We needed negative results for Covid-19 via Red Cross Saliva test (this had to be taken a good 72 hours before arrival at your destination), had to have a confirmed resort booking accommodations, roundtrip tickets, all of which are to be uploaded to the Panglao – LGU.
We had to make numerous calls to our hosts in Panglao to follow up on their LGU to issue an Acceptance Letter, as well as how to go about getting their QR Code.
All of these need to be done the day before the flight to Panglao.
We learned about my father in-law’s passing when we touched down at Panglao’s airport.
It was heartbreaking news…
We sought CebPac’s ground personnel to inquire how to re-book, as we had to cut short this trip of ours, and they were not much help. My daughter and I decided to figure it out for ourselves, although we were advised to return to CebPac office so that they can help us out.
We were in a daze, really. Sort of like in a gloom and in grief because my daughter was my father in-law’s favorite grandchild.
She was inconsolable on the first day.
We had to just sort of “wing” this trip to get our minds and hearts right, for the meantime…
DAY 1 SATURDAY JUNE 26, 2021
DAY 2 SUNDAY JUNE 27, 2021
We literally had to drag ourselves off the beds (we just wanted to lay on our beds, each one deep in thought thinking about Tatay Greg), but we’ve made reservations for a land tour the day before so…
Our itinerary were as follows:
Site where the Blood Compact between Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi took place
More than 400 years old Baclayon Church
Bilar Man-Made Mahogany Forest
Tarsier Wildlife Sanctuary and Buttefly Garden
DAY 3 MONDAY JUNE 28, 2021
We were able to figure out via online re-booking how to get back to Manila and we decided to return to Manila on Tuesday June 29, 2021.
DAY 4 TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021
WHERE TO EAT IN PANGLAO
Pyramid Restaurant is the way to go, affordable yet delicious.
Panglao in Bohol certainly gave us its magical moments.
She was, throughout our short stay, very peaceful, and people always had a ready smile for us.
However sad we may have been because of the passing of my father in-law was somewhat soothed by Bohol and Panglao’s nature, which is so beautiful and picturesque.
God bless you, Tatay Greg.
Thank you for touching our lives with your love and presence.
We love you and we will surely miss you.
For the DIYers, below is a summary of expenses that we incurred.
Talk about cabin fever, my daughter and I had just about had it being cooped up at home.
When the opportunity for a quick escape came up via the shift from ECQ to GCQ here in the metro, we immediately scoured the nearest available beach resort, and it was this place called Lago De Oro Resort and Wake Park.
We gathered documents needed to make the trip, made reservations for a May 21 Friday to May 24, 2021 Monday stay, packed, and off we went.
MAY 21, 2021
It was smooth ride to the South (amazing roads, really!) and we got to test AutoSweep and it worked like a charm. We were a bit worried about checkpoints but we never gave it much thought, anyway. We stopped over a quaint place with a library / hidden resto feel to it called Bag of Beans in Tagaytay for breakfast, and it was great, both the ambience of the place and the food!
Their breakfast food portions were enormous!!!
When you drop by this place, you have to try their Shepherd Pie, it is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!!
So off we went to Calatagan with a very full stomach.
We encountered a checkpoint in the entrance to Nasugbu but we had proper documents with us so there really was no problem. At the entrance to the numerous resorts in Calatagan, there’s another checkpoint where Tourism personnel check for confirmed bookings, and we encountered no problems there, too.
We finally made it to our destination, and it was literally a breath of fresh air (and a sight for sore eyes)!!!
We spent about 2hours 54 minutes actual travel time, about 130klms., and counting the 1 1/2 hours stay at Bag of Beans Tagaytay, we were a bit tired.
Before checking into our room, we had lunch at the resort’s restaurant consisting of their version of Buffalo Wings, and Pansit Canton, and no complaints because we were famished!
We went to our room and surprise! it was nice and cool with a view.
After resting for about 2 hours, it was chill time by the beach.
The view was simply beautiful, just because we missed the beach and the sea so much !!!
Get a load of this view
Still full from the heavy breakfast @Bag of Beans, and lunch at the resort’s resto, we decided just to have their Nachos, San Miguel Lite Beer (only for me), and just watch as the sun went down beneath overcast skies.
