Iloilo + Guimaras

My friends, life partner and I went to Iloilo for a three day vacation. I think this would probably be our cheapest vacation to date! We only spent around Php 3745 including our airfare and accommodations. Although there’s nothing much to do in Iloilo, it still is a fun experience.

We arrived at Iloilo City at around 10am. From the airport, we took a cab which cost us Php 350.00. Metered was not used and they told us that that is the flat rate. A bit disappointing I guess. We stayed at a budget hotel named Riverside Inn. Our room was only Php 1675 a night and could accommodate up to four guests. The hotel was comfortable, their staff were friendly, and the location was a plus! So I would recommend this if you’re just looking for a comfortable place to stay in Iloilo.

We were so hungry when we arrived. Our first stop – Tatoy’s Manukan and Seafood. We ordered Sinigang na Hipon, Native Chicken and Kilawin. I so love the Chicken and Kilawin, but I would not recommend their Sinigang since it was not sour enough for us.

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Tatoy’s Manukan and Seafoods

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Kilawin

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Native Chicken

Our next stop was Molo Church. I love this Church. I am always fascinated by old churches. If only I could get married here.

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Molo Church

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Then we tried out Roberto’s Siopao since most of the blogs I read included this in their itinerary. Their best seller was Roberto’s Queen Siopao which has Bacon Chinese Sausage, Chicken Pork Adobo and Egg and only costs Php 70.00. I am not really a fan of Roberto’s since I want my siopao to be saucy.

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Roberto’s Queen Siopao

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Roberto’s

After our Roberto’s experience, we went for a walk at Plaza Libertad and Calle Real. Since it was still early and we have nothing much to do, we just watched a movie at SM Iloilo to end the night.

Our second day was allotted for our Guimaras Escapade. Before leaving Iloilo City, we went to Decos to eat our breakfast. I love their hospitality and ofcourse, their La Paz Batchoy.

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 Deco’s La Paz Batchoy

Now we’re off to Guimaras Island – The Island of Opportunities. Guimaras Island is a boat ride away from Iloilo City and was always known for their sweet mangoes. Unfortunately, it was not the Mango Season so we weren’t able to buy one or take some home.

We rent a multicab to tour us around the city. The rental cost us Php 1800. Our first stop was souvenir shopping. Mango flavored food everywhere. Mango jam, Mango Piyaya, Mango Barquillos. Believe it or not, there’s even Mango Ketchup.

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Mango Juice, Mango Jam and Many More

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Mc Nester Mango Ketchup

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More Mango Flavored Goodies

Then we visited Trappist Monastery. There were lots of trees surrounding the church that gave me that Baguio vibe.

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 Trappist Monastery

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Inside the Trappist Monastery

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We then visited Guisi Light House. If you love old places, there are many picture perfect spots for this one. Lucky for us, the one who toured us inside the light house know where these are and which angle to take it from 🙂

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Guisi Light House

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Inside the Guisi Light House

Then we went to Pitstop to try out their Mango Pizza. Since its not the mango season yet, there were no mango pizza available, so we just ordered Hawaiian Delight instead. Good thing there are three Pitstop branches in Guimaras, so there’s still hope 🙂

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 Hawaiian Pizza at Pitshop

We wanted to have a quick swim so we went to Raymen Beach Resort. Unfortunately, my boyfriend did not liked the beach so we decided to go back to Guisi since their beaches were less crowded and clearer. The staff at Raymen Beach were not that hospitable either.

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Guisi Beach

After the swim, we tried looking for another Pitshop to taste their Mango Pizza! It’s a must try since its not every day you’ll taste something like this 🙂Image

 Pitshop Mango Pizza (Photo grabbed from Paolo Leynes – my battery run out)

 We went back to Iloilo again, rest and got ready for our day three! 🙂

Since we are about to leave Iloilo, we went to Miag-ao Church for our last day. Its an hour road trip from Iloilo City, a bit far, but since there’s nothing much to do in Iloilo, we decided to go to Miagao. The church was beautiful as well. Old yet well maintained.

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 Miagao Church 

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Then we went back to Iloilo again – after the more than an hour road trip, we were so hungry. We decided to havelunch at Ramboy’s. Love the food, the place, but they need to do something about their restrooms.

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 Kare Kare at Ramboy’s

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Lechon Liempo at Ramboy’s

One of the hotel staff advised us to visit Jaro Church. The church was visited by then pope, Pope John Paul II. It was said that one of Jesus’ sculpture there, gets bigger.

