Tag Archives: Philippines

Surfing your Way to Crystal Beach Resort, Zambales

Have you wondered about doing things that will make your youth worth remembering when you reach the age of no return? Sounds funny but it is reality. While there is still an exuding enthusiasm, strength and means to do it, grab the opportunity. That is just my two cents. I am sharing with you my latest adventure to the sea.

Here is my share of instructions on your way to Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales.

  • Buy a ticket for bus trips to Iba at Victory Bus Liner in Cubao, Quezon City. Trips to Iba start at 5 AM to 9 PM (5 AM, 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM, 9 PM). The ticket costs P305 per passenger.
  • Let the bus conductor know that you’ll get off at San Narciso, in front of San Sebastian Church. The trip is about 5-6 hours using public transportation.
  • Across the road from San Sebastian Church, ride a tricycle going to Crystal Beach Resort. The fare is P15 per passenger.

First, go to the registration area. You must have at least one valid ID for identification purposes. Second, check their accommodation options. This is whether you want to stay in an air-conditioned room, fan room, own/rented tent, glam-ping tent or you just want a day tour, just let the receptionist know. Lastly, provide payment corresponding to the number days of stay in the resort. There’s a required deposit of P1000 which will be returned once you checked out.

When I checked in, I chose to stay in a rented tent. It was a budget friendly decision since I traveled solo. The overnight stay was for P950. The amount paid included a breakfast buffet. They serve buffet between 6 AM to 9 AM only. The food was pretty good and there were a lot of options.

In the morning, I woke up at 6 AM to have a breakfast. Then, I registered to surfing lessons for P400 per hour. Telin was my instructor and coach. She did excellent in making me feel confident that I can stand on the surfboard just by her signals. Best first surfing experience so far!

It was a mix of comedy, action and drama when I started to balance my way to the waves. My instructor kept on laughing because my screaming was then longer than the actual stay on the surfboard. The sound and size of the waves crashing made me want to quit. I think the fear was normal for non-swimmers. Nobody wants to drown when the goal was fun and relaxation. And, I did it with flying colors! I conquered the fear and had so much fun surfing. I had enough dose of salt water during the first half of the surfing session.

At night, there were activities in the resort. We had a movie night plus bonfire only because, the acoustic night was cancelled at that time. The night was cozy, not too busy and just pure relaxation. Two bottles of beer made the night perfect. The food and drinks were pricey considering that it is in a province.

Overall experience was fantastic. The ambiance was perfect, fresh air, clean facilities, better accommodations, the people in the resort were always willing to help and they were polite to guests. Visit Crystal Beach Resort website for additional information.

 

 

Travel Sale Fair in Manila

I think, everybody is thrilled to hear about sale and discounts. Who doesn’t want to get more by paying less? Travel enthusiasts and wanderers should try attending a travel fair.

We arrived at the Philippines’ World Trade Center in the afternoon. We paid P100 for the registration and entrance fee. There were long lines everywhere, starting with the registration booth, lines for those who wanted to withdraw money from the ATMs, line at the photo booth and for the travel bidding. Entering the venue, it exuded so much excitement and busyness. Looking around, everyone has his own itinerary. Trying to resolve inquiries on travel bookings, hotel reservations and adventure trips. There are a lot of booths for travel agencies that offer different kinds of services like booking domestic and international flights, visa processing, tours and other related travel packages. A few number of booths were also selling travel accessories, travel gears, traveling bags and luggage. And wait! Do not forget the discounts went as much as 80% less the original price.

It was the first time I attended a travel fair and I felt overwhelmed with the discounts that each travel booth offers. I discovered new travel destinations within the country. I also got acquainted with the new airline companies that started to service different tourist destinations in the Philippines. I noticed the participation of Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific Airlines, Air Asia, AirSwift and SkyJet Airlines.

In the venue, you get to feel how vibrant the people are, trying to get the most from their budgets. There was no haggling definitely because they had fixed discount prices but when you get to have a nice chat with your travel agent you might still get a little more deductions. We had it! It’s an absolute delight.

