Philippines Travel

Musings of a Part Introvert on a Group Tour in Baguio

Based on online tests I am an ambivert; a person who is both introverted and extroverted. There are times when I want to shut the world and just be on my own; no phones, no Internet, zero interaction with people. Then one day I’d wake up ready to go out, wanting to see my friends and be the life of the party. I like being an ambivert because I get the best of both worlds. I can easily shift from being an introvert to extrovert and vice versa depending on the situation. But sometimes I fail, like when I went to Baguio recently for a sponsored trip by Azalea Hotels and Residences. I went on a group tour with other bloggers, it was a chance to socialize, to widen my network. Given this, you’d think I’d be in my extrovert mood but nope. In fact, we spent the whole day touring Baguio City with me acting like I was doing solo travel.

Bell Church

It didn’t help that I shared a ride with the kids. Not kid kids, but millennials, young people in their 20s who are fashion bloggers. The bloggers of my age, on the other hand, were called “mellonnials,” based on the name of one of the bloggers, Melo. Anyway, I was hardly communicative when I was with the millennials not because I was being snooty but because they seem to be speaking in a language different from mine.

In 2011 I had a fashion blog yet there I was, inside the van with a bunch of fashion bloggers and I wasn’t talking. They spoke of their common friends, places they went to, makeup, and clothes; things that used to matter a lot to me but not anymore. So I felt like a grandma completely baffled about the ways of the young. So in a true grandma fashion, I took a nap. Every time I’d ride in that freaking van I’d take a nap. But don’t judge me, I only had one hour of sleep okay.

Escaping the City Heat at Azalea Hotel & Residences Baguio

When I opened my eyes we were already in a temple. I was slightly confused because I heard our first stop is the Diplomat Hotel. As soon as we entered the premises, everyone had their cameras ready, not to photograph the place but to do a fashion shoot. I was like, seriously, they were doing OOTD photo shoot? Then I told myself, What do you expect? They’re fashion bloggers remember?

So while my companions were busy shooting Instagram-worthy photos, I took some photographs of the place. It’s a Chinese temple with beautiful and intricate arches, water lilies, dragon sculptures, and a pagoda. During our visit, there were some kids busy doing some exercises, which I figured were part of their training. What I’m not sure of is the type of martial arts for which they were being trained for.

BenCab Museum

You’ve seen that sappy film That Thing Called Tadhana where two strangers who met on a plane, then decided that it’s not creepy to launch a Cordillera trip with someone you just met? Yeah that movie, well one of the places they went to is BenCab Museum.

So we went there but I wasn’t as lucky as Angelica Panganiban’s character to have a JM de Guzman of my own. We were given a choice to join one of the staff to walk us through the gallery or to go off on our own. It was a chance for some interaction but I explored alone instead and appreciated the artwork in my own pace.

The BenCab Museum is home to the art collection of the Philippine National Artist, Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab). Each floor has rooms where the artworks are exhibited. There’s the Bencab Gallery, Erotica Gallery, Cordillera Gallery, Print Gallery, Patio Salvador, Graffiti Wall, Gallery Indigo, Maestro Gallery, Larawan Hall, Philippine Contemporary Art Gallery, Sepia Gallery, Bulol Installation, and Edison T. Coseteng Patio.

Diplomat Hotel

I remember when I was having that tattoo session with Sarah Gaugler, she asked how did I find her movie, Diplomat Hotel. You know the feeling when you don’t want to hurt someone but at the same time, you don’t want to lie? That’s what I felt, so I didn’t say anything and let my friend do the talking. To cut the story short, I love Sarah Gaugler, I hate the movie. Nonetheless, I wanted to visit the Diplomat Hotel myself so I was quite excited when I learned that it’s part of our itinerary.

The Diplomat Hotel sits atop the Dominican Hill. People are drawn to this tourist spot not only for its beauty but also for its reputation of being haunted. It’s a 17-hectare property that has seen so much history. It used to be a vacation house of the Dominicans, a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario in 1915, a sanctuary for the refugees during World War II, and a 33-bedroom hotel in 1973 where the faith-healing sessions of Tony Agpaoa were held.

It is now believed to be a haunted place. Locals claim that they could hear strange noises in the middle of the night like the banging of doors or windows, clattering of dishes, or horrifying screams. Given this fact, you’d think I would take the opportunity to finally go with my companions? Nope. I braved roaming its rooms and halls on my own. I’d be lying if I tell you I didn’t imagine facing some unknown entity along the way, but I guess it wasn’t enough to deter me. I was more fascinated than spooked because the hotel is made eerily beautiful by the decay that it’s suffering.

