Monday, January 31, 2011

10 Tourist Spots in one day: A well-planned Day Tour in Camiguin!

[Trip from November 2010]

We literally experienced a jam-packed day, considering that we went to so many places just on our second day in Camiguin. And as posted on my previous article, here's our itinerary:

Island City Tour and Mantigue Island hopping 

06:00 Wake-up Call --- This was a complimentary service. The staff of BBC were always very pleasant when calling us up at this hour of the morning. 

06:30 Breakfast at Ocean Side Bar & Grill (inclusive in the package) --- one of the many perks to booking our stay in BBC was our complimentary breakfast. Not only did they exude good customer service, they also served the most well-cooked and well-flavored meals! Their breakfast was always a delight to eat! Not only is it typically served with their tasty 'ulam' (main course), garlic rice, fruit (banana only) and chocolate and/or fruit drinks, they also completed their service with a smile. =) It was truly a great way to start our day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

5 Star Service for Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin!

[Trip from November 2010]

The great thing about Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin was their remarkable customer service. Being months away from our actual stay in BBC, Sir Neil (who took care of all of our needs) was already hands-on in helping coordinate our entire trip. When I asked for an itinerary for our 3-day stay in Camiguin, he emailed it to me right away. And when we finally arrived in BBC, he had a print-out of our proposed itinerary sent to our room immediately. Talk about going the extra mile!



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Camiguin: My first Mindanao exploration on the Island Born of Fire

[TRIP from November 2010]

Rubel works for an airline company and filing a vacation leave for the month of December is an impossible thing to do (peak month for work). And since our anniversary lies on the 12th month of the year, we decided to book a domestic trip on November instead. We were set to celebrate my post-birthday and our pre-anniversary somewhere far --- thus our first Mindanao adventure.

Anyway, I booked our group a 5D/4N trip. I had the first 2 nights booked in Camiguin, and the last 2 nights in Cagayan De Oro. I also suggested that the first 2 nights be spent in Camiguin so that we wouldn't have to go back-and-forth with all the traveling. So as soon as we landed in Cagayan De Oro's Lumbia Airport, we went straight to Camiguin.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I left Cebu with a gracious heart

[July 2010]

Our last morning in Cebu was basically used up for shopping. Well, pasalubong (souvenir) shopping that is. We woke up real early so that we may be able to buy some Cebu delicacies, and rush back to Alba Uno to check-out. Anyway, if you happen to be going to Cebu anytime soon, make sure to pass by Tabo-an Market. You'll be able to find some dried pusit, danggit, dilis, chicharon, dried mangoes, and even small wood-guitars here. They've mostly got all the good and tasty stuff!

Anyway, our last day in Cebu was kind of just laid back. When we got back in Alba Uno, we called up Da Vinci Pizza to order the 16" masterpiece for the staff. And while waiting for the Pizza, we fixed our luggages (had it stuffed with our pasalubong) and then took turns taking a bath. When we were finally done with packing, we headed off to the lobby, and had our luggages stored for the day. Lucky for us, we no longer had to wait for the pizza to arrive since it came the moment we checked-in our luggages. The staff of Alba Uno was deeply surprised and grateful for our small token of appreciation.

Moving on... =) We left Alba Uno and took a cab going to Ayala Cebu. We had our lunch there after watching a movie (the last Airbender). So after eating lunch at TGIF, we got some mocha frap by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, before deciding to head back to Alba Uno (to pick up our stuff).

Finally -- The Land of the Famous Chocolate Hills


[July 2010]

Going to Bohol was actually just our Plan B. That was in case I didn't get called in for the job that I've applied for. But since I really didn't get any call back, I decided to book a day trip via Island Skip Trips (via Supercat). It was also a win-win situation for both me and Rubel since we've never been to Bohol. And me being the planner that I am, I already had my Bohol 'places-to-go' list. But I wasn't able to use it since the tour already had several destinations plotted out for the day. But much to my surprise, all the places that we wanted to visit were already part of the tour.

On the day of our tour, we've decided to wake up at 5:30 in the morning. We left Alba Uno around 6:45, and was able to reach the wharf at about 7:20. We immediately looked for the Island Skip Trips booth to pay for our package. As soon as we got our tickets, we got into the security area and waited to be boarded.