Trying to get some leaflets and brochures from different booths made me think that there’s still so much to explore. Still so many stories to write and tell. Different faces, different places and different experiences. Every place has something very unique to offer.

I can now feel a slight adrenaline rushing through my veins by just thinking of the tour we booked in the travel fair. I will be traveling with a good friend who appreciates anything new to her eyes and I like it. I am sure we’ll enjoy and get a new kind of adventure there.

Traveling makes me humble, have some fun and grateful.

 

Paguriran Island and Lagoon, Bacon Sorsogon, Phils.

Taking a time out from work for a short time is a life’s sparkle. It colors some dull views with bright shades and tickles our human senses.

It was a decade ago since I last visited Sorsogon City, one of the rich cities in Bicol region. In August, I had a 3-day vacation from work and I decided to spend them in the province. So, I traveled from Manila to my hometown, Legazpi City.

Let’s start the route from Legazpi City. The van terminal to Sorsogon is located in Legazpi City Public Market. The fare is P75 per passenger. The travel time could take up to 2 hours depending on the traffic situation along the way. For first time travelers, it is best to let the driver know that you’re going to the Paguriran Beach or Lagoon. In that way, the driver will know where to drop you off. The van should stop in front of the famous Chowking food chain. From there, cross the road to reach the jeepney terminal for Sawangga via Bacon proper route. It is approximately 1-hour travel time from the terminal to Paguriran beach.

It is recommended that you bring food and water with you because there are not much options when you get there. The entrance fee is P5 per visitor and the Nipa hut houses minimum rent is P50. There are videoke sets available for rent as well. However, if you just wanted to have a serene stay near the beach, I would suggest that you go to this island during weekdays. The fact is, a lot of people would want to sing out loud on weekends and the noise from these machines and people singing will be disruptions to your relaxation.

When it is low tide, the beach front is too rocky. You need to walk a little father to reach the lagoon and the part of the beach where there is shallow water for non-swimmers. Do not forget to wear slippers or some footwear to protect your feet from getting pricked. However, the sand was impressively white and fine when we got to the part of the beach where there’s almost no small or big rocks.

Reaching the lagoon, it’s not quite the way I expected it to appear. Nevertheless, it was still stunning! We climbed up the rocky hill to see the view of the lagoon from the top. Climbing to the top was a challenge because the rocks are uneven, rough and have sharp ends which in turn can hurt you. From the top, you will have a view of the lagoon and its surroundings. You will have the feeling that your eyes are great assets in living a life that is blessed and colorful.

 

Discovering Majestic Mount Mayon

Albay province is the beautiful, rich and green piece of island I live in the Philippine archipelago. I always thought that I have already seen so much that I need not go any farther to know more of the place I live in. Alas, my mind was just confined to the places I was familiar with.

The usual view of the majestic Mayon when I go out of the house or going to the farm near us is nothing but ordinary for me. It’s like a routine, nothing really special!

Years ago, when the adventurous part of me was awakened and I started to wander around places. It struck me to know that I never cared discovering my place a lot of people dreamt of seeing. I have seen a lot of foreigners come and go whose reactions seeing Mount Mayon up close appeared overacting for me. That’s how unappreciative I was. Funny and ungrateful me, I know! (Hahaha)

Let me give you some brief and substantial tour on how to get closer to the perfect cone Mount Mayon in the province of Albay. To add up, Mayon volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the Bicol region.  It definitely will be helpful that before going for a hike to see Mayon, we have a confirmation that it is safe to go. Nothing to lose if we secure safety first.

Traveling from Manila, there are two options of reaching Mount Mayon. Traveling by air is through Cebu Pacific & Philippine Airlines or traveling by bus through Alps, DLTB, Cagsawa Travel and Tours, Victory Liner and etc. The bus terminals are located in Araneta Cubao, Quezon City.  Travel by plane is approximately 1 hour and by land is about 10-12 hours depending on the time you left Manila and the traffic along the way. Either way, the destination is Legazpi City, Albay.