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Jaro Church

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Before heading home, my friends bought their pasablubongs for their loved ones at the Biscocho Haus 🙂

That’s our last stop for our Iloilo – Guimaras tour. We went to the airport to catch our flight. We asked the hotel staff to get us some taxi, and they advise us that metered taxi should be used. To our surprise, the driver was charging us Php 500.00 this time. So we said no, and he asked us to pay just Pho 350.00. It’s a bit frustrating dealing with people like this. The airport staff were not that friendly either. No smiles, no hellos. Especially the airport cashier! She told us that she has no change for our money when we are about to pay our terminal fee in such a rude way. I was a bit disappointed because as tourists, they should take care of us so we’ll go back or say something positive about the province.

To cool our heads, we tried the Coffee Break Café found inside the airport while waiting  for our flight. Its like their own version of Starbucks here, since it can be found everywhere.

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So that’s our Iloilo and Guimaras Escapade. 🙂 Any ideas where to head to next? 🙂

There is more to Puerto Galera than its ever famous White Beach!

I together with my boyfriend and his college buddies went to Puerto Galera for a quick summer escapade. I am not really a big fan of Puerto Galera before because I felt that it’s too crowded and just not the place for me to relax and unwind. However, I changed my mind after our three day vacation as there is more to Puerto Galera than its ever famous white beach.

For our first day, we decided to enjoy the white beach and the restaurants around Puerto Galera. Watched Fire Dance, had a taste of Filipino foods and Mindoro Sling! We also love their fruit shakes, green mangoes, and chicharon which is sold almost everywhere!

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For our second day, we decided to rent a boat for our island hopping. Boat rental usually costs around Php 2,000.00. However, if you wanted to snorkel, you need to rent a much smaller boat which cost Php 200.00 per person. Since we were a group of six, we bargained the price and they offered the boat rental plus snorkeling gears for only Php 150.00. The corals were beautiful as always. I am a big fan of underwater adventure even though I cannot swim that is why I enjoyed this a lot.

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We had our lunch by the beach! Inihaw na Tilipia with Toyomansi for sawsawan. Best Lunch Ever! Their Grilled Fish only cost Php 130.00 (good for two).

Then for our final stop for our island hopping, we went to Bayanan beach for a quick swim. This would probably be the best beach in Puerto Galera. It’s very peaceful, and not too crowded. Totally, an undiscovered paradise.

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After our island hopping, we rented a multi cab so we can visit Tamarraw and Aninuan Falls which is almost a 45 minute to one hour drive from the white beach.

Aninuan Falls was also a one of a kind adventure. We needed to ride a carabao to reach the falls, we also need to trek for around 15 more minutes to reach the top of the falls. The water was so cold which was perfect to beat the heat of the summer.

After our quick swim at Aninuan Falls, we hit the road again to take a glimpse of the Tukuran Hanging Bridge and Tamaraw Falls. Of course, I did not try the Hanging Bridge because I have fear of heights so I just leave the experience for my other friends to enjoy.

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Since Puerto Galera is one of the nearest beaches here in the Metro, it’s a good place for your unplanned vacation AKA “biglaang lakad” 🙂 Try it for a quick weekend getaway!

How to go there:

Take a bus going to Batangas Port (Fare usually costs Php 130.00)
Boat Transfer from Batangas to White Beach (Two Way: Php 500)

Other fees include:
Terminal Fee: Php 30.00
Environmental Fee: Php 50.00

Taal Basilica

Holy Week is a big deal to many of us Filipinos. Not a surprise as we rank number three for countries with most number of Catholic Population. There are many things that we do as a part of our reflection or sacrifice such as Fasting, Visita Iglesia, Station of the Cross, and many more.

This year, I decided to join my boyfriend’s family when he asked me to come along with them at Taal Church. All the while, I thought we we’re going to Tagaytay because I always associate the place Taal with Taal Volcano or Tagaytay City. Never knew that Taal was a small town located in Batangas.

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 Taal Basilica or Basilica de San Martin de Tours is the largest church in the Philippines and in Asia. It was constructed in 1575.

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I had always been a big fan of old churches.♥

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Before the mass, we treated ourselves for street foods merienda!

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Home made rice cakes are sold everywhere at a cheap price!

