Showing posts from 2012

12 For 2012, A Year End Post

With only a few hours left before we officially bid farewell to the year that was, I look back at some interesting travel highlights of 2012. Experiences consisting of many firsts... I consider 2012 as my travel year as I got to explore destinations month after month.

So here goes my simple year end post, 12 for 2012.

12. Getting inside a Floating Library

To be surrounded with thousands of affordable books inside MV Logos Hope, a ship famous for being the largest floating book fair in the world is definitely a unique experience I got to share with mom and my youngest sister. We hoarded books to our liking and got to interact with international volunteers as well.

Banaue-Sagada-Baguio Route: Itinerary and Budget Tips

This trip took place on the eve of November 29 - December 2, 2012. Away from packaged tours (as always), let me share some notes of our day to day activities during our long weekend in Sagada.

Sagada Newbies, No More!

The natural high upon seeing the grandest staircase becomes more irresistible as we get closer and closer to our weekend destination.

So we've just arrived in Sagada enroute Banaue. 
One thing I instantly noticed was that it wasn't as cold as I'd expected it to be. I never wore my jacket from the moment I stepped into the Ohayami bus up until it gets dark in Sagada. The last two seats of the bus wasn't as ice freezing cold as those seats in front of us, perfect spot for a maginawin like me :) The February breeze in Baguio was way more chilly than Sagada's late November air.

Sagada: Afternoon Trek to Bomod-ok Falls

Bomod-ok Falls
Trekking may sound so rigorous and Sagada is synonymous to treks and long walks. The long trek to  Sagada's hidden spot called Bomod-ok Falls is a must do activity for the scene is definitely worth all the gasps and muscle pains. It was the first time I met some of my companions, while others I met during the Laguna trip. They may not be hard core travelers and definitely not mountaineers, but these Makati girls I met during the holiday escape surely knows how to make trekking fun, occasionally bursting with laughters in the air when really, all they wanted is to scream for Salonpas and Alaxan during and after the climb. ^_^

Sagada: Residential Lodge

Months before our scheduled Sagada trip, I scouted for an affordable lodging with positive reviews online. Our travel date falls on a long weekend (November 29-December 2) so I have to plan ahead. This is the first time we'll be going to Sagada so proximity should be considered, a lodging house near the city center works best, it's close to pretty much everything.

Included in Top Specialty Lodging list in TripAdvisor, Residential Lodge has a good spot perfect for Sagada newbies.

Sagada: Morning Trek to Marlboro Country

view from Marlboro Country
Our group in general may not have the physical strength to brave the dark and difficult trail inside the enchanting Sumaguing Cave, this I know from the start. Still wanting to offer something challenging to the group, I pitched an off beaten path, not included in the usual tourist's itinerary. I must admit, I'm not really sure what to expect when I included this destination although I know two things - one, it's a great camping ground and two, if lucky, one can spot some wild horses here, hence the name Marlboro Country.

Travel Video: Sagada

Location: Banaue Rice Terraces, Halselma highway, Marlboro Country, Kiltepan Peak, Lake Danum, Bomod-ok Falls, Echo Valley, Sagada, Mountain Province

Ending this year on travel video list is my latest music editing work for the Sagada series. Sagada is so beautiful that I have to make this a 12 minute-long video, way longer than my usual travel videos.

From Banaue: The Winding Beauty to Sagada

roadside views from Banaue to Sagada
After more than 11 hours on the road, we finally arrived in Banaue. Onboard the Ohayami Bus from Manila, we met Hanz, a fellow passenger who offered us to drive to Sagada for Php300/pax. We agreed to meet him after we take a quick breakfast while he gets his jeep. Our group of 9 will be sharing the jeep with 3 backpackers from Barcelona, Spain. This starts our weekend Sagada adventure.

JLo Dance Again World Tour: A Dream Come True Concert

I have something to confess. This blogger is a certified JLo fan and every family, close friend, classmate and colleague knows how much of a fan I am.
Jennifer Lopez caught my eyes and captured my heart after watching the movie Selena in HBO. She delivered so well, I caught myself teary eyed during the last few scenes. I was in high school back then, few weeks followed and she released her first single "If You Had My Love". I was hooked.

