Monday, July 28

17 Destinations Before 30

Travel. What comes into mind when you hear that word? Mine is 17 destinations that I want to reach before 30. And just recently, I have discovered Airbnb - the mobile application (available in both iOS and Android users) that gives everyone opportunities to avail low-cost accommodations that make traveling not only for the financially gifted but the average as well. You can sign up just by clicking this link over here. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 192 countries. With its wide range of accommodations - hotels, apartments, lofts, flats, and even rooms, you are sure to find one that perfectly fits your personality and budget! #MyAirbnbBucketList

Today, let me share with you the 17 places included in my travel bucket wish list. Places I wish to travel and conquer ideally before I build a chocolate shop or finish all of the Philippines' local tourist destinations and after I have saved up for my family's emergency fund.

1. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Imagine yourself doing barbecue night with this view. The Pyramids of Giza is one the absolute parts of history. It is a symbol of how amazingly resourceful and creative our forefathers were. It proves that architecture has developed tremendously throughout the ages but since then it was never boring. Oh, and the camel ride will always be a bonus!

2. Washington, USA

You might be thinking, why would I even want to travel to Washington apart from it having the White House? Well the reason will prolly take you by surprise! The main reason I want to go there is because I want to visit Boeing's factory of airplanes. The biggest factory in the world. I mean, have you ever wondered whenever you see an airplane how the hell was that even made or how did they even complete such a magnificent creation? The factory was shown in Megafactories of National Geographic once but of course it's still different to have it right in front of your naked eyes and that is what I am aiming for!

3. Hong Kong, China

Two words. NEAREST. DISNEYLAND. Please, this is the happy kid's chance.

4. Paris, France

Paris is a common destination. Most would say they want to go to Paris because of the Eiffel Tower but apart from that, don't you think an afternoon in Paris would really be nice? People watching, drinking coffee, reading a book in one of their coffee shops. It's part of the French culture. Aside from that I also want to check out some places mentioned in the Da Vinci Code. The places once only in imagination will finally come to life. Isn't that enough reason to be excited other than the Eiffel Tower?

5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I fell in love with this place a long time ago. Fell in love meaning I would probably scream my lungs out and produce little teardrops on my face upon seeing it. It has an unfathomable impact to me that I seriously love it 10 times more than the Eiffel Tower. It is one of my dreams to visit one of the nearby parks in KL, just sit there and watch this building turn the lights on after sunset.

6. Bali, Indonesia

Getting away from the city life? Meditating your way to solitude? Bali is the perfect place. I will always dream of doing yoga in Bali. Isn't it the exact same scene going on your head whenever you hear people mention it? Come on, tell me! Just imagine the wind gently touching your hair, the sound of the birds chirping, and the waves banging against the tall rocks bordering the sea.

7. Singapore City, Singapore

Oh, Singapore. I have been here almost 5 years ago and it is one of the most refreshing places I've ever seen. The exemplary organization of this country, the absolutely clean air, the crazy party during Halloween, the one dollar ice cream sandwich, and the long walks at night - Singapore is truly a place to enjoy. I actually considered permanently living in here before, but who knows I might change my mind since I still have a lot of countries to visit!

8. Taipei, Taiwan

That feeling of being on top of the world in Taipei 101 - that's my main reason of wanting to go to Taiwan! I know the feeling would be nerve wracking but it would sure help me realize how small I am of the world. Another reason is, I also want to go check out it's various memorial halls, temples, and its night market! I. LOVE. NIGHT. MARKETS.

9. London, United Kingdom

London Eye. Big Ben. National Gallery. Buckingham Palace. Tower of London. Trafalgar Square. Aren't those enough reasons to visit this place?

10. Yokohama, Japan

Japan will always be a destination close to my heart. Mainly because it's my mother's dream to go there. Of course the cherry blossom! I usually catch her searching pictures of it on Google and someday I promise I'll take her there. She has always made a way for my dreams to come true and it will always be my promise to fulfill some of hers, too. AND!!! What made me even more excited is the loft that I have seen in Airbnb, it has this common area with library which is close to living a life of heaven on earth. I might just stay and read books while mother goes out for the cherry blossoms. Kidding!

11. Barcelona, Spain

Main reason why I want to go to Barcelona? I want to practice the use of my Spanish dictionary. It might be superficial to you but I believe that one of the easiest ways to learn a new language is using it where it's intended for use. Where else but the country where it originated? Aside from that, the architecture in Spain and generally in Western Europe is exquisite. Take a look at the Sagrada Familia. Now tell me, what does it say about Spain's architecture?

