Tag Archives: Travels

Certified Openwater Diver – Achievement Unlocked 

Feeling cool underwater

Finally! I was able to ticked scuba diving off my bucket list, and I loved every single minute of it. I loved it so much that I decided to work on being certified as an open water scuba diver (work in progress).

And so in the next couple of weeks (or months) depending on my availability, I will be doing a series of diving sessions and I can’t hide my excitement 😜. Ticking off scuba  diving is one thing, but getting certified is just a whole lot more.

I felt so close with nature

I’m finally done with all my scuba diving sessions and now I can proudly say I am a licensed scuba diver, it was a pretty fast process but every minute of it is very memorable. After six scuba diving sessions, I was able to cover all the necessary lessons and skills needed to get certified. I do admit though that I still need constant diving sessions for me to be able to really be comfortable being in the underwater world and pretty excited for the next coming scuba diving the in future.

Island living – being born in Cebu is surprisingly a very big advantage for me at this point, nearest diving spot is just an hour away and recently it had became one of my favorite hangout place. I am becoming more and more in love with scuba diving and now I am embracing the fact that I am in the truest meaning, an island girl.

Check out my first scuba dive on Kontiki Dive Resort with Gypsea Dive Shop. Click below ⬇️
1st dive in Kontiki Dive Resort

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Kalanggaman Island : Travel Guide to Spectacular Island of Palompon, Leyte

dsc_0235This is Palompon’s paradise.  Kalanggaman is considered the most beautiful beach  the province of Leyte has to offer.  The postcard-perfect virgin island with its powder white sand, clear waters, and cool breeze is certainly a virtual place very close to heaven.

What makes this island unique from others is its long sandbars that are stretching on both sides of the island.   The one hour boat ride to the island may be a bit challenging bur it is all worth it when you finally set foot on this paradise. If you want to forget your troubles for a  day or if   you want to have a quick getaway with your loved ones, Kalanggaman is definitely the place to go. – www.palompon-leyte.gov.ph

Kalanggaman Island, One of the many islands in the Philippines, with the whitest sand you’ve ever seen, surrounded by crystal clear waters. You can read a good book without many people kicking sand on your face, you can take amazing photographs all day long,

April of 2015, my friends & I decided to explore Kalanggaman Island for a weekend. We started our journey at Cebu North Bus Terminal, from there we ride on a bus to Maya, Daanbantayan. by the time we arrived in Maya port, our rented boat was already waiting for us. Luckily, I was able to find a group of people who are going to the same island, on a same date. I contacted them and decided to share the boat rental fee, making it a more budget-friendly travel for us.

checkout below to know the details of our trip;
>> Itineray
>> How to get there
>> Suggested budget
>> Things to bring

When  we visited Kalanggaman Island, we were very lucky to have found a group of people who were willing to tag along with us. But that doesn’t end there. They’re a group of people who are very experienced in camping, They took care of our meals during our entire stay. Brought pre-cooked “chicken-pork adobo” & pre-marinated meat (chicken & pork) and the taste of our food was exceptional. I am very thankful for those people, a special thank is in order for my friend Alik for tagging them along.

Take note:
>> There is no energy supply in the island, so bring as many                             powerbank as you could if your planning to stay for a while.
>> They do have solar-powered light attached on the post all over              the island, it’s not totally dark when the sun’s out.
>> They do have mini store, they sell water, softdrinks, and liquor              but very expensive. Better if you bring your own.
>> There is no snorkel rentals, good thing we brought our own gears.
>> They do have standup paddleboard for rent, as well as kayaks.

Kalanggaman Island Getaway: April 18-19, 2015

Itineray – Day 01 : April 18 (Saturday)
3:30am – Meet up at Cebu North Terminal
4:00am – Departure from terminal to Daanbantayan
8:00am – Arrival in Old Maya Port, Daanbantayan
8:10am – Arrival in New Maya Port
9:30am – Departure for Maya port to Kalanggaman Island
11:30am – Arrival in Kalanggaman Island
– Put up tents, arrange things, prep for lunch
1:00pm – Beach bumming, Beach life, Beach lust, snorkeling
5:00pm – Prepare dinner(rice & bbq)
5:30pm – Dinner time
6:00pm – Chill time, music trip, inom with ze friends
2:00am – It’s a wrap! Sleep time.
Itinerary – Day 02 – April 19 (Sunday)
6:30am – wake up call (sunrise)
7:00am – Prepare breakfast/ eat breakfast
8:00am – Beach bumming (again!), beach life, snorkel
12:00nm – Prepare for departure
1:00pm – Departure from Kalanggaman Island to Maya Port
2:45pm – Arrival in New Maya Port
3:00pm – Departure to Cebu City via Ceres bus
7:30pm – Arrival in Cebu North Bus Terminal

How to get there from Cebu City;
>>Catch a bus at North Bus Terminal – there are different ways to go to Kalanggaman Island, but I chose the less risky one. You can either buy a ticket in one of the shipping lines in Cebu that travels to Palompon Leyte, from there you can rent a boat to Kalanggaman. Or land trip to northern part of Cebu via Ceres Bus to Maya Port, which I am kinda familiar.

