Obviously, I’m dreaming.

Today I wished I was a princess.

So I could just go and ride ponies, sashay in gowns and put on velvet gloves.

I wouldn’t have to care about deadlines, clearances and call reports.

My to do’s will be a list of – cut ribbons for world saving causes, help the poor, build a school.

Calls won’t be from clients, suppliers and the likes,

since I’d be busy having chit chats with my blue-blooded family, heads of state and other notable honchos.

My days will all be regal, good bye to the mundane.

Ah, the world just looks prettier through my rose colored lens.

——————

Obviously, I’m dreaming.

Back to regular programming. 🙂

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Let’s roll

Because I want to conquer the world.

Because I was born to see wonderful places.

Because I was meant to soar, to climb, to reach for the stars.

Because I dream of unchartered courses, of islands left unknown.

Because the diversity of people, of cultures amaze me.

Because there’s no joy like traveling.

And because I want this, that’s why I want these:

1. Deuter Act Lite SL – for a more backpacker feel 🙂

  • CAPACITY: 35 + 10 Liters
  • WEIGHT: 1,450 Grams
  • COLOR: Orange – Silver
  • DIMENSIONS (H x W x D): 72 x 26 x 22 cm.

2. The North Face Overhead – so I can have my luggage in tow since I tend to be lazy most of the time.

  • Large main compartment with internal compression straps
  • Secondary compartment with padded laptop sleeve and organizer pockets
  • External front pocket for travel documents
  • Ambidextrous retractable handle
  • Durable custom wheels and wheel housing
  • Honeycomb internal structure for lightweight rigidity
  • Top, bottom and side handles with exterior compression straps
  • Business card window
  • Reinforced corners for extra durability
  • Meets carry-on size requirements for most airlines

3. Urban Outfitters Distressed Belt Bag or Ecote Tassel Belt Bag – So I can move around without a humongous bag on my shoulder.

4. Nikon D90 – For more and more pictures! 🙂 Sorry my dear D5000, your screen is too small for me to see 😦

5. Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens for Nikon -Yey!

With a focal length range of 18-135mm, the lens is suitable for a wide variety of shooting situations; from sports, action and portraits to wide-angle landscapes. The picture angle is equivalent to a 27-202.5mm lens in the 35mm format.

6. Lumix LX 5 – Since a point and shoot still comes handy and this LX5 does the trick! 

7. F1 Flight Passport Holder – I bring my passport everyday and by now, it looks so sad already.

8. Grid-It Grey Med Gadget Organizer – To satisfy my OCOC tendencies, tadaa!

Ready, set, go! 🙂

Cagayan de Oro-Camiguin Misadventures

Through this trip I was able to realize that optimism is really key, and with two positive souls together, no amount of mishaps or bad vibes can put us down.

Our flight to Cagayan de Oro was really early at 4:30 am, I got in 5 minutes late for flight check-in. Tadaaa! That’s 6k slashed out my pocket for flight re-booking so we can go and get the next flight. Boohoo. Fine, anything just to get us going.

We arrived in CDO early am with cab drivers swarming us for a lift to our hotel. They were charging us a lot so being cheapskates that we are, ended up doing the cheapest way possible. Took a jeep from Airport to Carmen, then a multicab to Cogon market and a motorela to Yacapin St. where our hotel is.

The highlight of the trip is the white water rafting which took us the whole afternoon of Day 1. All we had are our adventurous spirits since both of us are no swimmers 🙂 Get the thrill of fighting the 13 rapids in this beginner’s course as you cruise along the Cagayan de Oro River which separates CDO from Bukidnon.

On board with our “new found friends” lol

Try riding solo for a more exhilarating experience

This has been by far the most thrilling adventure I’ve been but voila, the pictures taken by the Rafting Company got corrupted. I had to have some proof that I actually survived rafting! Hahaha! Good thing they were able to retrieve it the following day, or else I would’ve gotten ballistic. 

We were lucky to be in CDO on a Friday since their Divisoria area turns into a big party place and night market on Fridays. Expect “ukay-ukays” (thrifted /vintage finds) lined up on the streets for your shopping fix.

We left sun shiny CDO the following morning only to dock Camiguin in a not so happy low pressure area. Taddaaa! Rain, rain! Imagine, we toured the island with our swimsuits on but carrying an umbrella to protect our dear Nikons.

 

All wet at Old Guiob Church Ruins

Gloomy shot of the famed Sunken Cemetery

We couldn’t go near because it was raining so hard.


