CEBU-BANTAYAN ISLAND-KALANGGAMAN-MALAPASCUA ISLAND 6D 5N TRIP DECEMBER 25-30, 2019

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.

Mactan International Airport

DAY 1 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 25, 2019

2:30AM

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.

11:00AM

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.

Chicken bbq, lato (or as Ilocanos call it, ar-ar-osep), nilaga, grilled chorizo, and rice for only P300.00. It was delicious.

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.

Damn that guy pushing that torotot to my ear sorry couldn’t resist it eh

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.

Lapu-Lapu has never been depicted so accurately than this.
The explorer Ferdinand Magellan
Depiction of Christianity

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.

The window panes are made out of mother-of-pearl

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

BANTAYAN ISLAND

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.

This is what a full stomach can do 😀

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

Be sure to stop by the wayside where the open sea can be viewed and spend some time there, because this is what you see.

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.

The sand here in Bantayan is really so white.

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.

Had breakfast here.
The water’s exhilirating!!!
Stumbled upon an octopus!
Ya’ll lookin’ ‘fo Nemo, ‘bruh?
Why do we have to go back…?

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.

What I’d give to wake up to a view like this…

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.

I love it here!!!
It’s so worth it going here!!!

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.

See the roof destroyed by Typhoon Ursula?

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.

Spectacular sunrise in Malapascua!
The outdoor cafe /resto where I had coffee this morning had its roof ripped-off and its supports damaged by Typhoon Ursula.

My daughter and I had breakfast here in Iroha Japanese Bar and Restaurant. Food was delicious and affordable.

