Day 1: The Journey to Mindanao for 8 Days and 7 Nights

“Plan ahead, pack your bags, secure your tickets and get broke. Live the life you think you deserve.”

– Fakir

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My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Bucas Grande – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

Features: Manila to Butuan, Butuan to Surigao City, Golden Mile Pension Haus and Transfers

I always wanted to backpack a place I never set foot. In July 2015, I booked tickets from Manila to Butuan and Davao to Manila. I think its possible to set a thousand kilometers road trip in Butuan to Davao. Buses to Davao are all over Mindanao. I got 2 different tickets, no itinerary yet and I will deal with it at least 2-3 months before the trip. I purchase an all-in-fare ticket to Butuan for Php 625.00 and back to Manila for Php 500.00. Later I added check-in baggage for Php 224.00 each ticket to suffice my pack and equipment. Its still pretty cheap so I decide to pursue the dream and wait for 7 months.

Finally, its almost a month before the trip. I check out the timeline, initially wanted to go to Manila – Butuan – Davao – South Cotabato – Davao del Sur – Davao Del Norte – Davao City – Manila itinerary. But, I change my mind because transferring to Butuan to Davao to Lake Sebu will consume so much time. I decide to go to Siargao Island in which I found out that there are several places I could explore in Siargao for non-surfer like me. There is so much that it would cost so much. I decided to have Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

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February 25, it was my flight to Butuan City. I am coughing out loud and caring for a flu for the past days. I went on hiking 1 week ago, prior to that went back from my Bohol trip. I was exhausted and exasperating in excitement that led me to sickness. So I pack my bags, make sure that everything on my checklist are securely put on my pack. My flight was change from 0740 to 13:25 which actually ruin my itinerary. I was supposed to tour in Butuan but decide to scratch it on the list. I went to the NAIA Terminal 3 way too early. 3 hours before the flight I landed in the airport. I thought traffic is heavy because portion of EDSA is closed because its a public holiday.

I just waited and abuse the free internet in the airport, listen to songs until my flight was called for boarding. It was a smooth flight of 1 hour to Butuan City. As I view the mountain range of Agusan, I was mesmerized and its just the start but its already worth it. I got out of Bancasi Airport, van dispatchers and travel agencies are now offering their services. I was starving; I ate in the canteen outside the airport. I order Tinolang Tuna and rice with a drink for Php 80.00. Then hop to the van going to Surigao City for Php 200.00. The original plan is taking Bachelor Bus to Surigao City but the terminal is about 5-10 minutes away from the airport. You need to walk from the airport to the highway and catch a multicab to Butuan Integrated Terminal if you want to catch the bus. Fare is almost the same or the bus is more expensive than van transfer.

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From Butuan Airport to Surigao City will take a cruel 5-6 hours travel time. The van is stopping to pick up passengers which prolong the entire trip. I slept several times, asking if we are near yet its still far. Good thing that the place is too damn beautiful where the mountain range is meeting the blue waters of the sea. I could not agree no more. It’s night time when I arrive at Surigao Integrated Terminal. Some tricycle drivers offer service from the terminal to the Centro (downtown) for Php 50.00 but I decide to take the multicab instead for Php8.00 to Vasquez Street where most inns are located. I did not booked for one so I walk in to Golden Mile Pension Hauz.

Unfortunately their fan room for Php300.00 is under construction. Then it started to rain hard so I need to take immediate shelter. I haggle for their rooms since I will be staying for a good 8 hours. From Php850.00, they gave me the air-conditioned room for Php550.00. I am exhausted and starving from the trip. I walk around, found barbeque restaurant Zouk. Order myself rice, grilled chicken wings and chicken innards with carbonated drinks for Php78.00. Dig in, pay and went back to the hotel to call it a night.

I woke up around 0400, drink coffee and some of my biscuits. I arrange my pack then left the hotel then catch the first trip to Siargao Island. I was again way too early because I am too eager to reach Siargao. I have lots of activities to do in the island. I want have fun after the road trip that doesn’t seem to end. I will right the entire Siargao Island travel on my next blog. There is more in this island that won’t fit in this entry.

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Road trip PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Things to do in Surigao Del Norte

“You live as if impossible don’t exist”

-Fakir

Features: Siagao Island, Bucas Grande and when in Surigao del Norte.

These are the things that fascinate me as I visit the Southern part of the Philippines. Paradise for both who love adventure and serene beauty of nature. Siargao Island and Bucas Grande offers it all. For surfer and non surfer, this place will satisfy your cravings to nature.

  1. Be captivated by General Luna’s coastline.

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2. Man-made infinity pool in the heart of Siargao Island.

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3. As part of the Siargao Island hopping. Daku means big. Daku Island will surely take your breath away.

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4. The infamous Cloud 9 of General Luna.

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5. Paglaom Hostel. Happy vibe and owners. Php 300.00 / night. Cheap find to meet rare people.

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6. Cliff diving. Just jump!

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7. The view is rare. I find utmost peace. This is life we all deserve.

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8. White sand and sun. Naked Island will burn both your skin and heart. So pretty.

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9. Tojoman Lagoon in Bucas Grande. See the colorful stingless jellyfish!

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10. Ride with the local paddler going to the Tojoman Lagoon.

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11. Watch locals as they catch fish using spears and traps.

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12. The Snoring Cave gives you delight in your eyes as the aquamarine water beams underwater.

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13. Paghungawan Marsh is home of the Philippine Crocodile.

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14. YUP! Siargao Island. Surfing Capital of the Philippines.

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14 marvelous things you can do in Surigao del Norte!

Ay! Ay! Pirates!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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 Bohol – Cebu Travel and Tours Itinerary for 4 Days and 3 Nights



Bohol Tour for 3 Days and 2 Nights

Cebu Day Tour, Accidental Backpacking Escapade

Day 1

0500 Call Time for our 0745 Flight Manila – Tagbilaran Bohol

0515 ETD Home in Marikina City

0600 ETA NAIA Terminal 4

0630 Waiting for Boarding (Already Web Check-in the day before the actual flight to avoid long lines)

0745 ETD NAIA Terminal 4 (No Delay because 1st flight to Tagbilaran)

0900 ETA Tagbilaran Airport

0915 Pre-hired Car and Driver Service for Bohol Countryside Tour

0945 Blood Compact

1000 Baclayon Church

1030 Python

1100 Buffet Lunch At Loboc River Cruise

1230 Chocolate Hills

1315 Bilar Man made Forest

1345 Butterfly Garden

1415 Tarsier Conservation Area

1445 Bamboo Hanging Bridge

1515 Souvenir Shop

1545 ETD Panglao Island

1645 ETA Flushing Meadow Resort and Playground in Panglao Island

1730 Wash up / Free Time / Swimming in the beach and Infinity Pool

1900 Dinner

2200 Lights Out

 

 

Day 2

0430 Call Time

0500 Breakfast

0530 Prepare for Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping

0600 ETD Resort via Hired Boat

0645 ETA Dolphin Watching Site

0800 ETD Start Island Hopping

0930 ETA Balicasag Island

1000 Snorkelling with paddle boat / Guide / Snorkel Gears 100% Must Try (Turtle Watching and Scuba Diving are also available)

1200 ETD Balicasag Island

1300 ETA Virgin Island

1315 Walk to the Sandbar if its Low Tide

1345 ETD Virgin Island

1415 ETA Flushing Meadow

1430 ETD BK Mall Tagbilaran City

1500 ETA Tagbilaran

1515 Lunch at STK

1600 Purchase Dry Goods, Peanut Kisses and other Souvenir Items

1700 ETD Tagbilaran via Hired Car

1730 ETA Resort

1800 Free Time

2100 Dinner at Hotel Restaurant

2300 Lights Out

 

 

Day 3

0600 Breakfast

0700 Swimming, Kayaking, Paddle Boating

1000 Explore Panglao Beach

1100 Wash up and Pack things

1200 Check Out at Resort Hotel

1230 Lunch at The Bee Farm Panglao

1400 ETD Bee Farm

1430 ETA Tagbilaran Airport

1500 Waiting for boarding

1545 ETD Tagbilaran Airport

1700 ETA NAIA Terminal 4

But WAIT THERE’S MORE. Flight got cancelled due to troubled aircraft on the runway. All flights will be re-booked 2 days from the orginal flight schedule which is too long for us.

1500 Waiting for boarding

1600 Flight got cancelled

1730 Request Refund

1830 ETD Tagbilaran Airport

1900 ETA Tagbilaran Port: Purchase Ticket to Cebu Port via Lite Ferry (Slow Boat)

1930 Booked flight Mactan Airport to NAIA Terminal 3: Next Day Flight

2100 Dinner at Marina Cafe

2200 Waiting for Ferry Boarding

2230 ETD Tagbilaran Port

0330 ETA Port of Cebu

 

Day 4

0600 ETD Port of Cebu

0615 ETA Larsian for Breakfast

0730 Cebu Day Tour

0800 Hired Car and Driver for Cebu Day Tour

0830 Taoist Temple

0930 Magellan’s Cross

0945 Sto Nino Parish Church

1015 Fort San Pedro

1100 Heritage of Cebu / Yap Ancestral House

1115 Museo Carcel

1200 Taboan for Dry Goods

1300 Lunch at CnT Lechon

1430 SM Seaside: Coffee at Room for Dessert

1530 ETD SM Seaside

1630 ETA Mactan International Airport

1700 Waiting for boarding

1730 ETD Mactan Intl Airport (Flight Delayed for 2 hours)

1900 ETD Mactan Intl Airport 

2000 ETA NAIA Terminal 3

2015 ETD NAIA

2230 HOME after Manila traffic!!

 

See you later PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Bolinao Pangasinan Backpacking Itinerary 2 Days / 1 Night

JeiManlalayag Edition

 

Day 1

0300 Call Time

0400 ETD Home

0430 ETA Five Star Teminal

0445 ETD Bus bound to DAU Pampanga

0600 ETA DAU Terminal

0605 Meet up with PNJ

0630 ETD Dau Terminal: Catch the bus bound to Alaminos

1100 ETA Alaminos City

1130 Early Lunch at Alaminos Food Court

1230 ETD Alaminos City

1330 Bolinao

1400 Hire Tricycle for Bolinao Day Tour

1430 Complete Supplies in Flee Market or Bolinao Market

1500 Start Bolinao Day Tour

1515 Enchanted Cave

1545 Wonderful Cave

1630 Bolinao Rock Formation

1700 Bolinao Lighthouse

1730 ETA Patar Beach

1800 Rent Cottage and Set up Tents

1830 Prepare Dinner

1900 Dinner / Socials

2200 Lights Out

 

 

Day 2

0500 Call Time

0530 Prepare Breakfast (Boodle Fight)

0600 Breakfast

0700 Explore Patar Beach / Swimming

0900 Wash up / Purchase Souvenir / Prepare for Bolinao Falls Tour

0930 ETD Patar Beach

1100 ETA Bolinao Falls

1115 Register and Pay Entrance Fee

1130 Explore Bolinao Falls

1300 ETD Bolinao Falls

1330 ETA Bolinao Poblacion

1345 Purchase Dry Goods

1400 Late Lunch at Adora’s

1500 ETD Bolinao (We missed the Bolinao – Manila Bus)

1600 ETA Alaminos City

1700 ETD Alaminos via Five Star Bus

2100 ETA Marquee Mall Bus Terminal

2200 SM Pampanga

2300 Home in Pampanga: Return trip to Manila the next day

PS: You can take the Bus bound to Cubao if your residing in Manila

ETA from Alaminos to Cubao is 5-6 hours. Add 1 hour from Bolinao. 24 hour in 1-2 hours bus interval are available in Alaminos City.

1700 ETA Alaminos

1200 ETA Five Star Terminal

 

See you later PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Patar Beach and Bolinao Falls: Friendship Goals

 

“Treasure the friends you have since you were young. As they are the most precious people that can insult and love you at the same time”

  • Fakir

Features: Patar Beach, Bolinao Falls, Bolinao Market, Adora’s and Bolinao Town

 

The cold December breeze put me to sleep inside my sleeping bag and the tent I borrowed. I can hear the waves of the sea that seems to sing lullaby. I woke up early in the morning, early riser as ever. I sleep well and the cold air welcomes my morning. I start to deal with our breakfast meal, cooking rice, preparing the left overs from last night dinner and staring to the vast shoreline across our cottage. My friend Nilo joined me afterwards and we start to cook our food. We decide to put up a boodle fight breakfast for our OFW friend Pher and his girlfriend Lee.

 

 We cooked scrambled eggs, tuyo (dried fish), corned beef and pre-heat our left over sinigang. Served with hot chocolate and coffee. We are in happy land us we are all woke up and dig in our morning. The sun rise after the cloudy yesterday to our satisfaction. After we ate, we decide to explore the white pebbled sand of Patar Beach. The shoreline stretch in the Northern part of the Philippines. The water is crystal clear and waves are bit rush since there still storm rummaging the South. The sand of Patar is very pretty, its not as fine as Panglao nor Boracay but it does have its own glory.

 

We goofed around the beach, swim and take endless pictures until battery life had gone. Our service tricycle is already waiting for our next stop. BOLINAO FALLS. After dipping to the cold blue water and experience the sun. We decide to wash up to go to our next adventure. Showering in Patar public bath house cost Php 15 – 20.00 with unlimited water source. HEHE. As we dress up for our next adventure, we settle our bill and purchase our souvenirs at the entrance. Shirts cost from Php 120.00 – 350.00 in which you can haggle, I purchase my batik (dyed) shirt and refrigerator magnets.

 

We rented our tricycle service for Bolinao Falls for Php 800.00. We started to hit the road around 0930, the sun beaming happily and the journey just started. From Patar Beach going to Bolinao Falls road experience is bumpy and long. It will take at least 1 hour ride. Since it rained yesterday, the road to the falls is mud dirt. Concrete roads are not yet fixed and we need to take off the tricycle several times and push the tricycle out of the mud. We missed the Bolinao sign-age so we got lost that actually prolong the ride. We back track the mud-fill road. Until we finally we can go down and stretched our legs and backs.

 

We trail down for 1-2 minutes, paid for entrance fee which is Php 50.00. Cottages are for free, I failed to asked if they are free if its peak season. Most of the fee we had are deducted because its off peak. Few tourist are roaming around. According to the locals during the summer which is from April to June. The entire place is jammed with tourists like a market sale. I appreciate less people, quiet places and abundant with good food.

 

Upon reaching the falls, I am in 100% awe but it was a stunning place to view. The water is cold and refreshing while the endless 4 – 5 layer falls is heavily pouring down on its creek. You can jump the cliff off if your daredevil enough but I learn my lesson. I attempted a cliff jump before and I was pulled down by water which leave a traumatic experience. I can do it again for as long guide will be there to pull me out of the water or if it just a simple cliff diving.

 

We take pictures and videos all over the falls. I tried to jump off from a tree going to the deep creek part which is exhilarating. The adventures seems to be endless. If your going here its best to bring PICNIC LUNCH or SNACKS that can be enjoyed with your family, love ones and friends. After getting all the pictures we needed. We head back to Bolinao Town that took us at least 30 minutes to reach. We purchased our dried fish and fish sauces.

 

We supposed to go back to Alaminos to have the HUNDRED ISLAND tour because gale warning is already lifted. But due to emergency back home, we need to go back early. So we scratch the deal and just take our lunch at ADORA’S. Famous restaurant in Bolinao which serves cooked local cuisine, snacks, halo-halo and all types of pancit (noodles). After our heavy lunch, we head out to the bus station and we missed the afternoon Bolinao – Cubao bus. HEHE. There is only one available ATM in Bolinao which will cut your money from Php 30-50.00. Better be prepared and ready your cash before going to Bolinao depending on your budget and number.

 

We hopped in to a van going to Alaminos to catch another bus bound to Manila that took us another 1 hour of travel time. Reaching Alaminos we catched the bus bound to Cubao, settle for another 3-4 hours bus ride to home. We paid Php for the fare to Marquee Mall in Dau Pampanga to head back home I am still on leave at work and will take weekend with my family so I decide to join them back home. Traffic is heavy in Tarlac because of ongoing road repairs. We reached Pampanga around 2100, left Alaminos at 1700.

 

We took another jeep to SM Pampanga via NLEX then take another jeep to Sta Ana Pampanga to head back home. Due to the recent rain, our area is severely flooded, my friend and his girlfriend cannot make it home. So its another pajama night for the 3 of us. We end up our Stormy Trip to North happily regardless if we when home wet. We still think we are wild and over the decade of friendship, this is how we celebrate! Travel with friends if you have time and thank them for staying beside you even if you are crazy and doom.

 

LET FRIENDSHIP LAST PIRATES! SEE YOU AGAIN!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Bolinao Pangasinan: Backpacking Friendship

Cherish the moments with people who support and love you beyond imperfection.”

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Bolinao Rock Formation

  • Fakir

Features: Bolinao Pangasinan Backpacking, Enchanted Cave, Wonderful Cave, Bolinao Rock Formation, Bolinao Lighthouse, Patar Beach, Camping and Tricycle Tour.

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Jei, Pher, Lee and Nilo (Left to Right)

It was time of the year where I meet my high school buddies and have our annual trip. We are celebrating decade of friendship, we choose to celebrate in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Amidst the uncanny weather condition due to the recent December typhoon, I manage to convince our friend Pher which is a balikbayan (OFW) from Dubai to spend the weekend with me and Nhey. The south is being bashed by rain and winds so we decide to go to Northern Philippines to avoid the rainy weather. Another chasing the sun in Ber months, an episode of catching the rays of the sun under extreme weather.

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Since I am Manila-based and they are living in Pampanga, we decide meet up in DAU Terminal to be chance passengers bound to Alaminos or Bolinao. Fare from Manila to Dau cost Php 132.00. We are able to complete the group of 4 around 0630, hopped in to the bus bound to Alaminos (non-aircondition) fare price cost around Php200.00. One of the most irritating bus ride of my life. After entering Tarlac proper, the bus did nothing but stop/go. There is no express public bus to Pangasinan, you need to be patient with the run around of public transport system especially if you ride a non-aircondition bus which fare is less expensive apart from AC bus. I recommend you to ride the AC bus it cost more but a lot faster that non-AC. It will save you so much time.

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We arrive in Alaminos at 1100, the cloudy sky line of Pangasinan greet us warmly. We had an early lunch in Food Court Alaminos, taste the great Pangasinan / Ilocano dish. We want to explore the Hundred Islands National Park so we rent 2 tricycles which cost us Php 80.00 per ride. Unfortunately, gale warning is not lifted even though there is no signal warning in Pangasinan. A total waste of time since terminals in Alaminos Bayan should be aware so I feel scammed by the drivers. NOT HELPFUL AT ALL.

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So we went back to Alaminos, transfer to van to Bolinao which cost Php 50.00. Apart from eating we haven’t started the trip, the sky is getting gloomy and drops of water started to fall. I am still praying for clear sky because dragging your friends with your adventure while a typhoon is ongoing, guilty feeling lingers. We only have this little chance of being together since we have long distance relationship so we need to push this plan further. The van dropped us in gasoline station where his kumpare Kuya Rey will tour us in Bolinao. We decide to start the trip and closed the deal at Php 700.00 for a day tour in Bolinao to Patar Beach.

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Before starting the tour we stop over to flee market to complete our camping supplies. I already brought my camping gears and equipments, we need the food and drinks. After getting all the supplies we need to last the night in Bolinao, we proceed on our tour. The rain is softly kissing my lips as I back ride in the tricycle. According to Kuya Rey, Patar is pretty far from the Poblacion. We reach Enchanted Cave is 1-hour time.

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First stop, ENCHANTED CAVE. My friend always want to go to Hinatuan Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur. But since we don’t have the budget for airplane tickets, I decide to go to Bolinao for this attraction. Entrance fee cost Php 150.00 and Parking Fee is Php 20.00. The entrance fee surge from Php 50.00 to Php 150.00, pricing change when summer 2015 arrive. As per the cashier they change the pricing to upgrade the resort. The fees are way too much, other tourist destination don’t charge that much because it is supposed to be for free.

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Anyway, the cave is spectacular. Clear turquoise water welcome us, the artificial lighting did not do good but enchanted cave is still amazing. At the time we are there, the water is 10-foot deep, according to the caretaker it can take up to 15-foot if its high tide. The water is cold and refreshing after the long travel time from Manila. This officially kick our day tour. We spend at least an hour swimming and taking pictures before deciding to move on to the next cave.

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Second destination, Wonderful Cave. I accidentally drop my sling bag which carries my dslr camera and tablet. Disappointed to learn that it damage the lens of my beloved camera and my tablet got a nicked. REALLY SAD FACE HERE. Nevertheless we resume the tour, we haggle for the entrance fee since we will just look around for a few minutes. We are able to cut the fee from Php 100.00 to Php 70.00 which might will not be applicable during peak season. Comparing it to other sight seeing cities, Bolinao is not yet administer properly by the tourism office because the caves are owned by private persons.

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The cave is pretty much the same with enchanted cave but the latter is more formidable in terms of facility. Enchanted is more on business tourist spot while wonderful is quiet. Its already 1630, we still need to check out 2 more spots before proceeding to Patar Beach. I was quite disoriented about my broken lens. HEHE! Still need to continue, we spend a good 15 minutes here then went to Bolinao Rock Formation.

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Bolinao Rock Formation, supposed to be we are route to Cindy’s Cave but Kuya Rey informed us that the cave is a bit mysterious. I was a freak when it comes to ghost stories and spiritual events. We passed the last cave and proceed to the Rock Formation. Entrance fee cost Php 80.00, we haggle again since we are not staying here. We were able to pay for Php 50.00 each and explore the site. The rockies can be compare to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte, although the rocks here are black while the Kapurpurawan have smooth white marble formation.

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We had fun here because the view is spectacular. The high tidal waves that bumping to the rocks made an awesome view. There are moments when the storm bring so much life to certain places. This is the best moment to capture the rapture of the waves against the high rocks that play as barrier to the entire Rock Formation shoreline. Indeed a worthy place to visit on your next rainy season adventure. We took a lot of picture and videos, stayed at least an hour. At 0530 we move to Bolinao Lighthouse to view the sun set.

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Last part of the day tour, Bolinao Lighthouse. The sun is now embracing the sea and the sky is on fire. The lively yellow orange ball of fire is now bidding farewell to its day. It was the perfect time of the day to be at the Bolinao Lighthouse, free entrance and if the caretaker is available you can actually get inside it. Unfortunately, the caretaker already left since its almost night time. We just settle on taking our moment while viewing the beautiful sunset. The night sky easily spread, then we proceed to Patar Beach to rest. The day tour is a success even though we embarked with turmoil onset of the tour.

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Reaching Patar Beach. The waves are stronger and the cold wind is giving chill to our spines. I brought two tents to occupy so that we can save on our budget. Table rent will only cost Php 300.00 for the entire night but my friend have another thought about staying outdoors. He still check-in to one of the Nipa Hut with bedroom and receiving room which is good for 4-6 pax. The overnight rental is Php 1500.00, the cost is lower because its off peak season.

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We set our packs down, rest a bit and start to cook our dinner we bought over the flee market. We have Pork Sinigang and Grilled Pork, some booze to share and life to talk about. It seems like our friendship matures over the years but we are still the same people. We are happy to reunite once more and bit by bit we are able to fulfil some of our life goals. Truly, backpacking with my high school buddies is great and the experience that will last. Its about time to sleep, lights, camera, out.

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Day 1 is done with a blast. I will write another review for our Day 2. Exploring Patar Beach and Bolinao Falls.

Sojourn to our next trip Pirates!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Manabu Peak and Mt Maculot Twin Hike

“The great outdoors can push the limitations of your physical prowess to its utmost power

– Fakir

Features: Manabu Peak, Tatay Tino’s Free Coffee, Hiking, Camping, Twin Climb, Mt Maculot, Day Hiking and 2 Mountains in 2 Days

The Beautiful Kitanglad Range

 

How to be a weekend warrior? Its the time of the year again where most of our annual vacation leaves are already used. We do no longer have sufficient time to go far away from home and work. Some people have one day rest but for others we have two. Good thing I work with two rest days which happen every Saturday and Sunday. I need to come up with a climbing activity that will over power my dull weekends at home. It was 2 months now since my last climb so I decide to go on a camping trip with a fellow hiker and office mate.

Manabu Trail

Manabu Trail

I decided to grant the wish of Chey to climb Mt Maculot and Camp in Manabu Peak as our orignal itinerary. We are supposed to be five in the group but before we take off we were down to two. So me and my friend Chey decide to continue our trip to Batangas. Off to Araneta Center Cubao around 0900, we completed our supplies and hopped into bus bound for Batangas City. We took off in Lipa-Tramo Exit. Fare price Php 132.00 from Cubao to Lipa-Tramo Exit.

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

From the toll exit we ride jeep to Lipa Poblacion for Php 8.00. Then take another jeepney to Fiesta mall for Php 8.00. We reached Fiesta Mall around 1230 so we took our lunch before we head to the jump off. We ride tricycle from Fiesta Mall to Manabu Jump-off for Php 100.00. Register in the Barangay hall for free and you can leave any amount as donation. We reached the jump off, it was warm and you can smell the mountain. We rest for a bit before we begin to ascend.

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The Dawn in the Camp Site

Starting around 1400, guides are not required in Manabu which is a good thing. Trail is visible but challenging if its your first time. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT, make sure you trek the clean trail and you were on the right track if your still ending up seeing the trail sign. Trail sign in Maculot is a map of all stations printed in tarpaulin. Providing where you are in the trail, this serves as the navigator if you did not hire a guide.

Manabu Sunrie

Manabu Sunrise

Two months of no hike, running or gym training. I lose weight for the past few months because of appetite lose and stress surrounding me. Going back to the mountains with someone which is very fit makes me feel weak. My pack is killing me, my lungs will burst any time and my body is about to split in half. Assaulting becomes harder and as we move station by station. I can feel my hips and legs are fading away from my body. It was painful and glorious at the same time.

