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. ūüė¶

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

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. ‚ėļ

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

Burot Beach Gallery

Burot Beach Calatagan Snap Shots

Better Beach – Burot Days from Kuneho Ohenuk on Vimeo.

Burot Beach – Time Lapse from Kuneho Ohenuk on Vimeo.

Planning a getaway here?

Click: Burot Beach Guide

Read Simang Gala’s entries about Burot Beach…

Mt. Sicapoo Traverse

Approx Budget: Php3,500

MASL

  • Balbalitok Hill: 1100+masl
  • Saulay: 1286masl
  • Bubuos: 1410masl
  • Balbalite: 1585masl
  • Pakpako: 1620masl
  • Matalindong: 1685masl
  • Sicapoo: 2354masl
  • Timarid: 1527masl
  • Simagaysay: 1341masl

*Observe Basic Mountaineering Course… Please put all candy wrapper/chocolate wrapper/cigarette butt in your packet during trek… LEAVE NO TRACE!

***Extracted from Relax Extremely Daring Mountaineers Archives

see Mt. Sicapoo Traverse.

Mt Pulag Reverse Traverse (Ambangeg-Akiki)

***Extracted from Relax Extremely Daring Mountaineers Archives

via Mt Pulag Reverse Traverse (Ambangeg-Akiki).

Stunning Caramoan Day 3

Knowing the last boat leaves Guijalo Port at 11:00PM we know it wouldn’t be possible for us to go on another boat trip so instead we took the time to just enjoy the beach right in the resort. It rained again very early in the morning and it cleared out just few minutes after.

Another sumptuous breakfast was served again. After eating loads, we went straight to the beach to swim.

Realizing there’s an opportunity to cliff dive where one of the cottages are built, everyone started jumping.

The water wasn’t too deep and the jump point is just right. Most of us jumped more than twice. It was really cool!

If we only knew it’s possible since day 1, this would’ve been a daily thing. Haha! We really enjoyed it. One of our first.

My best friend also asked me to take a picture of her with this cute little pig.

Time flies when you’re having fun. We are supposed to checkout 9:30AM but some over stayed in the beach enjoying the dive and for some reason we had water scarcity because someone left the faucet open the whole night. Blame it on¬†the Alcohol! Anyway, we managed to leave at around 10:00AM and arrived back in Bikal Port just before half past 10. A jeepney picked us up and brought us to Guijalo Port where we payed Php 5 terminal fee. At the port, some of us bought souvenir shirts before getting on the boat.

The boat left around 11:30AM.

Would you leave this beautiful island?

Almost 2 hour later, we reached Sabang Port. To my surprise, they do have floating walkway now. No need to be carried by the human porters. Amazing! On our way off the boat, it started to rain. We rushed to get cover until we reached the Van/Jeepney Terminal all wet. Haggard! Since there were no more Naga bound van, we took the jeepney and paid for Php 100 each. It took us about an hour to reach Naga.

We went straight to Naga Bus Terminal to secure tickets unfortunately all schedules are fully booked and they are fully booked until 3rd of April. 9 of us were desperate to go home so while trying to think of ways to get a bus to manila, we had late lunch at Mang Inasal in SM Naga. I contacted a friend in Daet and got me 9 tickets to Manila for Php 513 each. Right after eating they took a tricycle going to LCC Mall where they took a van going to Daet for Php 180.

It was already 6:00PM and we’re still in Naga and couldn’t get a bus going to Legaspi. Yes, we wanted to go to Legaspi for 1 day before heading back to Manila. Sampaguita Inn in Legaspi was fully booked and we couldn’t find any other cheap place to stay. We tried asking people in the bus terminal for a cheap place to stay whilst in Naga before heading for Legaspi the following morning. For some reason we all agreed to try to get a bus going back to Manila instead. Luckily, one of the bus leaving 7:45PM has 3 unconfirmed passengers. So we waited and waited and waited. Sure enough, all three of us was able to get the ticket. Yey! And yes we arrived ahead of the 9 who took the Daet-Manila route.¬†

Awesome Caramoan Day 1

Caramoan Peninsula is one of the famous destinations in Camarines Sur because of its majestic and breathtaking island beaches and rock formations. 5 Survivor TV Series started it all few years ago. France, Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria and Serbia had their Survivor editions here in Caramoan. This used to be a quiet town but after its big exposure the town started to flourish. More and more hotels and resorts are being built to accommodate the influx of tourists. It was more than 3 years ago when I first came here and there were very few hotels and most islands were closed because of an ongoing Survivor edition. Most of the visitors back then were Europeans. If you visited Caramoan few years ago you probably have experienced being carried by the human porters to get to the boat during low-tide in Sabang Port. Haha!

