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Travel in the Philippines

Surfing in La Union, February 2016

Family, La Union, Surfing By June 16, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

While we were in El Nido, something happened. Fabio and I had a huge fight that almost ended our relationship. He moved out to stay at a different resort. Lia and I left for Manila ahead of him while he hung out with his friends for a few more days. He was also waiting for his own Australian visa. I decided to invite him to go surfing somewhere close to Manila. He flew back to Manila and all together we found ourselves in La Union, staying at the apartment of my friend Raffy who works with the owners of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel and El Union coffee.

I introduced him to my friends at Four Aces Surf School and we went surfing with the Valdezes, Daisy, Anthony, and Lea. We found ourselves having our breakfasts at San Juan Beach Resort and El Union Coffee, dinners at Kahuna, Flotsam and Jetsam, and Naknak’s – a popular carenderia across El Union Coffee for the duration of our one-week stay there.

And even though I was happy to see all my friends in La Union again and go surfing again, you could see the toll of all these frenzy taking its toll on me.

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Sibaltan, El Nido, Palawan

Family, Life in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines By June 5, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

It takes an average of two hours on a motorbike to get to Sibaltan. The drive is hot and dusty, and scooters are a definite no-no. We rented a proper motorbike to get ourselves there and took at least two stops on the way for respite from the heat and the accompanying stress of having to dodge rocks and holes on the road. There are two roads one can take to get there. The other has more paved roads but is longer. It takes the same time to get to Sibaltan then whichever road one chooses. The trip is largely uneventful, passing through dry forests, little villages, and few sights.

Soon, the roads from El Nido town to Sibaltan would become more accessible and as the town center becomes more and more crowded, more and more tourists looking for peace, quiet, and good old nature would find themselves going north.

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Travel Information for Siquijor

Philippines, Siquijor By June 4, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Diving and Snorkeling
The island has excellent diving. Apo Island is also accessible from Siquijor but one has to ask for the schedule with the dive shops because they do not go everyday. Most of the sites are on the west side of the island so staying in the town of San Juan is best. There is excellent snorkeling in front of Coco Grove Beach Resort. If you are not a guest, you cannot get inside the resort and you are supposedly not allowed to hang out on their beach. But there is a parcel of land in between one part of Coco Grove Beach Resort, the original one, if my memory serves me right, and the extension. The extension has the swimming pools and more buildings and rooms. Find the pathway in the piece of land without a fence in between the resort and you will find yourself in public property. Find the locals guarding the area and pay the corresponding Php50 fee with them and you can snorkel in front of the beach of Coco Grove Beach Resort. From there, you can also enjoy sunset and drinks at the restaurant of the resort. Once you get past the entrance, they actually do not care if you are a guest in the resort or not, as long as you dine or drink at their restaurant.

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A Family Vacation in Siquijor Island, Philippines

Family, Philippines, Siquijor By June 3, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

From Dumaguete, we decided to take a ferry to the neighboring tiny island of Siquijor, where we stayed at one of the more expensive dive resorts – Salamangka Beach and Dive Resort. We almost never choose expensive accommodations but we only started looking for accommodations, ran out of options, and eventually decided we deserve this, even just this once. We took our breakfasts at the restaurant or by the pool while sunbathing and swimming. The pool-side bar afforded us swim while getting semi-drunk on cocktails and enjoying live jazz music. We were lucky in our timing because the owners had some of his friends over from New York who are professional musicians and they made beautiful music from sundown til late. When my then-boyfriend and now-husband’s mother asked us what we were doing and we told her, she infamously asked, “What about real life?” Still, our time spent in Siquijor was one of our most memorable, work-free, and stress-free family trips.

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A Trip to Lake Balinsasayao, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Negros Oriental By January 24, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

On our last day in Dumaguete, Lia was well enough to go on a motorbike ride to the mountains. Even if the waterfalls was closer to our farmhouse, there was no way we were going to the waterfalls with Lia. There was some walking and hiking involved in a what they said a muddy sloped area. We opted for Lake Balinsasayao.