>>Choose the bus with a signed board that says ” Maya Port” – make sure to ask for the destination of the bus you are about to take. You can choose from ordinary or air-conditioned bus.

>> Ride a motorcycle to New Maya Port – Usually, the boat thats gonna take you to Kalanggaman is docked in Maya New Port, specially when the it’s low tide. You can ride a motorcycle to the new port, approximately 5minutes ride for a cost of Php20.

>> Rent a boat to Kalanggaman Island & vice versa – you should reserve a boat that will take you to Kalanggaman Island from Maya Port  & vice versa. You can contact Kuya Randel  at 09158516135. The boat rental costs Php7000 good for 20 pax & Php150 per excess person (rate for overnight stay).

>> Boat trip to Kalanggaman Island – the trip usually takes approximately 1-2 hours  depending on the waves.

>> Bus trip & fare – the trip usually lasts 4-5hrs, depending on the traffic, I recommend you travel as early as 3am to get rid of the traffic. The earlier you will arrive in your destination, the longer you spend a relaxing day at the island. Php 180 bus fare (air-conditioned).

How much would it cost you: (Suggested budget)
Php 180/ pax : Bus fare Cebu to Old Maya Port (aircon)
Php 20/ pax : motor ride to New Maya Port
Php 360/ pax : Boat rental Maya – Kalanggaman (vice versa)
Php7000/ 20 pax,  Php 150/ pax for excess person
Php 225/ pax : Kalanggaman Island entrance fee
Php 400/ pax : Food, drinks, & meat
Php 180/ pax : Bus fare New Maya Port to Cebu Terminal
php 1400/ pax : Suggested budget (good for 22 people)

Things to bring:
* Tent                                          

* Sleeping bag
* Sweater
* Speaker
* Towel
* Powerbank
* Portable Light
* GOPRO
* Pre-marinated meat (Pork & chicken)
* Spoon & fork
* Sun block lotion
* Snorkel
* Butane Stove
* 1liter H20/ pax (personal supply)

Checkout Kalanggaman Island – facebook page for more details. or read more articles from my fellow bloggers:
tripadvisot – Philippines
www.sea-explorer.com
www.outoftownblog.com
www.mikelaagan.com – The Traveling Panda
www.pinoyadventurista.com

 Taken before we travel to Kalanggaman Island,  I believe it was safe enough to travel by boat, the sky is clear and the sea so calm
Taken before we travel to Kalanggaman Island, I believe it was safe enough to travel by boat, the sky is clear and the sea so calm. A good day to travel.
Goofing around with my bestfriend, clearly we had an awaesome time under the sun, we were not even in Kalanggaman when we took this photo
Goofing around with my bestfriend, clearly we had an awaesome time under the sun, we were not even in Kalanggaman when we took this photo. We just love to take photos as we travel.
Our excitement were doubled as we started to see the white-sand island from afar. A perfect photo moment.
Our excitement were doubled as we started to see the white-sand island from afar. A perfect photo moment. And we just can’t hide our big smiles.
A lot of people gathered by the shore to witness the amazing sunset
A lot of people gathered by the shore to witness the amazing sunset, did not get disappointed by the beautiful sunset.
 Trying to be wacky as we wait for the sun to set. Breathtaking background, and awesome friends
Trying to be wacky as we wait for the sun to set. Breathtaking background, and awesome friends. A moment worth cherishing.
Day 1 - minutes after our boat docked by the shore, we couldn't help but to capture the moment.
Day 1 – minutes after our boat docked by the shore, we couldn’t help but capture the moment. We were all excited and can’t wait for our beach living.
Taken at Old Maya port before we board to our boat, it was a very good day to travel, clear sky, calm see
Taken at Old Maya port before we board to our boat, it was a very good day to travel, clear sky, calm see.
My bestfriend and I, taking a souvenir photo together with the Kalanggaman Island landmark
My bestfriend and I, taking a souvenir photo together with the Kalanggaman Island landmark.
Of course, my trip wouldn't be complete if I won't take a selfie shot with the picture-perfect white sandbar. The most beautiful part of the island
Of course, my trip wouldn’t be complete if I won’t take a selfie shot with the picture-perfect white sandbar. The most beautiful part of the island
Underwater shots, more selfie photos, the water is just so clear and the sand - so  white.
Underwater shots, more selfie photos, the water is just so clear and the sand – so white.

I can’t help but admire the beauty of Kalanggaman Island as it slowly getting smaller. As I bid farewell to that spectacular island, I promised myself that soon again, I shall return. By then I guess, I am to stay a little bit longer. For I fell in love with the island, the white sand beach, the clear blue water, the perfect sunset, and the lovely sandbar. Indeed, Kalanggaman is a spectacular island.