Our boat was set to leave at 8:30 AM. We actually left Cebu just in-time. We got to Bohol probably an hour and a half after, and was immediately greeted by our tour guide. Although I had to make a quick stop to the ladies room before boarding the shuttle (there were about 20 people inside the shuttle).

Basically, our Tour Itinerary went like this:

ITINERARY
ACTIVITIES
0830H
Depart Cebu via Supercat --> oh we were early!
1015H
Arrival Tagbilaran Wharf
Lei Reception by Travel Village --> they gave us these cute necklaces that had tarsiers for pendants!
Tour to Baclayon Church- Oldest Church --> was such an amazing place! But make sure to wear appropriate clothes or else they will ask you to wear these pieces of cloth that you'll have to wrap around your waist.
Loay Backyard industry- Local Color --> this we didn't get to experience anymore.. I don't know why the tour guide did not bring us here.
1200H
Loboc River Cruise w/ lunch on board --> this was so-so. The food was ordinary. But the very highlight of that boat-trip were the ladies in Pink. They serenaded us with their beautiful voices and showed us their lovely dance moves. =)
Butterfly Sanctuary --> Got to pass by this wonderful haven.. we also got to taste some very refreshing avocado and ube ice cream!
Tarsier Viewing in Captivity --> LOVED the Tarsiers! These tiny creatures are truly one of God's wonders! They are such rare primates especially when they start to stare at you with their big, googly eyes.. =P
Billar mahogany Man Made Forest --> ohhhh..this was an interesting place as well. We even got to experience this really big & black centipede that was crawling on a tree!
Chocolate Hills- Famous landmark of Bohol --> Being amidst a hundred chocolate-colored hills was remarkable! I could not help but be awe-stricken. Despite the heat that Rubel and I had to experience, the climb up the viewing deck was so worth the physical pain!
Blood Compact Monument- a historical site --> this was also an interesting site to be in.
Souvenier Shopping -->we actually bought some ube and pili delicacies before heading back to the Tagbilaran wharf
1730H
Back to Tagbilaran Wharf for Check in -->I actually got hungry on the way back to Cebu so Rubel ordered a sandwich for me. For the price of P100, Supercat's egg sandwich was actually delicious! =)
1830H
Depart Tagbilaran for Cebu
2015H
Estimated time of Arrival in Cebu

END OF TOUR

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 3 in Cebu: Riding uncertainty.. all in the name of adventure!

[Post from July 2010]

Our third day in Cebu was more relaxed yet we still had our nerve-racking moments. So before leaving Alba Uno in the morning, I made a phone call to SuperCat's Cebu office to check if we could still avail of their Island Skip Trips Bohol Day Trip package. And much to our luck, we were still accommodated. So after that phone call, we headed off to the Kartzone.

THE KARTZONE EXPERIENCE!

Rubel was able to persuade me into trying kart racing. I was firm about not riding the race kart at first, and leaving Rubel to race on his own. But something in me just wanted to try it out. It was in fact, a different kind of driving when compared to typical cars. So I did it anyway.


CEBU'S Sky Extreme Adventure gave me the jitters!!!

[A post from a July 2010 trip]

I went to Cebu to apply for my dream job. But much to my dismay, I didn't get that much awaited call back. So to help ease my disappointment, my friends and I went out for drinks after our 'interview'. And since Marriott Hotel was just beside Ayala Cebu, we walked all the way there with high heels and all.

My friend, Ruth and I decided to get something to drink at Seattle's Best while we waited for her friend Edz to arrive. And since Ruth and Edz had no prior engagements, we all decided to have lunch at Crown Regency Hotel & Towers. So when Rubel arrived at the mall, we immediately left and hopped on the 14A Jeep.

After a good 10-15 minutes on the road, we finally arrived at the famous guesthouse. Ok, so we weren't just having lunch at the hotel --- as the building also happened to be the venue for the famous Sky Experience Adventure (just like the one in Macau Tower). 

We ate lunch first, and then availed of the adventure package. Our other friend, Kai also joined us for lunch. But she no longer came with us for the latter (she was too scared to try it!). Well, I was super scared too. But it was an opportunity to experience something new. And I just didn't want to miss it!


