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)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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/

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.

Padre Burgos (Borawan) Trip Itinerary

Back in October a friend invited us to join a day trip for an Island Hopping experience to Padre Burgos and visit Borawan, Puting Buhangin, Kwebang Lampas and Dampalitan Islands. For a group of 10, going here would cost around 1000 to 1500 per head all-in.

Puting Buhangin & Kwebang Lampas

Dampalitan Beach

Borawan Beach

Below is a sample Itinerary you can use to get on this trip assuming you have your own transportation.

1200 Meetup Jollibee Buendia
0100 ETD Padre Burgos Port
0500 ETA Padre Burgos Port
0600 ETD Isla Puting Buhangin/ Kwebang Lampas
0630 ETA Isla Puting Buhangin/ Kwebang Lampas
0700 Set Camp/ Free Time/ Swim
1100 Lunch
1200 Break Camp
1215 ETD Dampalitan Island
1230 ETA Dampalitan Island
1330 ETD Borawan Island
1345 ETA Borawan Island
1400 Free Time/ Swim
1600 Snacks
1700 ETD Padre Burgos Port
1730 ETA Padre Burgos Port/ Washup
1800 Dinner
1900 ETD Manila
2230 Home Sweet Home

Boat Rentals

Borawan: Php 800.00
Borawan – Dampalitan: Php 1200.00
Borawan – Dampalitan – Puting Buhangin: Php 1800.00

Borawan Island Rates

Small Cottage: Php 700.00
Large Cottage: Php 850.00
For overnight – Add Php 400.00
Entrance Fee: Php 80.00
Student & Senior: Php 60.00
Tent: Php 200.00

Use of Shower Room: Php 20.00
Use of Comfort Room: Php 10.00

Hope this information helps. Enjoy!

Gigantes Islands Travel Guide

Thanks Chito! See you Gigantes this October!!!

Liquid Druid's travel blog

The Gigantes Islands, with all its beaches, caves and rich marine life, is a real gem in the rough in the province of Iloilo.  Its sheer distance from Iloilo City and the rest of the Panay mainland however ensures that it almost always gets bypassed as a tourism destination of beach goers and backpackers in favor of the much nearer municipality of Concepcion or the more accessible province of Guimaras.

View original post 1,905 more words

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. ☺

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. ☺

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. ☺

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.

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. ☺

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, PeĂąablanca, 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.

 

Cagayan Trip: The Unexplored Beauty of Nangaramoan Beach

Nangaramoan Beach. a highly recommended place to relax, unwind, escape from city life and feel the wonders of nature. This is located in Sta. Ana, which is at the tip of the province of Cagayan. The beach is very accessible via commute (quad-cycle) or private vehicle because of the newly cemented road leading to the beach area.

After an hour or so boat ride from Palaui back to Sta Ana, we went straight to Dampa Seafoods & Restaurant where they gave us free breakfast again.

We wanted to visit one of the famous beaches in the area so we asked them for recommendation. We only wanted to get direction on how to get there until they’ve decided to join us. Yes! Another free treat! Not only we got the chance to go there free, they also brought with us food for lunch. Fresh Sea Foods! Haha! Big Thanks to Tito and Tita.

It was a quick and easy ride because of the newly paved road leading to the beach. Once you get there, you’ll fall in love with the place.

Untouched… Peaceful… Clear...

Tito immediately spoke to the resort care taker to give us discount. I think we paid roughly 400 pesos. We started preparing for Lunch where we had Grilled Fish. Few hours after we arrived, Tita and Tito together with their kids decided to leave. Still full, we rested for a bit.

The sun on its peak, some of us decided to explore the beach and seriously get tanned. I don’t know how long we were out walking along the beach and exploring the caves and rock formation but we definitely enjoyed every minute of it.

More Pictures of Nangaramoan Beach

Just before sunset, we decided to cook for dinner. Cleo our official chef prepared for us Gatang Sitaw Kalabasa and Fried Tilapia. Whilst cooking, Simang Gala and I decided to visit the last marker we know. 651!

It was a bit dark already when we came there and barely noticed it. Haha! Just after few shots, we decided to go back.

Back at the beach, dinner was ready. We ate loads! It was a yummy treat!

After dinner, we had socials. We rented a Videoke machine to make the night more fun while having few shots and munching on a specially prepared Spicy Sizzling Pork by Cleo.

We didn’t sleep at all only to realise it’s almost 3 in the morning. Our service was early but because of the heavy rain around 3AM, we didn’t manage to prepare and fix our things up. It was a chilly morning when we left at around 5AM.

Last Photo taken before we left the beach.

We arrived in the van terminal at around 6AM and officially left Sta Ana going to Tuguegarao at 630AM.

The adventure continues as we travel back to Tuguegarao and visit Piat and Callao Cave. See full story on my next entry.

Subic Bay Trip

Quick Trip to Subic

Date: May 05, 2013
Location: Halfmoon Beach Resort, Subic Bay

HOW TO GET HERE: 

Travelling by Land from Manila
Subic Bay Freeport Zone is 110 kms. North of Manila, the Philippines’ capital city, where Saulog Transit and Victory Liner air-conditioned buses provide passengers regular transport services to and from Olongapo City terminal. A short jeepney ride takes you from the Victory Liner terminal to the Freeport, while Saulog Transit terminal is just a stone’s throw away from the vicinity.

Travel via Victory Liner Terminal
Main stations from Manila are Pasay (Edsa, Pasay), Caloocan (713 Rizal Avenue Extension, Caloocan City) and Cubao (EDSA, Cubao). Buses’ schedule (either Zambales or Olongapo) is from 4:00 AM with 1 hour interval.

Travelling by car via Lubao and rural road (Approx. time of travel: 3 hours)
From Manila take the North Luzon Expressway all the way to San Fernando exit and pass thru towns of Pampanga (Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao) and Bataan (Dinalupihan) to the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (Tipo Road, Bataan).

Travelling by car via SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) (Approx. time of travel: 1.5 hours)
From Manila and any point in Luzon. Take the North Luzon Expressway all the way pass San Fernando through Dau and exits to the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (Tipo Road, Bataan).

(Source of above information: subic.com)

Of the many options we had when we came here few months ago, we chose Halfmoon Beach Resort. It is roughly an eight (8) hectare beach property formerly known as Kale Beach Resort. With its long stretch sand and 30 big big cottages, is a perfect place for total escape from crowded and spoiled beaches. This place is also perfect for team building.

Address:
Purok 6 National High Way Road
Lower Kalaklan
Olongapo City Zambales 2200 Philippines

Hours of operation:

Tuesdays to Sundays :
6:00 am to 6:00 pm

Mobile number : +639334100455

GALLERY

Mt. Isarog (Panicuason Trail) Itinerary and Expenses

Brgy. Panicuason, Naga city, Camarines Sur
1922 MASL – Major climb
Difficulty Level as per PM 5/9
Estimated Budget: Php 2000-2500

See details below:

via Mt. Isarog (Panicuason Trail).