12. Madrid, Spain

The largest city of Spain ..and it's capital! Frankly speaking, I don't have a specific list of tourist attractions to see. I just really really want to visit this place for some reason I don't know.

13. Agra, India

Agra India is one of my priority places in the next two years. I have read in various travel blogs that the government of India is considering to close down the Taj Mahal for public viewing to further preserve it. They think that the volume of visitors might be too much for the place to take and adds to the pollution making it's pristine white walls deplete its natural beauty. The rumors are the decision will be set final within the next five years. I am determined never to miss it.

14. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The home of pilgrimages - Brazil. I'm not gonna go there for a pilgrimage though I just wanted to share with you how it's mostly famous for Christian Pilgrimage. Brazilians are beautiful people and whenever I look at this country I feel as if it's something like the Philippines. I am interested to know how the two countries are same or different in many ways.

15. New York, USA

The city that never sleeps. I am delighted to visit a place where there's action 24/7, a place where you would feel strange but at peace in the same time. I would love to stroll at night, grab a quick snack, and experience New York at it's peak. I know it's going to be a busy one but it'll sure be an exciting trip!

16. Santorini, Greece

They said one of the best sunsets in the world can be found in Santorini, Greece. The warmth of the sun as it touches my skin, the view of the sea beneath me, and the fiery orange glow in front of me - I'm pretty sure it will be an unforgettable moment. I wish I could visit this place sooner, the destination is pretty cheap since the economy of Greece is not in a good state right now. I don't want to wish they remain in that status though I just hope they have more tourism-cheap years to come, at least before I go there! #selfish

17. Zurich, Switzerland

The sophistication and classic beauty of Switzerland never ceases to amaze me. Its urban and rural feel at the same time makes you want to visit and know what it has to offer. To be honest, I don't remember Switzerland for anything but milk. Although recently, I have encountered an article saying Switzerland is an ideal place for solo travel and it really got me. I have been researching for places to do solo travel in for who knows how long already and I've finally found the perfect place. Plus, a lot of Swiss men wouldn't hurt too.

How about you? What are some of your dream destinations? Tell me about it on the comment box below!

Happy travels!


Tuesday, July 22

Exploring Sagada

Earlier this 2014, a day after the new year festivities, I headed to Sagada for a starter trip! It was one of the best feelings in the world -to head out exactly after January 1st. It's like you are owning this year for travel and I do hope the last six months of 2014 will live up to the first half *crossing fingers*

Sagada is one of the municipalities in Mountain Province. It only has a population of 11, 244 people and the crime rate is close to zero. It takes 12 hours to get there, the trip's definitely long but trust me when I say it's worth it! Thinking about it now, even the body pain it'll give you will be worth it, despite of it lasting for 2-3 days. One week being the worst! The place is most popular for activities like trekking, spelunking and exploring caves and waterfalls, rappelling, bonfires, and participating in tribal activities of the locals. Peace of mind? This place is sure to bring you lots. Adventure? More so.

We got our scheduled tour (see, I'm a fan of hassle free scheduled tours) from Parana Tours for P3,200 per person. It depends on how many you are on the group and for this one, there were 7 of us! It was my first time to travel with my 'studious' cutest college friends who knows almost all of my secrets and they surely gave me a great time! Anyway, 8 hours from our meeting point in Manila we had breakfast at Halfway Inn who has a teaser view of the Rice Terraces. It wasn't even the pretty version but we were already amazed. Two hours more of travel and we arrived at one of the view points for the ever-famous-one-for-the-books Banawe Rice Terraces. Coupled with the sunrise it's sure to give you a breathtaking view.

The road to Sagada took 3 hours more. I was lucky I got the window seat this time because the view gave me nothing but bliss. I couldn't stop smiling! It was God-knows-how-much meters above sea level it's gonna give you a bit of the scared feeling but other than that you won't stop looking and being amazed on how this gorgeous scenery is even in front of you. I almost had stiff neck!

We stayed at Hidden Hill Inn throughout our trip. When we arrived, this cute little kid welcomed us and we later on realized that almost all the kids in Sagada looked like her! Try to observe when you get there and you'll see what I'm talking about. Anyway, Hidden Hill has very cozy beds, clean comfort rooms, and it has common areas both inside and outside where you can either watch TV or stay by the trees and light a bonfire. Plus the family who owns it is very hospitable they'll do anything to make you feel welcome!

We had our short lunch at Salt N Pepper Diner who absolutely has good food and excellent service! Be prepared though since meals in Sagada are quite expensive ranging from P150-P250 per person but the servings are huge. It also takes a while when you order, average serving time is prolly 30-45 minutes. The good thing is there are hardly any restaurants that doesn't serve delicious food!

