Monday, March 27, 2017

Kalinga's Hidden Gem

March - I can feel the heat of Summer, so my mind starts to wander to places I could spend my little vacation to.
Me and my friend talked about getting to Cagbalete, Quezon for the holy week's long weekend. But I changed my mind as the days got near. I told her that I want to go to Kalinga instead because beaches are probably full of people during summer and I don't like being on the beach during peak seasons. But just like what happens on planned trip, someone is gonna cancel.

But I wanted to go to Kalinga badly. So, I decided to push through with the trip I started researching for travel blogs that share cheap itinerary for Kalinga. After getting the details on how to get there and talking to the tour guide I got from one of the blogs, I am so determined to reach my first destination for 2016.

One thing that I worried about this trip is that if the bus line will operate during Good Friday because some bus lines don't. Luckily, they have a confirmed trip to Kalinga on Good Friday. So I went to the bus station a week before my travel date to get a ticket. I got my ticket from Victory Liner in Sampaloc going to Tabuk, Kalinga. I booked for the first class bus for 820 PHP because it will be the first one to depart.

So, I confirmed with my tour guide Oliver Luis (that's his name) that I'll be arriving in Kalinga on Saturday morning. You may contact Oliver here- 0939 774 1477.

I have a week to prepare. I did a little grocery shopping for the things I needed to bring before getting there 'coz according to the blogs I've read it would be better if you have your own food while you're there as there is not much restaurant or eatery in Buscalan Village and it can be a little expensive when you buy food from the place.

Here is what I have for food for my entire stay in Buscalan: 2 liters of water, 3 ready to eat corned beef in tetra pack, 1 can of tuna, instant noodles and soft breads (mamon) lots of it. I also brought a pack of candy to be given to the kids there because the blogs said that kids in Buscalan really like candies and a pack of soft breads (mamon) to be given to Apo Whang-Od.

Most of the accommodations in Buscalan are homestays. My guide was the one who arranged my accommodation too. My accommodation is for 250 PHP/day and it is with free rice and coffee. Buscalan coffee is good by the way!

The bus left at the station at exactly 7:00 PM. I was asleep most of the time while on the bus. We reached Tabuk around 4:00 A.M. Unfortunately, there are no vans or jeepneys yet to ride on that will pass to Bugnay- the drop off going to Buscalan Village. So everyone who will go to Buscalan waited until around past 7:00 AM for the vans and jeepneys routed to Bontoc.

The trip from Tabuk to Bugnay takes about 3 hours because there will be some stop overs if you need to use a restroom. Jeepney's may take a little longer cause there are times that there are passengers to drop off somewhere along the route or pick up passengers.

While getting near to Bugnay I lost signal on my cellphone (cellphone signals specially Globe are lost while on this location). I got a little worried when my signal went off because I don't know how I'll be able to meet my guide without texting him. So when I got off at Bugnay I went to a small waiting shed where some locals are resting. While approaching the shed they already asked me who was my guide and I tell them that it is Oliver and they call him from a far.

After meeting Oliver, we rode the motorcycle to half of the trail going up to Buscalan village. The ride is a little scary so you may want to take extra courage with you. :)
We rode another one before we start walking towards the village. Each motorcycle ride is 50 PHP.

We reached the village by past noon. I went directly first to the house where I'll be staying,my guide told me that the owner was his cousin. So I rested for a while there before going around the village and seeing Whang Od.

Rice paddies on top of the mountain.

I wanted to have my tattoo that day but I heard there was already too many people lined up to get one from her and knowing her age I think it will be best if I won't add up to the list that day and make her more tired from tattooing all these people.

So I just went to her house to take a peek of her because this was my most awaited time. To see the legendary Whang Od in person. I saw her doing a tattoo while in a squat/seating like position. I was amazed by this old lady.

After visiting her home, I went back to the house where I'll be staying, took a shower and then prepare for dinner. I also share some of my food with the family that I am staying with. After, eating dinner, I call it a day and sleep to get up early the next day so I'll be one of the first in line to get a tattoo from Whang Od. My guide said that she starts tattooing at around 7:00 or 8:00 AM.

So I got up at around 5:30 A.M. washed my face and prepared my things as I planned to go back to Manila once I got tattooed by her. My guide woke up by 6:00 A.M. and I had a cup of coffee while waiting for him to accompany me to Whang Od.

We went to Whang Od's house by 6:30 A.M. and we saw her sitting in front of her house with a cup of coffee. She was being surrounded by the other elders on the village. My guide says that they are having a meeting and they are asking for her assistance for the upcoming graduation at their village's school.

My guide told me that the elders were officials on their village and they are asking for monetary assistance from Whang Od. I am not sure if this is true because I don't really understand their dialect. But I told him if only I knew I could have done something to contribute for the event before I got there.

At around 7:00 AM she is already preparing her things for tattooing. Unfortunately, even if we were there so early I wasn't the first in line. There were two guys who she tattooed first. The first one was from the middle east, I forgot what exactly his nationality is. He got the tribe's symbol for sun.
By the way, nowadays, they already have a board or the guides will show you a notebook where the symbols were drawn and their meaning. You can choose what symbol you would like to have for your tattoo.

The next guy had the symbol for travelers tattooed and he is a Filipino, so while we were waiting for our turns, me and the other by standers get to know each other and chit chat when Whang Od asked the guide to tell us be quiet cause her head hurts with too much noise while she is tattooing.

We said sorry and hush. After she tattooed the first two guys, we were asked to go to Grace's location where she will tattoo for the rest of us. If you get to watch her interviews or read articles and seen pictorials of her which mostly set in the Nipa Hut on the mountain cliff, that is where we are going.

When we got there, there were other visitors who are already waiting for Whang Od and to get a tattoo from her. Unlike earlier, we only have one foreigner in the group, now most of the guys waiting were from foreign land. I even heard one of them is from Yugoslavia. I even met one of the funny actors here in PH. One of the guides told us that Whang Od is just feeding her pigs.

TRIVIA: Pot belly pigs are common in their village. It's like their common pet and chickens too.
Ate Ana told me (the mom of my host family) that they cook pigs if the birthday celebrant is a boy and chicken if it is a girl.
Whang Od's pig is the largest that I have seen in the village.

Whang Od's House, Kalinga Cofee and the Pot Bellies.
The order in the queue of people who will get a tattoo is based on the guides. So, me and my guide are on third. Next in line were the Esguerra Family. Kuya Levi (Dad) was the first one to get the tattoo. He opt to have Alibata which is the old Filipino alphabet. Then the next one is Ate Lala (Mom) she had the signature of Whang Od which is the three dots and then their daughter Seanne also got Whang Od's signature as her first ever tattoo.

I was the next one after them. I also choose one of the tribe's symbol for a traveler as my tattoo. I placed it at the lower part of my nape. I felt a little nervous because I don't know how painful it will be. I know it will be different from getting a tattoo using a machine. As many of us know, she uses thorn as the needle and she taps it to the skin.

