Posts Tagged With: swimming

DIY Cebu: Day 3 Bantayan Island

city to bantayan

The map shows how far the travel is from Gran Tierra Suites to Bantayan Island where we’ll be spending 2 nights at Kota Beach Resort.

How to go to Bantayan Island:

  1. From Gran Tierra Suites, go to the North Bus Terminal in Cebu city near SM mall. In our case, we just took a taxi. It took around 15-20 minutes.
  2. From the North Bus Terminal, we took a Ceres bus going to Hagnaya port. Travel time is 2.5 to 3 hours.
  3. From Hagnaya port, we rode a ferry going to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. Travel time is 30-45 minutes.

From Bantayan Island, we were supposed to be picked up by the resort driver but while we were on the ferry, they informed me that they can’t pick us up and instead asked us to take a tricycle and they will pay for the ride.

All in all, the travel time from Gran Tierra Suites to Kota Beach was around 4 hours. Kinda long but we were asleep most of the time as we left the hotel at 4:45AM. We just bought some snacks that we could munch on while traveling. So imagine how hungry we were when we arrived at Kota Beach Resort. Our first meal cost us Php420! Haha!

We chilled/beach bummed at Kota Beach for 2 nights! We didn’t have to go island hopping, kayaking, etc. coz just staring at the long stretch of white sand with the sun rising or setting was more than enough to keep us where we were.

We also didn’t bother to go looking for another place to eat coz the resort’s resto serve good food at reasonable price. 🙂 If you’re looking for late night partying, this isn’t the place for that – that’s why I liked it here. Peace and quiet for 2 days. ^_^

The rooms/cottages were spacious enough and were air-conditioned. They don’t have a hot shower though (at least for the room that we booked) but there are certain rooms with hot shower in the resort. Apart from the amenities, the rooms are priced based on how near they are to the beach but don’t worry, it wouldn’t matter that much coz somehow you are still near the beach even if you get the room at the 4th row.

We left early on our last day to catch the earliest ferry going to Hagnaya port. Our flight was at 5:55PM so we had a lot of time to go around SM Cebu.

Itinerary and Expenses:

4:45AM-5AM          taxi from Gran Tierra to North Bus Terminal          Php120

5:35 – 8:55AM          travel to Hagnaya Port                                                    Php160/person

9:30AM                      ferry to Sta. Fe                                                                  Php170/person

                                      terminal fee                                                                      Php10/person

                                      Kota Beach Resort (Php2500/night)                         Php5000

Total: Php2900/person (excluding food)

Categories: Cebu, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Virgin Beach Resort on a Budget

Have you ever tried going on a trip without any reservations? on a payday weekend? Yup, for all control freaks out there, it’s jaw-dropping but it wasn’t my trip to plan. I was a guest traveler.

Travel Destination: Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

Travel time: approx. 3 – 4 hours from Quezon City

I think we managed to drop by to most of the beach resorts in Laiya just to find a place where the rooms are good, has a great view of the beach, and of course, suits our budget. Of all the resorts, Virgin Beach Resort stood out. They have an awesome view of the beach, fine white sand (almost like in Boracay), and their beach is free from seaweeds or rough sand. What’s the catch? The room rates: weekend overnight for 4 persons is Php10K plus a required purchase of their meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) worth Php1600. The rates were quite steep so we decided to pass on this resort (after much deliberation).

Fortunately, we found another resort with reasonable rates and comfortable accommodations. Dona Nena may not be as popular as the other resorts in Laiya but that made it a peaceful refuge for all the hustle and bustle of a payday weekend beach experience. The cottage is airconditioned, with 5 beds, 1 comfort room, a TV, and is equipped with gas stove and griller. We were not able to swim at once because of the low tide but we enjoyed the homey feel the resort offered. Yet we can’t stop raving about how beautiful Virgin Beach Resort was.