Sunrise and Me

Sunrise and Me

We reached Tatay Tino’s kubo which is the STARBUCKS in this mountain. Giving free brewed coffee which is delightful. It will wake you body up to continue once last draw to station 6 where the camp is located. My legs are getting weak, no sleep and heavy backpack. I had 2 coffee cups, it was too delicious not to drink. Tatay is very accommodating to hikers in which he is respected as the land lord of this mountain. Leaving the coffee behind, continuing this climb. I need to make it in the summit otherwise I will roll over from its slope. I am tired, weary and sweaty. Sun sets in which we are able to marvel along the trail. Such a beautiful sight even though I am about to die.

Camping in the FOG site

Camping in the FOG site

We reached the camp site around 1730, vast camping ground that can accommodate 20-30 2P tents. We found our spot, set our camp and started cooking our dinner. We missed our hiking friends from Balanghai G and our friends from Yapak which have their own endeavours. I cannot keep up with the group I founded because I will keep of seeing the person I hated the most. We missed our friends who are reluctant now in terms of climbing and have set their priorities. This is mostly our conversation on our socials. We are unable to mingle with other hikers because we are tired. So we put our lights out around 2100.

Balanghai At SUMMIT

Balanghai At SUMMIT

The mist of dawn made it very cold. The wind is howling as I woke up around 0300. It still dark outside, sleep was good and the temperature is getting low. I waited for the sun rise because I cannot go back to sleep. Hundreds of memories keep on flooding my mind. I had the best year in terms of climbing. Manabu will be my 17th climb and Maculot will be my 18th. The sun is about to shine, the yellow orange light is coming and the sight is tremendously pretty. The sunlight that touches my old damp skin gives warm. I wake up Chey from her slumber for us to reached the summit which is 5 minutes away from the camp site.

Mt Maculot Summit

Mt Maculot Summit

Manabu summit have cross made by the locals. The space is a bit smaller that can only accommodate 20 – 30 people at large. Since it was weekend, several hikers were as mad as we are. Jam packed summit, it was. We all watched the beautiful sun rise which is very marvellous. It was once of the best sun rise I ever seen at the top of a mountain. After taking all the pictures we need, we descend to take our breakfast. We ate and break the camp.

Mt Maculot Rockies

Mt Maculot Rockies

I want to go down early to taste the delicious coffee at Tatay Toni’s. Heavy meal then barako coffee will make your day. We need to energize before climbing Mt Maculot. The smell of coffee created an ultimate euphoric feeling, its like waking up from a good dream. We continue the descent with a happy mood. The day will be long for the two of us. We reached the jump-off around 1000. Then freshen a bit before taking off to Fiesta mall via tricycle.

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot]

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot

We hopped into jeepney bound to SM Lipa to catch another jeepney to Cuenca route to Lemery. Fare Fiesta Mall to SM Lipa is Php 8.00, Manabu jumpoff to SM Lipa via tricycle just add Php 50.00. From SM Lipa to Cuenca Poblacion fare is Php 25.00, then take another tricycle to Barangay Hall to register and to get your guide. Guide fees varies depending on the type of climb.

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Shoe Selfie

We chose to climb from Summit and the Rockies for Php 500.00. The popular guide fee is Mt Maculot Rockies for Php 400.00 minimum of 5 pax, all in excess of 5 pax cost Php 50.00 per pax. Maculot Traverse cost Php 800.00. Overnight Rockies Php 1000.00, Traverse 1500.00 and Rockies-Summit cost Php 1200. Adding pax for overnight climb cost Php 100.00 per pax. We left our packs in the bath house at the base of the mountain, brought only the things we required on a day climb. Tricycle from Cuenca Poblacion to jump off cost Php 20.00 per pax.

Rockies Trail

Rockies Trail

The guide fee is really expensive if your hiking alone or for 2 pax. According to our guide, if its a returned climb you can waive off the guide since the trail is easy to track. The guide fee info looks like a menu from a restaurant. HeHe. We started our climb around 1300, it was tough and painful. My lungs are breaking into pieces and sweat is like rain in June. I am totally feeling weak because of the humidity. Its been 2 months from my last hike, then 2 mountains is really killing me. We reach the camp site is 2 hours, rest a bit and continue to climb to the summit.

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The summit have wild grass everywhere at the start of the assault. You need to wear long sleeves and pants to prevent scratches from talahib. From the camp site to the summit in good pacing, you can reach it in 30 minutes. We reached the summit, eat our lunch and take all the photos at the top. A good 15 minutes passed, we decided to go down to the Rockies. The usual climb starts from Rockies to the Summit but the Rockies is overcrowded so we decide to trek the Summit first before proceeding to the Rockies Part.

The view is scenic

The view is scenic

Rockies is a ridge from the camp site which is about 15 minutes away. The trail is a bit technical, it will be a difficult terrain for first timers. My stamina and endurance are depleting is fast paced, on this part I am panting regularly. For my energy to last, I am no longer muttering words. We reached the top of the Rockies around 1600, marvelled ourselves to the beauty. The sun shines adorably against Taal Lake. You can view the Malarayat Range, Taal Volcano and Mt Makiling. This mountain is very popular, now I do no long wonder why.

Panorama of Manabu Peak

Panorama of Manabu Peak and Kitanglad Range

We ascend around 1700, no break or rest. Trekking down from Rockies to the jump-off took 1 hour. We reach the bath house, water from their reserved is already drained. So we move to another bath house and the long line started. I am extreme exhausted, hungry and smelly. After taking our turn to the wash room, we immediately hopped back to Cuenca Poblacion to catch a jeepney back to SM Lipa for dinner and hopped into a bus bound to Manila. Fare cost Php 30.00 from Cuenca to SM Lipa.

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We ate in Mang Inasal SM Lipa for unlimited rice. HEHE. After the heavy dinner, we catch the bus to Manila around 2100. We reached the city around 2300, tired but happy from our 2 days itinerary. Reaching my bed after the tiresome 2 climb in 2 days with 2 person and 1 experience of a lifetime.

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SEE YOU ON OUR NEXT CLIMB PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio and Nilo Canlas Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Sorsogon: Inner Beauty of South

“Awaken your soul to the joy and peace of this world. Learn to take the road of sound and calm towards achieving GOALS”

– Fakir

Albay – Sorsogon Solo Bicol Itinerary

Features: Tricycle Road Trip, Irosin, Bulusan National Park, Falls, Dancalan Beach, and Mateo Hot Spring in San Benon

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The escapades in Albay are delightful. The food, locals and the tourist spots are melting my heart away. I started very early, checked out in Magayon Hotel around 0430. Full packed to Sorsogon, I went straight to Legazpi Grand Terminal via tricycle for Php 40.00. I arrive in the terminal too early, bus bound for Sorsogon are not available at that time. Since its off-peak season, bus coming in and out of Albay don’t follow schedule. I waited for 2 hours before a bus bound for Sorsogon arrived.

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I hopped into the bus from Albay to Sorsogon fare cost Php74.00, this is an ordinary bus. You can also take the bus to Matnog, Sorsogon if you are bound to Irosin. The bus left from Albay around 0600, with various stop over the driver drop me off in Sorsogon, Sorsogon intersection where I took jeepney to Irosin for Php 50.00. On my way to Irosin, haciendas and beautiful farm homes are built in between hectares of Koprahan or coconut plantation. The place is luscious green, have fresh air to breath and a developing love for South.

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The trip to Sorsogon proper to Irosin took 2 hours. I arrived in Irosin Public Market, waited for my friend and was drove off to rural barangay. The peaceful life in rural place like Irosin will catch you your. I want to live in this quiet place, at least 2 or 3 months. Leaving the buzzing sound of the city life. I wish I can turn my life down here in Manila, drove off far from the hassle of traffic and nosy people around me.

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After I digging my breakfast prepared by my friend, we started our day tour in Irosin. I need to take that photo in front of the monumental welcome structure of Irosin. This is the gateway of Luzon and Visayas. Matnog is near the place were the port is located. Transporting buses all over Luzon to Samar or Leyte. Someday, I will go on another road trip to Samar and Leyte to see San Juanico Bridge. We went to Bulusan National Park to see the lake and take a lot of pictures. Unfortunately there was movie shoot that time, the whole place was rented by the production in which we are prohibited to enter.

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Still we continue on our road trip, we went to Nasipit Falls. Entrance cost Php 10.00 were you can swim over the fresh cold water spring from the mountain. There were torrential rain because of the typhoon hitting in the North so the place is full of fallen leaves. I took some picture then we were on the road again for our next G. On our way to Dancalan Beach Resort still here in Bulusan, Sorsogon. We stopped in the middle of the highway which actually put me to my inner peace. The highway which is constructed in the mountainous part have this scenic top view of the entire Bulusan shore line. It was just beautiful and right I away, I fell in love again.

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We reached Dancalan beach at high noon, dark clouds still forming. It was low tide to the entire diverse shore is showing its glamour. The coral reefs are flaunting their colorful formation. I guess the entire Danacalan Cove is 10 times larger than Anawangin Cove. It was kilometers of white sand and rock formation. I guess summer here will be an EPIC LEISURE. The entrance cost Php 10.00 and nipa hut rental is Php 30.00. CHEAP DEAL ALERT!

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Camping is also suitable or you can rent a room ranging from Php 500.00 – 1000.00 which are huge enough to accommodate an entire family or 5-10 pax. Fresh seaweed is free of charge so you make that delicious PAKO SALAD. Before we went to the beach, we bought ingredients and rice for our lunch. We grilled pork and hotdogs plus a bottle of beer. I don’t usually drink but I need to toast for this day with a friend who actually treated me very well in her hometown. Truly grateful for giving me the ride here in Sorsogon.

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The tour in Bulusan and nearby town is unexpected. The swirling wind and continues rain make this little town solemn. After the trip to Dancalan Beach, we went straight to San Benon where the famous hot springs are located. We docked into San Mateo Hot Spring, entrance fee Php 20.00 and nipa hut rental is Php 100.00 that can accommodate at least 10-15 sitting capacity.

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After being restless from series of hoping from one public transport to another, its time to take a nice dip into the HOT SPRING. Imagining those hot springs from Japan, steam coming out from the pool and you can have hard boiled egg from the source of water. You can choose a pool to dip, the warm, the hot and very hot jacuzzi. I dip all available pool and immensely got BURN from the jacuzzi. It was very hot, I think 40-42 degrees hot tub. The spring made my muscles relax and comfortable after 3 days of soul-searching Bicol region.

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My one day affair in Sorsogon is truly remarkable. From the Manila to the outskirt of Albay and the accidental trip to Irosin make this trip such an experience to my traveling career. Going back to Manila leave happy thoughts. Since this way out of my itinerary, night time reached Irosin and jeepney route to Sorsogon last trip left. I packed my bags, prepare to hitch any passenger bus from Matnog Port. Bus route from Samar / Leyte bound for Manila.

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It was 2300 in the evening when I was able to hopped in the Bus. It was one of the uncomfortable trips of my life. Since the bus is not full, most of the seats are being used as beds so I settle nearly behind the vehicle. So much bumps and the air-condition is in lowest possible temperature. Stop over in Camarines Sur after 3 hours travel, my neck is incurably painful and my back is killing me because it too cold. Good thing the conductor and driver ask me for Php 500.00 from Irosin to Pasay City. The fare usually cost Php 900.00 – 1000.00 which save me almost half of the budget. I will never ride that bus company again.

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The trip is almost over, the experience was quite an adventure. Going solo on a road trip creates so much memories and bunch of travel idea. Learning the ways of backpacking and the lesson of the in0/out of going on trip. To initiate trip accordingly based on experiences by other people, especially reading too many travel blog can be very useful in exploring this world. Backpacking like this open my mind into more possibilities of traveling solo.

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Sometimes you need to go on impulsive trip, decide where to go. Make sure you have internet and get all the information you needed. Take the bus with your pack and travel with style!!

See you again PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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ALBAY: Day Zero, Road Trip to Bicol

“Let the sun kiss you in summer, let the rain embrace you in storm season, let the wind brush those weariness from the cold ber days. Two season of LOVE” – FAKIR


Albay – Sorsogon Solo Bicol Itinerary

 

Ultrabus seats are very comfy!

 

Features: Solo backpacking, Ultrabus, Daraga City, Legazpi City, Magayon Hotel, and road trip to Albay

Do the things that reward your hard work. What do you do on your spare time? On your vacation leaves? School vacation? G with the gang, drink in a pub, party here and there or do you travel? I got another 2 days off the from work plus 2 days plotted leave. Two weeks before getting approve, I got sun-kissed from hiking escapades. Summer is over, July brings the dark clouds all over the country. Frequent rain and thunderstorms. I wanted to go to Kalinga to get a tattoo from Whand Od but Typhoon just enter PAR 2 days before my trip. Changing itinerary in 2 days time from North to South transpired.

 

Along the way in Quezon Province

 

My SOLO adventure to the South begins, here I come Albay!!

I want to see Mayon, the famous perfect cone. Come out of my shell when it rains and explore farther away from the city. A dream backpacking trip; butt numbing road trip, new backpack and bag of nervousness. I can hear the beats of my own heart, its deafening the hell out me. I am nervous, it was my first 12-hour road trip. My friends were discouraging though but I never let them enter my mind. So I found myself full packed and traveling to Araneta bus terminal going to ALBAY.

 

Somewhere in Naga City

 

Off peak season, bus schedule on the internet are not followed. Instead of catching the 0600 trip, I ride in ULTRABUS Manila to Samar route. The ticketing officer advise me that they will drop me to Daraga. On my itinerary, I am supposed to take off in Legazpi Grand Terminal. Oh well, I am here and I will never go home. (While mustering explicit words inside my head, I am way out of my IT!)

 

Famous Sili of Bicol. Red spicy hot chilis!

 

I was early, thinking I can catch an earlier trip. I ate, drink, puff, pee, repeat three times. Around 0800 the bus filled with passengers and loads to Visayas. The bus is not full so I got a row for myself and my pack along side. Driving along EDSA going Southbound, I texted my ICE (In Case of Emergency) people to grant me best on my trip.

 

Magayon Hotel window view. Php 200 per night fan room.

 

It is important that someone know where you are if you are planning a SOLO trip, you don’t want your family or friends worry. So tell them your whereabouts!

The bus made its way to South Luzon Expressway. The vibe of this trip is causing goosebumps and nausea so I decide to sleep it off. Ultrabus wifi service is indeed excellent and the seats were comfortable enough to doze off. I woke up after three hours, we’re in Quezon Province highway. The seashore against the dark skies. I ate snack while being accompanied by my phone music playlist. It was surreal to travel a long way. Alone yet so exciting for my itinerary in Albay. To see the beautiful Mayon Volcano.

   

 

Its idle time again, slept for the next 3-4 hours. I woke up for a bus stop over in Naga City. Time check, 1700. The sky slowly gaze the night-time as I sip a cup of instant coffee from the vendors. Stretching my legs and arms, done with bathroom breaks. This trip is now sinking into my head. As we go further South, I did not sleep and watch over my window while heading to Albay. From Naga City, it took another 3-4 hours before I soundly arrive in Daraga City. The old Provincial Capital, in the middle of the night standing on a higher ground was the Daraga Church. The busy street of Daraga makes me want to go for a 5 minute walk.

 

Bed in Magayon Hotel in Legazpi Albay

 

I asked around on how to get to Legazpi City, 24 hours jeepney transportation is rotating in the entire city. After my walk, I ride to Legazpi to look for an inn to stay for 2 days. The streets are quiet and clean, smoking is prohibited in most part of the city. As I took off from the jeep, I walk around to check for my hotel. It was a sudden halt to know that the hotel where I am about to stay is no longer in service due to renovations so I need to find a new place to stay in.

 

Me in Embarcadero Legazpi City

 

Equipped with hotels listing, I walk around to find the cheapest decent inn I can get. I enter a nice hotel but their fan room is fully booked that night. Still on foot, I reached Magayon Hotel. There are few fan rooms available so I settle the booking and got my keys. Magayon Hotel Fan Room cost Php 200.00 per night! CHEAP DEAL ALERT! Common CR for the toilet and bath. A nice little room with cable tv, fan, single bed and pillow. It doesn’t have sheets, good thing I bought my sleeping bag with me. A must have for SOLO TRAVELERS.

  

I took a bath after that 12 hours trip, change and out for dinner. I ride tricycle to Embacadero de Legazpi for Php 25.00. I thought the place will be livelier since its arcade center for pubs and restaurant. To my dismay, most of the restaurant stop taking orders. One bar open with local band performing, I passed because I don’t even drink. I walked out Embarcadero back to the main city, I went to a street in front of a construction site for SM Legazpi. I saw kiosks selling food so I did not hesitate, took my seat and ordered chicken / chicken intestine barbeque, rice and soda for my dinner. The kind vendor gave extra rice because they were about to closed

   

Ihaw-ihaw in Legazpi Street

Day Zero ended peacefully with rain pours in my head as I walk back to my hotel. I decide to put myself in slumber at 1130. Tomorrow will be the start kicker of my adventures in BICOLANDIA!!

  

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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The Kuripot Backpacker: I WHIP my SHOESTRING TRAVELS

“Adventure doesn’t have price, it has grand memories to share and to remember. The most unforgettable experiences are always PRICELESS”

– Fakir

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Features: Budgeting, Financing, Cheap Deal Alert and Traveling in Shoestring Expense.

Most people I know are asking me if my job or writing pays well that I can go to expedition. Traveling is being connoted as expensive hobby. Only for the people who are rich and have the time to spend on going out instead of committing themselves to their day job. I think its a wrong manifestation, I believe that anyone can go out and escape from the town under low budget. I am very stingy when it comes to financing my climbs, backpacking and most of my camping trips. Massive research of places, calculating the risk and the expenses will be the main subject of the trips I have.

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Mt Arayat Traverse Repeat Climb under Php 1000 budget from Manila

Splurging if its a dream travel or trimming down the cost depending of my money’s ability. I spend time calculating several times, weeks before my trips before deciding on touring. The usage of internet will serve as an advantage to your travel ideas. The cheapest climb I ever had is day hiking in Mt Tagapo in Binangonan, Rizal that cost me Php 250.00 with 5 pax on the group. We hire a guide and it was near my place. Traveling doesn’t mean going on a plane ride, nor hopping in for a butt numbing road trip. If you like doing something you wanted to do, plan ahead and you will get there soon.

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The Camiguin Island Experience under Php 2000 budget from Cagayan de Oro

The cheapest backpacking trip I had is my Albay-Sorsogon trip which cost me less than Php 4000.00. Going solo is not as expensive as you read out from articles and travel blogs. I love what I am doing that is the reason why I plan based on my pocket’s ability. Sometimes, fortunate events will be given to you in the most uncanny situation like what happened to me in Sorsogon.

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Masasa Beach in Tingloy Batangas under Php 1000 budget from Manila

I take advantage to plane ticket sale or buying ticket that won’t be used. I went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, my friend’s boyfriend is unable to attend the trip. They sell the ticket for Php1000.00, room share for Php 300.00 per night and cutting the expense by touring with group packages. I take advantages of the offer that come across, quickly deciding if its a good buy or not. Palawan will always be a worthy purchase after all. Hehe.

Burot Beach in Calatagan Batangas under Php 1000 trip from Manila

The large body of water in the Philippines will make you crave for endless summer. Going to the beach is fascinating, best way to relax and get away from the busy streets of the city. Go on a beachineering trip of your life. I spend less than Php 1000.00 going to Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas because I want to try camping in the beach. The ever solitary life I have, beach trip alone but I never had a dull moment with myself. I always find amusing things to do with my limited budget.

Lignon Hill in Legazpi Albay during my Albay-Sorsogon Trip under Php 4000 budget

I joined travel agencies for my Ilocos Trip for Php 3800.00 in 2014 which include the entire tour, van service and accommodation. I just brought my pocket money for food, souvenir and entertainment. My trip to Banaue-Sagada is also booked via touring agency which cost Php 3300.00 for 3 days and 2 nights with tour, spelunking, trek to the falls, van service and accommodation. First time in Baler cost me Php 2300 in 2014 for 2 days and night, returning trip only cost me Php 1500.00 for DIY itinerary and birthday treat of a friend. Those barkada package can give you the ultimate adventure of your life and memories to share with your friends. Drag them along with you or join as solo. Regardless, a trip is still a trip even if you hire someone to deal with the itinerary.

Nagsasa Beach in San Antonio Zambales under Php 1500 budget

 

If you don’t have the money to spend with mountaineering gears or equipment. Find a group who would likely lend you their gears for you to experience hiking at its best. You can always find someone who is willing to help a friend to full fill their life long dream to travel. There are ways if you know someone who do something that make you want to try. This world is limited if you allow yourself to put an end to something you never tried to start with. I am once a dreamer, never believe that I can go to the places I went to. But I overcome the fear and at the present time I am enjoy writing about the travels of my life.

Cagsawa Ruin in Albay, still part of my Albay-Sorsogon Trip under Php 4000 budget

If you want to travel, pack your bags, plan your trip and go elsewhere. Buy the cheapest ticket you can get, travel at least once a year. Get out your safe zone and explore the world. If you will save Php 20.00 per day for all the weekdays of the year, you will have Php 4800.00 that you can used to an adventure that will be kept for life. There are several agencies that offer cheap deals. Explore the world, treasure the memories and mind you that traveling is not always for the rich people. It is for everyone, just plan and budget it depending on your trip.

Escapade in Underground River Tour under Php 7000 budget for 3 days and 2 nights in Palawan

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 Make friends along the way or be with your family. Cut the splurge by being a cowboy who can sleep in a tent, couch or a cheap hostel. You will not sleep in your tour, you need to walk to see all the sight seeing places, run if your catching time and take a nap on that long road trip. If you have the money to spend buying a new gadget or expensive food. Don’t reason out that traveling are for people who have more money than you do. This is the best time to start exploring. When it comes to traveling there are no poor people, old, no gender. We all have the extra time, money to spend (no matter how little your funds) and places to go.

Tukuran Falls in Oriental Mindoro under Php 3000 budget for Manila-Puerto Galera Mindoro Weekend Getaway

Please feel free to asked me on saving money for my trips or how I funds my trips efficiently. Comment below or contact me on my email!!

Maculot Rockies Photo under my Php 1500 Manabu-Maculot Climb

See you again PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Trilogy Hike: Mt Gola, Mt Manalmon and Mt Matinik

“I hope you remember that my laughs and smiles are 100 times healthier when I am with you.”

      • Fakir into the Mountains

 

The smells of summer cast happiness to our old dying nation. The heat of the sun is burning all the way, from city to the provincial fields. The mountains are delightful for the brim light coming from the star. It was time to unfathomable adventures until the summer last.

 

I wish this will be the best summer for me. One of our unimaginable summer. My no more tears formula from loneliness of the warm climate bring sad memories from the ghost of my own past. Now, I want to change and leave nothing but happay memories. After exploring the Burot Beach in Calatagan,Batangas. Still on my 5-day vacation leave, I came to continue my exploration without getting tired to the peaks of San Miguel, Bulacan. Originally, it was a planned hike to Mt Maculot but after learning that overnight seems to be impossible. The plan changed abruptly to Twin Hike for Manalmon and Gola.

Ruining the Batangas escapades, after tanning in Burot (See Related Article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/04/14/burot-beach-going-solo/). I went back to Manila, slept a bit, change my pack from beach attires to climbing stuff. Meet up with the group and went straight to Cubao Terminal. Hola, from South to North! From Cubao to San Miguel, Bulacan, you can hopped in to bus bound to Cabanatuan via Sta Rita for Php 100-120.00 / $2.00 – 2.70. Day hike is very applicable but you need to be very early. After exiting Sta Rita NLEX toll, you must be an HOKAGE to bypass the traffic.

 

There will be a bus stop in San Miguel proper, hire a tricycle to Sitio Madlum. Fare is around Php 70.00 – 80.00 / head for a group of 4 or 5 in 1 tricycle. It will take 20 – 30 minutes tryke ride to the Sitio. It was mid morning when we reach the registration hall. We met our guide, Tatay Carling and Tatay Tonyo which were very pleasant to mountaineers. They even have equipment brought to them by hikers. Humidity is high but the dancing bamboos give fresh air around the river.

 

Registration fee cost Php5.00 and guide fee is Php300.00 day hike or overnight. We started trekking in high noon. The infamous Madlum River, several horror stories were provided to us upon starting the climb. Yes!! It’s killing me softly. I hate horror movies, stories and the monsters below the bed. Madlum have it all. Anyway, back to the trail. The air is refreshing, 10 – 20 minutes later, we arrive near a creek where water source is available. We dipped into the cold water, dive to the murky abyss. After TAKE 30, we decide to continue the hike hitting MT GOLA as our first mountain.

 

 

Mt Gola is good for beginners, the trail is diverse with rock formation sulfuric acid seems to melt on the boulders. Reaching the summit will take less than an hour. The sun sets down and the twinkling sky line is on the surface of the Earth. The pretty natural light from the moon is giving us faint light and give calming ambiance to the entire trail. Mulawin trees are all over the place, summer gashed out their leaves and the effect is splendid. Since the darkness started to run unto us, we trek down and start to hike to Mt Manalmon to set our camp.

 

We reached the camp at full darkness. Nothing beats the night sky during summer over the mountain. It very hard to describe how pretty the stars. Million of stars above dancing with the moonlight. Another FEELS when you climb a mountain. You cannot pay for the beauty seen beyond the city lights. Moving forward from my poetic damnation, we cooked dinner, ate it and socials started once more.

 

 

The worst nightmare of the cowardly ME, they started to talk about the headless priest, the big bird who eat humans and the endless river killing. I got enough of it and decided to sleep. I cannot sleep, I can feel the stories lurking from my restless body. It was hot inside my tent, too cold to sleep outside. I transferred to another tent with my buddy because I cannot bear sleeping alone, its haunting me. The cruelty of having vivid imagination, too much horrors can bring worst nightmares.

