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.

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.

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.

Cagayan de Oro: Less than 24 hour Adventure

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

  • FAKIR

cdo3

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.

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.

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

Bayukbok Cave: Do The Body Language

Enter the DUNGEON
Enter the DUNGEON
Spelunking is not my kind of adventure but I still try it for the sake of exploring the wonders of the Philippines. It will be very uncomfortable for me to go inside a cave alone. I hate the idea of being alone in a cold, dark and deep environment. Mentally, it will kill me.
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
It was not a good idea but if I will in a group, I will survive the thoughts and just be mindful of what is happening around us. Bayubok Cave exploration became a side-trip after our successful Trilogy climb in San Miguel, Bulacan. After trekking up and down the mountains of Manalmon, Gola and Matinik. We still have that unlimited energy to finish the spelunking activity.
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
The REAL DEAL started
The REAL DEAL started
Since, we already ducked in the place. It was initially part of the itinerary, Gola and Matinik were just out of the blue decision. After camping out in Mt Manalmon, the next following day we trek the stretched all the to Mt Matinik. Then, decide to take a rest and pull out all those reserve energy to walk, climb, bend and rope down to the cave.
Gel's turned to be BRAVE
Gel’s turn to be BRAVE
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Reaching the main entrance challenged us to climb down using a rope. It was around 5-7 meters down, full house rocks and extremely dangerous spiky ground beneath us.
The DARK narrow path
The DARK narrow path
Still SMILING though. :)
Still SMILING though. 🙂
One at a time, we manage to go down. Going down is very difficult for me. I like to think that I am better when its an uphill climb. With head lamps on we enter the cold, damp and dark sanctuary. Most of the paths are narrow aisle, allowing one person at a time.
Smooth White Rock
Smooth White Rock
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You need to be a on a average size to passed through the natural-made tunnel otherwise you wont fit some passage. There are several unique rock formation inside. It was the “MUSIC ROOM” that mesmerized me. If you tap the rock there will be different tunes you can create.
Inside Bayukbok Cave
Inside Bayukbok Cave
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I am extremely exhausted and dirty from the 2-day activity. It was a tough day, slipping through the rocks, heavy breathing, numb leg muscles and my back is now killing me. My shoes were murdered in this trip. The sole were half ripped from the toe part and my clothes are sweaty. I can feel the running sweat all over my body.
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
It was an experience of a lifetime. The body language movement made me want to think about my current weight and go back to being a skinny human. I swear that if I am a kilo heavier I will not fit the damn rocks.
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Oriented by our brave guide, after hugging and kissing those rocks we manage to find our way out. It was tedious, a bit short spelunking trip but it one of the best caving experience I had.
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I envelope a tremendous self-respect after finishing all the activities without a broken bone but with several knee, elbow, hands and legs scratches. I know, it is more fun in the effin PHILIPPINES!!!
Madlum River Wire Bridge
Madlum River Wire Bridge
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Sample Itinerary:
0500: ETD ES Bus Terminal in Cubao (Can take any bus from Cubao or Pasay to Cabanatuan. Traffic hazard any time so it will be easy to take the early tour than being stuck for hours of traffic jam in Bulacan exit)
0730: ETA Bus Stop-Over in San Miguel, Bulacan (Rent a tricycle for Php 70.00 / $2.00 per pax to Barangay Kamias Jump Off)
0815: ETA Barangay Kamias Jump Off (You can asked the driver to take you straight to the bridge passed through then arranged Guide and registration fee)
0830: Arranged Guide and Register (Guide fee is Php 400.00-500.00 / $9.00-11.00 per 5 pax)
0900: Hit the trail to the Bayukbok Cave
0915: Start Spelunking
1030: Hit back to the registration site (You can actually finish in less that 30 minutes but take as many pictures as you want.)
1100 Swim in Madlum River and try to cross the Wire Bridge made by locals
(Tables are Php 50.00 only. Convenient Stores are available and comfort rooms to clean up
1300: Pack and go home
Budget:
Cubao to San Miguel Bulacan Fare: Php 90.00 – Php 120.00 / $2.00 – $3.00
Tricyle From Bus Stop-over to Barangay Kamias Jump Off: Php 70.00 per pax / $1.50
Registration Fee: Php 5.00 – 10.00 / $0.12 – $0.23 / $9.00 – $11.00
Guide Fee: Php 400-500.00 per 5 pax /
Table to Rent: Php 50.00 / $1.50
Comfort Room Fee: Php 5.00 / $0.12
Shower: Php 10.00 per pail of water / $0.23
This is a usual side trip after hiking Mt Manalmon which I will review later. I just want to highlight the beauty of this cave if your not into hiking stuff then you should try 2 more available cave in San Miguel Bulacan.
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
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.

