Dinadiawan 3Days 2Nights August 24-26, 2019

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.

PACIFIC VILLA

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.

Simple accommodations / give me a hammock-by- the- sea anytime and I’m good

DAY 1 SUNRISE

Dinadiawan dazzled us with her sunrise
Witness nature at play
She set the sky on fire
Beautiful
mid-morning view after taking a dip in the sea and walking barefoot in her white sand
Rock-strewn shores made by the sea. By early afternoon, these rocks disappear back into the ocean, literally lapped back by the sea a few meters from the shore.
Couldn’t pass up the chance to make a wish
We were the only ones there, and we had it to ourselves that morning.
Selfie at dawn

LUNCH

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).

Seasoned with salt and pepper, nothing too fancy
The sinigang na hipon was a success
Hot mid-day sun
Slept the whole afternoon

DINNER

I prepped a can’t-go-wrong chicken pork adobo for a 6pm dinner

DUSK @DINADIAWAN, AURORA

Just before it got dark
Looking at the sea before it disappears into the night
Now we turn on the lights
View from our hut
No Tiger beer here just same old reliable SMB Light for my nightcap

DAY2 SUNRISE

Look at that
No two sunrises are ever the same
Mornings in the beach are simply magical
Rise and shine
Tocilog lunch with freshly grilled tuna

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.

Dusk
Selfie before I cook dinner
Success again! This time it;s pork sinigang hahahaha

DAY 3

Wow
It is simply spectacular
How small we are in the grand scheme of things

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.

hate to leave but have to go back

As usual, for DIYers, below is a summary of expenses for two (2) people. Till next time.

AUGUST 23, 2019 FRIDAY COST  
Sashamae/Spikymae allowance (our dogs!!!) 500.00 
Grab! San Juan to Cubao (Genesis Bus Terminal) 150.00 
Dinner 300.00 
Cubao to Cabanatuan (P220 each) 440.00 
Cabanatuan to Dinadiawan (P300 each) 600.00 
DAY1 AUGUST 24, 2019 SATURDAY
Check in @ Pacific Villa 2,000.00 
(2 DAYS for 2 PAX)
Beach Bumming
Lunch  500.00 
Beach Bumming
Dinner 500.00 
DAY2 AUGUST 25, 2019 SUNDAY
Breakfast 100.00 
Lunch  500.00 
Dinner 350.00 
DAY3 AUGUST 26, 2019 MONDAY
Checkout from Pacific Villa
Dinadiawan to Baler (via Jojo’s tricy) 600.00 
Harvest Peanut Butter / other souvenirs 450.00 
Lunch @Chowking Baler 500.00 
Baler to Cubao (Van) 1,200.00 
Dinner 500.00 
Grab! Cubao to San Juan 300.00 
 9,490.00 

MARINDUQUE, HEART OF THE PHILIPPINES, 4DAYS 3NIGHTS ITINERARY APRIL 16-20,2019

” 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.

Sweet ride.

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.

Enjoy.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 17, 2019 CHECK-IN and LAND TOUR

VILLA ‘D ARCO.
It’s not flashy but the ACU room was great. Clean CR. Comfy beds.
Unfortunately, because I did not reiterate clearly to the owner that we’d be staying for 4 days, we could only stay overnight at this place. The owner, Melqui, however, set us up at another place.
You know you’re in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, when you see this enormous statue of a Morion. The people of Marinduque, during Holy Week, celebrate the Moriones Festival based on the story of Longinus.
It is said that it was Longinus, blind in one eye, who stabbed Christ’s side with a spear when He was upright and nailed to the cross. When the blood of Jesus fell on his face, his sight was miraculously restored. A converted believer, Longinus started preaching the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Romans did not take kindly to that. Longinus was hunted down, and eventually captured.
Legend has it that Longinus was asked to retract everything he said to those who listened to him, to which he declined, and thus was put to death by beheading.
Our ride arrived and our first stop was the Balanacan View Deck in Mompog.
It is said that upon arriving in Marinduque, one has to give thanks and a prayer to
Our Lady of Peace and Safe Voyage
located at the Balanacan port.
The Boac Cathedral, built in 1792.
Beautiful interiors.
Old houses, called heritage houses, abound in Boac.
Eight of these old houses burned last 2015.
Only a few are left standing.
The townsfolk of Boac are very proud of their old houses.
It’s like being in Vigan, only less grander and much simpler.
The people of Marinduque are so nice, warm, and friendly, always asking if they could help.
Old and new.
When you’re in Boac, you must eat here @Kusina sa Plaza.
My daughter ordered Sinigang na baboy.
Their lechon kawali is superb.
The interiors evoke an old house feel.
After lunch, I chatted it up with some locals and took a selfie with them. Like I said, they’re really nice people.
Little Morions
Photography works of Cholo Laurel was on display.
We looked for and dropped by at Boac’s 10 y.o. Cafe.
Coffee fix.
Quaint interiors.