I played a game on my cellphone while I'm having my tattoo so I won't concentrate much on the pain. I asked my guide to take a photo using my GoPro camera during the tattoo session.

Apo Whang Od starts to drew the stencil of the symbol that I choose then she starts to hammer the thorns along the lines and it went on for about 10 or 15 minutes I think (that's how fast she is!). After finishing the tattoo she puts a coconut oil on it. The guides are joking about it being the preserved sperms of Apo's exes so that the tattoo will multiply.

After the tattoo session I took a picture with her and the guides also gave me the thorn she used for my tattoo. I was planning to rush down to Tabuk to catch the afternoon trip back to Manila when Ate Lala offered me a ride with them as they are also heading back home (she also had a traveler symbol tattoo done by Grace, Apo Whang Od's grand daughter because she liked mine).

They are the most generous people I have ever met. Their the kindest. They shared their dinner with me, allow me to take a shower at their house and even drop me off on the nearest way to my house.
I thank the universe for making me and Esguerra Family met. :)

I got home around 2 am which gave me more time to rest before heading back to the hustle and bustle of life and enough time to share the story of my trip to my relatives. :)

Tattoo Session with The Legendary Apo Whang Od.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Memories of Bali

Bali, Indonesia. Who wouldn't love to go at this very famous place? I have been dreaming of going to this place since I can no longer remember. I never thought that I'll be able to reach it and stay for a week (7 days) all by myself.

As my yearly birthday celebration tradition, I decided to spend it on Bali, Indonesia.
So, on December 9, 2014, I already booked my ticket for this destination. I was not planning to stay there for a week but the only return ticket on sale was 7 days from my departure date from PH (Philippines). 

Due to a traumatic experience before with the Philippine Immigration officers, I know I needed to plan this trip as smooth as possible. So, after securing my airline tickets, I started researching for the cheapest accommodation in Bali.

Another misconception I have about Bali is that it's just a small part of Indonesia, I never knew it will be that big until I was trying to check out cheap hostels located on different parts of Bali. The website I mostly used to search for accommodations is Hostelworld.

The one where I choose to stay during my entire trip in Bali was with Monostel, located at Jl. Legian No. 358A Kuta Badung, Kuta, Indonesia. The place was just relatively new and the pictures uploaded on Hostelworld showcased the cozy vibes of the place. Monostel offers dorm type rooms, you can choose from rooms good for 4, 6, 12, female and male or if you are comfortable to stay in a room for mixed female and male. The room rate is more than 500 PHP. Although, there are more rooms cheaper than this. But, I based my decision from what I saw from the pictures uploaded on Hostelworld's site.

After confirming the bookings for my airline ticket and hostels, I started reading blogs about cheap travel itineraries around Bali and try to create my own. I got some tips of the places and restaurants to visit from a schoolmate in college who already went to Bali and I also asked my previous boss who recently went there about his itinerary and he told me to check Perama Bus Tour for an arranged itinerary around Bali.

I also use my CouchSurfing account to look for a host or a local who can accompany me to have my DIY tour around Bali as it might be cheaper than taking an arranged tour from the agencies. So, I tried sending messages to people who might possibly be my host while I'm in Bali but I wasn't able to find a host easily who will be able to accompany me through my entire stay. Then, weeks before my trip I tried to post my trip publicly on the website. I included the dates when I'll be in Bali and that is when I received different messages from locals who are offering to be my tour guide so I tried to negotiate while being very cautious whom to meet once I get there. My goal is to land on the safest person.

One message that caught my attention was from a girl who is from Hong Kong who will also be in Bali alone and looking for someone to accompany her. She gave me her details and so, I agree to meet her and maybe join her tour around Bali when I arrive.

So my most awaited time has come! On the midnight of July 18,2015 I was already on my way to the airport. I wanted to be at the airport early so I get enough time to face possible challenges with the immigration department once I get to present my passport to get that powerful stamp that will allow me to travel outside of the Philippines - (will try to post a different entry for the challenges with the immigration team).

After all the interrogation with the officer, I got that sweet YES! I have been approved to leave the country and make my dream trip come true! :)
By 4:00 A.M. the plane is already making its way to Bali, Indonesia.

Sun's peeking while on my way to Bali.

Day 1: Kuta-Legian, Bali

The plane landed on Ngurah Rai International Airport at around 7:50 A.M. According to one of the blogs that I read, you can walk from the airport to Kuta where most of the hostels are located but when I got out of the airport, I see that most of the roads I'll be passing through where like major roads and I got scared I might get lost, so, I decided to take a taxi. I went in line to the desk where you can book a taxi and the price will be based on your destination but I suggest that you look for the blue bird taxi company because they are the cheaper rather than riding the taxis outside the airport. I paid 120,000 IDR (this is around 360 PHP) from the airport to the hostel where I am gonna stay.

After checking in at the hostel, I grabbed my free breakfast from the restaurant downstairs (Monokrom). There are two choices for their free breakfast: Indonesian breakfast or American breakfast. So I choose Indonesian breakfast. Then, I had to make another choice from Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng. I went for the Nasi Goreng which is the Indonesian version of fried rice with a sunny side up egg and I tried their coffee too. The food was really good and the place was so cozy I enjoyed my brunch.

After eating, I decided to walk around and try to look for postcards because some of my friends requested for it as a souvenir (gift) from Bali. When I already had the postcards I tried to look for the post office outlet so that once I get to write on them I know where to go to have them mail and how much I'll be paying.

I tried to ask for the post office while walking around and each time I asked a local they thought I was a local too. But I got directed to the post office near the market and it is a little too far away from the street where my hostel is located. I almost got lost too if it wasn't for that guy from the local eatery who ran after me and accompanied me to the post office which was hidden inside a small street but only to find out it was closed. He even offered to drive me back to the hostel with his motorcycle.

When I got back to the hostel I started writing on the postcards and then decided to walk again going to Kuta Beach. While on the streets, I'm getting lost again. So, I started asking the locals which way or street should I take to get to the beach. Finally, I got there safely. :)
The funny thing about the Kuta-Legian- Seminyak beach stretch is that there are walls built outside of it.

It was a long stretch of beach so I tried to walk through it while taking some pictures and videos. I also got a chance to talk to some of the lifeguards there because again, they thought I am a local. :)

After a couple of hours on the beach, I decided to go back to the hostel and prepare to get some dinner and meet Kai from Hong Kong - (the one who sent me the message on CouchSurfing). While on my way back to the hostel I was able to find a much nearer post office on the street of Legian. So I asked for there business hours and how much it would cost me to mail postcards to the Philippines. I went back to the hostel to get the postcards and mail them for 8,000 IDR/each.