 

 

I can hear the wind whistling all around the camp area, we were the only one who camp out here. The rest of the hikers ducked near the water source. The howling sound of the animals suddenly stop and later I was sound asleep. The morning sun is the greatest of all. I can finally breath properly. LOL! Breakfast serve, chomped the remaining food on our packs and head to our 2nd summit. MT MANALMON peak is wonderful, the entire trail easy to trek and the view can amaze you. After going bananas in the summit it was an official declaration to trek down and finish the last G of the day. Spelunking in Bayukbok Cave (See related article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/06/25/bayukbok-cave-do-the-body-language/)

 

 

But, our guide is very proud of us and asked us if we wanted to trail another mountain. MT MATINIK is privately owned by a local which is our guide’s relative. The trail is not officially open to hikers because they are still waiting for the private transaction being dealt with the owner of the property. Since our guide is a relative, he introduce us this mountain. We are happy to be part of the few hikers that were able to climb this closed trail. YIHAAA! Feeling HARDCORE! HEHE

 

The mountain do not have permanent trail, locals climb here to get fruits and sad to say Kaingin. Our guide cut out few bushes to create new trail and the name really fits this mountain. MATINIK which means THORNY. Thorns from wild grass immediately scratched us while we hike up. Thorns and heat were not an ideal combination. GRRRR! It was scorching hot, we were in the middle of April’s warmth and thorns everywhere. This peak is the highest out of the 3 summits. We were able to climb after an hour or so. The view differs from every corner of Sitio Madlum.

 

We trek down on another trail with luscious wild grass and humidity. I managed to drink all my trail water and my throat starts to ache. We reached the field back to the river and WHAAALALALA, finish 3 summits in mid morning. Filing up my bottle from the water source, we head back to the jump-off to rest before starting the caving activity.

 

Lunch is served, I need to rest for a while now before starting another trail. I find this hammock hanging in between bamboos. It was the most relaxing part of the trip, the sway and the cold wind makes me want to sleep and forget the cave. Of course, my hike mates won’t allow me to sleep and I need to finish our escapades here in Madlum. So we headed to the cave after resting for a couple of minutes! POWER!

 

My first trilogy was full of surprises and one of the most memorable hikes I had. Remembering it brings bittersweet smiles. But things happen for a reason, and the REASON IS YOU. LOL!

 

  • HUGOT TEAM

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Hiking Cliché: What it takes to be a Hiker?

“We see the world on top view, we survive each hardship, as a team and nature’s ultimate lover”

– FAKIR

I was a young and newbie mountaineer. All of the hiking activities I joined into are for entertainment but it doesn’t mean that I am careless to forget the rules of Leave No Trace. I was able to climb 16 peaks with difficulty and pride. I started to seriously devote to climbing this year. I still need to learn the basics of mountaineering before entering to more serious matters.

I take my time, slowly developing myself from being a carefree hiker to responsible climber. My sole purpose in hiking is to get physically fit for my travels but later I find it very important to be part of common goal to conserve and teach other newbies about the wonderful world of mountaineering.

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It was not an easy task to spearhead hiking activity. Even though there are waivers, you still have that conscious societal responsibility to the people joining your group. I envelope my sense of patriotism and dedicate to be part of change instead of adding up as a headache to environmental bureaus. As Mahatma Ghandi says “You must be the change you want to see in this world”.

You don’t want to be nuisance to the vast forestry, locals and living matter in a hiking ground. As a personal advocate to people who want to try hiking, I make sure that they decide base on their capability to take care of the trails and wildlife. To train themselves and become better hikers. Teach the future climbers with respect to the locals, to the wildlife and the things on the trails.

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Hiking is fun and an adventure of a lifetime. I remember creating my own bill way back in college to conserve and protect the life under the natural parks, mountains and other relative conservatoire. As a climber it is tantamount for us to learn the values of being a good hiker.

We do it not just for fun but we acknowledge the fact that this biodiversity will not live for as long as there are people who kills it, little by little. The mountains are giving us the air to breath, fresh water we drink, energy to our household and the LIFE that we should deserve. CLEAN and GREEN.

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To my fellow climber out there, we must be responsible enough to teach our underlings about the rules of the nature. We should have a glorious summit, happy socials and at the same time create a common goal as we introduce the life on the outdoor. What we learn on the trails should be transfer to thousands of new hikers so that we can inhibit to all the values of climbing.

We set the goal to reach the summits, to view the world from the peak and to be proud of ourselves. We need to be part of something beneficial rather than being part of the problem. In climbing there are no HARDCORE, SLOW PACER, BEGINNER, OR PROFESSIONAL. We are the HIKERS that respect each other and the outdoors.

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SO LONG PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio and Jereca Custodio Copy Right

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Bukidnon: Whirlwind Romance in Dahilayan Adventure Park

“Go to places you wanted to go. This time no excuses allowed” – Fakir

Dahilayan Adventure Park Tickets

Dahilayan Adventure Park Tickets

Features: Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich (Longest Zip Line in Asia, Base Jump and Drop Zone

Part 3 of our Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin – Bukidnon Backpacking Trip: Beast Mode Itinerary

Running with heavy load on our backs we reached Agora Terminal in Cagayan De Oro City around 1300. Dahilyan Park will close at 1600. The time constraints made us decide to cancel the trip. Truly saddened me, this Park is included on my lifetime bucket list. Arriving in the terminal made the decision worst. Again, haggling for taxi ride to Manolo Fortich was difficult because the porters are maddening me enough. I let my sister do the talk, I am fidgeting, starving to death and weary that we might not be able to reach Bukidnon in time.

Safety harness for the shorter Zip Lines

Safety harness for the shorter Zip Lines

We were able to close the taxi deal for Php 1200.00 for the three of us. Settled and secured by the driver that we will be able to travel in one hour. This will be the most unsettling taxi ride of my life. I don’t want to get mad but…. First, we need gas for the vehicle to run, it took 10 minutes to refuel. Second, the driver don’t know the way to Dahilayan Park in which he need to stop and asked around. Third, there is no TRAFFIC and the car is running around 20-40 kph. It took a lot of toll to keep concentrating and praying that we will make it under these circumstances.

The sweaty and scared cat

The sweaty and scared cat

Selfie on 800m Zip Jump Off

Selfie on 800m Zip Jump Off

Heaven granted our wish, we made it before the park closure. The idea of chasing something and might missed the chance to be with something that you wanted for a long time will actually kill you softly. The stress washed out after arriving at 1430. I still enjoy the view of the Kitanglad Mountain Range and the Pineapple plantation on our way. Even though I am worried sick of the entire road trip. LIFE IS WONDERFUL!!

800m Jump Off

800m Jump Off

Gates are still open, we were able to get our tickets to try all the amazing killer amusement on this Park. I selected the ZipZone Zip Challenge Package for Php 1200 which includes 800m, 320m and 120m zip lines. Also includes the Base Jump and Drop Zone. The weather in Manolo Fortich is comparable to Tagaytay. It was cool and breezy. Pine Trees all around the place and it was the right place to chill. We need to finish all the “ride” in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The feeling of wanting to puke lingers for a while.

This is the view when you do the ZIP

This is the view when you do the ZIP

First to try, longest zip line in Asia. We ride the multicab going to the highest point of the park. Zigzag and off the pavement road make all of us shiver. I can feel the relentless nervousness of my sister Bakeks and her love team Chris. Sweaty palms and chills on our spine. Were all geared up to FLY.

THE WHOLE NEW WORLD Feeling

THE WHOLE NEW WORLD Feeling

We came across a group of 5 so I decided to partner up with one of them (flying with stranger) LOL!! Bakeks and Chris are my ever travel buddies, we started this in 2012. As precautionary measure by this couple, I am always the guinea pig. To jump in a cliff, to dive, to swim the dark murky water, to eat the exotic delicacy, to parasail, to goof around and to zip! Grab by one of the staff, as they connect me to the WIRE. They just toss me and then I AM FREAKING FLYING. I am singing in my mind “A WHOLE NEW WORLD”. Its one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life. It was rejuvenating and I THANK THIS UNIVERSE for giving us the beauty of the Kitanglad Range. The experience that I will treasure the most. Absolutely AWESOME TO LIVE THIS LIFE!!!

800m Zip Line Drop Off

800m Zip Line Drop Off

Next in line, The Base Jump. A 8-storey structure built near the entrance, equipped with helmet and harness. We climbed the stairs and reached the “jump off”. Literally to jump before 8 storey, height and determination. I can feel my knees were oddly shaking when we reach the start. I can do it without hesitation and I can feel my own NERVES! HAHA! My sister is about to die, her hands are cold as ice and here lips were BLUE. I ask her if she wanted me to go first but I was very proud of her that she decided to go FIRST. It was brave of her to try the deal before me. She was ready to jump in three, two, one. But, she decided she can’t do it so she asked the staff to push her instead. She doesn’t want to jump because she feels like killing herself. After her inner turmoil, its my turn to jump off. I can feel the sweat running inside my jacket, my underarms are really SWEATY due to nervousness. I want to end it so after the rope is pulled up, I was connected. In THREE, TWO, ONE. JUMP FOR LOVE!!

Base Jump Tower

Base Jump Tower

Base Jump Video Jei

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It was exhausting me mad but the beat of adrenaline gives me additional energy to move on our next adventure. The Base Jump gave me the power to attempt more extreme amusement like sky diving and bungee jumping. Next will be the shorter zip lines, the 320m and 180m. In a seated position, I made a selfie video doing these zips. They are fun enough that you will want to laugh all the way. I am pretty much having fun in here. This will be one of the best park I ever gone into. Coming here all the way from Manila was the best trip decision I ever made in my entire travel career!!

Bakeks Base Jump

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We are all in the mood to be joyful after those fascinating zip lines. We went to the Drop Zone area to end our day. You can ride solo or dual, so me and my sister tag along for this ride. The DROP ZONE facility was made in the middle of a coy fish pond. HOW MESMERIZING! You can feed the fish while waiting. There were 2 groups ahead of us, the group who is trying the drop is now in different warp zone. Ahaha! Screaming their lungs out before the wires which pull them higher and higher. As I write this, my hands started to sweat because I remember the feeling of being pulled meter by meter from the ground. To our surprise, the rider will be the one who is going to pull the TRIGGER to swing you down. TOUGH ORDEAL!!

We deserve this POSE

We deserve this POSE

The group ahead of us are actually on the fainting stage. I feel good about it, I don’t have acrophobia I love going to higher places, I hike 16 mountains and I trek highest point on every city I visited. I love being at the top, it seems like presenting the beauty of the world. The appreciation and the thrill of going up is like flying even humans don’t have wings. It was our turn, Bakeks hands were cold, blue lips and weak knees. I feel incoherently sane, the lasting feeling excitement is dwelling very well with my nerves. Geared up and safely connected to be a HUMAN PENDULUM.

Drop Zone Video

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Slowly moving up, the water seems to get far away until we reached the high-end. So I was the one assign to pull the TRIGGER TO SWING. Briefed by the staff about the guidelines and precautions. We were now seeing the lush pines and greens while being hang in between wires and ropes. The staff counted, 1….. 2….. 3….. PULL!!!!!! First attempt was not a success because it was hard to pull. My sister is breaking sweat and I’m deafened by her shout. I actually forgot to shout because I can hear the buzzing sound on my ear due to her screams. Hehe! After trying 3 times. CHAAAARAAANN! Damn that dive!! We dive into the ground almost 180 degrees which caught my breath, I forgot to scream again! Ahahaha! After plummeted down, swing to the right. Then swing backward, I was able to pull out that SHRIEKED I deserve!! It was a good 2 minutes of being a HUMAN SWING.

We SURVIVED Drop Zone!!

We SURVIVED Drop Zone!!

CLAP CLAP CLAP!!!

Successfully finishing all our rides before 1600, we walk back to the entrance. Still full with adrenaline, I was calm by the halumigmig (mist) from the pine trees. I deserve the walk in silence and feel the scene. This time, the feeling of WISH YOU WERE HERE already vanished from my system. All I can think about is the next travel I will have across this beautiful land. Someday, across the whole world. I have a DREAM, that dream is coming true. I graduated from the EMPTINESS OF TRAVELS. Evolve into someone who want A LIFE EXPANDED by experience. I was glad for this trip, this made me want to visit more provinces. With or without companion. The SEARCH FOR MY SOUL is over. I found my soul lingering to the happiness of being a travel maniac.

How to be a Human Swing

How to be a Human Swing

Indulging with these extreme rides is over. We went to DAHILAYAN FOREST PARK to try the LUGE but it’s already closed at 1630. So we decide to go back to Cagayan de Oro. We haven’t eaten yet a good decent meal coming from Camiguin Island so we are all starving. We reached Agora Terminal CDO around 1800, check-in online via Cebu Pacific website to save time checking in manually in the airport. After getting our print out, we head to POLDO’S LECHON for our combined breakfast/lunch/dinner meal. Taxi from Agora to Poldo’s took 10-15 minutes for Php 80.00.

Groupie in Base Jump

Groupie in Base Jump

The smells of cooked meal made my mouth water. I want to eat and drink, we ordered ½ kilo of lechon. BTW, Sarsa/Mang Tomas/Liver Sauce is not available here to our dismay. Unlike in Luzon, Lechon and Sarsa have the best relationship. Here, you need to dip that crispy lechon skin in soy sauce and vinegar. I will bring Mang Tomas when I travel in Mindanao next time. HEHEHE

Dahilayan Adventure Part Pines and Me

Dahilayan Adventure Part Pines and Me

The scent of Pine Trees

The scent of Pine Trees

After our meal, we head back to Agora via Public Jeepney for Php 7.00. Then duct in a SUV to Laguindingan Airport for our 2140 flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Van fare cost Php 120.00, again after haggling to the driver and bunch of porters. We reached the airport in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Another delayed flight due to air traffic, 3 hours delay this time. I got my sarong and sleep in the passenger area, too tired to get stress from delayed flight. We reached NAIA around 0100, took taxi to Victory Liner for Bakeks and Chris last ordeal and head back to Pampanga. As for me, I ride a jeepney to Baclaran, catch the Bus to Shaw then catch a Jeepney to Pasig. Arriving safe in my apartment, this trip is now gone.

Beast Mode Itinerary DONE!!

Beast Mode Itinerary DONE!!

This shall end our CAGAYAN DE ORO – CAMIGUIN – BUKIDNON TRIP.

SO LONG PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio and Jereca Custodio Copy Right

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Mt Binacayan and Mt Pamitinan: TWINNING CLIMB

“The SWEEPER on mountain trail is responsible that no one is LEFT BEHIND. The STRONGEST and the TACTICIAN”

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Left to assist the weak and making sure that everyone on the hiking group are in line with the itinerary. The sweeper is a leader which aids those who have lesser physical power because in the trail, no once should fall behind regardless of time constraint.

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

I have nowhere to go. I want to climb and hike this weekend but most of my friends are not into the mountains. My trail friends have different schedules, rest days or just busy. I’ve got nowhere to go. Surfing the internet makes me dumb, too much running makes me ill and staying in my apartment kills the hell out me. I want to go out but nowhere to go. Bumping to a friend in facebook about their schedule climb, I immediately jump into my usual impulsiveness and join their group for this twin hike.

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

It was very unusual for me to start the climb on a Sunday morning. I usually go out of the city every Friday or a Saturday. I feel dumb and shit for days now, losing the will to continue my workouts, my runs and my family. Affected by some sort of personal decision and wasted energy, I want to climb to feel the never-ending happiness. That FEELS though. I cramming with my life, as an idiot, I need to settle my education, finances and my freaking life. But for today, I will climb and make new friends out of it.

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

After contacting my friend from previous work, decided to join their climb. I was too eager that I woke up midnight of Sunday even though the call time is around 0400. I was too early. HEHE. I packed my things, chugged all the water at home, left early and eat all the energy. From Pasig to Cubao, I ducked in and ate my big breakfast. I went to Jolibee Farmers, then wrong branch, went to the correct one in the Mall.

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

I met the Gang, introduce my babbler shit out of me and tried to mingle. I do no longer want to be the HATE person I was. I want to be nice to this trail people. I remember my trail gang, Balanghai G and Yapak. It makes me sad not to be with them. It was my first time to hike with other group. I miss the team spirit and the excitement that caters a hiking day.

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

We were able to hopped into our FX to Wawa Montalban, renting the entire PUV up to the DENR building. I met Kuya Albert again (The Hugot Guide), I want him to guide us through. I’ve known him from my previous venture in the Rodriguez Range, Mt Hapunang Banoi day hike. We wait for a couple of minutes for our last pair of guest climbers, registered in DENR and barangay hall. Morning in Rodroguez is nostalgic, the dew from the forest makes the trail wet and muddy. At last jump off, killer pavement jump off.

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

I wasted energy by talking so much. Sorry guys, I just missed talking to a person. I had my walls, pc and keyboard for a long time. The HAKBANGGAPANGHAGPANG troupe made their way, hitting Mt Binacayan. The pavement road which is part of the trail kick me into my gut. Sweat is pouring all over my body after 10 minutes of climb until we reach the muddy uphill trail. So this is it. This is the world I currently committed with.

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

The slimy mud makes the trail difficult to trek. We don’t have the usual pep talk, LNT advise, the prayer or the group warm up. Maybe, I miss the old day but they are now long gone. Moving forward, after catching up with the mud track, we reach the boulder part. I am not particular with boulder and rockies. I am the sandy, dusty and dry hiker. I want dry ground from the surface rather that sedimentary rocks and stones. I feel like touching the rocks will break them into dust and it makes me sentimental when I feel like destroying something from nature.

Anyway, the rockies trail is still magnificent. This trail was open a year ago, one of the mainstream peaks because its near Metro Manila, 3/9 difficulty and the summit is glorious. The scenic view from the boulders is really enticing, no wonder hikers from all over the place are running through the trails of Rodriguez. We were able to complete the journey to the summit after 2-3 hours of trekking, endless selfies and human traffic. The rocks are sharps, it will be best to wear gloves, shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid getting scratches or serious wounds. The summit view is worthy and thus we descend are way back to start a brand new trail.

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

We started to trek around 0630. We managed to go down around 1200, rest, lunch time, videoke??! and rest room time. It was Sunday but the place is full with other groups, trails were jam-packed. People from different part of the region were here to explore the 4 open trails in Barangay Wawa: Mt Ayaas, Mt Hapunang Banoi, Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan. Other newly open trails for Rodriguez notably from pinoymountaineer.com itinerary, Mt Lubog and Mt Sipit Ulang. I managed to trek Mt Ayaas and Mt Hapunang Banoi on previous occasions which I haven’t yet reviewed. I will review them once I got the inspiration and some sort of will power to arrange! Sorry!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

So after relaxing for a bit, we decide to continue the trek to our second mountain for the day. Mt. Pamitinan, even though our guide gave us warning that many hikers were still up there and trail traffic was linger. Feeling STRONG and EMOTIONAL, only 5 out of 11 from the group decide to continue. Still feeling beat, I mentally struggle because the heat of the sun suffocates me.

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

My ultimate weakness when it comes to hiking is the heat and humidity. It builds up from my lungs down to my legs. Heavy breathing, I feel like melting slowly to the ground. I became weary that I am being left behind, this time pacing is really slow. I can feel my sticky cold sweat from my head down to my back. I need cold wind to pacify the vertigo otherwise I might collapse any time.

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

The trail for Mt Pamitinan is familiar because this is also the jump off for Mt Hapunang Banoi. Since, I aware of the trail. I also know the difficulty for the first 30 minutes. It was tiring, 30 minutes of muddy assault. On this journey, I learn that discontinuing my physical fitness training actually loosen my legs and lungs capability. I promised that once I’m back to the city, I will regain my power and strength. I don’t want to feel weak again. In which I did. While writing this review, I manage to increase my mileage when it comes to running, cross training with biking, indulging to swimming and strengthening my core.

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Our guide is right, there were several hikers on the junction box. We were able to encounter 5-7 groups going down to their next mountain, resting or really wanted to go home! Reaching the junction trail to Pamitinan and Hapunang Banoi, there were other groups resting because trekking up or down. We also rested for a bit. We were out of itinerary so it we need to hurry before the sun sets down. Around 1500 we trail up to the summit. The rockies started again which slows us down, its a WAY TICKET TO THE SUMMIT. Another group of hikers were going down, we need to stop and give way and vice versa. So it took us a little bit of time before reaching the 1st peak.

"Sit down and enjoy the view"

“Sit down and enjoy the view”

The is also spectacular. Dreamy. It smells SUCCESS. Its LOVE. Its HOPE. Yeah, I was the relentless broken soul and heart. Cutting my crap out, we were able to reach our 2nd Peak in no time, after waiting 10-20 minutes before the group ahead of us went down. The Summit can only accommodate 5-10 persons otherwise, in excess of the number will fall off the cliff. LOL! Never mind the hundred selfies, I was worn out and haggard!!

 Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS


Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS

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Time checks 1600: time to trail down. The wind came from the west, breezy and bringing dark clouds. Then, it started to rain. We slowed down due to the group which is ahead of us. As a courtesy when it comes to hiking, climbers should give way to those who have faster pacing. We need to acknowledge the fact that hiking is not a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis.

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

If a person have a greater strength, you need to allow them first and make them ADVANCE either trailing up or down. DONT BE A NUISANCE to other hikers. Anyway, we were able to advance further. Rain water washed out all the thirst I had. It’s almost zero visibility on the trail head. We reach the foot bridge from the jump off around 1730. It’s still raining hard due to thunderstorm but we don’t mind because we were able to finish damn hike.

The Marikina River

The Marikina River

The FEELS of twinning climb is really unbearable happiness. I realize that hiking still make wonders on my soul-searching heart. I just love the mountains. The view from the above. The refreshing terrain. The adventure. The life.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Albay Tour: Day One in Bicol

“Create memories with random people in random places.”

  • Fakir

Albay – Sorsogon Solo Bicol Itinerary

Features: Daraga Church, Cagsawa Ruins, Kawa-kawa Hills in Ligao City, Bigg’s Diner, Lignon Hills, 1st Colonial Grill and Legazpi City

Supposed to be Mt Mayon View

Supposed to be Mt Mayon View

I woke up feeling happy from a good night sleep. Call time 0430, refresh from my slumber. The Mayon’s Peak is resting behind clouds from the window of Magayon Hotel. The sullen dark morning sky cast on my second day in Albay. I got up, took a bath and went out. Next to the inn is a bakery (Papay Pandesal) that sells Malunggay Pandesal, I bought 5 pieces of bread and head to a Carinderia in front of the hotel. I need to eat before starting my day, ordered Pansit Bato for Php10.00 per plate and instant coffee for Php10.00. After digging my simple meal, I arrange my pack then the rain pours outside for 15-20 minutes before heading out.

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Pansit Bato, Malunggay Pandesal and 3 in 1 coffee

Pansit Bato, Malunggay Pandesal and 3 in 1 coffee

I ride a jeepney to Daraga for Php 10.00, from the market to Daraga church I walk. The old church was a replica of Cagsawa Church which was smashed by volcanic eruption of Mayon. The Daraga Church stands proud and mighty in a higher ground casting PRIDE all over Albay. I can imagine Mayon’s Peak if only the sun shines brightly. The clouds still hide the magnificent perfect cone of Mayon so I settle myself getting photos of the church. I arrived here while a funeral mass is being held. It was awkward to take photos while people around me were mourning. RAIN AND FUNERAL STARTED MY DAY.

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Daraga Church Facade

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Whenever I visited a church, I leave a wish for my family or for a friend. I bought coffee while waiting for the mass to be finished. I saw several touring groups, off-peak season trip could be enjoyable if you do not want heads on your photos or wanted to have a quiet trip. Sipping coffee over the view deck of Daraga Church made me want to write more about my travels. Getting all the photos I wanted, I set foot to my next destination.

Daraga Church

Daraga Church

Cagsawa Church Ruins. I ride a jeepney to Ligao City from Daraga for Php 8.00. It was Saturday so the municipal office is closed, I asked around and was able to get proper transportation information from a local. The driver and co-passengers were too helpful to assist me on my tour. The jeepney driver drop me off in Cagsawa, I ride a tricycle together with a couple, fare Php 8.00. WALK INSTEAD OF TAKING THE TRICYLCE, it will only take you 5-10 minutes to get you there. I arrive in the RUINS, still no sign on the Mayon Peak.

Cagsawa Ruin in a Cloudy Day

Cagsawa Ruin in a Cloudy Day

Registration fee cost nothing but you can donate. I took several photos, guides are offering ATV rides and trick shots. I was not interested with ATV ride because rain started to pour. So I enjoy taking photos and my SILI (Chilli) Shake. Sili Shake cost Php 55.00 and bought a souvenir shirt for Php 200.00. Souvenir shops are available in Cagsawa, after taking my photos I decided to move on to my next trip.

Trick Shot in Cagsawa Ruins

Chili nd Mango Shake

Chili and Mango Shake

Ligao City. From Cagsawa it will take 45 minutes – 1 hour to Kawa-Kawa Hills. Kawa means Cauldron, from the top it looks like a giant kitchen pot. I drop off from the jeepney ride, take tricycle for Php 8.00 and hike up to the hills. It still cloudy and cool enough. Kawa-kawa hills famous for its sunflowers which blooms every March or summer. Since I travel in July, unfortunately NO SUNFLOWERS.

Cagsawa Ruins Bell Tower

Kawa Kawa Hill in Ligao City

Kawa Kawa Hill in Ligao City

I hike up and finished the station of the cross, made my wish after lighting my wish candles. I wish for someone’s father to heal and a good health for me this year. The pavement path is built for people, this place is often visited during the Holy Week in which statues based on the station of the cross were built. After the trek, I have sili ice cream for Php 10.00, a touring family asked me questions about my solo trip. They were amazed that someone can travel alone. Hehe

One of the Stations of the Cross in Kawa Kawa Hills

Inside the Kawa Kawa Hills

As I walk back from Kawa-kawa Hills, I saw a tourism center which was a Project of the late Jessie Robredo. I got free leaflets about Albay tourist destinations. Then, take the tricycle to the highway for Php 8.00. From Ligao City, I went back to Daraga (jeepney fare Php 40.00). I slept for a good 30 minutes, drop in Bigg’s Diner in Daraga for lunch. Bigg’s Diner is Bicolano’s famous fast food chain. Their cheeseburger is meaty with dripping cheese on it. I enjoy their crispy fried chicken. It’s the usual diner in a cozy interior. The meal cost me Php 168.00.