TORRIJOS FREEDOM PARK by-the-sea.

Marinduque State College Sunflower Farm @Torrijos.
In the middle of it all.
It’s not as grand as Quezon’s Sunflower fields but it is uplifting, nonetheless.
Sunset @Poctoy White Beach with Mt. Malindig in the background.
It’s white sand and crushed corals.
Plenty of shops here, drinks, food, tents. cottages, accommodations, and resorts
I had a great swim here. The waters were cool.
Frolic in the waves.

HOLY THURSDAY APRIL 18, 2019 ISLAND HOPPING

Fortune favors the brave.
In this case, it was still really dark when we were about to go to Palad Sandbar, the 1st stop in our island hopping.
We were delayed a bit because someone asked us to accommodate a family of four who also wanted to go island-hopping. We obliged, as this would bring our cost down from P2,150.00 for 2 persons to go on an island hop of 3 destinations, to P1,160.00.
Buyabod port @sunrise.
At first the sun seemed to play a game of hide and seek.
Taking a peek.
And there she was!
Nature is beautiful. She permitted me to capture this shot of her.
Unfortunately, what nature giveth, nature can take away. When we arrived at the Palad Sandbar, she’s already disappeared under about a half-foot of water. In the middle of nowhere, there’s this crush of people standing on the sand bar, putting immense pressure on her. Hope the sand bar does not buckle under the weight.
I did alight from the boat to take a couple of photos
and an underwater picture.
And I thought we were the only ones going to be here because we set out early…
From Palad Sandbar we proceeded to Mompog Island to see the Ungab Rock Formations brought about by millions of years of erosion.
Very picturesque.
Clear waters.
Imposing silhoutte.
Being in Maniwaya island gives you this vibe that you’ve been here before or wish you had.
Its beautiful here.
It’s like seeing a friend whom you haven’t seen for ages.

There’s a resort here named Wawie’s Beach that has great accommodations.

Great cool and clear waters and I swam for almost 2 hours here under the scorching sun
but underneath the waters, it was exhilirating!
I’ll just let the pictures do the talking now.
Remember when I mentioned that we had to check out of Villa D Arco the day after we arrived?
Well, this is what Sir Melqui, and Ms. Karen, Villa D Arco owners,
scored for us as ACU rooms accommodations for our next 2 days @P1500 / day.
Thanks also to the owner of the place, Ms. Beth Fidelino.
I’m not complaining. It’s a sweet deal.
We had late lunch.
Maniwaya Island restos’ were fully loaded that day,
then we slept from 2pm until 8pm in the evening.
Later that evening we visited this place called Rico’s Inn and Restaurant and had pansit / kare-kare for dinner.

GOOD FRIDAY APRIL 19, 2019

Centuries old Sta. Cruz Church.
This old house beside the church used to be a convent.
Mass before the 5pm procession.
When in Sta. Cruz, this is where you should eat.
Although choices are somewhat limited, the taste is alright. Go for their pasta/noodles/sandwiches, but not the pizza, as the crust needs improvement.
Tuna pesto and carbonara
Before the procession started,people jostled for positions where they could join the procession.
Almost all those who would join the procession were barefoot and in their Sunday best, so to speak.
Locals say most of those who participate are from Sta. Cruz, who arrive from other parts of the country together with their loved ones, part of a yearly atonement (panata).
Some join because they believe it brings them luck.
Others take part for the first time and once experienced, the locals say they keep coming back.
Scenes like this are happening simultaneously all over Marinduque.
Here in Sta. Cruz, from this vantage point of mine, it took close to an hour before
all the people were able to join the procession.
There must have been more than 5,000 people in the Prosesyon de Santo Entierro.
Resplendent in their Roman costumes
I ordered chicken, fries, and bread later that evening while my daughter had lechon kawali.

