Feeds:
Posts
Comments

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 !!!

pb110059pb110069pb110076

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 !

Advertisements

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.

p1010042

p1010040

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

Happy Holidays!

montage-photo11

Alpes of Queyras

Month ago we attended a wedding ceremony in the Alps. In fact it is the second time we went to this beautiful place but we didn’t have enough time to explore as we stayed only for one day. It was the 30th birthday anniversary of the groom. The party was remarkably glorious but I will not talk about his birthday neither his wedding, well this blog is intended for travel right? So come with me and discover this divine beauty of the Hautes-Alpes situated in the South of France which is a  2 ½ hours drive from Marseilles.

We left Thursday afternoon to arrive earlier and to have more time tripping out in the village before the Friday afternoon mass celebration. So we have spent our Friday morning visiting the town. This time we took the pleasure to stay in a three star hotel in the village of St.Véran. We have stayed in this luxurious Hotel L’Astragale which is quite expensive but it was worth staying.  St. Véran is the most prominent commune and the third highest in Europe and is near Italian border.

Sorry about the pinkish background in the photo as I have a battery problem but at least it worked out anyway. This is the green lushes background up there. It’s quite warmer in the mountain but with the sun it was okay.

The bridge you see is actually the way up to the Alpes wherein you could see a whole in between the rocks and not a tunnel as an access for the vehicules going up to the mountain. You could also see The Lac de Serre Ponçon (Serre Ponçon Lake) which is an artificial lake with a catchment area of 3,600 km², Maximum length of 20 km with Maximum width of 3 km. the lake was formed to rule water flow after devastating floods caused by harsh damage and loss of life in 1843 and 1856. First projected in 1895, structure started in 1955 and was finished by 1961. After that morning walk kids were tired and hungry so then we look for a restaurant and eaten before heading to the mass celebration. So the celebration has ended and the reception was done in their Chalet. Very well organized. We stayed until 1 o’clock AM only to get ready for another walk in the near villages. Now, I took some pictures of St. Véran because of their famous old houses.


The view behind our hotel room.

An old house.

Church entrance.

Wider view of St. Véran


The fountain

An old door.

So that is about Les Hautes Alpes, I still need to learn about gastronomy and the everyday life of the villagers but I think 3 days was not enough and besides we were there for the party 😀 ! And for the final when we left the Alpes we saw this beautiful castle while we are on our way going down the Alpes.


After spending a wonderful 3 days we really plan to visit the site again as we were really mesmerized by the enchanting beauty of the place. It’s not far, the place is perfect for either hiking during the summer and skiing during winter season. There are a lot of activities, from cheaper to expensive hotels so when you want to visit Alpes I think this is really worth exploring.

These are the nearby cities that you can find in the Alpes :

Arvieux en Queyras 13 km, Briançon 30 km, Ceillac en Queyras 9 km, Chateau Queyras 11 km, Château Ville Vieille 11 km, Embrun 15 km, Gap 50 km, Guillestre 2 km, La Grave 50 km, Mont Dauphin Fort 4 km, Risoul 10 km, Saint Véran 20 km, Savines le Lac 17 km, Vallouise 20 km, Vars 10 km

Now here is what I discovered in Corsica a white fine sand beach situated in St. Florent which is apparently rare in France. My husband was also surprised to discover this place because normally white sand is not a view common in France. From our village it only took us 1 and 1/2 hr travel passing by the  The Desert of the Agriates a rocky mountain and rather green panoramic view. The desert stretches between Alliso and Ostriconi villages measuring 16 hectares seeing bizarre geographical evolution which makes them more mysterious. From the beginning of the century, the Corsican farmers worked between thousands of olive trees, cultivates the wheat, harvests almonds, lemons and figs. While on our way to St. Florent the drive is just untiring because of the magnificent landscape. There are rocks with its strange formation. They called it the desert because there are no villages nor people living in that area, in short uninhabited area in Corsica.

This is the heart of of St. Florent with a lot of choices from budget wise, good deal to classy bars, restaurants and pizzeria.  Anyway, most of the restaurants will display their menus and tariffs to inform the tourists which is pretty more assuring 😉 . There are also little stores such as Petit Casino that will cater for you. If you are a type of person who likes picnicking  it would also be nice to sit and relax while picnicking near the dike.

You can get an easy access to the beach of St. Florent itself but it is not with a fine white sand. But If you really want to explore the La Plage de Lotu/Lodu and discover what is hidden behind this rugged mountains you need to take a boat and you can get them from the booth of Le Popeye which you will find in the Port of St. Florent. I would advise you to call them before for more inquiries.  Very organise and good service in traversing St. Florent to experience a breathtaking crystal clear turquoise water.