After a good night’s rest, we were prepared to take a dip into the beach but we just can’t take our minds off how almost perfect Virgin Beach Resort was so we decided to take the Picnic Day Tour of Virgin Beach which was Php300/head. The Picnic Day Tour has no corkage fee so you could bring all the food you need and cook it there. You may see their rates at their website. Little did we know that such tour requires a Dining parasol rental of Php1350 but we just went on with it just so we could stay at Virgin Beach Resort once and for all and we made the right call!

I have to commend their logistics system for being so organized. They have enough parking space and beach space for all the guests. It didn’t feel crowded probably because of the long stretch of beach that they own. It was really a relaxing and exciting experience! If it were not for the sunburn that we took home with us, I’d probably be back their on the next weekend.

Planning to visit Virgin Beach Resort? Here are my tips:

1. Have a reservation. I’m not sure though if Day Tours may also be reserved. You may contact them here.

2. If you’re on a budget, just take the Picnic Day Tour and find sleeping accommodations on a nearby resort. 🙂

3. Bring food as there are no corkage fee for the Day Tours but please read their House Rules.

4. Put lots and lots of sunblock! You’ll definitely spend a lot of time swimming under the sun!

This trip (overnight at Dona Nena and picnic tour at Virgin Beach Resort) cost me a total of Php3000 (includes toll fees, gas, automobile rental, food). There were 5 of us. This will be cheaper if you’ll have more friends with you.

Categories: Batangas, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The beauty of Puting Buhangin-Borawan-Dampalitan

Here’s a gallery of pictures from Puting Buhangin-Borawan-Dampalitan

Puting Buhangin: Great place to swim!

Borawan: They have the best restrooms (use of restrooms are free but they have higher entrance fee than the other islands)

Dampalitan: Best place to view the sunrise; restrooms are cemented as well

Related post: Puting Buhangin-Borawan-Dampalitan

Categories: Borawan, Quezon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Puting Buhangin-Borawan-Dampalitan

Another item in my travel list is Borawan, Quezon. It is said to have the fine sand of Boracay and the rock formations of Palawan. I only dread the long bus ride going there, similar with Cagbalete, Quezon. But, as always, it’s worth the 4 to 6 hours of sitting in a bus full of excitement and anticipation.

Going to Borawan usually entails island hopping to Puting Buhangin and Dampalitan islands as well. I was more concerned with the logistics – which island should we go to first and on which island should we stay overnight? I read several blog posts, specifically those posted recently but there were only a handful under 2015. I wanted to be prepared coz I have the impression that basic necessities might not be as easily available there. One thing’s for sure – we’re spending the night at Dampalitan as sunset is said to be best viewed there (and indeed it was!).

How to go There:

1. From Kamuning, take (JAC Liner) bus to Lucena and alight at Lucena Grand Terminal (took us 3 hours but average travel time is around 5 hours; Php218/person).

2. Take bus going to Padre Burgos or Unisan (takes 1 1/2 hours; Php40/person).

3. From Padre Burgos (alight at QCRB Bank), take trike going to Bgy. Basiao then you can rent a boat from there. 🙂

Boat rental for Borawan-Puting Buhangin-Dampalitan is fixed at Php1800.

What to Bring:

1. Cooking utensils: Going through this trip is DIY at it’s finest. You really have to do everything by yourself. You may have the option of asking the locals to cook for you but let them know ahead of time and, of course, for a price.

2. Sleeping gears: Bringing your own tent is cost-efficient but if you go for comfort, you could always rent a nipa hut (no air conditioned rooms there yet).

3. Toiletries: Just bring the usual – tissue paper, shampoo, soap, etc. but you could also buy them there.

Tips:

If you want a cost-efficient trip, here are some tips:

1. Bring your own tent. A hut costs Php850-1000. Pitching a tent costs Php200 only.

2. Bring as much food as you can. I know you don’t wanna travel with all those packed food but bring just enough that you can carry (ex: hotdog, marinated pork, etc). We bought cooked rice (Php50) at Puting Buhangin and it was good for lunch and dinner.

3. Drinking water may be bought at Bgy. Basiao (just ask the boatman). Water for bathing, on the other hand, may be bought at the island either by container (Php50) or by drum (Php5oo).

