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Archive for the ‘Pilipinas’ Category

Untouch

Philippines has 7,100 island so there are a lot to see, explore and experience.  Of course, Boracay, Palawan and Bohol are a great sites for diving that’s no doubt. Just recently we went to Apo Island….a beautiful place and it is said to be one of  the top 10 dive sites in the country and around the world.  The island is volcanic with 12 hectares  in land area. Dumaguete  is the capital of  Negros Oriental and  daily flights are available from  Manila to Dumaguete.  Normally it would  take 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach Dumaguete  Port.  From Dumaguete port transfer could be arranged according to the hotel service and it could take you 30 minutes to reach Malatapay, Dauin.  From Malatapay, there are boats that takes you directly to Apo Island. In general, one trait that we can be proud of  is hospitality while Dumaguete is known as “The City of Gentle People”. They have different kindness and they don’t really take advantage of tourist.  The are 2 main resorts in the Island Liberty Lodge and Apo Island Beach Resort but there are also some cheaper accomodations you could find around the island.

We have stayed in Liberty Lodge. The owner and the staffs are all very warm and friendly. They are not only friendly with tourists but with their fellow Filipinos like me. We were treated ike kings and queens.  The cuisine is just perfect because we could ask them to cook a certain dish and they do it even if  it’s not included in the menu.  This is our view from our balcony…..ah sunset ! I have always been fascinated by the sunsets and sunrises. When  they start to appear in the horizon and the light travels through the atmosphere that is why we see such magnificent colors like red, oranges and yellows.

Liberty lodge has probably 10 ooms and is decorated with Filipino touch with wooden bed, mosquito net, and with wide window as a form of  ventilation to replace the airconditioning.   They recently made an expansion to have bigger rooms,  each rooms has its own private balcony facing west of the island.  Room rates begin from 20 USD to 40 USD depending on the type of  accommodation.  This is our luxury room with toilet and bath, balcony and sea view. This is how the new rooms look like.  We are lucky to have stayed here.  It is very cheap, clean but the only inconvenience is that there is no hot water,  running water or showers neither aircons in the  rooms.  It’s local style of a water cistern and a handled pail of water dumped over your head. Yes, the Filipino way which has a lot of charm. The island has  an electricity schedule because they only use generators.  On the other hand, they provide rechargable  electric fans and lamps.

This is the restaurant with typical Filipino design and furnitures  made of wood and bamboo.  The dining place is very well positioned as there is a panoramic view of the beach.  Most of its specialties are Filipino cuisines  combined with some International dishes.  If you love fish then it’s the easiest dish you can have all  year round.  You can have the best fruit shake depending on the availability of fruits. Buko (or young  green coconut) is freshly serve in it’s natural shell. You could also ask the staff to open it for you so you could savour  its flesh soft, thin, sweet and silky taste of buko.

The view from the resturant

This place belongs to Apo Island Beach Resort. It’s true that we stayed in Liberty Lodge but it doesn’t mean we could not access to this beautiful beach. This is the  giant rock of  Baluarte.  What we normally did during out stay in Apo Island is have an  appetizer here before having lunch or dinner at Liberty Lodge restaurant.  This is a good compromise to take advantage of the place.

Speaking of diving, husband told me that it’s one of the best dive he did.  I couldn’t tell you more as it quite complex for me According to many divers sea life was wonderful. There is also the marine sanctuary in which the locals take good care of it.  Just by snorkeling, you could see lots  of turtles  and fishes out there. I even saw a sea snake and was too alarmed, but they are not violent as they stay on the bottom so just snorkle at the surface, so they wont bug you.

So if you are a diver or simply wants to snorkle or just want to explore and stay to a virgin island please inlcude Apo Island on your lists 😀 .

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Coron Busuanga

A month of hiatus I know it’s unforgivable. Anyway, I and the family have been very occupied with all these outdoor activities as it’s almost summer time. Weather is getting better in the South of France. I would say, I have found the time to update this blog.

I’ll be tackling about the travel we have had in the virgin island of Palawan. At first, we wanted to go to El Nido but it’s quite expensive for us so we opted for Coron Busuanga . Final decision and we did not regret to have discovered Coron. I thank my sister who was nice enough to book everything for us. She found a great resort and affordable accommodation. I would suggest if you want to go to a calm resort you should try Kokosnuss Resort. There are also hotels but they are mostly located in the center so the noise is not surprising.

