Siargao Island, Philippines: Worth every Daydream

When I gaze upon the most stunning scenery from a mountaintop, shocked by the eternity of beauty God has promised – I drifted for a while and fell in love with Siargao.

Have you ever been in a place where you find solace in a chaos? Have you ever stumble into a paradise where you get to appreciate life more, even if it’s messy? Did you get yourself into a haven where you realize that the sound of the waves, the calm of the ocean, the salty wind rushing your ears, the fresh salty scent of the breeze and how the sun sets and rises lingers your desires to be alive in a moment? Have you met Siargao, yet? If not, I hope you get to finish reading this blog and find time to watch the video as I story tell you everything we’ve experienced, together with my Siargao Babes, Loraine and Trixie.

Come, take my hand and follow me where time stands still.

Siargao Island’s whereabouts

Siargao Island is part of Surigao del Norte, a tear-drop shaped gem in the Philippine Sea. It is one of the Eastern Islands in the Philippines facing the Pacific Ocean that is blessed for its big waves all throughout the years – Making it the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”. The main towns where most of the surfing tourism activities are centered. According to the local tourism, tourist surfers from all over the world have been visiting and revisiting the island since the late 1980s. Aside from surfing, the most central activity in Siargao – The island has a lot more to offer.Even though the popularity of Siargao Island has boomed all over social media, tourists both foreign and local that have been visiting in and out the island are still manageable.

Getting around Siargao

The island is served by a small efficient Sayak Domestic Airport which is approximately 45minutes away when you’re taking a van going to General Luna. The town Dapa is situated 30 minutes away from General Luna, where the main port, municipality, schools and universities, government offices, and the only bank in the island can be found. (make sure you bring enough cash, or extra cash I should say to get you throughout your stay) There are vans parked outside the terminal to transport passengers going to your hotels, the current rate is 300php per pax. Alternatively, you may also take a tricycle, price starts at 500php good for four pax or take a habal-habal/motorbike for 400php good for 2 pax.

Good thing to know

In fact, if the beach is what you are after, you are better off staying in the areas in around Burgos and Allegria. Just know that whatever you do, wherever your location may be, the surf is never far away. Dead months of surfing in Siargao starts on June to August, on the contrary, big waves in Siargao starts to attract surfers on the month of September onwards.

Explore Siargao Island

Everyone pretty much knows each other, so it not difficult to organize tours for your adventures. The most popular ones is to go island hopping and visit places like; Daku, Naked, and Guyam Islands, go to Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cave tour, explore the mangrove at Del Carmen on a Kayak and of course whether you’re a beginner or advanced take advantage of the yearlong available surf spots in the island.

We only have 3 days and 2 nights to explore the island so we maximized our itinerary and adjusted it along the way. We never have the chance to go island hopping and eat in Kermit, but yeah there’s still a reason to go back. Yay!

Most visitors will find themselves staying at the southeast of the island, the area between Union Beach and Cloud 9, where most restaurants, hotels, and homestay are focused. I personally wanted a beachfront accommodation, so I tapped in Airbnb and booked with Payag Suites Level II Beach Front located in General Luna hosted by Atty. John (I’ll be giving a link below, just in case you’re visiting Siargao and earn instant credits if you sign up and successfully book a trip.)

Sugba Lagoon, Siargao

This is pretty new and not yet commercialized, but this site is the most visited tourist attraction since it captured the eyes of most travelers.

I know it doesn’t look high, but girl, if you’re in there you really can’t move your legs and jump for your life! The water in the lagoon is flat, so the struggle is real.

We met Chai and Shem at Del Carmen Port going to Sugba Lagoon, we were able to share the boat that can carry 7 people. We charted the boat for 1,600.00Php back and forth, yes it’s a good steal! It will take you about 45 mins on the way to the lagoon, but the view will never bore you, I swear! Once you get in here, you can try jumping in the lagoon for a couple of times because that’s what made it famous. You can also try paddle boarding to vividly see the whole view or just swim in the turquoise waters. Snacks aren’t allowed here so you better grab a bite before heading to Sugba Lagoon.

New found friends in Siargao

Meeting new people, getting to know them a little and making memories in a place you’ve been loving at the moment is one of the very essences of traveling. We thank Chai and Shem for taking out shots in the Lagoon and for helping us with some tips in our next destination. We really hope we can see each other again, on our next travel, perhaps?

Mapupungko Rock Pools, Siargao

The view is scenic, couldn’t even imagine there’s a gem like this. The crystal blue water had me in awe, always speechless by how abundant Philippines is.

It is important to take note that the tides changes dramatically, low tide is the best time of the day to check out this place. When it’s low tide, the water is hot and the rocks are black. For the adventure junkie, there is a small cliff diving spot waiting for you and if it isn’t your thing, there is still a ton of adventure to be had at the rock pools.The entrance fee is 50.00php per person and it gets you to access the rock pools and the Magpupungko beach which is worth itself by the way. Inside the premises, there’s plenty of small restaurants that can serve your hungry stomach. Just in case you have a motorbike, you have to pay 20php for a parking fee. (Not bad!)

How to get here: Ride or rent a habal-habal, it takes 45 mins to 1 hour from General Luna (Coconuts are everywhere and the roads are super nice)

Cloud 9, Siargao

Do you ever wonder what “Cloud 9” means?

It means, “feeling on top of the world” – but for surfers in Siargao Island, it’s so much more than that. The island is one of the most well-known surfing areas in the Philippines. It was our first time to learn how to surf, well we’re in the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” so why not try? Afterall, we’ve come a long way. We came in June, I know it’s not the right time to visit Siargao if you’re after the waves. So, if you’re planning to say hello to Siargao, come from November to April to catch the big waves.

