Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ShoeSharing Project: Mission Accomplished!

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. -Lao Tzu

I wish to add one more word to the last line, "happiness". Giving to others not only makes the recipient happy,  we, as the giver, also experience pure bliss as we give. ^_^ 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wish Upon A Star: My Christmas Wishlist

It's that time of the year again. CHRISTMAS! Woohoooo! 

Yes, I do believe that giving is better than receiving. But, admit it or not, don't we all love to open a gift on Christmas day? And so, I'm making my Christmas Wish List just in case someone cares enough to give me a gift this year. ^_^ 

Warning: Too girly and superficial wishes :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dinner at Patio Vera RestoBar

I have lived away from home most of my adult life (four years for college and now another couple of years for my grad studies). Living like this meant having a small room just enough to fit a single bed, doing/sending your own laundry to the shop, and preparing/eating your meals in carenderias or fast foods. Everyone who lives like me would strongly agree that a nice, home-cooked meal would definitely be a treat!  

So, when I got invited by Ate Tin for a dinner at a newly-opened restaurant, I didn't think twice and excitedly said Yes! 

We went to Patio Vera RestoBar, a recently opened restaurant in Marikina City. The Ceballos family, who owns the restobar,  turned their home into this classy yet cozy dining place. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shoes for a Cause

I love shoes. Who doesn't? 

The other day, I came upon a blogpost featuring three young athletes who, for the love of sports, share the same pair of shoes in order to participate in their respective running competition. 

Photo by: JourneyingJames

Friday, November 11, 2011

Seat Sale Alert: Travel is in the Fare!

Traveling is for the rich, the businessmen, the celebrities, the financially-stable individuals... 

That was my idea before. But, thanks to the very frequent seat sales offered by budget airlines, I get to travel more than ever. Maybe, you can, too! ^_^ 

I'm one of those million individuals who get an adrenaline rush whenever seat sales are announced. Like a predator waiting to attack, I ready my browser(s) and the list of possible flight dates and destinations and join the hunt as the clock strikes 12midnight. 

But, how exactly does one avail of these super cheap fares? If you may ask, here are some tips if you want to be the first to grab that Piso Fare to Puerto Princesa!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Langyaw sa Panglao: Bohol Beach Club

Panglao Island Hopping and Day Tour was a blast! Check our adventures here and here. :) 

Before we bid our goodbye to the beautiful island of Panglao, we availed of the day tour of Bohol Beach Club. Yes, IT IS EXPENSIVE.^_^ We could have gone to Dumaluan Beach Resort (just beside BBC) which only requires a minimal entrance fee, but it won't hurt to experience something luxurious once in a while, right? 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Langyaw sa Panglao: Dauis Church & Bohol Bee Farm

Dolphins? Check. Hinagdanan Cave? Check. Now, what's left for the Panglao Day Tour? 

Just before we ended the day, Kuya Ryan brought us to one of the oldest church in the Philippines, the Dauis Church. 

Tere, being a Roman Catholic, said her prayer while checking out the historic structure. While doing this, I was outside the church checking the area.

The sun was ready to set which gave more splendor to the picturesque view of the wharf located outside the church.  The river was calm and some of the locals were having a relaxing time at the wharf. 

All the sights we saw for the day made us crave for some refreshments. To finally conclude our day tour, we checked out Bohol Bee Farm. A friend of mine recommended their famous ice cream, and it was indeed a refreshing treat! We had our ice cream overlooking the view of the sea and the setting sun. 

Experience the Bee Life at Bohol Bee Farm or their creative handicrafts which are up for sale.

A day of the sun, sea and fun! Panglao is one amazing island.

But, wait, there's more! Bohol Beach Club, is next in line! A day of "luxury" and beach bumming.

Langyaw sa Panglao: Hinagdanan Cave

We had our dose of the sun in our Island Tour and saw the healthy Marine Life of Panglao Island. It was still too early when we got back, so we decided to see the rest of Panglao Island, this time on a habal-habal (motorbike). 

Day tours were available, but I love to do things on my own. DIY trips allow me more time on each destination and it's a lot cheaper than renting a car. ^_^ Just like my summer trip to Puerto Princesa

Our habal-habal driver first brought us to Daks and Gams Wildlife Park. He warned us that the place is not really that nice and well-maintained but we still decided to check the place. Sure enough, we were not disappointed by his warning. The place collected a P15/pax entrance fee. But, by the looks of the place, it's not worth such an amount. Or maybe, it's too small an amount to cover all the expenses needed to maintain such park.