Once landed or reached Legazpi, it’s time to look for a cozy place to stay. It is advisable to check for hostels or hotels first before leaving Manila so, you don’t have to fret looking for one when you arrive. There are a lot of budget friendly Inns, hostels and hotels around Legazpi.

Be ready to hike before the sun rises. Wear something comfortable for a long walk or trekking. Protect yourself from the scorching sun. From Legazpi, to reach Bonga (the place you start the hike) you can ride a jeepney or rent a tricycle. Best option is renting a tricycle. It would only cost about P100 and it is less hassle. While a jeepney ride would cost about P15 per pax, it will not get you to the destination on time because the drivers normally would wait for the seats to be filled in. The trek will start at the dike which is the border between Brgy. Bonga and Mabinit. A Barangay (brgy.) is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward.

It would take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Mount Mayon Black Lava Zipline Adventure stop. There are ATVs for rent as well. I haven’t tried it though but I think it would also be so much fun to ride on and explore a few more places around. I preferred hiking and a little running to reach the top. At the peak of the black lava which already turned to stones, there is a helipad. This was meant for those who did not want to go through hiking or riding ATVs or those who will only do surveys of Mayon’s activity. At the top, the view of the city below is breathtaking and stunning. It pretty much compensates all the sweats to reach the top.

Mount Mayon is just amazing from afar and up close!

Foods and places you must try when you’re in Legazpi.

  • Chili Ice Cream at Colonial Grill in Pacific Mall
  • Albay Park & Wildlife
  • Lignon Hill Nature Park in Legazpi
  • Cagsawa Ruins
  • Authentic Bicol Express (Food)

 

Hundred Islands National Park

If you love island hopping and never care to be roasted under the scorching sun then, be ready because the Philippines is the place to be! Wander and hop from island to island all day. According to National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, the Philippines now has 7,641 islands but around 2,000 are only inhabited.

Speaking of islands, not far from Manila is a bountiful province of Pangasinan. The Hundred Islands National Park is located in the City of Alaminos. It was documented that the islands are scatted in Lingayen Gulf, total to 124 at low tide and 123 at high tide. Four islands have been developed for tourism: Governor Island, Quezon Island, Marcos Island and Children’s Island. Most islands are like broccoli formed when observed from an elevated position.

For backpackers and travelers who are using public transportation, I will provide the travel itinerary based on experience. As most travelers will agree, traveling is sometimes really stressful especially when things don’t go according to plans. Time is very significant.

Take Victory Bus Liner trip to Alaminos from Cubao terminal. The fare is P400 and the travel time is 5-6 hours depending on the time the bus left or the traffic along the way. I normally travel early in the morning because there is less traffic and I find it faster to get to the destination. If you arrive in Alaminos late in the morning, it is not advisable for you to still go the Hundred Islands Park. The best part of enjoying the view to the park is by starting it very early in the morning. You get to the see the stunning beauty of the sun while rising.

There are transient houses at the pier, hostels and hotels in the city. Decide where to stay depending on the budget. The tricycle drivers approaching those they think are tourists in the city offer places to stay like transient houses. You may check them out because they’re considerably cheap but comfortable if you travel in group. The room prices could range from P1000 to P1500 per night.

The Alaminos’ Tourism office is along the road and is located at the park. Any inquiry about the boat prices, where and what to do in the Hundred Islands are welcome there. A few meters from the office is the line of tricycles that can take you to the Lucap wharf for P15 per way. To reach the wharf is approximately 10 minutes ride. There is a registration fee per tourist and a form that needs to be filled out at the Lucap wharf. The boat rental fee is 1500 and that is for the whole day if you decide to stay longer. Bring some food and water on the boat because the food prices in the park are significantly expensive.

The boat driver will be your tour guide as well. They normally provide brief backgrounds of some islands in the park. They’re pretty informative and helpful. If you even get lucky, you will hear detailed folklore stories from them.