4. Puting Buhangin is the farthest of the 3 islands from Bgy. Basiao. You might want to go there first then pass by Borawan or Dampalitan, wherever you decide to stay the night.

5. The more the merrier (the cheaper).

Total Expenses: Php2,116 (if only 2 of you are travelling)

Breakdown:

Activity Amount/person Estimated travel time
Bus going to Lucena (From EDSA Kamuning) 218 3 hours
Bus going to Padre Burgos 40 1.5 hours
boat 900
drinking water 25
cooked rice 25
Entrance Fees:
   Puting Buhangin 80
   Borawan 115
   Dampalitan 75
Tent Pitch Fee 100
Table Rental Fee 150
Water for bathing 100
Trike to Padre Burgos 10
Van to Grand Terminal 60
Bus to Kamias 218
Total 2116
Categories: Borawan, Quezon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Matabungkay Beach at Batangas

As 2015 drew near, I knew I’d have less travels for this new year as I’ve decided to scrimp a little more than last year (Dubai and Singapore trips from last year are still pending to be posted). I kind of want to start the year away from the hustle and bustle of the city so I can do some personal reflections and goal settings.

My bf’s friend organized this Batangas trip and I assumed the role of a gf tagging along the trip. You see, I like planning and organizing trips. I like going through blog posts checking where our possible venue could be. But I also decided that this year, I’ll be less stressed by anything around me, to be more fluid, to be more affected by things that are really important.

For the first time, I went into a trip with no room reservations made, no itinerary, and no cooking or eating essentials. In short, the trip was short of a surprise! 🙂 And I was happy/OK about it. It was an opportunity to put one of my 2015 goals into action.

Resort Hunting

We initially inquired at The Coral Beach Resort. We were quoted with their peak season rates: Php2800 for their Standard room (good for 2 persons) and Php3800 for their DeLuxe room (good for 4). The resort has a small swimming pool and a restaurant. While checking out the beach front, we noticed that there were a lot of small boats “parked” which makes beach swimming quite not comfortable. A local approached us and told us that the rooms beside Coral Beach are priced for as low as Php2000/room. We checked it out but apparently the Php2k/room were only for off peak season.

We drove off to Bella Resort and found their rooms more affordable: Php2500 (good for 2-3 persons). They have no restaurant so we had to buy and cook our dinner later in the evening. They also have a swimming pool bigger than that of Coral Beach Resort. The beach front had no parked boats and the ambiance of the place was really relaxed unlike Blue Coral’s which felt busier. We were free to use their grilling area along with a gazebo-like beach shelter.

Here’s a quick comparison of Coral Beach Resort and Bella Resort

Coral Beach Resort Bella Resort
Price more affordable
Restaurant                     /
Swimming pool                    /       / (bit bigger)
Wifi                    /                 /
Ambiance busy, night life chill, relax

Almost everything is expensive in the area of Matabungkay. A calamansi costs Php1 each, a litre of softdrinks costs somewhere between Php75 – php100, a kilo of pork costs Php190, etc. In short, bringing your own food (and ingredients) is a lot cheaper.

The staff of Bella Resort were very accommodating in the sense that, apart from being courteous, they were willing to cater to our needs like hot water for our morning coffee and cup noodles and cooking our rice (for a fee of Php100).

We were happy with our decision to stay in Bella Resort because when the night came, the Coral Beach Resort area played loud music. We wanted a more relaxed place where we could spend the night exchanging stories while warming our bodies with alcohol. The climate was really cold that you’d turn to alcoholic drinks for warmth. 🙂

It was a fun, fun, fun experience!

My expenses for the trip ranged from Php2000 to Php2500 in a group of 4 persons. Again, the more, the merrier, the cheaper!

