Breathtaking Batanes

September 12, 2017

IMG_0757I can’t believe it took me this long to visit this wonderful place. Batanes, an archipelago province located in the northernmost part of the Philippines, is one of the most picturesque places I have been to here in my country. It’s actually closer to Taiwan than in Manila. We were quite lucky with the weather because September is a bit tricky when traveling in the Philippines as you will most likely get daily rain showers. We had 4 days of blue skies and sunshine, thus our unexpected tan lines.


There’s a lot of sightseeing in Batanes and it is broken down into municipalities. Basco, Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan, Sabtang and Itbayat. We were able to visit everything but Itbayat because you will need to stay there overnight as they only have 1 boat that ferries daily.

Batanes is a bit pricey compared to other provinces in the Philippines. I guess because of its location, it is quite far from the mainland. It is still very much rural and fortunately well preserved, thanks to the Presidential Proclamation making Batanes the only province declared in its entirety as a protected landscape and seascape area.

Just a few things to expect when in Batanes:

  1. If you’re a Globe subscriber, expect to have no or little signal and no 3G or LTE. They say Smart subscribers have better signal in Batanes. Wifi is also not free, you will need to pay the hotel or restaurant for internet (P 150 for a few mbps only, quite expensive).
  2. Most hotels offer packaged tours with an air-conditioned van, lunch and a guide. But if you want to save more, you can hire a tricycle that can take you around (which is what we did) or you can rent bicycles from the town center.
  3. If you are a coffee lover (like us), there are probably only 2 cafes you can visit for a decent cup of coffee or latte. Harbour Cafe or Fundacion Pacita. They also serve yummy pasta if you get tired of eating local food.

On the third day, we visited  Sabtang which is in a different island. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit because you can swim in some areas. We rented a small boat that took us to Vuhus Island, a 20 minute boat ride from Sabtang. We brought along some beers and snacks and just chilled in that island for an hour or so. On our last day, we hung out and took a quick dip at the Blue Lagoon (back in Basco).


Best time to visit is during summer or the dry ber months, however, they say it can get really packed. We were lucky that the weather was so nice and that there weren’t many tourists around. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.


The Philippines is soooo beautiful and I’m so happy I was able to see this great gem of an island called Batanes!

  • Our last hurrah for 2016.

Whitewater Rafting in CDO was amaaazing! We had tons of fun and finally I got to tick off one item on my to do list – ✔️Whitewater Rafting. We did it with The Red Rafts CDO and we were quite happy we chose this company. Banjo, our guide, was very fluent in english. Him and the other guide were also quite funny, always cracking up jokes and even telling us stories about the river and their adventures & misadventures. The course we got was the Advanced course which includes 21 rapids. I highly recommend this for the adventurous ones because the Basic course only has 14 rapids I think. They even have a photo and video coverage add on, which we got so we didn’t have to bring a camera with us.

After the whitewater rafting, we had dinner in Kagay-Anon Restaurant (which was actually near our hotel – Red Planet). Really bad service but man, the food was good! You just have to be patient and nice to the waiters so they will tend to you.

We only stayed in CDO for 1 day because we wanted to spend more time in Camiguin. So after late breakfast at Circa Eatery 1850 (which was also good btw!), we started our journey towards the beautiful island of Camiguin.

From Agora Terminal, we took a van to Balingoan Port for about P 100 each. That was a 2 hour ride with 4 people squished in 1 row. Then we took a Ferry ride to Benoni Port. In Benoni Port, we hired a multi-cab for P 250 (I haggled) going to our resort (Contact Kuya Roy at +63926 826 4166). Our resort, Nypa Style Resort Camiguin, was so nice. Ilenia and Stefano, the owners of the resort, are Italian and they were very nice and helpful. The resort was very well designed, they have a large garden in the middle and the restaurant was so homey and inviting. Ilenia even cooked for us on our first night. They offer home made pasta and other authentic italian dishes. Really yum! I highly recommend this place when you visit Camiguin. They even have scooters for rent for only P 450 a day.

Unfortunately, the weather in Camiguin was slightly shitty. We were not able to go to White Island and Mantigue Island because the boats were not allowed to travel and then we missed the waterfall because we arrived late, the gate to the waterfalls closes at 5 pm. On the other hand, we were able to snorkel and see the giant clams in Cabila Beach and we also climbed Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active stratovolcano with 1,332+ masl.


After climbing Mt. Hibok-Hibok (which took us 7 hours in total, up and down), we had dinner at Guerrera, a fil-am owned asian restaurant. And OMG it was sooo good! Their spicy pad thai is the bomb and the chicken rendang was amazing. We had a really good meal, well except for the vietnamese coffee which was quite disappointing.

Our New Year’s Eve in Camiguin was very simple and quiet but it was refreshing to be in a different place, away from the crowded clubs of Fort or Makati. We didn’t see any fireworks and we were asleep by 12:30 am. Haha!

I would definitely want to come back and visit Camiguin again. The locals are nice, the island is so beautiful and there are so many other places to see and visit in the island. I guess ’til next time then, Camiguin! See you again soon.