Salt N Pepper Diner

While we were having lunch, our cave guide approached us and presented our options for spelunking. We had to pick before we head down since our entry point will be determined by the path we choose. Since we have two boys on our group and the hardest will always be the best option, we chose to do the cave connection of Lumiang and Sumaguing. Our guide advised us that it normally takes 4 hours since the path is a bit hard and long but it mostly depends on the group. Ours took 6 hours to finish - started at 1pm and ended at 6. Almost 7! That's even more than six hours to begin with.

You will be entering at Burial or Lumiang Cave and exiting at Sumaguing Cave. That's our 'before' shot. Before all the body pain happened, before my leggings were torn, before my shirt had all the mud stains, and before I was nearly crying and begging the capitol sealed jet to take me back because I couldn't do it anymore. (Yes, I'm a Hunger Games fan.)

It's an extreme activity and if you're one of those adventurous souls who are aiming for all the extremes then go for it! I can hardly walk after but thinking about it now, it's worth it. A friend once told me, it's better to look back at something and say "I can't believe I did that" than looking back and saying "I should have done that". I kept it in mind throughout the trip and it absolutely gave me the strength to go on.

Rappelling manually without any harness whatsoever

Fitting into super small holes!

You would have to rappel, fit into ridiculously small openings (couldn't even believe I was able to), and manage to balance and hold on tight for some slippery passages you'll go through along the way. Mind you, one wrong step and you could go running for your life. It's not a joke. We had to go through a stairway of stones wherein if you fall on your right and fail to keep your balance a cliff is waiting for you. Sketchy, huh?

Halfway through there was this natural pool inside the cave you can swim on. According to our guide it was 20 feet deep; looking back I was nervous since I just learned to swim and I'm not really that comfortable yet but what the heck I'm in the middle of a cave and it has this really awesome natural pool and I've been walking and doing all these extreme stuff for 3 hours now, I couldn't let this pass without plunging in! So I went ahead and conquered my fear. For all I know I didn't want to leave the pool after! However, since we have to get back by sunset, I had to let my natural pool go and continue the exhausting journey.

We had to endure the cold temperature three hours more and it's not that easy for the main reason that we plunged in and got our bodies soaked in water. After another round of rappelling we finally get to see the marvelous stone formations Sumaguing Cave has to offer. It was really pretty! Although if you're like me who was almost dead tired from the journey you might not be able to appreciate it that much until you see the pictures. Luckily, our cave guide Kuya Kevin, was able to take photos of the formations.

I wanted to scream a good 'yehey' when our cave guide announced that it's time to go back! Then he said it would take 350 steps I could cry. It was one of the MOST tiring exhibitions I've done in my whole life and up to now I still can't believe I conquered it. Sagada is truly a place for the adventurous. It was just the first day and I felt like I was able to lose 5 lbs already!

Anyway, here is our sample itinerary for Day 1 which was designed by Parana Tours:

  • 06:00am - ETA at Banaue / breakfast / picture taking at view points
  • 07:00am - ETD to Sagada
  • 10:00am - ETA at Sagada / check-in
  • 12:00nn - Lunch
  • 01:00pm - Proceed to entry point for Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave Connection
  • 06:00pm - Estimated time of return from the cave
  • 06:30pm - Back to lodging / wash up / dress up
  • 08:00pm - Dinner / bonfire / socials

(Please note that this is individually quoted and based on the number of persons traveling which was in our case 7)

  • Parana Tours Packaged Tour (just divided it by 3 since it was 3 days) - P1,066
  • Breakfast - P100
  • Lunch - P200
  • Tip for cave guide - P100
  • Dinner - P150
  • Drinks and chips - P50
TOTAL: P1,666.00

Any questions, fun experiences, and ridiculous moments in Sagada? Jot it in the comment box below!

Happy travels!


Thursday, July 17

Binondo with the girls

Welcome to the shortest entry I could possibly publish in here. The narrative of my Binondo trip with the girls last weekend! As we are all familiar with, Binondo or Manila's Chinatown is especially famous during the month long celebration of Chinese New Year with all its dancing dragons and moon cake and tikoy going on. This happens every February and to be honest I've already planned on going this year to witness it during the festivities but sad to say I failed! So what better plan than to get the girls and lure them with endless siomai and hakaw. Sure enough, they responded positively and the plan was set!