View at the top of Kawa Kawa Hills

View at the top of Kawa Kawa Hills

Dirty Chili Ice Cream

Dirty Chili Ice Cream

After lunch, I went ahead to my final trip. LIGNON HILL, I took jeepney for Php 11.00. It takes 10-15 minutes from Daraga to Lignon Hills. I trek up from the jump-off (Department of Education Bicol). It will take a good 30 minutes – 1 hour way up to Lignon Hills. Registration fee cost Php 20.00, then you can try their zip lines. I did not take it because I got tired. I just want to feel the view. There is no sign of Mayon’s Peak after whole day of waiting. I am still grateful that I manage to come along here and enjoy my day trip in Albay.

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I welcome myself at Lignon Hill

I went back to Magayon Hills to freshen up and have dinner. I decide to dine in First Colonial Grill which is famous for their original Sili Ice Cream. I ordered Bicol Express and rice which boils inside my mouth. If you are not fan of spicy food, Bicol Express is definitely not for you. Sili ice cream have 3 levels of spiciness. I selected Level 3, to my surprise it was very good until the cold melted into your mouth. The chili flavored will kicked in and it feels like betrayal. LOL. Dining in the elegant restaurant that can cost you Php 300-500. This meal cost me Php 368.00.

Path to Lignon Hill

Lonely at Lignon Hill because I did not see Mt Mayon

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Lignon Hill. Background is the Aiport Runway

My sumptuous meal made me want to rest. Since, night life in Albay is not like in Cebu or Manila. I went back to my room in Magayon Hotel. A friend from Sorsogon, message me about my trip. She suggested to me to visit her in her hometown. I agreed because my Day 3 is bound for Sorsogon for some beach loving. Initially, I wanted to go back in Naga City, to try wake boarding but going further South is definitely a good idea. I ended the night with a warm smile and prayed for good weather.

Original Chili Ice Cream at 1st Colonial Grill

One of the famous fine dining restaurants in Albay

Sorsogon Trip Review will be next!

SO LONG PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Memoirs of a SOLO TRAVELER

“Freedom to live, of speech, to be whoever you are. To be free, to be independent and to LIVE”

  • FAKIR

Summit of Mt Pico De Loro

Summit of Mt Pico De Loro

Indeed soul searching this world.

I am not good in mobilizing people when it comes to group traveling. Oftentimes, I want to wander SOLO. I travel with very few people or I am the one invited to their adventure. I like going out with friends and family but sometimes I feel ill or suffocated when people relies everything to me. Maybe, I hate responsibilities and continue to live my lazy-happy-go-lucky life.

Trekking to Bomok-od Falls

Trekking to Bomok-od Falls

I never work hard after graduation. What I did is drink, get fat and seek all the amusement in life. I deter my law school admission, loss all opportunities to be a yuppie and I decided that I don’t want to be rich.

Money change the perspective of people. It makes you want more because it has the ability to turn your world around. All I want in life is to learn and be the hopeless romantic. I want to write and share my life. I want to travel the entire world, spread the news about unknown places and catch the essence of life. I want to teach people about humanity, existence of one culture, the passion for real adventure and how to take care of our nature.

I am single, living independently in the city, have a day job, and everyday I tried to keep my sanity. I love long weekends, vacation leave and weekends. They make me alive because it’s another day of getting lost, summit to reach and place to see. I found my niche which is very hard to release from my grasp.

Summit of Mt Daguldul

Summit of Mt Daguldul

I loss several people in life because of reckless decisions. I find my self smiling when I travel, even though I look crazy. Living to travel is my way of life. I want to explore, learn more about my culture and express how glad I am to go to places. Not anyone can travel, not anyone has the capacity and not everybody have TIME.

People around me always asked why I travel alone. I’ll go out alone because I will go WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. I don’t want to linger to people who are accustomed to make other people wait. I want to go there because I want to see it, I want adventure to feel the adrenaline rush. To create more memories before I decide to stay here and pursue my academic life or family life. I want to tell stories to my nieces, nephews, god children and my friends were I have been all this time.

Yeah, I am one of the chosen one who cannot find that travel soulmate. HAHAHA. My own soul is my own mate. Yet, I am still searching for it. Partly finding it on my way, on my travels, hikes and solitary confinement. Hehe.I have all the time in the world, future plans are still on my hands and life to share to everyone I bumped into. I want to continue living this wanderlust life as much as I can.

Star fish in Pandan Islan, Honda Bay Tour

Star fish in Pandan Islan, Honda Bay Tour

SO LONG PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Camiguin Island

“Envelope patriotism and nationalism good enough to stay within thy country”

  • Fakir

Backpacking to Camiguin Island

Backpacking to Camiguin Island

Features: Sunken Cemetery, Gui-Ob Church Ruins, Bura Soda Water, Tuasan Falls, Sto Nino Cold Spring, CheckPoint, Ardent Hot Spring, Vjandep Pastel, Luna Ristorante and White Island

Balingoan Port

Balingoan Port

Part 2 of our Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin – Bukidnon Backpacking Trip: Beast Mode Itinerary

Part 1: Cagayan de Oro Article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/10/07/cagayan-de-oro-less-than-24-hour-adventure/

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The WHITE RAFTING experience in Cagayan de Oro lifted our spirit so high that we do no longer want to stop this madness. After more than 24 hours of sleepless escapade from my office to our ordeal in CDO, I finally succumb in slumber. Wake up call 0330, finished the pack and head out to Agora Bus Terminal to catch a trip to Balingoan Port. From Sogo to Agora, we took tricycle for Php10.00 per pax for a 5-minute ride. You can take van or bus bound to Butuan to the port. Van fare cost Php120.00.

Arriving at Benoni Port

Arriving at Benoni Port

From Agora to Balingoan Port take 1 hour and 30 minutes – 2 hours travel time. We took off around 0500 and made it on time for 0630 Ferry Ride to Port Benoni in Camiguin. Fare cost Php 180.00 and Php 2.00 terminal fee. Gates open on time, ferry is consist of 3 decks (ground deck for vehicles, 2 decks for passengers) we set ourselves in the uppermost deck. The ferry sail away around 0715. It was my first time to ride RORO (Roll On Roll Off), it was not fancy and slow. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes travel time. The sky is gloomy all throughout because of the typhoon hitting Northern Philippines.

Road trip in Camiguin with this view

Road trip in Camiguin with this view

We reached Benoni Port around 0900, the weather is just right even though the sun seems to be sullen that day. Regardless, this will be the marked of our Camiguin Escapade. The island is brimming green and Mt Hibok-hibok is just around the corner, the diversity of the island seems to be maintained properly by its government and locals. From Benoni Port, we ride a multicab to Mambajao Terminal where our habal-habal (motorcycle) is waiting for us to start our tour. We met Kuya Nilo, fancy he look like goon from an action movie. Hehe. Our contact Kuya Ramil wasn’t able to accommodate us because he have larger group guest to tour. But, he was calling us throughout the tour and always asked if we are enjoying our trip. Kuya Rodel Contact: 09362494760 Php 800.00 for Camiguin Habal-habal Tour which is good for 3.

Camelia Home Stay. Sorry if its blurred, this is the only picture I have

Camelia Home Stay. Sorry if its blurred, this is the only picture I have

From Mambajao, I took the most uncomfortable motorcycle ride of my life for 30 minutes. My bag is pulling me back and my back is getting numb. Still, need to endure it until we reached our inn. Camellia Home Stay, a decent inn with air-condition for Php 600.00 per night good for 3-4 with queen size bed and extra bed. There was no electricity when we arrived so we we did notice that the bathroom was dusty which infuriate my couple buddies. Beast mode when it comes to cleanliness. Haha! They were annoyed until the stay last. After setting our pack down, we change clothes and hit the road to our OFFICIAL CAMIGUIN TOUR!!

Sunken Cemetery Commemorative Cross

Sunken Cemetery Commemorative Cross

First stop, Sunken Cemetery. The enveloping feeling surrounding me, as a child I see this view through the movie scene and now glancing it LIVE. It’s also my first encounter with Camiguin Lansones which cost Php 18.00 – 25.00 per kilo here. As I chomped down my fruits, I marveled myself with the Cross in the middle of the sea and underneath is the cemetery swollen my earthquake due to Mt Hibok- Hibok eruption. Nature indeed create what it wanted. The cross is a commemorative symbol of the sunken cemetery.

Sunken Cemetery

Sunken Cemetery

Bay view of the Sunken Cemetery

Bay view of the Sunken Cemetery

Next, Gui-Ob Church Ruin. Almost pulverized by volcanic eruption. The church foundation still stand on its ground.

Gui-Ob Church Ruins Historical Tab

Gui-Ob Church Ruins Historical Tab

The foundation of the church being one with nature

The foundation of the church being one with nature

Imagining this powerful structure as a solid Catholic Church near a cliff and with astonishing view of the sea will make you want to travel time to experience the grand architecture.

The Church Bell Tower

The Church Bell Tower

Couple of Jump Shot in the RUINS

Couple of Jump Shot in the RUINS

Catholic influence is very upright in Camiguin even though its part of Mindanao. Islamic influence is minimal unlike in Cagayan de Oro.

Maze Runner in Gui-ob Church Ruins

Maze Runner in Gui-ob Church Ruins

Inside the Gui-Ob Church

Inside the Gui-Ob Church

The rain pours as we head to Bura Soda Water Resort. The resort is very clean, entrance fee cost Php 30.00. They will not asked for nipa hut rent if you are just going to swim for a few minutes. It was getting colder but the water is inviting but I skip the chance though. It was getting late, we need to rush to cover the other sites we need to see. We are curious about the soda water.

Bura Soda Water

Bura Soda Water

According to the staff, its a carbonate water that springs from the mountains. They were very accommodating with our questions about it. They also gave us a bottle of soda water, it was not that carbonated like Sprite. Haha. It’s like Sprite in a bottle kept open for three days.

Facts about soda water

Facts about soda water

In a hype, laughing all the way to Katibawasan or Tuasan falls. Mild rain shower on our faces did not matter. The entire town is covered with lush coconut and lanzones plantations. It was pretty sight to capture.

Tuasan Falls

Tuasan Falls

Delicious KIPING of CAMIGUIN

Delicious KIPING of CAMIGUIN

Camiguin is winning my heart all the way! There is no entrance fee in Tuasan nor donation box, you just need to register. On the entrance we bought KIPING for Php 6.00 with caramelize coconut sauce on it. The awesome taste of sweet and crunchy taste of KIPing will KEEP you here.

Keeping the KIPING

Keeping the KIPING

Capturing myself with Katibawasan Falls

Unfortunately, we were unable buy another one because we’re always on a run. The falls is majestic standing tall and mighty. The water is cold like feelings towards my ex boyfriend. LOL! We tried to swim but the water is ice-cold, we decide to skip another dip.

Grilled Banana with Butter and Sugar. PUSO (Heart) Inside is usually sticky rice

Grilled Banana with Butter and Sugar. PUSO (Heart) Inside is usually sticky rice

The highway and traffic system in Camiguin is 95% success! Truly nice for a road trip. We head to Sto Nino Cold Spring Resort. Entrance Fee is Php 30.00, tube rental is Php 20.00 and souvenir shops are available here. This time we swim and the cold will punch you in your gut at first dip but it will eventually dissipates after a few minutes. The water is crystal clear, no chlorine and its flowing water. It was worth the try to freshen us up from non-stop road trip. Time check: 1230. Buchi for breakfast and water from the Bura landed on my stomach. I am hungry and its time to take our breakfast/lunch.

Street Food in the Philippines. Available EVERYWHERE

Street Food in the Philippines. Available EVERYWHERE

Backpacking Tips: If your planning a road trip with swimming activities. Make sure your geared up with clothes that dries fast so that there is no need to switch clothes which will consume time. E.g. Rash Guard, Dry-fit shirts/shorts, sports leggings, trekking pants/shorts and shawl to dry your hair.

Ardent Hot Spring Rules and Regulations

Ardent Hot Spring Rules and Regulations

Before taking our lunch, we were notified that boat trips to White Island is only up until 1500. It’s already 1400, it was not anticipated this is due to high waves. We decide to move the White Island trip on the next day which actually delay us big time on our itinerary. Anyway, we made it even though time constrict us cruelly. For now, its time to eat and feed this voracious tummy.

Ardent Hot Spring

Ardent Hot Spring

Lunch at CheckPoint, it’s bar restaurant beside Luna Ristorante. We ordered Shrimp Sinigang, Calamares and Sizzling Squid with tons of rice to quenched our famished souls. They have big servings enough to feed the 4 of us. Food expense around Php 300-500.00 which is good for 2. After the humongous meal, we continue our trip.

Entry signage of Ardent Hot Spring

Entry signage of Ardent Hot Spring

Arriving in Ardent Hot Spring, both awesome and sleepy at the same time. Entrance fee cost Php 30.00, the spring was just right for our tired and cold bodies. The warmth that you wanted when your about to collapse from food coma and lack of sleep. Guests list is full due to touring college students, the right field trip by rich universities.

Hot Spring Pool

Hot Spring Pool

The pools consist of 4 parts; 2 mini pools and 2 large pools. The shouts of youngsters remind me of my own school trip way back in college. Anyway, the spring water was warm enough and made us instantly comfortable. The cold wintry air will electrified you once you get out of the water! Haha

Promoting Ardent Resort

Promoting Ardent Resort

We finished our day in Camiguin at 1700. We went back to on our inn, there still no electricity. I always bring my head lamp wherever I go on a trip. It was very useful because power outage is still issue in the Philippines.

Pizza in Luna Ristorante

Pizza in Luna Ristorante

The day trip ended quickly, after taking my nap and washed up. Our contact Kuya Ramil, sells us Lansonez for Php 150.00 for 8 kilos for our pasalubong. Very cheap compare but the ordeal is to travel along with the Lansonez. Hehe!! We went to Luna Ristorante for our dinner. We ordered pizza and seafood pasta. The brick oven pizza is really good, the crust was just right and it was not that oily type of pizza. Olive oil, pepper, salt and hot sauce condiments are available. Dinner is done and we found ourselves back to our inn for a good night sleep.

Seafood Tomato Pasta in Luna Ristoranti

Seafood Tomato Pasta in Luna Ristoranti

I woke up around 0530, changed to swimming attire and walk to the bay for our boat ride to White Island. It was a good thing we were near Paras to catch the early boat ride to White Island.

Renting a Pumpboat Cashier

Renting a Pumpboat Cashier

Environmental Fee Cashier

Environmental Fee Cashier

One boat cost Php 450.00 good for 4-6 pax and Php 20.00 environmental fee. We were able to ride with a group consist of 3 and settled for a 2 hour stay. They will need to catch a plane ride and we need to go back early in CDO for our Dahilayan Park Tour. We rented snorkeling gears and life vest for Php 150.00. I highly discourage renting snorkeling gear because there are no coral reefs in White Island. Phew!

White Island and Mt Hibok Hibok

White Island and Mt Hibok Hibok

We arrive in White Island around 0615. The vendors are settling their stores when we arrive and few groups are ahead of us. The sun is peaking slowly across the sky and the beautiful Mt Hibok-Hibok is just as grand along the sea. It was high tide, the famous sand bar is not showing.

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Regardless, it was splendidly pretty and lucky enough to get the morning sun. We bought sea urchin from a local vendor, Php 50.00 for 3 yummy seafood with vinegar. We swim along the waves and marvel until it was time to go back. Before we left the entire island is jam-packed with groups and it was not a pretty sight. You need to be very early before its CROWDED.

Crowded!

Crowded!

CROWDED!!

CROWDED!!

Crowded White Island!!!

Crowded White Island!!!

We need to catch the 0930 ferry ride to Balingoan Port, otherwise we will be too late to take our Bukidnon ride. From Paras to Mambajao via Tricycle took a good 30 minutes for Php 10.00. We purchase Vjandep Pastel for Php 120.00 per box (dozen) before taking the van to Benoni Port, fare cost Php 30.00. Arriving at 0930, we were able to catch the Ferry ride on time. Reaching Balingoan Port at 1130, catch another van to CDO without further a do. We ride an old filthy Starex Van to CDO for Php 100.00 in 80-120 kph. With this I end our Camiguin tour, next will be our whirlwind romance in Bukidnon. Happy Yippee Yey!!

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Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Cagayan de Oro: Less than 24 hour Adventure

“You cannot go back in time so make out of it while its present”

  • FAKIR

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FEATURES: White Rafting, Great White Waters, Kagay-Anon Restaurant, Missy BonBon and Sogo CDO

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Part 1 of our Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin – Bukidnon Backpacking Trip: Beast Mode Itinerary

cdo

OOTD!!

OOTD!!

The long wait is over, after 2 months and 2 weeks of waiting. Cagayan de Oro, here I come!! Marking my first Mindanao trip a SUCCESS. It was July when we booked our plane ticket via Cebu Pacific , offering low fares. I actually booked additional ticket to Butuan and Davao for my 2016 backpacking. Ticket cost us around Php1100.00 / $25.00 round trip, NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) to Laguindingan Airport vice versa. Saving us almost Php 3500 per person over normal airfare.

White Rafting Jump-Off

White Rafting Jump-Off

Our itinerary is a bit tough because time is very restricted to cover three provinces. Good thing our aircraft was just delayed for 20 minutes. We schedule a CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon in 3 days and 2 nights arriving in Laguindingan Airport around 1130AM. Van transfer to Cagayan de Oro City proper took us an hour, van fare cost Php100.00.

We need to PRAY for OUR SAFETY for this ADVENTURE

We need to PRAY for OUR SAFETY for this ADVENTURE

Other van company offers Php200.00 so you need to haggle to the nth time to minimize the cost of your trip. DISCLAIMER: Porters and barker will actually give you headaches, offering their transfer services upon arriving to the airport to your overall trip which is actually a bit irritating. Imagine speaking to 5 person at the same time while haggling their fares.

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Upon reaching CDO proper around 1245, we bought our lunch and picked up by Great White Water Tours for our first activity. The agency picked us up in Ayala Mall, ate on the road and met our partners in rafting (Janine, Elmer, Ed and Marg). Water rafting requires at least 6 persons to cut the expense of the adventure, otherwise, you need to pay for the entire raft. Good thing we met first timers who are willing to undergo the advance level instead of selecting the Beginners Level. Rafting cost Php1000.00 per pax.

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It was raining hard due to thunderstorm on our way to Great White Water Office to retrieve rafting equipments and securing personal belongings. You need to leave everything in a secure bag in the agency office. Bringing a un-waterproof dslr camera and not owning an action camera is inconvenient. Due to the rain, I need to leave my camera and we cannot use cellphone to capture our rafting moment (insert SAD FACE here). To trim down the expense of our rafting activity, we opt out the snacks from our package. Two staff from the touring agency will be the once who will capture the photos with their smaller raft that looks like a kayak. Photo ops is part of our package. Haggle all the way!! We were able to cut the price from Php1500 to Php1000.00. Good thing our rafting mates brought their waterproof camera which we owe them a lot!! YEHEY!!

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After gearing up, our guides gave the guideline in water rafting. Forward paddle, back paddle and our BATTLECRY. High Five!!! Our guides are very enthusiastic in teaching us the dos and don’ts when it comes to water rafting. We are all newbies but we took the ADVANCE LEVEL with 21 rapids that can last 3-4 hours. The first RAPID was an experience of a lifetime. This sports is quite adrenaline producer which will make your heart EXHILARATE.

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The best things about trying WHITE RAFTING in Cagayan de Oro is the endless beauty of the nature. The surrounding is very diverse and you can enjoy it while you paddling in still water. Wherever you look, EVERYTHING IS JUST GREEN and AMAZING. The SEVEN RAPIDS from the Advance Level were very exciting. Our guide, Kuya Ramil was very entertaining giving out old school jokes and pick up line. I smiled, laughed and got excited the entire time. It is very enjoyable incomparable to other water sports activities I tried.

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Two hours passed, I asked our guide if we can do the EXTREME LEVEL or TUBING next time. He said those options are currently UNAVAILABLE due to some incidents happened before. I want more and there are few shallows rapids on our way. Our guide said we can do the TITANIC or ICEBERG.

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All of us transferred to the last and second to the last row of the boat, then they paddle towards a big rock causing us to submerge in the water. THAT is EXTREME and can cause HEART ATTACK but it was an experience of a LIFETIME. We also jump into water, SHALLOW RAPIDS ahead of US and we just need to GO WITH THE FLOW!!!

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My inner self is crying with JOY, truly going to an adventure will make my heart satisfied. Even though VERY HUNGRY. HEHE. Go to Cagayan de Oro, booked your rafting company and try it. Its all worth the pain and fear. Finishing the last RAPIDS of Cagayan de Oro River, all of us are ABSOLUTELY SATISFIED CUSTOMERS. Two thumbs UP!!

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Exhausted yet happy, Great White Water shuttle send us off to Jeepney were me can ride to SOGO and checked ourselves in. We got a room for 10 hours for Php 600.00 which is good for 3, cleaned up and went to Limketkai to eat. We dine in KAGAY – ANON Restaurant to try their Ostrich Salpicao which taste like beef tapa softer version. We also tried their cheesy scallops and rice. This is a semi fine dining resto and can can cost from Php 300.00 – 500.00.

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After dinner, we went to MISSY BONBON to my heart’s delight. We ate PASTEL and tried their GELLATO. Later on we compare it with VJANDEP PASTEL which taste better.

OSTRICH SALPICAO (KAGAY-ANON RESTAURANT)

OSTRICH SALPICAO (KAGAY-ANON RESTAURANT)

The GELLATO is really good that you wanted to cry, we selected Pistachio and Strawberry which for I know were MADE IN HEAVEN!!!

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Setting foot in MINDANAO for the first time is an lifetime achievement. DAY One is over, I love here and I will continue to conquer all PROVINCES OF THE PHILIPPINES. Next stop, CAMIGUIN.

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Source: Camera from Elmer Espino and Janine Bernadette Pobre (Thanks a lot!!!)

Shots from Great White Water Employee! Thank you so much for the wonderful photos!!

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Mt Arayat South Peak

MY DECENT TRANQUILITY'
MY DECENT TRANQUILITY’

It was my birthday, the sun is shining brightly and the mountains are calling me. I promised to be happy for this year’s birthday, I was. I need to celebrate my birthday with all the people I love especially with my family. So I decide to open a climb in my hometown. There is only 1 mountain available that is the dormant volcano MT ARAYAT.

Diverse South Trail of Mt Arayat

Diverse South Trail of Mt Arayat

Few days before the climb, I set a day hike with my friends coming from all my walks in life. A friend from high school, college and office came along with me to celebrate. Catching the last vibe of the summer and the heat of the sun. We found ourselves hopped in a bus to Pampanga. From Cubao to SM Pampanga will only take you an hour for Php120.00 fare / $2.68. From SM Pampanga in Mexico to Arayat Poblacion might take you 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes via Public Jeepney due to various stops and delays. PUJ ride fare cost Php 30.00-40.00 / $0.90.

YELLOW TRAIL SIGN

YELLOW TRAIL SIGN

We cut the trip by visiting our house in Santa Ana Pampanga for breakfast and leaving things that are needed on our pack. After breakfast we decide to take tricycle from Santa Ana to Arayat. We are able to secure our guide for Php 500.00 and started the trek around 0900 which became pain on our butt.

Camp Site in South Peak

Camp Site in South Peak

Chey and Nhey sliding their way to the MONOLITH

Chey and Nhey sliding their way to the MONOLITH

It was hot, the humid is killing us one by one. I totally forgot that I brought newbie friend which is tremendously tired on the first hour of the trek. Trail signs are all over the place, getting a guide is not mandatory and you cannot never get lose during the day. YELLOW painted trail signs are placed on the trail path. They are useful and helpful but its a bit uncomfortable for me since Leave No Trace Policy was violated big time.

We are all this TIRED but we need to keep MOVING

We are all this TIRED but we need to keep MOVING

Two hours on the trail, the heat is wearing me off. Its burning my skin and I feel like all the sweat in my body coming out. I easily get tired if the weather is above 32 degrees Celsius. I get worried because my friends start to pant heavily. I got plenty of water for myself, securing 3 litres of water and some trail foods.

Blue Sky of Love. Up Up Up and Away

Blue Sky of Love. Up Up Up and Away

1030+ MASL. Towering Pampanga and Nueva Ecija

1030+ MASL. Towering Pampanga and Nueva Ecija

I want to laugh at myself because instead of celebrating comfortably at home I chose to walk on a boiling trail. After enduring so much with the heat, we finally arrive the FOREST area, the heat wear off but unimaginable assault comes our way. I wish I stayed at home, videoke with cold juice on my hand (I wish it was beer but I don’t actually drink).

Hard work PAYS, This VIEW killed it

Hard work PAYS, This VIEW killed it

The KAPATAGAN

The KAPATAGAN

I now believe in FOREVER. I was about to cry when we were able to hike at least 2 hours, the never-ending assault trail makes my legs weaker every step. I keep on asking Kuya (our guide) “Mga ilang oras pa Kuya papuntang summit?” (How long it takes to reach the summit Kuya?). Then Kuya will reply, “Malayo pa tayo Mam! (It’s still a long way Mam). I think I ask about hundred times. This is the most difficult day hike I ever encounter in my life. The heat, the assault and the insects are rioting inside my brain.

LUSCIOUS GREEN OF SOUTH PEAK, MT ARAYAT

LUSCIOUS GREEN OF SOUTH PEAK, MT ARAYAT

North Peak seen from the View Deck

North Peak seen from the View Deck

Arayat trail is a bit hefty. Most of the hiker we meet on the trail, Traverse from Magalang to Arayat National Park while we beat the damn South Trail furiously. My energy level is depleting plus I need to carry my friends load because the trail is most likely splitting him half. Testing my endurance and physical fitness, we need to speed up otherwise we will not be able to go down early. The fatigue we all need to take give us excruciating pain all over our body.