Before you realize that the wave never stops coming; paddle hard and welcome the pain in your shoulders, laugh at the salt water with the salt on your face, shout through your agony as you stand tall on the surfboard while balancing your weight, release your inner thoughts, and let yourself be heard because even if the ocean is huge it hears you. As you make it back to the lineup, you’ll feel proud and exhausted, but that’s where the real game begins.

Learning includes wound and scars

I fell a couple of times from the surfboard, but I continue to balance my body as the wave approaches. I accidentally flipped from the board few meters from the shore and fell over a rock. Sadly, I bled for minutes not even knowing it until Kuya Fernando screamed telling me “Chris, may sugat ka!!”. I ignored it telling him, “Oh, it’s fine Kuya, maliit lang naman po.” just so I can finish my last few “ordered” waves as they call it. After the lesson, I sat down looking at my wound realizing “Ghaaad, it’s awfully bleeding and it hurts now”.

Kuya John approached me asking me to straighten my affected leg saying he’s a nurse and he’ll help me with my cut. He cleaned, medicated, and dressed it. I am thankful and I suddenly smiled knowing how caring and alert the locals in the Island. Seriously, this place is the best.

All of these road trips, walking around, beaching and surfing will get you exhausted and hungry. The island has a lot of eating options, there's a mixture of local and international food preferences that you can enjoy.

Harana Surf Resort and Restaurant

Located at Brgy. Catangnan, General Luna, this restaurant has a great variety of Filipino dishes. They provide first class service and accommodation. The food is surely first class!

Bravo Beach Resort and Restaurant

Located a few minutes from Harana Surf Resort in General Luna, this restaurant offers more in international taste. The babes head on to Bravo for some Spanish Tacos and Yammers.

RumBar

Located at General Luna, opens every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays around 9 pm – 3 am. They serve great cocktails, and a lot of hard drinks I may say. This is the bar that we went to when we arrived on a Monday. This bar offers a live reggae party event.Nightlife in Siargao is great, there’s something for everyone. If you like reggae, modern or just pure chill at night, the island can cover your needs. There’s a bunch of bars to go every night. Flashing lights, surfers, locals, and tourists in one place enjoying one dance floor and one music. Yes, you should try partying in Siargao, too!

 

Siargao is more than a paradise

When you find yourself calm, hearing your own heartbeat in a peaceful way surrounded by nature and the beach, you delve into a naturally pensive state in tune with your thoughts and emotions. I can attest to why people are attracted to the energy of this kind of island because you always feel refreshed every after a beach trip.

Siargao is like a dream, a heaven and a place where you don’t want to leave and a place you want to go back. But at the end of every trip, we leave and all we take back home is the memories of Siargao and the Babes with our photos, videos, and waves of laughter and leave with no trace of sadness.

 

FUTURE REFERENCES AND BOOKINGS

FLY

You can fly to Siargao directly from Manila if you’re coming from the Visayas, there’s a flight directly from Cebu or Iloilo via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. You better keen in finding the cheapest flight available to save, but whatever the price of your ticket, Siargao is worth the spree!check your tickets now!

Cebu Pacific Air

Philippine airlines

STAY

Payag Suites Level II Beach Front located in General Luna, here’s the link for a hassle-free booking and earn instant credit once you book here http://www.airbnb.com/c/christyrosea

hosted by Atty John

contact number: 09177037001

*Note there are a lot of hostel accommodations that will cost you around 300Php per night, other resort will cost you 1000-2000 per night and some high end resorts costs about 10,000Php per night. It’s up with your preferences, we booked the Payag Beachfront for its best location, cleanliness, comfort and good service.

VAN TRANSPORTATION

I forgot Kuya’s name but this is his contact number 09472222304

PROFESSIONAL SURF INSTRUCTOR

Look for Koya Fernando, Koya Jazz and Koya Eljohn

Koya Botchoy, the photographer

(First name basis because they personally know each other in the island, you have nothing to worry.)

EXPENSES

Cebu to Siargao roundtrip tickets via Cebu Pacific – 2900.00Php

(Cheapest steal! Regular fair will cost you around 6000-7000Php one way)

Iloilo to Cebu round trip tickets via Philippine Airline – 2200.00Php

Accommodation for 2 nights good for 3 pax – 5,172.00Php

Van Transpo round trip from Sayak Airport to General Luna – 600.00Php per pax

Surfing lesson – 500.00Php per pax for 1 hour

Photographer – 300.00Php

Cloud 9 entrance fee – 50.00Php per pax (You might score a no entrance at the early morning, so why not visit early in the morning  and catch a good sun-rays)

Boat rental going to Sugba Lagoon – 1,600Php (320/pax)

Motorcycle Rental – 1,500.00Php good for 3 pax (From General Luna going to Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko Rock Pools, give some extra money to Kuya driver for his food it will just cost you 100-150.00Php)

Environmental fee at Port going to Sugba Lagoon – 50.00Php

Sugba Lagoon Rental for life vest – 50.00Php, Paddle board – 150.00Php

Magpupungko Entrance fee– 50.00Php

Food– Splurge!!! Food is lifer, girl 🙂

Hey friends, for other concerns please send me an email. Safe travels!!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Phuket, Thailand: Authentic and Ethical Experience

Elephants are the defining symbol of Thailand, but sadly most of these gentle giants are in captivity. In this blog, we are visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Khatu, Phuket, Thailand.

Let’s meet, feed, bathe, play and know their story!

Elephants are becoming endangered to the habitat loss, poaching and increase tourism. Of course, there are companies out there that treat them ethically, however, most of the time, the elephants that you see out there giving rides all day is actually separated from their mother at a very young age. They are then put through this process “crushing” as they call it, where they are basically being into sumission.

Growing up and working in the riding camps, they are continuously abused and overworked. For us travelers, honestly most of the time, we have no idea that it’s harmful or if there’s a better alternative to meet and play with these friendly giants. So I hope this blog will show you that there is a more positive and ethical way to meet the elephants.