The planning started 2 months ago when I finally decided to visit Caramoan again and tagged along 11 friends and new-found friends. We were suppose to take the train (PNR) going to Bicol however it wasn’t operational and as of this writing, Bicol Operations are still suspended. To make it easier, we rented a van for¬†Php¬†13,600 to get to Sabang Port. ¬† Some of us had few shots of Emperador Light while in the van. Yeah! We arrived in Sabang Port at around 5:30AM.

In Sabang Port, we registered then hopped into the boat. The fare here is just Php 120 and the trip takes about 1.5-2 hours. It was around 8:00AM when we arrived in Guijalo Port where Kuya Jovy assisted us. It was bloody hot and there were loads of people in the port.

Before going out of the port, we paid Php 30 each for the environmental fee then waited for our service just outside the port. It took them almost an hour to pick us up because of a flat tire. When the service finally came, we were then brought to Bikal Port. From the port, it took us another 15-20 minutes boat ride before finally reaching the resort, CANDIIS ISLAND RESORT. A paradise. A beauty.

Upon reaching the island, we immediately had our breakfast. It was Delish!!!

After breakfast, we are supposed to start Island Hopping however everyone decided to do after lunch. An hour or so after, lunch was served. Another gastronomic feast! Yumyum!

It was past 1 in the afternoon when we started¬†island hopping. We passed along¬†Cagbalinad,¬†Tayak,¬†Tinago and¬†Gota nearby Islands before reaching Lahos Island. It was low-tide so it’s quite hard to swim. We decided to just take some photos and chill for a moment. After Lahos we went to Matukad. A decent swimming area is situated on the right side of the island so we stayed there. Some of us climbed up the rock to see the hidden lagoon. We then went to Sabitang Laya. This island was once used in one of the Survivor editions, I remember three years ago when I first came here, I even saw one of the sets used in the show. This island has two sides. Both offers long white sand beach.

It was almost 5:00PM when we decided to leave the island and went back to our resort. To our surprise, one of the rooms we rented are being occupied by another group. We immediately spoke to the caretaker and asked them to fix the situation. They said there was a misunderstanding and due to the big number of guests in the island they can only give us two rooms. To avoid further problems, we agreed to take the 2 adjacent rooms and give the cottage room on top of the rock to other guests. They agreed to give us back an extra cottage the following day. The two rooms we took has restroom so it was fine.

After tidying up, we then had our buffet dinner. It was sinful. The food was great and wow nothing was put to waste. Everyone loved the food. Yum!

After dinner, some decided to sleep early and call it a day however few of us stayed up until midnight drinking.

Just a FYI, electricity in the island is only available from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. They only use generator from 10:00PM to 6:00AM the following day. So if you need to charge your gadgets, do so at this times. Smart Communication is the only mobile operator in the island so if you want to keep in touch with your loved ones and you’re using Globe or Sun, get a Smart SIM in advance.

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Boracay: Ariel’s Point + Sunset + Calamansi Muffin

On our third day, we woke at around 10 to prepare for¬†Ariel’s Point¬†adventure. Call time was 1130AM but we arrived 45 minutes early. Meet up point was right in front of¬†Boracay Beach Club.

After giving the full payment for the trip and a short briefing we’re all set.

We walked few meters from the shore going to where the¬†boat¬†was anchored. We’ve not yet started but we’re all soaking wet already as the boat was anchored quite far from the shore. Haha!

We left quarter to 12 and as soon as the engine started they started giving¬†drinks¬†to everyone. I asked for Red Horse. Yeah! After a calm and scenic ride, we finally reached¬†Ariel’s Point. Ariel’s Point is part of¬†Buruanga.


