known as Super in downtown Iloilo.

Baguio Day Trip

With nothing to do one weekend last August, I saw a post in CS FB page from Plan B Adventure Madness about their Baguio-La Union Road Trip and decided to join. It was only the day before when we asked for details and confirmed just few hours before the trip. Lucky enough we were able to secure 2 slots.

Road to Baguio

Road to Baguio

I know most of you have been to Baguio maybe for a couple of days but a day trip?! Yes it is possible. Below are the places you can visit here in a day provided you have your own transportation. Asking around is pretty easy so don’t worry if you’re not good in directions. All you need is an amazing bunch of people and you’re ready to go. Oh don’t forget your jacket or hoodie just in case.

1. MINES VIEW PARK
This park is one of the most visited and popular park in the city. The breathtaking view of the mountains can be seen at its view deck. At the entrance, a variety of stalls sells native handicraft, jewelry, clothings, sweaters, blankets, souvenirs and food items. You can also have your picture taken with the famous St Bernard dog or simply wear the tribe costume for a small fee. You can also ride a horse and strike a pose. Just recently, 7-11 opened a branch near the food stalls.

2. BREAKFAST AT OUTLOOK DRIVE
Not your usual breakfast hub located at Brgy Outlook Drive Barangay Hall. This place offers yummy Bulalo and Charcoal Grilled Milk Fish early in the morning. Local patrons flock this place for a nice treat to start off their day. Serving is quiet hefty perfect for those with big appetite.

3. GOOD SHEPHERD
Its close proximity to Mines View Park makes this place an ideal place for a quick stop if you want to buy their products. They are popular for their fruit preservatives, ube, coco and strawberry jams, peanut brittle, and cashew nuts. They also sell organic products like coffee and ginger tea. Colorful flowers and assorted trees can also be within the compound. You can even smell the pine trees in the area.

4. THE MANSION
The Mansion is located along Leonard Wood Road and right across from Wright Park.With its elaborately designed main gate and beautiful garden, it is favourite of many for sightseeing as well as picture taking. Not to mention the jump shots.

5. WRIGHT PARK
This park features the Pool Of Pines which can be seen in front of the main gate of the Mansion. Tall pine frees can be seen around the area. At times, locate artists here sell their work of art. On the other side of the park, one can ride a pony. You can also have your picture taken wearing the local Igorot Dress or simply have your picture with the local Igorots at a certain fee (ask first before striking a pose)

6. PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
This site was developed as a training facility for military. You’ll be asked for an identification card before you can enter the facility. At times, you’ll see cadets running around. A monument was also built in the area near where old canyons and tanks were displayed.

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7. BAGUIO CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL
This church located on top a hill is one of the most visited landmarks of Baguio. One can walk going here from Session Road. This is considered to be the biggest catholic church in Baguio.

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Catholic Cathedral

8. SESSION ROAD
Session Road is one of the busiest street in Baguio where you’ll find all sorts of establishments like restaurants. banks, department stores, cafes, hotels, bakeries, bars, small boutiques and bazaars. People here seem to have good discipline as well and crosses the road only when the light is green.

Session Road

Session Road

9. TAM-AWAN VILLAGE
To find the village, take Bokawkan Road then turn left at Ferguzon Road then right to Tacay Road which is uphill. Upon reach the top take a right turn and then you’ll reach Tam-Awan. The village showcases some great artworks and how the local tribe lived before. Walking tour can be requested for group tours. They also have coffee shop where you can spend some time. They also have souvenir shop selling locate products and native handicrafts. You can also but the local wine here. One can also stay here overnight and commune with nature. Entrance fee here ranges from 20-50 pesos.

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If you have one more day to spare in the city, you can visit any of the below places of interest

  • Burnham Park
  • Lourdes Grotto
  • Camp John Hay
  • Lion’s Head
  • Bell Church
  • Botanical Garden
  • Teacher’s Camp
  • Rizal Park

This was part of my Baguio-La Union Trip last August 24-26, 2013. You can check the continuation of the trip by clicking HERE

Surfing Baler 2.0

Good Morning Baler!

Good Morning Baler!

If you were able to read my older post about my trip here a month ago (This trip happened September 14-15, 2013). Yes another super late post. You won’t probably wonder why we’re back. Together with my colleagues at work who were very ecstatic on this trip, we managed to create a group of 11 (11 is very significant number in most of our trips, check my other posts to know why). For some reason we always end up at 11. Weird but cool!

Since it was after work for most of us. We asked our rented van to pick us up at McKinley Hill at 2am.

The Gang

The Gang

(clockwise) So its my girlfriend, Albert, Zhem, Bree, Bj, Naz, Audrey, Cliff, Kat A, Rachelle and myself. Not to mention our driver and friend, Maio (sleeping in the van), a surfer freak! I love this group! Very down to earth and full of sense of humor!