What is Elephant Jungle Sanctuary?

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is a private company that started 4 years ago in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. After a few years, they branched out in Phuket. At Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, volunteers work hard every single day for the benefit of the elephants. This is an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket.

Their mission is to provide as many elephants as possible with the good health, freedom, and happiness they truly deserve. They enforce a strict NO RIDING policy and do not make elephants work, perform, or do any activity outside their natural behaviors. Their hope is to lead by example, and contribute to a positive change in the perception of elephants; to witness a future where elephants are not ridden, poached, overworked, or abused, and are instead treated with care, love, and respect.

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary project also provides many Karen people with employment, education, and financial support. “Karen People” means those who volunteer in the Sanctuary as it is founded by Karen Hill in July 2014 in Chiang Mai. The money they raised from visits, volunteers, merchandise, and donations is primarily used for elephant rescue, food, veterinary care, infrastructure and land so they can constantly grow and expand the capacity of their Sanctuary.

Knowing the Elephants

Elephants are the world’s largest living land animals, they are much much heavier than any other animals. There are two kinds of elephants; the African Elephants and the Asian Elephant.

They are long-lived, complex and social. They are big and they are strong, but against the relentless spread of humanity, they are powerless.

The elephant is the heart and soul of Southeast Asia’s wilderness. Its the flagship of all the animals especially in Thailand. They live in a variety of habitats; forest, savanna, desert, and swamp.

Elephants live in groups, groups of elephants are called matriarchs. Dominants within the family group are largely based on age, experience, and size. Female elephants have to wait before an older matriarch dies before they can have any chance of leadership. In male elephants, only at around 25-30 years old do they reach the chance to dominate rivals and compete successfully with female elephants.

Facts you might not yet know about Elephants

Elephant’s poop is one of the best fertilizers ever, and then they also said that you can use it for writing or drawing. Now you know that you can draw and write using elephant’s poop, how cool is that?

Elephants use sand and dirt or mud on their body. Why? Because it’s their natural sunscreen and insect repellent too, it protects them from the sun and from the mosquitoes. They toss it on their head and back to protect them from the sun rays.  Ahhh, we’re honestly learning here, right?

The elephant is herbivores, they eat 10% of their body weight which means, they can eat 400 pounds of food. It’s a lot! It’s like eating 18 pounds of salad.

Elephants live just like humans and they are polygamous in nature, they can have 5 girlfriends or 5 boyfriends at the same time.  Female elephants go through 22 months of pregnancy.  When talking about baby elephants, they are large when born that weighs about 200 to 250 lbs.

Asian Elephants cannot run, because at all times they have at least two feet on the ground.

Elephants can recognize themselves in front of a mirror.

Here’s a short video, yet one of the happiest days of my recent travel.

 

 

Ethical Activities and Fees

This includes food for feeding elephants, your food, and a free Karen shirt! (Tip: Make the most of it all, it’s a lot of fun)

  • FEED ME PROGRAM

Adult: 1.500 baht/person

Child <3 yrs Free

  • HALF DAY VISIT

Adult: 2,500 baht/person

Child: <10 yrs 1,900 baht/person

Child <3 yrs Free

MORNING SCHEDULE: 06:30 AM – 07:30 AM, Pick up from your hotel and activities are done around 11:30 am- 12:00 pm.

AFTERNOON SCHEDULE: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Pick up from your hotel and activities are done around 16:00 – 16:30 pm.

  • OVERNIGHT VISIT

2 days 1-night program

Adult: 12,900 baht/person

Child under 7>10 yrs 10,900bath/person

Child <7 yrs (Not advisable)

3 days 2 nights program

Adult: 19,900 baht/person

Child under 7>10 yrs 17,900bath/person

Child <7 yrs (Not advisable)

What to Bring?

Change of clothes and some good shoes

Swimming suit

Sunscreen, hat, towel, insect repellant

Any medicines you require

Book here via:

KLOOK

Or feel free to visit their official site and Facebook page

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

EJS – Facebook

The experience has been so good and I am grateful for the opportunity. I feel like I am glowing with joy and my heart is full for such a beautiful chance to be with the elephants in their natural habitat. I just love how the activity doesn’t feel like an activity or a tour visit, it feels like we are following what the elephant is doing on a daily basis. It is such a natural and authentic experience rather than going to a zoo to see an elephant or riding them for 5 to 10 minutes.In general, this experience is genuine and real and I hope you get to experience it too with your loved ones because it’s just breath-taking.

If after reading this blog, the elephants warmth your heart, please don’t forget to leave a big thumbs up, leave a comment and share this, so you too can recommend this blog and get it seen by more people. I hope you get to experience it too! Safe Travels, Loves!

Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan: The Mother of all Philippine Festivals

Ati-Atihan is the largest and oldest Catholic celebration in the Philippines. It legally holds the title “Mother of all Philippine Festivals”. Ati-Atihan means “to be like Atis” or “to make believe Atis”

Kalibo is the gateway of the most famous party island in the Philippines, Boracay. To everyone’s knowledge, it is also the home of the legendary festival all of us enjoy celebrating.

The Ati-Atihan Festival is held on the third week, concluding on the third Sunday of January in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. It originated during the 13th century when Aeta aborigines arrived and wanted to settle on the island. The chief minister traded with the natives and bought goldenseal coat, brass basin, and bales of cloth. The festival was born then.

When the Spanish arrived, they adapted the festival to eliminate the pagan rituals and incorporate various religious practices, thus, the Sto. Nino (The Infant Jesus) made its appearance in the Ati-Atihan Festival, even until now.