We shook the disappointment away and tried to feel the good vibes to continue on our trip. Our next destination was Hinagdanan Cave. I've been to a number of caves, Mystical Cave in Antipolo, Underground River in Puerto Princesa and Cudugnon Cave in El Nido to name a few. But, the Hinagdanan Cave is my favorite! Although, it's not as famous as the mentioned caves, it sure has it's own beauty to boast of. 
Hinagdanan Cave: Entrance Fee P20/pax

Say hello to a deep lagoon inside Hinagdanan Cave! It was an amazing sight. Sure I saw a natural bath tub in the Mystical Cave, but who would have thought that such an enormous natural bath tub exist in Hinagdanan! The water was crystal clear and it was warm and inviting my hidden fins! 

 While the other tourists were busy taking photos and checking out the cave, I decided to take a dip in the dark, deep lagoon! Enough of my imaginations of shokoys or anacondas underwater, I just can't resist swimming!

When I was finally satisfied (and a bit terrified of the deep water), we decided to move to our next destination: Dauis Chuch and Bohol Bee Farm.

If you want a DIY tour of Panglao Island on a habal-habal, you may contact Kuya Ryan (09994676412). You can haggle and hire him for P350. Don't forget to give a tip or treat him an ice cream at the Bohol Bee Farm. 

Langyaw sa Panglao: Balicasag and Virgin Islands

Panglao is an island in the Philippines located in the Central Visayas, at the southwest of the island of Bohol and Cebu. (source: wikipedia)

For the sembreak getaway, I and my friend Tere, decided to focus our trip in Panglao as we have already explored the countryside of Bohol. Packed with the idea of watching dolphins at the break of dawn and swimming with the colorful fishes at the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary, I and Tere excitedly watched the banca operator set the sail for the day's island tour. 

The tour started with a few minutes of sailing and looking for the location of the dolphins in the area. I was really excited to see these friendly and smart creatures. However, as we enjoyed the sight of dolphins, I have come to realize that these creatues are disturbed in their natural habitat and their early morning hunt. The dolphin watching turned out to be dolphin "chasing" as the bancas tried to chase the poor creatures for the amazement of their customers. As much as I wanted to see them flip in the air, I am sure that the noise of the tourists and the motor boats scared and alarmed them. 

After a few minutes of dolphin "chasing", I signaled our banca operator for our next stop: Balicasag Island. Balicasag Marine Sanctuary is indeed a haven for the marine life.I spotted colorful fishes of different sizes and species and as always, I spotted Nemo and his other friends! ^_^ (sorry, I don't have an underwater cam with me, it's for me to see, and for you to find out)

Balicasag Island
After an hour of snorkeling and a sumptuous seafood lunch at Balicasag Island, we headed to our last stop: Virgin Island. Virgin Island offered a beautiful beach view and a healthy marine life as well.The powdery, white sand was irresistible, I laid my back and relaxed for a while. It was heaven for a beach lover like me.
Virgin Island

After taking a "few" photos, we finally headed back to our banca. The Virgin Island is naturally untouched. The only unnatural thing I saw was the group of coconut vendors lining up at the island. But, thanks to them, I had a refreshing buko juice after soaking under the scorching heat of the sun. 

I may have experienced island hopping in Boracay or El Nido, but the island hopping in Panglao is unlike any other. Seeing the dolphins and the marine sanctuary of Balicasag Island was an incomparable experience and sun bathing in Virgin Island was something I would definitely do again.

Check out how I braved a deep lagoon inside Hinagdanan Cave here!

For Island Hopping Tours in Panglao, you may contact: Kuya Viao (09164645214). The tour cost P1400 (for 2pax). Snorkeling gears in Balicasag cost P100/pax and lunch is P250 (3choices of seafood, a cup of rice and softdrinks). 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ilocos Norte: A travel treat for my parents

What's the best gift  can you give to your parents? That day when you finally wear your school toga and receive your diploma? A grandchild? Trip around the world all expense paid? Hmm, let's see.

College Graduation.  Yeah, any parent would be so proud to finally see you graduate after years and years of schooling. But, it's usually towards your own benefit right? ^_^ You get to have graduation gifts, invite your friends to your thanksgiving party, get a good job and of course, your hard-earned salary!