A Beach Mecca that is Boracay

With Boracay now dubbed as 2012 World's Best Island (even beating the famous Santorini), tourists from the world over are expected to crowd this small but jampacked island which probably owns the softest sand in the world.
Mom and daughter moments in White Beach, Boracay
What sets Boracay stand out from the other islands? Aside from the island's physical attributes - tropical...posing palm trees...sparkling waters...and not just fine but powdery white sands, Boracay is everything a grandeur vacationer or a backpacker would want. From bare to splendid, it offers many options for travelers around the globe.

Boracay: Itinerary, Expenses and Tips

Boracay may seem to be an expensive destination. But here's one thing I realized, like many of Philippines finest tourist spots, it can be done on a budget, especially if all you want is to simply enjoy the waters. Afterall, Boracay is really about the powdery sand and the crystal clear waters. 5 members of the family was able to enjoy Boracay in less than Php30,000 (all in!) Feel free to copy our itinerary ^_^

Travel Video: Boracay

Location: Boracay Island

Sometimes traveling is not just about going to a new exotic place and enjoying that picturesque destination that makes the whole trip epic. It could be as simple as enjoying the faces of your happy loved ones as they smile and wonder the place with you. The recent Boracay trip was a smashing success. I finally saw mom and sisters wearing big hats and sundresses. It was a great introduction to Boracay - sunny weather, lesser crowd and prices are still not over the top expensive.

Boracay: A Family Friendly Trip

Mom has just celebrated her birthday and dad has just arrived for his 2 week long vacation from work. What to do? Plan a relaxed but fun Boracay adventure for the family!

Dad may have been to Boracay thrice but being a mouse potato that I am, he allowed me to find all the necessary accommodations that I deem proper for our family. We left our 4 boys who need to attend to each of their school and work duties and made this beach trip an all girl bonding + dad. So to my brothers, sorry boys, it's the girls day out :P

Marzon Beach Resort Boracay

So we boarded 2Go Vessel from Batangas to Caticlan. It was a smooth and fun sea adventure with my family. Passengers from tourist and cabin typed rooms were given the chance to get off first. There wasn't much tourist when we reached Caticlan terminal, not to Boracay standards where I picture flocks of tourist all lining up to pay for the needed fees. I thought, "This is good. Going to Boracay island will surely be fast."
Marzon Beach Resort, Boracay
We paid for the usual fees - terminal fee, environmental fee and the ferry boat ride. We chose to board the Php25 ferry typed boat instead of fastcraft. The outrigger boat carries 25 passengers and we were with locals, mostly. Less than 10 minutes, we already docked at Boracay island!
For comfort, dad decided that we take the multicab which costs us Php250 to reach the nearest drop off point from our resort. From there, we had to walk along a narrow alley of houses and mom said that dad looked quite disappointed thinking th…

2Go: The New Way to Travel to Boracay

Last year should have been my first Boracay trip and my first ever Visayas destination. But then it coincided with the Malaysia trip so I had no choice but to cancel Boracay. We all know that flying from Manila to Caticlan has proven to be quite expensive and Piso Fare promos can be daunting to book especially if we are a big family plus the scheduling date is also tricky. But when I learned about 2Go (yes, the famous courier service) sailing from Batangas to Caticlan at a very affordable price, I pitched the idea to my parents. 
2Go Ship docked at Caticlan Port
It took quite some convincing before they finally said yes to the idea that we travel by sea to reach Boracay. They probably pictured a crazy, crowded and noisy pier scenario. Well, I can't blame them since those were also my first ship experiences when I traveled from Manila to General Santos many years back. Most importantly, we'll also be traveling with my sister with special needs and her comfort should be our num…

Boracay, Away from the Crowd

Boracay can get overly crowded, yes. But here's one side of Boracay that may re-ignite travelers who visited the beach 20 years ago to come back and give this island a second look. Here are some visual proof that Boracay can still be someone's solemn refuge.

Boracay White Beach - Station 3
The first 3 photos were taken at White Beach Station 3 a few minutes before 6 in the morning. I went out of the room and immediately walked straight to the beach. The sun was already up but the view was unlike any sunrise views I've seen. It was dreamy and glowing. With the morning sun throwing in beautiful rays of soft orange hues, the whole stretch of the beach makes for a picture perfect panoramic photo. The sweeping view felt like I just literally jump into a watercolor canvas with a breathtaking color palette. I love Boracay sunset, but this early morning surprise is definitely worth raving about. And so far, this is my best beach morning experience.