BLACK SATURDAY APRIL 20, 2019

We had lunch at Roby’s again. This time I ordered Lomi while my daughter had pansit.
Had to bulk up as the land and sea trip back home is about 10-12 hrs.
Before we headed out to sea, Marinduque gave us another of her stunning moments. No filter.
Sunset at Balanacan port.

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 COST 
Sashamae / Spike Allowance (our dogs hehe) 500.00 
Taxi to JAC Liner Kamias 273.00 
JAC Liner to Gasan, Mdque from Manila 
/ Biyaheroes
 2,181.00 
Late Lunch / miscellaneous expenses 645.00 
Arrive at Lucena / Dalahican Port / 
Dinner @stopover
 150.00 
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 1,500.00 
Early checkin /breakfast 600.00 
Preparation for Land tour 
(Miscellaneous expenses)
 150.00 
LAND TOUR via Tricycle c/o Villa D’ Arco 2,200.00 
1. BALANACAN VIEW DECK
2. OUR LADY OF PEACE & 
SAFE VOYAGE
50.00 Entrance
3. BOAC CATHEDRAL
4. BOAC MUSEUM
5. BOAC HERITAGE HOUSES
6. LUNCH @Kusina sa Plaza 560.00 
7. Coffee @ 10 y.o. Cafe 185.00 
8. SUNFLOWER FARM @MSC
9. TORRIJOS FREEDOM PARK
10. POCTOY WHITE BEACH
Return to Villa D’ Arco
Dinner @Rico’s Inn, Free Time 373.00 
Lights Off
DAY 2 APRIL 18, 2019  
HOLY THURSDAY
Wake up Call 
From Villa D’ Arco to Buyabod Port 
(tricy /misc)
 423.00 
Boat rental c/o Villa d’ Arco for 
Island Hopping
 1,160.00 
Depart Buyabod Port to:
11. PALAD SANDBAR
Swimming, Photo-ops
12. MOMPONG ISLAND / 
Ungab Rock Formation
Swimming, Photo-ops
13. MANIWAYA ISLAND
Wawie’s Beach Resort / , halohalo / others 100.00 
Photo ops / swimming
Boat ride: return to Buyabod Port
Tricy back to Villa D’ Arco
Checkout from Villa D Arco / 
transfer to Fidelino residence
3,000.00 (2 nights)
Dinner @R. Centro 273.00 
Lights Off
DAY 3 APRIL 19, 2019 GOOD FRIDAY
Wake up Call 
Lunch  @Roby’s / Miscellaneous 560.00 
14. Explore STA CRUZ CHURCH
15. PROSESYON DE SANTO ENTIERRO
Dinner @Rico’s Inn 540.00 
Lights out
DAY 4 APRIL 20, 2019 SATURDAY
Wake up Call 
Checkout from Fidelino residence
Prepare for return to Manila
LUNCH @Roby;s 500.00 
Depart for Plaza Sta Cruz / JAC Terminal 48.00 
Arrive at JAC Terminal
Check in @JAC Liner
Depart to Lucena/Dalahican Port 
via Biyaheroes
 2,258.00 
ETA Lucena/Dalahican Port
Dinner /Miscellaneous 500.00 
Travel time to Manila (3hrs)
ETA Manila
Dinner 500.00 
TOTAL 19,279.00 

ZAMBALES 3DAYS 2NIGHTS ITINERARY FEBRUARY 23-25, 2019

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:

February 23, 2019. After checking in @Wild Rose Beach Inn, we decided to check out Pundaquit Beach. Pundaquit Beach is the jump-off point if you want to explore the coves.