A grandchild: If your parents are wishing for a little kid to run around the house to keep them company, then go make a family and make their wish come true! But, if you're like me who's single, no boyfriend, and have no plans of having a baby soon, well, just tell your parents "Later Ma, in God's time". Oh di ba?! Di na papalag mga yan. ^_^

Trip around the world: Yes! This is  I guess the best gift for a parent, or for anyone! Unlike the first two choices, a trip around the world is really towards your parents' benefit. No hidden agenda and you're doing it without expecting anything except of course the pasalubong in return.

Unfortunately, I could not afford the third choice. But, I sure can afford a part of it: tour around Ilocos Norte  for my mudra and pudra all expense paid! Oh di ba?! Bongga na. :D Thanks to the first choice, I got a job which can allow me to treat my parents big time! 

So there we were (yes, I went with them. Talk about hidden agenda, eh? ^_^ ), spent four days, 3 nights roaming and experiencing the beauty of Ilocos Norte.

Our itinerary? Laoag, Pagudpud and Vigan.

This is my parents' first time to go on a tour together. My Mama was anxious at first because of budget constraints. But, my Papa was too excited for the trip, I couldn't let him down.

First stop: Laoag and Batac
Destinations: Marcos Museum, Fort Ilocandia, Malacanang of the North (which was closed during our visit), the Lighthouse of Cape Bojeador

Next stop: Bangui, Pagudpud
Destinations: Bangui Windmill, Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud Beach

My Papa, if born as a fairy, is Tinkerboy (male version of Tinkerbell). He loves to tinker on whatever his hands get a hold of. He watches videos on youtube to figure out how to fix stuff. When we were in Bangui, he was fascinated with the windmills. The tinker that he is, he tried to figure out how the windmills actually worked! @_@

Next stop: Vigan
Destinations: Baluarte, Hidden Garden, Calle Crisologo

We especially took a lot of pictures of the animals in Baluarte to be shown to my little nephews and niece back home.

My Papa enjoyed this trip the most. He is an Ilocano and he's the only one who could understand what people around us were talking about. Plus, he loved to stroll and explore the place on his own (even if he wakes up in the morning with arthritis)  and under the scorching heat of the sun.

Whew! The trip that was! This trip is, by far, the best and the most meaningful trip I ever had. Every single centavo spent for this trip was worth it. If I had the resources, I would bring my whole family in a Palawan trip! (Next time, though. I have 5siblings, 2nephews, 2nieces. A bigger budget will be needed for this trip. ^_^)

How about you, what's the best gift you've given to your parents? :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Puerto Princesa: The City in a Forest

Since this blog is relatively new, I decided to edit my Palawan post. :D One post per destination! ^_^

Yes! Finally, summer class was over. I had only one thing in my mind: PALAWAN. This is part 2 of my Palawan Huling Hirit sa Tag-init post :) Back to the City in a Forest. 

Why skip to Day 5? Check Day 1-4 El Nido Adventure. :D

Day 05: Puerto Princesa City Tour
  • Baker's Hill. If you want special hopia as your pasalubong or home-made pizza or better yet some good food for lunch, this is the place to be. :) They have a mini zoo too! Free entrance and viewing.

  • Butterfly Garden. They also have some scorpions, millipedes (yayks) and tarantulas! P50 entrance, P25 if you have any valid ID.

  • Crocodile Farm. Meet and greet the giant crocs, live! Entrance fee was P40.

  • Iwahig Penal Farm and Balsahan. This place truly amazed me. The inmates here are like free men. They have jobs to do like tend to the farm animals, plant/harvest rice, fish, and they also guide and guard the visitors in the Balsahan. Entrance to the Penal Farm is free, Balsahan is P10-15.

  • Iwahig Firefly Watching. One of my favorite part of the whole trip. Seeing the small lighted creatures crowd mangroves along the Iwahig River is a magical sight. P600 per boat, good for 3 passengers.
*We took a tricycle for this tour and paid P700 (for crocodile farm, iwahig penal farm, iwahig firefly watching).

Day 06: Underground River Tour
This is the most exciting day I had in Palawan. We set off at 10am to the San Jose terminal to catch a ride going to Sabang. Instead of riding a shuttle van, we were only able to catch a public jeepney and paid P120/pax. It's not a comfy ride but hey, the experience was worth it. The trip took almost 3hours because the jeepney had to drop off passengers or packages/products in almost all municipality/barangay along the way.