We started a bit late on our road trip but Maio managed to drive carefully all the way to Aurora with NO STOP. We passed by a very unfamiliar place traversing through the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre. We never thought travel time would take a bit longer than what we have expected. The surrounding view made the trip worthwhile despite not knowing where the road ends until we reached the flatlands and saw some road signs to get to Baler.

At Ermita Hill

At Ermita Hill

Me and My Donut

Me and My Donut

It was around 8am when we reached the town and had breakfast along the road near the museum. After breakfast, the road trip continued as we head to Ermita Hill. The view of the pacific was better than the last time I was here. We took some photos with several attempts of jump shot.

Jump Shot @ Ermita Hill

Jump Shot @ Ermita Hill

After Ermita Hill, we continued to get to Diguisit Beach BUT a major landslide happened the night before. The road was impassable to vehicles. No way?!?! Most of the locals didn’t know this as well so all of us ended going back. Before going back, some of us took the time to walk on the other side of the road to see Diguisit Beach from afar. We can definitely walk to get there but it would eat up a lot of our time. Our plan to visit Dicasalarin Cove will continue to be a plan. 😩

Road Leading to Nowhere

Road Leading to Nowhere

Landslide

Landslide

Along the Cliff

Along the Cliff

Striking a Pose

Striking a Pose

To cheer our spirits up, we went straight to Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls) to feel its cold refreshing water. We initially planned to bring the van but the recent rain made the rough road even more hard for most vehicles to pass unless you have a 4×4. We ended up renting a tricycle for 100 pesos per head (two-way). It was the shakiest ride of all but the way the drivers maneuver the tricycle was just amazing. Its worst than a roller coaster, 3D Rialto and bump car combined but worth the experience. Haha!

It took us roughly 15-20 minutes to get to the falls. Amazing indeed! I’m not ever sure how long we stayed here plus the many stops we did just to take snapshots. It was freezing cold but everyone enjoyed it!

Lunch Time at Gerry Shan's Place

Lunch Time at Gerry Shan’s Place

We then had our late buffet lunch at Gerry Shan’s Place still at 185 pesos per head. Bbrrppp! After the sumptuous meal, we checked-in at our chosen beach house, SMART BEACH HOUSE. Yes it’s in front of the beach! Perfect place to see the sunrise!

View from Veranda

View from Veranda

Smart Beach House

Smart Beach House

Smart Beach House

Smart Beach House

After check-in food cleo prepared dinner for us whilst other decided to take a swim. After dinner, we had few drinks then some of us ventured out to the local bars nearby. Haha!

The next morning was a bliss! It was a clear blue sky. Picturesque! See photos captured by Cliff Remigio below.

Costa Pacifica

Costa Pacifica

Morning Surfers

Morning Surfers

Morning Catch

Morning Catch

Pictures taken at the Veranda of our room

After breakfast, we went to Balete Tree and took the opportunity to climb it since I wasn’t able to do it the last time. It was a bit of challenge going up as you have to squeeze through the intertwined roots to get to the top. Going down is another story. Your choice of doing it inside the tree or outside the tree. Most of us tried it outside for more photo opportunity. Haha!

After visiting the tree, we went to Museo De Baler. More pictures here and there. We were suppose to see the Aurora House but they are closed every Sunday. We decided to just drop by at the market to get some food and drinks.

Back at the Beach House, we prepped up for Surfing. Finally!!! Waves were much better than in the morning. We all had so much fun! Most even extended for another hour and we ended up extending our stay at the beach house for couple more hours. All wanting to stay even longer.

Trip-Lets Baler

Trip-Lets Baler

This trip I must say is a success despite the fact that we didn’t manage to visit some of the place because of the landslide. In the end it’s not the place you visited but the people you are with. It makes a trip worth remembering. A memory that will surely last a lifetime.

Trip-Lets Baler

Trip-Lets Baler

Contact Info:
You can contact the below for availability and rates.

Smart Beach House +63928-507-6551
Book directly at Mahdox Surf School and get a Group Discount

Another Surf Instructor named Lord might offer you a discounted rate. Just send  him a message for enquiry at +63949-430-4760

Cliff Remigio Photography Link to FB

Tara Let’s Go Asia Random Trip 1: Discovering Rizal

Ever went on a Random Trip with total strangers? Quite interesting right? Well, I know at least two people from this trip when Tara Let’s Go Asia first held their meet-up. Few days before the actual trip, I saw the below on my feeds and went through the details. There was no specific Itinerary or plan and all you have to do is to bring yourself and enjoy. The concept was new to me so we joined. It’s a chance to meet Random People and do some Random Stuff to a Random Destination.  Kewl!