So, back at the hostel again (too many walking for my 1st day). When I went inside the room I saw a pouch on the floor near my bed so, I picked it up and asked the girl on the bed above if she owns it and she said yes. This is how I met Ciara who is from Ireland. After thanking me, she asked me if I knew where the market is where she can grab a cheap dinner, I told her that I passed by it earlier but I wasn't sure about the eateries - (because they're closed during morning). I tried to invite her anyways if she wants to join me to get some dinner after I meet Kai and she gladly accompanied me. We meet up with Kai infront of a hotel with a Starbucks on it along Legian street. While waiting for her me and Ciara talk about some of our travel plans and I also told her that if she will be visiting the Philippines she should go to Palawan first not Boracay. When we met Kai she was with another solo traveler from Singapore- Janice.

After introducing ourselves with each other, Kai and Janice asked if I wanted to join them to go to Gili Island the next day and I said yes. I also asked Ciara to join but we have a little complication with the hostel where we are both staying. We bought the ticket for the boat going to Gili Islands together with the service van that will fetch us and drop us back on the hostel after going to Gili. The fare was 500,000 IDR. Then, we went around the streets of Poppy Lane to find a cheap eatery to get some dinner but we had some difficulty finding a place but luckily we met Garci who was kind enough to accompany us to the market where most of the cheap food are. We tried out the Babi Guling and I only paid 38,000 IDR for the whole dinner.

After eating dinner, me and Ciara went back to our hostel to ask for a refund for Ciara's deposit and for my one day payment for the room since I will not be using it once I get to Gili. So, we talked with the manager and she was able to provide us with the refunds. Now, Ciara will be able to join us in Gili Island.

As a little celebration, we bought a bottle of Bintang which is a famous beer in Bali to capped off our day 1. :)

Day 2 & 3: Gili Islands (Trawangan & Air)

I woke up at around 6 A.M. to prepare. By 8 A.M. we were picked up by the service van who will drop us off directly to the port where we will ride the speed boat going to Gili Islands. Me and Ciara were the first ones to be picked up then we went around the streets in Kuta to pick up the others who will also be going to the islands. I was the only Filipino in the van, we had guys who worked for Emirates, a girl from Brazil and a group which I think from European countries.

I think it's an hour drive from Kuta to Padang Bai. When we arrived at the port we were asked to wait for the check in time first before heading directly to the platform where the boat will pick us up. It was around past 10 A.M. and the people from the speed boat company said that the boat might be arriving at around 12 noon, so, me and the girls decided to look for a place where we can drop our bags first and grab something to eat. We found this lodge/diving center near the port (Sorry, I forgot to write down the name). The three of us ordered omelettes and Janice ordered sota ayam (chicken noodle soup). For our drinks, we ordered fruit shakes and juices. My brunch cost me 58,000 IDR.

The boat arrived at 1 P.M. We went to the first of the three Gili Islands which is Gili Trawangan. This is the largest of the three and the island known for beach parties. We arrived at the island at around 3 P.M. I think. The place was really packed with travelers and tourists. We had a hard time looking for an accommodation because every hostel and lodge we inquire to are fully booked. Luckily, Ciara got to know this guy who owns a lodging house and he offered the villa for us for one night. Although the rate for one night is a bit too expensive, we rent the villa for 1,000,000 IDR. We grabbed it so that we can have a safe place to spend the night in the island and after all there's a free Bintang beer for us :).

After settling, we went to ride the bike to go to Sunset Bar where we can watch the sun set solemnly. The bar is located on the quiet side of the island. We took pictures, talked about some of our plans while in Bali, where we want to go, places to visit and things to do. Through out the conversation we decided to go to Gili Air the next day. However, I told the girls that I'll be with them at the island during the morning but will be going back to Kuta in the afternoon. After grabbing a dinner (restaurants around Gili Trawangan are a little expensive), we went back to the house to take some rest and prepare to go to Gili Air in the morning.

I woke up at around 6 A.M. and woke the others up by 7 A.M. we checked out from the house and grabbed a breakfast before going to the ticketing office to buy tickets for the boat going to Gili Air. The ticket cost 40,000 IDR. The boat left Gili Trawangan at around 9 A.M. and it was like a 30 minutes ride to Gili Air. When we arrived at Gili Air, the first thing that I noticed was the place was more tamed than Trawangan. Before I forgot, motorcycles are not allowed in Gili Islands, you can ride the cartel with horse or rent a bike to go around. The girls decided to look for an accommodation first before we go around the island and they found a small villa. After leaving our things, we decided to rent bikes and try to find a spot in the island to swim and snorkel. By 2 P.M. I said bye to the girls and head back to the villa to take a shower and prepare my things since I have to be on the port at 3 P.M. to catch the boat going back to Kuta but the boat didn't arrived until around 4 P.M. so, I decided to get a light snack on one of the burger stall near it. I bought a vegetarian burger (consists of egg, cheese, cabbage, tomatoes and a dressing) for 15,000 IDR and a bottle of water for 5,000 IDR. I also took the pill for anti-sickness that Janice gave me before the boat ride back to Kuta because I fell sick during our ride going to Gili Trawangan. I arrived at Padang Bai at around 5 P.M. and rode the service van that will drop me off directly to the hostel. I checked in back at Monostel by 7 P.M. and rest for a while. Then, I head out to eat dinner on a local eatery near the market. Then the local who will be touring me around the next day met me back at the hostel and we talk about the places I'll be visiting and how the tour should go. I ended the day by uploading some pictures and prepare my things for the tour the next day.

Day 4: The Mother and Water Temple and Virgin Beach

I woke up at around 7 A.M. to prepare for today's tour. I decided to wear a maxi dress because I thought I'll only be asked to put "Sarong" (the cloth they wrapped around their waste) if I am wearing shorts while visiting the temples but I still brought one just in case. So, I ate my free breakfast first from the restaurant below the hostel where I am staying and head out to my first destination the Mother Temple (Besakih Temple). We left the hostel at around 9 A.M. I asked my guide to tour me around using a motorcycle rather than a car because it was cheaper. I paid 200,000 IDR for the whole tour.

It was a 3 hours drive from Kuta to Besakih. Before we head to the temple my guide asked me to drop by their house which is along the way going to the temple to get a "sarong" I told him I have one but he said it will be better if I wear the ones that they are using so that I won't have to spend renting or buying one once we are there. Though I am a little pissed, I just agreed. Then, when we reached the temple he asked me to participate on a prayer on the families temple. He told me that the temples have categories. They have mini temples at home, then family temples (depends on your bloodline) before you pray on the Mother temple. He also asked me to not speak in English too loud so that the tour guides on the temple won't demand me to get their service because they all think I'm a Balinese.
During the praying activity my guide just ask me to follow their actions and that is just what I did. After participating with the prayer activity, we went around the Mother Temple and took some pictures. We left Besakih by noon to go to the next temple on my list. There is an entrance fee of 20,000 IDR on Besakih for tourist and I think it's 15,000 IDR if you are a local.