This event also corresponds another festival around the Philippines, like Sinulog Festival in Cebu and the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo. The festival itself is marked by the people joining in the streets, dancing to fantastic drum beats. It consists of tribal dance, street music accompanied by members of indigenous tribes in their costumes and weapons. There are also parade of their designated floats and Sto. Nino while dancing or what we commonly known as, “sad-sad” short for dance “sayaw” and walk “lakad” in our Filipino dialect.

Ati-Atihan’s catchphrase “Hala Bira! Pwera Pasma!” is formerly associated with the festival as the merrymakers and believers keep on going with the revelries all over the town.

As traditional processions go, the actual procession was anything but traditional. People bring the image of Sto. Nino (the infant Jesus). Instead of walking, people do sad-sad with a lots of taking pictures, videos, talking, cheering, drinking on the street, and accompanied by a marching band. During the parades, alcohol flows freely, firecrackers and other noisemaking are honestly not uncommon.

Photo Credit to Trixie Orola

I’ve been participating in Ati-Atihan for seven years and until now, the hype doesn’t change. People starting celebrating from early morning to the wee hours of the next morning, rain or shine, for one week or even more. Amid our cheering and drinking, we were entertained by fireworks blossoming in the sky from time to time.

The main show is held on Saturday Night, where a massive night party brings everyone together to dance the night away and gaze up as lights and fireworks illuminate the sky. One of the most famous party house in Kalibo is the Abregana Bar, you wouldn’t spend your happy hour anywhere but here. As dusk sets in, there are DJs doing there magic making the crowd having those cutting edge dance moves. Definitely a nice place to end the night!

The festival ends on Sunday, where there’s a high mass in the morning around 7:00 am followed by the grand parade of the tribes representing different groups that competes for tourists’ attention and prizes.

It has been always a great experience to be at the Ati-Atihan Festival this year. I am looking forward to join the festival in the succeeding years.

Have you been to Ati-Atihan Festival? Share your experience at the comment section below! Or if you haven’t yet, consider joining next time. Safe Travels!

Life has its Own Way of Working Things Out

Life comes in different packages. What we will have, it’s a surprise! Either you’ll have the economy, regular or deluxe suite. But whatever it is, you have to live like YOLO (You Only Live Once). Live like everything is falling into its proper places though some things isn’t. Yes, there will always be lapses, mistakes, troubles, and betrayals but who cares, we aren’t perfect. Embrace the imperfections and learn how to dance with it using your normal coping mechanisms.

Life. (*sigh) Yeah, not so easy. It’s actually complicated and bold. But you know what? We just have to jump in and swim through it until we finally figure out our purpose. We will never know unless we try to and we will never ever realize how amazing life could turn out. After all, life is too short for playing safe.

Go out, Explore, Work, Travel, Socialize, Fall in love, Get hurt, Heal and Grow

Don’t be so dramatic and uptight to stay in your house just to; eat and get fat, watch television which is so pathetically overrated and sleep all day as if you’ve done enough for the day. Darling, life has a lot to offer. It doesn’t end in that four-wall room. Your life isn’t something you can rewind.There’s no such thing as fairy God-mother who will help you out to get away from your awful and sad living. Magic isn’t real until you make your own. So get up and help yourself, take that happy pill and put some glow on your face. Remember, never ever fear of being vulgar, fear of being boring.

If you’ll ask me about my learnings now that I’m twenty-seven, I would say “Love yourself” Quite simple, right? But that is one thing we tend to neglect all the time. Give value to your own being, treat yourself after a whole hell week at work. It will really help to bring back the good aura. Well, I kinda spoil myself in terms of that.

In this bizarre world, I’ve learned how to hold on when almost everything in me is falling apart, to strive when I have no choice and to make use of the things that I have when I think I’m losing too much. Life is kinda bumpy but I wouldn’t mind riding with it cos in this perfect way, I know I’m growing.

Oslob, Cebu: A Humbling Experience to Swim with the Whale Sharks

Oslob is one of the municipalities in the province of Cebu, Philippines. This is the only place in the world where you can swim with whale sharks anytime of the year. There is something so majestic about the ocean and what lives within it. It’s a whole other world. Despite their intimidating name, whale sharks are some of the friendliest giants that live in the sea.

Whale Sharks is a sheltered species in the Philippines and Under Republic Act 9147, an Act for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and habitats in the Philippines, it is definitely illegal to harass them. So we better be responsible to comply with the guidelines in the activity area.

The story behind the trending “Swim with the Whale Sharks” Adventure

Generations ago, the fishermen would throw baits into the water to catch fish but then the whale sharks would end up eating their baits. So what these fishermen did, they would throw away the bait farther to divert the whale sharks. But then, later on, the whale sharks would keep coming back to the fishermen’s bait and eat it. So this happens for generations and generations ago.

There’s an NGO (non-governmental organization)that actually takes care and protects the whale sharks in Oslob. LAMAUVE, these people have been in Oslob for years already to monitor the compliance of interaction regulations. They have taken care of 600 whale sharks just in Oslob. Imagine how many whale sharks are there? The fishermen have been feeding them for generations. They have created a livelihood for these fishermen too. The tours they have here for this activity are pretty respectable when it comes to eco-system and to the animals as well.

When you go swim with the whale sharks, they’re about 8 to 10 whale sharks that actually go to the same place every day from 9 am to 12nn. They will conduct a 10-20 minutes orientation before starting the activity. It is really important to follow and cooperate with the tourism for the rules and regulations before starting to swim with the whale sharks.

I am in complete awe, humbled by the opportunity to share the same waters with the 60 million-year-old species.

Whale Sharks Interaction in Oslob and its Controversy

It has been the most talked about matter since it started the craze. Some people don’t support this activity, while some happen to be enjoying the rare adventure. It became very controversial because most people don’t abide the interaction code and conduct. Many tourists breach the guidelines given during the thorough briefings, and sadly they are not penalized.