Sorsogon: An Island Camp Experience (Part 3)

The previous night camp drama may have come as a challenge, if not a struggle. My dream to finally sleep inside a camping tent was cut short, I scrambled to not fall face flat from a wooden plank-turned-bed that's like half of my body size (i guess the coldness of the night plus the strong wind made my shivering body frozen like ice) - it's our little piece of adventure. Regardless, we were thankful that we're safe. And with a good sunrise view greeting us for a new day, we made sure to hit the beach and the waves in the equally beautiful 1.5 km stretch of sandbar - low tide that is.

I actually thought my first overnight camping jaunt would happen in Anawangin, a place in Zambales I've been eyeing to go since years ago. But Malawmawan Island didn't fail to impress, this island camp experience has surely been epic, as expected. The first day gave us some chill-out moments and the first night literally bought us chills with showers too! But our most enjoyable moment…

Sorsogon: An Island Camp Experience (Part 2)

Our first day in Malawmawan Island was off to a good start as the island tour kept us all in awe and inspired with ideas for upcoming developments. We've seen a flock of hawks flying above the island, admired seascapes, played with the island dogs, feasted on fresh was a day full of bliss.  But what transpired during the night caught us all by surprise.
The Unexpected Night Camp Experience

It was getting dark and we're ready to camp out under the moon and the stars on a breezy Sunday night of August and dream of more wonderlands. I helped pitch the tent near the kubo and laid the sleeping bag. It was my first time to set up a tent (madali lang pala) - the excited me and Hannah went inside the tent as soon as we finished setting it all up. I couldn't wait to get a comfortable sleep.

Sorsogon: An Island Camp Experience (Part 1)

Camping isn't exactly my forte as I've passed up many chances to join girl scout outdoor camping trips in high school. And so when my lust to wander outdoors finally sets in and the more adventurous side of me took place, I began to appreciate the occasional escape from my comfort zone and be more open to what if's and why not's - like my first island camp experience.

Travel Video: Sorsogon's Malawmawan Island

Location: Malawmawan Island in Castilla, Sorsogon

The province of Sorsogon is located at the southernmost tip of the Bicol Peninsula which faces an island that's already part of the Visayas region which is Samar. It made me realize that I've never been to any province in the Visayas region and how I've been yearning to see the Biri Rock Formation in Samar too. Oh well, I will some other time. But first, I'd like to share our recent weekend visit to a private island somewhere in Castilla, Sorsogon.  

I Will Walk For A Scholar

Just three days after the infamous 'rain with no name' wreaked havoc all over the flooded metro including nearby provinces, I geared up for a 2 hour commute to QC. I have already canceled a production shoot because of impassable roads and I don't want to miss this another chance to extend my support for the next day's event. I armed myself with my version of survival kit along with a few clothes on my backpack just in case I get stranded on the road.
Thankfully, the sun was smiling all throughout that Saturday. In God's grace I was able to safely reached my uncle's house in Novaliches and we're all excited for the big early morning event. I'm glad it pushed through.

I will walk for a scholar.

PWDs Warmly Receive Wheelchairs Through Dolefil's Alay Gabay Program

"Dole is our partner for progress," is the common message of local government officials as they laud on Dolefil's "exceptional" line-up of CSR activities, most especially the Alay Gabay Para sa Maginhawang Buhay Program (Alay Gabay) during this year's series of town-to-town visits (Wheelchairs Turnover Caravan) which kicked-off on June 13 at the Dolefil Gym in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Dolefil's Alay Gabay Program has been giving mobility to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and hope to their families for four (4) years now. From only 305 units and covering only two provinces in 2009, the Alay Gabay Program has become bigger this year, reaching out to over 1,800 PWDs in both the whole of SoCSKSarGen region and Bukidnon - a blessing made possible through the generosity of the Alay Gabay Golf Tournament sponsors and our friends from Westlake Village, Dole Food Company's headquarters in USA.

A Business Opportunity in Baguio

It's July and rainy season has long officially started. When an uncle invited me to go to Baguio with sidetrip in Dagupan, I got uber excited. I have been wanting to experience Baguio during the rainy months of June to September. I bet it's gonna be one cold, wet trip - sounds fun! 