Day 1 in Cebu: Visiting the Queen City of the South

[TRIP from July 2010]

I was in Cebu and Bohol last July 2010 for both business and pleasure. And since you won't ever catch me traveling alone, I asked my boyfriend to accompany me on this trip. We left MNL on the 17th of July, and arrived in Cebu at about 9:35 AM. 

AIRPORT ADVICE: Hail cabs outside the airport

If you haven't made any pick-up arrangements, is looking to find a cheaper way out of the airport, then you can avail of the regular-metered cab just outside of the Airport as well. You'll find a lot of them usually lined-up in front of the Waterfront Hotel. We were able to spend only P150 for less than an hour's worth of travel (including the driver's tip).

WHERE TO STAY IN METRO CEBU

We chose to stay in this pension house that was located within the I.T. Park. Good thing it was within this well-known area, as we were able to look for it without much hassle. The place that I had us booked in was Alba Uno Residencia. It was a new building, with great interiors, beautiful rooms, and of course, a nice set of staff members. They were very accommodating and very warm towards us. They greeted us whenever we were around, and they would always have a smile that you can sense every time we would order-in some food. And speaking of their food! WE LOVED THEIR MENU and THEIR COOKING AS WELL! Rubel and I's favorite meals would be their Tapsilog and Hungarian Sausage. Their meals which were typically priced under P100, already included some Java Rice and Free Iced Tea. It was definitely a superb deal!

  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Crazy Vacay at Ronco Beach Resort and Tagaytay Haven Hotel

[Posted from a May 2010 trip]

My family's annual excursion would always fall on the month of May. So ours fell on May 6-8, 2010. Initially, these dates were the only scheduled days for our vacation, and we were already booked to spend it at Calatagan, Batangas. But since we were all hung-up on the 3D/2N vacation by the beach, we decided to spend one more day out of town. So after Batangas, we drove to Tagaytay. Here's how our trip went...


A SUMMER ESCAPADE DOWN SOUTH!

Since my Kuya wanted to spend our summer vacation in Batangas again, I was able to look for a resort that would fit our budget for 19 people. Believe me, it wasn't that easy looking for resorts that would accommodate our numbers. Now, my Kuya didn't give me a specific budget. But he did ask me to find the most affordable one.

So come April 2010, I found Ronco (through a referral). I also looked it up in the internet to check on the previous guests' feedbacks. And when I finished reading all the posts, I pitched the idea to my Kuya. Their photos looked really lovely, especially the long floating raft, and the wooden trail/dock they had at the resort. So it was their unique selling point (to me, that is), as it really caught my attention. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fifth Leg -- Last day in lovely HKG!


[Trip last April 2010]

On the fifth leg of our trip, we decided to visit Stanley Beach. The bus trip from Central to Stanley Bay was about an hour’s worth. And since we were scheduled to go back to MNL that night, the little time we had left in HKG was really scheduled.


It was raining that morning so the breeze was extra chilly. Nonetheless, it was the perfect weather, and we were in a perfect place to have brunch, on our last day in HKG. Not only was Stanley Bay a beautiful place, it also exuded a relaxing mood. And despite the expensive bill that was tabbed for our Italian meals, we truly thought that the Pizza and Lasagna was worth our money.  

Spending half the day in Stanley Bay was the most perfect way to end the trip. And should I go back to HKG anytime soon, I’ll make sure to spend more time in this serene place.

A Shenzhen theme park that's worth exploring: Window of the World


[Trip from April 2010]

We were strictly told that if we didn’t make it by 9 AM in the HKG-SZX border, our tour will leave us. And us three being the real deal early birds, we got there with an hour to spare. But much to our expectations, the tour guide was there but a few of the people who booked the same tour, were super duper late! And we thought they were going to leave those who weren’t there on time. So much for that.

Apart from our not-so-good experience at PEYA Travel Agency (they were all Filipino’s and yet they were not as hospitable to us, knowing that we were all of the same nationality), the local Chinese tour guide that they assigned to us was not much of a guide.

Anyway, so we left the border at around 10:30. We were also warned that since we were all sharing one group visa, it should be our responsibility to secure our passports, as it will be our pass back to HKG. Should someone misplace there’s or should it be stolen in SZX, all of us in the tour will be forced to stay in SZX. That was the scary part of sharing the visa with 10 or so other people.