Good morning

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)TIMECOST
Sashamae’s & Spike’s allowance (HEY i LOVE MY DOGS!) 1,000.00 
Prepare for Cebu flight4:00pm
GRAB! To NAIA Domestic /Dinner6:30pm 514.00 
Dinner @Yang Chow7:30pm 614.00 
Depart Manila for Cebu (Mactan airport)12:10am
Arrive at Mactan airport1:25am
Van to Northbus Terminal (no trip to Hagnaya Port)1:50am-2:20am 360.00 
Taxi to Kiwi Pension House (fully-booked)2:20am-2:42am 180.00 
Stayed @Mike’s place3:00am-4:50am
Check in to Hotel Stella5:25am 1,585.00 
Restup5:30am-1130am
LUNCH @Larsian sa Fuente12:00-12:30pm 300.00 
City Tour c/o Cebu Travel & Tours1:00pm-5:00pm 3,180.00 
– Sirao Flower Farm (entrance fee P100 each) 200.00 
– Tops View (entrance fee P50 each) 100.00 
– Temple of Leah (entrance fee P150 each) 300.00 
– Taoist Temple
– Cebu Heritage Monument
– Yap-Sandiego House (entrance fee P100 each) 200.00 
– Magellan’s Cross
– Cebu Municipal Hall & Plaza
– Basilica de Sto. Nino
– Rajah Humabon Monument
– Fort San Pedro
Back to Hotel Stella6:30-7:30pm
Dinner @Rico’s Lechon7:50pm-8:45pm 680.00 
Taxi back to Hotel Stella9:25pm 100.00 
Lights out10:00pm
DECEMBER 26, 2019 THURSDAY (DAY 2)
Checkout @Hotel Stella1:00am
Taxi to NorthBus Terminal / misc1:50am-2:10am 180.00 
Ceres Bus to Hagnaya port2:17am-5:17am 360.00 
Pay Terminal Fee 40.00 
Miscellaneous purchases @Hagnaya Port 180.00 
Purchase tickets / ride ferry to Bantayan Island5:30am-6:30am 380.00 
Arrive @Sta. Fe Port, Bantayan Island  / Pay terminal fee7:25am 80.00 
Tricycle to accomodations8:30am 40.00 
Check-in: BUDYONG BEACH RESORT 3,300.00 
Breakfast / Miscellaneous 8:57am-9:00am 200.00 
Late Lunch @Tapamaster in MJ Square12:00noon 570.00 
Purchase souvenir shirt /ref magnet 300.00 
Hire Tricy for Bantayan Island Tour1:00pm-4:00pm 500.00 
– Obo-ob Mangrove Ecopark (entrance fee P60 each / P15 hat) 150.00 
– Paradise Beach  (entrance fee P50) 100.00 
– The Ruins
Back to RESORT4:00pm-4:30pm
Beach Bumming / Swimming/sunset-watching5:00pm-6:15pm
Dinner Cou Cou Bar & Resto7:00pm 705.00 
Lights out9:30pm
DECEMBER 27, 2019 FRIDAY (DAY 3)
Wake-up call4:00am
BREAKFAST / miscellaneous / sunrise watching4:30am 417.00 
ISLAND HOPPING6:00am – 12:00pm 800.00 
– Hilantagaan Island              
– Silion Island (Virgin Island entrance) 500.00 
Back to RESORT
LUNCH @Aloha Tika/ misc3:00pm 803.00 
Back to RESORT4:00pm
Rest / swim / sunset-watching4:30pm-5:58pm
Dinner @Kota Beach Resort7:00pm 400.00 
DECEMBER 28, 2019 SATURDAY (DAY 4)
Wake-up call4:00am
Checkout of BUDYONG RESORT5:00am
Boat to Kawit/tricy/boat to Malapascua5:30am-7:30am 2,800.00 
Day tour to KALANGGAMAN ISLAND / LUNCH c/o tour org8:00am-4:00pm 2,100.00 
Check-in to MALAPASCUA BLUE WATER BEACH & DIVE RESORT4:36pm 2,000.00 
Restup / sunset watching4:36pm-5:56pm
DINNER @LITTLE MERMAID RESORT & BAR6:00pm 620.00 
Lights out9:00pm
DECEMBER 29, 2019 SUNDAY (DAY 5)
Wake-up call5:00am
Coffee / sunrise-watching5:15am 40.00 
Breakfast @Iroha Japanese Bar & Restaurant4:30am 380.00 
Lunch @Ocean Vida Dive Resort10:00am 850.00 
Checkout from MALAPASCUA BLUE WATER BEACH & DIVE RESORT11:45am
Purchase Souvenirs 500.00 
Boat ride back to Maya Port12:17pm-1:05pm 500.00 
Bus ride to Cebu City1:30pm-6:18pm 400.00 
Lastday checkin Hotel Stella6:30pm 1,550.00 
Taxi back & forth to Mike’s place7:40pm-9:30pm 370.00 
Lights out10:20pm
December 30, 2019 MONDAY (DAY 6)
Wake-up call6:00am
Prep for flight to Manila6:30am
Pasalubongs 7:00am 1,300.00 
Checkout/GRAB! to Mactan airport7:00am-8:00am 319.00 
Arrive @airport10:00am
Depart Cebu for Manila12:45pm
Arrive @Manila2:10pm
GRAB to San Juan  375.00 
TOTAL EXPENSES (for two (2) persons)P 33,422.00 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER.

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 

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.

BALER 2DAYS 1NIGHT D.I.Y. ITINERARY

Just collected all pics from our Baler trip and sad to say, we weren’t able to get to Dipaculao beach and other sites that are equally if not more spectacular. All I can say is one can really fall in love with this place.

We were fortunate enough to come here minus the Holy Week or vacationing crush of people…I would recommend that you do so because you will get to really appreciate Baler’s beauty, the warmth of its people, the truly rustic feel of Baler is an experience in itself…

Include in your itinerary the 1.3 km uphill / downhill trek to Ditumabo falls (you get to draw your inner strength), see the 600 year-old Balete tree, hike up to Ermita Hills, see the Aniao islets (pick sea urchins), go up to the lighthouse shaped like a plane’s wing, watch the sunrise, surf, swim at either falls, river, or sea, or where the river meets the sea, go kayaking, discover a deserted cove…Baler is really beautiful…thank you, Baler…

So to start off I’d like to share some pictures of our Baler trip, and after these, the actual itinerary and expenses we incurred, and it is hoped that this can be of help to those who would want to D.I.Y. to Baler.

