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. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Meeting the Pros

I have been following travel blogs lately with the hope that someday I get to travel with the bloggers themselves. Just reading about their adventure is like actually being with them in their journey. And, meeting them is like a dream-come-true for an avid reader and newbie traveler like me! ^_^

Today, I finally got to meet and greet some of the travel bloggers who have been my inspiration and virtual guide in traveling. :)

Meet Miss Chichi and Miss Lois. I am so happy I attended their travel talk tonight. From them, I realized that I still have a lot to learn about traveling (especially about transforming from being a glampacker to being a poorpacker to help maximize your travel fund). I think, it's time to spend less on travel clothes now. :p

There was also Miss Gael. I remember reading her posts on her El Nido trip. I got the idea of bringing a stuffed toy (especially if you're traveling solo) from her. Now, I have my Buko. ^_^ She is also one of the female travelers that I wish to travel with. *fingers crossed*

And of course, THE journeyingjames! I first knew about him when I read his article "Zamboanga on a shoestring" in one of the issues of Smile Mag. Then, just a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine led me to his blog. Right then and there, I found myself reading every single post he had on the Mindanao 400 Challenge. Yes, every single post. I am from Mindanao and I have not even visited half of where he has been to.

I was so starstruck that I even asked for his autograph. haha! And he wrote, "spend less, travel more". And I suddenly thought, "Uh-oh, I'm so dead with this!"

I would like to especially thank my friend Kathleen for inviting me to join her. I admire her for being so passionate and eager about her dream of traveling and exploring this awesome and beautiful planet we have.

Now, I am still at awe that I could not wait for the next talk, excited to learn more about traveling and meet and greet other travelers. ^_^

Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 going 30

I've been reading a lot of travel blogs and been following some of them, too and one thing that caught my attention is their bucket lists. A bucket list is a list of goals or I-want-to-do-this-before-I'm-(insert age here) list one wishes to accomplish.

And so, I'm making my bucket list too! What exactly does a 24 year-old, wanna-be full time traveler, graduate student want in her bucket list? Hmmmm....
  1. Go to my ultimate dream destination: Boracay. 
  2. Go around Mindanao, then Visayas, and finally Luzon on a backpack and minimal budget.
  3. Finish my graduate studies.  PhD ongoing 
  4. Get my passport. (Yeah, I still don't have my passport)
  5. Join a charity/medical mission or the likes.
  6. Meet a travel blogger (Lakwatsero, Journeying James or Pinay Solo Backpacker).
  7. Start a business. Started and failed. :p 
  8. Try target shooting.
  9. Get a soak swimwear.
  10. Go to Anawangin Cove.
  11. Tour abroad: Bali, Kuta Kinabalu, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea
  12. Read Eat, Pray, Love. Did my own version - Eat, Pray, Love Again
  13. Learn how to Scuba Dive.
  14. Learn how to surf (since my first surfing lessons got cancelled).
  15. Learn how to dive (as in dive in a pool).
  16. Buy a car and learn to drive.
  17. Explore Coron, Palawan.
  18. Scuba Dive at the Tubbataha Reef.
  19. Swim with the dolphins and the whale sharks.
  20. Attend my friends' wedding (from highschool or college barkada) or maybe mine. haha!
  21. Renovate my bedroom and have Tinkerbell painted on my wall.
  22. Tour around Palawan (El Nido, Puerto Princesa). done! (May 26-June 03, 2011)
  23. Visit a friend in Singapore.
  24. Buy a DSLR. (ang babaw mo po. :p) 
  25. Tour with my parents. done! (Laoag, Pagudpud and Vigan, June 11-16, 2011)
  26. Tour with my siblings.
  27. Spend a night in a five-star hotel.
  28. Go back and explore Kapayas Island at MisOc.
  29. Meet my soulmate/Mr. Right Guy/Prince/Man of my dreams. :P
  30. Get married. haha!
Yayks! Too much to do, so little time (and $$$)!! T.T but, I believe that if you set your mind and heart (and wallet), you can do anything!! I have six more years to go! Aja!