We arrived just in time and waited for a few minutes then off we go. Wondering how we’re going to get to our destination? Yes! a Jeepney. An Air-conditioned Jeepney! It’s bigger than a normal jeepney, more of like a mini-bus only that it’s locally made. 🙂

Just few minutes after leaving the parking lot near El Pueblo a traffic enforcer stopped us to query what the heck the Jeepney is doing Ortigas. The jeepney rented plies through Makati area and since we’re at Ortigas it’s normal for an officer to stop a public vehicle that is out of its normal route. It’s very important if you consider renting one to have a permit, drivers know this so don’t worry.

To start of the trip, our 1st Stop was Antipolo Cathedral – Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Shrine. The Jesuits administered the church from 1591 to 1768. Built by the Rev. Juan de Salazar S.J., the church was ready for Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje in 1632. The church was greatly damaged during the Chinese uprising of 1639 and in the earthquakes of 1645, 1824 and 1883. For three centuries now, this church has been the object of pilgrimages all over the Philippines. People go here to get blessings before going on a trip.

Just before leaving the area, two of our foreign friends tried our local kakanin known as Suman.

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Our 2nd Stop. Situated in Brgy Bombongan Morong Rizal, we went to U-Ugong Park (Bantayog ng Kalinangan). The park is owned by Mr. Rafael Pacheco, a locally and internationally recognized artist because of his paintings. Filipinos from various status recognize the extraordinary of “Mang Paeng” and is now considered as the Father of Bare- Hand Painting in the Philippines. When you visit the place you’ll see almost all of his artworks. During the early 60’s-early 80’s Uugong park was known for its beautiful waterfalls. It is a usual summer picnic location for families and friends. Uugong means echo, which has been derived from the loud echo or sound produced by the strong current flow of the falls. The place right now needs a lot of help. The used to be vibrant place now seems to be slowly decaying if no attention will be given soon enough. Mr Pacheco who suffered from stroke was glad enough to talk to us and showed us his artworks. He has a very good sense of humor.  It was truly an honor to meet him in person.

Mr Pacheco’s Paintings

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Around U-Ugong Park

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Somewhere in Tanay Rizal, we had a thrilling adventure to Tanay’s Calinawan Cave which is our 3rd Stop. Bust just before getting there, we had lunch at a random eatery. Our damage? Just roughly 40 pesos including a glass or two of Soda. 🙂

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Going back to Calinawan Cave, the cave is a 20 minute drive from Daranak Falls. The hill where the cave is called Rawang. which have been strong-holds of Filipino resistance fighters against colonizers. To get to Calinawan it’s better to bring your own mode of transportation or else you’ll have to endure a long walk unless you’re into it. Entrance Fee is 20 pesos per head and Guide Fee is 200 per group of 5. The entrance to the cave is a small stair-like passage going down. Along the way the guide will tell you different stories and show different rock formations. Living stalagmites and stalactites are still present in the cave which is a good sign. Several movie productions have been made in this caves making it popular to some. Along the way, a small black bird fell on the ground. According to our guide the bird produces birds nest which is used in making the famous birds nest soup. It took us roughly 30 minutes to finish the trek. The exit is grand, you will need to pass through the two big rock formations towering at around 30 feet.

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After Calinawan Cave, it was time to take a dip at Daranak Falls, our 4th Stop. Daranak Falls is located in Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal, a few minutes from Tanay market. It is a government-owned park and part of the laguna watershed. Entrance fee is 20 pesos per head for adults and 15 pesos for kids. They are only open from 8AM to 5PM. To get more information, please visit my other post here. Picnic tables are available for a minimal cost. Toilets and Shower Rooms are available for just 5 pesos per use.

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What to do after? Haha. Yes! It was time to eat… Not sure yet where until we pass by this interesting restaurant along the highway. Our 5th Stop, Kata Cafe it is! It is located at Delfin Tongohan St., cor. Manila East Road, Tanay, Rizal. Surprisingly we thought food would be expensive until we saw the menu and the food was served. OMG! It was a hefty serving for a price of small serving you’ll normally get if you buy it in Metro Manila. The food was delish and I highly recommend people to go here and try their food. The place was cozy as well. Very inviting and relaxed. Nice place for a chitchat and to hangout with friends. A nice escape form hustle and bustle of the city.

After dinner, we went to Binangonan Rizal in search for a cheap place to stay overnight until we ended up staying at Eastroad Apartelle. The place is located #8 Manila East Road Calumpang Hi-Way Binangonan, Rizal. Price starts at 150 pesos. Before ending the night, we had few beers and excellently picked videoke songs.