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Bought this candle for Php 20.00. We’ll light them later and say a little prayer. 🙂

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Time to Give Thanks. 🙂

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 The church was beautiful inside too. Just Perfect!

How to Get There:

From Manila, take bus bound for Lemery, Batangas. Get off once you reached Taal Lemery Bypass Junction and take the jeepney going to the Basilica.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival

This is my first ever Hot Air Balloon Festival Experience. I drool over my friends’ photos last year as we weren’t able to be there. So this year, I decided to ask my boyfriend’s college buddies. 🙂

Normally, the festival is held on the second or the third week of February. This year, the festival dates are from February 21 up until the 24th.

If you’re planning to go there, it’s best to leave Manila the earliest time possible. I set the call time at 3:30 AM so we can leave the city before 4:00 AM. The festival starts as early as 5:30 AM. Festival also means traffic jam and long queues on toll gates – so it’s best to leave Manila before sunrise. 🙂

Since the place is a bit crowded already, we need to park a bit far from the event place. It’s a 20 minute walk from the parking to the Omni Aviation Complex. There’s also a long line wait when we reached the entrance. Best to wear comfy shoes for this – as we noticed some girls having a hard time walking in heels. 😛

Ticket costs Php 250.00.

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Here are some of my favorite hot air balloons!

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Look how excited everyone is to take photos 🙂

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 Tulips Hot Air Balloon

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 Humpy Dumpy!

Good thing Mel remembered to bring picnic mats for us! Bring umbrellas also just to be prepared for Mr. Sunshine! 🙂

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We also had fun watching the Paragliding Exhibition. Everyone’s on their feet after the exhibition. We we’re so hungry after the festival. We went to Marquee Mall and ate at Apag Marangle and bought pasalubongs at Nathaniels! 🙂

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Nathaniel’s Pampanga

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I so love Nathaniel’s siomai – I think it has yam beans inside! 🙂

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Frozen Buko Pandan is their Best Seller 🙂

So there goes my first Hot Air Balloon/Pampanga Getaway! 🙂 Hoping there’ll be more balloons next year! 🙂

We ♥ HK!

Mark and I vowed that we will start our savings this year. So our first and last out of the country getaway for the year would be – surprise, surprise – Hong Kong, still! 🙂

We are so in love with the place that’s why it has been our February habit to have a 3 day vacation there. Though this time, there’ll be no Disneyland, no Ocean Park, no cross country trips. Just the streets of HK, good food, and us.

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Etude House

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Enjoying the Perfect Night

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Symphony of Lights

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It was nice having a band you don’t understand playing on the background 🙂

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Avenue of the Stars

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Somewhere Nice. I forgot the mall’s name 🙂

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Yey! Street Food!

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More Street Foods!

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One Busy Street

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Photo was taken by Mark on our way to the Airport

Not so sure though if we will be back next year. It’s time to try other countries this time! 🙂

Your Singapore

Just last week, I went to Singapore for a three day vacation. This is actually my second visit at SG – so the plan is to just visit USS, eat, walk around, and have fun 🙂

We stayed at Mayo Inn. A hostel located near Bugis Station. The hotel’s location is just perfect – no wonder why it received many great reviews on Trip Advisor.  [Tip: If you’re looking for a place to stay in SG, choose those which are located in the MRT’s green line]

On our first day – we walked around Gardens by the Bay – Singapore’s newest addition to their many attractions.  Unfortunately, because I am just so scared of heights, I wasn’t able to cross OCBC Skyway. 😦 The coward kiddo in me just couldn’t do it!

They light up the trees during night time which makes the place so serene and romantic. There are also two sets of light shows at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM.

For our second day, we visited Universal Studios! Although the original plan was to tour both Sentosa and USS in one day – it’s just not plausible. So we just spent our entire second day at USS! My boyfriend, Mark, was so happy because he is such a fan of amusement park rides!

As for me, what I had enjoyed the most were the cute characters, picture perfect spots and their movie-like production numbers.

I also love their souvenir shops – I wanted  to buy everything 🙂

After our tiring USS trip, we went to Marina Bay to watch the Wonderfull Light and Water Show and to enjoy the beautiful views in Singapore at night. Everything was just perfect! The Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Statue, Welcoming Hand of Singapore – beyond amazing architecture. Hands Down!

For our third day, we walked around the busy streets of Singapore. Checked out their malls and market place and looked for bargains and souvenirs. Lucky for us, our hotel is just a five minute walk from their night market and gadget stores. We also visited Orchard Road, China Town and Little India.