No sunset show today.
Perfect drink for the beachside bum, though.
MAY 22, 2021
There’s something about staying at a beach front place.
I tend to gravitate towards the waters very early in the morning, wade in, and feel the cool sea beneath my feet, and just take in what the sea and the shore can offer.
When you’re all alone, you hear the stillness of the wind, see reflections in the water clearly, feel the warmth of the sunlight during mornings, gaze at the clouds above, obvious of the footprints you leave behind.
It all is simply magical.
Al-fresco breakfast consisted of coffee, sliced fruits, your choice of fruit shakes. We had tocilog and corned beef.
It was superb.
Great food, drinks with little umbrellas, sand, beach, waves, swimming pool, peace and quiet…what’s not to like and smile about?
After breakfast, I tried my luck with wake boarding.
Suffice to say, I need to work on my balance on the board hahahaha.
After about 4 rounds, my body was sore hahahaha
My daughter, though, was better at wake boarding than me.
Lunch for our second day was a simple sinigang na baboy with patis, sili, calamansi.
The sun finally gave a show today. What a sunset!
We decided on a light dinner, and pepperoni pizza it is hahahaha and retired for the night.
MAY 23, 2021
Damn, that wakeboarding session sure hurt my body all over, so much so that I didn’t wanna get up…
After a quick bath, I made my way to the beach to catch some morning light and still life photos
Per usual, breakfast was ordered and served, beef steak and bacon and eggs.
Slept all the way through lunchtime. Woke up to take more still life photos under the afternoon sun
For the 2nd day in a row, we were treated to a spectacular sunset show
For dinner, we feasted on sizzling sisig w/ egg, pansit canton, rice, fruit shakes, and called it a night.
MAY 24, 2021
It’s our last day here in Calatagan, and we woke up early to swim in the beach for an hour, and another hour at the resort’s pool. No breakfast or lunch as we were still full, and we planned on having lunch in Tagaytay. Just took in some more sights and sounds of the sea.
We packed up our stuff, paid our accomodations, and set out for home, stopping by for lunch at Leslie’s Bulalo in Tagaytay, and it is worth the trip. The beef was succulent and soft, through and through. To top it off, we ate lunch in a restaurant with a spectacular view of Taal volcano!
The Calatagan trip was worth it even if it was just for a couple of days.
This pandemic thing really put a damper on travel plans.
I guess we just have to be thankful for what we have, and that we’re still here.
For the DIYers, here’s a list of expenses for two (2) persons for the 4day 3nights stay at Lago De Oro Resort and Wake Park in Calatagan, Batangas:
It feels awkward to be writing about this trip in the aftermath of Typhoon Ursula that wreaked havoc on these very areas. Maybe it explains why when we were there, both my daughter and I were muted in our delight to just being there in the first place. Much more is the mere fact that we were able to make the trip at all, because of the numerous flight cancellations happening.
Anyway, I planned this trip in advance. Scored Air Asia tickets to Cebu. My daughter and I made the necessary bookings for accommodations.
But Typhoon Ursula made us adjust our itinerary as she was still lashing Northern Visayas.
HOW WE GOT THERE
Our Manila-Cebu flight, thankfully, was not cancelled, and after about an hour-long flight, we touched down at Mactan International Airport. The airport is amazingly clean and mall-like. I mean, this is what airports in our country should look like.
DAY 1 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 25, 2019
We followed our original itinerary, boarded a van-for-hire and headed straight to NorthBus Terminal. Unfortunately, all trips to Hagnaya Port were cancelled, as all RORO trips to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island have been cancelled by the Coast Guard due to rough seas. We hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to Kiwi Pension House (where we reserved a room albeit for December 29, 2019), and unfortunately, all rooms were taken that night. I called up Mike Reyes, a long-time friend and Cebu resident, and he picked us up. We stayed at his place till about 5:00am, made a couple of calls and we were able to get a room at Hotel Stella in Gen. Gil Garcia St., Mandaue City. We hailed a taxi and headed straight to the hotel, checked-in, and rested up. Hotel Stella is nice with basic amenities like hot water shower, wifi, a cafe, cold ACU, toiletries, and towels.