The following day, we’re off to an early start by having a quick breakfast. We then went to our 6th Stop, Angono Petroglyphs. The Angono Petroglyphs Site Museum is situated at the municipality of Binangonan, province of Rizal, three and a half kilometers southeast of the town of Angono. The museum is open Mondays-Fridays between 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. It was discovered in 1965 by National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco during a field trip with a troop of boy scouts. He reported to the National Museum the existence of a cave with drawings of a primitive quality. The Angono Petroglyphs date back to circa late Neolithic. They are located in the rear recess of a cave, carved in a rock formation belonging to the Pleistocene Guadalupe Formation. There are 127 figures engraved into volcanic tuff that was soft enough to be worked on by a denser piece of stone. Unlike other examples of prehistoric art, there is no indication that colors were ever incorporated in the drawings.

It was amazing to see this kind of stuff for the very first time. I wonder if there’s more like this somewhere else. Only time will tell and the question is when? Hopefully it’s not yet late for us to see it.

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After seeing Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs, it was time to go forward to our next destination. So we arrived on our 7th destination, Balaw-Balaw Restaurant & Art Gallery.  The main concept of the restaurant is to promote the culture and tradition of Angono by way of its food and arts. It is also a home to the “Higantes” the stars of the fluvial town fiesta every 23rd of November. Entrance fee to see the Art Gallery costs around 35 pesos. It might be free if you decided to eat here. Around 100 paintings of the late famous folk artist, Perdigon Vocalan are displayed in the Museum, influenced by National Artist, Carlos Botong Francisco. Vocalan’s paintings represent Angono’s rich cultural heritage and folklore. These paintings along with intricate sculptures were also inspired by Philippine Legends that are now immortalized by his works. The collection also features works by his 2 son, Rembrandt and Andre as well as other notable Filipino artists. The Museum’s design itself is a work of art with its Spanish Architecture and unmistakable Asian flare.

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Just few steps from Balaw-Balaw is the Nemiranda Art House and Atelier Cafe Restaurant, our last destination for the trip. The art gallery entrance costs around 50 pesos but is normally free for those who wish to eat here. On our way inside, one of the staff said that Nemi Miranda himself will be there. So without any second thought we decided to settle here for lunch. Nemesio R. Miranda Jr. “NEMIRANDA” was born on February 14, 1949 in Angono, Rizal, he attained his Bachelor of Fines Arts Degree at the University of Sto. Tomas. The place is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is located at 10 Doña Elena Street, Doña Justa Village Phase 1, Barangay San Roque
Angono, Rizal.

So after seeing all the artworks, Nemi suddenly arrived and gladly accommodated us by spending 20-30 minutes of his time telling us stories, plans and developments in the world of arts, showing us his artworks and the history behind it. Wow! It was a memorable experience. He even told us that the house/art gallery itself was made of scrap wood from an old church/convent. He said he’s fond of scrap wood. He also holds art camp from time to time. A very down to earth man.

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I never thought this trip would be this much. The trip was concluded with a great meal served with fried Itik among other great varieties of local food.

This is what I love about Random Travel. You get to see places you never thought you would see and there’s a much more greater amount of appreciation. Being with people you don’t really know makes it more exciting. Everything is a surprise, a package full of unexpected things. A random trip you will truly remember. All you have to have is an open mind, welcoming aura and great appreciation of the nature and arts.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bag and go somewhere Random with no plans, just go! You’ll not only learn more about yourself, you’ll learn more about the place that surrounds you. 🙂

Happy Travels!

Bicol Trip: After Calaguas & Before Mt Isarog

No plans, No nothing. The title says it all. Given 5 days without any specific plan this was how our trip went whilst in Bicol. Random Visit to friends and family.

Daet – Naga – Matacon – Legaspi – Rangas – Legaspi – Matacon – Naga

So after Calaguas. Tired and sticky, we went straight to Malayan Tourist Inn for a quick shower. To no avail, all shower rooms are being used and we badly needed to take a shower with so little time left for us to catch the last trip to Daet via UV Express. Ate Karina of Malayan Tourist Inn offered to bring us to their house to get a shower. Her daughter hurriedly took the motorcycle and assisted us all the way. It only took us roughly 5 minutes to finish. It was quickest shower we’ve had. â˜ș

Back in the Inn located right in front of the terminal, we found out that the last trip just left. No way!!! Good thing Ate Karina gave us an alternative option to get to Daet.

Luck was still on our side when another passenger going to Daet asked us to go with him and share the fare expenses. We rented a tricycle for 250 pesos to get to Talobatib. It was roughly a 30-minute ride. At Talobatib, we tried waited for a Daet bound bus until we’ve decided to have dinner at a local diner, Paksiwan Sa Centro. We were halfway through finishing our food when a bus arrived. We decided to catch the next one but after almost an hour, no bus seems be stopping anymore.

Not taking any chances, we took another tricycle ride to get to Labo together with 7 other passenger and paid 20 pesos per head. I literally rode at the back side of the tricycle standing all the way holding my big backpack. Nice! It was a 15-minute chilly ride to get to the van terminal (UV Express) at Labo right beside a drugstore. We paid 25 pesos each to get to Daet which only took 20 minutes.