Categories: Batangas, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cagbalete Island: Tips, Itinerary and Expenses

I know you’ve been waiting for this post. 🙂

 

Day 1
Time Activity Cost (per person)
11:00 PM Assembly at JAC Liner Kamias 25
11:30 PM Departure to Lucena 218
3:30 AM Arrival at Lucena Grand Central Terminal
4:30 AM Ride bus going to Mauban 54
5:45 AM Arrival at Mauban
6:00 AM Ride trike going to Pantalan/port 10
6:15 AM Arrival at Pantalan/port
bought water & other supplies 28
Environmental fee 50
7:00 AM Ride private boat to Cagbalete 300
Tip for porters 8
8:30 AM Arrival at Villa Noe 400
BRUNCH
SWIM/REST
DINNER
squid & fish for lunch 38
other groceries 200
9:30 PM SLEEP
Subtotal: 1331
Day 2
Time Activity Cost (per person)
8:00 AM Rise & Shine
9:00 AM Breakfast
Swim
Prepare to go back to MNL
12 noon boat from Cagbalete to Pantalan/port
1:30 PM trike to JAC liner (going to Cubao) 20
1:50 PM trike to van going to Lucena Grand Central Terminal 10
2:15 PM Van ride going to Lucena Grand Central Terminal 60
3:15 PM Arrival at Lucena Grand Central Terminal
LUNCH
5:00 PM bus left for Cubao 218
8:30 PM Arrival at Cubao
taxi going home 35
Subtotal: 343

GRAND TOTAL: Php1,674 (excluding pasalubong)

Around Php2,000 will be spent including pasalubong and some taho (Php10 each) and balot (Php20 each).

 

TIPS, TIPS, TIPS!!!

1. Use the Cubao – Lucena Grand Central route to maximize your time and for a stress-free travel.

2. The non-AC bus from Lucena Grand Central going to Mauban is full of mosquitoes! -_- Bring mosquito repellant!

3. Take the private boat from the port to Cagbalete. You’ll have more free time and you’ll get to the island earlier rather than wait for the passenger boat.

4. You may opt to buy food at the island instead of bringing food with you – that is if you like eating fish. There are several vendors selling fish round the clock.

5. Take the van going back to Lucena Grand Central instead of the non-AC bus. It’s more comfortable and the price difference is just around Php6.

6. The more, the merrier, the cheaper! 🙂

Categories: Cagbalete, Quezon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cagbalete Island: Where to Stay

There are a lot of blog posts on where to stay in Cagbalete. Here are some of them:

Villa Cleofas

Pansacola Beach Resort

Villa Noe Beach Resort

Dona Choleng (with AC rooms)

 

The resorts are owned by 1 family with just varying prices and amenities. Most of the resorts have cottage-type rooms with fans. I think, as of this writing, only Dona Choleng has rooms with AC thus, they’re a bit expensive. The rest ranges from Php1000 – 4000 depending on the number of people.

We opted to stay at Villa Noe Beach Resort because they are quite new. Although most of the blogs I read stayed at Villa Cleofas. Anyway, the 2 are just near each other.

The room we got was a room good for 4 – 6 people, Php2000. You may opt to bring your own tent so you’ll just have to pay for Php200/night. They also have their own tents which you can rent for Php300 – 500/night depending on the tent.

When we arrived, we thought the room was too small for all 5 of us to fit so we asked if there are other available rooms that are bigger. We were okay in having to add a few amount as long as we’re comfortable. Good thing there was a room that’s just Php1000 good for 2-3 people. We took 2 of those rooms so we didn’t have to add any amount. 🙂

1st room given to us

1st room given to us

inside the room

inside the room we stayed

room/s where we stayed

room/s where we stayed

just the basics

just the basics

 

The cottage where we get to eat and stay lazy was given to us for free. 🙂

DSCN0311

 

Too bad I wasn’t able to take pictures of the restrooms but I assure you they are clean and well-maintained. There are 2 shower rooms, 2 toilets, and 2 shower/toilet rooms.

They have a “cooking area” where you have to use charcoal to cook your food. It’s always a great experience to cook from scratch. Just bring your own charcoal and if it runs out, they sell charcoal for Php20 a pack. 🙂 They lent us cooking utensils but it’s also better if you bring your own.