Exploring Aguinid, Dao, Binalayan Falls : Travel Guide To The Hidden Gems of Samboan, Cebu

Samboan is an abbreviation of the word sinamboang, which was a ritual dance performed by the people of the village.  Samboan, a small town on a hill. But it used to be very much bigger, with Oslob and Alegria under its territorial jurisdiction. In fact, people of Alegria were made to render forced labor for the construction of the Samboan church. It was only some time during the middle of the 1880s that those two towns were separated from Samboan (the towns of Ginatilan and Malabuyoc, which now lie in between, were created after the separation). Samboan is known for its beautiful crystal clear waters with a rich marine ecosystem along its coastal barangays. – Wikipedia – Samboan, Cebu

Aguinid Waterfalls – in Tangbo comprises five different tiers along Tangbo River. Each tier has a unique waterfall. One can never reach the peak or last waterfall without climbing the limestone walls of each waterfall from the lowest to highest.
Dao Falls  of Suba is a new spot to wander. It is the highest waterfall of Samboan.
Binalayan Falls/ Bonbon Hidden Falls – to the immediate south of Poblacion which some visitors call the Triple Drop Falls.

How to get there from Cebu:
>> Catch a bus at Cebu South Bus Terminal  – earliest trip for Ceres liner leaves at 2:00am, and 1 bus per 30 minutes right after.

>> Choose the Ceres Liner with signed board “Bato via Barili” – Do not choose the one that says “Bato via Oslob” as it the other way around.

>> The bus trip usually takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes (depending on the traffic of course) – I always suggest you travel early, as there are only few vihecles in the streets, hence, less traffic. The earlier you get to your destination, the more time you have to explore the place.

>> Take note of your destination, Samboan proper – From there you can either decide to eat your meal in advance as you are to trek for hours. You need a lot of energy for this trip. If you brought your own meal you can opt to eat along the shore of Samboan beach (white sand) or if you hadn’t you can buy food in the market (I suggest you bring your own food).

>> Rent a trike to get you to different falls in Samboan –  As soon as you step out from the bus, you won’t find it hard to look for a trike as they will greet you with open arms and smiling faces. The big challenge though, is to look for someone who is willing to take you around Samboan and can get you to different falls the place has to offer, get the lowest price possible, someone to take you to three different falls the whole day. (Dao falls, Binalayan falls, and final stop in Aguinid falls). Expect to get wet!!!

>> Final drop-off, Bato, Oslob (Ceres Bus garage) –  after your fun-filled day, you can ask your driver to drop you off in Bato, Oslob ( Ceres Bus garage). Travel time, 15-20 minutes from Aguinid.

 

How much would it cost you? (Suggested budget)
Php 185/pax  : Cebu to Samboan via Barili
Php 400/day : Motorcycle rental for the entire day
(contact Kuya Lucio 09227666272)
Php 100/pax : Lunch & hydration or bring food from the city
Php 20/pax   : Entrance fee (Aguinid falls including guide)
Php 100/pax : Dinner
Php 180/pax : Bus fare Bato, Oslob to Cebu City (Ceres Bus)

 

What to wear and what to bring: (Suggested as per experience)
>> Comfortable shorts & shirts (leggings, board shorts, etc.)
>> Plastic bags or dry bags for damp clothes
>> Outdoor footwear sandals / slippers
>> Speaker
>> Action camera
>> Hydration

Groupie with the road-trip gals.
Groupie with the road-trip gals.
Road trippin' with my travel buddies for this trip.
Road trippin’ with my travel buddies for this trip.
Group picture with my friends, clearly we had a good time here. Taken at Aguinid falls.
Group picture with my friends, clearly we had a good time here. Taken at Aguinid falls.
Taken in Aguinid Falls- Level 4. Only those who dare to climb level 3 can  witness the beautiful level 4 & 5.
Taken in Aguinid Falls- Level 4. Only those who dare to climb level 3 can witness the beautiful level 4 & 5.
Another group picture with the my friends. Taken at Aguinid falls - Level 5.
Another group picture with the my friends. Taken at Aguinid falls – Level 5.

Summer always brings out the adventurer side of every people. No matter what adventure you will engage into this summer, we must remember the essence of every travel, adventure, and escapade, etc., is to have fun and forget your emotional baggage at home.

You can also check out mycebu.ph‘s article about Samboan : “19 Samboan attractions that make it a top Cebu destination

Tan-awan Cangcuaay Beach, Oslob – A Travel Guide to a Summer Getaway

Cangcua-ay is part of Taw-awan, Oslob. Yes, you read it right

, aside from the very famous Whale Shark watching, Tan-awan, Oslob has something more to offer. A perfect getaway from your hustle and bustle city life! Tan-awan Cangcuaay Beach – Modern Villa Deluxe; Guide to a relaxing summer getaway!

How to get there from Cebu City;
>>Catch a bus at Cebu South Bus Terminal, along N. Bacalso Nat’l        Road – There are 2 major bus lines that travel vice-versa to Oslob
Ceres Liner and Sunrays, I reccommend you choose Ceres, with they have huge buses that can gaurantee a comfortable trip. You can also
choose from ordinary or air-conditioned bus.