I thought about the people who used to walk through these empty halls, those who slept in the now-empty rooms, and those who cowered in fear of the Japanese during the war. I was free to inspect its crook and cranny, free to visualize its history, which wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t alone.

Arca’s Yard

I tried to read a book in our next stop, Arcas Yard despite the hopelessness of finishing it. Arcas Yard used to be just a library and a museum, but the owners decided to integrate a café because most people who visited there were looking for food. It has many interesting art pieces, mostly of traditional artifacts from the Cordillera region.

They served us their bestseller, camote pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Never heard of such a pie before but god it was lip-smacking good. The taste and texture reminded me of my favorite Filipino snack, nilupak. Some of my companions didn’t finish their pie; not me. I was into it like I haven’t eaten yet. Even the milk tea that went with it was so good the only thing that stopped me from finishing it is the thought that I’ve had enough sugar for the day.

Click here to get $24 off your first airbnb booking

Camp John Hay

The next day I went with the mellonnials after realizing I shouldn’t be hanging out with the millennials. I’ve also bonded with my roommate, Trisha of P.S. I’m On My Way the previous night so I finally had someone to talk to. We went to Camp John Hay and though I’d been there when I was a kid, my memory is all rusty that it felt like I was seeing it for the first time. But I can still recall the pet cemetery and I wanted to see it again but apparently, it was far from our stop.

Tree Top Adventure

Normally, I’d go for an adventure even when it scares me because my curiosity is bigger than my fear. This time, my laziness is bigger than my curiosity so while the kids were excited to try the treetop adventure, I was excited to go back to Azalea and sleep in my room. Signs of old age? Maybe.

Anyway, for your information, the treetop adventure can be found at the Nature Park in Camp John Hay where you can try the following adventures:

  • Canopy and Funicular (PHP 350 – USD 7.49)
  • Superman Ride (zipline) (PHP 300 – USD 6.42)
  • Tree Top Adventure (PHP 150 – USD 3.21)
  • Trekking and Skywalk (PHP 100 – USD 2.14)
  • Silver Surfer Ride (PHP 200 – USD 4.28)

There are disadvantages when you’re not interacting with people when you travel, the first being, you have no one to take your picture. In fact, most of my photos were selfies or taken with a timer. But being alone can also be beautiful. I enjoyed the chance to be alone with my thoughts. I was not distracted and fully in the moment to appreciate the places that we went to. This is not to say that I encourage anyone to be antisocial, but if you are shy, it doesn’t mean your experience would be less awesome than those with companions.

I’ve lost count of the times I’d been to Baguio but I was happy to discover that there are still many things that I haven’t explored yet. It’s nice to know I still have reasons to come back and if I have to do it alone, I don’t mind at all.

Travel Bug

Travel Bug Series 11 – Jerny Destacamento

I’ve gotten bad with laptops, I mean mine gets always infected with viruses that I had to reformat them a few times (yes I can be stupid). In those few times, a friend saved my ass because first, he is an IT, second, he is genuinely a nice person. And because he is really nice, his kindness tends to be abused by some people (myself included hehe…), but I hope to return the favor by telling the world about him. Incidentally, he is also a travel blogger and he chronicles his adventures in his blog, The Jerny (you know, journey sounds like Jerny, gets? lol). Meet our Travel Bug Series feature number 11, Jerny Destacamento.

(more…)

Accommodation

Escaping the City Heat at Azalea Hotels and Residences Baguio

Summer is the best time to visit the Philippines; it’s when the sea is the bluest, the sky the clearest, and the trees the greenest you will ever see. Indeed, it’s a tropical paradise that most tourists could not resist. But summer heat can also be the cruelest thing. Hence, it’s the time of the year when most people frequent the malls and other establishments that have air conditioning. People also flock to the beaches, resorts, rivers, and other bodies of water in search of relief. And it’s also the time when Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines receives its most number of tourists. With a temperature that can go as low as 7˚C, Filipinos like to escape the summer heat by going to this province. I wanted to escape the heat myself so I was eyeing the Cordillera Region. Then an opportunity presented itself; Azalea Hotels and Residences, that new hotel that has been gaining quite a buzz in social media has invited some bloggers, including me, for a 3D2N rendezvous in Baguio.