We gathered at 8am in Illumina last Saturday. Left at around 9 since almost everybody was late *coughs* we used the way Marianne knows which is ride a jeepney with the DIVISORIA RECTO signboard, get off at ABAD SANTOS (tell kuya to drop you off in case you don't exactly know where it is) then take the overpass and walk towards the street going to your left. Upon going down, board a jeepney heading to LAWTON and then you'll see the old building of Metrobank from a distance, that will be your entry point to Chinatown or Binondo! Easy breezy? Don't bring a lot of burloloys or gadgets or anything that could basically be taken away from you that is expensive since it's almost anything like Divisoria. We don't want to judge but it's not wrong to take precautions as well.

 DISCLAIMER: Don't expect much from my photos since I've only got a handful and I'm not exactly proud of them. I WAS HUNGRY OKAY. And was afraid to begin with now that's a better excuse haha

Anyway, we just strolled around and since we were all hungry we bought fried siopao along the way. It's tasty and good. They say the best fried siopao/s can be found at SHANGHAI FRIED SIOPAO, can't tell you the exact location but you don't really have to know it anyway! Just feel the Binondo vibe, walk and get tired, have your most-ignored exercise, look around and you'll find your way to it eventually. Crazy as it sounds but you don't have to ride a pedicab to take you to the places. Walk and enjoy!

© Eds Villa
Shortly after we bought fried siopao, we saw Wai Ying and decided to have early lunch. The oink in me won over so I had beef wanton (P120), japanese siomai (P80), hakaw (P80), plain rice (P30), and siomai (P70). I was nearly begging my friends to finish it after I got done with a quarter of the wanton and siomai! They have big servings so better keep in mind when you order that it's to-share. You can go to a friend and order everything the both of you likes as you can get a bit of everything and it's a lot better and faster to shove down your throat!

That's my beef wanton's before and after shot haha
that's how I eat noodles. I slurp on the soup and eat everything after! :)
Marianne and Eds both ordered the spare ribs for P130 and Corina had the chicken-something. Missed out on the pictures yet again. Told ya I only have a handful! Except from the hakaw having too much of the wrapper, all of it tasted good and exceptional. Legit Chinese food indeed. We were so full after that we weren't even able to go to other restaurants anymore. Talk about 'food trip' haha

After Wai Ying we decided to walk around a bit to scout for jewelries since it's also a popular attraction in Binondo. They have commercial jewelries sold way down the usual price so if you want to burn at least some of the calories (and money haha) you previously acquired then this is one of the perfect ways to do it. We got milk tea shortly after, dropped by at Eng Bee Tin so we can get pasalubongs and headed back home!

There's one thing I learned in this trip though, go to Wai Ying order with a friend and don't make yourself too full so you can still try the dumplings at Dong Bei and egg tarts at Lord Stow's! Scout and buy jewelry so you can burn those calories but don't carry the money with you. Have your ATM card and withdraw it when you've decided just like what Marianne did.

Any crazy experiences in Binondo? Share it below!

Happy travels!


Sunday, July 13

SUMMARY: Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon

Hello there! First of all, I want to greet you all a happy Sunday! I have always loved Saturdays more than Sundays but these past few weeks I've been really blessed and was able to enjoy a lot of family time during the 7th day of the week so I'm starting to love it a lot. Although I'm still a Saturday person! Possibly forever and always lol

Anyway!!! As promised I am back to share with you our itinerary and rough list of expenses for day 3 and day 4 as well of my Northern Mindanao adventure. To give you a heads up though, since we availed the package solely from Red Rafts I won't have it divided anymore. So sorry, I already forgot and pretty much didn't ask how much is everything if done independently from a package.

  • 07:00am to 08:00am - Pick up from hotel / travel time to drop-off point for river rafting / orientation or briefing
  • 08:00am to 12:00nn - White water river rafting 
  • 12:00nn to 12:45pm - Lunch / shower and dress up
  • 12:45pm - Departure to Bukidnon
  • 02:30pm - Expected time of arrival at Dahilayan Adventure Park
  • 05:00pm - Departure to Cagayan de Oro
  • 07:00pm - ETA at hotel
  • 07:00pm to 08:00pm - Rest / wash up
  • 08:00pm - Dinner / socials / beer night
  • 10:00pm - ETA back at the hotel

(Please note that this is individually quoted and based on the number of persons who traveled which is in our case 4)
  • Breakfast in McDonald's - P100 (because I'm legit matakaw)
  • Packaged tour from Red Rafts - P2,300 per pax (transportation to drop-off point for white water rafting, Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon, and back to hotel, white water rafting advance intermediate course, Dahilayan Adventure Park Zip Zones - longest dual, 150m, and 350m, lunch)
  • Pictures during our white water rafting adventure - P50
  • Snacks - P50
  • Dinner - P200 (again because I'm legit matakaw)