Besides that, that morning became a real bummer for us three. Since the guide could only talk to us across the immigration cubicle (it was somewhat a border), we were left to man the whole thing inside HKG. We had no choice but to lead the group, wait for the 4 late people, do the final head count, and check names on the tour list. We paid for the tour yet we had to work that morning just so we can get things going. So much for that! And PEYA had no representative so we were left to do the work. 

Apart from that, the morning trip was also disappointing, as the guide didn’t follow any schedules. She only brought us to a few small, boring factories that sold us their products, non-stop! There weren’t even any history-sharing on those stop-over’s.  And if you show no interest with their products, they would start talking in their language, and make little annoying facial expressions when you start to walk away from them. So much for that. It was a bit sad on our part since we had to encounter that from them. Now if it weren’t for the WINDOW OF THE WORLD tour, our stay in SZX would’ve been a waste of our hard-earned money.

Anyway, here’s a sample of our itinerary that day..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Awesomeness: Ngong Ping Village & the Giant Buddha!

[Trip from April 2010]

Before heading back to our hotel, we would always make it a point to pass by the 7-eleven store that was a few blocks away from Anne Black. And we would always make sure that we purchased these cups of spicy beef noodles that had real beef pieces in them. These were either made into our late-night snack or into our breakfast. But whatever the case was, these sumptuous instant noodles matched with some Yakult always made us happy.

Anyway, going back.. our 3rd day was allotted to a HKG Day Tour. And since we had two more days left, we decided to spend our 4th day in Shenzhen. And for us to be able to get to Shenzhen without any hassle, we went to this travel agency called PEYA, by Central (we were referred to this agency by my friend Wai – a HKG resident) to get us booked for Shenzhen. PEYA was able to book us a day tour, plus a grant to a group visa. We also had the tour booked for the following day. But for the remainder of the day, we spent on going around the city (went to ride the Cable Car to visit Ngong Ping), and was also spent on shopping.

Our tour guide in Shenzhen

A biyahera in the City of Dreams -- Macau!

[Trip from April 2010]

On our second day, we’ve managed to get ourselves to wake up real early for a Macau Day trip. Macau is actually one of the few places near HKG that is very easy to access (can be accessed by ferry/boat). And since you won’t be needing a visa to enter Macau, it was all the more very hassle-free to get into. And apart from its luxurious hotels and casinos, we were also set on exploring the beautiful make of this place (art-wise). It was my first time to go around Macau, since I was only able to experience the Venetian hotel, the last time I visited it.


Oh by the way, the nearest MTR station at Anne Black was the Yau Ma Tei station. From our hotel, it would usually take us about 10 minutes to get to the station by foot. But we hardly ever noticed the long walk since the cool weather condition in HKG hugged us deeply! It was the best weather yet!

Now before anything else, let me just give you a quick runthrough of our stay in this hotel. Well, Anne Black had a very nice ambiance to it. Their staff were very nice, accommodating, and always smiling.  And their standard rooms were also very cozy. It wasn't the 5-star type with all the egyptian cotton sheets and the works, but each of our beds were made up in a way that could still give our tired bodies a good night's sleep. Now each of our rooms had a sink attached to the wall. The standard room only had the sink for our personal use. But for toilet & bath purposes, they provided a common T&B for the floor we were in. But of course, it was still a safe area since the ladies bath were kept separate from the gents. Plus, they each provided us with a key to the T&B, so it was still a very much safe place to do your number 2's and all. All in all, our stay went well as can be. We truly had value for our money. :)

Anyway, here’s how our day went in Macau. =)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Budget Biyahera's Trip to HKG, MFM, SZX! =)


[April 2010]

This entry marks my first trip for the year 2010. And if you're all wondering as to what these 3-lettered words are, well these are just airport codes: HKG - Hong Kong / MFM - Macau / SZX - Shenzhen.

I've already been to HKG and MFM last November 2007, and I must say that being back was like I've never been in these places before. There was always something new to look forward to, despite the familiar faces and establishments. And for me, these two Asian destinations will always be exceptional.. all the more, when SZX added to my trip itinerary!

