Category Archives: Travel and Trips

Places I’ve been and been wanting to go to. Budget is a BIG Deal for me so don’t expect high travel expenses – which is a good thing, right?

Boracay Reclamation Project – Boo!

Just a few days ago I heard that there’s a reclamation project to be executed in one of the top tourist destinations of the Philippines – no less than in Boracay Island.

Won't you want to see it like this a few years from now?

Boracay's white, fine sand

I read some articles to get a grasp of what this reclamation project is aiming to achieve.

Got the information below from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20101031-300743/Govt-to-pursue-Boracay-reclamation-project and http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/06/02/11/boracay-reclamation-project-not-yet-approved-denr

The 10-year project estimated to cost more than P1 billion consists of reclamation and development projects in Caticlan and in Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Boracay.

Phase 1, which is estimated to cost P260 million, involves a 2.19-ha reclamation project at the northern end of the jetty port in Caticlan. The first phase, expected to be completed in 306 days, involves the expansion of the jetty port, and the construction of various structures and facilities for tourism-related activities and commercial purposes that will include an integrated transport terminal bay, common parking areas and huge recreational open-court space.  The governor has said that the project is essential in improving the support facilities for Boracay, bringing revenues to the province and creating more jobs.

A  foundation  based  in  Boracay  Island  on  Wednesday  filed a  petition  before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to stop a reclamation project on the portions of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.  In a petition for mandamus, the Boracay Foundation, Inc. sought for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) by the SC in the world famous island resort.

The petitioners argued that there’s no more need for a reclamation project in Boracay Island, citing that, based on a study conducted by marine biologists from the University of the Philippines (UP), such a reclamation project would only result to sand erosion in Boracay.

They pointed out that the Boracay Island is considered as an “environmentally critical area”. They also argued that the reclamation project in Boracay Island violated the Local Government Code, adding that, the project is strongly being opposed by the municipal government and the barangays in Caticlan, Aklan.

Moreover, Loubelle Cann, president of the Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI), claimed that the government of Albay plans to proceed with the project on a stage-by-stage basis.  She, meanwhile, said their organization is not opposed to the development and progress of Caticlan and Boracay, as long as it does not affect the ecosystem.

For me, the project aims for the betterment of the place.  More so boosting the tourism in Boracay and the Philippines as well.  However, if the safety of the coral reefs and our environment in general are at stake, make an alternative.  Developments are always good but not in the expense of our nature.  In the first place, Boracay became famous because of it’s white sand, pristine beaches and refreshing ambiance.  We don’t want to damage it just because we want to make business out of it.  I am one of the many people who’s against this project.  It just clearly states that this project will just generate money for businessmen while the paradise we have learned to love is suffering.

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Surfing had me at Baler

As the capital and oldest municipality of Aurora Province, Baler is the seat of government and the center for trade and industry. The most progressive town in Aurora, Baler commands the most resorts, public institutions and facilities, as well as business establishments.
Baler is known for numerous tourist attractions. In addition to the Baler Catholic Church and other historical sites , there are resorts at Sabang Beach and Cemento Beach, where surfers from all over the world compete for the annual International Aurora Surfing Cup. The coral-rich islands of Dimadimalangat, Aniao and Lukso-Lukso lie just off the coast.
 

Baler, not in Quezon but in Aurora

Yes, that’s what I first thought when I heard of Baler – that it was in Quezon.  My HEKASI teacher will punish me for that mistake. Sorry Mam Camaso.. 🙂

We left at 12AM, Saturday after meeting up in Rockwell Ortigas (Trendlabs).  First stop over is Jollibee Cabanatuan – arrived at 2AM sharp – sticking it out with the itinerary. 😛

Our heavy duty Baler Van

Where did that inverted reflection come from?

We waited for the two other vans which are also Baler-bound.  We got our tour package from Istokewa which only offers 2300/head for a minimum of 12 pax (excluding surfing lessons, 350Php per head) – not bad at all. 🙂 Meimei was our POC (point-of-contact) and she’s the one who organized and took care of the planning.  At least for a change (for me.. hehe) because I planned most of the previous trips I had.  This time, I just wanted to have a relaxing summer getaway at the beach.

It was a 4-5 hour long drive going to this northeast side of the archipelago.  The trip was so smooth – thanks to our kicka** driver, Kuya Lyean who BTW has an amazing talent (aside from a fast and furious driving) which I will blog about in the succeeding posts.  🙂 At 5:30AM, we saw the comforting breeze and heard the peaceful waves of the beach.