We stayed for a night at friends house. I also had the chance to see my god daughter. Cute!

We had few drinks and lots of catching up.

The following day after leaving my friend’s house and before heading further south, since my Lola who’s in the hospital wanted a Formosa Pineapple, we went to the Public Market and bought 5 pieces of Pineapple. It costs 20 pesos per piece. Tricycle fare costs 10 pesos
per head.

We then rode a tricycle again going to Daet Central Terminal to catch a van going to Naga. Tricycle fare from the Public Market to the Central Terminal costs 25 pesos. Van Fare via UV Express from Daet to Naga costs 180 pesos per head. We left Daet at around 3PM and arrived 2.5 hours after. Not that sleepy, I think I played Candy Crush all throughout the trip whilst my girlfriend was sleeping. Haha.

Before catching a bus bound for Legaspi, we had some few snacks. We then checked the departure times of buses leaving for Legaspi, Last trip is 6PM so instead of going around, we hopped on the bus to secure a good seat. We paid 70 pesos and asked the despatcher to stop at Matacon Centro. It was roughly an hour and a half ride.

We’ve decided to visit my Lolo and my cousins on my mom’s side. My uncle picked us up and much to our surprise everyone was like anticipating our arrival. It was nice seeing them all again. An endless conversation talking about anything under the sun.

Since we’ve spent so much time on the road, a much needed sleep was all we wanted. We slept for a good 10 hours. We had late breakfast and off we left again for another long trip to see my father’s hometown. It’s been 10 years since the last time I visited the place.

Just before we left, my Lolo required us to have lunch first. After lunch, we then walked along the Old PNR Railway going to the highway to get a bus going to Legaspi.

After 30 minutes of waiting, that’s 1230PM, a bus came. It was slow a 2-hour ride. It would normally take only an hour if you take a van via UV express. At Legaspi Central Terminal, we took a van instead of a bus going to Rangas Juban via Bulan to cut our travel time. Fare costs 150 pesos.

From Legaspi Grand Terminal anyone can pretty much go anywhere in Bicol wih lots of option to choose from. Either via Van, Bus or Jeepney. Savemore Supermarket is situated right next to the van terminal for anyone who wants to do last minute grocery or simply grab a food before heading anywhere.

We left Legaspi at around 3PM and arrived at Rangas 2 hours after. It was drizzling when we arrived. It was like Dejavu. We walked along the road as if we perfectly know where we’re going. We stopped for a quick bite of street food then my cousin saw us  and assisted us to get to my Aunt’s house and Lolo’s house.

My Lolo barely recognised me. He’s already 83 years old and is hard of hearing. I mentioned my Dad’s name then he smiled. It was seeing him again.

It was time for dinner so we went to my Aunt’s house. The rain continued…
We wanted to visit my Lola who’s in the Irosin District Hospital so despite the rain we asked if we could rent a tricycle going there. Whilst waiting, we watched a local news. My girlfriend was amazed by the fact that she’s watching a news in a local dialect she could barely understand. Not my first and I kind of like hearing it though I don’t have full knowledge of the dialect.

At around 8PM, we rode a tricycle to get to the hospital to finally see my Lola. It took us around 30 minutes to get there but it was well worth it. She took care of me since I was a kid and I couldn’t afford not to visit her given the fact that I was in Bicol. She was a bit sleepy when we came but got fueled up when we gave her the Formosa Pineapple she’s been craving for. She’s a fighter.

After almost an hour, we left. It was really cold as the rain continued all through the night. We slept early so we could leave early the following day. We managed to get the number of one of the van driver going to Legaspi who leaves Bulan at 6AM but failed to wake up early enough. The bed weather made as lazy to even grab a coffee. â˜ș

We failed to take a shower as well because it was so cold. Haha..

Just outside the house, Mt Bulusan can be seen. It’s an active volcano which I also plan to hike soon. It’s so near yet so far.

We started waiting for a ride back to Legaspi at 8AM but only able to get a bus after an hour via Queens. Fare costs 130 pesos.

It was 11AM when we reached Legaspi Central Terminal. As always even from the last time I was here, you’ll have a panoramic view of the majestic Mayon Volcano.

Minimum tricycle fare to get around downtown would cost you around 10 pesos per head. Fare cost may also vary depending on your destination.

We were suppose to stay here overnight but my girlfirend needed to catch a bus trip to Manila in the evening to attend to an important matter the following day. Not to waste time, we went straight to Embarcadero to grab some souvenir shirts at Bicol Shirt City and have lunch at Bigg’s Diner. We had Tuna Salpicao, Cajun Chicken and Porkchop with Laing. Yum!