I asked my guide if we can stop on a local eatery so that we can grabbed something to eat for lunch. He asked me what do I want for lunch and I told him that I just want something light because I am not that much hungry. We stopped by on a row of local eateries which I think is near the Bats Temple. It also has a view of the open sea. I was not able to order for my own because I was surprised when my guide was the one who ordered the food for me and again, I was pissed but I can't do anything about it anymore the food was already prepared and served. I paid 15,000 IDR for the baksoh (chicken meat balls noodle soup).

After eating, we went to Tirta Gangga also known as the Water Temple. It was a temple of pools and fountains. It is said to be the King and Queen's pools and if you take a dip on it you will have a youthful look. There is also an entrance of 15,000 IDR for tourist and since I looked like a local my entrance fee has been discounted again, I just spent 10,000 IDR for it. I just took some pictures of the water temple and decided to go to my last destination for the day - Virgin Beach. While heading out of the temple I saw a yellow watermelon for sale so I bought one slice for 3,000 IDR.

Then, on the way to Virgin Beach my guide ask me if we can go to his aunt's house first because he haven't seen his aunt for a while. Unfortunately, he doesn't remember his aunt's house and we have been going in circles and we even went into a scary looking clinic where he said his aunt works. The situation has been getting on my nerves so I told him to just drop me off at Virgin Beach and then he can look for his aunt's house and just come back for me before sunset so that we don't waste each other's time and he agreed.

I just went for a walk on the shore of Virgin Beach and choose a spot to sit and eat my yellow watermelon. I left the beach at around 5:30 P.M. to meet my guide at the parking lot. Then, on our way back to my hostel, we dropped by again on his house to return the "sarong". His uncle was watching the news when we went inside their compound and as a sign of his hospitality he bought dinner for me. The food was a local delicacy, I forgot what it was called. It was a rice with a fish (I think) and vegetables in chili paste topping and wrapped in a banana leaf. The dish was too spicy for me and for a person who is not a fan of spicy food I couldn't finish the meal. So, I told my guide to say sorry to his uncle because of my leftover.

I got back to the hostel past 7 P.M. Me and Kai had a plan of getting a dinner together that night. I told her that I'll just take a shower and then we'll meet up to go to the market and have dinner. Me and Kai met at around 9 P.M. Janice wasn't able to join us because the new hostel that she got was too far from Legian. We went to the market and bought satay for dinner and tea. My dinner cost me 28,000 IDR. We talked about how our trips went for this day and what are the plans we have for the upcoming days. She recommend Jemy which is her roommate to accompany me for my itinerary for the next day. It was past midnight when we went back to our hostels and I even forgot it was already my birthday :D.

Day 5: South of Bali

My original plan was to surf on my birthday but since me and Kai agreed to do it on the following day I changed my itinerary to visiting the beaches in South of Bali and watch the sunset in Uluwatu. I was joined by Jemy in touring around South of Bali, he's Indonesian but from Jakarta (if I'm not mistaken). He rent a motorcycle and I pay for the petrol and parking fees of the places we visited.

We went to Balangan beach first. We rent a chair and drink coconut for 50,000 IDR and just watch the surfers play with the waves in Balangan. Then, we head to Padang Padang beach. It is like a small cove. The place was full and we cannot find any place to sit on for a while. So we just took a picture but I got wet due to strong waves going to the shore. So, I wear my "sarong" as a cover up as we go to the next beach. We went next to Dreamland, this place has a long shore. We decided to go to the farthest corner where it isn't crowded yet. Dreamland was more of a playground for us. We played with the strong waves and took pictures. After, Dreamland, we went to check out Geger Beach, I didn't took a dip because the shore has a lot of moss that time. We just stayed here for a few minutes and then drive off to Uluwatu temple to catch the sunset.

There is an entrance fee in Uluwatu temple and again, it differs when you are a tourist or a local. For tourist it is 30,000 IDR and since I look like a Balinese I only paid 20,000 IDR. You can also barrow the purple "sarong" from the ticketing office but this time the person from the temple told me I can use my own. When we got inside the temple one of the main attractions were the monkeys roaming around but be careful interacting with them as they can stole your things and ask for money to return it. Jemy told me that the people who are taking care of the monkeys are also the ones who are teaching them to do these things. So, we went ahead to the cliff to watch the sunset. There is also a traditional dance show you can watch but I think it cost around 80,000 IDR. We got back to Kuta at almost 8 P.M. I asked Jemy to join us to dinner and we will also be getting some drinks for the night since it is my birthday.

So, I went on to shower and prepare for our night out. Sadly, Ciara won't be able to join us because she is currently in Ubud. So, I met up with Kai and Janice and this time they introduce me to another local they met while on tour - Nia. Jemy also wasn't able to join us as he went with his friend. After getting dinner, we were supposed to go to the bar with the word sky on it's name. At first, I thought it is going to be just a simple celebration for the 4 us (me, Kai, Janice and Ciara) but I was surprised to find out that Janice invited their diving instructors. We ended up on a Reggae bar and Nia wasn't happy about it :D. They surprised me by making the band sing happy birthday for me and the rest of the people inside the bar sing along too and they gave me four slices of cake with a cigarette because they couldn't find a candle to use. I didn't imagine spending my birthday like this. In a place full of strangers singing happy birthday to you. I was in awe and very grateful I had the chance to experience this moment. The best part of it is that I didn't get to spend anything for that night (hahaha!!!). Janice was too generous she was the one who treat us for my birthday (thank you sweetie!). I got back to my hostel past midnight.

Day 6: Bali Surf Outlet Store and Surfing in Kuta

Me, Kai and Jemy agreed to surf today but Kai and Janice went to dreamland first during the morning. Janice will also be going back to Singapore today. So, I started my day late, I took my free breakfast as brunch and then I went to the Bali Surf Outlet store to check out the items on sale. If you are a fan of surfing brands like Roxy, Quiksilver, etc. this place is haven for you. And if you are like me who's on a budget trip it's a little heartbreaking. So, I get to buy a bikini bottom and a wallet from Roxy for 155,000 IDR. After, buying these items, I went to Kuta beach directly to meet Kai and Jemy. I saw Jemy first and we waited for Kai to get there. I pay 150,000 IDR for the 3 hours surfing session. It is a 1 hour surfing lesson with the instructor and 2 hours on your own.

After, surfing, we went back to our hostel and planned to meet up again for dinner. Me and Kai went to dinner together with Marbun our surfing instructor then he invited us to check out the room he is renting. Before heading back to our hostels, me and Kai planned to go to Ubud on the next day and try to meet up with Ciara.

I got back to my hostel before midnight.