We’re supposed to go to White Island the following morning but it was still raining when we woke up. So we decided to sleep some more and when we woke up around 7, the sun was up! Talk about unlucky?! Hehehe! It was time for our driver to pick us up already so we just had to drool over the picturesque view of Camiguin as we move along.

Oh dear, isn’t she lovely!?

By the time we got back in CDO, we were dog tired already, left with just enough energy to buy pasalubong for our friends back home. 

Here’s our itinerary to help you plan your trip:

Day 1

6:30 AM – Departure from Manila

8:30 AM – Hotel Check-in: Wilshire Inn – Aguinaldo corner Yacapin Street / (8822) 72-0762; 72-0531; (0915) 2332734) / (0917)7063800)

8:30-11:00 AM – Rest time 

11 AM – 12 NN – Lunch

1:00 PM  – White-Water Service PIck-up from Hotel 

1:30-3:00 PM – White-Water Rafting Beginner’s Course (1st Rafting Adventure Philippines +639273255544) 

  • Wear/Bring: Beach Attire preferably quick dry clothes
  • Rash guards or Long sleeves
  • Extra Clothes and Toiletries
  • Personal Zip locks for valuables
  • Aqua Shoes, Sandals or Slippers (preferably with straps)
  • Sun blocks or Sun screens
  • SLR or Digital Cameras (dry bag will be provided) 

5:00 PM Back in Hotel

8:00 PM – Dinner/ Shopping at Divisoria

Day 2

7:00-9:00 AM  – Jeep to Agora Bus Terminal, take Yellow Bachelor Bus 

9:00 AM – Balingoan Ferry Port 

10:00 AM – Benoni Pier Camiguin

11:00 AM – Check-in at Secret Cove (e-mail the owner Tom Solski at Tom Solski@fastmail.fm)

1:00PM-8:30 PM – Camiguin Island Tour

  • Walkway to the Old Volcano
  • Sunken Cemetery
  • Old Guiob Church Ruins
  • Soda Water Pool
  • Sto. Nino Cold Spring
  • Katibawasan Falls – I was enthralled! First time to see real-life falls. 
  • Ardent Hot Springs – Winner! I love it. 39 degrees yung water. FYI, they have rooms as well.

Day 3

9:00 AM – Departure from Secret Cove Resort 

10:00 AM – Ferry from Beroni Pier going to CDO

11:00 AM – Ride a Bus from Balingoan Pier to CDO

1:00 PM – Arrival in CDO 

1-3:00 PM – Buy Pasalubong at the public market / Lunch

4:00 PM – Check in at DDD Hotel

Day 4

Go home!

Here’s a rundown of the expenses:

  • Jeep Airport to Carmen – Php 17
  • Multicab from Carmen to Cogon – Php7.50
  • Motorela from Cogon to Yacapin St. – Php 6
  • Overnight stay at Wilshire Inn for 2 pax – Php 695/2 
  • Beginner’s Course White Water Rafting – Php 700 ea
  • White Water Rafting CD Pictures – P250 (you can split if you’re a group)
  • Lunch (Carinderia) – Php45
  • Dinner (Resti in Divisoria) – Php 105
  • Trike to and fro Divisoria – Hotel – Php6 x 2 = Php 12
  • Motorela to Agora Bus Terminal – Php10
  • Regular Bus to Balingoan Bus Terminal – Php60
  • Trike to Port – Php10
  • Ferry to Benoni Camiguin – Php150 x 2 = P300
  • Breakfast/Lunch – Php110
  • Dinner at Secret Cove – Php320
  • Multicab Rent for Island Tour and Port/Hotel Transfer – Php 2200
  • Overnight Stay at Secret Cove for 2 pax – Php1400
  • Ardent Hot Springs – Php30 
  • Katibawasan Falls – Php 20 
  • Sto Nino – Php 20 
  • Soda Cold springs- P20
  • Trike to Balingoan Bus Terminal – Php5
  • Aircon Bus to CDO – Php 130
  • Jeep to Divisoria – Php 10
  • Lunch – Php 85
  • Overnight Stay at DDD Hotel for 2 pax with breakfast – Php 850
  • Dinner – Php50
  • Cab to Airport – Php150

Even though this trip had Murphy’s Law all over, we were still able to pull it off and have a good time 🙂 

Although…

I hope to see Camiguin again. Go to White Island. See the Sunken Cemetery up close.

Take a picture of Katibawasan Falls with crepuscular rays shining through.

Dip in the Soda Water Pool and Ardent Hot Spring for long.

Oh Camiguin, you mesmerized me 🙂

City of Smiles and Mango Capital of the Philippines: Bacolod and Guimaras

Again, a spontaneous booking by my good friend Mariz prompted this trip. Since she’s been to most places in the country already, we opted to go somewhere we haven’t all been – Bacolod, the City of Smiles.