My shoe needed some reinforcement for Mt Isarog climb so after lunch we looked for a repair shop stand. I was able to find one across LCC mall and paid 100 pesos. Not bad for quick fix. â˜ș

We wanted to look around and have a massge but since we lack time, we decided to just get a tricycle to get to the terminal. We did a quick stop at Savemore Supermarket to buy food for dinner then took a van going to Matacon (My Mom’s Hometown) via Iriga. The van left 4PM and arrived at Matacon an hour after. Fare costs 80 pesos (10 pesos higher than bus fare, half the time it will take you if you take bus).

My girlfriend prepared Chicken Afritada and Adobo for dinner while I packed her stuff. We had an early dinner for a better chance of getting a good seat for her going to Manila. After we left to bring her to the terminal, just few minutes after, a DLTB Cubao bound bus stopped. She didn’t want to leave and she was supposed to join the Mt Isarog Climb but had to go for something more important. It cost her 650 pesos. (Fare can range from 550-800 via AC Bus & 300-400 via Ordinary Bus)

Upon my return at my Lolo’s house, I slept early. Since they’ve got no TV and I am too lazy to go to my Uncle’s house, I decided to call it a day.

 Potable Water at My Lolo’s House

 Dirty Kitchen

The following day, after breakfast, I packed my things and prepped up before saying goodbye to everyone. I left for Naga just before lunchtime. Fare costs 70 pesos and it took me 2 hours to get to Naga Bus Terminal.

From the bus terminal, I walked for about 30 minutes just trying to look for Sampaguita Inn. I walked going to the right coming from SM Naga only to find out it was on the opposite direction. So I walked back passing SM Naga and the bridge. Just after the bridge you’ll see on your right the Sampaguita and Sunny View Hotel. I wanted to call Sampaguita Inn first to check availability but no one seems to be answering the phone so I took the chance of going there directly. To no avail, the cheapest rooms are all booked. I then went to Sunny View to check and it was the same. Both still have Single AC room and Sunny offers the cheapest at 450 pesos a night so I took it. It was a good deal! AC, Cable TV and Hot & Cold Shower.

After check-in, I rested for few minutes then went to SM Naga to have some coffee. I noticed this fancy little coffee/cake shop called Rafabels on the west side of the mall and decided to grab one. The price was unimaginably low compared to most coffee shops you’ll find in Metro Manila. A good slice of Chocolate Cake and a cup of Cappuccino all under 150 pesos? Definitely a treat!

After coffee, I decided to try the Aloha Burger from Jollibee before heading back to the hotel. It was also great! Yum! It was time for me to rest for an early start the following day.

5 days just passed. It’s time for me to rest and prepare for an arduous climb going to Mt Isarog.

Check my next entry featuring my Mt Isarog Hike.

Top 10 Chinatown Restaurants

Been to Chinatown several times but I’ve only tried 4 out of the 10 restaurants listed here. Will try the rest on my next visit on this side of Manila. 🙂

 

 

Random Top 10's

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Okay, so you’re hankering for some food tonight but you don’t know what to eat. Fastfood delivery seems greasy while Filipino foods have been plaguing your taste buds since forever. Say you find yourself in a mysterious land inside the Capital of the Philippines, you see signs that are alien to you and you see people that may or may not look like you and don’t speak your language. Well, I’ve got news for you, you’re in Chinatown! While you’re at it, why don’t you try what our Chinese brethren who have been with us for hundreds of years has to offer? In this blog post, you’ll find our top 10 list of Restaurants that can offer your Authentic Chinese dishes just as if you’re in China — No kidding! Go beyond your Chowking habit and see the real deal after the break.

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10. Wai Ying Fastfood

There are two


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Calaguas Island: The 1.9K Challenge

Among the Calaguas Group of Islands, Mahabang Buhangin in Tinaga Island is the famous for many campers and backpackers. They said Boracay was like it decades ago before establishments and hotels flourished. Powdery White Sands, Crystal Blue Waters, What more can you ask for?

It was three years ago when I first laid my eyes on this wonderful island and for some reason kept me coming back every year afterwards. It was just last May when I visited this island for the 3rd time. To get here for the last 2 years I booked for a package worth 3.2K covering all expenses from Tranporation, Food, Tent and all and it was all fine but what difference would it make this time if I continue doing the same thing?

A thought came to me while at work. Why not do it as a challenge? I am sure others have tried it so why not? With the help of Simang Gala, we tried researching and asking friends for advise and finally agreed to do a 1.8K challenge. We thought it was impossible knowing how much we spend on food so we raised it to 1.9K to give ourselves some room for adhoc expenses. To make it more achievable we invited some of our friends. A lot have shown interest but only 11 of us pushed through.

May 25, we booked for the 745PM bus going to Paracale via SuperLines. Since they only have few AC bus bound for Paracale, we managed to secure tickets in the morning. It was originally just 9 of us till 2 decided to join few minutes before the scheduled departure. Lucky for them, there were 2 extra seats. Haha.

