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.


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



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.

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.



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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


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


CEBU CITY TRAVEL & TOURS (c/o Josh) – 09055030499


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).

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 
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
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
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 
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 
Restup / sunset watching4:36pm-5:56pm
Lights out9:00pm
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 
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 


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.


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.

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


Dinadiawan dazzled us with her sunrise
Witness nature at play
She set the sky on fire
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


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


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


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


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.

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


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.

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 
Check in @ Pacific Villa 2,000.00 
(2 DAYS for 2 PAX)
Beach Bumming
Lunch  500.00 
Beach Bumming
Dinner 500.00 
Breakfast 100.00 
Lunch  500.00 
Dinner 350.00 
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 


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.
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.
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.
More art works from children.
It’s like an illusion.
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.

Sashamae / Spike Allowance
( we now have 2 dogs!!!)
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 
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 
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


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!!!
@Haligi Beach
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.

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)
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
Dinner @Luca Cocina Italiana          880.00
Coffee            25.00
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
Tricycle to Minolo Port          150.00
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
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.


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.
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.
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.

Sashamae 2 days Allowance (that’s our dog)
11:00 PM Taxi to Partas Transit Cubao        150.00
12:30 AM Depart for San Juan, La Union    1,086.00
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
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
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
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

Be good to one another. Always.