Our group's main goal is to check out both Eagle Crest Villa's branches in Bonuan, Dagupan and Bakakeng Road, Baguio. We're also scheduled to meet the man behind these subdivisions who happened to be my uncle's brother in law. So yes, this is a travel slash business trip - my most favorable type of travel.

Dagupan Sidetrip: Tondaligan Beach Morning Views

Our van stopped at what seems to be an abandoned building.  I find my way upstairs and there I saw a 360 degree sweeping view of the whole property overlooking a beach as pointed out by Tita Sally. The morning sun beams a golden glow against the coconut trees scattered around the area. I am with a group that is scheduled to check the two branches of Eagle Crest Villa, our first stop is Dagupan.

My 15 Fondest Memories of South Cotabato

I am a proud Mindanaoan by birth, born in a sleepy town in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat. But I left my birthplace even before I turned 1, when both parents decided to start a family life in the bustling city of Manila. As our family members increase and plane fares became steeper, the more difficult it has been for us to travel back to province for week long visits. But when those trips happen, we make sure it would be one unforgettable travel experience.

South Cotabato is Home.

South Cotabato, a neighboring province of Sultan Kudarat has been our second home in Mindanao where many of my relatives live. Long before the province became famous for Seven Falls, T'boli tribe and for sheltering the most scenic zipline in the Philippines, South Cotabato, specifically the highlands of Lake Sebu has been our family's secret hideaway. A place of retreat, healing and of many happy reunions where fogs, lilies, fireflies, swiftlets are a familiar sight and cold freezing nights stick to mind…

Laguna: 2 Days Itinerary and Budget Expenses

Our weekend was full of unforgettable first time experiences. What's great about this trip was that we were able to do many things in just 2 days and swim in different bodies of water - falls, batis and lake. See, Laguna is more than just hot springs, slides and theme parks.

Laguna Weekend Series:

Travel Video: Laguna Weekend Getaway
Laguna: The 2-Hour Plan Challenge
Pagsanjan Falls: The Php150 Challenge
Villa Sylvia Resort, Nagcarlan
Lake Pandin: Not Your Ordinary Outdoor Pool

Places we visited: Pagsanjan Falls (via Cavinti Trek), Villa Sylvia Resort in Nagcarlan and Lake Pandin of San Pablo.

Here's a rough draft of our itinerary:

Lake Pandin: Not Your Ordinary Outdoor Pool

The road leading to our next destination was notably clear of traffic, we can even count in our fingers how many jeeps and cars passes by. Although uncommon, it wasn't surprising as this scenario happens every time a Pacquiao fight transpires.

I've been to a number of lakes. One of our clan's property sits in a charming cove in Lake Sebu which I try to visit every time I fly south of Mindanao. Understandably, I feel much at home with lakes. Swimming in it is another thing.

Villa Sylvia Resort, Nagcarlan

Nagcarlan, Laguna may be more famous for its Underground Cemetery, a one of its kind in the Philippines. On the other hand, we were introduced to a more exciting Nagcarlan during our recent Laguna Weekend Getaway. All thanks to this beautiful mountain refuge, Villa Sylvia Resort.

Just a little more than 2 hours from JacLiner Bus Terminal in Buendia on a night time commute, we decided to start our weekend trip and rest for the night here at Villa Sylvia Resort. My companions, all tired from office work wanted to start the trip that Friday evening. We hopped on a Lucena bound bus and alight at San Pablo Church (city plaza beside 7/11). From there, hopped on a jeep bound to Nagcarlan and dropped of at the resort situated just along the highway. It was 12mn when we arrived at the resort and were welcomed by Ving. We chose the Php1,800 air-conditioned room (good for 8 people) and dozed off in no time.

Pagsanjan Falls: The Php150 Challenge

I have lived in Laguna for 19 years but it was only this June 2012 was I able to visit the famous Laguna tourist spot, the Pagsanjan Falls. As much as I enjoyed seeing the falls, the journey, however, was much more memorable than the actual falls itself as we had to endure a 45 minute trek, rappel on a 90 degrees enclosed vertical metal ladder and walk past steep staircases - yeah, this is what you get when availing the cheapest Pagsanjan package.