We woke up at around 11am and decided to book a Cebu City Tour with Cebu City Travel and Tours, and requested that we be picked up at around 12:30 noontime. We made our way to the famous barbecue capital of the Philippines, the Larsian sa Fuente, where we had our lunch.
Our ride, a Toyota Innova, and our driver, Vincent, picked us up at Larsian sa Fuente. We went straight to Sirao Flower Farm, a place up in the mountainous region of Lahug.
2nd stop was a place called Tops Lookout, an observation deck with a city panorama view.
We stayed for a while at Temple of Leah. This Roman-inspired temple was built in the Year 2012 by a husband as a symbol of his love to and of Leah Villa Albino-Adarna.
Next on the list is the Cebu Taoist Temple, located inside Beverly Hills Subdivision, built in 1972 by Cebu’s Chinese community. Heavily-guarded, and photo-taking is limited, the intricate designs are something to behold, really.
We then made our way to the Cebu Heritage Monument, built by sculptor Eduardo Castrillo. An imposing monument to the history of Cebu, it was designed so that you’d look up to it set against blue skies. Its made of cement, steel and bronze, its sheer size is intimidating, and once you see it up close, it is truly an amazing work of art.
Right across the street is the Yap Sandiego House, said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China, sometime in 1675. The locals call this house balay nga bato ug kahoy because its built out of corals and wood. The guide inside the house told us that the house was originally owned by a certain Don Juan Yap who later on married a local woman named Dona Maria Florido, and their eldest daughter married Don Mariano Avendano SanDiego. The house has since been passed on to ten (10) generations of Yap-Sandiegos.
A very popular landmark in Cebu is Magellan’s Cross, located in the town plaza, next to the munisipyo. The cross itself is encased in tingalo wood to protect it from the elements, as well as from people who chip away parts of the cross because they claim that it has miraculous healing powers. Ferdinand Magellan ordered his Portuguese crewmen to plant the cross upon arriving in Cebu. Some people believe that the cross encased in the tingalo wood is but a replica planted by Spaniards after successfully christianizing the Philippines, as the original cross is said to have been destroyed.
The Basilica de Sto. Nino was full of people that day so we did not go inside anymore. This church is said to be the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country as it is said to have been built in the year 1565. It is said that the church lies on the spot where the image of the Sto. Nino was found during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Housed inside the church is said to be the icon of the Child Jesus, presented by Ferdinand Magellan to the then chief consort of Rajah Humabon upon their christening in the Year 1521.
The Rajah Humabon monument, situated near the Metroploitan Cathedral, was built as homage to the said Rajah, who later was baptized as Don Carlos. Information on the Rajah was culled from Magellan’s chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, who wrote that Humabon was Rajah of Cebu, an indianized Philippine political clan.
Our luck ran out as the Fort San Pedro was closed that day. Fuerte San Pedro was a military garrison in Cebu built by and under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is in the area now known as Plaza Independencia. It was said to be made originally of wood but later on made into concrete to repel Muslim raiders. It is said to have been the center of Spanish settlement here in the Philippines, and this dates back to 1738, making it the oldest bastion fort in the country.
We made our way back to the hotel, paid Vincent our tour fee, and rested a bit. Later on that evening. we made our way to Rico’s Lechon Restaurant. Lechon in Cebu is not dipped in sarsa but in suka, and believe me, it is delicious. Their chorizo,much like what we ate in Larsian Fuente, is also delicious.
DAY 2 THURSDAY DECEMBER 26, 2019
We found out that there were now trips going to Bantayan Island via the said municipality’s FB page. We checked out of Hotel Stella at around 1:00am and hailed a taxi bound for NorthBus Terminal. We immediately boarded the HAGNAYA ACU bus, paid, and slept during the 3-hour trip. We arrived at Hagnaya port and waited a bit until tickets were being sold. We paid the terminal fee, boarded the RORO bound for Sta. Fe, Bantayan, and slept some more during the 1 hour trip. Upon disembarking, we paid another set of terminal fees and boarded a tricycle which took us to our accommodations, Budyong Beach Resort. We spent the whole morning settling in and just taking in the view. Despite Typhoon Ursula hitting Bantayan Island, her scenery is still breathtaking.