Apart from the free staycation, Azalea partnered with some key establishments to give us the best tour experience in the city. But let’s save that for later, today let me focus on the accommodation itself.

The trip was set on May 17, 2016, but a previous engagement prevented me from traveling with the other bloggers. Still, I was not about to let this opportunity go so as soon as I finished what I had to do, I went to the Victory Liner terminal in Pasay to travel to Baguio. The EDSA traffic plus two 15-minute stopovers equaled to an 8-hour land trip. At 2:00 in the morning, I reached Baguio City and spotted a man in a blue shirt with the Azalea logo print. He was the driver that Azalea sent to fetch me.

It only took 6 minutes to get to the hotel. This is how fast the travel time is from the Victory Liner terminal to Azalea without the heavy traffic. It was 2 in the morning, I could understand if the staff was already feeling lethargic, but the people who greeted me were all nice and welcoming. I was given the card key to room 321 and made to sign a paper across my name. On the same sheet of paper, I saw the name of my roommate: Trisha Ignacio.

I was escorted by one of the staff to my room. I was surprised to see how big it is, with its own kitchen, a balcony, and a bathroom. The bed is big and inviting and I thought it’s where I would bunk but the bell boy led me to the last door at the end of the room. It opened to another bedroom, a smaller one but with its own TV, a closet, and side tables on each side of the bed.

There are three doors on the right side of the room, the first one is also a bedroom where my roommate was billeted (her room has its own bathroom), the second door leads to a shower and toilet (this is what I used), and the third is the bedroom where I stayed.

Toiletries were provided and there were also complimentary coffee and tea. The kitchen is equipped with a fridge, a water heating pot, and a microwave oven. It was obviously made for you to never leave the room because everything was already there.

You can watch TV, cook, there’s free WiFi so you can surf the net too, and there’s even a balcony where you can just lounge and relax while enjoying the beautiful view of Baguio.

I went to my room and thought, where’s the aircon? Then I remembered that I was in Baguio, lol.

The bed, let’s talk about the bed. It has a thick and soft comforter that felt so good to snuggle in that I never want to wake up. I swear whenever I go under it, I’d be out in a few minutes. It was ultra comfortable and I imagine more so if the weather was really cold. It’s May so the weather in Baguio was not on freezing levels, nevertheless, it was cool enough to not sweat a lot.

azalea-residences-baguio-coffeehan (3)

Azalea has its in-house resto café called, Tradisyon. This is where we had breakfast buffet-style while dinner and lunch were served to us by the staff. They serve Filipino food and I must say they were scrumptious.

There was a make-your-own noodle station and I had fun making my own mami. I went too far with the chili sauce though so I spent a few minutes coughing like I was dying, lol. So go easy on the chili babe.

Now here are some of the dishes that we tried, my favorite would be ginataang isda. Trust me, it’s delicious.

azalea-residences-baguio-coffeehan (6)
azalea-residences-baguio-coffeehan (5)

My roommate turned out to be Trisha Velarmino of P.S. I’m on my way. This woman has been around the world and she told me that when it comes to customer service, the Filipinos remain number 1. I have to agree especially with Azalea. Their staff is well-mannered, always ready to help, always greeting us with a smile. Indeed, they are one of the reasons my stay at Azalea has been comfortable.

Before this, I’ve already read a lot about Azalea Residences from fellow bloggers. They were happy about their stay of course and have been giving the hotel high recommendation. Because those stays were sponsored, I was under the impression the positive reviews may be tainted by obligation. I was proven wrong when I experienced it myself.

Baguio offers many options for lodging from budget-friendly, such as homestays and dormitory, to more luxurious like bed & breakfasts and hotels. In those times that I visited Baguio, I never tried comfortable accommodation—and when I say comfortable I mean a hotel setting—until I was invited here. I’m the first to admit that I am willing to compromise comfort over budget, after all, when I travel, I am out wandering most of the time anyway. But I won’t deny the fact that if I’m able, I’d rather be in a lodging where I’d be treated like a queen, with good and comfortable bedding and my own bathroom. And I’m happy that I was given a chance to experience just that at Azalea. So hell yeah I am recommending it to you guys, it’s a good value for money. You can book Azalea via Agoda.

Philippines Travel

A Glimpse of the Revolution in Kawit, Cavite

Emilio Aguinaldo had fallen in love with a 15-year old lass.