Welcome to Baler!

Bay's Inn

Check-in time in Bay’s Inn is still at 12nn but Istokewa made prior arrangements if we can check in our things as early as we arrive.  We took our time to rest for a while and stare at the beach while we wait for our rooms to be cleaned.  Come 7:30AM and we had our breakfast.  As soon as we had our bags and more bags checked in, we head to the beach.  The sun is at its high time.  Thank goodness for sunblock! 🙂

It’s surfing time!

Our Surfing lessons begin here

350Php for one hour of surfing lessons is already a good deal.  Mahdox was recommended to us by Istokewa that’s why we ended up here.. 😛

A few minutes of briefing is a must especially for first timers.. like me.. 😛

Surfing students

Just follow the instructor’s lead in 3 easy steps.

One

Two..

Three

And you’re good to go!  Need not to worry because it’s not as hard as you thought.

It’s time to put it to a test.  We split the group into two batches, I went to second batch so that I can get good shots of the first.

Test board..

Natakot tumayo.. hehe

Once I felt the waves moving the surf board, I suddenly crumbled.  And I had a hard time balancing on my board.  I don’t know if it’s because the board isn’t symmetrical or I’m just overweight.. lol 😛

Next try.

Nakatayo nga pero bam! - subsob!.. 😛

I had a hard time standing up because my back still aches that time #notrheumatism.  I should put my right foot forward so that I can’t feel any pain pinching at my back.  I lost my balance but good thing, this is the only shot of me falling haha and I dared to share it to you.. 😛

Third try.

Third try's acceptable - yes!

I’m getting the hang of it.  Slowly stand up to keep your balance.  That’s what I kept telling myself. 🙂  The instructor is of no help at this time, marami na kasi akong chicks na kasabay tinuturuan mag surf kaya duon ang atensyon.. Naiintindihan ko at okay lang naman, pero dapat hindi na ako nagbayad ng 150php, nirentahan ko na lang sana ung surf board. 

Surfer dude!..

Serious Mode hehe

The waves weren’t as big and often during the first batch’s turn. That’s why later that afternoon, I rented a surf board for 200php/hr on my own without the help of an instructor.  Though my back still hurts that time, I still pursued for another hour.  I don’t know but even if I wasn’t good at it, I enjoyed it very much.  And it made me think that I might’ve fallen in love with surfing.. A very, very, very fun and liberating experience!

More surfing pictures in Baler here.

Travel Shares: Expenses in Iloilo

Last March 19-21, 2011 we explored the beauty of Iloilo mainly visiting the city and Sandbar Island in Concepcion.  ZestAir served as our carrier which surprisingly exceeded my expectations.  It wasn’t as bad as others say.  Take a look at what I had to spend for our trip.

Iloilo Expenses

As for the airfare, we only got it for 833Php (roundtrip) per head due to an early 2011 promo thrown by ZestAir.  For me, Century 21 Hotel has one of the lowest hotel rates that you can find.  The rooms are clean and spacious.  I have nothing to complain.  No need to worry about food because just like in other cities, eateries and the usual fast food chains are visible nearby.

To see my blog posts about our almost 3 days and 2 nights stay, please refer below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 (First Half)

Day 3 (Second Half)

As promised, I’ll definitely go back to Iloilo and hope to see Guimaras and also take a sidetrip to Bacolod.  Hope my bank account and schedule permit me again. 🙂

Hope this post helps for those who plan to visit Iloilo soon.

Buddies on the Road

Traveling with friends has its own dose of goodness and sometimes, worse-ness.. 🙂 I’d like to make a post for this one since I’ve been going to places with my friends lately.  Even years back, I noticed that I really am into group traveling.  For me, it’s  much fun especially when your friends are crazy fun earthlings and travel junkies as well. Truly it is a good feeling to have someone accompany you during long hours of travel especially by land.  They also are a big help in shouldering your trip expenses (plus when in times of “wallet bankruptcy”, you have a friend you can turn to. lol. ) You can easily kill boredom and idle hours by merely horsing around with them, cam whoring, sharing non-sense AND corny jokes, and laughing out loud. Most of the time, yeah, it’s just pure non-sense but that’s where the fun begins! 😛

Here’s a couple of pictures:

Fusion in Gota Village, Caramoan

Bicolandia - Mayon's in front of us, believe it or not!