We decided to take a late brunch at quaint TapaMaster @MJ Square.
By now, we were able to score a tricycle tour to take us to 3 popular spots in the island. We did not include St. Paul Church anymore because it is quite a ways off from where we are located.
OBO-OB MANGROVE PARK / CAMP SAWI
We headed for Paradise Beach, and unfortunately, it was levelled by Typhoon Ursula, with seaweed all over the place. Locals say it’ll take months before it can be returned to its pristine state. Well, it is what it is.
For our last stop, we went to a place called The Ruins, and you can see why it’s a popular place for those who want to take photos for their IG stories. It also offers stunning views and panoramas.
We went back to the resort in time for a late afternoon swim, and caught the awesome sunset. Here in Bantayan Island, you can catch both spectacular sunsets and sunrise.
Later that evening we had dinner at Cou Cou Bar and Restaurant. The Chicken Fingers and Ribs were good, the carbonara was passable.
DAY 3 FRIDAY DECEMBER 27, 2019
HILANTAGAAN-SILION (VIRGIN) ISLAND HOPPING
We scored a boat ride and boatman to both Hilantagaan and Virgin Island, which were both hit hard by Typhoon Ursula. Woke up early that morning to get my coffee fix at TapaMaster. And of course, watch the sunrise from the resort. You be the judge when I say that Bantayan Island offers spectacular sunsets and sunrises.
We boarded the motorized banca and off we went.
We didn’t stay that long in the fishing village of Hilantagaan, where I just had a cup of coffee, biscuits, and hung around with and chatted with some locals.
Virgin Island, however, is simply magical.
We headed back to Bantayan and had lunch at Aloha Tika. Sisig/Pork Adobo/Ramen. Not so good. Perhaps because they’re exhausted because there were a lot of people served but still…well, you know what I’m saying
Relax. Chill. Breathe. Swim. Watch the sunset. Repeat. Relax. Chill. Breathe. Swim. Watch the sunset. Repeat.
Later that evening, we had a light dinner at the Kota Beach Resort resto next door, and it was great. Spaghetti Boulagnaisse for me, Chicken Fingers for my daughter.
DAY 4 SATURDAY DECEMBER 28, 2019
BANTAYAN TO MALAPASCUA
In our haste to make it to Malapascua early, we decided to take a motorized banca ride from Bantayan to Malapascua. We were assured that the weather would cooperate and the twin-engine boat can get us there. Forty-five minutes into the trip, my daughter was panicking, as the waves were a bit choppy. We decided to dock at Kawit, take a trike to Maya Port, and a boat ride to Malapascua. Lesson learned. We will never do that again (2 hrs boat ride in open sea).
Our Kalanggaman Island tour contact, Bimbo, constantly kept in touch with us, and met us at the shore of Malapascua Island, told us to check-in later, and escorted us straight to another boat that took us to Kalanggaman Island (another 2 hr trip, but this time in a much bigger and more powerful boat but it was sort of buwis-buhay also hahahahaha).
What we saw when we arrived at the island was just simply so spectacular, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. I posted in FB that Virgin Island was the best place in Cebu but I take it back because this is truly WOW (technically Kalanggaman Island is a municipality of Palompon, Leyte but I’m not complaining, after all, I want it for myself, too, hahahahaha) !!!
I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. They did a good job of cleaning it up after Typhoon Ursula. The waters surrounding the island is still so clear, the sand so white it hurts the eyes (good thing I wore sunglasses), its ridiculous, really. I never thought such a place existed. When I tell you to better come see this, you better come and see this.
Lunch that day (care of the tour organizer) consisted of grilled pork, grilled chicken, rice, a huge grilled fish, pansit canton, watermelon, and bottled Coca-Cola (this one seemed really out-of-place, oh well). We arrived at Kalanggaman at around 10:37am and left at exactly 2:00pm, and arrived at Malapascua just in time to check-in @Malapascua Blue Water Dive Resort, chilled at the beach, chatted up some of the locals and foreigners (told them where happy-hour was) and watched the sunset.