The group was extremely excited when I told them that I included Pagsanjan Falls in the itinerary - a plan that I was forced had to put together within 2 hours. From Villa Sylvia Resort, we hopped from one jeep to another until we reached Pagsanjan Aresi Complex. Asking for directions initially from the locals was a breeze but finding our way to Pueblo El Salvador (the jump off point) proved to be a challenge since all the locals we asked knew only of the usual Php1,250 route, doesn't know where Pueblo El Salvador is or what it is. We p…

Laguna: The 2-Hour Plan Challenge

While commuting all the way from Laguna to Makati on a rainy Thursday night, my hands were busy texting other boatmen in Zambales, hoping to get a positive feedback on the weather update. I already have my backpack all set for an overnight camping in Nagsasa Cove.
I'm with my brother who's about to take the PRC Board Exam.We'll stay overnight in a cousin's house in Makati for my brother's early trip to Manuel l. Quezon College to take the 2 day licensure exam for architects, while I'm left at the house to wait for that Friday night's trip bound for San Antonio, Zambales.
I was tasked to do all the planning which I happily did weeks before the travel date. After all, I'm dying to see Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones, but I was also in doubt since June starts the month of the rainy season. My contact in Pundaquit told me that for as long as there's no typhoon, we can do island hopping. That made me think positive since typhoon Ambo is already leaving t…

The Farm That Funds My Travel Fancy

It has been 4 years since I left the kapamilya network. Since then, I never had a regular day job, never looked back and started to enjoy the freedom of TIME I dearly missed.
I'm not rich and I'm still on the process of working hard to achieve the financial freedom I yearn to have. But somehow, surprisingly, as much as I hate Math, I realized the knack for money matters comes easy for me, and that somehow helps me fund this wanderlust. So how do I do it?
Let me share one in particular...

I'm proud to have come from a really big clan in Southern Mindanao, with both Ilonggo parents together with their siblings owning hectares of farm lots in Sultan Kudarat which I often visit every time I travel back in the province. I love farms as much as I enjoy lakes, falls and mountains, so when offered by a trusted uncle to invest with mom in the clan's farm two years ago, I immediately said yes.

Dad has personally planted fruit seeds in his farm lot. I've tasted fruits from h…

Travel Video: Laguna Weekend Getaway

Location: Villa Sylvia Resort Nagcarlan, Pagsanjan Falls, Lake Pandin

I spent my last weekend exploring the backyard of the nearby towns of my province in Laguna. True enough, Laguna is more than hotsprings and resorts, it's a melting pot of scenic sights and enchanting waters. This video previews how I spent my measly Php2,000 budget that covered our 2 nights accommodation, trekking and rappelling to the famous Sibika at Kultura tourist spot that is Pagsanjan Falls, a dip in a cold batis with waters coming from equally enchanting Mt. Banahaw and a swim with buffet lunch in Lake Pandin.  

Splendido Taal Country Club Side Trip Tour

Our plan to check out Splendido Taal Golf and Country Club on the first day didn't push through because it rained - it's virtually impossible for us to get there, merely commuting from Potter's Ridge Hotel, our home for 2 days. But we're happy to have been blessed with a fair weather, even a picturesque sunrise on day 2. Splendido here we come!

We're just both curious as to what's inside Splendido as the front desk at Potter's Ridge gave us a list of the many amenities the club has to offer, the list looks promising.

Staycation Tagaytay: Potter's Ridge Hotel

Just last weekend, I had the chance to visit Tagaytay once again. This summer getaway favorite is just a quick 40 minute car ride from home in Laguna but it took me another 3 years to revisit. My previous travels to Tagaytay were most often scheduled for day trips. I was able to stay overnight in Tagaytay once, during college years. Wanting to experience that night's freezing embrace one more time, I decided to spend a quick staycation to celebrate my birthday with a fellow Taurus and lakwatsera buddy MC.

A staycation, as defined by is a vacation spent close to home.

My Bicol Weekend Getaway

After surviving more than 12 hours on the road, we finally reached Legazpi, Albay. We're going to spend the next 2 nights at the house of my aunt's sister, Tita Med. Our main purpose for that weekend trip is to attend the wedding of a relative who found love in city known for the spicy Bicol Express.
I was ecstatic when we finally arrived at Tita Med's humble abode for their house has a very good spot to admire the beauty of the almost perfectly-coned Mt. Mayon from the city.

