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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.