Later in the evening we dined at the Little Mermaid Dive resort and their Little Mermaid pizza is awesome! and so was their carbonara. We made our way back to our accommodations and lights out by 10:00pm.
DAY 5 SUNDAY DECEMBER 29, 2019
I woke up 5am to have coffee and watch the sunrise here in Malapascua.
My daughter and I had breakfast here in Iroha Japanese Bar and Restaurant. Food was delicious and affordable.
We bought a few souvenirs (a T-shirt and local bracelet for me, sarong for my daughter), and had an early lunch (pansit/adobo/onion rings) at Ocean Vida Dive Resort (not great but not bad either).
We left Malapascua that day 12:20pm. Arrived at Maya Port 1:05pm, and took the 1:30pm bus to Cebu City. We arrived at Cebu City at around 6:18pm because of traffic at the Liloan area. We checked-in at Hotel Stella again because they were very accommodating and the rooms and amenities were good and affordable enough. Later that evening we went over to my friend Mike’s house and we had dinner consisting of salads, lechon, rice, and siomai (they reside in Tisa, the siomai capital of Cebu). We stayed at Mike’s place till 9:30pm and made our way back to the hotel.
DAY 6 MONDAY DECEMBER 30, 2019
We checked-out of the hotel at around 7am, headed straight to Shamrock Pasalubong Center, bought a few of those yummy otap, and had breakfast at McDonald’s Fuente Circle. We booked a Grab car to take us to the airport at around 9:30am and arrived at the airport a little past 10:00am. We immediately checked-in and waited for our flight. While inside the deparure area, we again bought a T-shirt and key chain as part of our souvenir haul. We boarded our flight 12:25pm, took off 12:45pm and arrived in Manila 2:15pm.
We explored only the northern part of Cebu. If only we had more time, we could’ve gone to Southern Cebu and went swimming with whale-sharks in Oslob, experience canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, and maybe even scuba-dived to see the thresher and hammerhead sharks get cleaned by fishes in Kimud Shoal 14kms off Malapascua Island.
So many things to do in Cebu, so little time.
Maybe next time. In the meantime, Cebu occupies a special place in my heart.
We truly have a gem of an island right here in the Philippines, in Cebu.
Here are some contact numbers that can be useful to DIYers out there who get to read this:
HOTEL STELLA – 09176381333
BUDYONG BEACH RESORT – 09994949473
CEBU CITY TRAVEL & TOURS (c/o Josh) – 09055030499
MALAPASCUA BLUE WATER DIVE RESORT – 09178213127
And to the budget conscious, I didn’t forget about you, as expenses incurred for two (2) people are enumerated below (not included is round-trip airfare Manila – Cebu – Manila).
DECEMBER 25, 2019 WEDNESDAY (DAY 1)
Sashamae’s & Spike’s allowance (HEY i LOVE MY DOGS!)
Prepare for Cebu flight
GRAB! To NAIA Domestic /Dinner
Dinner @Yang Chow
Depart Manila for Cebu (Mactan airport)
Arrive at Mactan airport
Van to Northbus Terminal (no trip to Hagnaya Port)
Taxi to Kiwi Pension House (fully-booked)
Stayed @Mike’s place
Check in to Hotel Stella
LUNCH @Larsian sa Fuente
City Tour c/o Cebu Travel & Tours
– Sirao Flower Farm (entrance fee P100 each)
– Tops View (entrance fee P50 each)
– Temple of Leah (entrance fee P150 each)
– Taoist Temple
– Cebu Heritage Monument
– Yap-Sandiego House (entrance fee P100 each)
– Magellan’s Cross
– Cebu Municipal Hall & Plaza
– Basilica de Sto. Nino
– Rajah Humabon Monument
– Fort San Pedro
Back to Hotel Stella
Dinner @Rico’s Lechon
Taxi back to Hotel Stella
DECEMBER 26, 2019 THURSDAY (DAY 2)
Checkout @Hotel Stella
Taxi to NorthBus Terminal / misc
Ceres Bus to Hagnaya port
Pay Terminal Fee
Miscellaneous purchases @Hagnaya Port
Purchase tickets / ride ferry to Bantayan Island
Arrive @Sta. Fe Port, Bantayan Island / Pay terminal fee
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.