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.

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.

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.

Towering Heights of Mt Arayat

The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.
The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.

Getting high like this make me feel powerful. Not anyone can go here. Not anyone have the stamina. The energy. The time. The journey.

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.

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.

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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.