>>Choose the bus with a signed board that says ” Bato via Oslob” – you don’t want to be misdirected to Moalboal or Badian, although they have great beaches there, but you’re heading to Oslob, and that’s the other way around.

>> Take note of your destination – Cangcuaay, Private Beach, if the conductor is not familiar with the place, just say it’s beside Seafari Beach Resort. You will find your way right after.

>> 3 hours bus trip, 180/pax – the trip usually lasts 3 hrs depending on the traffic, I recommend you travel as early as 4am to get rid of the traffic jams. The earlier you will arrive in your destination, the better cottage you can choose and the more time you have to spend a relaxing day at the beach,

How much would it cost you: (fare, rental, entrance)
Php180/pax – Bus fare Ceres Liner via Bato-Oslob  :
Php100/pax  – Day use (includes electricity, cottage and no corkage)
Php300/pax – Overnight
For rent:
Php100 – life vest for rent
Php60 – Snorkel
Php100 – Beach ball
Php200 –  Body board
Php1200 – TENT (max 4 person) includes: sofa, blankets,and pillows
Php4500 – bedroom ( prior reservation)
Php3500 – max. 16 persons. Island hopping (Sumilon Island)

For direct inquiry you, can  contact them through these numbers: 09176217009 or 09068894868 or email at vilma.fernandez44@yahoo.com.ph

Panoramic view of Cangcua-ay Private Resort and Seafari Resort - taken on top of a rock. Clearly Cangcuaay is more appealing (just saying)
Panoramic view of Cangcua-ay Private Resort and Seafari Resort – taken on top of a rock. Clearly Cangcuaay is more appealing (just saying)

I was mesmerized to this beautiful view. The white sand, combined with the big rocks by the beach, native cottages along the shore, lovely sky and the ow so clear blue water. A picture perfect moment.
I was mesmerized to this beautiful view. The white sand, combined with the big rocks by the beach, native cottages along the shore, lovely sky and the ow so clear blue water. A picture perfect moment.

200 steps starts here! By the time you get to the shore, you're all sweat and just wanna rip your clothes off and go straight to the tempting water
200 steps starts here! By the time you get to the shore, you’re all sweat and just wanna rip your clothes off and go straight to the tempting water
 

Taken on top of one of the rocks, I just can't help but explore the beauty that was Cangcua-ay Beach Resort
Taken on top of one of the rocks, I just can’t help but explore the beauty that was Cangcua-ay Beach Resort

This was the view that greeted us when we reached the beach house. It was a wonderful day to have a sunbathing.
This was the view that greeted us when we reached the beach house. It was a wonderful day to have a sunbathing.

id I mention I liked this view? Well there's that, selfie-perfect shot.
Did I mention I liked this view? Well there’s that, selfie-perfect shot.
 Just beside Cangcuaay Private Beach Resort, the Seafari. A comment with bias, Cancuaay is better than that resort. :-)
Just beside Cangcuaay Private Beach Resort, the Seafari. A comment with bias, Cancuaay is better than that resort. 🙂
And then there's me, enjoying my day under the sun (literally), while having a good laugh with my friends.
And then there’s me, enjoying my day under the sun (literally), while having a good laugh with my friends.

I can't help but take a selfie with that beautiful background, such a waste of opportunity if I wouldn't.
I can’t help but take a selfie with that beautiful background, such a waste of opportunity if I wouldn’t.

These are my homies, my travel buddies for this trip! it was a fun-filled day. We ended up our trip with a free dinner by the beach. I can say it was a lucky for all of us as we all get to enjoy the free dinner!
These are my homies, my travel buddies for this trip! it was a fun-filled day. We ended up our trip with a free dinner by the beach. I can say it was a lucky for all of us as we all get to enjoy the free dinner!
For more details about this beautiful resort, you can also check-out there Facebook page Tan-awan Cangcuaay Beach – Modern Villa Deluxe. May you have a fun-filled summer!

Bais City – Dolphin Watching & Manjuyod Sandbar Escapade : How To Go There and How Much

Third and last day of our Negros Oriental trip, this time we are headed to  Bais, Negros Oriental.  Economically speaking, Bais City is known to be the largest producer of raw sugar in Negros Oriental, the city gives credit to Central Azucarera de Bais for bringing progress to the place. But for a traveller like myself, Bais City is famous for dolphin and whale watching.

A good way to start our adventure - Mr. Sun greeting us with "Good Morning"
A good way to start our adventure – Mr. Sun greeting us with “Good Morning”

We woke up early and since it was our last day, we decided to check-out early and bring our things along with us to Bais. We were all tired from our Apo Island escapade the other day nevertheless, we were still very energetic and excited for yet another trip we were going to have – dolphin watching and side trip to Manjuyod White Sand Bar – Bais City.