It was a long 9 hour journey with few stops along the way. The bus has spacious leg room considering the fare price is just 515 pesos. This is the cheapest way to go if you want to visit Calaguas on a tight budget, even less if you ride an ordinary bus.

Upon our arrival in the Town of Paracale, some of us waited in the Superlines Ticketing area to secure tickets going back to Manila, while other went to the Market and bought supplies. Each of us had a share of 200 pesos to cover for lunch, dinner, breakfast, snacks and booze. We then met up with Ricky our friendly boatman. He was very accommodating, he managed to secure all cooking utensils, block of ice, big ice box and our drinking.

It was half past 8 in the morning when we left the port. I was quite surprised by the calmness of the sea. I was sort of expecting a rough ride and lucky for us considering the size of our boat, it was quiet all throughout. The view was just spectacular on the entire 1 hour 45 minutes ride going to the famous long white beach of Calaguas Island in the town of Tinaga.

It was a jaw dropping view, though this was my third time here it feels like seeing it again for the first time. A big Wow!

We immediately jumped off the boat and walked along the white soft powdery sand sparkling under the heat of the sun. It was an amazing feeling. We chose a nice spot under the trees which served as a shed under the torturing heat of the sun. We rented a cottage which served as our cooking/dining and resting area.

Not wasting any time, some pitched their tents, some started cooking and well the rest just stared blankly at the horizon.

After preparing food and pitching our tents, we then had our lunch.  Yum!

So whats best to do after eating? Sleep… Haha.. It was siesta time for most us. Life is a Beach!

It was time to hit the beach and do lots of cam-whoring, haha.. super excessive..

Whilst some are having some fun, Simang Gala busily prepared our Snack. Pancit!

Much to our surprise, a sand castle was made near where we were staying. We waited for some people to finish having their pictures taken there then we took the spot. It was Free!

Time flew so fast that we didn’t notice it.

Just before sundown, dinner was prepared for everyone to enjoy. Guess what?

I don’t remember how much I ate. It was delish!

After dinner, we then had our socials near the shore. We had some few drinks, lots of laughter and endless storytelling. In the middle of all the happenings, a big surge of wind came, then the stars disappeared. Imagine whats next. Yes, the rain.. It took a while for the rain to stop until the following morning. Some even managed to sleep in the cottages. We thought of the rain as a blessing after seeing how wonderful it is to wake up seeing the beach.

Not even done with Breakfast, some headed to the rocks for more pictures.

And so a vibrant breakfast was served. Dig in!

After breakfast, it was time to hit the water again. Heaven!

Yes they were using umbrella. It was scorching hot!

Oh well, after all the fun it was time to leave. A place you’ll definitely comeback. A place you’ll always miss. A place where you’ll find peace and happiness. A place you’ll fall in love with over and over again. Yes, this was my third time and it won’t end there.

Saying goodbye is hard once you set foot on this paradise. So it’s definitely a till-we-meet-again. Agree?

So we thought it’s over. Our nice boatman offered to bring us somewhere before heading back to Paracale. We tried asking but he doesn’t seem to know that name of the place.

We immediately jumped off the boat wearing our life vest. Hahaha. I love the beach but I still don’t know how to do threading in the water. LOL

It was all fun. Around the island, you’ll get to see colorful starfish, big and small coral formations, blue jellyfish and sea urchins. We even had our lunch on the boat. Yes, the rice and dried fish was cooked whilst we are on board. Cool!

She doesn’t want to leave…

Oh well, we really needed to leave to catch the last trip to Daet. Yes, my Bicol trip is not yet over. Whilst the rest of the gang are all booked for Manila, me and my girlfriend are going to spend the rest of the week in Bicol.

In order to tidy up, we went to Malayan Tourist Inn.  This place is just near where the buses stop and it’s in front of a gas station and van terminal.

With so little time, since the last van going to Daet leaves at 5PM and all shower rooms are being used,  Ate Karina of Malayan Tourist Inn openly offered her house for us to take a bath. Her daughter even brought us to their house via motorbike. It was the quickest shower we had ever. In just about 5 minutes we’re back. Haha!

We repacked all our stuff as quickly as possible but then we were told that the last van already left. So what now? Ate Karina gave us option to get a bus or tricycle passing through Talobatib then get a bus going to Daet. Luckily another passenger was left who was also on his way to Daet so we took the chance and left.

Check the continuation of our adventure after Calaguas on my next entry.

Indeed 1.9K is definitely possible specially if you’re on a tight budget. It was a bit hard for some of us to stick to the planned budget but that’s where we had so much fun. Imagine the urge of buying tuna for dinner, a big No. Imagine buying loads of booze and soda, a big No. Adhoc expenses in the island, also a big No. But it was all OK. Everyone enjoyed every single minute of the trip, we all gained new friends, experienced something new, faced some of our fears and realized that there’s more to life than work.