(This day was supposed to be for our Tinago Falls Day Tour but since we weren't able to come then I'll be writing only what we were able to do)
  • 09:00am - Wake up / breakfast from hotel
  • 10:00am - Leave for Vjandep Bakeshop
  • 10:30am - Arrival at Vjandep
  • 11:30am - Departure to Gaisano Mall for SLERS
  • 12:00nn - Arrival at Gaisano
  • 12:30pm - Lunch at Ayala Mall Cagayan de Oro
  • 01:30pm - ETA back at hotel / rest / dress up
  • 02:30pm - Departure from hotel to Laguindingan International Airport
  • 04:00pm - ETA at Laguindingan Internation Airport

(Please note that this is individually quoted and based on the number of persons who traveled which is in our case 4)
  • Breakfast from hotel - P150
  • Tricycle from hotel to terminal of jeepneys going to Vjandep - P10
  • Jeep from terminal to Vjandep Bakeshop - P13
  • Pasalubongs from Vjandep (we're all heavy pasalubong buyers we take it seriously, must warn you ahead of time haha) - P800 to P1,000
  • Jeep from Vjandep Bakeshop to Gaisano Mall - P13
  • Pasalubongs from SLERS - P300 to P500
  • Lunch at Ayala Mall - P200
  • Tricycle back to hotel - P10
  • Cab from hotel to airport - P200
  • Airport terminal fee - P200
TOTAL: 1,896 to 2,296/PERSON

I repeat these are rough estimates and solely based on how I budget my money when traveling which is not high maintenance but not strict either. You can still maximize or minimize this according to how you prefer.

  1. White Water Rafting
  2. Dahilayan Adventure Park
  3. Go to Iligan if you still have a lot of time and spend a day or two!
  • Book your stay at the city center! A lot of places are cheap (250-300 per night kind of cheap) and you are not away from the commercialized part of CDO where everything is basically around you.
  • Get Red Rafts for your white water rafting activity. The river guides are funny and friendly. No regrets! You can always avail the white water rafting separate from Dahilayan if you'd want it that way.
  • During the white water rafting, wear a rash guard and strapped slippers or aqua shoes because this is nothing else other than an activity involving a lot of water so don't expect your rubber shoes to be dry if you're wearing them!
  • It would help if you shower and eat fast so you can leave early for Bukidnon. Travel time takes almost two hours.
  • Bring an estimate of P1,500-2,000 for all the activities in Dahilayan in case you won't be availing the packaged tour. If you will, then a good P1,000 for the other activities will be good!
  • Make sure you don't forget your jacket for Dahilayan since it's located in the mountains. Pretty cold!
  • If you want a hassle-free and private transportation to the airport, you can avail services from Kuya Along our very mabait and honest driver! +639174607499
  • Don't forget to bring SLERS Chicharon and Vjandep Pastel for pasalubong!
  • Get the latest flight back to Manila so you can still do a half day at Tinago Falls in Iligan.
  • ALL-IN-ALL WE SPENT P9,013.50. All trips were packaged and private tours.

Have other tips? Share it on the comment box below and help other people who also plan on doing a Northern Mindanao tour!


Wednesday, July 9

Riding Rapids in Cagayan de Oro & Superhero Feels in Bukidnon

As we all know my trip to Northern Mindanao in Camiguin and CDO is one of my favorite travel experiences! It's the perfect mixture of fun, gorgeous and breathtaking places, and rich culture. No doubt I will always say yes to an opportunity of coming back ..after I finish all the local tourist destinations of course! I have already told you my first two days of the trip which mainly consists of Camiguin and it's just about the right time to talk about day three!

Since I am a no-backpacker type of person who basically just travels the place freelance type (apart from Cebu --it's an exception) and so are my friends (well most of them coz they, Eds and Mar, might not agree lol), we avail scheduled tours most of the time. First because a trip with a scheduled tour saves you from a lot of hassle and second you can customize it the way you want it 90% of the time! Plus this is the bomb, most of the scheduled tours that we get are private and cheap which means you don't have to worry about thinking of other people and your group still gets a hold of time in all ways possible.