When we finally arrived in Bais City after over an hour travelling in a van we rented, we then transfer to another mode of transportation – motorized boat. With sunscreen on our smiling faces and cameras in hand, we then started our dolphin-chasing activity. But then 30 minutes had passed and we haven’t spotted any signs of dolphin activities yet. Our hopes almost draining as we surveyed the waters of Bais  when  finally one of our boatman shouted “There, There”, as if on cue we all looked unto the spot he was pointing and we were all breathless as we saw the  pod of dolphin (approx. 20-25 members) swimming along the waters of Negros. Watching the dolphins enjoying their life, so playful and free; was a dream come true. another first for me. They were worth my time, my resources, and energy.

Just when we decided to end our dolphin-chasing adventure, they left us with the most awesome way of saying there farewell to us. They swam  just a feet away, along with our boat. I can almost touch them, I can see them in the clear blue water. It was surreal.

After chasing dolphins, we proceeded to Manjuyod White Sand Bar – Bais Cityapprox. 15minutes away from the dolphin site. Unfortunately, it was high tide when we got there and the supposed sand bar was 2 feet deep. We docked for a while, enjoyed the supposed view, the white sand still visible under the clear blue water. We didn’t lingered though, as we were to have our lunch in the city, and then straight to Sibulan Port right after.

Day 3 Itinerary : (April 4 – Saturday)

4:30am       :  Wake up call & pack-up
5:45am       :  Check out from C & L Bay View Inn
5:50am       :  Departure from C & L Bay View Inn  via rented van to
                           Bais City (Approx. 40mins – 1hr)
6:50am       :  Arrival in Capinyahan Pier, Bais City
7:00am       :  Departure from Capinyahan Pier 5, Bais City via pump                                  boat to dolphin watching site (Approx. 20-30minutes)
7:30am       :  Arrival Dolphin watching site
9:30am       :  Departure to Manjuyod White Sand Bar – Bais City
9:45am       :  Arrival Manjuyod White Sand Bar – Bais City
10:25am    :  Departure from Manjuyod White Sand Bar – Bais City
10:35am    :  Arrival Capinyahan Pier 5, Bais City.
10:40am    :  Departure from Capinyahan Pier 5, Bais City to                                                   Dumaguete City
11:40am     :  Arrival in  Sans Rival BistroDumaguete City
11:45am     :  Lunch
12:55pm     :  Departure from  Sans Rival Bistro to Sibulan Port                                              (approx. 25-30minutes)
1:20pm        :  Arrival in Sibulan Port
1:45pm        :  Boarding for fastcraft to Liloan, Santander, Cebu
2:00pm        :  Departure from Sibulan Port to  Liloan, Santander,
(approx. 25-30minutes)
2:25pm        :  Arrival in Liloan, Santander, Cebu
2:40pm        :  Departure from Liloan, Santander, Cebu to Argao, Cebu
4:40pm        :  Arrival in Argao, Cebu

Day 3 Budget:
Boat Rental                              :  4500 / 7 pax
Van Rental                                :  2000/ 7 pax
Sand Bar Anchor Fee          :  15/ pax
Lunch at Sans Rival              : 264/ pax
Silvanas (Pasalubong)        : 300/ pax
Van to Sibulan port             :  43/pax
Fastcraft to Santander      :  63/px
Bus to Argao                            :  87/pax

Alternative for Commuters:
Trike fare – Ceres Bus station from Dumaguete City   :  8/pax
Bus fare – Bais City from Dumaguete City                          :  65/ pax
Trike fare – Bais City to Capinyahan Pier 5                         :  15/pax
Jeep fare – Dumaguete City to Sibulang Port                    :  11/pax

As my trip to Negros came to an end, I can’t help but admire the beauty the island offers. And just like every other places, they all have some hidden paradise that are just waiting to be discovered. So long Negros, until we meet again. By then I’ll make sure to devour your beauty.

While chasing dolphins : having a hard time trying to spot the pod of dolphins we were chasing after
While chasing dolphins : having a hard time trying to spot the pod of dolphins we were chasing after. It was a very hot day.
Clear blue water - image of the dolphins as they swim playfully underwater just 2 ft away from our boat
Clear blue water – image of the dolphins as they swim playfully underwater just 2 ft away from our boat
The supposed Manjuyod White Sand Bar, 2 ft deep due to high tide we can't really have it all :-)
The supposed Manjuyod White Sand Bar, 2 ft deep due to high tide we can’t really have it all 🙂
A pod of dolphins swimming away from the motorized boat chasing them.
A pod of dolphins swimming away from the motorized boat chasing them.
The best way to end our dolphin chasing adventure - Groupie
The best way to end our dolphin chasing adventure – Groupie

 

Photo Credits to : Avis Teo

You can check out Lonely Planet (Philippines), for more travel destination in Negros Oriental and Occidental.

Going Solo in Dumaguete City : Featuring My Wanderlust Self

Day 1 – April 2, 2015 (Thursday)

During the Lenten break, I had a little trip to Negros for a series of adventure in several parts of the island. But the main reason for my travel though, was to visit Apo Island. I had plenty of slack time during the first day which gave me enough time to wander around Dumaguete City alone.