This photo was taken in Albay with my highschool classmates.  We parade rest  for the Mayon Volcano (which is kinda shy to show up that day because of the bad weather).  “Parade Rest” pose because they were the former model platoon.. hehe You’ll notice who’s lousy and not. 😛 From L-R: Erwin, Jepoy, Misael, Arden, Jhen, Richard, Bebz and Lei.  It seems Bea took this photo. 😛

Boracay Newbie

Our first time in Boracay except for Zaida.  Photo was taken last October 2009 when I still didn’t know that 4300php for a round trip airfare is expensive! That’s a learning from the past! 🙂 Now, I can only get that for 400php round trip all in 😛 See you in November! 🙂 From L-R: Jepoy, Boggs, Harriet, Mitch, Zaida and Xtn.  Gerald took this photo.

Puerto Galera

This was the first time that most of my friends meet each other (I’m the common denominator).  And as always, I planned this summer getaway. 😛 From L-R: Boggs, Lace, Harriet, Mitch, Nelson, Edison and Me!

Owning the beach

What’s good when the crowd is lesser, you can own the beach! That’s what we did on a Monday of May 2007.  Running, jumping and pure beach bumming until your skin itch. 🙂

Island hopping in Iloilo

Even if you’re not in a big group, you can still enjoy your friends’ company as long as they’re up for anything – even if it’s mountain climbing instead of beach bumming. Yeah, that’s what happened when we explored Iloilo just last March. With Rodem and Gelow, Jan Dee took the photo.

Baguio in bloom

Having a friend who lives in Baguio is an advantage and an easy pass to Penagbenga Festival.  Aside from showing you around the city, he sure knows the logistics and you won’t worry about getting to your lodging.  Speaking of lodging, when some turn of events didn’t happen as you want it to be, you might end up having a good night sleep in their house as well. 😛 Instant and free accommodation to top it all off! haha Big big thanks to Irman.

PMA wannabes

From L-R:  Jim, Nica, Jane & Ate He (mother and daughter tandem), Ericson, Irman, Stacey, Gelow and ME!!

Before 2010 ends, I planned to kick off 2011 by planning my trips in various places in the PH.  First was Ilocos in January because of my itching desire to see Pagudpud (and also because I found a cheap RT airfare via CebuPac bound for Laoag).

Ilocos Getaway

Some noticed that I’m always with friends.  A lot of my FB photos can attest to that.  But I also want to try traveling alone some other day.  I sure think that it’s a different experience.  Might not be as fun as group travels but fun in a different way. Less hassles when it comes to making urgent decisions.  It’s something I’m gonna look forward to. Any suggestions? 🙂

Reflections on Visita Iglesia

Barely 3 years ago I was with Anne when I started Visita Iglesia. That was also the time when this blog should’ve been born. 3 years later, I did this again but this time visiting 7 churches only as compared to 14. But to clear it up, how many churches do we really need to visit? 7 or 14? Some visit 15.

According to Visita Iglesia’s website, CBCP cited seven (7) churches to visit during the Holy Thursday of Lent. Nowadays, some Filipinos choose to visit twice that number. Here’s the route we took as we head our way to visiting seven churches this Maundy Thursday.

1. Edsa Shrine

2.  San Beda

3.  St. Jude

4.  San Sebastian

These three candles represent my prayers for my family, my parents and myself.  May they always be safe and in good health.

5.  Quiapo Church

When I was a kid, Nanay used to bring me here every first Friday of the month even after school.  Friday is Quiapo day.  I was in grade school then.  I remember she always dresses me up like the Black Nazarene that time – but I don’t know what for.  All I know is she’s a devotee of the Black Nazarene.  Until this time, it gives me a different kind of feeling whenever I go to this church.  It’s serene.  Though it’s a number of miles away from Antipolo, I make sure I get to visit it during my birthday.

6.  Sta. Cruz Church

From Quiapo we walked our way to Binondo Church and we saw Sta. Cruz Church along the way. We pay a visit and say our prayers.

7.  Binondo Church

Aside from visiting 7 churches, other activities during Visita Iglesia include washing of the feet and station of the cross.  We finished at around 7:30 in the evening.

It’s so good to see families praying together and going from one church to another.  This is one thing that we haven’t done though we had other traditions we observe in our neighborhood during the Holy Week – that’s PABASA,  Processions during Holy Wednesday and Good Friday and Salubong during Easter Sunday.

As Catholics we have our respective responsibilities and duties to our religion.  Doing all these things are not merely a requirement – in my opinion.  As long as we keep our faith strong and do what we think is good for ourselves and others, we remain children of God.