Pundaquit is pretty laid-back.
So much so that Capones and Camara Islands beckon on the horizon.
Remember to leave only footprints.
Just admire the view.
Food here is good.
Ohana Art Cafe is where we had meyenda after having lunch @Cafe Pundaquit @another resort, Canoe Beach Resort.
Quaint is the word for this place.
Cozy and warm.
That evening, we made our way to Double Suds restaurant frequented by tourists.
Ribs
February 24, 2019 With the help of Mam Tess of Wild Rose Inn, we scored a boat and skimmed over the waters for close to 45 minutes and landed here, Nagsasa Cove
My oh my
Explored the place some more
and decided to go up
and up
higher still
to capture this
Safely back to the ground.
After staying at Nagsasa for about 2 hours, we made our way to Talisayin Cove.
Now this is what I’m talkin’ about!
The waters here are crystal clear.
Like, didn’t I tell you ?
You must swim here.
After travelling to the coves, we went back to Pundaquit and I had to have my coffee again.
Replay.
This time, after lunch, I had to have this dessert.
On our 3rd and last day. refreshments, and breakfast before heading out to Anawangin Cove.
Anawangin Cove is the most commercialized amongst the coves in Zambales. There’s a tent city here, literally, hundreds of them.
It has its own charm, nonetheless.

We made our way to Capones Island, a desolate place but a great place to swim nonetheless, and a lot of IG-worthy scenery.

Beautiful scenery.
Boulders as big as buildings.
and windswept shores.

While Camara Island is a bit calmer, and Zambales in front of her.

Before journeying home, we passed by Casa San Miguel in San Antonio, a school for music and arts for children and teens.
Casa San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales.
There are a lot of art works.
Gallery
Resto-cafe.
More art works from children.
Poster-making.
It’s like an illusion.
Nice.
Its own rooftop view. Don’t forget to pass by here and avail of the tour.

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 !!!

Like a ball of fire falling slowly from the skies, Pundaquit sunsets are a show of its own.
Day 1 sunset
The sky is on fire.
Sunsets are a reminder that even if you had a bad day, the day always ends beautifully.
Over the horizon it goes.
Bathing everything in an orange hue.
Day 2 sunset
Sunset on our 2nd day

Stay good everyone.

FEBRUARY 23, 2019 SATURDAY DAY 1 COST 
Sashamae / Spike Allowance
( we now have 2 dogs!!!)
 300.00 
Grab! to Cubao Victory Liner 176.00 
Bus fare to Olongapo 570.00 
Van to San Antonio 500.00 
Arrive @San Antonio Municipal Hall
Tricycle to Pundaquit 60.00 
Check-in to Wild Rose Beach Inn 2,400.00 
Early Lunch @CAFE PUNDAKIT 555.00 
Rest up
Coffee / Merienda @OHANA ART CAFÉ 329.00 
Sunset Watchng @Pundaquit Beach
Miscellaneous Expense 120.00 
DINNER @Double Suds 555.00 
FEBRUARY 24 2019 SUNDAY DAY2
ISLAND HOP Boat rental 2,500.00 
Depart for Nagsasa-Talisayin
Arrive at Nagsasa Cove
Breakfast @Nagsasa Cove 50.00 
Picture taking @Nagsasa bluff (pay entrance) 40.00 
Swimming @Nagsasa Cove
Depart for Talisayin Cove
Swimming @Talisayin Cove
Return to Pundaquit accomodations
Merienda @OHANA ART CAFÉ 437.00 
Sunset Watching @Pundaquit Beach
Miscellaneous Expenses 150.00 
DINNER @Cafe Pundakit 555.00 
FEBRUARY 25 2019 MONDAY DAY3
BREAKFAST  240.00 
ISLAND HOPPING Boat rental 1,500.00 
Arrive @Anawangin Cove
Entrance Fee @Anawangin Cove (P70 per head) 140.00 
Depart & Arrive @Capones Island
Picture taking @Capones Island Rock formations
Arrive @Camara Island (swimming /picture taking)
Return to Pundaquit accomodations
Lunch @Wild Rose Inn 415.00 
Checkout @accomodations
Tricycle to San Antonio to Casa San Miguel 200.00 
Sightsee @Casa San Miguel (Entrance Fees) 200.00 
Purchase Pasalubongs @San Antonio 450.00 
Bus to Olongapo 140.00 
Arrive @Olongapo
Bus to Cubao 570.00 
Stopover at Travellers Depot /Merienda (misc) 160.00 
Arrive @Manila
Dinner @Chowking Cubao 327.00 
Taxi to San Juan 150.00 
TOTAL: PHP 13,789.00

PUERTO GALERA 4DAYS 3NIGHTS ITINERARY DECEMBER 30, 2018 – JANUARY 2, 2019

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.