What I really like about the city of Dumaguete is that it is very easy to navigate, you won’t find it hard to search for the places you like to visit and the famous establishments are very near to each other that you can just walk your way from one place to another. Another plus factor for me are the people in Dumaguete, they are very accommodating and very friendly, they always give you their warm smile as you walk pass them or even when you ask for directions.

My friends and I were staying at the C & L Bay View Inn, about 3 minutes walk from the boulevard. it was half past noon when I arrived in the hotel, my friends we’re already there as they travelled ahead of me. I’m not really that kind of person who stays at one place for a longer time specially when I’m in an unfamilir place. I always have that urge to go out, wander around, discover what that place can offer. And So I did just that, together with my friends we headed out to grab some lunch to that cafe called ” 2 Storey Kitchen”, it took us about 15 minutes to find the place as it was situated 3 blocks away from the hotel. It was a korean themed owned by a well, korean. The food was great, their Cheesy Mushroom & Bacon burger is a must have. After our lunch my friends decided to have a massage at a nearby Japanese Massage salon and so I decided to have my own experience. With a cap on my head, sunglasses on my eyes and gopro in my hand – I started going solo in Dumaguete City.

First stop – the famous Siliman University. as I  walked my way on the streets of Siliman university, I can’t help but be amaze of the fact I am there alone, wandering the streets of the first american university in the country, or should I mention the entire continent. It was a great feeling, The air that surrounds the entire university feels so fresh as I was surrounded by huge acacia trees (kinda creepy actually), but my appreciation to the place is far more intense than the creepy feeling I felt.

While walking in the streets of Siliman University, can’t ask somebody to take a photo of me. Selfie time.

Next stop,” I Love Dumaguete” sign. Just like any other typical tourist, I took some time to visit the landmark and of course captured some photos. So very typical of me:-)

Typical me, taking a selfie at the “I heart Dumaguete” signage.

Right after my short stop at the Dumaguete sign, I then on proceeded to the boulevard. I enjoyed the long walk in the pavement, I felt so calm. I felt refreshed while watching the waves as it touches the breakwater. I didn’t stay long though as it was very hot, it was a sunny Thursday!

Dumaguete Boulevard
Enjoy the long walk in the pavement of Dumaguete Boulevard

After exploring the boulevard and buying souvenir stuff at the sidewalk, I decided to cross the highway and went straight to Sans Rival Bistro – it’s a famous restaurant along Rizal boulevard facing the ocean. You wouldn’t want to miss this place if you happen to visit Dumaguete, it’s a must that you drop-by at this place. Plus they serve delicious dessert, you’ll never get enough of.

San Rival
Sans Rival Bistro along Rizal Boulevard, facing the ocean view . Click below for more details about Sans Rival Bistro:

Sans Rival Bistro – Dumaguete

 

After some time I went back to the hotel, I was kinda tired to, I need some rest. Later that day, me and my friends went back to the boulevard and eat street food there, It was kinda amazing there during the night.

C & L Bay Niew Suites, where we stayed for our entire stay in Dumaguete City. a fiveminutes walk from the boulevard. you can check-out there FB page for details.
Fast craft to Sibulan Port via Santander Express I. Just a 45 minutes rides depending on the waves.
A quick selfie shot while strolling along the streets of Siliman University.

At the end of my day trip, I realized sometimes it’s good to just go solo once in a while. To just go where your gut leads you, without consulting anybody, without worrying where to go next. It felt so good, I’d love to do it again.

Puerto Galera : Luxurious Life In A Yacht

Puerto Galera is the northwestern most municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. It is located at the southwestern end of the Isla Verde Passage, about 130 kilometers (81 mi) south of Manila. This coastal town is well-known among tourists for its numerous pocket beaches and many snorkeling and Scuba diving spots. The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. The marine environment has benefited in recent years from the influx of tourist dollars. This has seen a huge reduction in the number of fishermen in the area, as they gain higher revenue from tourists. – www.wikipedia.org

October of 2010, during my semestral break from school, I was invited by a friend to have a vacation in Puerto Galera  for a while. I was 20, in the peak of my youth, very eager to experience something new, who am I to refuse such offer. So I packed my things, was so excited for the said trip.

Crazy Day 1 – October 19, I booked a flight at Cebu Pacific Air to Manila, stayed for a day at my friend’s place, the day after we were all set to go to Puerto Galera where my friend’s father’s yacht was docked. We almost got lost on our way to Buendia Station. We rode a bus bound to Quiapo when we’re suppose to get the one bound to Makati. It was a very crazy day, We rode three busses and MRT just to get to Buendia Bus station, where Batangas bound busses are found. It was already noon time, when we were able to get in a bus bound to Batangas port, and get in a boat to Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. The trip to Batangas took us three hours and two hours boat ride to Puerto Galera. Got there by 6pm at Muelle Pier looked for a nearby hotel to check in at Badladz Beach Resort for the night. AT 7pm we dined out at the bar near the hotel and met new faces, had some beer with our new acquaintance and played some billiards. Our new acquaintance were all good people, they’re oldies but still very jamming. They even invited us for a bbq party at Puerto Galera yacht Club the night after. At 10pm we called it a night and went back to our room.

