Tag Archives: travel

Water and Sands in the Philippines

Just a few days ago Cebu registered a high 44.1 degrees heat index according to PAG-ASA Mactan. According to the said local state weather bureau, the heat index (also called human discomfort index) is the actual temperature felt by the body based on air temperature, humidity, and the surrounding environment. Quite a number of people on my FB feed shouted their discomfort with a slew of posts ranging from how polar caps are melting to comparisons of heat felt to the fires of hell reiterating how HOT this summer is becoming.

When it is this HOT, you can’t helped but think of the many places you’d rather want to be than stay at your sauna-like home. Luckily, the Philippines is blessed with a lot of wonderful places offering escape from the summer heat. As an archipelago, our country literally abounds with bodies of water that will refresh you!!! Here are a few outside of Cebu that I was fortunate enough to have visited over the years. I believe these will give you reason to hop on a ferry or book your next flight out of the city!


blue lagoon, pagudpud ilocos norte Continue reading Water and Sands in the Philippines

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Compact Bohol 1-Day Tour: 9 Beautiful spots in a day

Travelling to Cebu’s next door neighbor has always been a plan but I never had the chance to explore the beautiful places of Bohol. So when I heard that my former classmate, Mich, along with her friends and cousins will be exploring the island, I got myself on board.

We were able to book a van for our Bohol Day Tour for P1,050 each for 12 pax inclusive of entrance fees and buffet lunch during the Loboc River Cruise. The itinerary included 10 tourist spots of Bohol: Hinagdanan Cave, Blood Compact Shrine, Dauis Church, Loboc Church, Loboc Floating Restaurant, Chocolate Hills, Man-made Forest, Tarsier Conservation Center, Hanging Bridge, and Prony. Continue reading Compact Bohol 1-Day Tour: 9 Beautiful spots in a day

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Canigao Island

Canigao Island of Matalom, Leyte is my first trip in Eastern Visayas as a tourist. I once visited Palo and Tacloban, Leyte during a leadership conference a decade back but didn’t have a chance to tour around.

At work, our colleague in UP Cebu pitched for this lovely island for our summer vacation / adventure last year. We conceded gladly after a quick check over the Internet of photos featuring Canigao Island (Due also to a hospitable offer that her family in Matalom will send us off with food :)). Continue reading Canigao Island

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Northern Negros Occidental

Northern Negros Occidental is a happy mix of rural and city life. A halo-halo of the old and new. Happy to frequent this quaint place.

The Ruins is mistaken as a Bacolod tourist spot. However, it is actually located in Talisay City and perhaps the most popular tourist itinerary for people who visit Negros via Bacolod or Silay (Related post: A quick visit to The Ruins).

The Ruins
The restoration efforts around The Ruins has transformed an abandoned, rundown mansion into Negros Occidental’s most famous tourist spot.

Continue reading Northern Negros Occidental

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Gigantes Islands

Located in Iloilo’s north, the beautiful Gigantes Islands of Carles Municipality share the Visayan Sea with the fisherfolks of Negros Occidental and Cebu. Going there would take around 2 hours of land travel (private vehicle) from Iloilo City to Estancia port and another 3 hours through the sea on a motorized banca from Estancia town.

The boat-ride is quite rough so those who are prone to sea-sickness or motion-sickness better take some medicine beforehand.

Your island hopping itinerary would be a mix of white islands and sandbar, the blue sea, a “living” cave, and good dose of fun minus the distraction of a mobile connection. To top that, cheap fresh seafoods abound. Shells sell at around 200 pesos to fill a basin.

Continue reading Gigantes Islands

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South Cebu itinerary: Osmeña Peak, Tumalog Falls, Cangcua-Ay Beach, and Aguinid Waterfalls

To maximize what remains of the holiday break for another adventure, off I went with friends to visit Cebu’s popular southern tourist destinations. On our itinerary were: Osmeña Peak in Mantalongon, Dalaguete; Tumalog Falls in Oslob; Cangcua-Ay Private Beach in Tan-awan, Oslob; and Aguinid Waterfalls in Tangbo, Samboan.

The itinerary was quite pain-inducing: A good climb and descent to/from Osmena Peak; an uphill walk through the steep road from Tumalog Falls; the 200+ steps of Cangcua-Ay Private Beach; and the trek through the 5 levels of Aguinid Waterfalls. Continue reading South Cebu itinerary: Osmeña Peak, Tumalog Falls, Cangcua-Ay Beach, and Aguinid Waterfalls

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Escaping the Mandaue traffic

Mandaue traffic
Not particularly in Mandaue. But traffic has become a nightly hassle going up north.

Traveling north of Cebu through Mandaue City after work has been a hassle recently due to the heavy traffic caused by the drainage construction along segments of the Cebu North Road.

With the help of Waze, I get to try out new routes to possibly escape the long hours of driving through the traffic jam around Metro Cebu. ‘Possibly’ since not all routes turn out well for the purpose.

Here is the route I got led to by the app to relieve myself of the traffic. Take caution. The streets you’ll drive along are sometimes narrow and dark. Take caution of the ditches at your side. Driving time from the Maguikay bridge to the corner of H. Abellana and the North Road was about 30-40 minutes.

Here is the route:

1. From M. C. Briones Street (“Hiway”), take M. L. Quezon Avenue instead of driving up the flyover.

2. Turn right to Mardonio Ceniza Street.

3. At the end of Mardonio Ceniza Street, turn left and take B. Suico Street.

4. When you get past the intersection of B. Suico Street and P. Sanchez/Pagsabungan Road, turn right on the first corner and drive about 500m.

5. Turn right after 500m. The street will be narrow and will require a lot of giving way to vehicles driving the opposite direction.

6.Turn right at the end of the street and you’ll exit to H. Abellana Street. Just a few meters to exit to the North Road.