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The resort

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the air-conditioned room

It was lunch time when we arrived so as usual we have ordered in the resort. The cooking was excellent! Nothing to say. While I and hubby was talking about going out to look for a diving shop a man overheard us and did not hesitate to talk to us. Asking my husband if he is a diver and husband said yes. The man was ecstatically happy to know that husband is a diver because they were looking for another diver to go with him and his wife otherwise they cannot dive. Apparently, diving shop needs a minimum of 3 person. They have discussed the plan as they have already found the best dive shop in the place. Husband was also glad to have found company that shares the same interest.

Later that day we rented a tricycle to see the spring water called “Makinit” and is 5 km from Coron. The “Makinit Hot Springs” is accessible either by boat or by tricycle in just 20 minutes with rough roads. The tricycle rent is P35.00/person which is nothing. There is caretaker asking for a small entrance fee of P30.00 which is not expensive at all. This is to maintain the cleanliness of the place. The “Makinit Hot Spring” is excellent to unwind at the end of a long travel or simply enjoy a “hot soak” and relaxing moments.

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Makinit Hot Spring

Back to resort and had dinner. At the end of the day the hot spring has helped us to get enough rest and sleep. The next day, it was husband’s turn to dive. Without further adieu I will just share some GREAT pictures with you courtesy of the couple we have met. I am not diving so I cannot exactly tell you the feeling and sensation down there 😀 !

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Husband did 2 dives with them and they were really impress how beautiful Palawan is. They also went to dive in Barracuda Lake is a crater of the volcano. The water is soft and at the same time salty.  The  water temperature quickly changes  from about 27°C  to 38°C. So you don’t need to dive with your thick diving suit, a t-shirt and swimming short will do.

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Barracuda Lake

Whilst me and the kids stayed at the resort to get some rest. They found a very nice playmate who is the owner’s daughter.

The next escapade we did was exploring Cayangan Lake which is said to be the cleanest lake in Palawan. This place is also know as Blue Lagoon.   Snorkeling is just perfect for us to enjoy the crystal clear blue water.

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Cayangan Lake

It was really amazing to see little creatures  just right under your  nose.  Kids enjoyed snorkeling a lot and I guess, it’s a sort of introducing them to their future diving lessons soon 😀 !  Will tell you more about the  travel for the moment enjoy reading !

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Famous White Beach

After the holidays I got so busy from many things. One thing that kept me so busy after our Philippine Travel were gift buying, Christmas decorations and organizing a New Year party between friends. Anyway, at least everything went well. So I am here updating our travel blog of our Philippine get away.

I am sure you are familiar with the famous Boracay Beach in the Philippines. I haven’t been there when I was still living in the Philippines as I hate riding in an airplane. But when I got married to my husband I am oblige to travel. Husband loves traveling and so I do. I just have this transportation sickness. Now, that I am used to taking any sort of transportation I guess in time my mind and body was able to adjust to motion sickness. And thanks to this magic medicine I am able to travel without causing me any problem.

How to get there / Time and Distance

From Manila to Caticlan is a one hour flight. From Caticlan to Boracay port boat ride of 30 minutes. Add another 10 minutes when you start going to the Boracay beach itself . There are buses, jeepneys and aircon L300. The prices are around PHP 120 or if you are on a tight budget maybe you can negotiate 😀 !

If you are not the tourist type “Short Description” one or two days are enough. I suggest you stay 2 nights to live the nightly party ambiance. It’s pretty noisy around.