China Town

Marina Bay Sands

Bugis Market

Because we got tired from all the walking and strolling, we went to the nearest Hawker Centre to satisfy our food cravings!

There are also Filipino foods here and lots of  other kiosks serve Filipino dishes – such as Lechon Kawali 🙂

Their Durian flavored ice cream and other street foods is also a must try! This can be found along the streets of Bugis. Kinda cheap too – as it only cost SGD 1.00! 🙂

Our last stop for the day was Mustafa Centre since it is a 24 hour store. You can find literally anything and everything here. Food, gadgets, clothes, perfume, etc. Name it and  chances are they got it! 🙂

I am not so sure if I will be able to go to Singapore again as I wanted to visit other countries too, but if this will be my last visit at SG – its definitely worth it 🙂

Year Two: The Sagada Adventure

Mark and I went to Sagada to celebrate our second year anniversary. Since we had been traveling a lot for the past two years, we just wanted a simple yet memorable celebration. In fact, all we wanted is a place away from the city, and a three day off from our laptops 🙂

We left Manila at around 12 midnight. Road trip to Baguio normally takes six hours. Bus fares costs about Php450.00. We arrived at Baguio City at around 6 in the morning, then, we went to Dangwa Station to catch buses going to Sagada.

The first bus leaves at 6:30 AM. Try to be there earlier to get comfortable seats. Road Trip to Sagada is another six long hours and costs at around Php 220.

We arrived at Sagada at 12:30 PM. We looked for a place to stay since we failed to make reservations. We stayed at Residential Lodge and they only charged us Php400 for our room per night (that’s Php200 per head). [Note: Try to book earlier to get rooms with private bathrooms which only costs Php300 per person. Since it was fully booked that time, we had no choice but to settle with rooms with shared restrooms 😦]  

After we took a rest from our 12 hour road trip, we walked around the peaceful streets of Sagada. Very quiet, at peace, the simplicity of life at its finest.

When I first found out that we are going to Sagada, I so wanted to visit the Anglican Church (St. Mary’s Episcopal Church) because of its interesting design. I am a big fan of old churches.

After visiting the church, Mark and I had our super late lunch at Masferre. Although their service is somehow disappointing, I love their interiors. It has that cabin look vibe that will make you feel that you are really in a vacation.

After our yummy lunch slash dinner, we went to grab some desserts at Yoghurt House. I love their Yogurt. This is a must try!

Our second day is jam-packed with activities! We need a heavy breakfast to start off our day. We ate at Bana’s  since most of the restaurants are still closed at 6:00 AM. They serve authentic red rice, and their longanisa is a must try too 🙂

We rented a car for Php1000.00. Although some tourists opt to walk instead, I just don’t have the energy for it. It is best to be in groups if you guys are going to Sagada. The more, the merrier, the cheaper!

First Stop: Bomod-Ok Falls

It’s a one hour trek to reach Bomod-Ok Falls. It was raining when we went there, so we needed to purchase plastic bags to wear as our jackets so we would not get wet. Wear comfy slippers, sandals, or shoes! The path is somehow slippery. Thanks to our ever understanding tour guide, Ate Juni, for taking care of me during the tour.

It’s best to contact them first before going to Bomod-Ok Falls as they may be doing their rituals. You may contact Ate Juni at 0999.453.7054 so you may verify with her if a ritual is currently ongoing. Tour guide cost: Php 600 (one tour guide for a group of ten people).

Next Stop: Lumiang Burial Cave/ Sumaguing Cave

We first visited Lumiang Burial Cave to check out their famous hanging coffins. It is a traditional belief that these souls will be blessed eternally. You can actually go near the coffins and take photos as souvenirs.

The tour guide fee for the Sumaguing Cave is around Php 500. Now, this drained every ounce of energy I had stored in my body – seriously. I almost cried. This is one of the most challenging vacations I ever had to date!

My biggest thanks again to Kuya Andrew for being patient with the “lampa” kiddo in me. Again, it is best to wear comfy and durable sandals/slippers for this activity. It is also advised that you wear shorts (with cycling or inner wear) or jogging pants, whichever works for you.

Although our second and last day was so tiring, it was definitely worth it. Sagada is a one of a kind experience. A fun and thrilling adventure. Undeniably, it’s really more fun in the Philippines!