How to get to Oslob, Cebu

Fly with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia daily between Manila and Cebu

When you’re coming from Cebu City, you can head to the South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres bus going to Bato via Liloan. Just don’t forget to tell the conductor to drop you off at Brgy. Tan-awan in Oslob for the Whale Shark watching just along the highway. The trip would take about 3 hours. Bus fair would cost you around Php 150-200.

When you’re from Dumaguete going to Oslob, look for multi-cabs to Sibulan Port. Ride a ferry or fastcraft to Liloan. At Liloan port, board a Ceres bus going to Cebu City and tell the conductor to drop you off at Oslob Shark Watching just along the highway.

It’s such a wonderful experience, a tick off my bucket list. I was scared at first, but the old saying were true, that when you’re already there you just have to go for it. After all, they don’t bite.

Fees in Whale Shark Watching in Oslob

Local Tourists

Includes Whale watching in the boat with no swimming, with life jacket, costs Php300
Includes Snorkeling with Whale Sharks with life jacket, costs Php500

Foreign Tourists

Includes Snorkeling with Whale Sharks with life jacket, costs Php1000

Whale Sharks Watching in Oslob lasts for 30 minutes only and available daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm only.

A quick tip: Go early as you can because there are so many people hungry for the experience as you do too. Safe travels!

Antique: Cascading Waterfalls and Awe-inspiring Mountains

Longing for some taste of nature? Antique has been a good choice in the Visayas.

The province of Antique is situated in the western regions of Visayas. Historically, Antique was called “Hantik” which is the name of an oversized ant. Kinaray-a is the language spoken by the people in Antique. (that  is hard to comprehend) anyhow, that is one of the best essences of traveling for me. Meeting new people, engaging with their culture and learning a new language.

Thanks to my “dirtiest” (my endearment for him) friend Francis who planned the whole trip for the Apps&Dogs. The five of us wanted to have a unique adventure together so we decided to push through Antique. From Roxas City, Capiz,  we brought goods for our overnight stay. On our list were: Chips, Red Wine, Coke, Bread, Cup Noodles, Canned goods, utensils, Water, Gums, Candies, and Coffee. We also had a lunch box filled with cooked adobo chicken/beef, hotdogs and chorizo for our lunch.

The Adventure

Around 6:00am we departed Roxas going to Kalibo, Aklan. We arrived around 8am and decided to eat breakfast at McDonald’s. We then rode a van from Kalibo going to crossing Nabas, that took us 30 minutes to 1 hour. From Nabas, the bus going to Tibiao was very rare, so we stopped over in a small cafeteria and bought some rice for our lunch. Unfortunately, it rained. Not too heavy but it rained!!!! What we had in mind? RANDOM! So when the bus passed by and stopped, we hurriedly ran ourselves into the other street fighting the rain and the wind. (So many bloopers that remind us always) the bus ride would take 1-2 hours. This is our best opportunity to see the view of Antique and we witnessed how Mountains meet the Sea. It was mesmerizing and enchanting at the same time.

Arriving in Tibiao feels so relaxing and refreshing. If you were looking for a place to renew, this is the best place to be.

We arrived in Antique at around 11am, we then rode a habal-habal (₱80.00 each back & forth ) going to Tibiao. The road was so rocky, bumpy and a lot of muddy tracks surrounded by dense forest, plus it was raining that moment, lucky us because the drivers were very nice to lend us their “kapote”. We paid ₱50.00 each for the environmental fee, then headed straight to where were staying.

We stayed in Kayak Inn, Tibiao for our overnight. Isn’t it so native? Everything we had in mind were exactly what we got ourselves into. The ambiance were very soothing and inviting. They also offer a lot of nature adventures perfect for adrenaline junkies like us.

 THE RAPIDS OF THE TIBIAO RIVER

Very much excited to start our tribal adventures, we proceeded with White Water Kayaking first which cost ₱450.00 per pax. Across the greenery and calm atmosphere, this is a good place even for newbies like us to try our hands in paddling. The instructor said, the water is usually placid during summer month but since the rain just stopped, the current of the water is strong at the moment.

After we geared up, we headed to the river and started the demonstration. The river is so long and very tricky, lots of big rocks and the water current is telling us “break a leg”. We went Kayaking one by one, supporting each other.

Some of us fell and fell all over again but we actually managed to finished the track. We had the most wonderful feeling, right after as if we’re fighting for our lives and won the battle. Yes, we survived.

BUGTONG-BATO FALLS

In the wilderness of Antique there lies a beautiful wonder. We all love waterfalls. So we didn’t miss Bugtong-Bato Falls. Together with our tour guide, we trekked to the Mountain for almost an hour. We were really tested for our outdoor skill. More chikas, laughter and sightseeing on our way to the falls. The moment we got there, we felt heaven.

Back to our Inn, we were starving so we ate an early dinner. The ambiance, the atmosphere, and the smell were perfect. We heard the nature’s natural sound at night and to that, we celebrated life and friendship over red wine.

HANGING BRIDGE

We woke up early the next day to visit the hanging bridge near Kayak Inn. It was only a 5 mins walk. We took pictures and decided to cross the bridge, but the ending? I was the only one who survived the test. We even met a new friend. He’s kind of adorable you know. 🐶🐶🐶

KAWA SPA This is definitely a must try whoever goes to Antique. A soothing, relaxing and meditating spa-bath be like. Kuya said, it is normally done at night but since we want better pictures, we decided to do it early morning (vanity).

We basked in an early sunshine in an enormous kawa hot bath. It has herbs and mints which give us this feeling of serenity and bliss.

After our glorious Kawa Spa, we fixed our things and leave Tibiao. We rode habal-habal again and caught the early ride going to Pandan. We visited Francis’ aunt and eat our lunch there.

MALUMPATI COLD SPRING

The cold scenery, turquoise water, and astonishing aura made our heart smile the moment we got here.