80g squid for Php80 only

1.1kg squid for Php110

1.10kg fish for only Php110

80g fish for Php80

no room for rice cooker

no room for rice cooker

Our stay at Villa Noe and Cagbalete was just really great! Time went by really slow that we were able to take a rest for what seemed like hours but in reality it wasn’t that long. We didn’t even think of going island hopping, kayaking, or scuba diving because we were that satisfied just listening to the wind and waves and looking at the wonderful view in front of the beach.

We enjoyed the water because it was warm! 🙂 However, high tide comes in late in the afternoon so if you like deep waters you’d have to wait til then.

the view

the view

Villa Noe Beach

Villa Noe Beach

low tide

low tide

Categories: Cagbalete, NCR, Quezon | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mt. Manalmon

It never occurred to me that one could do so much in Bulacan. It is a place of adventure.

Riding the bus bound for Cabanatuan, I anticipated the mountain climbing and spelunking that me and my officemates will do. It was a 2 1/2 hour-ride from Cubao but it was all worth it.

Here’s how our day went:

 

TIME ACTIVITY PRICE
6:50AM Baliwag bus left for  Cabanatuan 117
9:00AM Arrived at Bgy. Kamias, San Miguel,Bulacan  
9-9:45AM Trike to Sitio Madlum, Bgy. Sibul              (240/trike + 15 fee) 65
  rafting fee 5
10:15 Start trek to Mt. Manalmon  
                    Reg fee 5
                    Guide: Php300*  
11:15-11:30 Summit  
11:30-12noon Snack/Lunch  
1-1:30PM Back to Sitio Madlum, prepared for spelunking  
  Guide: Php40/person*  
  headlight: Php30*  
1:30-2:30PM Spelunking Bayukbok Cave  
2:30-3:30PM back to Sitio Madlum, prepared for swimming  
3:30-4:30PM river swimming  
4:30-5:30PM back to Sitio Madlum, freshen up  
                         rafting fee 5
                         *total contri for all fees 80
5:30-6:15PM trike ride to Bgy. Sibul 80
7-9:30PM Manila 117

 

TOTAL:              Php474

 

The Climb

Climbing Mt. Manalmon was not that difficult compared with Mt. Batulao. It is for any beginner. The climb lasts for an hour including some 5-minute breaks.

view from the peak of Mt. Manalmon

view from the peak of Mt. Manalmon

Spelunking Bayukbok Cave

This was the highlight of our trip! We didn’t expect how challenging it was going to be. I was saying, “I wasn’t trained for this!” BUT it was all worth it! There are 2 caves but we wanted to swim in the river so we decided to explore just 1 cave to save time.

Also, exploring the other cave would mean additional Php40/person for the guide. It was a memorable experience! Must-try I must say.

me wriggling my way into the cave

me wriggling my way into the cave

River Swimming

We swam in a clear water after all the sweat we have accumulated from hikinh and spelunking. It was such a soothing experience. Wish we could stay longer but the night is about to draw near. We had to climb some rocks going back to Sitio Madlum so we had to start our way back.

swimming in clear water

swimming in clear water

trail to and from the river

trail to and from the river

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bulacan, NCR | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 3 in Bohol: Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping

I was really looking forward to this part of our itinerary. We woke up at around 5:30AM since we had to ride the boat for dolphin watching at around 6 to 6:30AM. This was coordinated by Kuya Johnny with Dumaluan Resort. In short, Dumaluan took charge of our day. It was only then that we were informed that an additional fee of Php200/person had to be paid for the smaller boat that will be used on our Island hopping. Also, there will be additional fees for snorkeling paraphernalia but since we weren’t really into snorkeling, we didn’t pay for the paraphernalia just the boat.

We set out into the waters early in the morning. I was worried that we won’t be able to see dolphins coz that’s what I read in other blogs – that it took them hours before they got to see dolphins. Good thing, there were already dolphins in the area when we arrived. It was fun to see them in real-life and just a few arms away from you.

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After we have been satisfied of seeing these dolphins, we started our Island hopping. Actually there are just 2 islands – Balicasag and Virgin Islands. Balicasag is where you’ll have the snorkeling activity. You may also opt to have your lunch there but since we’re under budget, we decided to take our lunch at Dumaluan when we get back. Virgin Island, on the other hand,  just like the White Beach of Camiguin, is a long stretch of sandbar with fine white sand.