Day 7: Tanah Lot Temple

My last day in Bali didn't go as planned. Me and Kai started the day by going to the Market to buy souvenirs to be given as gifts to our family and friends back in our countries. I bought shirts and Kai bought "sarongs". Kai told me that we will be meeting up with the other locals she knew who will go with us to visit the rice fields, falls and the temple. We opted not to go to Ubud and will just meet Ciara for dinner once she gets back in Kuta. Unfortunately, me and Kai had a misunderstanding and I went on my own tour. So, I rented a car with a driver for 600,000 IDR to get me to the places I wanted to see. This is too expensive for me but they say I can use the car for 12 hours anywhere around Bali but that is not what happened. I got the worst driver, I didn't get to see the rice field in a very good view and he doesn't want to bring me to the places I want to visit. I was really pissed off the entire trip of the day. The only time I felt calm and happy was when I was inside the Tanah Lot temple and watched the sunset. By the way I didn't get a discount on the entrance fee at this temple because of the driver. I paid 30,000 IDR to get in. I wanted to get back to the hostel as soon as possible. When I got back I found Ciara there. So, I told her what happened and she advised me to complain to the manager of the hostel because their staff was the one who booked the car and the driver for me. She apologized and return half of what I paid.

Me and Ciara spend the rest of the night together. I bought additional souvenirs like key chains and a ref magnet. Then, we had dinner and drink the famous floating Bintang at the bar of the restaurant below the hostel. We also decide to go together to the airport so we can share the taxi fare. I didn't get to sleep that night. I talked with Fora the most friendly staff on our hostel. Then, we left the hostel at around 5 A.M. and head to the airport. This time we only pay 70,000 IDR from the hostel to Ngurah Rai airport. So we checked in first and I just found out that I had to pay 200,000 IDR for the airport service fee (I think it's like the terminal fee in PH). After checking in we went down to one of the coffee shop in the airport. Me and Ciara bought coffee and muffin for 35,000 IDR and bought candies with the rest of my IDR but I kept 10,000 IDR as a souvenir for myself.

My plane left from Bali past 8 A.M. and arrived in the Philippines at around 1 P.M.

Monday, August 17, 2015

27th in Dumaguete and Siquijor

As per the famous Dalai Lama travel quote: Once a year, go to someplace you've never been before.

To me, this means celebrating my birthday someplace I've never been before. So, on my 27th birthday I decided to go to Dumaguete.

I have always been fascinated of going to Dumaguete since 2011 because of an article I read about the Manjuyod Sandbar. The photos of Manjuyod made me feel like I'm going to Maldives. :D

Together with 3 of my friends, we went to Dumaguete on July 20, 2015.

Since July is part of the rainy season here in the Philippines, it was kind of gloomy when we arrived.
We don't really have a concrete itinerary when we landed at Sibulan Airport. So, 2 of my friends grabbed some pamphlets of accommodations from the tourist information table at the airport.

When we got out of the airport we went to one of the stores/eatery in front and got some breakfast. We ate "lugaw" (porridge) and then we head to the Sans Rival Bistro to try out their famous desserts specially their silvanas.

Day 1: Apo Island

We hired a tricycle from the airport to Malatapay Port for 600.00 pesos (this also includes our drop by in Sans Rival Bistro) Malatapay Port is the place where to ride the boat if you'll be going to Apo Island. The boat fare is 2,000 pesos (return) and additional 200.00 pesos but I forgot what this fee is for :D.

While on the boat going to Apo Island the weather condition got worse. It started to rain hard while we were on the open sea. And since the winds and waves are too strong the boatmen decided to drop us on the other side of the island where we need to trek two mountains to get to the lodging house where we will spent the night.

We were soaking wet when we got off the boat and then the boatmen left us and asked a kid to guide us to the lodging house but the kid was called by her mother and we were left on a nipa hut still getting wet because the rain won't stop and we were thinking of just getting back to Dumaguete city. Luckily, we met a diving master who was kind enough to accompany us to the lodging house. He also offer to be our guide for snorkeling on Apo Island to see the turtles. Though the sea has gone crazy that day we were still lucky to encounter a turtle and spent the rest of the day on the island. The island doesn't have a stable resource of electricity so the only time that the electricity is on is from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

*Expenses on Apo Island: 150.00 pesos/person/night for the lodging house (Ronor Lodging House). 100.00 pesos for the snorkeling mask. 100.00 pesos for snorkeling vest and 300.00 pesos for the guide. You can also ask the lodging house owner to cook for you and they charge 150.00 per person/meal.

Day 2: Dumaguete City

We plan to head back to Dumaguete City for this day and then go on a day tour in Siquijor. But we had a hard time getting back to the city because the weather is still not that good and if it won't get any better we have to stay another day in the island. However, the sky started to clear at around 8:00 A.M. and we had to leave the island as quickly as possible because of the big waves.

We arrived at Malatapay Port at around 9:00 A.M. and we took a tricycle back to the city. We do not have an accommodation yet within the city so we started to contact the cheapest lodges and hostels to inquire and book rooms. We decided to get the rooms from Gabby's Bed and Breakfast. We were dropped off at Robinson's mall and we paid the tricycle 400.00 pesos. We took another tricycle from Robinson's mall to Gabby's B&B and I think the fare was only 10.00 pesos per person. Gabby's B&B is located at Clay Town Daro and state to the tricycle driver that it is in front of Gimik - which is an old well known eatery/restaurant in that street. The room that we reserve was the twin room which is 900.00 pesos/night and comes with free breakfast of toast and jam or budbud (sticky rice with chocolate dip and ripe mangoes). We were the only guests on the place that time so we really enjoyed the cozy and artsy fartsy vibe in it. Also, the place just recently opened that time so everything are relatively new.

We plan to go to Siquijor for this day so, after checking in and taking showers, we head to Dumaguete City Port. Unfortunately, we were unable to catch the last boat trip for that day going to Siquijor. So, we just decided to stay in Dumaguete City. We went to Lab-as restaurant for lunch. The food was good and very cheap. Then, we went back to Gabby's B&B and played Monopoly had some coffee, juice, pizza and beer. Then, we walked around the city to see Siliman University, tried the fried ice cream at Panda Ice Cream Haus and had dinner at Scooby's. Places around Dumaguete are cozy and definitely a must visit for people who love art.

After having dinner, we head back to Gabby's and played The Game of Life board game until the clock hits 12:00 midnight and it was my birthday. So, after playing we already hit the sack to get some sleep for tomorrow's activity.

Day 3: Manjuyod Sandbar

I woke up at around 6:00 A.M. and it was raining. I felt worried that time that the rain might continue for the day but I was also praying hard that it would stop so I can spend my birthday on the place I wanted to visit the most in Dumaguete. At around 8:00 A.M. the rain stopped, so we already started to prepare for the day and head to Manjuyod. We first took a tricycle going to Ceres bus station the fare is 10.00 pesos/person. Then, we rode the bus routed to Bais - bus fare is 50.00 pesos/person. We dropped off at the Bais market and my friends took their lunch and we bought some coffee and snacks to bring to the sandbar. We took another tricycle going to Canibol Wharf for 100.00 pesos. It was like 20-30 minutes drive from the market to the wharf. Then, we rented the boat for 2,000.00 pesos. It was a 5-10 minutes boat ride from the wharf to sandbar. There are cottages on the sandbar but the rent is too expensive for us so we just decided to roam and stay around the sandbar until the afternoon. 