December 30, 2018. As we made our way to our accommodations, we befriended a tricycle driver named Billy (a good guy who ekes a living to send his siblings to school) @Balatero Port and asked him to be our land tour guide the next day. I asked him for a place with a view, and this is where he took us to, a view of White Beach.
We alighted at our destination in Bgy. Talipanan, and thanked Billy, who would pick us up the next day. Bamboo House Beach Lodge and Restaurant was where we booked in advance. It’s clean, the staff are very nice, with air conditioned rooms if you choose to have this type of accommodation, free breakfast, wi-fi, and great food.
Hammocks by-the-sea.
Your view every morning is always going to be different. It’s a mindset thing.
The horizon beckons.
May it be dusk or dawn.
Be thankful.
Morning view.
Later that evening, just beside Bamboo House, we made our way to Luca Cucina Italiana. You have to eat here.
The Carbonara was delicious and plentiful.
The Contadina was simply superb and is actually good for 4 people. You should order this. You won’t regret it.
Of course I had to wash it all down.
December 31, 2018. Before heading out for the land tour, Bamboo House served us breakfast.
I had a mild headache that morning but still the food was delicious.
First stop was Tamaraw Falls, the twin waterfalls. The falls were raging at full strength when we got there.
For the land tour on our 2nd day, we made our way to a Mangrove conservation area.
A sandbar on the mainland
Here’s the other side of that sandbar
Bamboo walkways
Virgin Beach
Bulabod Beach
Bulabod Beach after a storm.
Virgin Beach, so called because it had a Virgin Mary statue looking over the sea.
At the famous White Beach
Where we hunted for souvenirs
And had lunch at Terminal BBQ
Our Coffee fix
@Cafe Marco
Nice design
We also walked towards the nearby Mangyan Village @Talipanan.
And marvelled at their handicrafts.
That December 31, 2018 New Year’s Eve, Bamboo House served a buffet spread consisting of roasted pork, spaghetti, beef stew, chicken BBQ, buttered shrimp, and desserts. For P600 per head, it was worth it. Bye 2018!!! Hello 2019!!!
Happy New Year !!!!
January 1, 2019. Off we went to Minolo Port for our island hopping.
The port is very pretty.
Off we go!
Fed fishes and snorkeled with them @Coral Garden!
Swam on a deserted Haligi Beach.
Cool & picturesque.
Ain’t no one here but us.
This is easily my favorite beach: Bayanan Beach!!!
Selfies
@Haligi Beach
Nice
After island hopping, I needed coffee again to perk me up.
I needed that…
We then proceeded to go up to Ponderosa. We were supposed to visit this as part of Billy’s land tour on our 2nd day but we decided against it but as the weather now cooperated, we went for it, and this view was our reward.
We went back to our accommodations, slept for a while, and had dinner consisting of bulalo,
Fried chicken
and a fish dish.

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.

I will come back to you. Soon.
You will always be on my mind, Puerto Galera.

As promised, here’s the complete itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people.

DECEMBER 30, 2018 SUNDAY COST 
Sashamae Allowance (she’s our dog!)          700.00
Taxi to Cubao Jam Liner          150.00
Depart Cubao for Batangas          450.00
Arrive @Batangas Pier
Starlite boat fare to Mindoro
(1130 AM for Balatero)
          450.00
Arrive @ Balatero port
Lunch: Batangas Lomi / Tocilog/more          240.00
Tricy to Bamboo House Beach Lodge            95.00
Check in to accomodations        5,100.00
Rest
Dinner @Luca Cocina Italiana          880.00
DECEMBER 31, 2018 MONDAY DAY2 
Coffee            25.00
BREAKFAST (Free)
LAND TOUR c/o BILLY BOY       1,500.00
Tamaraw Falls
Bulabod Beach
Virgin Beach
Mangrove Conservation Spot
Island Sandbar
White Beach
LUNCH @Terminal BBQ & Ribs          440.00
Coffee @Cafe Marco          249.00
Rest @Bamboo House
DINNER BUFFET @Bamboo Beach House       1,200.00
JANUARY 1, 2018 TUESDAY DAY3
BREAKFAST (Free)
Tricycle to Minolo Port          150.00
ISLAND HOPPING / SMALL BOAT /
SNORKELING GEAR
       1,900.00
Bread            50.00
Coral Garden  / small boat (transfer)          200.00
Haligi Beach
Maniknik Beach
LUNCH          480.00
Bayanan Beach
Back to Minolo Port
Tricy to White Beach            50.00
Travel to Ponderosa Golf Course c/o Billy
Back to Bamboo House
Walk to Mangyan Village
DINNER           825.00
JANUARY 2, 2018 MONDAY DAY 4
BREAKFAST (Free)
Check out           800.00
Tricy to Balatero Port          150.00
Boat ferry tickets to Batangas          400.00
Depart for Batangas 
Arrive @Batangas
Bus to Manila          450.00
Arrive at Manila
LUNCH @Tokyo! Tokyo!          463.00
GRAB! to San Juan          210.00
TOTALS     Php 17,607.00