So many tidbits and this is what lingered in my head. The first president of the Philippine republic loved a girl in when he was in his 50s and married to his second wife, Maria Agoncillo. This kind of information doesn’t get written in textbooks or taught in school, but it’s these little glimpses to a personal life that draws interest to a person, especially if the person in question is a prominent figure in history. This, among others I wouldn’t have known had I not accepted the invitation of Fundacion Santiago for a heritage tour in the province that gave birth to the Philippine revolution, Kawit, Cavite.

I was among the 7 bloggers who responded to the invitation of JR Lomugdang, Head of Business Planning and Customer Relations of Travelbook.ph when he posted about this trip. On the day itself, we met Karina “Kara” Garilao, program director of Fundación Santiago. Fundación Santiago is a PCNC certified non-profit organization that aims to promote national identity and development through historical awareness and national development. One of their programs is the Community Based Heritage Tourism (CBHT), a comprehensive method that gears toward poverty alleviation while promoting the cultural, historical, and environmental wealth of a specific locality. Presently, they are operating in Ilocos Sur, Metro Manila, Laguna, Quezon, Palawan, and Bohol. This Kawit Cavite heritage tour is one of the projects under CBHT.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

Saint Mary Magdalene Church

Our first stop is the church that is said to be the favorite of Aguinaldo, the Saint Mary Magdalene Church. Built in 1624 with light materials, such as wood and nipa palm, it is the second oldest church in Kawit. Its former name is Our Lady of Loreto but was later on changed to Mary Magdalene because back in the day, there was a port in front of this church that is home to some inappropriate establishments. I asked our tour guide, Lehn, what kinds of inappropriate establishments was she referring—though I had some ideas—but she said they were not specified in the history books.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

In 1639, the church’s structure was turned to stone, adobe, and lario (sand, shells, and mud). It underwent another renovation in 1990 to make it earthquake-proof. On a personal note, I was mighty impressed with the simplicity and the beauty of this church. I was particularly taken by the wooden ceiling, I’ve never seen anything like it in an old church. I liked that they were able to infuse some modern structure to make the church stronger without going overboard with the design to maintain the old feel.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour
kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

The father of Emilio Aguinaldo is buried inside this church, a privilege given to people who have greatly contributed to the town.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

The feast of Mary Magdalene is celebrated every 22nd of July.

Pandayan

If there is one character I would forever associate with the late actor, Fernando Poe Jr. it’s Flavio or more popularly known as Panday. Flavio’s character is a panday or a blacksmith, a person who forges metal objects from wrought iron or steel. In Kawit, there are real-life pandays and you can find them in the house of Hermiana Santulan, an 84-year old woman who was able to send her 9 kids to school through this business.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

There was a live demonstration of blacksmithing care of one of the pandays, Mang Waldy. First, he burned coals to create fire to soften the steel. With the help of another panday, they hammered, bent, and cut the steel to shape it into a tool. It was fascinating to watch though it was a bit uncomfortable because of the heat that was coming from the furnace.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Sadly, the blacksmithing is a dying industry in Kawit. On how long this industry would be sustained in the years to come, I cannot tell for sure. But I am hoping that there is a way to keep it alive for the benefit of the future generation.

Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine

Some of the residents have opened their old houses to tourists, and of these is the Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine. Baldomero, a cousin of Emilio Aguinaldo, was one of the prominent figures who joined the revolution. The house reminded me a lot of the old houses that I visited at Las Casas Filipinas.

[That Little Vigan Called, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar]

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

It houses interesting relics from the past, such as the ancient pressing irons, old school refrigerator called ice box, cooking stove which rings can be detached to lessen or increase the heat, among others. This house was built in 1906 with molave and narra. The ground floor was used as a storage room for farm produce and as chicken pens. Interestingly, we found the graves of Baldomero and his family in their backyard.

It was fascinating to see the things that people used back in the day. The pressing iron, for example, had to be heated not by electricity but by fire. My grandfather used one of those when I was really young and I still remember being greatly fascinated by it. That iron was so heavy I couldn’t lift it by myself. Now, you don’t have to burn coal just to press clothes, you just take out a flat iron, which by the way is no longer barbell-heavy, plug it in, then it’s good to go. It’s amazing how times have changed.

Aguinaldo Shrine

The Aguinaldo Shrine is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Kawit, Cavite. Not only is it the ancestral house of Emilio Aguinaldo, it was also the setting of the declaration of the Philippine Independence from the Spanish colonizers. That famous raising and waving of flag depicted on history books happened on the balcony of this house.