Tip: The rental for the cottage is 3,000.00 pesos just for the day and 4,000 pesos for an overnight stay. You can also include dolphin watching and other site in Bais for the boat rental.

We arrived back in Dumaguete City at around 6:00 P.M. We just took a shower and decided to have a dinner at Gabby's Bistro to wrap-up my birthday. Gabby's Bistro is one of the must try restaurant in Dumaguete City and it is inside the compound with one of the famous accommodation Florentina's Hotel.

Day 4: Siquijor

We decided to skip the whale shark watching in Oslob Cebu because we are already lacking time, so we just head out to the nearest island, Siquijor. Siquijor has been tagged as an enchanted and mystical island because of old folklore and stories that supernatural things exist in this island.

We took a ferry from Dumaguete City Port. The fast craft fare is 120.00 pesos and 15.00 pesos terminal fee. There is a schedule for the fast craft departure from Dumaguete Port and back from Siquijor Island, the one that we got was for 10:00 A.M. It was a 45 minutes boat ride. We arrived at Siquijor island at almost noon and we were already fascinated with their port and got excited what the island has to offer. 

We do not have an itinerary when we arrived there and we were lucky enough to meet the tricycle driver Aipee Dongon (you can try to contact him at 0927-2633983) who offered to tour us for 1,200 pesos. We first took our lunch on a local eatery near the welcome sign of Siquijor in front of one of the old church and bell tower in the island. We were advised to be careful with the drinks, food and the interaction with some people in Siquijor due to rumors that some practices witchcraft.

After having lunch, we just took some pictures on the welcome signage and on the bell tower spot then went to Capilay's spring park. The park is free for public and you can take a swim on the cold spring pool. Then, we head to the Oldest Balete Tree on the island. Together with the tree is a small fish spa pond and they also have someone who's dressed up as a fairy to make the spot look really enchanted. You don't have to pay anything here, they just ask for donations. Then, we went to Cambugahay Waterfalls and tried to jump on the falls while swinging on a rubber like stem of  tree. After dipping on the waterfalls, we went to see the oldest church in the island and the old convent that has been transformed into a school now. Our last stop is at Salagdoong Beach which has been famous because of the two platform on the cliff where you can jump if you are up to an adrenaline boosting activity. Though there are still other places to go to in Siquijor, we didn't have enough time to get to them and need to catch up the last ferry to go back to Dumaguete City. 

When we arrived back to the city we decided to go to Rizal Boulevard which was named after our national hero Jose Rizal. According to the story, that is the shore where he used to sit before he went to Dapitan when he got exiled. We tried some street food specially their Balut and Penoy.

Then, we head back to Gabby's took a shower and grabbed some drinks and played boardgame for the night.

Day 5: Going back home to Manila

Last day in Dumaguete, we had our breakfast first in Gabby's before checking out. Then, we went to some souvenir stores and head to Sans Rival Bistro to buy boxes of Silvanas to bring home to Manila.
After buying souvenirs and silvanas to be given as gifts, we head straight to the Airport to catch our flight back to Manila and we arrived in Manila at around 5:00 P.M.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Off to the Mountains and Sagada

Me, my 2 previous workmates, his partner and sister went to Sagada last March 13, 2015.
From what I've researched, there are two routes going to Sagada:

1. Via Baguio Route
2. Via Banaue Route

So, we decided to try both.

We rode the Ohayami Bus routed to Banaue at 9:00 P.M. The bus station is located at Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila and the fare is 450.00 PHP. 
We arrived at Banaue on the next day at almost 6:00 A.M. There was a free shuttle ride courtesy of Ohayami from the bus station to the town proper.

Upon reaching Banaue town proper, we decided to get some breakfast before heading out to Sagada (sorry I forgot the name of the cafe where we had our breakfast but it's near Heaven's cafe if I'm not mistaken and the meal cost around 100.00 PHP and up). 

Breakfast at Banaue Mt. Province
Our original plan was to ride on the top of the jeepney going to Bontoc and then ride another jeep going to Sagada. Sadly, we were not able to do so (but I'm looking forward to do it the next time I'll go to Sagada). We opted to ride on a L300 van for 300.00 PHP that will bring us directly to Sagada.

After 3 hours drive, we reached Sagada. We had a reserved room at Residential Lodge. It is for 250.00 PHP/pax/night and the room is with toilet and bath.
*You may contact Residential Lodge with these numbers: 09296257419 or 09196728744

After settling in, we talked about the first activity that we would do after having lunch. Based on some of the blogs that I've read, most of the people who visited Sagada spent their first day spelunking but we were thinking of going to Bomod-Ok falls first. However, the lodge receptionist told us that it is safer to do the caving/spelunking that day because it was kind of gloomy and it'll be hard to reach the falls if it starts to rain. So, we took her advice. She also helped us to contact a guide for our spelunking. The fee for spelunking is 400.00 PHP and you also have to go to the Municipal hall to register as a tourist and pay 35.00 PHP.

*You can choose whether you want to do a normal caving or a cave connection spelunking:
- For normal caving, it will only be in Sumaging Cave.
- For cave connection, it will be from Lumiang Cave (entrance) to Sumaging Cave (exit).

We took our lunch at Yoghurt House. The meals were a little pricey 100.00 PHP and up but the food was great. After eating we went back to the lodge and met our spelunking guide, Pasig -- this is his name. We're really not that prepare for spelunking but we just trust our guide that we'll be able to survive this activity. :D

Lunch at Yoghurt House

Cave Connection Spelunking

So we took a 30 minutes (I think) walk to Lumiang Cave. On the entrance of Lumiang Cave, you'll be able to see the old traditional coffins of Ifugaos. Then, we head on inside the cave and experienced the obstacles of passing through small holes and cliff edges just to get to Sumaging Cave to see the rock formations. This activity is really exhausting and scary. We only have 2 lamps as a source of light and we also have to use some ropes just to get to the other side. It took us more than 4 hours to finish the whole activity. We got out of Sumaging Cave by 9:00 P.M. And since we were all exhausted we decided to rent a van for 200.00 PHP to pick us up and drive us back to the lodge. When we got back to the lodge we just bought cooked rice (for 20.00 PHP), instant noodles (for 25.00) and grilled hotdogs (10.00 PHP) for our dinner.
*You can barrow plates, utensils and drinking glass from the lodge but you have to be the one to wash it before returning.

Surviving Spelunking!!!