Moving forward, my trip back to HKG and MFM were extra special , as I traveled again with my closest friend Clarice (flew with her in Bangkok last April 2009), and my boyfriend Rubel. Both Clarice and Rubel have never been to all three areas in China.. so you can just imagine their heightened excitement for this trip! And may I just say that we totally had a blast going through China! =)

So to clue you in on how our whole trip went, I will be attaching the entire itinerary that I made. It will include the expenses that were made by me (Clarice and Rubel bought different souvenirs but we all went to the same places together), where these costs were allotted for, where we dropped-by (tourist spots, foodie areas, shopping havens), where we ate, what we rode, and more!

So have a peek at what we did and where we went on our first day in Hong Kong! =)
 
DAY 1 (in HK)
5:40 AM –        MANILA DEPARTURE
                          *Airport Tax: PHP 1620 + Terminal Tax: PHP750
7:40-9 AM –     HKG ARRIVAL
                     *A21 Bus to Metropark Hotel Mongkok FIFTH STOP – located at Exit C of the Prince Edward Station (one-way) HK$ 33 ; Taxi -  HK$ 25 (flag down start @ $18 + $5 for every luggage brought)
9–10 AM -        HOTEL ARRIVAL – Anne Black Guest House -  Deposit of HK$ 200
10–11 AM -      Settle-in Room  - MCDO Breakfast -  HK$ 20
11:30 AM -       LUNCH-OUT – MTR from Yau Ma Tei to Central -  HK$ 10.50
                          *Lunch and budget @ Burgerking, The Peak   HK$ 40
1-2 PM -           Go to Central; exchange USD to HKD (Drop-by ZARA at iFC mall, The Landmark, The Galleria, Prince’s Building, Alexandra House)
                          * MTR to Yau Ma Tei interchange to Tsuen Wan red line, going to Central HK$ 10.5
2:30-6 PM -     Go to the PEAK (Madame Tussaud, Tram Ride, Dinner on top of Café Deco Resto, Giordano, sightseeing, etc.)
                         *BUS or MTR from Central to nearest MTR to The Peak – NA
                         *Promo: Madame Tussaud ( HK$ 140) + Sky Terrace ( HK$ 35) + Peak Tram (HK$ 25 ) @  HK$ 200 all in
                         *Madame Tussauds Photo - HK$ 30
6:30-10 PM -    Walk down to Queens Road Central & Des Voeux Central  
                           Shopping (H & M store, Ray ban, Esprit, RVCA);  drop-by Lan Kwai    
                           Fong & SOHO for drinks
                          *Hawker dinner at Stanley St. -  HK$ 15
                          *MTR to yau Ma Tei  coming from Central MTR HK$ 10.5
9- 11 PM            Mongkok shopping at Ladies Market AND Argyle St. (MAC cosmetics) shopping (Mongkok Langham Place – H & M, VANS, SASA, COTTON-ON)
                           *Drinks with Wai, my good friend, at SoHO (free drinks!!!!!!)
11PM -12 -        *MTR Central to Mongkok Station HK$ 10.50






























AT NAIA 3 =)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

3 Famous Sites in a day -- Only in Puerto Princesa!

[Trip from October 2009..]

Our Hunda Bay tour was a whole day affair. We got picked up at the Pension house at around 7 am, and was able to reach the Hunda Bay Tourism Board at around 8 am. So after our guide registered us, we boarded on an outrigger boat with 2 other pairs.


First Stop: Pambato Reef

We got to the Pambato Reef site around 8:40 am. So as soon as we docked, we geared up and dove into the water. During our snorkeling escapade, we were able to see a lot of beautiful corals and a variety of fish. You can just imagine how amazing our morning swim went after seeing different kinds of fish. 

Second Stop: Snake Island

On our way to our second site, our tour guide asked us why our second destination coined the name 'Snake Island'. The tour guide didn’t tell us the reason just yet. So we were left wandering. My first thought was that it was initially inhabited by snakes, which freaked me out a bit. And as we were nearing the island, the guide finally told us the reason behind the islands strange label. I was actually relieved when I heard that the island had the shape of a snake when seen on a birds eye view. It was just that.

Anyway, the island was also filled with a bunch of amazing fishes. One even had a good bite out of me. They also named this particular fish as the ‘Territorial Fish’. Indeed, it was.

