Posts Tagged With: vacation

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)

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

DIY Cebu: Day 2 Whaleshark watching at Oslob

I’ve researched thoroughly before we had this trip and I knew that if we wanted to see the whalesharks early, we had to get up early. This is also the reason why I chose Gran Tierra Suites. It is near the South Bus terminal where we would ride a bus going to Oslob. They operate as early as 3AM. Make sure you ride the Ceres bus line. They are very efficient and on-time. Here’s their cebu bus sched.

How to go to Oslob from Cebu city
1. Ride the Ceres bus line at the South bus terminal. Travel time is at 3-4 hours. There are some stops made for comfort room breaks.
2. You won’t miss the drop off area as there are signs at the road and the bus conductor would also call out those who are getting off at Oslob.
3. From there, you’ll spot a registration area where you pay for which activities you want to avail of. Php500 if you want to get off the boat and swim with the whalesharks, Php300 if you will stay in the boat and just watch the whalesharks. They also have go pro cameras for rent for Php550. If you avail of it, the boatmen will take your picture underwater. If not, you’ll have to take the picture yourself.

TIP: Go on a weekday. There are several people during weekdays. We had ours on a weekday and the place was really crowded but it was really organized and systematic.
We were 110th on the line when we arrived. We waited for around an hour before we got our turn. The whaleshark watching takes around 30 minutes.

 

Itinerary and Expenses:

3am – 3:15am      taxi from Gran Tierra to South Bus Terminal                  Php100

3:55am                   bus left for Oslob                                                                      Php165/person

7am                        arrived at Oslob

8:30                        standby for our turn to view the whalesharks              Php300/person

Php500/person

9:00                        done and ready for Sumilon Island

Total: Php680 – if you will view from the boat (includes another Php165 for the bus ride back to Cebu city)

Php880 – if you will swim with the whaleshark (inlcudes another Php165 for the bus ride back to Cebu City)

 

Categories: Cebu | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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

A piece of Mediterranean

I was searching for a place to unwind near Manila at Agoda.com when I stumbled upon Mediterranean House, a resort in Nasugbu, Batangas.

The pictures from their website caught my attention. I liked how the place was designed.

 I booked for an overnight stay for Php2500. It includes breakfast for 2 persons. However, we decided not to stay for the night and they were ok with it. We even had to move our reserved date to another date and they were ok with it. You just have to call them since they don’t reply thru email or text.

How To Go There:

1. We rode a DLTB bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas at Buendia bus station.

There are other bus stations at Taft and Cubao that travel to Nasugbu.

2. Tell the bus conductor that you’re getting off at Sitio Calo and that you’re going to Mediterranean House. It was a relief when the conductor knew where we were going because the Maps and Navi apps in my phone could not locate it.

3. You get off at a basketball court and there you’ll find a signage going to Mediterranean house.

You’ll be surprised where the resort is located. You wouldn’t guess that a resort as stunning as Mediterranean house is situated inside.

facade of Mediterranean House

facade of Mediterranean House

You wouldn’t expect much when you see the facade but when you go inside…

See how great the place is? 🙂 It’s really worth your while. I enjoyed our stay even if we didn’t stay overnight. I bet the ambiance is better at night.

I didn’t say it’s perfect though. Here are some of my personal quirks on the resort:

1. They don’t reply to text or email queries.

2. The room for 2 was not that spacious.

3. The lay out of the room and bathroom were quite different. The TV was placed at the side of the bed instead of the usual at the foot of the bed. The bathroom was a toilet and shower room. It’s ok except that, again it was not that spacious, water will be splashed all over including the tissue paper and trash can.

These are all small things but if you are sensitive to those listed above, you might want to reconsider. But for me, I could get past those. 🙂

Timetable and Expenses (per person):

6:30 AM          Rode bus at Buendia

6:45 AM          Bus left for Nasugbu                                  Php116

8:30 AM          Arrived at Mediterranean House               Php1250

                           Breakfast

                           Lunch (pizza)                                           Php150

4:30 PM          check out

4:45 PM          jeep to Olivares terminal                           Php28

8:0                   bus to Buendia                                               Php80

                          taxi to MRT station                                       Php30

Total: Php1654

There are buses and vans that may bring you to Manila when you step out of the resort. But since it was a holiday, we anticipated that buses might be full so we decided to take the jeep to Tagaytay then ride a bus from there. Took us 4 hours to go back to Manila! -_-

Would love to go back there and stay overnight! 🙂

By the way, their day tour is priced at Php220/person, good for 5 hours. If you’ll take a room for the day tour, price is at Php1300.

Categories: Batangas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artsy Weekend at Rizal

I was supposed to go at a friend’s house in Cainta, Rizal for our usual get-together when the owner of the house decided we go out since she’s been staying in her house for almost a month (after her operation).

She took us in an open-air restaurant which serves isaw (chicken or pig intestines), pansit (noodles), and other grilled or sizzling food. The prices are reasonable, the isaw (Php15 each) cooked to my liking (well done!), the bagoong rice is a meal itself but the waitresses are slow in catering to your needs – they do not seem to be enthusiastic in being of service to you. The food took a really long time before it was served. But I really love the isaw. We ordered for another round of isaw but it was taking too long we decided to cancel it.

Art Galleries

After lunch, we went to Balaw-Balaw Restaurant which is also an art gallery.

Our next stop, just a few steps away from Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery, is the Nemiranda Restaurant and Art house. He is known for his works in EDSA.

We tried their halohalo since the weather was scorchingly hot and humid.

Of course I will not let their Restroom signage pass by without taking a picture. They labeled the restrooms according to the male and female sex organs.

2014-04-26 16.00.17

It was a wonderful experience exploring the art places in Rizal. There are still several art places in Rizal to be explored and some I’ve been to when I was still young.

The art galleries have entrance fees but probably because it was a weekend, we were not charged for anything. 🙂

Categories: Rizal | 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, Quezon

I came across Cagbalete in one of the must-see destinations in the Philippines and I took a mental note of going there. Good thing my sister invited me and my bf to join her and her bf in going there. There were 5 of us, including our youngest sister.

The journey was really long – 5 to 6 hours of 2 bus rides, 1 trike, and 1 boat but it’s all worth it. Initially we planned to meet at JAC Liner Kamias at 3am but due to the coming holy week next week, we thought there might be more travellers/bus riders on that day so we decided to meet the night before at 11PM. Good thing we changed plans as we had more time on our hands and we were not stressed with the travel going to Quezon. Also, it’s a good thing that we were wrong – there weren’t much bus riders then. Yay!

 

How to go to Cagbalete via Mauban

1. Ride JAC Liner bus at Kamias, Cubao going to Mauban

*The Mauban route has only 2 schedules. One starts at 5AM. If you miss it, the next one is in the afternoon I think.

2. Ride trike going to Pantalan/port

3. Ride boat going to Cagbalete

 

How to go to Cagbalete via Lucena Grand Central Station (this is what we did)

1. Ride JAC Liner bus at Kamias, Cubao going to Lucena GRand Central Station

* This route has almost 24 hours schedule (pls check JAC Liner’s website)

2. Ride (non-AC) bus going to Mauban

3. Ride trike going to Pantalan/port

4. Ride boat going to Cagbalete

 

2014-04-12 06.45.41 2014-04-13 12.24.07

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