Bomod-Ok Falls, Echo Valley, Sagada Cemetery, Hanging Coffins and Sagada Church

We woke up the next day at around 6:00 A.M and decided to have our breakfast at Lemon Pie House to try their famous lemon pie. The meals also cost around 100.00 PHP. A slice of pie cost 25.00 PHP and its best together with their warm lemon tea for 20.00 PHP. After breakfast, we head back to the lodge at around 8:00 A.M. and we were picked up by a van to go to Bomod-Ok falls (the van cost 650.00 PHP).

To get to the falls, there will be a 45 minutes to 1 hour hike. So, you'll have another guide getting there and you need to pay 500.00 PHP and 10.00 PHP fee. While hiking, you'll get to pass some cliffs, see some rice terraces, a hanging bridge and pass through the local community of Ifugaos. There were a lot of people enjoying the icy cold waterfalls. We also took a dip but I wasn't able to stay longer than the others because the cold water is a little too much for me.

We were heading back to the lodge by noon. We decided to cook for our lunch (you can pay for 100.00 PHP to use the stove at the lodge) so we stopped by the market to buy meat or chicken. Unfortunately, we ended up just buying canned corned beef and dried milk fish (this cost around 200.00+ PHP). Then we bought cooked rice again from the nearest eatery from our lodge.

After eating our lunch, we just took shower and prepared to head on to the other spots in Sagada. So, we asked for our guide Pasig again to show us around Sagada (this cost us another 400.00 PHP). We walked to the cemetery where we saw the tomb of one of the fallen soldiers of SAF 44 from the tragic incident last January 25,2015. We saw really old tombs there. Then, we had a little hike again going to the Echo Valley were you can shout out whatever you feel like shouting. Then, we went down the hill to the hanging coffins. After seeing the hanging coffins, we went to see the church in Sagada. Our guide told us that Sagada has an Anglican practice (priest are allowed to marry and have a family).

Bomod-Ok Falls, Hanging Coffins and Echo Valley
We didn't eat dinner that night because we were all too tired from the whole day hike that we forgot to feel hunger :D. However, three of us manage to drink some rhum and coke while eating buttered corn kernels and playing cards.

Waiting for Sunrise at Mt. Kiltepan

On our last day in Sagada, we woke up at 5:00 A.M. to head to Mt. Kiltepan and wait for the sunrise.
This spot in Sagada got famous because of the movie "That Thing Called Tadhana". 

We rent a van for 500.00 PHP to drive us there. When we arrived, there were already a lot of people gathered on the spot to wait for the sunrise. Some even camped there. 

The sun showed up at around 6:30 A.M.

Where do broken hearts go? Here at Mt. Kiltepan :)

After watching the sunrise, we went back to the lodge to prepare for our trip going back to Manila. The lodge receptionist offered us to ride with them for 250.00 PHP since they will also be going to Baguio and that is where we will ride the bus routed to Manila. But the vehicle overheats along the way and we have to transfer to a different van (we pay 170.00 PHP fare). We didn't pay the 250.00 PHP since we didn't even reach half way from Sagada to Baguio.

I have never been to Baguio so, this was the first time I set foot on this place but we didn't have enough time to roam around. We went straight to the bus station to get tickets to go back to Manila.

The bus left Baguio at 9:00 P.M. and arrived at Manila at 3:00 A.M.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


As for my first post, I would like to share my very first solo travel experience.

It started with the 0.15 PHP airfare promo of Cebu Pacific Airlines last January 1, 2015 (I get this restless feeling whenever there is an airline promo). After checking the flights, I decided to book a ticket bound to Cagayan de Oro and then go to Camiguin.

But something unfortunate happened in March that made me quit my job. I tried to look for a new one so that I'll still be able to earn money and add it to what I've already saved for my up coming trips, but it's hard breaking this kind of things to companies who are looking forward to slave you (Yes! slave you!) for the next six months when you get hired. So, I stopped and decided to just take the trips first before starting to work again.

Months passed (April and May), and here comes June. I'm left with five days to tell my Dad that I'll be going to Camiguin. Two days before my trip, I told him I'll be going to Camiguin with my friends (Which was a lie, but I have to, or else he won't let me! Sorry Daddy!).

And on June 6, 2015, with a limited travel funds, I went to the airport and hop on that plane. The plane left Manila at 8:00 A.M. and landed on Laguindingan airport in Cagayan De Oro around past 9:30 A.M.

Got my boarding pass! Landed on Laguindingan airport.
Day 1 Begins!

From Laguindingan I rode a van for 199.00 PHP going to Agora (This is where the terminal for buses going to Butuan are located, but there are vans too, routed directly to Balingoan Port). It took almost an hour from the airport to Agora terminal. Then, rather than taking the bus routed for Butuan, I opted to take another van that will drop me off directly to Balingoan Port for 100.00 PHP (This was 2-hours drive).

Upon arriving at Balingoan Port, I bought a ferry ticket going to Benoni Port for 170.00 PHP and paid 15.00 PHP terminal fee. The ferry ride took an hour. The trip from CDO to Camiguin was a bit exhausting and fun at the same time.

At past 2:00 P.M. (I think it was almost 3:00 P.M.) when I finally landed on Benoni Port and set foot on Camiguin Island. But I don't have my accommodation yet. I just have a list of a couple of cheap places to stay at while in Camiguin and what I know is that most of them are in Mambajao. So I just took another van going to Mambajao (My butt is starting to hurt now!).

Ferry ride from Balingoan to Benoni Port

The van fare from Benoni Port to Mambajao town proper is 30.00 PHP. The driver will drop you off at the market, then, you can ride a tricycle (which are color coded) - Orange for places on West Route and Green for places on East Route (as far as I can remember :D). However, since I don't have any accommodation yet and I was too scared to ride the tricycle or "motorella" as they call it, I asked the driver if he can drop me off to some of the cheap accommodations I've listed and it became a special trip for 100.00 PHP (Sorry! I was an amateur. :( - learn from this). I was supposed to get a room at GV Hotel but this would mean that I have to stay at the town proper. I wanted a sea side location, so, I ended up at Medano Resort at Yumbing, Mambajao. I decided to get the dorm type room for 350.00 PHP/night and shared it with 2 British backpackers (Nose Bleed!). The place was new and decent. The dorm type room is good for 10 people. They also provide lockers for your things (if you are not comfortable leaving them in the room). The place also has a rooftop bar (this is where the free wi-fi is at) in case, you are too lazy to roam around. The owner Sir Rolly was very accommodating and was like a Dad to me.

I felt exhausted after settling in so I was not able to roam around and look for a place where I can buy a cheap meal. So, I decided to check out the bar on the rooftop and just hang out there. Unfortunately, the meals are too pricey for me, but I have no choice because I was already hungry. I ordered Potato Salad for 95.00 PHP (this served as my breakfast, lunch and dinner) and just watched the Sunset. At around 8:00 P.M. I took a shower and then, went back to the rooftop by 9:00 P.M. to check out the acoustic set from a local singer. Finally, slept around 11:00 P.M.

Pamphlet of Medano Resort ( Sorry, I wasn't able to take a picture of the room and the actual place)

Selfie! Potato Salad and Views from the rooftop.