Day 2 – Life in a Yacht (October 21, 2010) We woke up at 9am it was a bit late. Had some american breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. After 15 minutes or so,  my friend’s dad fetched us on a dinghy and we were off to the yacht, where we stayed for our entire stay. I was a bit surprised when I first saw the boat, it was beautiful. It looked small on the outside, but the interior was big. Her name is Cosmos,  a catamaran. I was left awed when I first stepped in the boat, it was very luxurious – a dream come true. Bes (my friend’s dad) was very accommodating and friendly. we shared a story or two, he was a great host. We spent the rest of the day resting, just stayed in our room and unpacked our stuff. The at around 6 pm we started preparing ourselves, had to go to Puerto Galera yacht Club, for the “Barbecue Friday”, eating dinner there. The reception in the restaurant was great, the people and the yacht club members were all so friendly, to the extent that the Commodore (sort of the highest rank among club members) of the Yacht Club personally welcomed us, he even mention our names. I really didn’t know that he was the commodore, he talked to us as if he was just an ordinary member of the club. Later did I found out what he was and I admired him, very hospitable host, very humble and down-to-earth. The best thing in the PGYC was that the people were all approachable and friendly. We made a lot of friends that night. We even played pool with them. Later that night, dinner was served,  I ordered Baby back ribs it was so delicious, superb taste. At some point I had some beer and gin tonic. Then we went back to the yacht, we gazed at the stars as we lay on the roof of the boat, my first day in the sea had come to an end. It was a dream came true, just laying there under the stars and the moon, enjoying the night chill.

Life in c : Oct. 23-28, 2010 – the days gone by very fast, with our daily routine and activities there were never dull moment. We always wake up around 10am, tired from our nightly movie marathon. Then we would eat bread and fruits for breakfast. We would watch different TV Series while the sun was on its peak. Then off to Puerto Galera yacht Club for Lunch, the food and drinks are pretty expensive but that’s how it was, they’re used to living that lifestyle and I had to deal with it during my entire stay. I think what made that vacation memorable are the activities we did during our stay. I pretty much made a lot of “first” in Puerto Galera, here’s a list of activities we did:

1. Early morning tennis game at nearby clubhouse – we woke up earlier than usual, prep the dinghy and went ashore just two minutes across where Cosmos was anchored. We played lawn tennis at  Elizabeth Hideaway Hotel, what’s funny about that morning was they were looking for someone who they thought went missing the night before. He lives in a yacht near the Cosmos, the night before while we were star-gazing we heard some commotion in their Yacht (two people arguing). I also thought he committed suicide or something, the yacht club member commissioned a group of divers to look for him underwater, in trying to retrieve the body thinking he drowned. It turned out, the man was just in Sabang (Red District), too drunk to go home.

2. Participated in a soccer clinic for kids – The yacht club sponsored a soccer clinic for kids, the participant was mostly children of foreigners who chose to settle in Puerto Galera and married a Filipina. It was all fun, watching the kids having a good time and making friends with other kids is such a great sight to watch.

3. Went snorkeling; my first free dive experience – we borrowed Bes’s dinghy and went to a fish sanctuary just 10 minutes ride. It was fun, my very first snorkeling experience with all the gears (Snorkel, goggles and fins). The sun was on its peak we were on our swimming attire, we loved our sun-kissed skin, The marine life was highly diverse, corals and the fished were breathtaking.

4. Boat ride to Sabang  – one afternoon we decided to find another place to eat, so we went to Muelle pier and rented a boat to Sabang. The boat ride was about 30 minutes, it was kinda scary, we were in an open water, the waves were huge to the point that it almost flip the boat. The ride was fun too, we get to see some famous resorts along the  way. I must say, the Coco Beach Island Resort was quite an impressive place to stay, I bet staying there would cost much too. Upon our arrival in Sabang, we instantly went straight to La Laguna Beach Club, the food there was great we had pasta, played some pool, and drink some beer. Then we stroll along the shore, the white sand was very fine. I noticed some famous hotel in Sabang, the likes of; Atlantis Dive Resort, Portofino Beach ResortBlue Ribbon Dive Resort, etc.. Sabang is very famous to tourists, and as expected the foods and drinks were very expensive. After sometime, we decided to rent a motorcycle and went home.

5. Watched movie outside the boat under the moonlight and the twinkling stars – One time we decided to watch a movie outside the boat, the sea breeze was very cold but still a memorable experience, shared a beer or two, and chips.

6. We would asked Bes to take us to the port and stroll around we usually eat fruits on the boat, luckily the market was just a walk away from the port. We would walk for minutes and haggle for prices in the fruit market, buy some home-made wheat bread and stack some beer, it was fun really.

