Bacolod in 4 Days

Bacolod Trip Itinerary (Bacolod – Lakawon – Iloilo)

Day 1: Lakawon Island & The Ruins 

Start the day by traveling to Lakawon Island, make sure that you get there early, or go here during the weekday where there’s a high chance of having the place to yourselves. There’s food and beer available there.

Watch the sunset at the Ruins, in Silay, as this is the best time to be there, according to locals.

Day 2: Mambukal Mountain Resort or Don Salvador Benedicto

Enjoy a day of waterfalls and a sulfuric pool dip in Mambukal. Climb the mountains to see the 7 falls! This will surely take your breath away! Get Family Cottage 2 as this has the best view of the lagoon.

Don Salvador Benedicto offers a lot of attractions for nature trippers, such as hiking, riding one of the longest ziplines, nature trip and sight seeing. Moreover, the high altitude and the cool climate is similar to Tagaytay. The Magnetic Hill is also located here!

Day 3&4: Guimaras

Make sure you leave early in the morning to catch the earliest ferry to Iloilo and then a pump boat to Guimaras. Bring food before going to the resorts as the locals close shop at around 7pm.

 

Food Suggestions:

Manokan Country offers an assembly of Chicken Inasal restaurants, with so much to choose from. I suggest to try eating at Aida’s Manokan! You should also try a local favorite, Nena’s Rose Chicken Inasal, which can be found almost everywhere.

The Old Pala-Pala Market is a must for your Seafood craving! If you’re feeling fancy, you should try Imay’s Bar & Restaurant (6th Street), or the 18th Street Pala-Pala Restaurant.

If you have a sweet tooth, or just looking for pasalubong, drop by Calea Restaurant, and Il Ideal for the cakes, and Pendy’s for their great tasting Napoleones!

Camiguin Island Travel Guide

As the second smallest island in the Philippines, Camiguin offers a lot! Its history is rich and the locals are very friendly. 🙌

The typical itinerary for Camiguin is a tour around the island.

Leaving the Port of Balingoan at 9am, we got to the Benoni Port after about an hour of travel.

We rented a multicab to take us around the island. The driver first brought us to the Sto. Nino Cold Springs, where they paved the sides (looks like a pool) of the spring to accomodate more guests.  However, the water is definitely natural, the flooring is all organic, and there are still fishes in it.

Right after lunch, we headed to the Tuasan Falls, the Guiob Church Ruins, and the Sunken Cemetery Cross, until we finally went up to the Old Walkway to the Old Volcano, which is basically the Stations of the Cross, that is paved only up to the 3rd Station. We then checked-in at Paguia’s Cottages, leaving our bags and heading to the Ardent Hot Springs.

On our second day, we decided to head to the dock early in the morning to see the White Island Sand Bar. After which, we headed back to the cottages to collect our stuff. We went on to the Katibawasan Falls and the Giant Clam Conservation, where you can snorkel and see the clams while being pulled by guides, however, we had to leave early as the waves were getting bigger.

We wanted to visit the Mantigue Island but due to the bad weather and our lack of time, we weren’t able to fit it in our schedule.

Tips:

  1. If you can bring your own gear, e.g. Snorkelling, take em with you.
  2. Bring lots of water, you need to hydrate.
  3. If you are trekking, bring appropriate footwear.
  4. Always get extra luggage room for Lanzones. You can get a Kilo for as low as Php25!!
  5. Buy the Pastel in CDO if you’re returning. They sell it with the same price!

A Forgotten Palace

One of the first projects of the late President Corazon Aquino was forming the PCGG, or the Philippine Commission on Good Governance. Their primary objective was to sequester all of the ’embezzled’ money and properties that were results of the Marcos family’s ‘corruption’; the Sto. Niño Shrine in Tacloban was one of them. 

The Sto. Niño Shrine was one of the 29 rest houses that the late Ferdinand Marcos had built. This one was for his wife, Imelda, who was from the same province. Imelda Marcos was mostly known for her collection of shoes, and her immense loyalty to her husband and family. What history classes didn’t teach us was that she was also a ‘Patroness of Arts and Culture’, and the Sto. Niño Shrine was a showcase of her talent and passion.

Thirty years after the government sequestered this palace, it was abandoned to the elements.

From the outside, it looks like a scrappy looking building, with planks of wood covering the windows, and dints and holes coating the walls.

We had to pay an entrance fee of Php200 for 3 people, and an additional Php60 in excess. There was also a fee for use of camera (Php150), video camera (Php200) and gadgets (Php30).

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The Shrine also served as a chapel, holding a liturgical mass during the feast of Tacloban City.