Iloilo Day 3: Climbing a mountain with goggles and board shorts (Second Half)

Please read the previous three posts:

Iloilo Day 1

Iloilo Day 2

Iloilo Day 3 (First Half)

Lezz Go Island Hopping! (rate is 500php only).

It’s still cloudy in the afternoon but as we sail, the rain didn’t fall.  I’m very excited to see the 3 islands I saw in Ambot Ah‘s blog.  There were 3 that was featured but there were still more small islands nearby that we can check out.  I also referred to the itinerary he posted in his blog.  Unfortunately, we’re not able to follow it as it is.  But it was a lot of help! (Thank you!)

Along the way, Mang Sonny is telling us bits of information on the islands we see.  One of them is an island owned by Edu Manzano’s family.  Yes, you heard it right.  Not just a beach resort but the whole island itself! Enormously rich eh?!

30 minutes of smooth sail had passed and we reached Tambalisa Island. This is commonly mistaken with Pan de Azucar.  Pan de Azucar is the name of the mountain situated in Tambalisa.

The water is calling me to take a dip!

Unlike in Sandbar, the sand is fine and fairer in this island.  There are houses near the shore where a number of boats are docked.

A view of Mount Pan de Azucar

An old lady fishing for lunch

Knowing that it’s very near the shore, I thought she can’t catch a single fish – she proved me wrong then.

Slowly but surely catch

I asked if I can help her out but more than 20 minutes passed but no luck came my way.  If I wasn’t living in a mountainous area, I’ll definitely master this craft.  🙂

Mang Sonny showed us a rest house owned by one of former President Gloria Arroyo’s cabinet members.  It’s the only rest house you can find in the island.

The native rest house

The weather is just getting better and the sun shows up from the clouds. It’s time to beach bum! We’re all ready to take a swim..

Sun Block - check!, Board Shorts - check!, Goggles - check!

But hep.. hep.. before we dive into the water, Mang Sonny asked us to see Hampangan Rock – a small mountain just a few meters uphill.  He promised us that it’s going to take us a few minutes.  He doesn’t want us to miss seeing it. And so we go.. 🙂

Along the way, we met friendly and chatty locals and asked for directions on how to get there.  They said the mountain will give us a perfect view of Tambalisa and nearby islands.

After 15 minutes of brief walking, we saw the mountain.  I didn’t expect Mang Sonny to be as adventurous and extreme as a kid.  He didn’t follow the right path up the mountain but instead, went over the twigs and started climbing right away! (talk about excitement + adrenalin rush hehe) Without wearing any climbing gears on (but only bottle of pepsi at hand), we have no choice but to follow. . *sign of the cross*..  I never felt frightened until I saw how high we already were.  I shouldn’t have turned my head back. lol

Dem: I thought we're gonna swim!

We rested for a while, drunk the remaining drops of Pepsi (free advertising… hehe) and I didn’t even think of continuing the climb.  But, they’re all going so there, I reached the top!

The view's just perfect..

My first mountain top climb in years..whew!

Here's Mang Sonny, our friendly tour guide and owner of Sandbar (0906.819.7516)

Sporting the best climbing attire.. lol

We just spent a few minutes at the top because it started to rain – weird weather..  And we began our trek down.

Along the way, Mang Sonny told me that it was his first time to climb the mountain.  He spent all his life in Sandbar and just heard Hampangan Rock from stories of his childhood friends.  This explains the excitement and the smile painted all over his face.  At that point, I felt a jerk in my heart (honestly).  Being a part of someone else’s memorable adventure is priceless.  I won’t forget this as well.

Before we head back to Sandbar, we took our time to swim – finally! The goggles has found their use.. hehe  We decided not to visit other islands because we still have a 3-hour land travel going back to the city and another 30 minutes going to the airport.

At noon time, the sand hit high.  Look.

Lubog na ang mini-kubo..

Closer look..

Sandbar gone.. for the meantime..

At noon I thought the rains will delay our departure.  Good thing, it only poured for a few minutes. We’re going back to the city to catch our flight at 7PM!

