So there was this upcoming long weekend coinciding with the birthday of my daughter and she decided to spend it somewhere less crowded and less polluted. We’ve been reading rave reviews about a place 5-6 hrs from Manila just about 45minutes from Baler. A place called Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, Aurora to be exact. It didn’t hurt that the reviews said that for less than P10k, you can have beachfront accomodation, seafood, and peace and quiet.
But what really had me worried about this trip was the weather, as a typhoon just passed by Casiguran (well, technically it was 800 kms. off the coast of Casiguran but it did bring rains). We decided to go for it.
Before setting out, we booked a non-ACU small hut / wooden house for P1k a night @Pacific Villa and Ms Evita (owner of the place) was very helpful with our text inquiries. She told us that we needed to do marketing of food for our 2-day stay, and we could rent cooking (LPG and small stove included)/ eating utensils for P500 for the whole duration of our stay.
HOW WE GOT THERE
First off, we tried to book a bus to Baler by being chance passengers via Genesis Bus Line in Cubao but those in – charge were not very helpful. They could’nt even tell us with certainty if we could get on a bus to Baler @11pm that August 23 Friday night! They didn’t even list our names down as chance passengers! Someone offered us a van ride all the way to Baler for P600 (which we thought was a good deal) but we thought it kinda sketchy as we were told that we’d wait for another group of 10 to arrive at around 10pm.
So we decided to inquire at ES Transit just beside Genesis if they had buses that go directly to Baler. We were advised by their very friendly personnel to take the 3-hr Cabanatuan route, then take either a van or another AC bus to Casiguran, which we were assured, was aplenty once we get to Cabanatuan.
Needless to say, we took this route. Fare to Cabanatuan was P220 each (the bus was nice and clean and had chargers for CPs and it was less than 3hrs because of less traffic) and true enough when we got there, ACU vans to Casiguran were waiting. Fare was P300 each and the trip was about 2-3 hrs tops. We left Manila via ES Transit at around 8:30 pm, boarded a van to Casiguran by 11:30 pm and arrived at Pacific Villa close to 4:00 am in the morning of August 24, 2019. It was a long and lonely trip from Cabanatuan to Casiguran simply because it was dark and raining a bit. But we got there pretty much safe and sound.
We knocked at the caretaker’s house and caretaker Jojo welcomed us (we actually woke him up but he was kind enough to lead us to our accomodation and set it up). Jojo stated that he’ll be providing us with our cooking/eating utensils at about 8:00 am, and that if we wanted to, we could just ask him to take us to the marketplace via his tricycle and we could store what we bought at their refrigerators.
My daughter and I took to the beds (clean sheets and cold weather) and had about 3 hrs of much-needed shut-eye after a long trip.
Little did we know that Dinadiawan was going to show off its beautiful sunrise that morning.
DAY 1 SUNRISE
So like Jojo said, I asked him to take me to the marketplace and I was amazed how affordable seafood was. I bought hipon for about P120.00 only, liempo for P70.00, chicken for about P80 and ingredients for sinigang / adobo (for dinner).
I prepped a can’t-go-wrong chicken pork adobo for a 6pm dinner
DUSK @DINADIAWAN, AURORA
We swam in Dinadiawan’s waters in the morning and she swept me around hahaha ‘man, her waters are rough at this time of the year but refreshing still, really.
Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, Aurora might not appeal to those who seek more glamorous vacation spots but Dinadiawan is a nature lover’s dream destination. As the pics show, it exudes a quiet and peaceful vibe, away from the stresses of living in the city and engaging in the proverbial everyday rat-race.
Fresh sea breeze, calm morning waters great for swimming, white sand at your feet, just listen to the waves crash the shore, and be amazed at how the light and colors change from the break of dawn to the rising of the sun.
It is simply a spectacular sight to behold. It’s like watching the Creator paint the sky, and you’ve got a front row seat to it.
I will come back to you one day.