Later that afternoon, we saw a short motorcade in time for the Magayon Festival. I can definitely feel the upbeat vibe of the city. And right after eating dinner, I set up my walking tripod at the front house to shoot my version of "Mt. Mayon at night" photo. My uber cool relatives were really supportive to show me around and decided to take me to Embarcadero.

Surviving the Road to Bicol

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More than 12 hours on the road - this has been by far, my longest road trip experience...
It's 11pm already when I received an sms stating that my uncle and his family is about to leave their house in Novaliches, Quezon city. I'm waiting for them from my house in Laguna, my backpack is already set for our 3 day stay. I'm excited for my first ever road trip to the Bicol region!

It was in 2008 when I had the chance to visit Naga for our last taping for our farewell episode in Star Magic Presents Astigs. It was memorable for it was my last field production work with ABS-CBN after deciding to leave the company and pursue into business and blogging. 
This 2012, the Bicol trip came as a surprise after my uncle invited me to go with them to Legazpi, Albay, aunt Lily's hometown for a relative's wedding plus hoping to have a side trip in a private island in Sorsogon. I was smiling from ear to ear when i heard the words "private island". Here's …

Rediscovering Luneta

At the heart of Manila is the historic Rizal Park, also known as Luneta, a nearly 200 year old, 52 hectare public park lined with trees, historic spots and points of interest. The monument of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who was martyred at Bagumbayan in 1898, proudly stands alongside the country's tallest flagpole. The park also has a relief map of the Philippines, lagoon and fountain, open air theater, theme gardens, picnic areas, planetarium, a walk of heroes, and art gallery, among others. It's been more than a decade since I last visited Luneta and I could say revisiting the spot now has been more enjoyable especially at night when lights and music adds up to the fun and humble Manila vibe.

My Puerto Princesa, Palawan Travel Video

It's enchanting to meet you Palawan!
Sharing with you an edited video of our early summer Puerto Princesa tour.

Location: Puerto Princesa bay, Plaza Cuartel, Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Crocodile Farm, Sabang Beach, Sabang River for the Mangrove tour, Underground River, souvenir shop, Ka Lui Restaurant, Skylight Restaurant

Intramuros: Inside the Walled City

I could barely remember the last time I went inside the walls of Intramuros for a visit. My last school field trip in Fort Santiago happened when I was probably in first grade, I could barely remember anything except for the name "Fort Santiago" and its historical significance. To date, some of my younger siblings are studying in Mapua and Adamson University, schools located inside and right outside Intramuros but I never really had that chance to even go visit them. Since I've gotten too curious as to how Intramuros actually looks now, I tagged along who I thought could be the best companions for this sight-seeing tour, my younger sister Hannah who's currently taking a Hospitality Management course in Adamson and mom, who has long missed the site she used to recognize as a neighborhood.

Inside Tour at MV Logos Hope

Life is a journey, we're all going somewhere, but where are we going? 
The trip was planned the night before. And so together with mom and youngest sister Hannah, we journeyed all the way from Laguna to Manila for a day tour covering MV Logos Hope, Intramuros and Luneta Park.  Designed to replace MV Doulos, MV Logos Hope is a ship carrying over 5,000 book titles, making it the world's largest floating book fair.

Puerto Princesa: Good Bites

Since we were able to save on our airfare, we feel good adding a little more to our food budget, so yes we splurged a bit. After all, Palawan's not just about beaches, it also offers fresh seafood options in a unique dining experience.
Palawan Restaurants we tried and other food finds:
1. KaLui - Dining in Barefoot
We ordered KaLui Special of the Day Set that includes fish steak, prawns, veggies of the day, fried fish with escabeche sauce, rice and starters. We also ordered eel in coco cream for a change. It's not everyday that we get to eat eel! :) For our refreshments, we ordered classic fresh fruit shakes like buko and mango juice and the equally interesting guyabano juice. They also gave us a complimentary fruit salad in fresh coconut bowl. Sweet! More in the menu includes shrimps halabos, Palawan seafood sisig, kilawin, sashimi and more.

Palawan: Itinerary and Expenses

Together with my aunt and uncle, we visited Puerto Princesa city last February 21-23, 2012. Feel free to copy our itinerary.