 

According to their pamphlet, ‘it is one of the frequently visited tourist spot in the city’. It houses different collections of intricately handcrafted artefacts, furnitures and paintings of famous artists. Moreover, each room has a different motif, showcasing native wood such as bamboo, rattan, and narra, shells and basket weaves married with Eastern and Western furnitures highlighting the innovation and creativity of the Filipinos.

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Si Malakas at Si Maganda. Made out of Narra.

 

It also served as a home of memorabilia for the Marcos family, where most of the gifts they received were placed. In fact, our tour guide, who was once a staff in the residence, knows about the history of most, if not all, items found inside. She said that the artefacts were mostly gifts from famous people like Mao Zedong, ancient vases and jars from China, headdresses from Asia, rags from Argentina, pianos from Spain, and mirrors from Austria among others. Being inside felt like being  in a different place. It was beautiful, stunning, and elegant. It was, truly, a treasure to be proud of.

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Wooden (Narra) Chandelier made in Pampanga.

Unfortunately, this place is self-sustaining and has been left to rot for years. In fact, to save off from bills, the lights in each room were turned off after going in them, and fragmented furnitures were not restored, just to keep ends meet. I feel bad that this was left rotting to its core.

I am calling on the government to do something about this place and urging the people to help support and sustain this valuable work of art. It is a National treasure to behold. It should be preserved for the next generation to see.

Food for thought, have the government left this to the care of the Marcoses, it could’ve been saved.

 

 

Mindanao in 4 Days

Mindanao Trip Itinerary (CDO – Bukidnon – Iligan – Camiguin)

Day 1: Bukidnon – White Water Rafting

Start the day at the Dahilayan Adventure Park, make sure that you get there early. Leave right before noon, and head on to the White Water Rafting Site.

Day 2: Iligan

Enjoy a day of waterfalls in Iligan. Take a van/ a bus to Iligan City, see the Maria Cristina Falls, the Mimbalot Falls, and the Tinago Falls. If you have time, eat your lunch at Gloria’s at Timoga and get a table by the beach. Grab dinner at the TreeHouse Food Arcade too.

Day 3&4: Camiguin

you need at least two days in Camiguin to truly appreciate its beauty and explore the scenes. Leave early to catch the earliest trip at the port of Balingoan, hire a multicab to explore the island. Make the trip to the Ardent hot springs last for a relaxing night. (You can also book a room here)

If you have extra time drop by Vjandep Bakeshop in CDO for pasalubong. You can get their famous Pastel and Shiga Chili.

 

Dahilayan Adventure Park

My friends and I went to Cagayan de Oro, and we decided to visit the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon.

We only have four hours to stay at the park so we opted to take a package. These are the attractions we did:

  1. 320MT plus 150MT Zipline (P250) – It’s a short one, you should definitely try this one first. You can do this by pair.
  2. Asia’s 1st Longest Dual Zipline (P500) – It’s basically an 840M zipline, with a drop of 100M! If you’re planning on trying this, you should try to get to the queue early, you will be transported via van to a launch tower. This can only fit 10 pax, more or less.
  3. Dropzone (P750/tandem) – It’s a heart-stopping, adrenaline pumping 120Ft. drop! You can do this by pair or alone. I would suggest doing it with a pair, as you have someone to share the scare with! You also get to disengage the cord to your fall! 😉
  4. Phyton Roller Zipride  (P300) – All we did was laugh the whole ride. It’s a roller coaster feel zipline type. Three of my friends had sore backs after this ride.

Prices are pegged if done individually. We got a package for all of these rides amounting to more or less P1000+.

11/28/15

Why do I travel?

Before going to a place, I ask myself:

  1. Have I been here?
  2. Is this going to be a new experience?
  3. Can I afford it?

And before I even answer these questions I have already bought a plane ticket to my destination.

You would probably think that I am carefree or I live the YOLO lifestyle. I don’t. I just believe that life shouldn’t be wasted working too hard.

Two years ago, I went to the US.  Alone. With relatives living two to three hours away, I drove myself to distant cities. I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Sta. Monica Beach, and the Capitol Park in California, all by my lonesome. The experience was exhilarating! What was supposed to be a month-long trip to California, extended to a six-month trip, staying and visiting other states such a Hawaii and Las Vegas. I was happy. It was amazing! I had so much to learn and a lot more to share.

Ever since then, traveling has been a part of me, my lifestyle. It’s not just a necessary get away, or a quick escape, but a way of life. It’s bonding, and sharing moments, and experiences. It’s laughing at your friend who fell off your raft on the first rapid, or sharing bunks just to save more cash. It’s being yourself and letting the emotions flourish, packing bags of memories. It is meant to be enjoyed. It is meant to be lived. It is not just the place, but the moments, the laughter, the scenery, and the people.

Follow me as I recount my experiences, as a traveler, a friend and an organizer! 🙂