Be good to one another. Always.

LA UNION 3DAYS 2 NIGHTS ITINERARY August 24-27, 2018

As Arya Stark said, the North remembers. How can one not remember the North, especially La Union?

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.

After arriving and checking into our accommodations, we headed to Midway Grille and ordered Ribs / Veggies / Pork BBQ for lunch
After lunch, we set off for San Fernando and made our way to Ma-Cho temple. The temple is said to have been built to celebrate Filipino-Chinese friendship.
It is about 70 feet above sea level.

This is a place where people from all walks of life come to ask for luck from a Chinese deity named Ma-Cho.
Well after 2 hours, we took our tricy to The Pindangan Ruins. These are the remains of a church built in the 1700s. Locals say this place is haunted. It certainly had a chilling feel to it.
The church was said to have been the binding of two villages: San Vicente and San Guillermo.
After staying for quite the time at both Ma-cho Temple and Pindangan Ruins, we made our way to and sampled the famous Halo Halo de Iloko.
The back part of the place was packed, the front was quaint, and you can tell it’s an antique place. We bought souvenirs here.
We made our way back to Urbiztondo Beach.
After resting up, we headed to Surf Shack and ordered Bocnotan Pizza, Chicken Wings, and a cold one for me. Delicious and affordable.
Surf Shack is the place to be for music, food, and drinks.
The next day, before going to Luna, La Union, we discovered Tipple & Brew. You should eat here.
Roasted chicken, iced coffee for breakfast.
Classic Tapsilog
First stop on our Luna trip: Namacpacan Church, said to have been built in 1587.
Beautiful.
Walking distance from Namacpacan Church is the 400 year old Balwarte Watch Tower, which has stood guard over the centuries against marauding pirates and dangers coming from the sea.
The Watch Tower’s renovation was completed in 2015. Before that, it was cut in half by Typhoon Lando.
Also in Luna, La Union, is the famous Bahay na Bato where art works carved in stone are found.
Here’s the original house before it was expanded up the front of the property.
The inside of the original “bahay na bato”.
You’ll pass by this part of the compound before getting to the original house.
A lot of picturesque pathways .
When we visited, there was a pre-nup pictorial going on. Apparently, a lot of that happens here
and here.
Artwork
Pottery
Stone works
Catching a break.
Pebble Beach
Here’s a head-scratcher: all these rocks & pebbles were washed ashore by the sea.
So we made our way back to San Juan from Luna, and we ended up partaking of meryenda @Beach Bum Food Park.
Our dinner platter
With seafood.
To wash it down, of course.
The next day oh did we ever need coffee.
Breakfast @El Union Roastery was simply perfect.
See you again soon, Elyu

As usual, our actual itinerary and actual expenses incurred for two are also below.