An enchanting experience at Palawan’s Underground River

[An October travel in 2009]

I forgot to mention that I was also able to book two whole day tours when we arrived in Puerto Pension. So Ate Bel, the nice receptionist, took care of our itinerary and payments. We had the Underground Tour and Honda Bay Tour booked for the succeeding days.

Complimentary breakfast was also provided in Puerto Pension, just as long as we filled-up their form a day before (just so they can prepare what we wanted to eat ahead of time). Breakfast was served as early as 6 am, at the Tribu Deck. So we made it a point to wake up just as early. Anyway, the waiters of Tribu Deck were very nice and accommodating to us; and we really felt like vacationers as we were wholeheartedly welcomed that morning. It was also lovely to eat breakfast at the restaurant since we had a lovely view right outside the window (there was a view of the mountains and the bay).



4-hour day tour and more at Puerto Princesa!

[Trip from October 2009] 

Even before our Cam Sur trip was planned, Rubel and I already had plans to go to Palawan. And since Philippine Airlines (PAL) had a promo last July 2009, Rubel was able to buy tickets that only cost us PHP 1,800 each. The catch was that we had to wait 3 more months to be able to travel. Anyway, we really didn’t mind since it also gave us time to save up.

PALAWAN DREAMS

I’ve always wanted to go to Palawan. And for this trip, we booked a 4D/3N stay. So from July until September, I did nothing but research on nice and affordable places to stay-in for our whole vacation in Puerto Princesa. Thank God for my knack at online researching, I was able to discover Puerto Pension.


Wrapping-Up our CamSur Wakeboarding Trip

[TRIP from October 2009]

The whole gang woke up early the next day, since we wanted to register for our anticipated wakeboarding session. But before that, we ate breakfast first at a nearby hotel (within the CWC vicinity). We were later dropped-off at the waterpark via the free shuttle. We headed out to the CWC Clubhouse soon after, and then registered for the half-day wakeboarding cable rate. 


DAY 2 - WAKEBOARDING TIME!

As soon as we got our gears on, we took the free yellow jeep ride to the Beginner’s area. When we arrived, we were immediately given a short orientation before proceeding to the platform. 

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH! --- It probably took me a good 30-45 minutes before mustering the guts to get on the wakeboard. The pro’s definitely made a beauty out of wakeboarding. I, on the other hand, could not get as close to prettifying the whole thing! It was hard for a beginner like me. I fell so many times before I could even get myself to doing the right stance on the board. And since there were so many people in the area, a bit of embarrassment got the best of me. Nonetheless, I tried for 4 times, until I got myself to really cruise all the way! I almost got myself into making a half-turn!


We really couldn’t use the cables consecutively since there were so many people (10 in groups) waiting for their turn. But my 4 times on the cable was enough already, as my whole body started to ache soon after. And since it was a half-day affair, we only ate a quick lunch, went to rest for a bit, and then rode the free yellow shuttle jeep again to the beginner’s area.


As soon as more people started lining up, we decided to head-back to the Clubhouse. We ordered dinner, some drinks and then left for Eco-village again.


DAY 3

Our third day was a pleasant one. But we were all hesitant about trying to wakeboard again. We could no longer get our bodies to ride once more since we ached everywhere. We just did a lot of people watching --- those wakeboarding that is! :)


But later through the day, the group decided to try another round at wakeboarding despite the body pain. I, on the other hand stayed put. And after the group's half-day wakeboarding stint, we ate some late lunch at the Clubhouse. 


Rubel tried to wakeboard at the Pro’s section afterwards, and he got to carry himself almost all the way (about 3/4). We were so proud of him, as he was the only one who progressed that far. 

As soon as my beau got off from the platform, we headed back to the clubhouse to eat our last dinner in CWC. It was a big meal alright! We ordered pizza’s, some sisig platters, some appetizers and more. We were a bit over-indulgent at that time since it was going to be our last night.

DAY 4

Our fourth day was merely composed of some last minute packing, and a quick snack at the Clubhouse. Since CWC also offered free drop-off’s at the bus terminal, we made sure to avail of it. We left the water park before lunch, as soon as we finished taking photos with the locals there. But before anything else, we stopped over at their souvenir store, where I picked up a lot of trendy stuff.