In our case we left at 9:30 to be there as early as possible but they have a time table to be respected and followed to avoid too much crowd at the beach. We needed to take our lunch in one of the restaurants in the Port because you will find no restaurant at La Plade de Lotu. You will only find white sand beach, yacths, tourists and trees.  So bring something with you especially water, sodas and light pack sandwiches. Do not also forget your sunblock and parasol as there are no shaded areas and it could be really really hot during summer season.

This is valid only for the months of July, August and September (summer season) out of season you may check the link given :

Departure/Return from Lotu
08:45 –  11:45
10.00 – 13:00
11.15 – 14:45
12.30 – 16:00
13.45 – 17:30
15.15 – 18:30
last trip 19:30 (return)

The ticket for adults cost 14€/head and for kids 7€/head. We were lucky they have given us free ticket for our daughter….how nice of them 😀 since she will not really takes so much place !

Finally, this is indeed a beautiful place and its worth traversing for only 20 minutes.

It was really surprising! Honestly, It was our first time to see such beautiful beach behind this rocky mountains of Corsica. Well, I must admit this will probably the second time as we already went to Porto Vecchio there are also white sand beaches but this one is exceptionally extravagant ! So what are you waiting for, next time you visit Corsica include this in your lists 😀 !

Beaches

I’ve been living in Marseilles for almost 7 years now and been to beaches quite well. This is what I like in our place we are just near beautiful beaches and not to mention to have an easy access for ballades near Calanques. The beach Les Catalans which has fine sand and clean is great because it is near Vieux port but this spot is quite crowded and busy and is a private beach and you have to pay an entrance fee. It is accessible at the beginning of the Corniche Président Kennedy by taking bus# 83 once again. There are bars, outdoor showers, toilets, and a first aid post as well. I’ve always seen organised Beach Volleyball in this touristic place accessible from the city center .

This is in Luminy where we used to have a short stroll 20 minutes from home.

When you trace Catalans further you will find the famous Corniche and for sure will also consider spending time in La Plage du Prophète with fine sand and personally I think it’s more cleaner than the rest of the beaches in Marseilles. Frequented by most of musicians with their music instruments because of it’s tranquility. You could also find a bar, the sailing club and especially the Leisure Center for Youth, a club of activities operated by the National Police. To continue farther around 2 kilometers there you would find the Prado Beach with the statue of David. Accessed by bus# 19 or 83. Pebbly beach more or less crowded especially during summer season. The beach is not bad but I would not advise you to go swimming. Has outdoor showers, toilets and a first aid post. But if you really insist in going to this beach you can but I would suggest you to go early in the morning because for sure there will be few people and the beach is cleaner. Otherwise, I think a little stroll or picnicking around the environ will be more practical. The next beach around this environ is Plage de la Pointe Rouge, a sandy beach located at Avenue de la Pointe Rouge is where you’ll find all the Marseillais during summer like most in winter, great atmosphere and there’s even an English Pub, The Red Lion. Only one bus passes in that destination so if you have the car good luck be very patient with the traffic. Walking distance from restaurants galore, outdoor showers and a first aid post. There are stores that rent parasols and mattresses and all other aquatic equipments. This is a well explored place by windsurfers, as soon as there’s a breeze so be cautious, no swimming off into the sunset especially when there is Mistral (a fresh or cold, often violent, and usually dry wind blowing throughout the year but is most frequent in winter and spring) which is unfortunately common in Marseilles.

Image from Wikipedia.

Point Rouge Beach Image from Environment Surfrider

Eco-Attitude

This is a post which I kept for a month as I was busy for many things. This picture is taken when Port Authority of Marseilles organized the “Nettoyage de la Plage Gracieuse”. (Cleaning of the beach Gracious). This is a 4 to 5 kilometers beach owned by the company.

The goal of this event is of raising awareness “Partageons L’Eco Attitude” (Let’s share the Eco-Attitude) of WFP staff of PAM, their families and all those associations and communities contributed in joining citizen involvement and the sustainable development approach.

This took place last 1st of June 2008 from 8:30 in the morning to 7:00 in

the evening around Port-Saint-Louis du Rhone on the beach adjacent to the Gracious Beach Napoleon.

The program is as follows:

  • Welcoming participants with free t-shirt, cap and leather gloves and cleaning the beach during the morning
  • Meals in community served with appetizers with champagne, wines and fruit juices, Paella for lunch and French pastries as dessert.
  • Afternoon activities for adults and children, games and educational activities provided by WFP, associations and partners.

Employee charged of Garbage collecting

These were what we’ve got !

Mayumi’s fun coloring

Sébastien’s almost done

EVERYONE PARTICIPATING !