Puerto Princesa

October 20, 2016

Puerto Princesa, located in the middle part of Palawan, is actually more of a city. It’s not like when you visit El Nido where you are closer to the different islands. Puerto Princesa has huge malls, loads of mini hotels and even traffic lights – although still provincial looking.


On our first night, we went on a Firefly Watching Tour. It was 1 hour away by van from the city but the whole river tour was probably just 20 minutes. It was interesting though I must say, I enjoyed the Firefly Watching Tour in Bicol more than this one.


The next day, we went to Sabang Beach. Sand was really nice and white but the water was quite strong.




Beside Sabang beach, you can do a Paddle boat tour by the mangroves or try their Zipline. After Sabang beach, we rode a boat to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which is a protected area. The river is called Puerto Princesa Underground River. The tour was also very quick, about 20 minutes. It was nice, but I think I expected a lot.

I’d say if you are a tourist and you don’t have much time, better to skip Puerto Princesa and focus on El Nido or Coron. Nevertheless, it was a fun quick weekend trip with the boyfriend. 💝


Cheers! (This is a pretty good local craft beer btw!)

Islas de Gigantes

September 16, 2016


A total of about 4-5 hours from Manila and you will get to this island. Very bad signal, no internet. Just some white sand, clear waters and if you’re lucky like us, some awesome weather. Very different from the usual Boracay or Cebu as the province is not yet commercialised. But it was refreshing to see the simple life in the islands of Visayas.

Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands in Carles, Ilo-Ilo. Most of the islands we visited had little coves by the Visayan Sea. To get here, we flew from Manila to Roxas city via PAL and took a tricycle from the airport to the Ceres Bus Terminal. (Side note: The tricycle drivers in Roxas take advantage of tourists. We stayed in Roxas City on our last night and all these tricycle drivers were charging us P 50 – P 100 for a ride that would normally cost P 8 – P 16. Don’t be fooled.) We went to Balasan Terminal via the Ceres Bus and took a tricycle to Bancal Port. You can also choose to ride a van if you want. From Bancal Port, we hired a boat for 2 days (through the tourism rep in that port) for P 4,500 only. And that includes the island hopping and the return transfers from Bancal Port to our hotel (Arjan Hotel). We were 6 in our group. Our boat man, Kuya Nonoy, was really really nice and surprisingly, a very good photographer haha!

Island hopping is basically the only thing you can do in this area. Everything can be done in 1 day. So what we did, we ordered food from Arjan Hotel (our budget was P 150/ head) and they packed it together with plates and utensils since we wanted to have lunch in one of the islands (Bantigui Sand Bar). In Bantigui, they were selling steamed scallops for P 1 each!!! It was so good we ordered 100 pieces! I highly recommend this. Eat it together with spicy vinegar and rice. Yum! We also ordered a case of beer (Arjan Hotel gave us some ice and a cooler) and that was the best decision ever.

* Just a tip, though we really enjoyed the service of Arjan Hotel, don’t be bullied into hiring a “tour guide” from them which they will tell you is “mandatory”.

1. It’s not mandatory to have a tour guide (again, do not be fooled) and 2. After we did the island hopping, we were very happy we didn’t get a tour guide because there was no need for one whatsoever. The owner of the hotel hated our guts. It led to a looong argument but anyway, that’s another story to tell. hahaha!

The next day, we went to Roxas City and stayed at Islands Hotel as our flight back to Manila was quite early. There is nothing to do in Roxas City but eat and well, go to the mall. So that was exactly what we did. We went to the bay and ordered loads of seafood. The seafood in Ilo-Ilo and Roxas are very cheap and they’re all fresh. So make sure you take advantage of this. In this trip, we had grilled fish, grilled squid, crabs, scallops, oysters and some seaweed. For probably less than P 300 per head.

Our Islas de Gigantes trip was a fun experience. I’d say 3 days 2 nights was enough for us to see Carles Ilo-Ilo and Roxas City. Another beautiful Philippine island off my list ✔️😊

Masungi Georeserve

July 26, 2016


How is it that this beautiful piece of land is just 1.5 hours away from crazy Metro Manila? And I mean acres of lush greenery, healthy trees and the unique rock formations that created the name Masungi – from the word Masungki which means ‘spiked’ in English (pertaining to the spiked limestone landscape seen all over the the conservation area).

Masungi Georeserve is a discovery trail with paved steps up & down the mountain, sturdy white ropes made to look like large hammocks and hanging bridges overlooking the whole area.


The company taking care of Masungi (Blue Star Construction & Development Corporation) and the foundation body of Masungi have taken real good care of this place and the whole trek was very organized. We barely saw other people even if we knew there was a group ahead of us and after us. Our guide, Kuya Ruben, would coordinate with other guides regarding our pace and location, making it appear as if we had the whole place to ourselves!