It’s a sprawling 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) mansion that was designed by Aguinaldo himself. One part of the house was turned into a museum that showcases memorabilia of Aguinaldo including his military medals, uniforms, weapons, gifts from the different foreign dignitaries and heads of states, portraits, and dioramas depicting events from the revolution.

The most interesting thing that I saw in the museum is the bomb shelter. It was originally a short well with an underground tunnel that leads to the church. Later on, it was turned into a shelter by the civilians seeking refuge from the war.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

Our tour continued in the main house which has some interesting features, such as secret rooms and doors, and secret compartments where they used to hide weapons. It even has its own hospital where they tended to the wounded.

The bedrooms that the family used are still intact. Each one of the Aguinaldo children has their own bedrooms. Out of the three girls, the biggest one belonged to Emilio’s favorite daughter, Carmen.

Not everyone could check out the nook and cranny of this house so we were the privileged ones, thanks to Fundacion Santiago. We were able to check the rooms even those that are off-limits to the public like Aguinaldo’s library.

Booking.com

Inside Aguinaldo’s room is a furniture that looks like an ordinary closet. The guide explained that it was in fact, a secret place of Aguinaldo. If he didn’t want to be disturbed by anyone, he would just enter this closet. Inside this closet is a peephole where he could check the people who are coming in his room.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

The house reaches up to the 7th floor where you can find the attic. The attic offers an outstanding bird-eye view of Kawit. The guide said that this is where the snipers stayed hidden during the war. My curiosity took me as far as climbing up the attic, a decision I almost regretted when I started feeling faint. Nevertheless, I’m glad I made the climb lest I wouldn’t have seen the beautiful view from the top.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour
kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

By touring the house, you will realize just how affluent the Aguinaldos are during that era. They have a pantry where they store their food, the bathrooms have bidets even bathtubs, the bedrooms are big and spacious, their cooking stove and the ice box are bigger than those that we’ve seen at the Baldomero’s, they have a swimming pool, a grand hall, and a big laundry area.

And just like Baldomero, Emilio Aguinaldo is buried in his own backyard.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

Indeed, the Aguinaldo Shrine does not only offer a glimpse of a significant chapter in the Philippine history, but also a look into the life of the most influential family in Cavite during that period.

Hidden Tapsihan

And the most favorite part of everyone, eating time. Our tour guides led us to Hidden Tapsihan, a restaurant that can be found at the end of an alley, hence the name. There, we were served with their specialties such as, basag-ulo (a kind of lumpia that is so hard the say it could break your head), tapsilog, and Aguinaldo’s favorite, sinampalukang manok.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour
kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

Irasan Saltern

My most favorite part of this tour is our trip to the irasan saltern or salt farm. The view of the salt field reflecting the sky was mesmerizing. Maybe it is not as grandiose as the famous Salar de Uyuni or the salt flats in Bolivia, but it was still a sight to behold. We had fun taking photos, many of them are what you would call Instagram-worthy. Even my friends who saw my photo taken in the saltern were astonished. Who would have thought that somewhere in Cavite we have our own salt flats?

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour
kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

We met with some of the irasan farmers. They explained that the quality of the salt depends on the wind. If the wind comes from the east, the salt would be white and good but if the wind comes from the west the quality wouldn’t be as pleasing. Unfortunately, just as the pandayan industry, salt farming is slowly fading.

kawit-cavite-heritage-tour

Conclusion

In the recent election, I heard some people saying that past is past and that at some point in time we should all move on. I agree with this statement to some extent, but I would advocate against forgetting. Moving on is not synonymous to forgetting. Forgetting the past is a disrespect to our origins, a betrayal to our national identity, and a sign of ingratitude to those who have fought hard to claim our freedom. Remembering and learning our past do not mean that we cannot move on, it means we are grateful for its lessons and that we are acknowledging our humble beginnings as a nation. It also means that we want to have an in-depth understanding of who we are as Filipino people.

One of the best ways to do this is through participating in heritage tours. And you too can experience this tour by contacting Fundacion Santiago.

Philippines Travel

8 Adventures to Experience in the Philippines

Many tourists visit the Philippines for its pristine white beaches, incredible marine life, magnificent mountains, and other breathtaking scenery. But if you want to make the most of your trip in this country, then I suggest that you take on some challenging and fun adventures. Check out the following 8 adventures that were recommended by some Filipinos travelers.