Total Expenses = 1870 Pesos / Head
1100 Bus Fare vv / Head
400 Boat Fee / Head
150 Resort Entrance Fee / Head
20 Brgy Tax Fee / Head
200 Food (5 Meals) / Head

Contacts:

Ate Karina: 09157959350 (for accommodation and bus reservation in Paracale going to Manila) – Ate Karina can try to help you book for a ticket back to Manila during peak season. Try their restaurant, food is really nice. You can also take a shower for just 20 pesos or even get it free. â˜ș

Kuya Ricky: 09127365717 (boatman) – you can get a boat for as low as 3K depending on the number person. Kuya Ricky can also take care of your cooking utensils, drinking water (you just have to pay 50 pesos/5 Gallon), block of ice, icebox and grill at no extra cost. Text him for help.

Suggested Itinerary:

Day 0 Day 2
1945 ETD Superlines Cubao 0700 Wake Up Call
Day 1 0730 Prepare Breakfast
0530 ETA Paracale Terminal 0830 Breakfast Time
0600 Market 0900 Free Time/Swim
0730 Secure Tix for Manila 1100 Break Camp/Tidy Up
0830 ETD Paracale Port 1200 ETD Calaguas
1015 ETA Calaguas Island 1230 ETA Unknown Island
1100 Prepare Lunch 1400 Lunch
1200 Lunch 1530 ETD Unknown Island
1400 Swim/Free Time 1645 Paracale Port
1600 Merienda 1700 Shower/Tidy Up
1630 Free Time 1800 Dinner
1800 Prepare Dinner 1945 ETD Paracale Port
1900 Dinner Time Day 3
2100 Socials 0400 ETA Manila

Cagayan Trip: Visit to Our Lady of Piat & Exploring Callao Cave

After the memorable experience in Palaui Island and seeing the majestic beauty of Nangaramoan Beach, we arrived back in Tuguegarao after more than 3 hours of travel. We were picked up at the van terminal and went back to Brgy Bagay to freshen up a bit.

Around half past 10, we’re back on the road. We went to Central Terminal along Buntuan Highway to catch a van going to Piat. It was an hour ride. Note: It’s an ordinary van, No airconditioning. Fare Cost: 60 Pesos.

Since most vans just stop at the terminal, you need to walk to get to Our Lady of Piat. It can easily be recognised by a marker along the road. Turn left going up to get to the basilica. If you go straight you’ll reach the local market.

For more than 400 years the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Piat has been a significant event in the lives of devotees of the people in the Cagayan Valley.

Feeling hungry and tired, we decided to look for a place where we could eat Pancit Cabagan. Instead of walking, we took a tricycle going to the market area because it was too hot. We went to Carmela’s Panciteria. You won’t get lost on your way here because most people know this place. Simply ask for directions or ask where to get Pancit Cabagan.

It was a delicious treat! Not bad if you imagine us travelling all the way here just to try an authentic Pancit Cabagan. You’ll get a Super Special Pancit Cabagan for just 50 pesos. Yummy!

With no time to waste after lunch, we immediately went to the van terminal to catch a ride going back to Tuguegarao.

This time it took us less than an hour to get back to Central Terminal.

Just before 3PM we rode a tricycle going to Callao Cave. Callao is pronounced as “Kalaw”. It is a cave with seven chambers located on the Province of Cagayan. It is one of the best known tourist attractions of the province. It is located in Barangays Magdalo and Quibal, Peñablanca, near Tuguegarao City, the capital city of the Province of Cagayan. It has a natural cathedral located at the first chamber, which was turned into a chapel by the local people.

Turn Right to get to Callao Cave.

Once you arrive in the place, you have to few along this road to get to the registration area.

There’s a 20 pesos charge to get in.

It takes 184 Steps to get to the Cave Entrance.

Finally Inside Callao Cave.

After Caving and before heading back home, we decide to treat ourselves with a yummy HaloHalo.

It was almost sundown so we decided to get closer to Cagayan River and witness yet another beautiful sunset.

An hour after leaving Callao, we’re back in Tuguegarao. Before going back to Brgy Bagay, we stopped at the nearest Alcala Carabao’s Milk Candy.

Back in Brgy Bagay, we washed up and packed all our stuff and went straight to Florida Bus Terminal. Luckily there were few bus still offering seats for 3. Only to realise we’re 4. Haha. Since seats available are only at the back, we took it. Lex who joined us in the trip decided to squeeze in but not all the way to Manila. He was able to book a flight from Cauayan to Manila. I didn’t even notice him leaving. Haha. It was a quick bus ride. We reached manila around 5 in the morning.