For only ₱20.00 you could enjoy the resort as long as you want. The Malumpati’s water flows all the way to Bugang River. We were very mesmerized by how the place pleases tourists. We changed our outfits and dipped in the clear / coldest water we’ve been to.

Almost time to go home, we headed to the terminal and rode a van going to crossing Nabas. Then rode another van going to Kalibo. We stopped over again at McDonald’s for a quick snack and finally headed to Roxas.

Get a tan,  Go paddling, Scale a mountain, Get wet in the rain and Soak your stress away in one destination. Many have changed in Antique nowadays, it offers a whole lot as what we experienced a few years ago. I hope you’ll be tickled by your wanderlust and try to experience the fun Antique has imparted in our lives. Safe travels!

Napoleon Hill : Think and Grow Rich Review

 “You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.” -Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich

How do you achieve the success of your dreams? For real?

All I know before is that you need Perseverance and lots of Hard Work in order to achieve the success of your dreams or worst case scenario? It will remain forever a dream. But hey, I wouldn’t think my belief will turn into 360 degrees angle until I finished this very inspiring and life-changing book, Think and Grow Rich.

I’m a book lover, a book-worm, and a book enthusiast. I’ve been searching for months of a book that will inspire me and at least feed my hungry soul with new learnings and lessons; may it be in life, career or business. Not so long until a friend introduced this overwhelming book and even-handed me a copy. He’s such a blessing in disguise and I couldn’t thank him enough.
To start off, a man named Napoleon Hill dedicated about 20 years of his life to figure this out by studying and interviewing 500 of the most successful people at the time. People like Edison, Ford, Carnegie and etc. The result was a book called Think and Grow Rich. A book that went on to sell over 20 million copies. A book that greatly influenced the whole field of personal development as we know it today.

In the book, there is a mystery.” The secret to success”. It is mentioned in each chapter amongst stories of paths to success and various helpful tips and strategies. Napoleon Hill never explicitly tells us exactly what that secret is. It’s up to the readers to figure it out.

In my personal experience, he has used some strategies in order for the readers to fully understand and absorb his thoughts, he has used four Powers in his book, Think and Grow Rich

1. The Power of Repetition

He keeps it simple and then he repeats the most important things in various ways to really impress upon the reader how absolutely vital they are. One of the big points of the book is to get you to really get it and start taking action in your life instead of using the book as another magic pill and getting another temporary emotional high.

2. The Power of Real Life Stories

It is amazing that you will encounter true to life stories of success. It made you feel inspired by their stories, it showcased the possibility of reaching your goals because they succeed and so are you, and it entails their attitudes towards success; how they handle criticism, bullies, pressure, money, fame and finally success.
Trust me, these people will become your instant idol.

3. The Power of Eye-Catching Lines

This is one of the reasons why I continuously read the book, it contained highly reasonable and life twisting lines. It was amazing how the author got a blurb – those short lines you see. It is not how you actually interpret it as you’re reading it but how it moved you while you’re reading it until it will leave a mark on you.

He quickly gets to the point and shares lots of real and practically useful value in a simple but well-written way. He gives the book a very positive but also fair quote that is grounded in real life and not some hype about quick and unrealistically easy success.

4. The Power of Step-by-Step Process

Without the fundamentals of this book and the step-by-step plan, it will become a lot harder to organize all the things you read and actually understand what is absolutely essential for you in achieving your heart desires. The author really made sure to reiterate and highlights the most important.

“Success requires no explanation, Failure permits no alibis” –  Think and Grow Rich

This is the line that I couldn’t easily get over with because it moved me in an unexplainable way. The line could summarize the book already.

Success is something you don’t get overnight. You have to work hard for it and need to have the right attitude to appropriately respond to anything that could go along the way. Sometimes people are simply afraid to pursue something that seems to come so easily to them. Shouldn’t success be difficult? No, it shouldn’t and it isn’t. These are all excuses. And all the excuses in the world will destroy talent. Our talents will be there, waiting for us to fight through fear and “what ifs” until we realize what we should have been doing our entire lives. We have been given natural talents for a reason, to use them for the betterment of ourselves and to those who inhabit it.

Have you ever noticed that when you engage in an activity in which you are naturally talented, you feel energized, excited and optimistic? That’s a sign that these are the things you should be focusing upon. When you’re practically buzzing all over, so excited you can hardly stand still.

Your job is to find out what makes you buzz and begin to perfect it. Discover your brilliance in life and practice, practice, practice. You must hone your natural abilities to perfect them, concentrate on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Today this how I know; A Burning Desire is at most present because it is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off, mixed with lots of Faith, pour all of your Persistence and applied through a Plan and that plan must be set in Action; then you’re good to go! Enjoy the ride, you might encounter a lot of bumps along the way but as long as you know your destination, you’ll get through. And don’t forget what Napoleon Hill taught us Success comes to those who are success conscious We are the captain of our own ship, sail towards success!

I highly recommend this book because the author obviously wants us to work hard towards and achieve real success in our life. The book is not just about getting you to feel good for a short while (although it does that too). It’s about you taking personal responsibility for your own life and making what you want out of it.

“Take the road less traveled by and leave your own trail and at the end of the day, lift up all the glory to him. Because with him, you’ll never go wrong.”

Bohol, Philippines: Friendly Heart of Visayas

When you’re planning to fall in love with a Wonderland, it would be definitely Bohol, Philippines.

Let’s lose ourselves and fall in love with a bizarre and perfect one-day trip in the Heart of Visayas.

I wasn’t really sure if I’ll include Bohol in my itinerary knowing my original plan was to explore Cebu for four days. Fortunately, I did spare one day in Bohol and it couldn’t have been any better. Its located in the Visayas and a quick ferry journey from Cebu. Yes, it’s the best side trip whenever you’re in the Queen City of the South.