1. Skycycling

Do you want to take your cycling skills to the next level? Why not pedal your way up in the sky? You can try the Skycycle adventure in Davao at Eden Nature Park & Resort or the or Bike Zip in Bohol at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.

“Soar high like an eagle in the sky and try Skycycle. This is the newest adventure in Davao City. Never leave Eden Nature Park without trying their epic rides. Eden is the best place to relax with its sumptuous lunch buffet and world class accommodation. Riding a bicycle in the sky is just an amazing experience. I felt high literally, as I pedaled through the sky overlooking the beautiful nature park.” – Reymond (@thatmokie)

Where: Eden Nature Park and Resort
Bo. Eden Toril, Davao 8025
Rate: PHP 200 (USD 4.34)

“To get to the area where the bike zip is located, one has to climb a long flight of cemented stairs. Quite tiring since we just came from a series of tree-top challenges. Participants are required to sign a waiver and to be properly geared up before climbing to another set of long stairs to get to the bike zip platform. You get to choose between a single bike or a double bike, but unfortunately, when we were there, the double bike is not available. It’s a round-trip experience of biking in the air with a view of the Chocolate Hills and the Bohol countryside. Definitely exhilarating especially with the strong wind up there. Don’t worry the bike is also suspended in wires just like you are.

It’s a good way to conquer your fears of heights (just like me) and it’s an alternative way of seeing the famous Chocolate Hills.” – Darlene (@pointandshootwanderlust)

Where: Chocolate Hills Adventure Park
Loay Interior Road, Carmen, Bohol
Rate: PHP 450 (USD 9.76)

2. Scuba Diving

Blessed with 7,100 islands, the Philippines is easily considered as one of the best diving destinations in the world. Some of the great dive sites in the country include Yapak in Boracay, The Canyons in Puerto Galera, Balicasag Fish Sanctuary in Bohol, Morazan Maru in Coron, Palawan, among others.

“I am hydrophobic since birth. I had been pushed too often onto the sea that even at the slightest sight, I would cringe. I often slip when I am at the pool so that added to the trauma. When I worked in an outdoor equipment company before, I had been exposed not only to the mountains (which I found to be my comfort zone) but to the waters as well. Having to learn how to snorkel and how to dive was life changing. Though I still fear to be in deep waters, but at least I find it a bit comfortable when I use the diving equipment.

Discovery Scuba Dive is a must for people who want to know how the underwater ecosystem works and how to navigate scuba equipment. The aim of DSD is to see underwater life in macro, also to let people realize that dynamite fishing, marine life poaching, and coral collection is definitely a hazard to our environment.” – Jeane (@viajeracebuana)

Where: KonTiki Dive Resort
Datag, Mactan Island, Pajac-Maribago Rd,
Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Rate: PHP 2,500 (USD 54.24)

3. Wake Boarding

Many types of water sports can be enjoyed when you travel in the Philippines; one that is quickly gaining popularity is wake boarding. You can try this sport from any of the four wakeboarding centers: Lago de Oro in Calatagan, Batangas, CamSur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur, Bicol, DECA Wakeboard Park in Davao, and Clark Wake board Park in Angeles City, Pampanga.

“I first tried wake boarding in the summer of 2015 in the CamSur Watersports Complex. At first, I thought that it’s difficult balancing on a board while being dragged across the water but it’s actually not. Once you get the hang of it and find your balance, you’re good to go!

I fell quite a few times on my first attempts and got dragged face down across the water. The instructor was witty enough to advise me that I should let go of the handle of the cable. He said I should learn to let go when it hurts already (lol). Anyways, if you’re up to trying something new, I would highly recommend that you try wake boarding. You don’t need to know how to swim to be able to try it, it’s in the water (which is where we all want to be given the weather we have), it’s quite affordable and most of all, it’s a great and fun experience.

You could try it when you’re on a trip to CamSur, or for a more accessible option, you could visit the Republic Wakepark in Nuvali.” – Zai (@zai13th)

Where: Republic Wakepark
West Diversity Boulevard Nuvali,
Calamba, 4027 Laguna
Rate: PHP 250 (USD 5.32)

Booking.com

4. Sky Diving

Are you looking for something a little more extreme? Then head on over to Zambales and experience sky diving.