My SHOES SELFIE, Official Break In

My SHOES SELFIE, Official Break In

TASTE OF SUMMER PEAK

TASTE OF SUMMER PEAK

It took us 6 or 7 hours before we reached the summit, I do no longer mind the time. All I want to do is reach the top and finish the damn hike. The South Peak serve it well. The Kapatagan (Plateau) is really fascinating from the top. I fell in love with it and I don’t think I will do it again without proper training. He He.

My co-wanderlust friend Nhey. Since 2004

My co-wanderlust friend Nhey. Since 2004

My friend even brought a cake to celebrate my 26th birthday at the top of Mt Arayat. After taking all the selfie I deserve, we decide to descend. Around 1600, we started trekking down. We are actually fast, then the darkness cast into the forest. Good thing someone brought a headlamp and cp led lights are very useful.

My Dreamy Face on my BIRTHDAY

My Dreamy Face on my BIRTHDAY

Two hours into the dark trail, it became 3 hours and we are still walking down. Most of them chugged down their trail water upon ascending. The remaining water in my bottle, I need to give it out to my friend otherwise he might faint due to dehydration. So imagine trekking down against humidity of summer for 4 hours without water. It was a combination of heaven and hell. The last hour of the trek makes me want to puke but I forgot I haven’t drink for a while now. The forest is like a loop and maze which doesn’t have an ending. It seems like we are lost but we have our guide leading the trail-way. After 3 hours, we are able to reach the grass trail, I thought this will be over. But I guess I need to suffer more.

We to shout HURRAY for this beautiful summit

We to shout HURRAY for this beautiful summit

My friend Chey on her signature post. This blondie is a real ass kicker when it comes to assault. Never Underestimate

My friend Chey on her signature post. This blondie is a real ass kicker when it comes to assault. Never Underestimate

I timed our trek down, we only stop at least 4 times on the way down for about 3-5 minutes. We are going down relentlessly for the last 3 hours and it seems like the finish line is still distance away. Killing time it is. Reaching the star-studded night sky line from the grass trail gave us nothing but FALSE HOPE. 30 minutes passed and we are already numb. My body is on auto-pilot mode. I think all the endurance I have were totally snatched from me because of this hike. I was not prepared, the blogs I read underestimate this mountain or I was just weak. All I want is to drink water!!

On my happiest

On my happiest

We are actually talking about water while going down, on how we should save water and never consume more than what we need. I will appreciate the endless grass trail if only my friend is not fretting all the time. I want him to go down immediately. He did not enjoy the hike as much as the others like it. It makes me sad though that he don’t like climbing. Most of the people I knew who join me, love being on the top and they were too happy to join me with my next climb. I guess this climb went pretty bad for him. Nevertheless, if you did not stop and tried to continue with your life. The next thing you will know is that your there because you move forward.

I need to crawl my way back to View Deck after getting all the pictures I wanted

I need to crawl my way back to View Deck after getting all the pictures I wanted

North Peak seen from the View Deck

North Peak seen from the View Deck

It took us 10.5 hours to hike this mountain. The homey mountain is really treacherous to me. It was a darn tiring day for me to celebrate life and coming to new age. I am happy to break the sad birthdays I had. For the past several years, I mostly celebrate at home. I want to make my birthdays to come to be this adventurous and outstanding. I want to remember all of my birthday and I am sure deserve to be glorious for this day.

View Deck The Majetice Scene of South Peak

View Deck The Majetice Scene of South Peak

You dont want missed capturing this scene

You dont want missed capturing this scene

Lesson learned from the trails of Mt Arayat, be prepared more than ever. To celebrate birthdays is to cheers with life. I must continue to seek all the things this life can bring regardless of tragedies. Amidst all negative vibes, I learned to continue again with life WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.

Birthday is a SUCCESS and I will continue to climb for as long as I can

Birthday is a SUCCESS and I will continue to climb for as long as I can

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

 

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Philippine Bridges Collection

“To cross each of this structure is one step ahead to the finish line.”

I am not really sure with the name of the bridge. I label them as much as I can. Lovely path to wonderland though. They fascinate me. I am in awe most of the time.

Bomok-Od Falls Bridge in Sagada Mountain Province
Bomok-Od Falls Bridge in Sagada Mountain Province
Hanging Bridge to Mt Pulag in Kabayan Benguet
Hanging Bridge to Mt Pulag in Kabayan Benguet
Monkey Bringe in Mt Manalmon Trail in San Miguel Bulacan
Monkey Bridge in Mt Manalmon Trail in San Miguel Bulacan
Mt Ayaas Foot Bridge in Rodiguez Rizal
Mt Ayaas Foot Bridge in Rodiguez Rizal
Old Bamboo Brige in Mt Manalmon Trail in Maragondon Cavite
Old Bamboo Bridge in Mt Manalmon Trail in Maragondon Cavite
Patapat Via Duct in Pagudpud Ilocos Norte
Patapat Via Duct in Pagudpud Ilocos Norte
The Steel Bridge to Daranak Falls in Tanay Rizal
The Steel Bridge to Daranak Falls in Tanay Rizal
Wawa Dam View Deck Bridge in Rodriguez Rizal
Wawa Dam View Deck Bridge in Rodriguez Rizal
Wood Bridge in Picnic Grove Tagaytay City
Wood Bridge in Picnic Grove Tagaytay City

Source: Personal Photos

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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The Proud Architecture of the Philippines: Churches and Bell Towers

St Mary's Church in Sagada Mountain Province

St Mary’s Church in Sagada Mountain Province

Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag Ilocos Norte

Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag Ilocos Norte

San Luis Obispo Parish Church in Lucban Quezon Province

San Luis Obispo Parish Church in Lucban Quezon Province

San Ildefonso Church in Tanay Rizal

San Ildefonso Church in Tanay Rizal

Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church in Majayjay Laguna

Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church in Majayjay Laguna

Nuestra Senora De La Porteria Church in Daraga Albay

Nuestra Senora De La Porteria Church in Daraga Albay

Metropolitan Cathedral in San Fernando PampangaSenora De La Porteria Church in Daraga Albay

Metropolitan Cathedral in San Fernando Pampanga

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Cebu City

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Cebu City

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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Burot Beach

JEitinerary: (I adjusted my Day 1 for 4 hours. Hehe)

Morning in Burot Beach

Morning in Burot Beach

Day 1

0430 ETD from Pasig City

0500 ETA Taft Pasay City Bus Terminal

(At the back of McDonalds near MRT station, Batangas Bound bus lines are available. Beware bus take passenger within service road so it will take time before you get to the destination)

0530 ETD Bus going to Lian

0815 ETA Lian, Batangas

(Go to the Poblacion Terminal, jeep bound for Calatagan are available)

0830 ETD Lian Poblacion to Calatagan Bayan

0915 ETA Calatagan Bayan

(Alternative Route: Van from Taft Pasay City at the back of Kabayan Hotel to Calatagan: Trip 4-5 hours)

930 Complete Supplies

0945 ETD Calatagan Poblacion

1000 ETA Burot Beach

(Take tricycle to Burot Beach. Got it for Php 150.00 / $4.00 good for 3 pax. Cons of going SOLO. T.T)

1015 Secure Camp Area and Pitch Tent

1100 Prepare Lunch

1300 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)

1500 Meryenda

1700 Prepare Dinner

1900 Dinner and Socials

Day 2

600 Wake up call

630 Prepare Breakfast

700 Breakfast

730 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)

1000 Wash up

1100 Break Camp

1200 ETD Burot Beach

1215 ETA Catalgan Poblacion

1230 ETD Calatagan to Taft Pasay City

(I took the van because Bus from Calatagan to Manila took me 2 hours of my time. It did not arrive on schedule.)

1730 ETA Pasay City

Burot Beach, Me and my Stick

Burot Beach, Me and my Stick

This is a personal itinerary that I made and actually done. I always find alternative ways to go to the place after getting lost and asked local on how to get there. See you on the road!

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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Surfing in Sabang, Baler

To the MAIN COURSE of the trip.

Second time to surf is harder. I can barely stand

Second time to surf is harder. I can barely stand

The waves were just a few meters, the weather is nice, and the surf riders are ready to be on board. It was one of the amazing things I’ve done in my life, to conquer my fear on a board. I am imbalance because of a rare congenital illness which makes me clumsy and prone to slipping accidents. Rollerblading, skating, skateboarding, cycling and common board stuffs are not meant for me.

Surfing with great dudes from high school

Surfing with great dudes from high school

Buddies from my college days with their boards for instruction to ride

Buddies from my college days with their boards for instruction to ride

I need to give so much effort to maintain balance because I get dizzy all the time. We went to Baler to check the beach and known tourist spots. This town is known as one of the SURFING hotspots in the Philippines. Enthusiast all over the world go here to visit the wave and ride. All I want to do is try this stuff and change the pace of my life.

We had no chance to still a PHOTO OFF with the wave. Shore surfing is a must

We had no chance to still a PHOTO OFF with the wave. Shore surfing is a must

Well, that is surfing for Quira

Well, that is surfing for Quira

My group went to the infamous Sabang Beach, rent our boards with instructors which cost Php 300-400.00 / $7.00 – 8.00 per hour (short or long board rental) with trainer. At first its a very difficult task for me standing on the board. My eyes are blurry because I don’t have my glasses on. My shoulders are weak and I don’t have the agility of an athlete.

The PACIFIC Ocean

The PACIFIC Ocean

I am very disappointed with my self because my friends was able to ride with minimal errors. As for me, I struggle a lot. I am good swimmer but standing on a board in the middle of the sea, paddling forever is a not EASY.

Another PARTY WAVE in the making

Another PARTY WAVE in the making

I cannot take it, I will not go home until I was able to ride the waves and feel the thrill. Putting lot of efforts I manage to stand, test under trial and error. Tired from going back and fort into the shoreline, paddling, swimming and stress on my joints.

Some of the actions I took while my friends are enjoying their surf time

Some of the actions I took while my friends are enjoying their surf time

I was able to stand and ride my way on my board. I felt different, I am happy that I was able to control, stand right and surf my way to the shoreline. Me and my instructors put a high-five on my first ride. It was the best feeling, experience things even though your body already put limitations in your life. I don’t want to be stuck on the things the medical world give me to survive this life.

Jha on her selfie board

Jha on her selfie board

I need to explore and know my limits, to live differently, to push until the end and break records. Surfing is one of my achievements and I want to share this to you guys. We have boundaries but that will not stop us believing we can do things we like to do.

The waves became Jha's battle ground

The waves became Jha’s battle ground

Friends that surf together, fall together. Party WAVE!

Friends that surf together, fall together. Party WAVE!

This entry is 2 years in the making. HAHA! I’m so lazy to post it. Now that I have the time in the world. Hope you enjoy reading my escapades in Aurora Province.

We celebrate friendship with a BOARD

We celebrate friendship with a BOARD

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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The Giant Balete or Rubber Tree

Giant Balete Tree

Giant Balete Tree

I did not know that there is a huge tree in Aurora Province Philippine which is believed to be the oldest and biggest in Asia. A Balete or Rubber Tree is famous plant which is normally connected to something that is horrifying or scary. As the famous street in Manila where a lady ghost is believed to be riding on vehicles passing by.

You can climb the tree. Old but strong

You can climb the tree. Old but strong

Anyway, it’s just an old urban legend in the Philippines. Going back in Aurora Province, as part of our itinerary, this magnificent tree is an attraction to tourist. The tree is located in Maria Aurora, Aurora. The tree is about 65 meters high from the surface. The dimension, they said that 60 adults are needed to embrace the tree, outstretched hand in hand.

College Friends in Maria Aurora

College Friends in Maria Aurora

It was an amazing sight that this old tree is strong enough to battle typhoon in which this area is massively attack during the typhoon season. To get here, it is about 25 to 30 minutes ride from Baler. You need to pay for the entrance which is Php 20.00 / $0.45. You will enjoy taking picture, climb to its branches and you can actually go inside.

Oldest Rubber Tree in Asia

Since the tree became famous for tourist, food stalls are available if you got hungry from the travel. Usually, this place is visited after trekking from the Mother’s Falls in San Luis Aurora. Travel time from San Luis to Maria Aurora is 15 to 20 minutes.

Old gang on Old Tree

Old gang on Old Tree

This trip is a combine photos from my first and second trip in Aurora. I’ve been here in April 2014 with my sister and high school buddies. I returned in June 2015 with my college friends. Great place to bond with my group of friends.

Taking that groupie.

Taking that groupie.

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

 

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The Mother Falls of Aurora

Ditumabo Falls

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

After breakfast, we check in to our Villa in Barangay Zabali. It is a house converted to inn which can accommodate up to 40 persons. We left our baggage bring our cameras and swimming gears heading to trek to the falls. Aurora Province, our first tour will be the Mother’s Fall or Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora Philippines.

One Way

One Way

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

From Baler to San Luis, it takes around 30 to 45 minutes drive. Our tour guides give us briefing before we start the trek going to the falls, it will take one hour walking into the river, land and wood bridges before reaching the falls.

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

The river is very clean and locals maintain the spot. Bottled water and food are not allowed in the falls and trekking area but there are food stalls available at the jump off offering fresh coconut juice, grilled corn, barbeques and sodas.

Sweet Life

Sweet Life

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

The futile land of Aurora is very diverse and have beautiful scenery. It was a breathtaking sight for all of us. The water is crystal clear, cold and refreshing. The entire trek is perspiring and tiring but our eyes were fed by luscious surroundings. Reaching the falls gave us chills because the water.

The trail life

The trail life

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

The Ditumabo Falls is around 140 feet high. The flowing water gives cold air, refreshing everyone from their sweaty clothes. I did not resist from the cold water, I immediately dive giving icy bites on my skin. We swim for 30 minutes before deciding to go back because it was crowded. People coming from different towns filled the place.

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

We need to move to give space to other tourist so we went back. It was not easy going back because people are piling up on a line, trails and bridges are built for just one person. We need to take turns which makes trekking back longer. Trekking into the stone river area is not easy, people in different ages need to wait for their turns.

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Some people where thrown away by the current of the water and it was not easy task controlling the rapids. When we reach the jump off, all of us are tired and starving.

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

It’s time for food tripping. I choose to get grilled corn for Php 20.00 / $0.45, coconut for Php 25.00 / $0.57, bottled soda for Php 10.00 / $0.23, barbeque for Php 30.00 / $0.68 and chip for Php 15.00 / $0.33. The good thing visiting here is that price is not that expensive unlike other known tourist destination, so KUDOS to Aurora Tourism.

The Mother Falls of Aurora

The Mother Falls of Aurora

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

 

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Welcome to Aurora Province

I am on-the-go for several weeks now and I find myself travel back to NORTH.

The Surfing Board against the tides and lights
The Surfing Board against the tides and lights

We booked our tour to Baler, that is a two days and 1 night trip. On a warm Friday night we begun our journey to one of the surfing hotspots in the North. This is a van tour which cost Php 2100 or $47 – 50.00 inclusive of tour, accommodation and food. This is really a cheap tour, if your going backpacking it might cost you more because transportation there is a bit nifty especially if you’re a foreign tourist.

Signage of a Hotel in Baler. This is not our accommodating hotel though. Hehe

Signage of a Hotel in Baler. This is not our accommodating hotel though. Hehe

From Manila to Baler, it took us 5-6 hours travel time with 2 stop over. The road is not very kind in some areas. Our driver encountered rough, zigzag, narrow and eerie roads on the way but still we manage to get there 30 minutes earlier than expected.

Morning Rush in Sabang, Baler Aurora

Morning Rush in Sabang, Baler Aurora

We reached Sabang Beach on its sunrise, the sun kissing the Pacific Ocean. The sand is black and the breeze gives relaxation. It was a perfect day for the tour. Everyone did not mind the bumpy travel and very eager to start the day in Baler.

Aurora Province. Pristine Panorama

Aurora Province. Pristine Panorama

We hit food stalls first to energize for our first activity. Baler doesn’t really offer good food unlike other provinces of the Philippines but the eatery is cheap and budget friendly. Food budget can be around Php700.00 / $15-20.00 for 2 days and 1 night but that would vary depending on how often and big your meal.

Aurora welcomes us very warmly

Aurora welcomes us very warmly

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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The First Solo Trip

My Selfie in Lucban, Quezon Province. Behind me is Mt Makiling.

My Selfie in Lucban, Quezon Province. Behind me is Mt Makiling.

I was overweight, tired and managed to smile a little. Taken 3 years ago. Took diet and exercise to be physically fit for adventures. Mentally prepared in learning to travel. Financially broke for LIVING the life of a NOMAD.

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HOW I FINANCE MY TRAVEL?

I AM NOT YOUR MATERIAL GIRL. IM NOT BORN WITH SILVERSPOON. BUT I AM BORN FINANCIALLY SMART TO GO AROUND THE COUNTRY.

Daydreaming in Mt Batulao

Daydreaming in Mt Batulao

Many of my friends think that I have enough money and my day job pay me so well that I can go to different places here in the Philippines. Little they know that I need to earn more in order to fund these trips. I will give you some tips on how to finance your way in exploring the world.

The sun in Paoay Sun Dune in Ilocos Norte

The sun in Paoay Sun Dune in Ilocos Nort

SECURING MONTHLY PAYCHECK

Of course we need to secure our day job that my be employment, self-employment, business and other work we have that guaranteed pay check every month. If there is a permanent means of funds, planning and budgeting your trip will be easier. There are several types of travel, it can be a hobby, way of life, vacation trip or work travel. I think this is a hobby where I always have travel plans all year round. The camping escapade, the mountain exploration, the beach bumming adventures, sight-seeing and the love to learn the culture all over the Philippines. One day, it will be my way of life. Once I build a strong system to fund the travel I will definitely end up traveling the entire WORLD.

The STREAM of Mt Talamitam, Nasugbu Batangas

The STREAM of Mt Talamitam, Nasugbu Batangas

SAVE UP

I usually set aside funds for my trips, my destination will always be based on my budget. If funds are tight then I just go nearby but if I want to go out a few miles away, I always save for that particular trip separately. I have an automatic savings for funding my monthly trip and a separate savings account for my dream destinations. I chopped by earnings depending on my needs. Traveling is part of my needs as it became my niche to develop my personality. Dividing my salary into different ways. I live a basic life in the city, I cook my own food, packed my lunch food, laundry my clothes and I often buy new clothes. Saving up at least 20% of my monthly income for travel expense.

Panorama from Mt Tagapo, Binangonan Rizal

Panorama from Mt Tagapo, Binangonan Rizal

Antipolo Night Skyline

Antipolo Night Skyline

PLAN A TRIP WITH A FRIEND OR JOIN A TOURING GROUP

To make most of my trip cheap, I have travel buddies joining me. This will split the cost of the trip. Checking the best yet less expensive hotels, hostels, tent city, food and ways of transportation. Although, touring with other people will means strict compliance on your itinerary or schedule. Going out alone will give you more time to linger on a spot you like the most. You can also go on camping which is one of the cheapest accommodation since it’s for free. Research and thorough planning can make your travel cheaper. Build a network of traveling friends, find those affordable places to go and exchange information from fellow travelers.

Majayjay Church of Laguna
Majayjay Church of Laguna

ADD PART-TIME JOB/S

Since I am a travel enthusiast, I need to get generate more funds in order to go out more and seek you places. I need to work overtime to be get more on my next paycheck. I always plan those overtime, work on rest days. Adding more hours will generate more funds. I do coordinate on events like weddings or concerts on my time off. I write article to host websites, get paid from advertisement. I write for friends, anything under the sun just to add income to my travel. Some people I know who love traveling have online business, selling stuff, buy and sell goods, anything under the sun to increase income. Soon, I will create my own website to get paid for my blogs. Crossing fingers!! You need excessive effort increasing your money to spend on traveling. I work hard but I play hard as well. From my travels I learn different cultures and photograph the best places in my country. I just love to wanderlust.

Giant Balete Tree in Maria Aurora, Aurora
Giant Balete Tree in Maria Aurora, Aurora

I will keep buying experience instead of buying stuff for the MATERIAL GIRL.

Food Trip From Sagada to Baguio City
Food Trip From Sagada to Baguio City
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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The SOLO Bucket List: The Five Places I Want to VISIT before I go to HEAVEN

I know I will go to HEAVEN!

There is a book titled “Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. One of the books I love to reread. It is fascinating to meet people who you never knew but never forgot the things you had with them. These are places I want to visit before I die even if I will not go to heaven.

Sunset Blooming

Sunset Blooming

Traveling is meeting people, culture, values of every region, the life and the scene. You don’t know who are the people you’ve manage to inspire. People you affect, not by being close but mainly by meeting them in a certain place. This list is typically accessible to visit but because of time constraint and financing the travel, my ability to cross this places should be on a slow pace.

Lost in LIGAO City Albay

Lost in LIGAO City Albay

Here’s my list:

  1. Cagayan De Oro

I want to explore Mindanao, CDO will be the first destination that I will land. I don’t know why I haven’t got the nerve to pack the sack and let the young spirit inside me to go here. I want to experience the blood rushing adrenaline of WHITE RAFTING here. It is also near DAHILAYAN PARK in Bukidnon. Planning the itinerary for CDO is actually tough. Going South is expensive than I thought. I am still searching for alternatives on how to make this trip come true.

DSCF1157

I was here in September 2015. First on the list is finally CHECKED!

  1. Kalinga

The infamous Apo Whang-Od of Buscalan want me to run all the way from Manila to the Northern part of the Philippines. Just to get ink and have the numbing travel to the mountainous region. Getting the tattoo means exploring the beauty of Kalinga. The Chico River, the terraces, the culture itself, the intelligence of the ancient people and history speaks in this place (according to my friends who went here). Soon, Kalinga. Very soon.

Sad moment overlooking Mt Mayon Albay

Sad moment overlooking Mt Mayon Albay.

  1. South Cotabato

They are saying that going here is dangerous. But looking the pictures of LAKE SEBU makes me want to jump on a plane, swim the seas and climb the hills just to be here no matter what. I want to see the colors of Mindanao, I know it is not dangerous to love the place. Someday, I will be able to try the zipline. Another day I will get my selfies on each 7 waterfalls that I will explore. Live the life of a real backpacker. Oh I will be SUPERWOMAN one day. Using those harness, I will fly to South Cotabato.

The Rocks from the RUINS of Cagsawa Church

The Rocks from the RUINS of Cagsawa Church

  1. El Nido, Palawan

The ultimate snorkeling experience. The blue-green waters. The rise of the reef submerged for hundred years. The dreamy landscape. The boat selfie. The SOLO adventure. I want to open my bag put on my camera, sun screen lotion and the big hat. Find my way to the SOUTHERN part of Luzon Philippines and dive to the clear waters of El Nido, Palawan. I will plan on how to get here soon and touch the place like finding golds and diamonds, Sweet El Nido, Jei will walk on those shores.

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Second bucket list hit in August 04, 2016. Big Lagoon and so much love.

  1. Marinduque

Going to the heart. Heart-shaped island, center for biodiversity in both sea and land. The marvelous beaches, mountains to climb and falls to chase. My heart will fall in love once again. Lost to its prettiness and having the best beach bumming activity that will last for a lifetime. Surely, this quite town will accommodate my sexy passion in LIFE.

Scene unfolded in Masasa Beach

Scene unfolded in Masasa Beach

To travel the Philippines. I hit 35% of the provinces here but I am not contented. Living this life will appeal me for life. I imagine myself in the distant future, imagining my self writing this, have that smirk on my face and feeding my mind.

My heart over Mt Arayat Summit

My heart over Mt Arayat Summit

Learning while traveling, living with my backpack, searching for my SOULMATE and loving the scene with gallantry. Oh!!! What a dream!

THE PATH

THE PATH

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
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Palawan: 4 Days 3 Nights Itinerary

Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan

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The Underground River. New 7 Wonder of Nature.