AUGUST 24, 2018 FRIDAY
Sashamae 2 days Allowance (that’s our dog)
       260.00
11:00 PM Taxi to Partas Transit Cubao        150.00
12:30 AM Depart for San Juan, La Union    1,086.00
AUGUST 25, 2018 SATURDAY DAY 1
5:30AM Arrive @San Juan, La Union
Check-in @San Juan accomodations    1,800.00
Jeep to / Lunch @Midway Grille 11:15am       530.00
Tricycle Tour  (San Gabriel / San Fernando)        500.00
Ma-cho Temple 12:30nn-1:30pm
Pindangan Ruins 1:45pm-2:15pm         50.00 entrance fees
Meryenda @Halo-Halo de Iloko
2:47pm – 3:30pm
      477.00 we had fries and bought souvenirs
Tricy back to Urbiztondo, San Juan
3:45pm-4:22pm
       150.00
5:00 pm Catch sunset @Urbiztondo Beach
Tricy back to accomodations         50.00
Freshen up 6:30pm
8pm Dinner @SURF SHACK       542.00
Drinks @Surf Shack 8:15pm-10:15pm       200.00
Lights out 10:30pm
AUGUST 26, 2018 SUNDAY DAY 2
5:00am – 5:30am prep for Luna, La Union
6:00am Breakfast @Tipple & Brew       506.00 so good to eat here
Jeepney to Luna, La Union 6:20am         80.00 its 40 kms. to Luna so buckle up
7:00 am- 3:00pm Tricy Tour       300.00
– Namacpacan Church         25.00 (Donation)
Baluarte Watch Tower 
Bahay na Bato 
(Entrance Fee Bahay na Bato)       140.00
Luna Pebble Beach 
Back to San Juan via Viron Transit Bus       200.00
Merienda @Beach Bum Food Park       300.00
5:00 pm Catch sunset
Swimming @Urbiztondo
Dinner & Socials @Beach Bum Food Park    1,198.00
AUGUST 27, 2018 MONDAY DAY 3
Breakfast @El Union Roastery       620.00
Abbey’s money     1,100.00
Tricy to Partas Transit       100.00
Pasalubongs       300.00
10:30am Depart for Manila via Partas    1,048.00
7:00 pm arrive @Manila
Taxi to San Juan       200.00
TOTAL EXPENSES: PHP 11,912.00

Be good to one another. Always.

CAGBALETE 2 DAYS 1 NIGHT ITINERARY JUNE 9-11, 2018

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 this is the view from our accommodations (MVT Sto. Nino). This part of Cagbalete Island is the most peaceful and tranquil (save for those karaoke music from quite the distance but you can hear them hahaha). When its low tide, the waters recede for miles on end.
When I’m lazing around the shore, this is what I see. This was taken @dawn.
Lying here alone, I’m dreaming, my mind keeps wan’drin’.
Off we go to Yang In sandbar. What’s really puzzling is the water’s real calm at this side of the island but on the way to the sandbar it was crazy rough.
And we made it

The sandbar is about more than 500 meters fr the main shore and its real cool to experience it.
The sandbar is very popular, as you can see.
A lot of us came here today.
You can walk a hundred feet more and the water will still be knee high.
But I’m not gonna risk it 😀
It’s like a salt bed because the sand is hard.
The sand mimics the waves movements.
When we were there, a pool formed inside a pool.
You literally would have to carry a boat to deeper waters.
Nice picture.
That hut right there was selling sodas and pansit bato (which was delish).
And we arrived at…what planet is this? Oh it’s Bonsai Island, visible only during low tide.
The landscape was alien-like.
It was fantastic just seeing and being on it.
Wow
Our Boatman.
An alien landscape, indeed.

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.

Hope this helps ‘ya’ll 🙂

DAY 1 JUNE 9, 2018 SATURDAY EXPENSE 
Taxi to JAC Liner Cubao           150.00
DEPART for LUCENA via JAC Liner            454.00
Arrive @ Lucena Grand Central
Van to MAUBAN           150.00
ARRIVE @MAUBAN
Buy Food @Public Market           978.00
Breakfast           200.00
Tricy to Port           100.00
Environment Fee           100.00
Public boat to Cagbalete           150.00
Check – in @MVT Sto. Nino        2,200.00
Habal-Habal to resort           160.00
Lunch (Paluto)           200.00
Swimming
Dinner (Paluto)           200.00
DAY 2 JUNE 10, 2018 SUNDAY
Breakfast (Paluto)           200.00
Yang-in Sandbar        1,500.00
Bonsai Island
Lunch (Paluto)           150.00
Dinner (Paluto)           200.00
DAY 3 JUNE 11, 2018 MONDAY
Public Boat to Mauban           150.00
Breakfast @Renato’s           200.00
-Museo ng Mauban              50.00
Lunch           500.00
Van to Lucena Grand Terminal           100.00
Bus to Cubao           454.00
Taxi to San Juan           150.00
GRAND TOTAL        8,696.00

Be kind to one another. Always.

BOLINAO-ALAMINOS-DASOL 3DAYS 2NIGHTS ITINERARY APRIL 7-10, 2018

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.