Going back to my supposed narrative of day 3 ..we woke up at around 6, well not really, supposed to be 6 but we woke up at around 6:45 in the morning to prep and get dressed to be picked up at 7! Exactly 7 because we'd have to pick up other people who also availed the white water rafting package. We rode a *coughs* not to mention, a very cool red jeepney with all those red stuff since we availed the package from Red Rafts obviously haha if you want to avail a scheduled white water rafting package from them as well, you can visit their facebook page or contact Kuya Rex (+639178556983 / +639355998908). They have super funny tour guides and I seriously loved them for the hassle free and very maalaga way they treated us! Hello they have to carry you back to the raft whenever you go swimming in the river! Considering how thin I am... too much effort was put in. lol

Before you start, you would have about 10-15 minutes briefing. Really really short just to orient you of the do's and don't/s while riding the rapids and instructions on what you're going to do in case the boat capsizes. At first I was too nervous since being the imaginative person that I am I was expecting that the boat would capsize and I'll be the person who slides on the rocks etc etc but listening carefully will give you an advantage so make sure you remember every single word kuya says!

Then you start your 4-hour ride along the Cagayan de Oro river! I actually thought it's gonna be long but since the whole activity is too fun you won't even notice the time running by. You'll be going through 21 rapids, depending on the course you'll take. Since ours is advance intermediate, we had 21 rapids along the way. Halfway through, you'll also be permitted to swim in the river so make the most out of it! Plunge in and enjoy the cool green water!

The journey would be quite hot you would be developing life-vest-tan-lines lol so spread a bit of sunscreen and if your skin happens to be a little sensitive than usual, wearing a rash guard might help a lot too! PS Don't be hard on the paddle assigned to you, one of our group mates broke it and there weren't a lot of extras so one of us always had to have a sort of downtime to give everyone else a chance of paddling. Take it seriously but go easy, boy!

In case you're wondering how we got our *coughs* beautiful photos, on the way there our river guide asked us if we wanted to avail the CD with all the photos only for P200 so we grabbed the chance and got it! Nothing to regret anyway since all of it are gorgeous and we get to keep a lifetime (KESO) of our memories in the Cagayan de Oro river forever.

Lunch was also included in the scheduled tour that we availed from Red Rafts. Near our exit point was a mini-resort with a pool, eatery, and comfort room where you can eventually freshen up and change clothes. It's not the buffet kind of lunch but it was good nonetheless. We were too hungry to take pictures though but you can trust me when I say that the food is actually good both in terms of aesthetics and taste haha

Shortly after we hopped in our rented cab (still part of our Red Rafts scheduled tour) and made our way to Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon. The ride from the exit point to Dahilayan took almost two hours. It's a long ride so make sure you eat fast and get there quick since most of the park attractions close at 3.

We were able to avail the Asia's Longest Dual Zipline and 350m + 150m dual zipline also paid in advance aka included in our packaged tour! See? As promised, hassle free!

It can be pretty cold here as it is located in the mountains and judging from the pine trees everywhere obviously you'd survive better with a jacket. So tag along a comfy hoodie or a scarf or anything just to minimize the low temperature going on. They still have other attractions to see, unfortunately for us since it rained they opted to close some of it ahead of time. Definitely another reason to come back ..and maybe even stay in their Baguio-like hotel inside the adventure park as well!

Kuya Along, our very honest and mabait driver, waited for us 'til we finished and escorted us back to the hotel. He also assisted us in our pineapple field stopover and took gorgeous pictures! Tourist guides and locals are SLR oriented people, techie if I must say and can really take good photos!  If you want to hire a cab service in CDO you can also contact him at +639174607499.

Upon reaching the hotel, we all decided to rest for a bit. We originally planned to experience the CDO culture by meeting new people and having drinks for the night but since Eds had fever and Marianne took care of her, dinner outside was left for Jamie and I. We went to the resto-bar just across our hotel and pigged out from the grill stuff! lol were we hungry! Plus it was pretty cheap too! If I'm not mistaken we only spent P200 each considering we both ordered a lot haha

We planned on doing a Tinago-Falls-tour the next day so we decided to go back right after dinner to sleep and get our beauty rest! Unfortunately, upon realizing we might not make it for our flight at 6pm and we woke up late too, we were not able to carry out our plan for day 4! But we all agreed to do an Iligan Trip next time :D ohh don't worry I'll be posting a sample itinerary and expenses list on my next entry since this is too long already!

Any fun experiences while you were in CDO and Bukidnon? Feel free to share it on the comment  box below!

Happy travels!


Friday, July 4

SUMMARY: Camiguin

To make travel-opolis; city of travel more helpful for readers, my friend Jamie have recently thought about having a sort of point-by-point summary of each place I've been to. Like providing a list of must-see's, notes, and other important stuff to remember in order to guide you further. We'll start with Camiguin today but I will prepare follow-up articles in Palawan and Cebu as well, hopefully after I finish my Northern Mindanao related entries.