Bohol, Philippines is popularly known to be the tenth largest island in the country. People come here for the white beaches and beautiful nature with its diverse wildlife. The world-class diving, waterfalls and hundreds of caves for spelunking. And they come for the incredible history of the place.

Welcome to Bohol, the friendly heart of the Visayas and one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Philippines.

What I came for Bohol, Philippines:

1. HISTORY

Boholanos still affectionately call their province the “Republic of Bohol” in reference to the island’s short-lived independence at the turn of the 19th century. Bohol is known not only for its environmental wonders but also for its old churches, some of which are built during the Spanish colonial era and considered national treasures.

I came to visit Loboc and get to see the famous Loboc Church, it is massive in scale and elegant in design. Unfortunately, I came and saw it dramatically damaged due to the typhoon Yolanda way back 2013. The infrastructure is work in progress, hopefully, it will recover soon. Now this place is called “Loboc Church Ruins”. But the place became even more attractive because of new mysterious and historical atmosphere.

 

2. MAJESTIC CHOCOLATE HILLS

One of the best spectacular landscape I’ve ever seen. The main reason why Bohol is famous and highly recommended as a tourist destination. They all have the same shape but differ in altitude. The best time to come here is when summer because they literally look like chocolate, while greener for the rest of the months.

I simply can’t imagine that everything around is not man-made, it’s a wonderful example of a caprice of nature. So mesmerizing!

3. JUNGLE INTERIOR

Man-made forest (Mahogany Forest)

It is filled with hundreds and thousands of Mahogany trees. Every one of it was planted by man. The place is beautiful, relaxing and nature loving. However it’s just a mahogany forest, nothing else. I even stepped out from the bus and walk-on.

4. EYE BUGGED TARSIER

Tarsier Conservation Area

Tarsier is Bohol tourism’s mascot. It is known locally by many names like; mamagmagomagaumaomag, malmag and magatilok-iok but I would prefer calling it Tarsier.


Tarsier Conservation Area is the new home of the captive tarsiers previously displayed for tourists along the Loboc River for decades.

We were told to strictly observe silence to avoid interrupting their sleep. The use of camera flash and touching them is strictly prohibited as well.

5. LOBOC RIVER CRUISE

The cruise was surprisingly pleasant. Actually, there were many foreigners onboard. There is an “Eat all you can” buffet system on this restaurant-boat, so it works well as a place for lunch. There’s also a native folk singer who will serenade you as you enjoy your sumptuous meal. It was very relaxing, serene and very good for the soul.

In general, the food was delicious, the river was astonishing and the waterfalls at the end of the route were picturesque.

I now know that a one-day trip isn’t enough to explore this wonderland. I have now more reasons to go back. Until my next time.

TRAVEL GUIDE:

1. Transportation:

Fast Ferry: The most convenient way to get from Cebu to Bohol.

Ocean Jet: If you’re from Pier 1, Cebu Pier Area this is the best choice. The fare is 800.00 Php (tourist class), and 1,000.00 Php (business class). The trip is daily from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm from Cebu port to Tagbilaran, Bohol vice versa.

Supercat: If you’re from Pier 4 North Reclamation Area, Cebu City this is the best choice. The fare is around 500.00 Php (promo fare) and 423.57 Php (discounted fare). The trip is daily at 6:30 am to 7:40 pm from Cebu to Tagbilaran and vice versa.

Starcraft: If you’re from Pier 1 North Reclamation Area, Cebu City, this is the best choice. The fare from Cebu to Tubigon vice versa is 200.00 Php (economy), 220.00 Php (tourist class), and 280.00 Php (business class). The trip is daily from 5:45 am to 5:30 pm back and forth.

Domestic Flights: Bohol is currently connected with Manila. (Check their websites)

Philippine Airlines: One-way fare starts at about 3,300.00 Php and it varies from time to time.

Cebu Pacific: One-way fare starts at about 2,438.88 Php and it varies from time to time.

Air Asia: One-way fare start at about 2,757.99 Php and it varies from time to time.

PLACES YOU CAN VISIT IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN A DAY:

Panglao Island

Corella Tarsier Sanctuary

Alburquerque (Santa Monica Parish Church)

Antequera (Mag-Aso Falls)

Balilihan (Spanish Watchtower)

Sagbayan Peak

Danao (Extreme Adventure Tour)

 

 

 

Singlehood

It’s always a mystery how everything falls into its proper places. It happens unexpectedly in a way that you’re not even aware.

Singlehood has been a blessing in disguise! Life is fast changing every single day. The moment you wake up each morning is already a miracle. I do believe in magic, I do believe in fairytales, I do believe in serendipity and I do believe that anything in life is possible unless you try.

I seem to have a career though it’s not nice paying but still I consider, professional in my chosen field, has a wide social circle, pleasing personality, acceptable philosophies in life, spontaneous lifestyle, and single yet happy. This is the best stage I will ever be in. I have been enjoying my singlehood for quite some time. To be honest I have my own fair share of ups and downs all through these years but I know this was a journey worth taking.

I had come to know myself more down from the little things up to the important details. Eventually learned that ice creams are my best comfort food ever and that I am always fascinated with pasta. I became certain that yellow is my all-time favorite color and for some reason I love buying things that is red. I became aware of my temper and my childish attitude, and somehow know that I got plenty of patience now. By and by I had the time to think and surprisingly fascinated by my written outputs. I am still certain that I love receiving love letters than some expensive gifts. One-by-one discovered the adventurous side of me when I began wandering; climb the mountain, cross rivers, stand and jump on a cliff. Finally realized that I am capable to exceed my limits.

It’s liberating to know yourself and it’s crucial as sometimes you may not understand your choices but that’s actually the point of singlehood, understanding and accepting every inch of you before expecting anyone to do that for you.