All Souls Regatta (Oct. 29, 2010) – not an ordinary day in Puerto Galera, specifically at the yacht club. It marked the 1st day of the All Souls Regatta 2010″, a yacht race. Another first for me, not only that I can witness a yacht race for the first time, but I am actually part of the race. We sailed in one of the yacht  named Lenny 2. It was surreal, so unbelievable. Never did I expect I will experience such adventure in my lifetime. On the day of the regatta, we woke up earlier than the usual time, bought some snacks and drinks, had some sun screen and we were ready for the race. The sun was so hot but it didn’t bother us in any way. We started to sail at around noon as the race begun. All along I thought sailing was as easy as abc… no it wasn’t, In fact it was very difficult. You have to be one with the wind, and know when to pull down you sails. All the participating yacht, (more or less 20 yacht) had to follow one route,  a very difficult route. All in all, it was a fun, memorable, tiring experience. I loved the afternoon sea breeze, the tan, the new acquaintances I met while in the race, the new experience, the huge gigantic waves, the adrenaline, the excitement.

It was FUN spelled all caps, in bold letters! After five hours, we could have won the 3rd prize for the first day if we weren’t got stock maneuvering the sail at the last phase of the race. What’s important was we finished the race safely. Then we went back to the boat to change our damp clothes,then we’re bound to the yacht club for a dinner celebration.-for the successful day 1. The beer was on the house, the food was superb, fun-filled night. Everybody was all ecstatic and in festive mood. I almost decided to stay for the 2nd day of the race, It’s just that my flight back to Cebu was scheduled on  the 1st of November, had to go back to Manila in time for my flight.  I was kinda upset at the end of the night. 

Goodbye paradise (Oct. 30) – Woke up a little upset, turned between going back to Manila and staying for the regatta. My friend was asking me to stay, I really liked to stay, I still want to join the second day of the race. But then I thought it was a waste of resources if I’d stayed, we would have to go to Sabang to reschedule my flight (too much of a hassle). What we originally planned before we went to Puerto Galera was that we’ll be going back to Manila together, we didn’t expect the regatta and so my friend decided to stay. I borrowed the key of the condo and went back to Manila alone. For the last time we borrowed the dinghy to the port, I decided to take the fastest route (motor-ride to Sabang). When I got their I bought a ticket for a boat ride to Batangas, I still had enough time so I went to the market nearby and bought several Puerto Galera souvenir shirts. I didn’t notice the time while I was in the market, next thing I knew, I was running towards the pier! I almost got lost but I made it on time. Then there was the one and a half boat ride to Batangas port, my seatmate was kinda annoying kept on conversing with me and I didn’t want to be rude. Finally Batangas! Noticed a lot of people in queue, only then when I realized it was the last day of October, many people go to their respective provinces for the UNDAS. What a luck I had that day, my seatmate was the same person I was sitting with back in the boat, the entire trip I pretended sleeping just so I won’t feel obligated to converse with him.  I was in a bus bound to  Buendia, another three-hour bus ride, it was a long ride. Around 5 in the afternoon when finally we stopped at  Buendia station, then  decided to take a jeepney. For experience purposes I pretended to know the street of Manila. Luckily, Baclaran church is such a popular place that I didn’t have a hard time looking for it. From there, I knew my way back to the condo. I settled my things in the room and went back down to eat my early dinner. I was a bit lonely, alone in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. I knew I missed a lot during the second day of the regatta. My phone wasn’t working that time, I can’t even text or call. My loneliest day ever in Manila. I decided to sleep early that night but luck wasn’t on my side, I didn’t feel sleepy at all. So I drafted a letter to my friend, to show how grateful I am for the experience and left it on the reading table. Morning came, ETD 0800HR – it was that time again to say goodbye to Manila, and prepped myself for the holidays back in my province. Such a great vacation, that was – indeed,  It was a week-long in paradise. 

Looking back to 2010, I wished I had captured those  moments in Puerto Galera, wished I was able to freeze those memories in an image, I wished Gopro cameras are already available that time. Nevertheless, I have them all saved in my mind and there they will stay forever.

For complete list of hotel you can stay in Puerto Galerayou can check out www.agoda.com. You can also check out Lonely Planet (Philippines), for details of the corresponding destination listed! Enjoy your travels!

You can also read the following article for more blogs about Puerto Galera ; 

Snapshot : A Whole New Malasimbo Festival – www.lakwatsero.com

How To Plan A Weekend Trip To White Beach Puerto Galera – www.takethetravel.com

Sun-kissed, saltwater-drenched days (The Budget-Friendly Puerto Galera Beach Getaway) – www.jennifaye.wordpress.com

The Beach That Was Puerto Galera – www.ivanlakwatsero.com

Photo Credits to : www.pgyc.org (Puerto Galera Yacht Club)
Puerto Galera Info Credits: www.wikipedia.com