Day 1 1000: ETD Manila 1045: ETA Puerto Prinscesa 1200: Check in Marian’s Home Inn (What we’ve got Family Room for 3: Php 1900.00 / $43.00 per night and Php 395.00 / $9.00 for extra bed. For cheap trip you can find hostel that suit your backpacking needs.)  12:00 Lunch in Balinsasayaw Must Try in Balinsasayaw:

  • Chicken Inasal for Php 99.00 / $2.00 with unlimited Rice
  • Bird’s Nest Soup

1430: City Tour (Tricycle Rent for Php600.00 / $13.00 -$15.00 ) 1445: ETA Crocodile Farm: Php 50.00 Entrance 1530: ETA Baker Hill: Free 1600: ETA Mitras Ranch: Free 1730: ETA Mercado Souvenir Shops 1800: Dinner @ Kinabuch’s M ust Try in Palawan specially in this restaurant:

  • Crocodile Sisig
  • Tamilok

Day 2  0530: Wake Up Call 0600: Breakfast in Marianne’s (Day 2 is for the island hopping in Honda Bay) 0700: ETA Honda Bay Wharf 0800: ETD Prepare for the Island Hopping in Pandan and Cowrie (Pre-Selected for 6 hours trip) Rent Snorkel: Php100.00 / $3.00 (Rent near the wharf which is cheaper than the shop along the way. Save at least Php 50.00 / $ 1.50 1000: ETA Pandan Island Must Do in Pandan Island:

  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Beach Bumming
  • Picnic Lunch

1300: Lunch. Took care by the agency we hire for the Island Hopping. Tour Cost: Php 1300.00 / $29.00 per pax 1400: ETA Cowrie Island Must Do in Cowrie:

  • Swimming
  • Food Trip
  • Massage

1530: ETA Honda Bay Wharf 1600: ETA Hotel 1630: Wash up and rest 1730: ETA Market (Scout for Souvenirs and check the spots) 1800: ETA Puerto Prinsesa Baywalk  Must Do in Baywalk:

  • Biking
  • Food Trip
  • Tent Bars to chill

1930: ETA Bona’s Chaolong for Dinner Must Eat in Bona’s:

  • Beef Chaolong Php80.00 / $1.80
  • Chicken French Bread Php40 / $1.00

2000: ETA San Miguel to buy souvenir items 2130: Lights Out Day 3 0530: Wake Up Call 0600: Breakfast in the Inn 0700: ETA Sabang Wharf 1000: ETD Sabang for Underground River Tour (We took another travel agency deal for this trio. Php 1500.00 / $35.00 per pax which includes buffet lunch, van transfers, boat transfer, guide fees, entrance and boat fees.) 1100: ETA Underground River Cove 1230: Start the Underground River Paddle Boat Trip 1345: ETA Sabang Wharf 1430: Lunch Buffet in Wharf 1530: ETA Puerto Prinsesa 1700: ETD Inn 1730: Wash up and rest 1830: ETA Ka Lui’s for dinner What we had in Ka Lui’s: Ka Lui’s: Special of the Day

  • Lobster
  • Shrimp Garlic
  • Tuna Fish Steak

2030: Check the city in its night life 2200: ETA Inn 2300: Packed for home 2400: Lights out Day 4 0500: Wake up call 0600: Last breakfast in Marriane’s Inn 0800: ETA Puerto Prinsesa Airport 0900: Boarding; ETA Manila 1000: ETD Manila 1130: Home

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To the Parrot’s Beak: Mt Pico De Loro

The MONOLITH
Drain with my every day life. After putting so much fear in my life, I decide that I want to break free from being the simple, book-worm and couch potato gal to become an utmost adventure geek. I never imagine to find so much love and passion to mountain climbing. I was over weight before, I was lazy and a massive alcohol drinker. Now I will climb my 5th mountain which is Mt. Palay Palay or Pico de Loro. One of the mainstreams mountain in the Philippines. Located in Ternate, Cavite. It is about 2 hours away from the Manila so many hiker are attracted to visit the summit.
NEW TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
It was a fine day in Manila when we left. The traffic is not heavy from Shaw Boulevard going to Coastal to ride the bus to Ternate. From Coastal Mall terminal to Ternate terminal, we took tricycle going to the DENR jump-off. Then the confusion started, arriving to the jump off. Rumors is the old trail will be closed soon and municipal people are starting to barricade the old trail due to registration dispute. Before there are two registration point. One from the DENR (Department of Environment and National Resources) from the government and from a private collector which is the land lord of the old trail.
Hiking Mates
Hiking Mates
From the jump off we were bothered by several locals, we want to trek down the old trail going to the summit but we were discourage due to the pending closure of the trail. But we insist on having the old trail instead of using the New Trail. Despite the whole rigmarole of decisions in which way we finally started the trek. This is an overnight camping trip which was decided within 24 hours. I was tired and exhausted from work. I need to create our itinerary and budget. The night before we leave, I am very tired and wanted to cancel the trip. But still decide on going.
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Trekking down the old trail.

From the old trail jump off going to the next registration site we saw a rattle snake in white and black color. The vegetation is still good although the trail looks very used. We saw several groups going down form a day hike. Spreading news that there is wall construction on their way down which make us very hopeful. The hesitation we got is released so take a rest in the camp for while. We started trekking, to our horrors the closure of the old trail is inevitable. We saw policemen and workers starting to put barb wires and we need to talk to them for us to passed by. They told us to share the news to other people who the old trail was closed. I think we are the last group who was able to trek the trail. It was farewell and good-bye for the old trail.

Little Bamboo Forest going to the camp site.

As we continue, I can ear the water from the falls but we don’t have time to go there since it is not part of the IT. We arrive the 2 hour-assault, my back hurt, I did not sleep, tired, weary and hungry. My beast mode was long gone. I was palpitating real hard. Too much coffee and carbonated drinks. My thoughts are dreadful but I need to survive this hike otherwise I will not climb again. After the series of uphill climb, we manage to reach the camp. The sun is about to set on the west, the wind is harsh. It is windy in Pico during the afternoon till night-time. We left our bags in the campsite and trek to the summit.
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The wind cause a trouble on the way up to the summit. Edges and sandy all over the 60 degree slope. It was hard to climb because of the sand whirling together with the wind but we are able to reach the top. The deafening sound of the wind is nothing compare to the sight I am seeing. It was beautiful upon reach.

Girls and mountains.

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Scene in the Tower. Just Glorious.

Then, the famous MONOLITH stand on her grandeur in the middle of the forest, sea and clouds. It was wonderful. After getting all the picture we need, we head to the monolith top to experience, rock climbing. With ropes and other paraphernalia.
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Shoe selfie!!

I got scratches on my elbows but still I cannot feel the pain because the sight is just wonderful. We a took time to explore the monolith and when we are satisfied we head back to the campsite to set our own camp.

Emote sa LITH.

The way up. Looks can be deceiving. LOL!

At the camp, due to my negligence. I forgot to bring the tent we need which is really frustrating. Imagine 6 persons sharing 1 tent with a capacity of 4 persons. HURRAY!! Good thing I bring my own sleeping bag otherwise I might get cold. The wind is blowing relentlessly, getting strong every hour. After setting up our camp, dinner time and socials started. We cook our own food, we are still novice but we manage to upgrade our things one at a time. I doze off due to exhaustion. I slept outside the tent since I am the one who did not bring the tent. (T.T) It was cold, it is pinching my skin. I had 2 jackets on a sleeping bag but still the cold is harsh. I survive the night, woke up happily with all the people surrounding us!! Shocked to see that it was Saturday morning and people from the cities and nearby towns are now exploring the entire camp site. (ashamed!!!)

Setting Up the CAMP

Camping and Shelter

To trail during the week-end is highly discourage because there are lots of people hiking during this time. Actually, too many people. It was a good thing that we decide to hike on a Friday. After eating our breakfast we decide to break our camp. We trail back using the New Trail since back tracking to the Old trail is now officially prohibited. Foot traffic is all over the trail. We need to patiently wait for group of lines to be finished before taking our turn.

The NEW TRAIL

The New trail is still diverse. The vegetation is still in good condition, mossy and green. It took us 2 hours to trek down back to the jump off. We ate and washed up. Then it is time to go back to the real world.
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Expenses:
Shared expense for a group of 6 = Php 700
Solo Break Down:
Shaw to Coastal Mall : Fare Php 20.00 – 30.00
Coastal to Ternate: Fare Php 80.00 – 90.00
Ternate to DENR (Tricycle):  Php 250.00
Registration: 30.00
Second Registration (Old Trail)= Php 25.00
Food and drinks: 250
Ternate to Coastal Mall: Php 80.00 – 90.00
Coastal to Pasig City: Php 20.00 – 30.00
DENR to Terminal: Php 80.00 / Person
SOLO Budget Cost: Php 900.00 – 1000.00

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Sample Itinerary
Day 1
0700 Board bus at Coastal Mall Terminal to Ternate (P82)
01000 ETA Ternate. Rent tricycle to jump-off
1045 ETA DENR / jump-off point.
1100 Start trek
1145 ETA rest station, Basecamp 1
1300 Camp
1400 ETD to Summit
1600 ETA to Camp Site
1900 Dinner and Socials
2300 LIGHTS OUT
Day 2
0430 Breakfast
0500 Break Camp
0600 start descent to Magnetic Hill
0900 ETA jump-off point.
0930 Back at DENR; take jeepney to Ternate then take bus back to Manila
1100 ETA Manila.

At the top of MONOLITH

Photo Credits:
Gel, Rona, Sarah and Herdy (Yapak Mountaineers)
 Hike Date: February 20 and 21, 2015
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Burot Beach going SOLO

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View from the tricycle going to Burot Beach.

Summer is love. April is FREEDOM. It’s been a while since I went on a trip all by myself. After 3 months of long exhausting hours at work. Finally, my 5-day vacation leave was approved. 3 days before my leave I plan to go to Marinduque but because of the Storm Chedeng, all plans need to be cancelled. I settle myself finding a serene beach to accommodate my insanity. Then, there was BUROT BEACH. A day before my leave I quickly sort out my itinerary. I went to Calatagan, Batangas Philippines long time ago. It was 4 years ago, I remember the agony of the long drive during that time. I was impatient back then and traveling doesn’t suit my lazy butt.
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Me. Selfie Queen.

With lingering feeling, I exhausted searching for a perfect IT plan A, B and C leading to one of the biggest accomplishment in my life. I bought my own cook set and burner for this trip which I will use in the future for my hiking escapades. The night before I travel, I cannot sleep. Worrying all night on what to do on my first ever camping beach trip. I woke up very late, very late from itinerary. Started packing things, last-minute shopping and breathing my way out to the real backpacking experience.
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My Camp with neighbor. Yes we have similar tents! 🙂

Late like 5 hours late from my schedule trip. I set off my foot around 1130H from Pasig City, arriving in Taft Avenue around 1200H. The terminal station going to Nasugbu is at the back of Mcdonalds and Dunkin Donut. Later I learn than there is a van terminal going straight to Calatagan at the back of Kabayan Hotel, also in Taft, Pasay. I load myself to the bus going to Lian, Batangas because the bus to Calatagan will take ages before arriving in the terminal.
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Sunset. Very serene while I cook my dinner.

After 4 grueling hours in the bus that did nothing but to fetch passengers I arrive in Lian, Batangas. The Pasay City-Bacoor-Dasmarinas-Silang-Tagaytay City- Nasugbu ride with wailing children and snoring co-passenger I was able to find a jeepney going to Calatagan. From Lian to Calatagan it will take less than an hour. I took off the jeepney, got myself 4 gallons of water and ride on a tricycle going to Burot Beach.
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This is waist high water and you can still see the bottom part.

 I arrive around 1730H, the heat of the sun settled down and there was no space for me to pitch in my tent. People from the Metro come down south enjoring the holiday and long weekend but I manage to get a good spot for myself. I forgot that I did not eat breakfast and lunch because I was late on my schedule itinerary. After pitching my tent and things down, I cook my food canned mackerel in Sinigang (Sour Stew) and rice. I got too tired to roam around, I am still observing my fellow campers. I am still worried to leave my things behind but my neighbor campers have chit-chat with me. I met a traveling couple Kuya Alex and Ate (I forgot her name) which are adorable to supply me things about the area since they arrive earlier than I.
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Beach Bumming starts now.

I walk around near the shore after eating dinner to see plastics and garbage from other campers. It was disappointing that these people doesn’t know the principle of LEAVE NO TRACE. They have no respect to the nature, sooner or later this beach will be wasted because of those people who don’t know how to take care of the environment. I got a plastic full of garbage 30 minutes after I walk around. Kuya Alex told me that there are people who are managing the garbage but I don’t feel its enough. There will be no garbage at all if people know how to pick up their own trash.
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Cove end, this rockies are real star!!

I got tire and sleepy around 900 so light up. I woke up because my fellow campers are partying like there is no tomorrow. The noise irritates me, I was there for solitude, to relax and forget the buzzing noise of the metro but these people manage to ruin my night. I decide to read my comics while breathing in the air from the sea. Around 200H i fell asleep again, call it a night and had a restful slumber (thanks to the ear plugs I bought). I woke up around 600H, the breeze of the sea welcomes me. It was low tide when I arrive but the water went up in the morning. It was a wonderful sight, a smile on my face and prepare to face mt beach activities. A cup of coffee fill in the early morning cold air.
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700H, took my own risk pack my phone and ipad to my ever trusted bag, zipped my tent and went on a long walk to the shore. I went to the series of stone forming the cove and took unlimited selfies. The water is very clear and clean. It seduce me to dive and swim like a fish. After walking around the beach shore, I cooked my breakfast (corned beef with egg and fried rice). 800H, I swim the vast clear blue sea. I enjoy my beach bumming activity even though I am alone and everyone is looking at me amusingly.
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Breakfast in the sand..

I got hook into the water for 3 hours and the heat of the sun is protruding. I decide to break my camp and go home. There are available toilet and shower rooms which are very basic. Free flowing water that is scalding hot you can get some to drink coffee. I manage to break my camp successfully and took my final shot of the place. It was high noon when I decide to leave the cove back to Manila. 1230H I arrived in Calatagan Poblacion to take the bus but the bus did not arrive within an hour of waiting. So I decide to take the van from Calatagan to Pasay City.
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A kiss from me. Having fun in the sun.

The traffic is inevitable, the trip is good from Calatagan to SLEX (South Luzon Expresswaty) but after exiting the toll. Massive traffic welcomes us aboard. It was 1 hour of traffic before we arrived to the terminal. I am exhausted and hungry. Grab a hotdog in 7/11 and take another bus ride going to Robinson’s Galleria and take another bus home. All in all the entire transportation took me 5 hours back home. Tanned by the sun, tired from the trip and hungry. I can still feel the excitement, I am way too happy for my successful trip to Burot Beach.
Expenses:
Pasay City to Lian Batangas: Fare Php 152.00
Lian to Calatagan Bayan (Town): Fare Php 30.00
Tricycle Bayan to Burot Beach: Fare Php 150.00 Solo / Php 60.00/pax
Tricycle Entrance: Php 10.00
Burot Beach Entrance Fee: Php 130.00
Tent Space (if you are bringing you own tent): Php 30.00
Tent Rental : Php 150.00 for 2 persons
Going Back Expenses:
Tricycle Bayan to Burot Beach: Fare Php 150.00 Solo / Php 60.00/pax
Van from Calatagan Bayan to Pasay City: Fare Php 180.00
Pasay City to Robinson’s Galleria Bus (AC): Fare Php 18.00
Robinson’s to Home: Fare 12.00
Budgeted Food for Solo: Php 300.00 to Php 500.00 ( based on consumption)
My Budget Cost: 500.00 which includes the butane, food, toiletries and snacks on the way
Total Cost: Php 1700.00 to Php 2000.00 for solo
Budget Tips: Bring friends to cut off the cost of the tour. The more the cheaper. Try to haggle with driver.
Sample Itinerary: (I adjusted my Day 1 for 4 hours. Hehe)
Day 1
430 ETD from Pasig City
500 ETA  Taft Pasay City Bus Terminal
530 ETD Bus Terminal going to Calatagan
0815 ETA Lian, Batangas 0830 ETD Lian Poblacion to Calatagan Bayan
0915 ETA Calatagan Bayan
(Alternative Route: Van from Taft Pasay City at the back of Kabayan Hotel to Calatagan: Trip 4-5 hours)
930 Complete Supplies
0945 ETD Calatagan Poblacion
1000 ETA Burot Beach
1015 Secure Camp Area and Pitch Tent
1100 Prepare Lunch
1300 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)
1500 Meryenda
1700 Prepare Dinner
1900 Dinner and Socials
Day 2
600 Wake up call
630 Prepare Breakfast
700 Breakfast
730 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)
1000 Wash up
1100 Break Camp
1200 ETD Burot Beach
1215 ETA Catalgan Poblacion
1230 ETD Calatagan to Taft Pasay City
1730 ETA Pasay City
You can adjust your time while in the beach. You can snorkel and island hopping to Puting Buhangin for Php 100.00 minimum of 5 person. If you are solo you can go with other groups but I decide to stay in the beach.
It was fine time to explore the world. With or without someone to accompany you. Once in a while go on a solo trip and be happy by yourself. Engage your self to the nature and environment.
See you on our next trip!!!
Jei 09/04/2015
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Mt. Pulag Chronicle

Dream big and aim high. I want to go to heaven without dying. I want to reach the sky without flying.
I want to feel the cold winter air without leaving the tropical warmth of my country. So I decide to join a group of mountain climbers and set my foot on my way to Benguet where the majestic Mt. Pulag is located. I was about to go to Sagada, a town where the famous rice terraces is located.
Then a friend of mine invited me to join his group traveling north of the Philippines to hike which I thought will be the same route to Sagada. But, the distance between Kabayan, Benguet and Sagada is about three hours away with the 2nd highest mountain in between. I decided joining them instead and prepare myself to the journey to the stairway to heaven.

pulag1

I prepare for the hike to Mt. Pulag by physical training. Leg workouts like running and going to the gym. The group have checklist, I make sure to get all the things I need so that I will not be a liability. As the day is near for us to leave, I feel the hesitation on going because it will be my first time to go on hiking and camping in the mountains.
I’ve been to many places but never been in the mountain because all of my trips usually includes accommodation and perks. But this time, I am alone so I need to feed myself, get my things ready, push my body to its limits and taking care of myself all the time.
The day has finally come, I set my backpack and start my way to the sky. The group met in a fast-food in Cubao, Quezon City. Gathering to brief for our venture and providing our aids on our way up. We ride the bus going to Baguio City, that trip is about 6 hours. At 4:00 o’clock in the morning, we reached Baguio City and prepare our way to Kabayan, Benguet.

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We ride the PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) going to the DENR office for the hike briefing provided by the government. On the way, we have one stop over where we ate. The weather is nice but I am chattering due to the cold weather. It is not an easy ride way up because the zigzag road will make you nauseated. We drive for 4 hours to the briefing site and the rangers camp from Baguio City.
From Manila to Baguio to Kabayan took us 10 – 12 hours which includes stop-over. It is a very tiring trip but my eyes were fed by the beautiful scene in 360 degrees. Everywhere looks so fresh and magnificent to the eyes. I took many pictures to remember this once in a lifetime journey. This is the first step we need to take before we reach the sea of clouds where the Gods belong and play (as local belief).
From rangers camp in Kabayan, Benguet. We start by preparing our things and gear up to the mountains. It is 11:00 o’clock in the morning, as we start our journey at the top. There are lots of other hikers going down, greeting us good luck and smiles. They look so tired and want to run down in order to rest but they seemingly happy on what they saw up there. My backpack is heavy, around 20kg to 30kg all weight on my shoulders and hips. At first I am excited to walk because the first 2 km trail is easy and smooth with limited upward slope. But after 1 hour trekking, this comes the challenge started.

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It is not easy to climb on a 30 – 60 degrees slope. My sweat beats the wintry weather. My breathing became harsh and hard as we ascend. We took a couple of rest period because it is tiring and we need to give way to people who are coming down since there is only one trail to walk with. This the first time I hike, I don’t know if I want to go back and stay home. My legs are weakening as we step up further, reaching camp 1. All of us are tired from the 12 hours trip. Some of us came from work and slept on the way to Kabayan.
I am uncomfortable because my bag is killing my shoulders. My lungs are out of air. My hands are trembling because of the cold. But my head is sweating profusely. I am thinking that I might pass out anytime because I feel differently. After an hour or so, we reached camp 1 where we rest and took our lunch. Under the tree, feeling the grass on my feet, the sun is shining above . The cold air pass through my jacket and under shirts, I took a nap and rest my body for few minutes.

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After the quick nap, I am energize and ready to continue the journey way up. We still have 2 hours trek for the camp site where we will sleep and rest before hitting the summit during dawn. This time the trail is more difficult and assault is now often. Every now and then, we take rest. I am amaze by the biodiversity surrounding me. I can feel the damp, wet and cold when we pass by the mossy trail. The place is green and brown, walking one foot away from a cliff. Once you trip, you’ll chase your life away. Even though, we thank heavens for not raining. It was a dry terrain, cold yet manageable, fresh air and spirit that cannot be unfolded.

j2

We reached camp 2 in less than 2 hours, settling our things and putting up tent for us to rest until dawn before we go to the summit and watch the sunrise. It was around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, I was exhausted because of the long travel and the trek. But my eyes were not starving because of the beauty I see. This is the grassland camp where short bamboo grows, the mist is very visible and the cold is creeping through my sweaty skin. After the tents were set up, I immediately took a nap to refresh my mind and body before taking dinner. I am so tired, once I had my back landed on my sleeping mat I went on a dreamless slumber.
I woke up with people chattering around me. The temperature drop and I can’t feel my freezing hands. I can now feel starvation and happy to see my friends cooking something for dinner. Dinner was served and we ate in lightning speed. After the ransacked dinner, we socialized, talked about the trip and what will happened next. It is my first time hiking and going with this guys so this is the chance for me and for them to know something about ourselves. The drinking session last and its time to hit the sack. I slept early because I want full energy for tomorrow’s event. Reaching the summit.

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In the middle of the night, I finding myself tossing and turning due to the cold that is hitting my core. It was one of the dreadful experience in my life, the temperature drop to 3 degrees according to my colleague. Not even the 7 shirts, 2 jackets and a blanket protected me on the deadly cold. This is very cold for us since our normal weather temperature is 32 – 36 degrees. I thought I will freeze to death during the battle against lower temperature. I decide to get up around 1:30 in the morning because I can no longer tolerate the cold. Some of my friends are already up because we are experiencing the same turmoil of the weather.

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All of us are up before 4:00 am and we decide on starting the assault towards the summit. We geared ourselves with flashlights, cameras, jackets and trail foods to survive the last trail to the top of the mountain. We trek for about an hour or so before reaching the summit. All the energy I consume and the effort to go all the way here was paid off by the scene my eyes and camera captured. It was a daydream picture of the world, it is one of the wonderful sight I ever seen in my entire life. The orange-yellow horizon with the sea of clouds casting the entire skyline is dream-like. I am intoxicated by the scene, it is like I am in a different universe. This beauty is worth climbing and put in your life with. I cannot compare its beauty to anything else in this world. I feel like a new-born who manage to see the light for the first time.

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When the sun rises from the east, it is a fascinating view and everything is a gallantry came from the gods. The view at the top is one of the most gorgeous landscape my eyes laid upon. The sun beams towards are cold body and frigid soul. The warmth of the sun, the breathtaking view fills our eyesight and completed our escapade perfectly. The best moment is we share the same high with all other hikers. All you can see is smiles on our faces, nobody grim about how hard it is to go up here. Everything is paid by the sea of clouds and the heaven-like picture. It is like me and the gods are only a few meters away. Walking on the same path and touching each others existence. The best of the best.

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After 2 hours of staying on the summit, we hurried down to prevent human traffic upon descending from the top. We went back to the camp site to eat and ready our packs for us to go down. Around 11:00 in the morning, we set our heighten spirit down, it is time to go home and upload those picture, share the experience and give information to other about this magnificent place to go. I will never forget this escapade, one of the greatest place to visit. Mt. Pulag Summit is truly one of the Philippines’ amazing spots to go. I feel proud that I was able to conquer and survived the Mt Pulag SAGA.

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How to get there:
From Metro Manila there are several alternatives to get to Kabayan, Benguet.
How I get in there. I was invited by a friend to be part of their club hike in Mt. Pulag.
Manila to Baguio via Bus
Victory Liner fare: Php445
Baguio to Kabayan, Benguet: Private Jeepney Roundtrip
Cost: Php6000 for 10-15 pax
2 h 8 min (81.8 km) via Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road and Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias-Abatan Rd (source: google maps)
Manila to Baguio to Kabayan Benguet. Travel time: 6-8 hours.
Commuting to Ranger Station in Kabayan, Benguet from Baguio City
As I checked, there are public jeepneys and bus going to Atok and Kabayan Benguet. I am still researching the routes, fare and additional information on how to get there alone. I will update once I had details. I will be in Sagada on December 25, 2014 and I will checked when we stop over to Baguio.
Travel Agencies, touring group and Clubs
There are numerous agency and outdoor clubs holding trip to Mt. Pulag. Catering the transportation, food, mountaineering gears and stuff needed on the hike. Expense will depend on number of hikers. You can join on touring group if your going solo. You can check various package in facebook, websites and mountain climbing clubs.
Tour Package Cost: Php 2000-2800 for 4-15 pax
Manila to Kabayan Benguet via Baguio (Private Van)

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Siquijor Island and Dumaguete City Itinerary

“The clear blue water is amazing that it bring content and everlasting happy vibe”

I am committed to travelling and enjoying my life. When PISO fare game is on, I make sure to get the most value in getting a flight anywhere in the country. So, after my Hong Kong trip. I was able to use my GetGo points, book a roundtrip ticket to Dumaguete city and wait for almost 7 months to make this trip possible.

I already change in preparing for my trip. I became more out-of-the-box than seccuring all the details of my hotel check-ins, transpo and budget cuts. I book the tricycle tour in Siquijor, check the are for hotels and pack my bags with my partner to Dumaguete City. We have an early flight at 0500, morning flights are very exhausting. The airport is full and almost full lobby seating. We arrive early at KFC and wait for boarding.

We boards on time but the plane delayed flight for 15 minutes. We arrive at Dumaguete Airport passed 0630. We will not make it to the 0700 Ferry ride to Siquijor Island. We rode in thr tricycle to the Port. We are able to booked the Ferry ticket at 0800 trip. Have some coffee and piyaya while waiting. The trip to Siquijor is almost 2 hours.

SIQUIJOR ISLAND

Then, our hired tour guide Kuya Jun Mark fetch us at Siquijor Island to check in and start the Tour. We check-in to Replica Manor for 1 night only, get dress and start our tour in Siquijor. The place reminds me of Siargao but quite and it is Majestic. It like there is hidden secret and it will be always remains a mystery.

Here: are the place included on our Tricycle Tour. It was comfy and most road are already fix. Very good sunny day to bask under the blue sky.

> St Francis of Assisi Church

> Paliton Beach. Free entrance as of now. Good place to start the trip.

>Capilay Spring Park. Free entrance, the spring is dry when we went it there so we just took a couple of minutes.

>Enchanted Old Balete with Fish Spa. Entrance fee is Php 20.00. Fish spa and you can buy souvenir here.

> Broom Shot. Donation only.

> Cambugahay Falls. No entrance fee but guide is mandatory. Swing fee for unlimited time is Php 20/pax. We gave Php 200.00 to our guide for the 2 of us.

> Molave Man-Made Forest. Free picture Taking.

> Salagdoong Beach. Entrance is Php 30/pax. You can cliff dive and swim.

> Cang Isok Old House. Oldest house in Siquijor since the Spanish Era.

> Mangrove

> Pan Bisaya. Famous bakery that bakes using old charcoal oven. Sarap ng food!

> Dagsa Restaurant. Good resto but the mosquitoes are annoying AF.

After we ate at Dagsa, we finsih our road trip in Siquijor and catch some rest in the inn. It was a very good day to start.