Day 1 - check in at Marianne Home Inn - lunch at KaLui Restaurant - at around 2pm, we started the City Tour - dinner at Balinsasayaw
Day 2 - at around 8am, van fetched us for the Underground River Tour - early lunch at Sabang (meal included in the tour) - Mangrove Paaddle Boat Tour - Sabang Zipline - 3pm start of Underground River Tour - dinner at Skylight Restaurant
Day 3 - Pasalubong/Pearl Shopping at Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop for authentic south sea pearls - Pasalubong shopping for shirts at the newly opened pasalubong center - lunch at Badjao Seafront Restaurant
- check out/flight back to Manila
Expenses: Roundtrip ticket - Php350 roundtrip (thanks to Piso Fare) Terminal Fee - Php200 (Naia) + Php40 (Puerto Princesa Airport) Tour package - Php2990 (inclusive of 3 days 2 nights accommodation with breakfast at Marianne Home Inn, City Tour, Underground Rive…

Palawan: Pearl Shopping

When one thinks of pasalubong shopping in Puerto Princesa, Palawan pearls are definitely on the must-buy list. Our third and last day in Palawan was devoted almost entirely on pasalubong shopping, of course I was on the look out for the cheapest store I can shop for pearls. The tricycle driver we hired that day brought us to Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop located beside another famous local restaurant in Mercado de San Miguel, the SkyBox. We found this particular souvenir shop selling cheaper pearls and other accessories compared to the first store we were brought in during our city tour. Best of all we could still use our haggling skills here.

Puerto Princesa: Discovering the City in a Forest

So what made a former city girl like me love Puerto Princesa so much?  Every city dwellers who've been to this part of the country would surely agree that there's more to Puerto Princesa than the famous Underground River and many island beaches. Surprisingly, it also offers a much tamed city vibe feel unlike its equally stunning El Nido and Coron. Okay, just to be transparent, I've never been to the latter two which I'm pretty sure will both sweep me off my feet for their scenic beauties. It's just that I already found Puerto Princesa a lot more conducive to live (if ever I plan to live here for good), it's the more developed (without the pollution) part of Palawan. You get the outdoor feel which can be practically just a few feet from your home and at the same time you have a good number of schools, cheap and fancy restaurants, government agencies, hospitals, malls (Robinsons Galleria is under construction) and airport within reach.

Deeper into Palawan's Mangrove Forest

The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour is a community based sustainable ecotourism project. The 45 minute tour into the Sabang River and its centuries old mangroves allows visitor to observe and appreciate what old growth mangrove forest free of human entervention looks like. Visitors are also given a chance to contribute to conservation by planting mangrove saplings in designated planting area.
After taking our lunch and rested at Sabang Beach, our tour guide Mae-Anne asked if we wanted to join the newlyweds for the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour. We agreed of course, after all, our Underground River Tour was scheduled at around 3-3:30pm. We left the other group who chose to stay and relax at the beach while we hopped on the van that took us to where the mangroves are. During the very short drive, we saw tourists mostly foreign backpackers, walking their way to the much secluded part of Sabang Beach where the mangrove tour is also located. It was like 12 noon and they're really loving the Palaw…

Palawan: Inside Peek on One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The two hour drive from Puerto Princesa to Sabang, passing through sharp curves on 2 part zigzag roads (yes, expect to sway inside the van) is already an adventure treat itself. We learned a lot from our tour guides Mae-Anne and Grace telling us stories about healers, folklore, history and other fun facts during the long drive while passing the scenic country charm of Palawan. This post gives you a glimpse of what happens on a typical day when you book the Php1,500 Underground River Tour.

Loving Palawan's Great Outdoors

The beach, the sun, the sand...the island province of Palawan is best known worldwide for its GREAT OUTDOORS.