  • Underground River Tour. We were the last tourists to avail of the tour so we had to pay P700 for the whole boat and environmental fees of P350. The boat was supposed to carry 8-10 persons. It felt like a private tour. hehe
Had to request/plead/ask a private van to give us a ride back to Puerto Princesa since there were no public vehicles left going back to the city.
  • Dinner at Balinsasayaw Restaurant. We had a serving of balinsasayaw soup/bird's nest soup which is a must-try! :)

Chao Long, aVietnamese soup popular in Palawan
Day 07: another City Tour
This time, I was given some alone-time since Yani was busy with work. I opted to go around the city on my own so as to see what more it has to offer.
  • Plaza Quartel. This is where hundreds of American prisoners of war were burned alive by the Japanese. Entrance is free.
  • Puerto Princesa Baywalk. Met some friends from Gensan who coincidentally were having their happy time in the city too. :)
  • Booze at Tiki Bar. If you want to have some drink in PP, Tiki Bar is a must-go! They have live bands playing every day and offer some good food too!

Plaza Quartel

Day 08: Last night in PP
  • Puerto Princesa Sports Complex. Since we're out of places to go to, we spent an afternoon checking out the sports complex and having a little walk.
  • Visit to relatives. It was my last night in PP and I opted to pay yet another visit to my relatives. I was supposed to stay with them but since my Lolo would not allow me to go out at night, I checked in to some place else. hehe
  • Baragatan Festival, Day 1. Checked out the flea market at the capitol and also saw some bars and restaurants where tourists and locals frequent.

Waiting for the banca back to Sabang

Day 09: Time to say good bye. :|
  • Palawan Museum. Time to visit the roots of Palawan. Entrance Fee: P20.
  • Airport. This place concluded my visit to Palawan. It was a good nine-day trip, full of new experiences, wonderful scenes, good food and drinks.
Overall cost: around P25k for 2pax (excluding airfare, accommodation in PPC was FREE! thanks to PN Seabees barracks ^_^)

Next stop: Ilocos Norte

Antipolo: The Pilgrimage City

Ok, where to now? Well, not too far. This time we decided to explore Antipolo, also known as The Pilgrimage City.

Antipolo is located in the province of Rizal and it prides itself as the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines. 

It was not yet the Holy Week but I, with my housemate Ate Jessica decided to go on our own "pilgrimage" to see some sites such as Hinulugang Taktak, Boso-Boso Church, and the Mystical Cave in Puting Bato. Packed with loads of tuna sandwiches and our P500 budget for the day, we went to explore Antipolo! :) 

On our way to Antipolo. :D
 Since we didn't have any idea how to get to Antipolo, we scoured travel blogs for tips on transportation, fare, where to stop, how to get there and other stuff essential to get to our destination.
Hinulugang Taktak
First stop: Hinulugang Taktak. Sadly, the waterfalls had an awful smell even at a distance. There were trash all over the falls which ruined its beauty and splendor. Too bad. The park asked us to pay for an entrance fee, I hope they'd have the decency to use that fee to at least get the trash out of the water, right? :D And,  people around the area should really learn to do proper waste disposal. 
The floating garbage of Hinulugang Taktak
Although our first destination was a bit disappointing, we continued and went on to our next stop: Boso-Boso Church. We got goosebumps as we checked on the old church. Yeah, it was a church, all right. But it looked really old and dark inside.yayks Plus, it's located in a far-flung small community in Rizal. Awoooh. Kidding. >:D

Boso-boso Church
Next stop: The Mystical Cave in Puting Bato. Ok, I'm not an RC and I don't do vistia iglesia during the Holy Week, but to learn how people do it is a new experience for me. :)

While waiting for the tour guide, at the entrance of the cave.
The Mystical Cave in Antipolo is popular not only to Catholics, but it has also been used as a location for adventure/treasure-hunting themed movies. The tour guide told us that the cave was used as a primary location in Robin Padilla and Angel Locsin's TV series Asian Treasures.
Meet in the middle
 Maybe the TV series was a success, but sadly, they left their primary location in a mess. They used explosives inside the cave which ruined and made marks in the cave walls. Some tourists who check out the place should also be responsible enough not to vandalize or chip the walls for souvenirs. C'mon people, let's take care of our country's natural treasures and resources! It's a beauty, why ruin it?!
Ate Jess, me, and Gilbert (that vandalized name in the wall)
 Ok, moving on. Last stop: The White Cross. Before leaving Puting Bato, we climbed up to see the White  Cross. Sadly, it rained the night before and left the trails wet and slippery. We struggled climbing and didn't really make it to the cross. But, hey, we tried! We were just too afraid we might slip and get injured and never make it home.
 Plus, we really didn't know where the White Cross is! :D We should have asked and waited for a tour guide. Not too ready and adventurous, ayt? White Cross: Fail!