Always, always befriend locals wherever you go and Dennis here was really knowledgeable of the history behind the numerous sightseeing spots in Baler.
A wishing well beside the great 600 year old balete tree.
This is the huge 600 year old balete tree. It is imposing, really, and very much alive and still growing.
On the way to Ditumabo Falls. A 1.3 km uphill trek up the mountain..
The stream along the way turns into a raging river during the monsoon season.
But during the summer, the waters are cool, calm, and refreshing.
Ditumabo Falls
Impossible to stay dry here
The very rickety hanging bridge. There are a lot of souvenir shops under its base.
Ermita Hill
It’s a park with a dark past
and spectacular views
here’s another
and another
The Tromba statues…legend says that a town was feasting when an old woman foretold of a coming tsunami, which was heeded by this family, who went up all the way up Ermita Hill, and later that night, the tsunami came, and everyone perished except these families.
@Aniao Islets
like bullets rising out of the sea
literally the word “jagged” comes to mind when you see these rocks
a beautiful day to be out
Dicasalarin Cove
a spectacular view
In the cove is a river that meets the sea
will you look at that
minus the crush of people…it should always stay this way but…
we had it all to ourselves that one beautiful day
this was where I frolicked in the water
made our way up
higher still
till we got to the lighthouse shaped like a fighter plane’s wing
where I took a, shall I say, nervous selfie hahahaha
wow
Sabang beach
breakfasts of champion surfers
still sleepy
Baler Surfer Grill
Dinners
chill
the scenery going to Baler town proper
Don’t forget to buy one of these because it’s delicious.
Marker
Manuel L. Quezon Museum
Donya Aurora Quezon’s house
On the way home

As promised, here’s the actual itinerary and expenses incurred. Hope this helps you guys.

In the meantime, be kind to one another. Ciao.

DAY 1  FEBRUARY 19, 2018 SUNDAY
Grab! San Juan to JOY BUS Cubao            120.00
Dinner            135.00
JOY BUS Fare to Baler (@P730 PER HEAD)         1,460.00
Subtotal 1      1,715.00
ARRIVE @BALER 5:10am
Tricy fare to Jamjen Lodge            100.00
Breakfast @Jamjen Lodge            130.00
AM
Tricy tour (Joel 09262930766 or Dennis)             800.00
Balete Tree              60.00
Bought T-Shirt            150.00
Trek to Ditumabo Falls (Entrance / Guide)            260.00
Lunch @Ditumabo Falls            235.00
Hanging Bridge (Donation)              20.00
Ermita Hill (Entrance)              60.00
Tromba Statue
Diguisit Falls (Donation)              20.00
Dimadimalangat / Aniao Islets (Entrance)            200.00
Meryenda              77.00
6:00 PM onwards
Dinner @Baler Surfer Grill            550.00
Shake            180.00
Subtotal 2      2,842.00
DAY 2 February 20, 2018 MONDAY
Coffee / miscellaneous purchases              70.00
Breakfast            135.00
Tricy Tour (Dennis)             800.00
Disacalarin Cove (Entrance)            600.00
Guide (Laloy)            500.00
Lunch @Yolly’s Inihaw            550.00
Bought Longganizang Baler            280.00
Bought Suman (Baler)            200.00
Bought Tampipi (3) souvenirs            100.00
Bought Pacita’s Peanut Butter (its delicious)            425.00
Settled Jamjen Lodge stay         1,500.00
Subtotal 3      5,160.00
JOY BUS Fare to Manila (@P730 PER HEAD)         1,460.00
Key Chains            210.00
Dinner (Chowking)            342.00
Taxi            100.00
Subtotal 4      2,112.00
TOTAL    11,829.00