What to do in Boracay :
1. On the beach and on off-shore platforms you find banana-rides, jet-ski, paragliding.
2. Diving with normal bottles and Nitrox.
3. Snorkeling
4. Exploring the caves in Crystal cove
5. Island hopping
6. Before sunset there are lots of local sailboats for rent that takes you for a sunset trip.
7. You could find the most cheapest to most expensive restaurants around the area.
8. Shopping
9. Bar and disco hopping
10. Or just simply admiring the beauty of Boracay

There are 3 stations in Boracay. Stations 1,2, and 3. And here are their differences :
Station 1: high end resorts, wider stretch of the beach, not that crowded, expensive hotels

Station 2: party central, overly crowded, expensive and affordable hotels

Station 3: low end resorts, crowded, cheapest hotels

I have heard a lot of people telling me that Boracay is really a nice beach to stay. White fine sand, crystal blue water, good restaurants and diving spots. From Manila we had a late flight as usual there was a technical problem according to the airport receptionist. Well, it’s okay I am used to it. Arriving Boracay since we had a tour package everything were arranged from transportation to hotel transfer and morning breakfast. Arriving Boracay it was a nightmare, why? Because there was a power failure during the rest of our stay. It’s because there was reparations to be made with all these electricity cables of the city. Although, there are generators they won’t work all day. There are only limited hours because they needed to charge the generators. I guess it’s really not our luck. It was already 1PM when we arrived Boracay so our hungry stomach were complaining. We had lunch and we found a Filipino restaurant. The food is good, very affordable and clean. After lunch we went to our room and rest a little bit. Check out interesting diving shops and good thing we found one just right beside our hotel room. When we saw the white fine beach, we were mesmerized it was really beautiful. No doubt about it. The only negative thing is that we saw some plastics and plastic cups floating from the beach. There was even broken bottles of beer. The people explained to me it’s because of the previous typhoon. I understand. I will show you some pictures I took during our stay. We did the island hopping for the whole day with very affordable price. Sad to say it was windy and there were big waves so I got sick and we didn’t continue anymore as the waves were really violent. I will spare you the details, I didn’t have the energy to continue and I was disgusting !!!

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I don’t dive but my husband is and he’s really happy to discover a great diving shop. He did 2 dives. The normal bottle and the one using Nitrox. He went diving to Yapak with the dive master and according to him it was one of the most wonderful dives he ever made. I cannot tell you about what he saw underwater. The only thing I can remember him saying was there were strange variety fishes down there that he has never seen before. Blue, orange, yellow, round, thin, long name it you can witness them there. I guess, I need to learn how to dive to really understand the pleasure of diving and see those magnificent creatures. SO if you haven’t set foot you will miss the spectacular sunset!

P.S. Don’t forget to try the best milkshake at Jonah’s !

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My husband is a fan of Volcanos. He would absolutely wants his kids to see an active volcano since in France there isn’t. During our trip to the Philippines, the last days were spent with family as we were always on the go visiting the islands of Boracay and Palawan. I will tell you about the trip next time.

And so we headed to Tagaytay to show to the kids what is Taal Volcano. Along the way, it was a raining and foggy. Thus, husband kept on telling me that he made a mistake to go and visit Taal Volcano because of the bad weather. But we were hopeful that the weather will drastically changed since it is unpredictable everywhere. On the road, cousin’s boyfriend saw a mais vendor and asked how much is the price. The vendor told us is P50.00/mais. Everyone was complaining except for us. Obviously, we were overpriced because the vendor saw my husband. Sad to say, foreigner means money, this is how it goes everywhere. Normally, the price of good quality mais in Manila is P8.00/mais, we went away empty handed. We then continued and reached the Taal City Proper when we asked some tricycle drivers (with carton placard advertising “Boat for Rent”) where to find the Mushroom Burger (a good restaurant btw) to have our lunch before visiting Taal Volcano. Thanks to them they gave us the good direction but before we left they offer us P1,800 if we want to rent a boat. We thanked them and said maybe later and then left.