Going up.

Going down. It's harder than it seems in this picture.
 Although, we didn't really make it to the cross we considered this quick trip to Antipolo a success! Oh yeah, we've conquered the city which I can only see through my window. (yes, i have a nice view of Antipolo, plus Loyola Heights Cemetery. haha) If asked if we'd go back again, I'd definitely say yes! I'd love to see that White Cross and maybe experience a real pilgrimage in the future. :D

Antipolo: Check!
 Pahabol: When we were in Antipolo, it felt like we were in Tagaytay! :) The place had a nice cool weather and it's over-looking Metro Manila. It would have been better if we stayed for the night and see the city lights, but we were too exhausted all we wanted was to hit the bed. ^_^
City Lights: A view from Antipolo

Till the next trip! ^_^

Friday, September 16, 2011

The 2.5k challenge

What exactly can you buy with P2500? A LOT! If you're in a low-cost city, I must say. You can shop for a couple of new blouses, have some good food at your favorite restaurant, maybe watch a 3D movie before you finally end the day and if you're lucky, you still have some cash left in your wallet. 

my successful P20/day challenge for a soak swimwear
But 2.5k is not much when you're in the metro. It's amazing (or should I say depressing)  how much you can spend in just one day here in Manila. And for an impulsive buyer like me, P2500 is like that. It's so easy to spend. Before I realize it, my hard-earned money is already gone with the wind! @_@

This morning while having brunch with my housemates, we talked about how to fit a meager amount of money for several days. And just before we left the resto where we were dining, I was left with a challenge: to spend only P2500 for 2 weeks.

The P2500 should include everything, my meals, prepaid load, transportation, and other stuff. I should be able to spend only P166.66/day or less until my next pay day! I was like, how's that even possible?!

But, with the advent of Manang's carenderia or cheap foodies in Sisig Hurray and the art of walking to school, I think I can manage! Of course, I would have to ground myself from going to the malls and meeting friends (sorry, guys! grounded ako ngayon) for some snacks or dinner. And my impulsive shopping would have to be set aside for a while. ^_^

So, why am I doing this? Simple. I have been attending a travel talk and the quote "spend less, travel more" has been resounding for the past two sessions. I am a wanna-be traveler and I want to travel more in the near future. Saving up for it is just one way to fulfill that dream.

Not only that, I'm really having a problem with my spending and I have to do something with it.  My hard-earned money is nowhere to be found, I have not invested in anything yet and it's not good, at all!

So, good luck to me and my 2.5k challenge. Let's see if I beat my spending and own this challenge after 15days ! Till, my next post. Ciao!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Travel Mag Published or NOT

Published! Wish ko lang. :p

Published! Oh di ba?!

When I was a child, I have dreamed to be a supermodel. When I wrote our class prophecy in highschool, I prophesied that I will be a supermodel in NYC. Of course, that didn't happen, nor did it become close to reality. First of all, I did not grow tall. Yes, I was slim like models should be but, unfortunately, my overall physical feature is not even a bit close to that of a supermodel. (btw, I got over this frustration, already.)

So, back to being published. It was actually a part of my course requirements in my Multimedia subject last summer. Our teacher required us to create a magazine cover featuring ourselves with our own concept and themes.

I had only one concept in mind: travel. It is the perfect concept for me because it is the only thing I know that keeps me sane and excited. I entitled my magazine Escapades (not original, btw).

In my magazine, I featured Gumasa, a must-go white beach in Sarangani Province. I also selected Whale Shark Swimming as one of my articles since I am planning to do it myself in 2012. For a plus, I included an article on how to get cheap airline tickets! ^_^ Oh di ba? Parang pro. :p

And for the model tadaaaan! Me, myself and I! Dream come true. Oh yes, there's nothing you can do about it, we were forced to be our own mag's model. :p The picture was taken in 2009 in one of the beaches in Glan, Sarangani Province. I chose it not because it's my favorite picture but because it's the most matino and suitable for a mag cover (I did the korean pose in most of my pics and I can't possibly use a picture of me wearing 2piece in Bora because my teacher was a Jesuit priest and I don't think it's appropriate, right?)

And so there it was. My own Escapades magazine. This may not be a real magazine, but I am dreaming that someday, I will be on the cover of a travel mag featuring my own travel stories. :)