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When in Camiguin

White Island, Camiguin.
White Island, Camiguin.

I have traveled to other places before but my trip to Camiguin last weekend was special. It was my first real close-up encounter with Mindanao. Clueless about what to expect, I researched and planned to maximize the time and expense, both limited in my case.


Harbouring from my own experience, I have made a checklist for budget travellers who wish to maximize their visit to the island.

Black sand beach of Agoho, Camiguin
The beach is their playground. (Agoho, Camiguin)

ENJOY THE BLACK-SAND BEACH just as much as its fairer counterpart. The beaches in mainland Camiguin are generally dark because of the island’s volcanic origin. While others may frown at it, I loved it because it felt so unpretentious and so rebellious to the white-sand beach supremacy. This white-sand beach-obsession has undervalued black-sand beaches in the country which, in my opinion, have an organic, non-conformist appeal.

Sunken Cemetery
The cemetery is ALIVE! with corals.

SNORKEL AT THE SUNKEN CEMETERY. It has more than just the giant cross and historical value to offer. Concealed by the sea are 26 hectares of marine sanctuary, teeming with corals, fishes and other marine life forms of different colors, shapes and sizes.

ASTONISHING! These kids at the Old Church Ruins of Camiguin sell candles and take amazing photos like pros. We learned that they were taught by the Department of Tourism. 1-2-3, smile!
ASTONISHING! These kids at the Old Church Ruins of Camiguin sell candles and take amazing photos like pros. We learned that they were taught by the Department of Tourism. 1-2-3, smile!

SAY YES TO CHILD PHOTOGRAPHERS who are part-time candle vendors at the Old Church Ruins. They are familiar with the best angles of the ruins and the choicest spots to pose at. This is useful for those who are in a hurry. However, make sure your camera settings are correctly adjusted. Also, remember to check the photos before leaving to avoid taking home pictures of poor quality. And, of course, give the children their tip for the service.

Katibawasan Falls
Katibawasan Falls is a must see in Camiguin. Test your tolerance by taking a dip in its ice cold pool.
Sto. Niño Cold Spring
Sto. Niño Cold Spring is among the many springs you can visit in Camiguin.
Ardent Hot Spring
Capping off the Camiguin Island Tour is the Ardent Hot Spring for a natural sauna experience.

BE READY TO GET HOT AND COLD during the island package tour. The itinerary usually includes icy cold springs and waterfalls, beaches and hot springs which will literally subject you to “extreme” temperatures. We chose to skip soda water pools and to only eat lunch at Sto. Niño Cold Spring to save more time but do not do the same in Katibawasan Falls. It is both strikingly beautiful and cold, it’s torturous!

Mantigue Island
The quite secluded Mantigue Island in Mahinog town, Camiguin is a sweet escape for meditation and relaxation. A few meters off the island is a marine sanctuary which is home to schools of fishes and some giant clams.

COMMUTE around Camiguin. ‘Relas, short for motorelas or tricycles, and jeepneys will allow you to save bucks. Take an eastward ‘rela [Note: This is if you’re on the western side of Mambajao like Brgy. Agoho. Don’t be confused by the “West Bound” signage of the ‘rela. These orange “West Bound” ‘relas ply east/west of the western side of the town.] to downtown Mambajao then a jeepney ride to Benoni Port on your way to Mantigue Island. It costs P10 and P20 each ride, respectively. Both rides take 30-45 minutes. The more accessible ¬habal-habal is pricier. One offered us P150 for two people for the way which is twice more expensive.

Try a small serving of local delicacy Kiping (Kab-kab) at 5 pesos.

SKIP THE RESTOS to save money for pasalubong. You will not miss much, anyway. Price range per dish in the restaurants we came across is Php 150-300. Carenderia dish, meanwhile, only costs Php 25-30 per serving. Out of our food budget savings, we were able to buy four and a half dozens of Pastel (yema-filled buns) for a sum of Php 635.Other Camiguin treats you should consider sampling are chicharong nukos (squid crackling) and kiping (large fried taro flour chips with muscovado syrup) for Php 20 and Php 5 per serving, respectively.While my visit to Camiguin was truly enjoyable and generally smooth, there are a few things I wish I had considered and had actually done if only I had the money and time (which I hope you would also have, haha!).

Marine sanctuaries
Camiguin local government units have declared several spots off the island as marine sanctuaries.

INVEST IN GOOD SNORKELLING GEARS. While a set may be pricey, it can be used in almost all island adventures. Take note, we have 7,107 islands to choose from in the Philippines alone! Rentals, on the other hand, cost Php 50 to 150 per set. Buying your own set is not only budget-friendly but also sanitary. Imagine all the mouths those snorkelling sets went through!

CLIMB MT. HIBOK-HIBOK if you have the time. The climb and descent take around seven hours according to our guide. Permits from the DENR also need to be secured beforehand. Camping for a night is also allowed. This means that an additional day has to be spent for the experience. This active volcano is responsible for the warm temperature of Ardent hot spring. Also, its thick forest cover is just inviting.

I hope this checklist helps. Enjoy Camiguin!

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Camiguin mountainscape

Mt. Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin, as seen from White Island, looks very much like a hat. Reminds me of The Little Prince.

White Island and Hibok-hibok
Mt. Hibok-hibok completes the photo-binging in picturesque White Island (sandbar) of Camiguin, PH

Elephant inside a boa constrictor

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.
They answered me: “Why should any one be frightened by a hat?”

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Then, I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained.

–The Little Prince

You may read our feature about this beautiful island here: When in Camiguin.

More photos here: Locals take the best photos.

Elephant in boa constrictor image was pulled from http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/the-big-lesson-of-a-little-prince-recapture-the-creativity-of-childhood/.

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