You’ve left me wanting for so much more, and for that alone, I miss you already.
As usual, for DIYers, below is a summary of expenses for two (2) people. Till next time.
” I once embarked on a journey. I was alone, searching for stories I’ve never witnessed, collecting as many moments as I could.” – Cholo Laurel, filmaker, writer.
When one hears of Marinduque, the Moriones Festival comes to mind. We’ve often heard of it, yet, as the above quote states, we’ve never witnessed nor experienced it. But Marinduque has more to offer, and such was the motivation behind this sojourn to the island dubbed as the heart of the Philippines.
From the moment we disembarked till the time we had to return to the city, Marinduque certainly gave us its moments. It evoked thoughts of finding and keeping one’s faith, wonder at the beauty of nature, bemuse at the colors exploding around you, silently remember those who have come and gone, be amazed at getting to know the people of the place, to discover the place itself for the first time, and to simply just let Marinduque take you to where it wants you to be.
HOW TO GET THERE
Before the Holy Week even arrives, BOOK YOUR TRANSPORT AND ACCOMMODATIONS AHEAD OF TIME AND VIA ONLINE.
Communicate with your planned place to stay and be very clear as to the duration of your stay. Do not take a chance that you can get accommodations during the Holy Week. You might as well sleep on the road as there are local and foreign tourists who flock to Marinduque during the Holy Week.
We opted to go by land & sea.
BY LAND & SEA
We booked JAC Liner via Biyaheroes (they are legit) for the routes Kamias, Cubao, QC – Sta. Cruz, Marinduque departure date and time April 16, 2019 4:00 pm, and Sta. Cruz, Marinduque – Kamias, Cubao, QC, departure date and time April 20, 2019 2:00 pm. All terminal fees paid to Montenegro Lines are taken cared of and are inclusive in your payments. The trip is about 10-12 hrs., so stock up on water and snacks.
VIA CEBU PACIFIC
There is another option and that is by air via Cebu Pacific. The plane lands in Gasan, Marinduque, and land transportation (jeepneys / vans) abound just beyond the gates of the airport.
HOW TO GET AROUND and ABOUT IN MARINDUQUE
You can bring your vehicle via the Montenegro or Starhorse Roro at Dalahican port (passenger fare plus cargo fare / vehicle matrix). If you’re going to do this, bring a Utility Vehicle, as the roads tend to be rugged and steep at some points. A pick-up truck would be perfect.
You can hire tricycles for land tours to sightseeing spots, or rent scooters. The sightseeing spots are quite a ways-off from one another, so a means of getting around is necessary. For P2,000.00, we scored this comfortable enough and souped-up ride for our ’round Marinduque land tour.
There are also a lot of jeepneys to get you from one point to the other, but best to get an early start if you’re gonna take this option, as the jeepneys tend to wait until the vehicle is filled with passengers.
Tricycle fare in Sta. Cruz, going to and fro from your place of stay, to, say, the town plaza or restaurant, is P12.00-P14.00 per person.
REGRETS BUT MAYBE NEXT TIME
We weren’t able to chase waterfalls’ Kawa-Kawa, Busay, Paadjao Falls, visit caves, and trek up to Luzon Datum anymore, as we were pressed for time, but you may want to include this in your itinerary.
So without further ado, here are some pics of our stay in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque.
All photos posted are without any filter / filters whatsoever.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 17, 2019 CHECK-IN and LAND TOUR
TORRIJOS FREEDOM PARK by-the-sea.
HOLY THURSDAY APRIL 18, 2019 ISLAND HOPPING
GOOD FRIDAY APRIL 19, 2019
BLACK SATURDAY APRIL 20, 2019
What I will remember about Marinduque, aside from its stunning beaches and spectacular sceneries, is the warmth and friendliness of its people.