The trip back to Manila took longer, since we traveled in the morning. The traffic in the Laguna area was much worse. We definitely felt the pangs of it since we were rode the ordinary bus this time. And then we started to miss CWC. It was back to reality, and back to work for most of us. But then again, we vowed to come back again.


And as always, another Travel Expense Sheet for sharing. =) Hope it helps in one of your future vacations in CamSur’s famous wakeboarding waterpark! Until then…

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

Road trip to Pili, Camarines Sur --- A Wakeboarding Journey We Go!

[TRIP from October 2009] 

Some of the people who Rubel and I always travel with, all came together into planning an October 2009 trip. It was really just a spontaneous thing, and we all decided to try Camarines Sur for their wakeboarding. Well, we were eyeing CWC in particular, and we really wanted to try their facilities. CWC, also known as Camsur Watersports Complex, is a water park located in Pili, Camarines Sur. You can get to this particular destination via bus or plane.


ABOARD PENAFRANCIA TOURS

We initially wanted to fly via Zest Air. But my laptop's internet connection bogged down unexpectedly. And since booking online wasn’t considered an option anymore, I decided to do my own research. And good enough, Penafrancia Tours popped into my search box.

Escaping the Storm – South Bound Style!

[Entry from May 2009 trip]

Our annual family trip for MAY 2009 wasn’t supposed to push through because a storm hit Manila so bad, it hit the North area even more. Ironically, we were supposed to be North bound for this post-summer trip. We already had plans to stay at a family friend’s beach house in Zambales. But the news that night confirmed the frantic situation in the whole province. 

There was no plan B. But we made one when the storm was really getting worse. And since the north area was a place that no one should set foot on at that time, we suddenly thought of going south bound instead. So we decided on a whim to try our luck going there, hoping that the storm wouldn’t follow us in that direction. As soon as the place Batangas popped into our destination suggestions, we just started calling up resorts in that area for a potential place to stay in. Since it was a last minute thing, and still a summer vacation month, almost all the resorts we contacted were booked. Mind you, it wasn't that easy to book 14 people just like that.


A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

My Kuya could not help but look at our sad faces, as hopes of a beach vacation were washed away along with the rain. And since Batangas was giving us bad responses as well, he finally decided to just leave it to God, and just hoped for the best. We left on a very gloomy morning, and got to Batangas around 10 am. And much to our luck, we found a place to stay in for the first two nights. And what was more of a blessing was the sun was shining brightly. It was when we set foot on Maryland Beach Resort that we thanked God for a safe and sunny trip.


Ok, so this was my first time in this part of Batangas. My family has been here twice already, back when I was still in college, and had no summer vacations to spend. Anyway, since this was our last option to ever experience a beach outing, we just had to take our minds off of the dirty premises. Yes, you read it right. The gray sand beach had pieces of garbage (usually plastic materials) everywhere, floating even. So most of our time was spent swimming in the resort pool. But we were just thankful that both the resorts (we stayed in Medina's Garden Villa on the latter part of our Nasugbu trip) that we stayed in had pools, as a lot of our goofy and happy times were spent hanging out by this area of the resort.


WHITE BEACH YO!

We did something different on our third day in Nasugbu, as we rode a pump boat to another island. My family called this the ‘White Beach’. Also, half of the area was private-owned. There were quite a few people hanging out on the other half. But the crowd was still tolerable in number. Plus, we had to rent a boat to get over to this place.


Now, this beach was beautiful. And it was a lot cleaner than the one we left back in Nasugbu. But my Kuya instantly noticed the rise in the water level. Global warming perhaps. He said that when they last visited this beach, there were rocks everywhere that were still quite visible. Well, the rocks were still there. But these have already been submerged under the water.

You’ll have to actually take careful steps to get to the other side of the beach; or choose to swim farther away to avoid the rocks. It was a beauty on this beach edge, but it was also tasking to get there. I probably had a few scratches and cuts on both my hands and feet after making my way to the rocks. But the water was crystal clear, so it was worth it going to this side of the beach. It was even more picture perfect since I had the whole family swimming around in the same area.