Day 2. Around Camiguin.

I woke up by 6:00 A.M. and started to prepare for my Camiguin tour. Roaming around in Camiguin is usually done via motorcycle. If you'll be the one to drive around, you can rent it for 400.00 PHP for the whole day. But since I was an amateur, (I'll admit I'm scared to get lost) I asked for a driver which cost me additional 350.00 PHP. After eating breakfast (for 150.00 PHP because I was too shy to say no to Sir Rolly when he asked me to have it first before starting the tour), I was off to see what Camiguin has to offer. My first stop was at the Walkway to the old Volcan and Stations of the Cross. You have to pay 5.00 PHP for a 30-minutes hike to the top to see that rewarding view (you'll be able to see the Sunken Cemetery Cross from the top). I had a funny and a scary moment when I did the hike! First, I almost climb the slope because I didn't look left and I thought that was the only way to go to the top. Then, while on the way down, a snake passed before me. 

Going around in Camiguin.
Next stop was the Sunken Cemetery. I paid 250.00 PHP (includes 100.00 PHP environmental fee, 150.00 PHP guide fee and 50.00 PHP snorkeling set)  for a swim here.

*Tip: This can be cheaper if you'll be able to join a group that will do the same activity.

Current and Original Cross of Sunken Cemetery, Old Volcan and Mt. Hibok Hibok background and some underwater shots.
I also checked out the old church ruins which was also destroyed when the old volcan erupted and Tuasan falls but I skipped the soda water park and Sto. Nino cold spring. I decided to grab a lunch from a small eatery (paid 90.00 PHP for 2 meals - mine and for the driver), then head out to Mantigue Island.

Old church ruins (altar, bell tower and convent) and Tuasan Falls

The boat station to Mantigue Island is in Barangay San Roque which is near Benoni Port. The fee for the boat is 550.00 PHP and it is good for 6 persons. And because I was alone, this is too much for me to pay. Luckily, I was able to join a group of 4 people from Cebu who are going to the island on that exact time. I ended up paying 110.00 PHP for the boat fare and 20.00 PHP environmental fee (this will be collected once you hit the island). The boat ride is around 20-30 minutes. 

*Pros and Cons of joining a group: You have to follow their time. I suggest you ask the group how long they plan to stay on the place.

Panoramic shot of Mantigue Island

I guess I was really lucky because the group I met stayed on the island for 3 hours. So, we get to roam around, take pictures and swim. They even invited me to have dinner with them for free! The place where they are staying was just a 2-minutes walk away from where I'm staying. We even found out that one of my British roommates also joined them on their 1st day in Camiguin :D. I went back to my accommodation at around 10:00 P.M. and the group went back to Cebu the next day.

Met Carl, Dale, Rio and Hai Dy of Cebu :)

Before having dinner with them I also went to Katibawasan Falls (there is a 30.00 PHP entrance fee). I was the only one on the place when I got in. It felt like the falls was mine! :D
Then, my last stop was at Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring (also has 30.00 PHP entrance fee). Unlike in Katibawasan falls, the place was full (I think the place was ideal for family picnics). I still took a dip since I already pay to get in and stayed for 10 minutes. Before heading back to Medano Resort and prepare for the dinner invite, me and my driver ate "Isaw" (roasted chicken intestine) first.

Katibawasan Falls and Isaw

Day 3. Last Day!

This is the day I planned to visit the White Island Sandbar. I was up at around 6:00 A.M. even though, they strongly suggest that you visit the island as early as 5:00 A.M., but this is my last day, and I'm not in a hurry. The boat station for White Island is just 5-minutes walk away from where I'm staying. I went there before 7:00 A.M. The boat fare is 450.00 PHP which is good for 6 persons. You also have to pay 20.00 PHP entrance fee. And again, since I was alone, I asked the boatmen if I can join any group going to the island. They let me join a family, so, I just paid 100.00 PHP.

When we arrived at the island, the family and I went separate ways (I still have to join them when they get back to Yumbing). and started to experience the sandbar on our own. I rented an umbrella (for 150.00 PHP) and bought a beer (for 50.00 PHP). Found a perfect spot to chill and started taking pictures. Then, I laid on the sand and started listening to my playlist (And everything was SO PERFECT!!!). However, by 9:00 A.M., the family told me that we will be heading back to Yumbing. This was the sad part of being a plus 1, because I was planning to stay there until noon but I have no choice :(.

White Island Sandbar, Camiguin

I went back to Medano Resort first and upload some of the photos before heading out to look for an eatery to have lunch. I found a small eatery near the school and I had a pancit (stir fry noodles) and rice (for 20.00 PHP). Then I rode the motorella going to Vjandep bakery in Mambajao town proper to buy the famous pastel for my family in Manila. The fare was 10.00 PHP and the driver was so nice that he just wait for me, so, that I don't have to ride another motorella going back to Yumbing. 

After getting into town and back, I went for a walk on the shore took some pictures during the golden hour and waited for the sunset. Then, I went to the rooftop and drink the last bottle of beer I bought while in Camiguin. 

Rode the motorella! Sorry for the puffy eyes I took a nap before heading to the shore during the golden hour. Stayed there until sunset. :D

Day 4. Going back to Manila.

I left the resort at 5:00 A.M. I rode a motorella going to Mambajao market where the van was dropping me off on my first day. Unfortunately, there was no van at that time so I was forced to just ride the jeepney (the fare is 23.00 PHP from Mambajao market to Benoni Port) because I don't want to pay for 150.00 PHP motorcycle fare just going to Benoni Port. But we didn't leave until it was 6:45 A.M. and now I'm starting to get worried because I still have to take 5 hours of travel to get to Laguindingan airport and I might have to hustle to catch my flight to Manila.

When we arrived in Benoni Port the ferry was already leaving and I don't have any choice again but to wait for the next one which will leave after another hour. I felt like crying at this moment. I started to pray that I'll be able to arrive at the airport before boarding time, and God has a way of answering prayers. I met Sir Manu, a local in Camiguin but he also has a house in Cagayan De Oro. He was also traveling to CDO that time and he assisted me by talking to the boatmen in the ferry and try to convince them to leave earlier. When we arrived at Balingoan, he immediately talk to a van driver and told them that I'm in a rush to get to the airport and request to assist me. He also asked for my contact number so that he can check on me.

I arrived at the airport at 12:55 P.M., 5 minutes before the boarding time. I can't describe the relief I felt that time. While getting on the plane, I received a call from Sir Manu and thanked him once again for looking after me. He also told me to contact him in case I'll be travelling back to Camiguin. 

1:30 P.M. the plane left from CDO and arrived safely in Manila at 3:30 P.M. There was a 45 minutes delay due to the queue of landing planes on NAIA.


I was able to survive the whole trip for 4,500.00 PHP which could have been lesser if I wasn't too amateur. :D