I tried to ask some Ilonggo friends (Bacolod natives) what we can do there and the winning reply would be to EAT! Well, that would be lovely, but of course we wanted to do so much more. Good thing we found out that we can reach Guimaras via Bacolod for some beach bumming. So that’s what we did. Hit two birds with one stone. 🙂 

Here’s our trip itinerary for 3 days/2 nights:

Day 1

1:35pm – Airport

3:35pm – Departure – Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3

4:40pm – Arrival – Silay International Airport

6:00pm – Check-in: Bascon Hotel  (Address: Gonzaga-Locsin Streets, Bacolod City)

7:00pm – Dinner: Manukan Country of Bacolod (Near SM Bacolod) 

9:00pm: – Coffee at a nearby bar/cafe 

Day 2

5:30am – Wake up!

7:00am – Breakfast 

8:00am – Cab to Banago (Bacolod Port)

8:30am – Ferry to Iloilo – Fastcraft (45 mins- Weesam Express or Ocean Jet)

9:30am – Pedicab to Ortiz Wharf and the Ferry to Jordan Guimaras

10:00am – Arrival in Guimaras – Alubihod Bay in Poblacion. Tourists will be required to log-in at the Local Tourism desk, will be given a map and a quick briefing on spots you can visit in Guimaras – very helpful!)

11:00am – Early Lunch at a local restaurant

12-3pm – Island Tour: Navalas Church / Roca Encantadia (the ancestral home of the Lopezes) / Trappist Monastery / Guisi Lighthouse and Ruins

3:00pm – Check-in Rhaymen Beach Resort

3-5pm – Island Hopping – Natago Island, Baras Cave, Ave Maria Island

Day 3

5:00am – Wake up!

6:00am – Breakfast

7:00am – Leave resort and go to Alubihod Bay – Take Ferry to Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo)

-Then Ferry from Iloilo to Banago Port (Bacolod)

10:00am – Arrival in Bacolod

11;00am – The Ruins (more)

2:00PM – Balay Negrense   (more)

3:10pm – Airport

5:10pm – Departure

I wouldn’t really recommend the hotel where we stayed in Bacolod, it was creepy beyond creepy with footsteps and water leaking at 3am. So try to look for other cheap hotels, there are a lot 🙂 

Again, our IT looks hella packed jumping from one boat to the next but we live and thrive in those amazing race moments. Cheers to being young and agile. The boats leave the ports on time, usually every hour or two so be there 20-30 minutes before the hour turns to give you time to buy tickets and so you won’t have to run for your lives like we did. Yes, I was running with 11 kilos of Guimaras mangoes on my back since my 2 friends are tiny and I’m supposed to be the big girl. Haha! 🙂

Bacolod, well it has made a name of it’s own already for bringing us with delectable goodies satisfying our sweet tooth and delighting us with the crowd favorite, Chicken Inasal. The Ruins and Balay Negrense are also worth visiting for history freaks like me.

Guimaras, on the other hand, has a charm of its own, adding up to that is how it has risen from the oil spill tragedy a few years back. For ease of travel, we rented a multicab driven by our really nice and helpful kuya Nonong (mobile no: +639206146709 in case you want to contact him). Oh and by the way, do not leave without trying what we boast to be the sweetest mangoes in the world. 

Okay, enough stories, now the numbers airfare and food excluded. Being budget travelers that we are, we spent as conscientiously as possible:

Terminal Fee – Php400

Cab from Bacolod Airport to Downtown – Php400

Bacolod: Bascon Hotel – Php1000/night for 3 pax (no breakfast)

Cab to Banago Port – Php70

Weesam Ferry to Iloilo – Php480 round trip

Pedicab to Ortiz Wharf – Php 7/pax

JBC Ferry to Guimaras – Php13/pax

Roca Encantadia Entrance – Php50 (not worth it though ‘coz we went a time they were renovating so better ask before you go) 

Guisi Lighthouse – Php10/pax

Multicab Rental – Php2200 (includes Port-Resort roundtrip transfer/ Island Tour)

Guimaras: Rhaymen Beach Resort (+639185207271) – P730/night for 3 pax (no breakfast) 

Island Hopping Fee – Php550 for 2 hours

Cab Rental for Bacolod Tour (The Ruins and Balay) – Php700

The Ruins Entrance Fee – Php50

Balay Negrense Entrance Fee – Php40

Before you go, be sure to grab some “pasalubong” from Calea’s or Bongbongs 🙂

Some photos of the nice places we’ve visited:

Navalas Church Bell Tower

View from Guisi Lighthouse

Ask your boatman to dock in Baras Cave

The Ruins


That’s it. Go and enjoy!

Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

Finally finished this book which has been with me to numerous places already – by the beach, on the plane, in a boat, while looking at hot air balloons and so forth. 

I actually saw my sister reading this, and yes, she is married so all the more that I got curious what the book has to offer with a title that kind of says it all.

However, reading this has helped me contemplate on my personal life in so many ways. I guess all of us would have, at one point or another, been struck by the what-might-have-beens or could-have-beens of life. Yet, this defies the very basic belief that everything happens for a reason. Where we are right now is a product of our actions and of a greater plan carefully written by God. 

Love, yes, it is not surging passion, for that kind of emotion is fleeting, changing and never constant. Love is always a choice and it takes a brave soul to decide and stick with it. 

Ecotourism capital of the Philippines: Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan has always been my dream destination. 

Driven by a spontaneous PAL seat sale, we made this trip a reality by booking a flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

My constant travel buddies, decided to end the summer of 2010 with a bang. So here, I’ll try to remember the details of the trip and put it to good use so it may be of help to other wanderlusts like me. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Our jam pack itinerary for 5 days/4 nights looks like this:

Day 1 

4:05pm  – Departure from Manila 

5:25pm – Arrival at Puerto Princesa 

6:00pm – Check-in Balay Inato Inn (294 Manalo Extension)

7:00pm – Dinner at Kinabuch Grill and Bar (Home of the famous Tamilok – Palawan’s exotic dish – a worm actually) 🙂

Day 2

8:00am – 5pm – Honda Bay Island Hopping (Pandan, Snake and Pambato Reef for ultimate beach bumming and a good site for snorkeling) 

8:00pm – Dinner at Bilao Palayok for some seafood feast

Day 3

8:00am – Hotel pick-up (Expect 3-4 hours road trip from Puerto Princesa to Sabang)

12nn – Lunch at Taraw Beach (Swim time)

3pm – Underground River (Click here for more info)

8:00pm – Dinner at KaLui (Guests are asked to take off their shoes at the entrance – a unique experience. A must-try is their seafood platter.)

Day 4

8am-4pm – Dos Palmas Day Tour

Day 5

8am-1pm – City Tour which includes: Crocodile Farm, Mitra’s Ranch and Baker’s Fair – where you can buy Palawan pastries and other goodies.

7pm – Arrival in Manila

Our tours were pre-booked and arranged by Topstar Travel if you want your tour to be hassle free. Although of course, comfort has a price which I’ll pin down later. Another alternative would be to rent a tricycle, which we did for the city tour, to take you to Honda Bay Wharf which is your access via pump boats to Honda Bay and Dos Palmas.

As for the expenses, here’s a summary excluding airfare and shopping money:

Hotel Accommodation (Balay Inato) – Php2000/4pax/night

Honda Bay Island Hopping w/ land/sea transfer, lunch – Php1,100

Underground River w/ land/sea transfer, lunch – Php1,500

Dos Palmas Day w/ land/sea transfer, lunch, snorkeling – Php 1,800

City Tour via Tricycle for 4 pax – Php600

Puerto Princesa is a beautiful place with very nice people.

Dos Palmas is by far the best beach resort I have been and I wouldn’t think twice of going back there. Maybe if I’m richer, I’d probably stay for the night 🙂

The Underground River is another priceless sight. I was in awe seeing the river’s opening surrounded by clear blue water. I am slightly claustrophobic but I just couldn’t miss the chance of seeing this.

It’s currently vying for the New 7 Wonders of Nature so please, vote for Palawan’s Underground River by going to this site.

Be with someone special

Be with someone who reads. He knows magic, unicorns and ever afters.

Be with someone who loves art. He appreciates beauty and the passion that comes with it.

Be with someone who writes. His imagination is infinite.

Be with someone who’s optimistic about life. Tomorrow promises more joys than today.

Be with someone who notices the details. He will memorize every crease on your face, the color of your eyes and your wonderful scent.

Be with someone who knows how to laugh. Nothing will ever be too complex.

Be with someone who listens. He values that your opinions are equal to his.

Be with someone who expresses. He is confident in his actions and will stand up for you.

Be with someone who says sorry. He is man enough to admit he is not perfect.

Be with someone who treats his mother politely. It mirrors how he is going to be with you.

Be with someone who has a close circle. He knows the importance of friends.

Be with someone who knows God. He is aware that a bigger force is above him.