Located at the western border of the Philippines, the irregular coastline of Palawan boasts a land area of 1,703,075 hectares and roughly 1,780 islands of sugar-white sandy beaches. From Manila, the capital city Puerto Princesa is approximately an hour's travel by plane. 
February 21, 2012 - I boarded a Cebu Pacific plane bound to Puerto Princesa to experience the much raved Palawan adventure.Together with Uncle No and Aunt Lily, our first glimpse of Palawan was unforgettable, as expected. For 3 days and 2 nights, we drove from one tourist spot to another, the outdoor tours, picturesque stop overs, freshly grilled seafood dinners, the welcoming locals..geez, that 3-day Puerto Princesa tour was too short to fully explore the Palawan outdoors, I don't even think a week-long vacation would be enough, considering there's still Coron, El Nido and Amanpulo (yes, I'm h…

On Travel: My Vision Board


A vision board is simply a visual representation or collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want in your life or the things that you want to become. The purpose of a vision board is to activate the law of attraction to begin to pull things from your external environment that will enable you to realize your dream. By selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion, you will begin to manifest those things into your life. (source)
I am a firm believer of the power of creating a Vision Board simply because it works for me. The magic of attracting what you want to have, what you want to become, want to do and where you want to go. It's surprising how this simple board when after created and when regularly seen, can work wonders. I can't tell you how many of the cut out pictures I ma…

Tuna Pasalubong at Koronadal's Citra Mina Seafood Market

For those of you who want to bring home some fresh frozen tuna, I very much recommend a place highly popular down south of the Philippines, Citra Mina. With products caught from the waters of Celebs Sea and South Western Pacific, Citra Mina promises you'll have the best catch served to your dining table.

My One Hour Passport Renewal Experience

I could still remember the first time I walked in at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay to apply for my first ever passport, I was still with ABS-CBN back then. It took me and ate Nanette, our Associate Producer only a day to get our green passport as our tv program needed to shoot some scenes on an Asian Cruise and would be needing the passport the soonest possible time. We just handed the DFA Officer a memo from our Executive Producer, submitted a couple of requirements and wholla, Philippine passport in just one day! I'm so glad we were spared of the regular strenuous process one has to undergo. Yes, working in TV Production has that huge benefit.

Protect Yourself on the Road

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.A few years back, while I'm on one of my usual flight back to my province down south, I found myself lying in bed hospitalized and confined for three days because of contaminated water.  After that dreadful experience, I always make sure to bring my medicine kit with me wherever I go. Funny thing is, my backpack serves not only my house but also my hospital for the entire duration of my succeeding trips.  As you can see, unexpected things may happen to travelers on the road - accidents and infections that may stress not only our physical selves but also our travel fund. Keeping these things in mind, preparing for the worst may save us from a possible holiday disaster.  In line with this post, Walgreens is offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club:…
For $20 a year, a family membership covers everyone in you…

A Dance Offering (Ballet Recital)

Last December, I was invited to watch my inaanak's ballet recital organized by Halili-Cruz School of Ballet entitled "A Dance Offering" at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. Watching little kids and young adults gracefully perform on stage made me remember my ballet class when I was still in kinder (back when I was still much flexible, lol). It has been decades since I last saw this kind of performance and I was totally impressed by how talented our Filipino ballerinas are.

10 Reasons Why Incentive Trip Rocks

I'm not talking about giving free out of country trips to employees by their respective companies basically because they need to attend say, a training, for example. This is about relishing the tour that has already been planned out for your total enjoyment without thinking much about work that has been left behind. A trip that pampers you, a trip that fills you in, a trip that is full of life enriching experience. In my recent posts, I shared about my fun and fascinating journey from my first ever out of country trip abroad - flying to Malaysia courtesy of Gano iTouch Philippines. This time, I would like to share with you why this particular incentive trip rocks!

Malaysia: 5 Days Itinerary

Sharing an overview of my 5 days itinerary in Malaysia covering the city of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Alor Setar and Penang.
Click here to read Day 1 arrival at LCCT airportsuper late lunch at a local food courtafternoon trip to Putrajaya (Seri Wawasan Suspension Bridge, Masjid Putra, Perdana Putra, Putrajaya Royal Palace)Merdeka Squaredine in at Sek Yuen Restaurantcheck in at Alpha Genesis Hotelstroll the streets of KL until we get to Petronas Twin Towers

Confessions Of A First Time Traveler Abroad

I love traveling around my country, the Philippines. Our beaches are undeniably the best in the world and when paired with the trademark Filipino hospitality will surely make up for that unforgettable holiday getaway. Traveling around the Philippines done whether on a tight budget or not, had long made me believed that my country is blessed for having such natural wonders. I try to explore its 7,107 islands, one island at a time. And although 7000+ local destinations may seem overwhelming, I'm pretty much sure I will never get tired of wandering around my country, but then again my soul has also been itching to know what lies beyond the Philippine borders.