They are famous for Cliff Diving. A lot of local and foreign tourists go here to experience the fun and excitement of jumping off the cliff as high as 15 meters. If you are not into cliff diving, you can simply drink and eat or do snorkeling or canoeing. To ensure the safety of some who are not swimmers, you can ask them to wait for you at the bottom to get you or give you something to hold on after you jump.



In the island we immediately looked for a spot to stay and put all our stuff. Having no courage to cliff dive yet, we did canoeing first then I had a couple of drinks (rum coke and red horse) until lunch was served at around 2PM.


After lunch, I dozed off quite long not even realizing it. Good thing they woke us up with only an hour left. I had a couple more drinks but it didn’t really help me to get the courage I need to jump off the cliff. Aside from the fact that I am scared of deep water and I am not good in threading added more to the fear. I felt like a loser!¬†L¬†My girlfriend wanted to snorkel so I accompanied her instead. There were loads of blue¬†star fish¬†everywhere. I know I will jump the next time I visit Ariel’s Point. This is now on my¬†Bucket List.

4PM, it was time to leave. My unfinished business here will definitely be the reason why I would go back.


On our way back, we chose the front seat for a better view of the sea and yes it did offer a great view but the strong waves showered us non-stop with sea water. It was exciting and scary as hell. I have no picture to show you as we secured all our cameras from getting wet. While in the boat, the party continued as everyone consumed all booze that was left.


Thank God, we all arrived in safety. We all went straight to our hotel to freshen up. Stella arranged a special dinner for us right in front of the beach. Wow! She prepared Chicken Tinola, Fried Tilapia, Grilled Eggplant and three different kinds of fruits. We had dinner at around 7PM.


Some of us went out to party again but my girlfriend and I decided to just hangout near the beach.

The following day, one of us left early to catch her flight back to Manila. Since we slept late last night, we all woke really late just in time for lunch. We went to¬†Shakey’s¬†and ordered Mojo’s, Chicken and Pasta for Lunch. Yum!



After lunch, we sunbathed and just stayed at the beach area.


Just before sunset, we went to Starbucks barefooted to get some coffee.


Sunset viewing is really one of the things I enjoy doing. Look at the image below. Isn’t amazing?


Just before going back at the hotel, we decided to walk along the shore again.


After the experience we had here in Boracay, my girlfriend wants to make it a habit of going here at least once a year. The tentative plan is to go here by June or November 2013.

For dinner, we all agreed to have dinner at¬†Andok’s. We ordered Sinigang na Baboy and Liempo. Still feeling a bit full, I only had the soup of Sinigang. After dinner, my bestfriend decided to sleep early because of their early flight the next day. My girlfriend and I arrived here ahead of them and we’ll also be the last to leave. Haha! With no plan of sleeping yet, Debbie, our guest from CS, wanted to go out so we went for a walk and looked for a grill and tried different kinds of barbecue. A friend also wanted to have a drink so after meeting her up; we went for a stroll at around 12AM and looked for a place to drink. I think we reached as far as Station 3 in search for a place to hangout. While having a drink, we saw a couple playing Poi and then later did something fishy. Several people tried to stop them but they just kept on doing it, enjoying the attention they’re getting. Haha!

It rained, so we decided to head back to our hotel and call it a day.

On our last day, it’s just the two of us again. We were suppose to wake up early and have breakfast at Real Coffee but failed to make it happen. After last-minute¬†packing¬†and shower, we went straight to¬†Real Coffee¬†still but only to get the Famous¬†Calamansi Muffin. It’s a MUST TRY!!! It’s Delish!¬†J

Updated – Real Coffee is now located near Shenna’s Beach Resort.¬†



After getting the muffin, we hurriedly walk going to the main road and took a tricycle going to the port. From the port, we paid for the terminal fee and boat fare. We then took a van going to¬†Kalibo Airport. Good thing we’re early for the flight so we had an ample time to check-in. We stayed in the boarding area for almost 2 hours because our flight was delayed. It was almost 1PM when we finally get the chance to board.

Click here to view the Full 5 Day Itinerary

Note: If you need help in Boracay, you may reach Stella at +63920 896 2264