There is a long waiting list, so you must book very well in advance. We had to wait for 4 months. Fortunately, the weather that day was perfect. It rained the night before our trip so the ground was cool and we started at 7 am so the sun was about to shine and it wasn’t that hot yet. It took us 5 hours in total (mostly because of all the picture taking). I highly recommend this mini adventure. The Php 1,400/person fee was truly worth it. 👍🏼 (oh, and it comes w a light snack and some water & juice too!) ☺️

Sadly, there is a land dispute happening now between Masungi and the local government of Tanay, Rizal. Apparently, the local government is supporting these land grabbers. Hopefully there will be a fair resolution in court soon. #SaveMasungi 🌳


My first time in El Nido Resorts Palawan and most definitely not the last. I can’t wait to see the other islands – Miniloc, Lagen and Pangalusian. ♥♥♥


Siargao Summer

April 2, 2016

3 years ago, I visited Siargao for my 29th birthday. At that time, I was visiting my friend Sanne who used to work for Kawili, a Swedish-owned Resort. Now, she has her very own place in Siargao called Panglaom Hostel, and it’s actually quite popular! Amazing how the island has grown in a span of 3 years. I mean, not that it’s like Boracay or Cebu. There are just more resorts and cafes now, although still owned by individuals passionate about the island and the lifestyle. So I do hope it stays that way.

My second trip to Siargao was slightly different. It was more touristy, I’d say. My boyfriend’s family visited the Philippines so we had to take them out and show them around. It was fun, of course. We visited a lot of the small islands and lagoon around Siargao and really… I still get blown away by how amazingly beautiful my country is.

We stayed in Kalinaw Resort which is owned by 2 French guys, Fred and Pierre. They only have 5 villas so the place was very spacious, well kept and private. The girls in the restaurant are so cute, friendly & accommodating, as well as the managers, Alex and Mika. Truly fantastic service! Breakfast was yum and the restaurant serves really awesome pizzas and pasta, cooked to perfection – European style and flavor. I am very happy and pleased with our stay in Kalinaw Resort. If you do not mind splurging a bit on accommodations, I highly recommend this place.

We stayed for a few days in the island. Currently off season for surfing in Siargao (best season is around September-February), however there is still surfing all year round. Siargao has numerous surf spots spread across the island. Every morning, we would wake up at 6:30 am to surf at Jacking Horse. Then on our last day, we went to Daku point.

Aside from surfing, there are a lot of activities and places to check out in Siargao.

Sugba Lagoon, also known as Caob

En route you will pass the mangroves in Del Carmen. When you get to the lagoon, there’s a center where you can eat and drink. You can go swimming, paddle boarding and even snorkel. You can find some of those stingless jelly fish just like in Sohoton.




Naked Island

It’s literally a small island full of fine white Boracay-like sand, nothing else hence the name.  And yes, I think you can get naked here (?).



Daku Island

Here you can take the boat and surf at Daku point or for some, go snorkeling. You can also just stay in the island and eat, have some fresh buko and just relax.

Guyam Island


A small island with loads of coconut trees. Nothing to do here but just relax, eat, swim and chill.

There are still so many places to see in Siargao. We didn’t have enough time to visit Sohoton and Magpupungko Rock pool. But there’s always next time. The days went by so fast, 5 days not enough. But well, like anything else in travel, it’s always never enough right? 🙂

Welcome to Club Paradise!

September 3, 2015

It was a sunny day. The sky was clear & blue and the clouds were almost nowhere in sight – a great day to be in Paradise!

We (my boyfriend & I) arrived in Busuanga airport after a quick 1 hour flight and we were greeted by 2 smiling men holding a Club Paradise sign. They escorted us to the van that lead us to a nice private boat exclusively for the resort guests. They gave us a sandwich and some bottled water after handing us these shell bracelets with the logo of the resort. I wore that bracelet for the whole 3 days I was there in the island.

Mang Carding, one of the welcome crew that joined us in the boat, has been with Club Paradise for about 20 years already. He started working in Club Paradise when it was still managed by a German man. Now that the Discovery Leisure group acquired the resort a year ago, he is considered one of the original (and popular) employees of the resort.

The second we got to the island, I was ecstatic. The white sand was almost blinding and the staff were all smiling and singing their original song that goes “Welcome to Club Paradise!…” Refreshments were served and a complimentary foot massage was waiting for us outside our beach front cottage. How awesome was that?

The service of this resort is truly 5 stars and I am happy to be able to visit before they fully jump start their Discovery Leisure renovation. The beach front cottage was spacious and cozy, with dark wood flooring, a large bed with white sheets and fluffy pillows, a walk in closet and a modest bathroom – a beach cottage that I have envisioned as I was booking the room online. Though the food menu and quality was not that grand, everything else was superb. From the manager that approached us to say hi, to Mang Carding who took us snorkeling, to the boys that set up the volleyball net and to the staff that taught us towel origami, our stay in Club Paradise was indeed a vacation in Paradise. This definitely won’t be our last visit.






Mt. Pinatubo

February 17, 2013

Drove up off road with a 4 x 4 truck and hiked up Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano with a lake on the crater. Beautiful adventure with friends.


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