We probably stayed here for half the day (we swam and ate and swam again), until our boat ride back to Nasugbu came to pick us up. This island-hop to the white beach was the highlight of my stay in Nasugbu . But other than that, I enjoyed what Batangas as a whole, offered me and my family. I really enjoyed the beach vacation with them, despite experiencing the storm that almost ruined it.


And as always, I have a Travel Expense Sheet here that you might find interesting. But I just had to base it on estimates (for the 14 people who came with us on this vacation) since my cousin had a hard time recalling the exacts. I wasn’t part of the costing on this trip yet, so she just gave me what she could remember.

Anyway, hope it helps with one of your future trips in the area. Until then..

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

Wandering around Thailand - The Land of Smiles

[Post from April 2009 trip] 

I made myself a promise that I would try to visit a foreign country, once a year. And it has been that way since 2007. It’s a good thing that work finds me every time, so it immediately makes-up for all the expenses I’ve made. And although I end up going broke after a trip, God always makes a way for me to go back on track. And every year, he blesses me another trip to look forward to, just like my first trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

I was still working for a fashion company then when I decided to invite my friend Clarice for a vacation. And since she hasn’t been out of the country for five years now, she decided to finally end her 5-yr streak. And so, a month before our trip, I booked us both plane tickets and accommodations via Cebu Pacific’s Fun Tours.

DAY 1 in BKK

I booked our flight on Clarice’s birthday. But of course, she didn’t celebrate it 30,000 feet above sea level. She actually ended her special day in the plane. But nonetheless, we celebrated further by eating some late Phad Thai dinner at a bar by Khao San Road --– the backpacker’s haven.


Friday, January 7, 2011

First Roadtrip for the Year — Tagaytay!

[Post from a Feb-March 2009 trip]

My first trip for the year was spent in Tagaytay. It wasn’t my first-time there, as I’ve been in this part of Cavite a couple of times while growing-up. My frequent trips then were mostly spent with my family. Although on some occasions, I would get to spend a few days in Tagaytay when I would go out with friends from school. 


Anyhow, this trip, which I went on with my boyfriend was made out of impulse. We both wanted to just get away for the weekend, and thought of Tagaytay as the nearest place to visit. After his Saturday duty, we left Manila for some fresh air and for some sumptuous bulalo! It took us about 2 hours to get there since we left at a rush hour. Traffic was horrendous, particularly in the Cavite boundary.


A well-spent anniversary on the gray sands of Zambales, Philippines

[TRIP FROM December 2008..] 


Rubel and I decided to go on a beach getaway for our first anniversary. The budget was one to consider, so we tried to look for potential places in Luzon that can be easily accessed by bus. And then we thought of Zambales. Zambales has always been a great destination. And since we haven't visited the place in a very long time, I started looking for resorts and cheap accommodations online; and was eventually lead to La Paz Crystal Beach Resort (the surfing paradise!). Anyway, Rubel was up in trying surfing (although we've never tried this before), so he gave me the go signal to book the trip.

Before our trip that late December month, we already set aside a 50% down-payment for our lodging; and then saved up an extra PHP4000 each for our future expenses.

DAY 1

We started our morning by taking a cab to Victory Liner Espana, as we planned on catching the earliest trip to Zambales. Since we bought tickets bound for San Narciso (where the resort was located), we paid PHP400 for a one-way trip. The trip from Manila to San Narciso took us about 4 hours (including 1 stop).

 

A 5-day exploration around the Merlion City, Singapore

[Trip from September 2008] 

It was F1 season in Singapore back when my Rubel and I vacationed in September 2008. We were actually bummed about being a week early from the actual date of the event. But the good part of it was that we got to see firsthand the actual tracks and sidelines. Anyway, it was my first time to visit Singapore, and I must say that being in this country was sight for sore eyes! Seeing the Merlion was a superb treat for a tourist like me. And to start off, let me show you what we did in our first day in the Merlion City 

DAY 1 

ARRIVAL @ SG’S BUDGET TERMINAL 

Singapore’s Budget terminal was literally just like a receiving area. It seemed like it was smaller than NAIA Terminal 1. Nonetheless, the terminal maintained a good flow and process. And as we got our passport’s stamped, we immediately rolled our trolleys outside the airport. 

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