Our host for the last two days, Ms. Beth, a native of Marinduque (from Mompog), always has a ready smile for us, and is always asking if we are doing fine. Ditto with Ms. Karen de Luna of Villa D Arco. Even passerbys, if they notice that we’re somewhat at a loss as to where to go, always seem to be ready to help. Our land tour guide, Jeh, is always there for us. Even their native tongue seems pleasing to the ear.
Marinduque certainly has its moments, moments that are worth remembering.
Of course, I did not forget my co-DIYers. Below is our actual 4 days 3 nights itinerary together with expenses incurred for two (2) people.
Be good to one another.
Happy Easter to all !!!
DAY 0 APRIL 16, 2019 TUESDAY
Sashamae / Spike Allowance (our dogs hehe)
Taxi to JAC Liner Kamias
JAC Liner to Gasan, Mdque from Manila / Biyaheroes
Late Lunch / miscellaneous expenses
Arrive at Lucena / Dalahican Port / Dinner @stopover
DAY 1 APRIL 17, 2019 WEDNESDAY
Dalahican Port to Balanacan Port, Mogpog, Marinduque
Arrive at Balanacan Port
JAC Liner to Sta. Cruz
Check in @ accomodations (Villa D’ Arco)
Advance BDO Bank payment for Villa
Early checkin /breakfast
Preparation for Land tour (Miscellaneous expenses)
LAND TOUR via Tricycle c/o Villa D’ Arco
1. BALANACAN VIEW DECK
2. OUR LADY OF PEACE & SAFE VOYAGE
3. BOAC CATHEDRAL
4. BOAC MUSEUM
5. BOAC HERITAGE HOUSES
6. LUNCH @Kusina sa Plaza
7. Coffee @ 10 y.o. Cafe
8. SUNFLOWER FARM @MSC
9. TORRIJOS FREEDOM PARK
10. POCTOY WHITE BEACH
Return to Villa D’ Arco
Dinner @Rico’s Inn, Free Time
DAY 2 APRIL 18, 2019 HOLY THURSDAY
Wake up Call
From Villa D’ Arco to Buyabod Port (tricy /misc)
Boat rental c/o Villa d’ Arco for Island Hopping
Depart Buyabod Port to:
11. PALAD SANDBAR
12. MOMPONG ISLAND / Ungab Rock Formation
13. MANIWAYA ISLAND
Wawie’s Beach Resort / , halohalo / others
Photo ops / swimming
Boat ride: return to Buyabod Port
Tricy back to Villa D’ Arco
Checkout from Villa D Arco / transfer to Fidelino residence
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted decades ago, what was shown to us was the devastation it brought. Many years after the said tragedy, Pinatubo has brought forth a miracle in nearby Zambales. The ash fall from the eruption has transformed what were once barren terrain and rock strewn shores into agoho tree laden mountain trails and beach havens. So much so that whispers of paradise-like coves abounded, and that slowly but surely these coves were being transformed into camping sites and trek trails and what have you.
This year we decided to check this out on our own.
Zambales is really beautiful. Who knew that a place like this existed a mere 3 hours away from Manila? We had a short but sweet stay. And while we were there on our first day, an earthquake struck :-D, it literally felt like it was “passing through” but it shook! In spite of this, after 2 days, we wanted to stay longer but….gotta do what you gotta do….
We just chilled around on our first day, and we visited the coves like Nagsasa and Talisayin Coves on our second day.
On the 3rd day, we made our way to Anawangin Cove, Capones-Camara islands and it was a really great sightseeing and beach experience.
And the sunsets at Pundaquit Beach are really postcard-worthy 🙂
Time to let the pictures do the talking:
We made our way to Capones Island, a desolate place but a great place to swim nonetheless, and a lot of IG-worthy scenery.
While Camara Island is a bit calmer, and Zambales in front of her.
So there you have it, our 3days 2nights stay at Zambales. As always, below is an actual itinerary and expenses incurred for two (2) people.
But before anything else, let me tell you that Pundaquit Beach sunsets are amazingggggg!!!! and no two are ever alike !!!