“When the parachute opened, I thought, ‘This is it. Finally.’ From a thousand feet into the air, I had an aerial view of the beach in Zambales and its surroundings and thought I must be seeing what the birds see. The radio beeped and in came the instructions from my divemaster. I thought to myself, I should be able to get down safely. Skydiving dares you to conquer something within yourself, may it be fear or doubt. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. There’s a moment when you’re descending that you’d actually feel relief and a wondrous joy.” – Hali (@taraletsanywhere)

Where: Skydive Zambales
Iba, Zambales
Rate: Solo – PHP 12,000 (USD 255.442)
Tandem – PHP 17,000 (USD 361.87)

5. Free diving

If you can swim well and you want to inspect the underwater life up close without hurting the budget, then free diving is for you. Unleash your mermaid potential in any of the diving spots in the Philippines.

“I like freediving because I need to experience everything in a limited time. I need to calm down in the middle of adrenaline rush to extend my breath. It’s peaceful. I recommend it to everyone because it’s a form of exercise for the body and mind. Your body needs to work hard to attain a certain depth and to prolong your breath while your brain needs to shut down. It also makes you closer to the marine life because you only have yourself and not assisted with any equipment.” – Valerie (@traveloneval)

Where: Oslob, Cebu
Rate: Free if you have the right gear (mask, snorkle, long fins, wetsuit)
Diving instructor fee – PHP1,000 (USD 21.41)

6. Jet Skiing

If money is no issue then you might want to consider driving a watercraft or jet skiing. There are several resorts and beaches in the Philippines that offer this adventure on a per hour basis.

“The jet ski experience is fun. I thought at first that I couldn’t do it, turns out I could. It’s easy to do, kinda like riding a bicycle. There aren’t many people who are doing this adventure in the area so it would make you feel like you own the sea. I loved it!” – Caresse (@caressedy)

Where: Virgin Beach
Laiya, Batangas
Rate: PHP 4,500 (USD 96.24) per hour

7. Mountain Climbing

Not only is the Philippines blessed with beautiful islands, it is also rich in majestic mountains. Many of these mountains can be conquered for just a few hours, hence mountain climbing is one of the popular outdoor activities in the country.

“To those who have visited Tagaytay and wondered what was on the other side of the lake, well it’s Mt. Maculot. I recommend mountain climbing at Mt. Maculot to those who are busy and just want to get out of town for a day. It is only a day trip and a 1 to 2 hours climb to the rockies. Its an amazing climb where you can have a special viewing of the Lake Taal. Across is the view of the famous Tagaytay Highland. Climbing this mountain will give you a quick fix for that urge to do an adventure that would only take a few hours in a day.” – Laarni (@dangerouslady4u)

Where: Mt. Maculot
Cuenca, Batangas
Rate: PHP 700 (USD 14.98)

8. Canyoneering

One of the group activities that is quickly gaining popularity is canyoneering. It’s a full-packed adventure that involves swimming, trekking, climbing, and jumping into the water. As of this time, there is only one canyoneering spot in the country and that is Cebu.

Canyoning (Canyoneering) in Badian,Cebu! Everyone who’s about to visit Cebu should try this extreme outdoor adventure! Why? Because you will feel more alive after jumping 10ft to 50ft high! Imagine yourself falling from cliffs, erm, I mean, jumping from cliffs! It’s a test of courage! Just a tip, breathe in and out to elevate energy levels and keep yourself cool because nervousness will keep you from enjoying this extreme activity! Ready to jump your heart out? Go to Cebu now! Since we are a group of 8, we had the package’s price down to 700 pesos each. Regular price would be around PHP 1,000 (USD 21.40) to PHP 1,500 (USD 32.10) with complete meal and transfers from pick-up point to jump off! Special thanks to Raymund Sande for this friendly price and great tour guides! Contact him for a package deal!” – Jerny (@jernyd)

Where: Badian,Cebu
Rate:  (USD 21.40) to PHP 1,500 (USD 32.10)


Have you tried any of these adventures? Which one would you be interested to try?

Food

A Fusion of Italian and Spanish Cuisine at Toni and Sergio

After watching Eat Pray Love I started dreaming about living in Italy. After overdosing from Latinovela when I was kid, I started dreaming about learning the Spanish language. I’m not sure how this is going to work, but at least with Toni & Sergio Gastro Italiano, the combination does work. Toni & Sergio is an Italian gastro pub with a Spanish twist and it is one of the restaurants that you can check out when you visit the Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, Taguig.

(more…)

css.php