We arrived at the entrance where we parked our motorbike, registered on the logbooks, and paid the parking and entrance fees. We walked up the hill to the receiving area where a snack bar and view deck is. From there you can see the view of the placid lake, and if you are lucky, see unusual birds perched on the branches of the trees.

We walked down stone steps to where the lake is and some huts where we had a little picnic and thereafter rented a small boat, that came with a rower, to a small waterfalls on the other end of the lake. We took turns with the paddles. It was good fun.

There are other things one can do, like take a trek to the other lake. The men did it but Lia and I didn’t do it anymore. Instead we stayed on one of the huts by the view deck and took naps. Lia also took some time to explore the fern nursery and garden. She had fun with the flowers and butterflies.

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Celebrating New Year in Dumaguete, Philippines

Diving, Family, Negros Oriental, Philippines By January 12, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

We are a simple family. When we travel, we avoid staying at expensive hotels or resorts. We prefer to stay with family, friends, or at AirBnb places. Our two-week stay in Dumaguete in January 2016 was no different. There are many choices for staying in Dumaguete. One can stay in the city itself, in one of its many hotels, BnBs, and hostels. Most of the AirBnb places are not in the city center though and we think that’s well and good. After hours of looking on AirBnb and actually driving around on our rented motorbike, we found a small farmhouse in a town outside of the city, and it was the perfect place to stay for the New Year and the days after. We played many games of Dobble, Fabio’s Christmas present for Lia, and watched movies. On New Year’s Eve, all three of us laid on the hammock, covered with a warm blanket, and watched and counted shooting stars in the night sky – the distant sounds of firecrackers, and fireworks a faint glint in the far horizon.

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Catanduanes Reef Break 2016 May 19-21

Catanduanes, Music, Surfing By April 30, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

The Catanduanes Reef Break is an event geared towards helping the locals of Catanduanes, specifically in Puraran, through providing proper boards and uplift their well-being – one local at a time. It is an event organized by Surf Catanduanes and Surf4Ezra, a non-profit organization (founded by High School batch mates and friends) dedicated to continue the advocacies of Ezra ‘Tisoi’ Efondo. The specific objectives of the Catanduanes Reef Break 2015 still remain: first, to generate funds that would enable our local surfers to buy quality surfboards, as well as to fund their travel expenses during competitions; and second, to foster, develop, and promote sustainable tourism industry in Catanduanes Island.

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1209 Sunset Beach Bar, Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Life in El Nido, Palawan By March 21, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

I have always wanted pallet furniture for the beach. We wanted everything to be simple yet colorful and relaxing. The idea was just to serve appetizers and drinks – but the menu evolved to accommodate dinner, and our specialty and best seller became the mediterranean pasta and the beer burger – our special recipes! We are also proud of our mango shake and banana shake that guests have exclaimed again and again to be the best in all of El Nido. We are of course boasting of the pretty sunsets that we have in Corong-Corong beach. Here are some photos of the many sunsets we are lucky enough to be able to see nearly everyday. If you guys are looking for the sunset in El Nido, it is found in Corong-Corong beach. Come drop by the bar for some milk tea, cold beers and cocktails, delicious pasta, and your daily dose of sunset.

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Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Palawan By January 15, 2015 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Back when there was absolutely nothing in Seven Commandos Beach, it was our favorite beach. It has really nice fine white sand and great snorkeling. It was the beach we went to with the other Potter’s Place School teachers when we wanted to go out for the weekend on National Geographic boat (named after the magazine but not owned by it or connected to it). For some photos of Seven Commandos beach taken in 2005, 2007, and 2014, you may visit the blog on Outventure’s Tour A here.

Shortly after New Year, we found the time to spend two days in Seven Commandos. There is a 4-room resort on Seven Commandos and it is a gorgeous place.

Seven Commandos Beach and Papaya Beach are more accessible from Corong-Corong beach, either via banca or kayak. By kayak, if the sea is calm and you are good, it only takes 30 minutes. Round the cape of limestone, the first beach is Papaya.

Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

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