I can accomplish my very own life bucket list at my own pace. I can even give my best shot in my career growth. See that? I literally have the world upon my feet. Experience everything and seize every moment, because you have all the time in the world.

It’s sad that most of the single people these days are exhausting all their efforts and energy they have in order to find the right one; I’ve been there before, done that but enjoying this freedom for a while. Imagine yourself forty to fifty years from now, while sitting on your rocking chair, what are the things that you could possibly regret not doing when you were younger? Then do them now. Follow your most intense obsessions. Do things that scare you the most, because there is nothing greater than doing things you think you cannot do.

Pour out your love extravagantly that when people see it, they get moved and wonder how and why you never run out of love to give away.

My time for love will eventually come, but I need not stop my world from revolving while waiting for it. Singlehood is one of the best times of my life and I am embracing it. I never know, I might be done with this phase before I know it. Can I say I lived it well and enough? What is the most daring thing I’ve done so far?

Forty to fifty years from now, these will all become my own stories to share with my future partner, to my children, and even to my grandchildren. They’ll be amazed to know how cool their granny was when she was young.

I believe that life is all about timing, there’s a reason for Singlehood

This is the time I realized that I deserve a man who doesn’t agree with me all the time but when we argue, it feels as if we’re pushing each other to be our best selves. Someone who wants to sit down and talk with me until dusk turns to dawn about new beginnings, aspirations, desires, goals, the unknown, the indescribable feeling of ecstasy when we’ve accomplished something successfully. The one who knows that the touch of warm skin sometimes says more than a thousand conversations could.

I know I deserve someone just as independent and driven as I am. A partner who will inspire me and share the same vision as mine. The one who has his own goals and identity, and we will be each other’s support system. Someone who will trust me enough to give me space to grow. Someone who pushes me to travel down a path of understanding, to be unashamed and to fill myself with courage. A man who will be my partner in almost everything; in business career, in travelling, in a long chill in the coffee shops, in every meal, in every wine night, in every cup of tea, in every drop of disappointments, in every heavy load, in every mood swings, in every laughter, and toward success.

In Singlehood, you’ll discover your own person

I’m learning to let love find me when it’s real, when it’s simple, when it’s mutual and when it’s passionate.
Love is not complicated as it seems, all I know from sitting in a cafe this afternoon; while sipping a teal gray tea, is that this is what I’ve been longing for the entire years, funny how it’s that long now. I feel lonely sometimes but it doesn’t bother me because I know, God got me. He’ll surely arrive, and when he does, I won’t let go. I know this a bit far-reaching but I don’t care. I’ve been through a lot of ups and down, I wouldn’t mind taking the risk with caution, this time.

Sometimes in life, actually often times in life, God will allow you and me to go through brokenness, failures, mistakes, and disappointments; so that he can use us even more.

Traveling Skills You Never Thought You’d Gained

Travel is one of those things that transforms people. You become a more developed and well-grounded person because of the experiences and traveling skills you have learned.

Travel has given people the most comprehensive education anyone could ever receive. It fills up the gaps of knowledge and skills, and you start to see how everything is connected when you finally discover the similarities and differences of various cultures, of different places, and of your persona.

In traveling, nothing is going to be given to you, but the more you put yourself out there, the more uncomfortable you are willing to be; the more amazing the experience you will encounter, almost every single time. It changes people in a variety of ways. Each and everyone has different perspectives, approach, attitudes, likes, and dislikes; so it really varies in every person and on how you’re willing to cope with it.

Traveling Skills gained:

Flexibility, Tolerance, and Patience – Some of you live in a world that is highly organized. Sometimes you get thrown off by some little things that don’t go with what you have planned; like when things don’t arrive on time when things don’t work out our way, and when things turned out to be nothing.

What travel teaches you is that when things don’t work out how they supposed to be, it’s usually pretty fine. You can take that lesson back to your real life and try to learn how to be flexible on things, tolerate stuff that you don’t have control unto, and be patient when everything is not working out. These skills are simple but only a few know how to pull it off. One day you wake up without knowing, it turned out to be the most important experience you have had in your travels.

Socialization – When traveling you are forced to communicate, whereas introverts people are scared while extroverts people have no problem with it. Anyhow, traveling is a big opportunity in meeting new people with different languages and cultures. It is a bit overwhelming but it could be a life changer for you. Who knows the person you were talking when you had your breakfast in Italy would be your future client or business partner? Life has its way of working out, so do you.

Being immerse in social situations with new people having different values and dialects, you have to really try to communicate with them to get around and actually acclimate in the society. This skill will come in handy when you come back home. Socialization is a fundamental skill in order to succeed in life. Once you’re good at it you will gain self-confidence that will boost your self-esteem.

These are actually a life changer!

Decision Making – Some people have a hard time making decisions, may it be personal, for the family, for work, and etc. You might have a go-to-guy all the time to help you figure out what decision you must pursue or you might have someone in your life that makes decisions for you. But when you travel, especially when you’re alone, you have to make your own because you have no one depend on but yourself.

This skill will help you grow as an individual, you will discover your own person. What are your priorities, likes, and dislikes? This is important in life and you’re lucky if you learned it well while traveling.

Time Management – When you go to a new city or country, it’s likely that you will be there for a short period of time like a couple of days or a few weeks. Before you go to your travel destination you must be ready with your itinerary. What will you prioritize this day, what activities you will best do, and food to taste. This skill is very important not only for traveling but also when you come back home.

Budgeting – When you travel, money is likely to come into place. You have to spend your money accordingly, how much you need every day for your transportation, hotel, food, and miscellaneous.

Everyone knows that traveling is a great way to learn, but until you’re out there that you realize that the extent of the stuff you learn and still don’t know is fascinating. Traveling has taught everyone something that really essential for our personal growth and career; If you have the opportunity, go and grab it!