  1. Katibawasan Falls
  2. Walkway to Old Vulcan
  3. Sto Nino Cold Spring
  4. Sunken Cemetery
  5. Ardent Hot Spring
  6. White Sandbar
  7. Mantigue Island
  8. Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery

  • When riding a ferry from Balingoan Port to Benoni Port and vice versa, be there an hour before your targeted schedule of trip.
  • For customized and hassle-free accommodation and tour, you can contact Paguia's 0917-5446311 or 0917-5391622.
  • There are a lot of inexpensive eateries around Camiguin, you can eat with only P50 in your wallet.
  • Not sure if there were ATMs available so it's better if you withdraw prior to prevent being short.
  • Bring your swimwear with you in Katibawasan Falls, there's a big chance you'd want to take a dip!
  • Make sure to bring your own or rented snorkel gear for the island hopping since it would be expensive to rent from the area itself.
  • Don't miss out on the chance (like me!) to see the underwater life in Mantigue Island and Kibila Conservation and Ocean Nursery.
  • Bring your positive self and keep the good vibes coming. It's a gorgeous place to fill in with negativity!

If you have other tips, feel free to write it on the comment box below! Do you have more places in mind that we might have missed out and suggestions that we'd also learn from? :)


Thursday, July 3

Discovering the Islands of Camiguin

A cab-bus-ferry ride away from Cagayan de Oro is Camiguin which I have mentioned in my previous entry as one of the heavenliest destinations there is in the Philippines. It is also next to Batanes as the second-smallest province in the country both in population and land area. It only has a total of 81,293 inhabitants and the province consists primarily of Camiguin Island and two surrounding minor islets which you will know about as this entry goes on. Every October, they have a week-long festival for the fruit that they are most known for, lanzones. Actually, the festival was just about to happen in a week when we went there! Too bad we missed it! Yay that's another reason to come back! lol

Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy as I tell you our second day in one of my most favorite travel destinations (from the ones I had so far!) - Camiguin.

We woke up at around 6am for our island hopping tour scheduled that day. If you have read my previous entry, you will know that we have availed a customized tour from Paguia's Cottages Camiguin and what we did was we dedicated our whole second day discovering the islands and beaches. A whole day is not enough as I think about it now but because of the limited vacation leave... It's best if we take it from there lol

Since the White Island Sandbar is just a 15-minute boat ride away from our accommodation, that was our first destination. I knew it was gonna be good since the first time I saw it on a travel blog but I didn't expect it was that GOOD. Oh boy, it's a beauty. You can stay there the whole day just looking at the stunning Mt. Hibok Hibok and Mt. Vulcan as it matches coherently with the white sand and the contrasting light and dark colors of the sea.

5 minutes walk away from our cottages is our drop-off point :D

Such a sight even from afar!

Mt Hibok Hibok and Mt Vulcan facing the sandbar

Since it can be really hot in the area esp during summer, a few kuyas from the baranggay who monitors the sandbar also provides colorful umbrellas (fourth picture) and tarp-like banigs to lie on (in case you forgot to bring a scarf or a malong with you!) for rental. The umbrellas are worth a hundred peso and the banigs are for P200. Both of it is pretty big because the four of us fit in there considering the three of us were big boned lol

If you also look closely in the fourth photo, behind the kuyas is another small sandbar. You can swim to go there but make sure you bring a life jacket if you don't know how, you might panic if you happen to pass thru a few deep parts. If you get bored (which will be unlikely haha), you can also try snorkeling on the other side of the sandbar, read a book while you wait for sunset, schedule a diving trip with your friends (YES, there is a diving site near the sandbar), or you can make yourself full with the sea urchins that the locals from the baranggay are also selling apart from the umbrella rentals!

We went back to Paguia's at around 10am to get our things and wait for our service, since we'd have to travel by road to get to our next entry point to Mantigue Island. It's a good 20 to 30 minutes multicab ride then another 30 minutes ride via small outrigger boat.

Even from afar, you can already see the trees and gorgeous white sand surrounding Mantigue. They have a marine sanctuary on the right side facing the island but before you go there, you'd have to register inside and pay for the entrance fee (P50) and the unlimited snorkeling fee of P100. Make sure to bring your own snorkel gear or rent from your chosen accommodation since it's pretty expensive in the area (P150). 

We were supposed to have snorkeling first then go back inside to eat our lunch but since we had a bit of miscommunication with our boatmen we ended up going back to our entry point after snorkeling! lol but it was a satisfying 45 minutes stay nonetheless. By this time I have already learned how to swim but upon seeing how dark the water were to get to the snorkeling area, I opted to stay beside the boat and look at the few fishes and sea urchins while my friends went to see the giant clams and more.