Stay good everyone.
FEBRUARY 23, 2019 SATURDAY DAY 1
Sashamae / Spike Allowance ( we now have 2 dogs!!!)
There was this long December 2018 weekend and the thought just popped into my head: we’re going to Puerto Galera!!! I vaguely remember the time I was there with my youngest sister Dawn, and cousin Jet, and it would be nice to show the place to my daughter. I heard stories that the place was now too commercialized, but I was hoping Puerto Galera still has some magic in her hidden somewhere, not unlike when I first visited wayyyyy back then. I remember secluded beaches against a backdrop of a mountain where the sun only really showed up past mornings. The crystal clear waters, swaying coconut trees, and cool morning breeze. At night, White Beach explodes with life and pitchers of Mindoro Sling abound. This time, though, it would be a more muted visit, and I looked forward to soothe my weary body and mind after a really tough but rewarding year.
As always, a few pictures for first time DIYers to get an idea of where to go while in Puerto Galera, followed by an actual itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people. Book your accommodations in advance as there are a lot of tourists all-year-round. Explore. Get off the beaten track. Enjoy ‘ya’ll.
It was hard to go but we had to get back to the city. But I needed to take one more look at where I was, at that moment.
As promised, here’s the complete itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people.
DECEMBER 30, 2018 SUNDAY
Sashamae Allowance (she’s our dog!)
Taxi to Cubao Jam Liner
Depart Cubao for Batangas
Arrive @Batangas Pier
Starlite boat fare to Mindoro (1130 AM for Balatero)
As Arya Stark
said, the North remembers. How can one not remember the North, especially La
Surfing has exploded in La Union, or Elyu, as it is fondly called. Urbiztondo Beach is its hotbed. Whether it’s the time of “habagat” or “amihan”, surfers flock to La Union to frolic in its waves, and partake of its nightlife. La Union boasts of unique restos for foodies, live music for the audiophile in you, treks for the avid mountaineer, and of course, the waves for beginner or champion surfer. It’s easy to get to, just ride a Partas Transit and get off at San Juan, La Union but book your accommodations in advance because if you plan to go on there during long weekends, you’d be surprised that almost all accommodations are full.
For my daughter’s birthday, I decided that we should go to La Union and take in the surfer and culture vibes La Union has to offer.
A few pictures are below so you can appreciate the beauty and great vibes of Elyu.
As usual, our actual itinerary and actual expenses incurred for two are also below.
It was a calculated risk. June 12, 2018 was a holiday, a Tuesday at that. I immediately filed for a paid Leave of Absence for that Monday June 11, 2018 and it was approved. My thoughts turned quickly to an island off Mauban, Quezon. Cagbalete Island, with its famous sandbar, calm then wild waters and the oft-spoken of serenity that can be found on this island.
So here are a few of the pics taken during our trip there and here’s hoping you can appreciate the island even more.
So there you have it.
A word of advice to those who wanna do DIY to Cagbalete Island: provisions there are very limited. Buy food that you can cook in Mauban, and pay your resort for cooking utensils / LPG / grill, etc. They charge very minimal for it. As usual, below is an actual itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people.
Beautiful Pangasinan province surprised us with a very spectacular Bolinao sunset, landmarks, Alaminos’ Hundred Islands, and Dasol’s amazing Colibra Island crustal-clear waters and white sand. I truly wished we could’ve explored more islands like Potipot Island but time was not on our side as we had to get back to the city. Anyways, we planned this at least a month in advance but things didn’t fall our way as expected but we still had a grand time!!!
The people of Pangasinan are a hardy lot, and everyone was so good and kind to us during our short stay.
So we’ve selected a few pictures to show you of our trip. Hope you like these.
Pangasinan has so much to offer and I truly believe we haven’t even scratched the surface of this paradise.
As always, to D.I.Yers out there, here’s the actual itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people. Remember, always plan ahead.