In the car, everyone was joking that next time before we asked someone husband should hide because we are always overpriced. It’s like husband has a magnet that attracts a certain substance. We found the restaurant and had lunch. At around 1PM we started to find our way going to the lake and hoping we will find a boat for rent. It was a bit scary because there were no cars passing by only us. Though there were people cleaning the environs telling that it’s the project of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still no cars, no tourists. Going to the lake is a zigzag and quite far. When suddenly a young man with his motorbike stopped us to offer a “boat for rent” with a price of P1,800 including the resort. We explained to him that we don’t need a resort we just need to have a banca to cross the lake and see the volcano that’s it. So the negotiation started. He lowered the price for P1,500. We were not still convinced. We started the car engine to look for another boat for rent. The guy tenaciously gripped the car to stop us and negotiated for P 1,300 and yet we found the price not fair enough. So to give you an idea why we wanted to negotiate because it will only take us about 15 to 20 minutes to cross the lake. And a 30 minute walk to reach the volcano, in short we’ll spend around maximum 3 hours in the island that includes taking pictures. After the hard negotiation we told the guy we will pay for P1,000 flat (200/head) if he’s not okay we will find someone. He didn’t have a choice as there were really no tourists passing by. It was the deal. I have already paid the rent before crossing the lake. The traverse was short. We have reached the place and saw around 50-75 people around us with their horses. The tour guy told us to pay the entrance which I did. There was a woman who’s apparently the Supervisor or whatever she is insisting us to get one horse for P800.00 because the hike will be difficult. I explained to them that we don’t need a horse and said thank you. When I told her that she started to be sound very persistent and demanding which I found very authoritative. She started to get into the nerve. When we walked away she threw us a devilish look with a long face. My sister angrily respond her for the disrespectful treatment to us because we didn’t take not single horse. I remember my sister’s words “This is how tourism works here. We are also Filipinos and this is how you treat us. If you think we are rich we’re not. That is why tourism is not moving because of people like you. Tourism are unlikely not improving unless you change your behavior towards tourist“.

My sister was also blaming the tour guide because he supposed to assist us during the trip and talk to the people to stop insisting. But instead the guide told us to pay the additional price of P500.00 if we cannot come back after an hour. Imagine, we have 3 kids to carry and because they were at first afraid to ride the horse. I understand the kids they are young and it would be their first time to do horse riding. The situation begun to get complicated. I calmly stopped my sister and get on with our hike. During the walk there were 5 people with their horses following us. It made us awkward seeing them like ants following the trail as a form of reinforce they say. Well, we ignored them but they were insisting for P500.00/horse just for a 30 minute walk. It’s a hold-up ! And because my husband just wants the kids to see an active volcano we needed to go through bad customer service. When my kids started to get tired and asking me if we they can ride a horse, it didn’t think twice. I initially negotiated for the price. I told them I will take 3 horses for the price of P300.00/horse. Fair is fair, I made a good deal.

While we get on with our hike the only conversation we have heard between the people with horses were :

1. How much did you get from the Korean clients?
2. Did you have some tip ?
3. Me, I have a client but not tip at all (complaining and even cursing clients)

Imagine, in front of me…a Filipino, I was ashamed as if I am one of them. I don’t think at that moment I was proud to be a Filipino. When I see my fellowmen comporting like this I feel profoundly disappointed. Unfortunately, this is happening everywhere especially when we come to a place as a tourist. When we reached the top of Taal Volcano, the people were un-shyly asking us to pay their snacks which my cousin did. Well, I personally will not tolerate but then again it’s the name of the game. It was a kind gesture from my cousin just to stop them from bugging us. And what is irritating cousin paid for it but they were throwing wrappers on the soil even if the garbage is just right beside under their nose.

Husband was proud to show to our kids what is an active volcano. We took pictures and rest a little bit. Honestly, all in all we stayed 45 minutes at the top then go back to the lake to find the worst tourist guide I have ever encountered in my life. When we reached the lake the guide was there and he was really ignoring us. We headed on to find our banca and the tourist guide followed us with the obvious bitter taste reception marked on his face. He started the engine and went on to cross the lake back to the barrio. I was so sure that he intended to rapidly traversed the lake because we were all wet kitties at some point because of the water coming from our direction. I don’t know if I will come to visit this place again. It is so sad and surprising to see that there are no tourists coming in to see this beautiful place. But here are some pictures of this beautiful volcano.

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I went to Taal Volcano 7 years ago and it was not like this. Apparently, tourism has changed the way people live.

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Bicol Tour

While touring Bicol we went to one of the Universities there and saw this colossal tree inside a University from that town. According to our tour guide this tree is more than one hundred years already. If you happen to pass by Legaspi don’t forget to visit and take a picture of this !

We also went to a Natural Park and was really surpise because it is cleaner than in Manila. I took the photo of this wild pig because this is rare to see. There are birds, monkeys and interesting animals to see. It is good to just stroll inside the park. The entrance is cheap.