Since the miscommunication happened, we went back earlier than expected at our previous entry point but we figured it was just right since we had to catch the latest scheduled ferry back to Balingoan Port at 4pm. 

Shortly after our service arrived from lunch we went to the opposite side of the island for the Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery which was our last destination in Camiguin. It is an area where they cultivate different species of clams and they had this ocean nursery where you can check out the clams from the smallest to the biggest! It's worth P200 but my friends (Eds and Mar) since they're the only ones who tried it said it was definitely worth it we should've come! The pictures were in Jamie's waterproof camera so unfortunately I won't be able to share it with you but make sure you don't miss out on this as well when you visit Camiguin!

Aside from that, they also served us delicious food from lunch which you can buy from one of the houses nearby. The hut is worth P50, entrance fee is P25, and the food that we ordered amounted to a total of almost P1,000 I think. I was too hungry I forgot to take pictures but it was really good! If you don't feel like checking out the clams, you can also dip in the clear waters while you wait for your food.

We hurriedly went to Benoni Port after eating lunch. Jamie and I were able to take a shower but we left our clothes in the service and was too lazy to go back for it so we changed our clothes on the way to the port instead! Hmm hmm yes! On the way there! lol that's some traveling skills we've proudly acquired haha and since the ferry for 3pm was delayed for an hour we had the cutest blessing in disguise! Mind you, it was priceless!

It was one of the sweetest moments of our trip. I loved how the colors went from bright, to yellow, to purple-ish pink. We were all in awe of the magnificent view in front of us. We took countless pictures. It was really beautiful.

We got back in Balingoan Port at around 5 or 6 in the evening. Apparently it was difficult to get a bus back to the city proper since it's not really the terminal so we waited for about 45 minutes to be able to finally ride one! And that's not even a smooth process haha you'd have to push and shove! Oh for the love of traveling.

Since we can't move on yet from our extra rice disappointment, we agreed to eat at Jollibee for dinner! All I can say is, after that dinner I loved my friends more for being themselves. PERIOD. Upon arriving at our hotel Rich Manor Pension House, they had made an incorrect booking so we had to wait for a while before they find another room that can accommodate us. We were supposed to be in just one room but we ended up in two different rooms. It was still a good experience though! I loved how the room was clean and the bed was soft and how everything is within a short distance. Our oldies vibe sunk in as soon as we arrived so we all opted to sleep already.

Overall, Day 2 was a beautiful experience as Camiguin! Couldn't wait to share our third day with you guys! Meanwhile, here is our sample itinerary and expenses list.


  • 06:00am - Freshen up/prepare things/breakfast
  • 07:00am - Go to White Island Sandbar to swim, snorkel, and chill
  • 09:30am - Go back to Paguia's; service on the way to the entry point for Mantigue Island
  • 10:00am - Arrival at the entry point; leave for Mantigue
  • 10:30am - ETA at Mantigue Island
  • 10:30am to 11:30 - Snorkel at the marine sanctuary; buy food for lunch
  • 12:30pm - Lunch
  • 1:00pm - Depart from Mantigue Island
  • 1:45pm - ETA at Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery
  • 1:45pm to 2:45pm - Snorkel and swim
  • 2:45pm - Wash up
  • 3:00pm - Departure from Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery
  • 3:15pm - ETA at Benoni Port; buy tickets and pasalubong
  • 4:00pm - Departure from Benoni
  • 5:00pm - Arrival at Balingoan Port; ride bus going to city proper
  • 8:30pm - ETA at Agora Market and dinner
  • 9:30pm - Go to hotel/socials/beer night

(Please note that this is individually quoted and based on the number of persons who traveled which is in our case 4)
  • Island Hopping Tour from Paguia's Cottages (includes boat and multicab transfers, environmental fees, and the other fees except entrance fee to Mantigue Island, snorkeling fee, and hut rentals, accommodation w breakfast) - P1,350
  • Umbrella and banig rental from White Island Sandbar - P75
  • Entrance fee and snorkeling fee at Mantigue Island - P150
  • Lunch at Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery - P250
  • Snorkeling with the clams - P200
  • Hut and entrance fee - P37.50
  • Ferry from Benoni Port to Balingoan - P130
  • Bus from Balingoan to Agora Market (air-conditioned) - P130
  • Dinner - P150
  • Cab to Rich Manor Pension House - P50
  • Accommodation (1 night) - 350
TOTAL: 2,872.50/PERSON

Again, these are only rough estimates and this is purely based on how I budget my money when traveling (notice the allotted money for lunch and dinner lol) so you can still minimize this or maximize according to how you prefer.

Happy travels!