Nami ang stay namin sa Iloilo! (hope I got that right!.. hehe)

P.S.  Before our flight take off, I received a text that there’s an ongoing earthquake in Manila. I was extremely worried that time.  Thank God, when we arrived it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Iloilo Day 3: Iloilow.. low.. low.. (First Half)

Please read the first two parts:

Iloilo Day 1
Iloilo Day 2

 

I think the last post was quite lengthy.. that’s why I decided to cut each post a bit.  Plus it’s taking me hours to finish every post.. Sumasakit ang ulo ko pag nagmumulti-task ng work sa office at pagba-blog.. hehe (during idle time lang naman.. ).. 😛 ooops… nawa’y hindi mabasa ni boss ang post na ito.. *peace*

I woke up at 7AM, sayang, hindi ko naabutan ung pagbaba ng moon at di ko nakuhanan, para kasing napuyat ako ng todo.. eh maaga naman ako nakatulog.. Bakit nga kaya? Let’s go back a few hours.. (flash back.. tugsshhhhh) 😛

Apat kami sa kwarto… dalawa ang kama.. pero hindi saktong dalawa-dalawang tao sa isang kama, mas malaki yung isa na pwede tatlo at yung isa, pang single lang.  Since ako ang pinaka-kuya ng tatlo, brabra-suhin ko sanang ako na lang yung sa isang kama.. tutal malikot ako matulog, baka ‘kako di sila makatulog ng maayos pag katabi ako. 😛 Ang oportunista ko lang.. hehe

Ang ending, pinagdikit na lang namin at pahalang kaming nahiga para everybody hapi.. Para fair sa lahat, joke lang yung pambbraso ng higaan.. hehe 😛

Tulog na ng before 10PM, di pa light outs at running pa naman ang generator ng isla.  Hindi pa man humihimbing ang tulog ko eh anak ng tokwa, may nagku-choir sa tabi ko.. Isang baritone at isang bass.. 😛 Hilik kung hilik.. ‘Kala ko makakalusot na ako kay Tekamots sa Ilocos, yun pala may kasama rin ako sa Iloilo at dalawa pa sila!.. 😛 Okay, ako rin raw naghihilik pero kumpara sa dalawa, newbie pa lang ako.. 😛 Apat na beses ata ako nagising dahil sa concierto.. Yaan nyo bro’s, no name dropping.. haha..  (safe si Khanto tahimik matulog.. nyaha!)

Our Day 3 started very, very low.. Nope, it’s not our energy but the very low-low tide in Sandbar.

First and last sunrise in Sandbar..

The tide was at its lowest and before we have our breakfast, we checked the  various underwater life forms.

Tsk!, walang beach bumming sa umaga olats kasi low tide.. sa island hopping sana makapag beach bum.. magagamit ko na ang bagong biling goggles! 😛

At first look, I thought I won’t see anything interesting.

Imagine the waters during high tide

Eto na pala, wag ng mag-imagine..

It’s higher at night time.  Whenever I wake up in the middle of my sleep, I check it out through our window. Our cottage is located just beside the shoreline.  But I cannot see it clearly because the lights outside are all turned off.  I just assumed that any moment, I could feel the waves touching my head. 😛  Thank God it didn’t. lol

I get to see a glimpse of the underwater world, without getting under it but by walking through it.

Starfishes.. ang aga-aga nyan..

Sea Cucumber

At first, I thought it was like a sponge.  But it freaked me out a bit when it started moving towards me.. Whew!

I tried to walk as gently as possible so that I won’t disturb or destroy their habitat.  I was able to see small groups of fishes swimming around as they go through some corals.

Not sure if it's alive or not, don't know how to differ

I stopped at this point for there are no more sand to step on as I walk through.  My underwater friends might kill me for stepping on their homes.

I just turned to where Jandee, Rodem and Gelo are.  They’re busy checking out the corals on the far side of Sandbar.

Seaweeds along the way..

Low tide as well..

This is where we took a dip when we arrived yesterday.  Barely no water at all.

Fish and coral watching

Wave prints..

It took us an hour to get back for the breakfast and along the way, we saw a group of starfish(es?).

You won't see the "sandbar" during low tide..

They're already formed that way when we saw them.. *just kidding*

And we had our breakfast, just in time for our rumbling stomachs.

 

Sinangag

Left over Adobo but still tastes good!

Itlog na Maalat

Scrambled and sunny-side up

Puro nga kami lalake, puro itlog kasi.. 😛 Protein-rich morning!

There’s just one thing that concerns me.  It looks like it’s going to rain hard.  The clouds don’t look pleasant at all.  Good thing Mang Sonny told us that it’s gonna be hot on the islands we’ll be visiting.  The weather will be perfect.  Relieved! Now, lezz put on some sun block and lezz ride the boat!

 

Aria!

Ang lengthy rin pala netong post na to.. haha 😛