We also took the photo of Volcano’s mouth as it was active during our visit. My husband would like to hike but we were advice not to…it was on red alert! Next time I am sure that we will be inside this perfect cone.

This is a beautiful rice fields of different colours according to harvest time. Obviously we are the second largest country on rice export so this is a normal sight when you go to provinces. During the tour we are really impress to see that Bicol is a very clean region. The locals are very nice and warmth. The food is great 😉 !

This is a beach where we need to travel for two hours from Legaspi because we prefer not to stay in one place if we want to explore Bicol in a short stay. During our visit there were no people around only children who lives just near the sea. This place is paradise. I have the feeling that I can hear even the tiniest noise because of its calmness.


If you would like to explore Bicol there are so many things to watch out for. If you are a diving enthusiasts you could also visit and see lots of Killer whales 😀 !

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Philippines pride

In my 28 years, my tongue is used to savour commercialize Kraft Eden Cheese of Kraft Cheez Whiz (pasteurised one) which is really the number one or the only one cheese in the Philippines. Am I forgetting something? Of course, there is also the soft white cheese or known as Kesong Puti which is originally made from Laguna Province made of fresh Carabao’s milk.

AREA OF ORIGIN: Sta Cruz, Laguna, San Miguel, Bulacan, Cebu and Samar Provinces

AREA OF PRODUCTION: Laguna, Bulacan Cebu and Samar provinces
ORIGIN AND HISTORY: This cheese derived from the Carabao’s milk (or cow’s milk)

Industrialized methods multiply from Sta Cruz, Laguna, San Miguel and Bulacan, Cebu and Samar provinces, where Carabao milk is also formed.

Now I am reminiscing my younger years when a vendor sells Kesong Puti my Mom used to tell us to have a taste of it but I am not really a fan of cheese neither a milk drinker! Now, I am far away from home I would like to taste this local cheese and not only French cheese!

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Bohol Getaway

Philippines has 1,107 islands and Bohol is one of it’s beautiful sites. It is located in the Central Visayas Region. The place is accessible from the west of Cebu, from the northeast Island of Leyte and and to the South of Mindanao. You could just simply take a ferry boat to cross the island if you are to appreciate the sceneries. For those who are in a haste and with hectic itineraries you could also take the plane. They are known because of it’s famous attraction…the Chocolate Hills which consist of 1268 hills (not man made), though. See how nature works an artist of itself. According to Boholanos the chocolate hills change its colours during summer season. They became brown as a chocolate.

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Left hand photo is the zoom-in shot. The right hand shot is taken from afar. You have the impression that they are very small but they are not. In reality they measure 30 to 50 meters high. Can you imagine that ! On the other hand,  there is another tourist spot and they are very well known little creatures I am speaking about Tarsier the smallest living monkey in the world but scientist claimed this isn’t a monkey. See the links for explanation. They are nourished with insects and they are active during the night and less energetic at day.

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I took this picture and was impressed by the size of it. They’re very tiny creatures and very light. Don’t you find them cute 😀 ! In fact, we have some French friends who were with us. A longtime planned travel which became a reality. It’s my husband’s idea to promote Philippines. He even told me that not a lot of French know where Philippines is except for those who loves traveling. I remember there were French people asking me where I am from. I told them I am from the Philippines. Yes confusing eyes were focused on me asking where is it located ? Because if we speak about Asian countries it will be Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, India but Philippines never heard ! So enough about that.

Now we also went to Loboc River wherein you could witness the famous floating restaurant. But we didn’t bother to dine in their. We just rented a banca (bangka in Tagalog) to take a ride and appreciate the sceneries with a German Woman who was happy to share the rent with us.

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Now here, look at my kids appreciating the boatride and the beautiful sceneries.

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Our friends and frenchhoney went swimming and that was really fun. Would you believe that this is my first time to really see the beauty of my own country. I mean, there are a lot more to see and explore in the Philippines since the country is surrounded by islands. I have visited places but never this far. I am most familiar to Quezon, Laguna, Pampanga, Bataan, Batangas, Nueva Ecija and a bit of Cebu City. I am really happy to have discovered my land….the beauty hidden behind those thousands of Island.

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