Reminiscing Puerto Princesa: The Palawan Adventure

crocs farm groupie
The wintry air of the Ber months is killing my forever summer attitude. All I want to do is to stay indoors, watch all dvds I have at home and eat while bumming out. It was November when my Gall Bladder was removed due to stone. Home bound for a month, nothing to do but to sit and wait for the wound to heal on my abdomen. After that I went back to my day work, resume my life in the city and got an invitation to explore the wonders of Palawan.
selfie with cros
Palawan is one of the province I want to visit to the beach, biodiversity, world famous under ground river and the exotic food. I got a discounted plane ticket from a friend, waited and I was bound to fall in love to the city which is so prime and sophisticated. Our flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa took about 45 minutes.
love in bakers hil
Good weather welcomes us in the city, waited for 10 minutes for the van who transfer us to our inn (Mariane Inn). Since I was an extra head for a group of 3, I only pay for the extra bed for Php 400.00 / $9.00 per night. There are many inns and hotels available in the city.
balinsasayaw sign
balin menu
We started the tour by exploring the cities finest. We lunch out in Balinsasayaw Restaurant, grilled chicken with unlimited rice for Php 99.00 / $2.00 per order. We order the infamous and pricey Bird’s Nest Soup which is actually a plain soup for me which cost Php 400.00 – 500.00 / $9.00 – 11.00 per bowl. After having the heavy meal I needed for the day.
birds nest soup
We rent a tricycle that will tour us in city. For a group of 4, we rent it for a whole day activity Php 800.00 / $18.00. Head out to Crocodile Farm, I was amazed that enormous reptiles are existing. The wonders of nature, the biggest crocs I’ve seen can eat 10-15 children. There were simply gigantic and were still. There are different types of rooms and areas for all kinds of Philippine Crocodile.
croc farm sign
crocs pictorial
crocs on water
The nursery, the adults, the picture taking area and souvenir booth you can explore. Entrance fee cost Php 50.00 / $1.50 which is good enough because the farm is very well maintain and the animals seems to be on a very good condition.
croc mouth selfie
crocs
After checking out of the farm, we head out to the Baker’s Hill. It was a free entrance park where you can view the greenish field of the city. It was a city minus the skyscrapers. I ordered their famous hopia as my pasalubong to my family and friends.
bakers hill sign'
Bakers hill view
chin in bakers hill
They have delivery as well so you can order then make them deliver it to your hotel before going back home. The hopia were killers, too tasty and too delicious I bought 15 boxes on my way back.
mitras ranch with horse
mitras ranch
We dropped by Mitra’s Ranch, again FREE entrance. It is like teleporting to Picnic Grove in an instance, you can also try their horse back riding and picture taking is a must. After the ranch gig, we went to the souvenir shops to get those mandatory I love Palawan shirts and other stuff you can buy.
mitras ranch nigh view
Price wise it was too much to spend it in Mercado and Island Souvernir but cheaper shirts are actually available in San Miguel. I bought pearls and my ref magnets in there. 50% cheaper in Mercado! You need to buy here!
kinabuch signage
crocs sisig
Buying souvenir on your first day will actually omit the rush feeling if you are going to do it on your last day. To maximize the time think the things you want to bring after experience you have in Palawan. It was an exhausting ay trip, I found myself nestled in Kinabuch’s to have dinner. The food offering is mixed culture from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao dishes. To the exotic found in the corner of this island.
kinabuch dinner
sunugba
tamilok
We ordered Crocodile Sisig which made the impression. Then, I tried fresh Tamilok (mangrove worms) in spiced vinegar. Sinugba with fish paste and steamed eggplants which captures my mouth. The mouthwatering dishes killed the night very happily. Day 1 in Palawan is another UNLOCKED ACHIEVEMENT for the Manlalayag in me!
baby crocs
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.

Banaue: Short Trip to Sagada

Traveling with friends.
It was Christmas time when we tour Sagada to experience the cold weather apart from going to Baguio which is very much crowded any time of the year. I always dream of going to this town because it is famous for it’s beauty and culture. Nestled at the top of the Mountain Province, we left Pampanga around 2300 on Christmas Day. This time, we join a group from a travel agency since backpacking wasn’t ideal for this season. Our trip will start to the famous Rice Terrace in Banaue, Ifugao before proceeding to Sagada. I was able to sleep on the way to Ifugao even though it was not comfortable. The agency provide a van that compressed 15 people with out belongings. So imagine sardines squeezed in to a can.
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All my legs are getting numb, when we reach the highway going to Banaue it was foggy and almost zero visibility. I tried to sleep again even though I was feeling uneasy. The road is slippery and we are actually running beside a 20-30-meter cliff. We arrived in Banaue for breakfast around 0600H. It was cold, wet and slippery. For is coming all over the place. On the restaurant where we decide to dine in, there are huge windows to view the entire town. After eating breakfast we head out to the Viewpoint to see the Banaue Rice Terraces.
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The view is spectacular if only there are few houses built in the surrounding area. But the Terraces are still amazing. Man made rice paddies, the Igorots are very intelligent and smart to have the mountains transform into something very useful for their livelihood. After taking too many picture, we decide on continuing the journey on the way to Sagada. From Banaue it will take another 4-6 hours of travel time via private transportation. I cannot figure out how many hours when you commute from Manila to Sagada because the bus will take ages before it arrives and the jeepney needs over flow passengers before the driver start the engine.
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Anyhow, we arrive Sagada around 1200H because of traffic and road construction. It was peak time and I did not know that there are too many people are traveling to Sagada which actually ruin our itinerary later. We arrive on each of our hotels, we learned that most of the inns and hotels are fully booked because of public holidays. The inn we got is good enough, no AC nor electric fan, hot shower and 2 queen size beds. It was basic and simple which is good enough for the 4 of us.
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Sagada is progressing by the looks of the town. Hotels and restaurants are surrounded. This place is not as mainstream as Baguio City or Tagaytay City but it is building is progress in high rate. Many travelers are from the cities, hoping to see a town and experience its adventure.
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Off to Next Trip!
Jei 25/12/2014
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