Siquijor Budget:

> Airpot Tricycle to Port: Php 150.00
> Ferry Ride: Php 130/pax
> Terminal Fee: Php 15/pax
> Tricycle Tour Fee: Php 900.00
> Food and Entrance Fees: Php 400 – 1000.00 (Php 300.00 without food budget)

TIPS:

* Ride the Montenegro RORO ride for comfort ferry trip to Siquijor. The in-between ferry rides are very uncomfortable and hot.
* Eat in Karinderias if you want to buy cheap meals. Hotel and restaurant are like very Manila rate in pricing.
* Prepare for a long ride and get energized for the whole ride.

DUMAGUETE CITY

 

We woke up very early in Replica Manor to get ready. Back to Dumaguete for our Apo Island and Manjuyod trip. We have breakfast and coffee. We pack our bags and our guide send us off to the port. This time we are able to ride the Montenegros RORO which make a big from the ferry ride yesterday. Arriving to Dumaguete City, we went to Harold’s Mansion to check in for the rest of the days of our stay in Negros.

We are not into city tours so we decide to chill and relax for the rest of the day. We ate at Jo’s and Sans Rival for lunch. Booked our Apo Island Trip for tomorrow and relax at the Sea Port Boulevard. Lots of balot and street food vendor are here. We just sit and look around people around us.

Budget:

> Breakfast at Replica: Php 120.00 Silog and coffee
> Tryke to Port: Php Php 100.00
> Ferry Siquijor to Dumaguete: Php 130.00/pax
> Terminal Fee: Php 15/pax
> Tryke to Harold’s: Php 50.00
> Harold’s Mansion: Php 1000/night, we paid Php 3000 for 3 nights stay
> Jo’s Inasal: Price start at Php 99.00 2 rice na!
> Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries: Cakes, Sansrival and coffee. Price starts @ Php 30.00.
> Tryke around Dumaguete city: Php 8.00/pax per ride.

APO ISLAND

This is best of our entire tour. I always wanted to go here and enjoy snorkelling activity. We woke up early to start the day, call time is 0700. We went to the diving shop to pay for the tour and get our gears. The tour includes coffee, sandwich, bananas, lunch (pansit and egg), roundtrip open van transfer and snorkelling gear. Good thing we are check-in in Harold’s so its easier for us. Point to point transfer only.

TIPS:

* You dont need to extra clothes because there is no bath time. So just bring money, some snacks and your swimming attire.
* Water is available in the boat
* Secure your gadget, especially water cameras and phone as the diving spots are really deep.
* Listen to the guides and be responsible when the turtles are around. Just take picture.

Budget:

> Harold’s Snorkelling Fee: Php 1200.00
> Dinner at KRI: Price start at Php 400.00 for dinner plates.

The experience with the turtles is very heart warming and I feel like I need to take care of the environment more than before. It was like the last frontier, it was an experience I cannot forget.

MANJUYOD ISLAND

This is our last day in Negros, we are excited for our last trip. We woke up at 0300 to catch a 0430 ride to Bais City for our Manjuyod Sand Bar trip. We arrive in Bais City at 0630, ride a tryke to Manjuyod Port, ride a small boat and go to the sandbar. The Dolphin watching and mangrove forest tour were cancelled but we were not informed and paid full price.

The sandbar is over-rated but very photogenic. The photos will entice you to go here but it was beautiful to shoot the island. We bask under the cloudy turn sunny sky all morning. Ate fresh oysters and sea urchin for Php 20.00 each. Cancel dolphin watching tour due to bad weather and mangrove forest is close due to recent accident.

Budget

> Tryke Bus Terminal: Php 25.00
> Bus to Bais City: Php 80.00/pax per ride
> RT Tryke to Manjyod Port : Php 200.00
> Boat Rent Shared: Php 750/pax

Tips:

* Wear you swimming gear before going to the port. CR is small and paid.
* Do not sleep at bus ride so you can see the Hacienda’s and Azucareras of Negros.
* Best to go there straight to hire a boatman, pricing is the same. November is off peak season so its ok to go there without boat hired in advance.
* Pack snacks, water is available in the boat. Boat have restrooms.
* Apply sunscreen as it gets too hot around 1000 onwards.
* Buy to local sellers, they are all around to support them.

SUMMING UP DUMAGUETE

We did not stay long in Bais City and went back to Dumaguete to get our souvenirs. This is one of the chill vacation I have, I am not exhausted unlike my other trip where I don’t get much sleep. This place is for eating, swimming, relaxing and having your own time. Our stay is only 4 nights and 5 days but it feels like a long vacation.

Budget

> Snacks at Tarbush: Php 100.00 for a big Shawarma wrap.
> Tryke around: Php 8/ride per pax
> Souvenir: Php 300.00 (magnet, key chains, pouches and coin purse)

I recommend to get to places without being in a hurry. Enjoy all rides and do not force your self to meet all place at a time. There is always time to go back to beaten path you did not pursue. I am Jei signing off now. See you next time Pirate!

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Day 2: Surfing and Siargao Island

“The beauty of each place I visit exceeds more than my imagination”

– Fakir

Cloud 9: Surfing

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Bucas Grande – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

Features: Surigao City to Siargao Island, Paglaom Hostel, Surfing at Cloud 9, Magpupungko Pool, Marsh, Cave and the Siargao People

Arriving at the port to catch the first trip to Dapa Port in Siargao. I purchased my ticket for Php 250.00, enter a small boat and waited for it to be filled. After an hour waiting the boat left Surigao City at 0600, the sea is calm, the sky is cloudy and the air is refreshing. I fell asleep for a few minutes, woke up because of the heat of the sun is bathing on my face. Then the view was spectacular, range of hills, and islands before my eyes are arrange beautifully. I just saw Bucas Grande, one of the islands of Surigao Del Norte. I wanted to go there but renting a boat is way expensive for me. I settle myself of viewing the endless green and blue array of the islands. Its one of the prettiest island I saw in my entire trip. I can stare it for another whole day.

Clear waters of Magpupungko Pool



Its still far to Siargao but I rather stay awake and marvel to the view for the next 30-45 minutes. The boat arrive in Dapa Port around 0830, the tourism office will asked you to sign the tourist sheet which actually good in case of emergency they will be the one who will do the call out. Its good for me since I am traveling alone. Another series of barkers, dispatchers and habal-habal drivers will hover you to get their habal-habal services. I just stood around the corner, observe a bit and I can feel the a low because I haven’t eaten heavy meal yet. Being hungry is a lot worse than getting lost. HEHE

In the middle of the crowd, someone snatch me and offer Php 50.00 to Paglaom Hostel. From Dapa Port to GL / General Luna is usually cost Php 200.00 good for 3 pax. So I immediately grab Kuya Bebot’s offer before it lasts. The never-ending question of being alone started here. Kuya offered me habal-habal trip to Magpupungko Pool for Php 700.00 saving Php 100.00 for the usual cost which is good for 2-3 pax. Then he asked me if I will go on island hopping and Bucas Grande. I told him that Bucas Grande is very expensive for me. He will have guests from Manila on the next day which he offered both island hopping and Bucas Grande tour for Php 4000.00 which I can chipped into. The usual rate for boat for island hopping to Guyam, Naked and Daku minimum costs Php 1,200.00 depending on the number of pax. I agreed to the terms and will meet them tomorrow. So we travel from Dapa to GL for 20-30 minutes.

Magpupungko Pool

I arrived in Paglaom Hostel, deem culture shock to the people around me. Both Filipinos and foreigns, so my thick shell melts down and I welcome the introvert me. I am too shy to talk to them at first. Paglaom Hostel cost Pho 300.00 per night. Bunk bed, bathroom, kitchen, personal locker and lanai to keep the conversation. If you want cheaper, there are inns that offer as low as Php 150.00 per night. I prefer Paglaom because I want to meet Sunny and Cocoy which are owners of the hostel. I set my things down, write my name on my bunk bed, lock my things, prepare my day pack and change clothes. Then, I am going to cloud 9 to try surfing.

I change my itinerary on the spot. Decide to surf first, then Magpupungko Pool. No rest needed. I need to compact my time because of unexpected addition to my itinerary. So I went ahead to Could 9, take a quick a lunch (fried blue marlin and rice) for Php 55.00 and pick up my long board. I hire a trainer because I am not good at boarding stuff even though I tried surfing several times. My trainer give me the basic long boarding lesson and we head to the water. Board rental (short or long) cost Php 350.00 for half day and Php 500.00 for a whole day. Trainer cost Php 200.00 per hour. The waves of Siargao are higher than any surf spots in the Philippines. Its the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” after all. The waves are the one you can see in surfing movie. Aqua green, high an endless. I am pretty boring when I started, my arms and upper body are weak. i cannot stand at all. I fell several times but I am determined enough to paddle my board. I keep on thinking on how I was able to pull it off before. I want to stand and ride my waves. I will not stop until I am able to ride. So I focus on my goal, 30 minutes later, I was able to stand on my glory.

I enjoy the rest of my surfing gig proud and mighty. I am getting good every time I tried surfing. It a happy ending after all, I was all smiles and giggly when I finish boarding. I want to stay longer but I need to visit Magpupungko. I rest a few minutes, take my picture at the infamous Cloud 9 bridge and head off to Magpupungko Pool. Its at least 30 minutes away from General Luna, I hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) for Php 700.00 which is actually good for 3 persons. I was still on a high after the surfing gig. The fresh air of Siargao and its scenic view will relax your soul. The island have uncanny weather system, half of the island is experiencing rain and the other half is smiling sunny. I am still having the best time, rain or shine.

I arrived Magpupungko at 1400, its raining hard but its low tide so you can actually swim to the nature-made infinity pool. Entrance fee cost Php 50.00 and you can rent tables/chairs/cottages or just put your things on the beach side. After the rain subsides, I walk to the pool slight rain pouring my head and again all smiles. I was so happy I forgot that I am tired. The marvelous sight of Mapupungko Pool will make your day. Its a clash of waves, sand bar in the middle and a cliff pool near the beach shore. I enjoy the rest of my day swimming, jumping off the cliff, diving and taking pictures. The place is pure happiness for a person who loves the water.

Aftermath of Tayabangan Cave

The trip just started yet I am congratulating myself for achieving this far. I can say that I am now comfortable to conduct this kind solo venture. I explore the entire Pool area, around 0430, I decide to rest a bit before going back to GL. I am indeed a camper, I brought my gears with me because I love to sip coffee everywhere I go. So I heat water, enjoy my instant coffee and instant noodles to quench the starvation. This day is full of exploration and first time. After having my afternoon snack, I decide to go back to GL to rest. My guide advised me to check out Tayangban Cave since he saw junkie I am when I jump off the cliff several times.

The Tayangban Cave have little canyon to trek before heading in the cave. The entrance fee cost Php 20.00, exploring the cave add-ons is Php 50.00 for locals (Filipino) and Php 50.00 entrance / explore Php 50.00 for foreign tourist. I explore the cave which is a little bit intense but I am glad to drop by, the cave is underneath the national highway system in Siargao. It starts at the right side of the road and you will end up on the left side. Its a 15 minute spelunking activity which is a must try.

After my brief caving experience, we continue the ride back to GL. I asked my guide to stop by the Paghungawan Marsh for me to take my video. The marsh is home for Saltwater Crocodiles which is similar to the giant crocodile of Butuan, Lolong. The road system of Siargao is already equipped which is a sign of tourism boost in the region. If you want to explore Siargao Island, you can rent your own habal-habal which cost Php 350-500 per day, gasoline at your own expense. I can only drive a bike and too scared to drive my own motorcycle. I need a driver to prolong my life. Hehe

Tayabangan Cave

I went back to GL around 1800. The day is tiring, traveling both sea and land is exhausting. I need to buy some thing while staying in Siargao. I went to the market bought tuna and ingridients, went back to Paglaom and start to cook my food. The troop are asking me to go out since its Jungle Night. I am not the party head and I am too tired to go out. I also need to be early for the Bucas Grande trip. I did not join the jungle night and stayed in the cozy Paglaom lanai all throughout the night before going to bed. I am still adjusting to the friendliness of the people around me. Dumbfounded on how they seem to know each other in a very short time. I am thinking of extending my stay here if only I allot more days for this trip. I need more days because I am enjoying it way too much.

The night is deep, my call time is 0600. I need to rest and in my bunk before I am engrossed to fun of the night. The Siargao trip is truly magnificent. This is one of the best islands I visited, currently pulling this place as one of my top destination. I doze off to sleep and wonder for the love Bucas

Grande can give to me. Too tired and sleepy, I dream of having the wonderful time of my life. To live like this is to FEEL LIFE.

Catch you tomorrow PIRATES!

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 8: Last Day in Mindanao

“Make friends, have fun, travel forever and have memories that can last a lifetime”

– Fakir

Features: Hagimit Falls, Maxima Aqua Fun, Buying Souvenirs, Bangkeruhan Market, Day Tour in Kaputian Island

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

I woke up early, beat and with heavy heart. This will be my last day in Davao City. Grab a quick breakfast, pandesal and coffee near Daylight Inn. Chat with the local vendor and bid my farewell to Grace. She will be back in Manila on an early flight, mine will be at 2300. I went to Bangkeruhan to buy Pomelo and Durian for my family/friends. I tried Marang while waiting. Back to the inn, I pack my bags and check out. I stay in Daylight Inn covering my 3 nights in Davao for Php 250/night fan room. I will not recommend this place if you have other choices like My Hotel or other hostels around Davao. I’ve got tick bites all over my legs, swelling and itchy for the next days.

I went back to my friend Rosa’s place to drop my bag then start my day tour in Kaputian Island. I ride a jeepney from Davao Doctors to Aldevinco, fare cost Php 8.00 to buy my souvenirs. I bought my ref magnet, t-shirt, scarf and tie-dye pajama. Buying all those stuff cost me Php 370.00, I forgot the prices of each item (SORNA!). After buying my pasalubong I ride a jeepney from Aldevinco to Sasa Wharf for Php 15.00. I ride the barge to Babak Wharf for Php 10.00. Kuya Jay, the habal-habal driver is waiting in Babak Wharf. He will drop me to Hagimit Falls and Maxima Aqua Fun for Php 150.00, travel time 30 – 45 minutes. I did not agree on taking the day tour since I went to Monfort Cave the other night. But you can rent his service for Kaputian Island Day Tour for Php 800.00 – 1200.00 good for 2-3 pax. Kuya Jay contact: 0916 115 0189, he is really nice. I like him because he’s not nosy unlike other guides.

He drop me in Hagimit Falls, entrance fee cost Php 40.00 and parking fee for Php 5.00. The spring resort is really refreshing. The water is cold and swimming will be nice but I ditch it. I just want to check out the place, take some photos. I stayed here for a good 30 minutes. Then, we went straight to Maxima Aqua Resort. What a nice person Kuya Jay, I recommend him to my friends that went to Kaputian Island.

Maxima Aqua Fun, its infamous SUPER SLIDE attach from the cliff. I ditched Pearl Farm (too expensive for me). Last day in Davao should be filled with adrenaline and FUN. Day tour is Maxima Aqua Fun cost Php 300.00 in which you can stay from 0900 – 1700. I arrived around 1230, roam around and change to my swim attire. The resort attractions are really fascinating and not for the weak heart. I slide several times until waters filled my mouth, ears and nose. I jump from the diving board. Best thing to try is their WATER BLOB. Really exhilarating! It’s a must!

I got exhausted from the activities. My skin is burned from the sun. I met people who add me up in facebook. Last day here in Mindanao is nothing but fun! It’s time to go back in Davao City. A group of soldiers in vacation and me chipped in habal-habal back to Babak Wharf. These young people are brave and pride our country. it was nice to meet them.

Back to Sasa Wharf, I ride a jeepney to People’s Park downtown. I ate in Penong’s, I love their Inasal Chicken and unlimited rice for Php 98.00. Chow time in Davao is cheap and real good. Penong’s is in every corner of the city. After eating, I went back to Rosa’s apartment to get my things and bid goodbye to my college friend. From Ilustre St, there are jeepney to the airport. You can take a cab as well. Downtown Davao to Francisco Bangoy International Airport PUJ fare is php 16.00 – 20.00, taxi fare is Php 230.00 – Php 250.00. Grab Car/Taxi is also available in the city for your comfort.

I arrived at the airport at 2230, flight is schedule at 2305. Check in my bag, feel the infinite pricks on my skin and itchy tick bites. I board and dozed my way back to the bustling city of Metro Manila. I got home in Pasig City around 0200. Mindanao is the best trip of my life. I am going to do this until I can.

Ultimately, the overall trip cost me around Php 15000.00 including my airfare. I will provide the itinerary and budget on my next segment.

On my way to our next trip PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 7: Exploring Samal and Kaputian Island

“Let the sun bathe you with goodness and a warm of life”

– Fakir

Features: Samal Island, Isla Reta, Babusanta Resort, Dayang Beach, Kaputian Island, Monfort Cave and Sta Ana Wharf

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Walking around Davao City is tiring but I need to get up to finish the itinerary I set. Grace and I will explore Samal Island today. This is my 7th day, sun burned and a bit exhausted from the tour. We ride a jeepney from Daylight Inn to Sta. Ana Wharf around 0800 for Php 8.00. I did not check the ferry schedule so we are 1 hour ahead its departure. We grab a bite and buy ingredients for lunch. She brought TUNA and my mouth is watering. I am hoping lunch time could be near. HEHE!

The Isla Reta ferry departs from Sta Ana Wharf at 0900 – 0930. It will depart early if its full, unfortunately its off-peak and we need to wait a little bit longer. Fare cost Php 80.00 for a 20 – 30 minutes ride. Upon arriving in Isla Reta Beach Resort, the boat crew will ask if you are going to join the trip back to Sta Ana Whar at 1500. I did not sign up because I want to explore the island. Isla Reta entrance fee cost Php 100.00 and chairs and table are for free unless you check in into their cabana or rent their tents. Overnight stay can cost Php 300.00 – 1500.00 with accommodation.

The blue sky, warm sun and aquamarine water invite you to a peaceful serenity. Beach is really white and pristine. Real good relaxation. After we explore the place. I cook our lunch, I prepare my camp stove and Kapampangan cooking prowess for our Sinigang and grilled TUNA. This is the chill part of my travel. No jumping, no trekking or anything involves adrenaline rush. This place should be visit by peace who love low profile travels.

Swim, sunbath and drink all the beer you want. It’s already 1500, day trippers can now go back to town proper or can stay. I decide to stay to check out other resorts in Samal. Grace went back to the inn and call it a day. There is a boat going to Kaputian Island around 0500, so I have 2 hours to spare. I rent a habal – habal for Php 170.00 which an ultimate haggle price. Habal – habal rental cost Php 200.00 – 300.00 good for 2 pax.

I visited Dayang and Babusanta Beach Resorts which are more beautiful than Isla Reta. The sight is just endless blue sky and crystal clear water. I will go back here and stay for a couple of days to relax and drink all day. My habal driver is really nice and talk my way through the resorts for free. Entrance fees cost Php 70.00 – 80.00 each resorts. I save a lot because of him. I took my photos, drink fresh sweet coconut and swim a bit. We return to the wharf so that I can catch the last boat to Kaputian Island.

From Sta Cruz Port (Port near Isla Reta) to Kaputian Wharf the fare cost Php 10.00. Travel time is 3 minutes. The sleepy town of Kaputian also have their day tour and resorts that offers overnight accommodation from backpacking inns to expensive beach hotels like Pearl Farm. It’s almost night fall when I rent habal-habal for Php 230.00 to visit Monfort Bat Cave. From Kaputian wharf to Monfort cave travel time is 30 – 45 minutes. The day cave tour entrance fee Php 100.00, night tour cost Php 200.00. I was agitated because of the price increase but when I check out the caves. It’s mesmerizing, the bats are about to hunt and they re flying out of their caves. The price pays it off. I also recommend the night tour!

My habal driver (Kuya Jay) drop me off in Babak wharf back to the main land Davao. Sasa Wharf operates 24/7 transferring commuters and vehicles off Kaputian Island. Fare cost Php 10.00. From Babak to Sasa Wharf travel time is around 2 – 3 minutes. From Sasa Wharf to downtown Davao travel time is around 30-45 minutes fare cost is Php 23.00 – 25.00. Its night-time when I arrive San Pedro St., chow at Kusina Dabaw. Ordering their famous LOMI and SIOPAO, dinner cost Php 95.00.

I got tired from my adventure today. I will go back in Kaputian Island tomorrow. Last day in Mindanao will be awesome!

High five PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 6: Davao City Tour

“Think, stop and chase all the worries away”
– Fakir

Features: Daylight Inn, Davao City walking tour, Philippine Eagle Center, Jack’s Ridge, Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, Running tour of Chinatown, Magsaysay fruit market, Davao’s Street Food, Roxas Avenue, Kusina Dabaw

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

I woke up tired from the night road travel from Manggagoy. I want to sleep more and ditch the day’s itinerary. Waking up in the safest city in the Philippines calms my tired nerves. Its 0800 in the morning, it’s already warm. I need to get up to meet my Davao-based friend Rosa. She welcome me to couch surf in her place but I decline because I know she is busy at work. I want to walk in/out of my place without letting other people be mindful about my state. This I regret 3 days after, Daylight Inn suits cheap backpacker budget but I had tick bites before I left the hostel. Anyway, rush to the common bathroom. I prepare myself for my Davao City Tour.

I went to my friend’s house, had some breakfast, endless chats, the MAJONGERA laugh we share and the life we are heading. TRAVELING THE WORLD. We squish the little time we have and continue later after her shift finish. I continue my itinerary in search of getting to my first stop. The Philippine Eagle Center.

I walk around Davao to check routes and after an hour I finally spot on the jeepney going to the center. From Davao City, you can ride the PUJ (air-conditioned and non air conditioned) at the Bangkeruhan Terminal. Fare cost Php 40.00 – 50.00, the eagle center is in Calinan and travel time is around 1 – 1.5 hours. DISCLAIMER: Vehicles around Davao run at maximum 60kph due to the City Ordinance. Once your in Calinan town, you need to hire habal – habal (motorcycle) going to the Philippine Eagle Center, fare cost Php 70.00 – 100.00 roundtrip. You can rent the habal – habal for touring around which includes visiting to the Eagle Center, Botanical Garden and the Crocodile farm. I skip the day tour though.

I arrive in the Eagle center, paid the initial entrance fee for Php 5.00 and Php 150.00 for the zoo pass. The eagles are huge and proud. These birds look small on photos. The center caters to different species of birds like falcons, owls and eagles (of course). Birds are sponsored by successful people and companies so that they continue to breed even though they can no longer go back to their natural habitat. I don’t like zoos but seeing the big birds alive and safe in this center make the world much better.

I truly love this place, visiting the eagles is Davao’s pride in terms of tourism. I still have plenty of time that afternoon to roam around the city so I decide to go to Jack’s ridge and Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in Matina. From Calinan to Matina, fare cost Php 35.00. Then you need to ride a tricycle to go way up to the spots. I went first to the church, stick my praying candle and took some photos. The view is spectacular showcasing entire Mt Apo and Samal Group of Islands. Catalina view deck fee is Php 12.00. Across the street is Jack Ridge, famous for its city landscape. Viewing the entire Davao. Fancy restaurants and bars are also located here. No entrance fee.

The sun is about to fall, wind is still warm and I feel sticky. I decide to go back to the city. Davao’s humidity is stronger than Metro Manila, I can feel my sweat all over my body. I think I lost a few pounds by walking around. I ride tricycle back to the highway and catch a jeepney back to my inn. What I really like when walking around this city is the street food which offers fruits like guava, papaya, mango, pineapple, pomelo, etc in cheap prices. I also love Kusina Dabaw’s siopao which one of the best buns I have tasted.

I went back to my inn, took a bath and prepare for my night out. I meet up with my Davao-based friends, went to Roxas to search for the most affordable Tuna Panga and street food in which easy to find. Tuna panga with unlimited rice for Php 80.00 is way cheap here. Taste the Durian Ice Cream and another set street food to find my dinner in peace. My friends describe Davao to be a good place to live in apart from Metro Manila. I am fascinated by their brevity to jet set from Luzon to Mindanao. But Davao’s climate is really not a good place for a person like me who has a never-ending headache when the temperature goes out of the scale.

I would visiting Davao again for the food it offer and the breath of fresh air within the city.

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 5: The Grand Tinuy-An Falls and Hinatuan Enchanted River

“Start the day with breathing life in and exhaling all the worries away”

– Fakir

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Features: Tinuy-An Falls, Bislig City, Hinatuan, Enchanted River, Habal-habal Tour, Surigao del Sur

I woke up heaving with excitement for my 5th day here in Mindanao. Everything I do here makes me feel the utmost freedom I wanted in life. The day will be as amazing as the previous days. I continuously fall in love with this place. After having my breakfast, I called my guide to start my day in Tinuy-An Falls. I read from other blogs that you need to go there early in the morning to catch the rainbow so I decide to go there around 0600. Bislig air is refreshing as Siargao Island. It’s a quiet place and very peaceful.

My guide fetch me at 0615, we started the trip to Tinuy-An Falls. From the main road going to the falls will be a rough drive. It will be a 30 minutes bumpy ride. Road blocks, mud and stone path will welcome you. We arrived around 0700, I am the first tourist of the day. I guess I was too early. I paid the entrance fee for Php 20.00. You can explore the place, swim if you like and get all the pictures you want. My first impression, I was overwhelmed by the grand falls in front of me. Pictures don’t give justice to the beautiful fall in front me. The Tinuy-An falls is very high and the curtains of water gives refreshing treat to the guest.

So at this point of time, Pryde (my camera) decides to kill its manual mode. HAHAHA : ( It was busted for some reason so I decide to get my pictures using my ipad and action camera. Still hopes high and enough cameras to cover my trips, I proceed in exploring the falls area. The Manobo tribes are the land lords so they will your guide if you want to check out the upper curtains of the falls. My guide is as quiet as I am as we go further up. There is a man-made stairs that will help you climb. Kuya guide is very kind to help me when we reach the slippery area. The cold splashes from the falls give me the refreshing feeling.

I reached the upper part of the falls, then swim in the ice cold water. The view was as fascinating as you view it below. Getting into high places relieve my addiction to adrenaline. It seems like all the issues in my life wash away by any scenic landscape in front of me. The love for adventure will definitely continue for as long as I can climb and hike and travel and walk and love this life. Tinuy-An Falls is a beauty you cannot see from its photos. It speaks more glamour in real life than check it out from the photos. It’s too dreamy to capture. To pretty to catch. Too real to get. These are my feelings as I view the wonders of the area. Really cool! Returning back to the main road after the trip, you need to ride into the Tribal Habal-habal which is actually part of the ordinance set in Bislig since they are the landlords of the area.

I made new colleagues all the way from Siargao Island. Upon embarking my way to Enchanted River, Jel’s friend from the DIY is also in Bislig for the same tour. I was just too early and unable to check that she messaged me several times for us to cut the cost of the habal-habal. Sometimes being too early can missed cheap opportunities. So, we fetch Grace from her inn and proceed to Hinatuan. We manage to cut the cost from Php 1000.00 to Php 700.00 which is still a good price. The motorcycle ride to Hinatuan is not a joke; another butt numbing trip for 45 minutes on a endless highway starts again.

We arrived at Enchanted River around 1000, registration fee Php 50.00 and you can explore the entire area which currently manage by the local government. At first glance, I am not as fascinated towards the River. It’s way different from the pictures shown in the internet. The turquoise color is gone and the deep blue abyss is not there. A bit disappointed but our guide said it’s currently not good to look because its high tide. Even the water taste a little bit salty. Since its high tide, river water meets the sea which is the reason why it’s a bit salty. Going here made me sweaty so I take the opportunity to dip into the cold relaxing water.

My high school friend Nilo was here when he globetrot Philippines for his work. I saw several of his photos from here so this made me decide to include Enchanted River as part of my Mindanao backpacking trip. I am a good swimmer but never a good diving. Taking my underwater photos gave me a hard time. This is part of the disadvantage of backpacking alone. No one will take your damn pictures. Good thing someone invented a timer for cameras. Whoever you are, thank you.

We waited for the fish feeding program in Hinatuan which starts at 1200. Grace got a really good spot at the upper portion and I got one on the lower portion. The staff feed the fishes for the next 15 minutes with background music. After the gig, we decide to go back to Bislig for Grace to take her Tinuy-an Falls trip and me to ready my pack. It was a quick day tour for both Tinuy-An Falls and Hinatuan. I cleaned up back to the hotel and ready my bags to Davao City. I ate roasted chicken for lunch which cost me Php 120.00 with drinks and rice.

I waited for Grace and we hopped into Bachelor Bus bound to Davao City, fare cost Php 300.00 for ordinary bus. The February wind is like a lullaby as we begin our journey. The road trip started around 1700, as we view Banana Plantation and endless greens of Mindanao. This time of my life really change my perspective about travelling this beautiful country. Its broaden my mind and views as we passed by the town after town. There are several bus stops for break and dinner time. As the night time crossed the sky line, I fell asleep and when I woke up we were in Davao Ecoland Terminal. The entire transfer took us 7 hours and it’s worthy. We catch a tricycle to My Hotel to check in but they are fully booked. They refer us to Daylight Inn, we got our double bed fan room for Php 300.00. Same pricing to surrounding inns in Davao, our is near the famous Bankeruhan and other establishment.

Finally, I was able to set foot in the one of the safest place in the world. Tomorrow will be the time to explore Davao City. For now I need to take a rest and have the best sleep.

Touch Down PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 4: A Long Run Around in Mindanao

“A trip so long is a journey to patience”

– Fakir

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Features: Sea and Land Transfer from Siargao Island to Mangagoy, Bislig Surigao del Sur, Travel time, Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Bislig and finding a hostel

I am leaving Siargao Island with a little bit of a heavy heart. The life in this island is like a dream I never thought of. I share my life with people I met here and have the waves of desires in our lives. To travel the world and to live in peace. I will never forget the experience Siargao had given me. It was 0400 when I woke up, I barely sleep because I want to stay longer here but I need to move on to my next destination. I clean my locker in Paglaom Hostel, closed my pack and hopped to my habal-habal. The habal-habal rental cost Php 200.00, one of the nearby hostel guest don’t have a ride to we share. Indeed, I am a lucky bastard.

Within 15 minutes we arrived at Dapa Port, the port area is busy with hundreds of tourists and locals line up to get the ferry tickets. I bought a Mabuhay ticket for Php 260.00 and terminal fee for Php 15.00. Economy and business tickets are sold out. The fare is a bit expensive but when I hopped into it, I changed my mind. The Mabuhay class have air-condition, comfortable seat and airplane seat feel. I still wonder why I did hop to a small boat going to Siargao Island. The tricycle driver from Surigao City seems to drop me to a different port. No wonder, all passengers are mostly locals at that time.

I fell asleep as we sail out to the vast sea. The travel time is less than 2 hours since this is a huge vessel. I arrived in Surigao City really drowsy, my head is starting to ached and I need to find my way to the Terminal. I take a jeep to the terminal for Php7.00. I was about to take a bus to Butuan, then another bus/van going to Mangagoy. When I reach the terminal, I learned that vans bound to Davao City are available in Surigao City. I hopped into the crowded van, paid Php300.00 going to San Fran Integrated Terminal. The van route to Butuan City then bound to Surigar del Sur. The entire stop/go routine lasted for another 6 hours of my life before arriving to San Fran. I was tired and weary; I barely slept in the van because the view is just to awesome.

From San Fran, I need to take another ride to Mangagoy, Bislig for my Tinuy-An Falls and Enchanted River escapade for the next day. I decide to take Bachelor Bus to Mangagoy paying Php150.00 fare. Van transfer fare is cheaper for Php 80.00 – 100.00. Take the van instead if you want to have a cheaper rate. The travel time from San Fran to Bislig is another 2 – 3 hours butt numbing trip. I met local ladies who are kind enough to give me shelter for the night. I was tired when I got in Bislig, the drivers are hauling around me. I cannot decide because I am starving and headache is around the corner. The local ladies pulled me from the haggling drivers and decide to check me in their houses. I am too grateful for their offer but I decide to say no. I am a bit uncomfortable staying in to someone else’s house rather than taking an inn. They helped me get an air-conditioned room instead in Star Dormitel for Php 300.00 instead of paying Php 550.00 in which I am very thankful.

I was gasping for food when I reached my room. I am tired and really starving so I decide to complete my stocks again and went to Gaisano Mall to purchase some stuff. Bislig City is pretty quiet place to live, its warm and peaceful compare to nearby cities. After getting my food, I ate in my room and search for my habal-habal to fetch me for tomorrow’s adventure. I stayed outside and eat Balut to my heart’s content. I cannot find any available driver so I decide to contact Jel to get her contact instead which she provide immediately (Such an angel to have bumped into). I was able to contact the guide and settle for Php 1000.00 for the entire Tinuy-An and Hinatuan River tour. Everything is settled, I got the food and things I need for the next day activities. I conclude my 10 hours transfer from Siargao Island to Mangagoy, Bislig a huge success with a butt numbing ride to the far flung of Surigao.

Let’s do this PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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Day 3: Bucas Grande, Naked, Daku and Guyam Island

“Your own body and mind will be the one who is going to stop you. Not time nor money”

– Fakir

Boat ride to sting less jellyfish

Bucas Grande, Naked, Daku and Guyam Island Itinerary

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Bucas Grande – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

Features: Bucas Grande, Bolitas Cave, Tiktikan Lagoon, Stingless Jellyfish, Sohotan Cave, Naked Island, Dako Island and Guyam Island

I can smell the refreshing air of the sea and that trance music all over the place. I woke up and I am still in Siargao Island. It is time to get up and get the day started. The Magpupungko pool and surfing gigs yesterday were one of the highlights of the trip. I initially scratched itinerary going to Bucas Grande because its too expensive for a cheap traveler like me. Boat rental to Bucas Grande from Siargao would cost me at least Php 2500.00 – 4000.00 which is actually cut my entire budget. Good thing I was able to join in with a couple traveler from Manila. Jel and Mark agreed to include me in their island hopping tour.

The usual trip is a separate tour to Bucas Grande and island hopping (Naked, Dako and Guyam). You can do it in 2 days to enjoy the entire beaches and lagoond much better. But we don’t have time to do it separately. If you will hire a boat for island hopping you can rent a boat for Php 1200 – 3000.00 depending with the number of pax. Rent a boat to Bucas Grande for Php 2500 – 6000.00. I grab the opportunity to cut the trip to Php 1333.33 for both tour which is a grand cut from my budget. Big thanks to Kuya Bebot, Jel and Mark for getting me there in cheap cost. Hurray!

Our travel agent Kuya Bebot fetch us from our hostels and proceed to the GL seashore to hop on our boat. We sail to Bucas Grande to start our trip. It will be a grueling 2 hours and 30 minutes boat ride with big waves and scenic view of each islands will welcome you. Every island have evergreens and white shores. The coral cliffs and the waves will relax your eyes. Excitement embrace me, I would never thought I will set foot in Bucas Grande. I am thrilled as we get closer to the island. The sun is brimming hot from its blue sky, it was an endless sea and big white clouds. As if the world got bigger but I came here to make is smaller.

We reach the registration area for Bolitas Cave around 0845. Entrance fee cost Php 30.00 and guide fee Php 100.00. We geared up, a hard hat and flashlight will be provided before the exploration which is actually useful thereafter. We start to explore the main cave, beautiful crystal stalagmites. White with sparkling stones are available to view inside the cave. The cave is tainted due to bat waste mining during the Japanese Period. Bat waste is usually used as fertilizers and ingredient for gun powder. The ground is hauled and severely damage which saddened me. It was decades but the cave is not yet rehabilitated. Balinsasayaw birds make and small fruit bats nest inside the cave ceiling.

Amazed by the huge cave, we explore further by spelunking in Bolitas Cave. I never thought caving will be as intense as entering Bolitas. It was full body work out, you will need all your body parts to fit into the hall. Heat and humidity combine are sure like instant day to the gym or running for a whole 1 hour. The cave is so narrow that you need to enter body flat. It was a sweaty morning for all of us. Bolitas cave caters hundreds of stalagmites that looks like phallic in different sizes. I surely had a hard time getting in and out from this spelunking activity. Full of sweat and dirt, we finally end our first tour of the day and move on to the next part of our Bucas Grande trip.

We went to Tiktikan Lagoon afterwards, the view is still spectacular. Entrace fee cost Php 20.00. It seems like I am transported to another world, out of the Philippines and went to a magical place. If

you want a quiet, calm and peaceful trip to Surigao del Norte, Bucas Grande will suit you specially when your a non-surfer person. I am falling deeply in love with Surigao. Tiktikan is famous for its 10-15 meters diving board so with knees wobbling, I ready myself and jump bravely. Everyone thinks that I don’t struggle when it comes to jumping out of high places. But the truth is I am shaking inside out. I was born with a complex poker face which hides my emotions. The water is refreshing, it washed out the dirt from the cave and made me feel that adrenaline that I am looking for. The thrill of jumping is like letting go to all the misery I had in life. I just jump and it feels so good.

After taking 2 jumps, we need to move on to our next trip which is watching the Stingless Jellyfish and Sohotan Cave. The tour is the most expensive package in my entire Mindanao trip. The package will depends on the number of pax in a group. Since we are 3 pax, we pay for Php 1450.00 for both tours. We geared up, helmet and life jacket before we hopped to our paddle boats. Going to Jellyfish Lake needs to be catered by paddles which only good for 2, guest and the guide. Taking the small boat is relaxing as you view the magnificent coral hills surrounding the entire place. Its too picturesque because of its blue green water, endless green, blue sky and refreshing sun.

Few jellyfishes are available, season is April where the entire lake is full. It is still cute to see different sizes of Jellyfishes here. They are incredible to watch as they swim. You can touch them for a few minutes, I took videos and pictures before we head back. You can help your boat man by paddling, they have extra to speed up the small boat. I would like to compare Bucas Grande to Blue Lagoon of El Nido though through pictures. I haven’t gone to El Nido yet.

We ride to another motor boat moving to our next trip, Sohotan Cave. The cave is only accessible during low tide, its the only way to enter and exit the marvelous place. Sohotan is like a secret cove which is really beautiful. Rock formation, caving activities and peace in this world. We hit the snoring cave, according to our guide the cave release noise which is comparable to snoring when its high tide. You need to swim to enter the cave, if you will dive the water have a green luminescent light. It was wonderful.

We proceed to another cave, entering the above hip water all the way up to the narrow cave stairs and ending up in the cave balcony. The twist is you need to jump from the 10-meter cliff to exit the tour. The Cove is very large, exploring the entire area is one of the extra ordinary trip in my entire traveling experience. Not everyone know this place exist, especially those who resides in the Northern part of the Philippines. The Bucas Grande trip is about to end as we went back to the tourism office. We hopped back to our boat back to Siargao for our afternoon island hopping tour.

The weather is fine but the waves are high, it seems like our boat will jump over the waves for the next 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is impossible to take a nap coming from the exhausting morning in Bucas Grande. We are all wet from the waves and rain, my butt and back are shouting numbness. We reached Naked island around 1600, it is surely imposed its named. No trees available, its just the pure white sand and the blue waters surrounding the sand island. Its extremely hot when we reached the island so it just took us 10 minutes to explore the little white beach.

Apart from taking snacks from the tourism office in Sohotan, we haven’t take our lunch. Extremely starving, we reach Dako Island which is the largest among islands. Dako mean large in Bisaya dialect. It suits its name because its large, fine white sand and coconut everywhere. A real tropical beach. Entrance fee for the 3 of us cost Php 100, cottages/tables ranges from Php 100.00 – Php 300.00. We take one of the Nipa cottages which usually cost Php 250.00, haggle price for Php 100.00 because we will just stay for an hour or two. We packed our lunches, our guide gave us scallops to be cooked and I brought my gears to cooked additional rice. Locals are serving for guest, cooking fee Php 50.00 and bring your own ingredients. They can also sell freshly catch fish which is additional fee.

I ate in my stomachs content, binging my own food and my Jel’s food. We have fresh scallop stew and fresh coconut. I was really full when we finish eating our combine lunch and early dinner. Before the sun sets, we proceed to Guyam island which is our final destination. Another white sand, tropical shore and rocks on the other side completed our day tour. Entrance fee cost Php 20.00. We swim, take pictures and videos. This will be the longest island hopping tour I’ve been to. It almost night time

when we left Guyam back to General Luna shore. It was pure fun and new experience for me. Meeting new people which also in love with traveling.

The Bucas Grande tour is a achievement unlocked for me. It was one of the best peaceful places I ever went to. I will be going back to this place to explore more. This will be my last night in Siargao Island. Together with my hostels buddies, we went out that night to check the acoustic night in Harana, know more about other people and chill like a villain. The people of Siargao, tourist, foreigns and locals give friendly vibe. You will actually love both the place and its people. I will surely go back to this happy island. It is worthy place to travel. Worth the money, exhaustion and the long ride. Two thumbs up for Siargao tourism!

Back to Mindanao main island PIRATES!

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

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5 Days and 4 Nights Hongkong-Macau (Day Tour) Budget and Itinerary

First time to travel abroad DIY trip because packages are just “CAN’T AFFORD” for the poor backpackers like us. Busog-lusog pocket money is around Php 25000 without airfare. We booked promo ticket from CebPac in November for Php 4490.00 per pax.

Pre-departure Tips:

Buy your toiletries (shampoo, soap bar dahil walang puro liquid soap available) if you’re staying in a hostel. Secure your snacks like biscuits, chips, chocolate bars and the gutumin kit. Empty water bottle, saves you a lot because water is expensive (HKD 6 – 8.00). I got HKD pocket-money, we changed in Sanry’s in Robinson’s Galleria. Php 6.55 = HKD 1.0 before we left Manila.

At the Airport Check-in Instruction:

Check in Online (CebPac)
Pay Travel Tax Payment
Drop Bag in check in counters
Immigration
Boarding

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Immigration Checklist:

Valid passport (Not less than 6 months validity)
Roundtrip Ticket
Hotel Reservation
Certificate of Employment for the obrero like ME
ITR (Income tax return)
Company ID

I got lucky in the airport because I have a companion. The only asked me,

Immigration Officer: Saan ka nagwowork? (Where do you work?)

Me: Sa asfdkjgfgdlgd (kabado dinaig pa yung mga mag ti tnt)

Immigration Officer: Saan?

Me: Sa ano po

Immigration Officer :

Me :

Airport:

Passport : STAMP !!!

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A21 Bus from Airport to Tsim Sha Tsui Nathan Road

Arriving in Hongkong International Airport. Airport money exchange is around Php 7.8 = HKD 1. Clear in Hongkong immigration and get bags in the carousel. Purchase Octopus card in MTR Customer Service via Airport Express, HKD 50.00 deposit and HKD 100.00 for load.

Tips: Load your octopus card up to HKD 300.00 because you can use it in 7/11, restaurants, boutique, etc.

Airport express cost HKD 60.00 better choose bus for HKD 33.00. We rode A21 bus to Chunking Mansion (Tsim Sha Tsui, Nathan Road). Room for 4 nights in Yan-Yan Guesthouse cost us HKD 1000.00 via booking.com. You can get cheaper rooms if you have direct contact in Chungking Mansion. Peak season rate can be up to HKD 500.00 per night.

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Yan-Yan Guesthouse is located in Chungking Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui

Day 1: Hongkong Bound

1400 ETD Home
1600 ETA NAIA
1900 ETD NAIA Terminal 3
2110 ETA Hongkong International Airport
2145 ETA HK Airport (Ride A21 Citybus $33.00)
2230 ETA Nathan Road (Chunking Mansion)
2300 Check – in at Yan-Yan Guesthouse
2330 Dinner (Pick up dinner at 7/11 or cheap fast food)

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A dream come true in Hongog Disneand

Our day 2 is dedicated to Disneyland. The guesthouse staff offers us discounted ticket, regular price is HKD 589.00, and we got it for HKD 520.00. You can get tickets to Ocean Park, just go inside Chungking Mansion (check the expiration date of the ticket). We have breakfast in Café de Coral, range from HKD 25.00 – 35.00.

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Our new friend Minnie Mouse! Star struck!

Disneyland food, souvenir and drinks are PANGMAYAMAN. Water is HKD 28.00 (bring water bottle, water stations are available), cheapest food is at Starliner Diner from HKD 99.00 – 120.00 with drinks (big serving too!) and souvenir range from HKD 59.99 – sawa. Mahal besh!

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Toy Story Theme at Disney Hongkong

After feeling gaga over Disney characters and finishing the fireworks. We went back to Kowloon. We drop in Yau Mah Tei to check the night market. Dito pang cheapangers ang mga souvenir. ATTACK!

We had fried noodles for HKD 68.00 with sakto serving. Waffles with ice cream (HKD 28.00) and egg waffles (HKD 15.00) at DIM SUM in Temple Street.

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

Day 2: Valentine’s Day at Disney Land

0600 Wake up Call
0700 Breakfast at Cafe de Coral (CKE Mall beside Chungking Mansion)
0800 Pack for the Tour (Dont forget to bring water container)
0900 Find way to the nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui
Ride 1: Tsuen Wan (Red Line) drop at Lai King
Ride 2: Tung Chung (Orange Line) drop at Sunny Bay
Ride 3: Disneyland Resort Line
1030 Start Disney Land Tour
2000 End of Disneyland Tour
2100 ETA Yau Mah Tei (Walkathon)
Night Market for Dinner Temple Night Street
Mongkok Ladies Market
1200 Back to Guesthouse

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Unfortunately, cable car at Ngong Ping 360 is closed due to maintenance up until June 2017. SCRATCH! We should be heading to Macau but my feet are sore AF. Light itinerary for day 3.

 

Going to Peak Tram is easy, ride the red line MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui, drop at Central Station exit J2. Walk straight until you reach the Hongkong Tram Railway (wait di pa yan!). Street sign to Peak Tram, walk straight via Chater Garder RD, uphill then cross the road to terminal buy tickets. HKD 44 RT and Php 88.00 with Sky Terrace. Souvenir photo is HKD 149.00, mahal talaga.

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Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is also within the same building with Sky Terrace. Ice cream and waffle shops are everywhere price range from HKD 50.00 – 80.00.

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Most restaurants in Hongkong change menu from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alang Extra rice dun! Giordano and Sasa branches are everywhere. Clothes and cosmetics are downright cheap here. Your HKD 800.00 shopping ay maraming marami ng shopping!!

We got back from Peak Tram to Central Station, roam around Tsim Sha Tsui malls and shops. Shops are everywhere. From Tsim Sha Tsui walk through Salisbury Road cross the street, Hongkong Space Museum building is located. At the back of the Museum is the view deck for the Symphony of Lights.

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Tips: Be early to get a good viewing space. Symphony of Lights starts exactly at 2000.

Day 3 Peak Tram and Symphony of Lights

0600 Wake up Call
0700 Breakfast at Cafe de Coral
0800 Pack for Peak Tram
0900 ETD Chungking
0930 ETA Central Station (Red Line)
1000 Walk to Peak Tram Station (Buy Tickets)
1100 ETA Peak Tram: Explore Sky Terrace
1200 Explore area: Photo Ops
0100 ETD Peak Tram
0200 ETA Tsim Sha Tsui
0215 Lunch at Café Coral
0300 Window Shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui
0700 Walk to Hongkong Space Musuem for the Symphony of Lights
0900 Tambay Pogi
1000 Back at Guesthouse

macau7

To MACAU and get lost. Don’t forget to bring your PASSPORT since we are going out of the country. Same airport process. Roundtrip ticket to Hongkong – Macau is HKD 355.00, ticket back to Hongkong is up until 10:30PM. We ride the bus to China Ferry Terminal, secure ticket via Cotai Ferry. Travel time is around 1-1 hour and 30 minutes, ferry has free wifi.

macau5

Clear Immigration in Macau, then starts the journey. HKD is recognize in Macau, don’t forget to bring loose change / coins. We got lost in Macau and force to take a cab because we’re dying due to hunger and we don’t have coins in our pockets.

Tips: There are 2 Wynn Hotels in Macau. Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace. Check for the free shuttle to both hotels. Macau is consists of 3 major towns Macau, Taipa and Cotai.

Macau Shuttles (Read the Bus Signs!)

Macau Ferry to Sands, Macau Tower back to Fisherman Wharf (Ride Sands Shuttle). Walk to the front lobby to get into the Wharf. Ride back to Taipa Ferry Station.

Ferry Station to Wynn MACAU

Ferry station to Senado Square and St Paul Ruins (Ride the Wynn MACAU Shuttle / Grand Lisboa Shuttle). Senado Square is around 15 – 20 minutes away from Wynn or Grand Lisboa.

From Wynn you can take a cab or bus. Bus end point is at Praca Ferreira Amaral beside Grand Lisboa Terminal. Minimum bus fare is HKD 4.50.

Explore Senado Square and St Paul Ruins, on the way to the ruins there are shops giving away meat jerky. Famous Koikei Bakery egg tarts only cost HKD 10.00 each. Shops are everywhere in Senado Square.

We ate street food in Senado, price range is around HKD 6.00 – 15.00 per stick. We had milkteas too.

We walk from Senado Square to Praca de Amaral to take the MT1 bus to Taipa Ferry Station.

TIPS: Asked customer service for Ferry to China Ferry Station because we rode the wrong ferry. We arrived in Hongkong Ferry Terminal.

Day 4 Macau

0500 Wake up Call
0600 Breakfast at Cafe de Coral
0630 ETA HK – China Ferry Terminal Secure Ticket to Macau
0900 ETA Macau
0930 Explore Macau

Macau Ferry to Sands, Macau Tower back to Fisherman Wharf (Ride Sands Shuttle)
St Paul’s Ruin, Koikei Bakery and Senado Square,
Senado Square to Wynn Hotel/Grand Lisboa
Wynn to Ferry Terminal

2030 ETA Macau Ferry Terminal
2200 ETA Hongkong Ferry Terminal
2230 Dinner at Mcdonald’s
2300 ETD Ferry Terminal
*Ride MTR: Sheung Wan (Blue Line) Drop at Central
*Ride Red Line to Jordan
2330 Back to Chungking Mansion

hk21

Last day in Hongkong. Macau trip is stressful because we got lost several times. My feet are terribly aching but we need to be G all the time. We are unable to purchase additional souvenir because we are too tired. We went back Jordan and Yau Mah Tei to check if there is any shops open. We’ve seen few shops open in Yau Mah Tei during the day, I purchase shirts for pasalubong.

hk22

Since transport system is Hongkong is really efficient we check out around 1530 and head to the Airport via A21 bus.

hk23

Tips: Cebu Pacific Check –in Counter is available at Terminal 1 in Hongkong International Terminal. YUP! We got lost again!

You can change your octopus card at customer service or keep the card, then buy all your loose change at airport stores like 7/11.

Check-in all >100ml bottles to avoid delay in the airport process.

Day 5 Last day

0800 Wake up Call
0900 Breakfast at Cafe de Coral
1000 Roam around Yau Mah Tei and Jordan
1100 Pack bags (Secure belongings)
1530 Check Out
1545 Cross street I front of Chungking, then wait in the bus terminal near Tsim Sha Tsui Station for the A21 Bus
1630 ETA Hongkong International Airport
1700 Yes! We explore the HUGE AIRPORT!
1800 Hongkong Airport
1940 Boarding
2155 ETA NAIA Terminal 3
2300 HOME

Summary of Budget

This is the break down of my Hongkong and Macau budget.

hk-budgethk-budget-2hk-budget-3

final-hongkong-macau-budget

Sample Budget for Hongkong-Macau

 

My first international trip is still successful. Same travel, different culture. I am in awe of the transport system in Hongkong and Macau. Efficient and timely. Being late due to traffic is not a problem. I hope we have the same road system here in the Philippines. It was amazing and got lucky because I already have someone to travel with.

From Hongkong with LOVE.

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go

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