The Bolinao Lighthouse is famous
And is due for an upgrade
Just came from Enchanted Cave, couldn’t take pics inside because of poor lighting but the cave had a pool inside it.
Bolinao Falls 2, so called because it has, as you can see, 2 waterfalls.
Same thing here.
From a bit further out, there were a lot of frolickers during Holy Week here at Bolinao Falls 1,2,3
Centuries-old and made from crushed corals St James Parish interiors getting refurbished.
Patar Beach rock formations make for some interesting shots.
Crashing waves
The rocks were and are very sharp
A giant clam was washed ashore many, many years ago.
A natural pool in Patar Beach.
Spectacular sunset @Bolinao
From Bolinao, we made our way to Alaminos, checked in at Najeras Transient Inn (with a really nice and clean ACU room with private bath), just a stone’s throw away from Lucap Wharf, jump-off point to the world-famous Hundred Islands
We scored ourselves a boat 🙂
Touchdown traffic 😀
The beaches on these islands were very clean in spite of the presence of a lot of people.
With great views
and more great views
WOW
What a sight
Island life
A lot of people make pilgrimages here.
After our Hundred Island trip, we spent the night in Alaminos. The day after, we made our way to Dasol, and rode a tricycle to Tambobong Beach, the jump-off point to Colibra Island, or as the locals call it, Snake Island. Colibra Island-a hard place to get to but so worth it.
The waters here are so ridiculously clear and has 3 colors
The island’s sand shifts to the other side of the island during the monsoon rains.
We had it to ourselves that beautiful day.
This was where I frolicked 😀
Great place for pics and meditation.
Island life is the best life
That’s Zambales in the distance
The seas were calm.
The sun was hot.
The waters beckoned.
Treasure this place.

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.

APRIL 7, 2018 SATURDAY EXPENSES 
11:40 PM DEPART FOR BOLINAO via Victory Liner
Victory Liner Bus to Bolinao           918.00 P459 each
DAY 1 APRIL 8, 2018 SUNDAY
7:00AM ARRIVE @BOLINAO
Breakfast           200.00
Tricycle to  Resort           150.00 75.00 each
1 day 1 night (Jewel Beach Resort)        1,500.00 Aircon room
BOLINAO, PANGASINAN LAND TOUR (Tricycle)           800.00
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse              40.00 Entrance
Enchanted Cave           200.00 P100 Entrance
Bolinao Falls 1, 2, & 3              80.00 P20 per pax
St. James Church
LUNCH at ADORA’S           500.00
Miscellaneous           200.00 Water/Meryenda
Patar White Beach           200.00 Entrance
Patar Rock Formations           200.00 Entrance
Bought Patar Beach Tshirt / Souvenirs           250.00
DINNER           500.00
DAY 2 APRIL 9, 2018 MONDAY
Breakfast / checkout from Jewel Beach Resort           200.00
Tricy to Bus Terminal           100.00 50.00 each
Bus to Alaminos           100.00 50.00 each
Tricycle to Lucap Wharf           100.00 50.00 each
Check-in @Najeras Inn        1,600.00
Buy Lunch @Gaudencio’s Café  / Water / Ice           500.00
Hundred Islands Tourist Welcome Center
* Register
* Pay day-trip entrance fee               40.00 20.00 each
* Fill-up the Passenger Manifest
Boat to tour: Hundred Islands National Park         1,400.00
Marcos Island
Governor’s Island
Quezon Island
Lopez Island
Children’s Island
Cuenco cave
Return to Lucap Wharf 4:00
Meryenda           200.00
Back to Najeras           100.00 50.00 each
Dinner @Marina’s Café           500.00
Socials           400.00
Day 3 APRIL 10, 2018 TUESDAY
Breakfast           200.00
Bus to Dasol           100.00 P50.00 each
Tricycle to Tambobong Beach           500.00 (21 kms. away)
Start of Island Hop 9:30am        1,000.00
Boat ride to Colibra Island 
Return from Colibra Island 1:30pm
Tricycle back to Dasol           500.00
Jeep to Alaminos              96.00 P48.00 each
Lunch@McDonald’s Alaminos           350.00
Victory Liner Bus to Manila 3pm departure           918.00 P459 each 
Taxi to San Juan           200.00
GRAND TOTAL      14,842.00

Be kind to one another. Always.