Balicasag Island

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Virgin Island

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We went back to Dumaluan around lunch time both hungry and happy from the day’s activities.

 

Other Bohol Posts:

Day 1: Arrival; Stayed at Dumaluan2 Beach Resort

Day 2: Countryside and Panglao Tour

Day 4: Back to Manila

Categories: Bohol | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 2 in Bohol: Countryside and Panglao Tour

Day 1 of our stay in Bohol was spent in basking in the beach of Dumaluan beach resort, where we stayed. That’s one of the good points of staying in a beach front resort – you can just relax in the beach with the white sand and peculiarly shallow water. It was just a relaxing day. A preparation for tomorrow’s Bohol tour which was jampacked.

Day 2:

We were picked up at the resort by Kuya Johnny’s son, JC, at 8am. Here’s our itinerary:

Chocolate Hills

Too bad the weather was not cooperating when we went to the Chocolate Hills. It was drizzling too hard and it was foggy. We climbed 200 plus steps to reach the spot where the Chocolate Hills are best viewed but since it was foggy and rainy, here’s what we saw:

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Entrance Fee : Php50/person

Man-made Forest

This is along the road thus no entrance fee. You just get to take pictures of these tall mahogany trees that were planted by locals.

Man-made Forest

Tarsier Conservation Area

You get to see tarsiers in designated areas during your short tour here.

DSC04947

Entrance Fee: Php60/person

Hanging Bridge

You may opt to cross the hanging bridge just for “adventure’s” sake. It’s entertaining but there’s a fee of Php10/person I think.

Hanging Bridge

Loboc River Cruising

Just around lunch time, we hurried off to Loboc since the ferry where we were reserved was about to leave and was waiting for us. We got good seats courtesy of Kuya Johnny’s son. He has a contact there. We took the buffet lunch and we were satisfied. The food was good enough to fill our tummies and the view was relaxing. There was also a band playing some songs the entire trip. We had a stop in one of the floating areas and were serenaded and entertained by locals who were singing and dancing. The tour was around an hour – just enough to eat and enjoy the serene surroundings.

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Buffet Fee: Php450/person

Python Visit

This is where you would see “Prony”, the biggest and longest python in captivity. We were really scared and hesitant to take a picture with him but I thought, we’re already here anyway. We had to go inside the cage with him to take a picture. ~_~

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Entrance Fee: Php10/person

Printed Picture  with Prony: Php200

Hinagdanan Cave

I’ve really wanted to go inside caves but there are caves which requires a lot of walking or wall/rock climbing. Good thing, Hinagdanan Cave is not one of those. I was kind of excited to see this one. And, indeed, it was one of the highlights of our trip. Although the cave isn’t really that big, you will be amazed by what you’ll see inside and with your guide as well. They know how to set your camera so that you’ll be able to take good pictures inside the cave. Actually, the guides will do the picture taking for you. All yiu have to do is pose. ^_^

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Entrance Fee: Php25/person

*Guide fee/tip is up to you.

Bohol Bee Farm

We didn’t exactly go to the Bee Farm where there were bees but the store itself where they sell their products from the farm. This is also the Bohol Bee Farm Resort. Kuya JC was very kind to get us a discount coupon for the stuff that we will buy there. I think our total bill for all the food items was around Php3000 or more – good thing there was a discount though not that big, but still. ^_^ Of course we also had to taste their organic ice cream with flavors malunggay, tomato, and mango. Hmmm….personally, not something to rave about but is okay to try.

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No Entrance Fee. Ice cream is at Php80. You can have 2 flavors in 1 order.

After Bohol Bee Farm, we went back to Dumaluan Resort and spent the rest of the day swimming – both on the beach and in the swimming pool. After dinner, we had to rest early since we’ll be waking up early the following day for our Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping.

 

Other Bohol Posts:

Day 1: Arrival; Stayed at Dumaluan2 Beach Resort

Day 3: Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping

Day 4: Back to Manila

Categories: Bohol | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments