Friday, August 20, 2010

Acuatico Beach Resort, Laiya Batangas

Acuatico's floating bar rocks!

 Drink with me, my Love.

To infinity and beyond!
the Beach

Let the pictures speak for themselves. The place is truly relaxing and heavenly. Nothing beats my weekend. I will definitely go back soon :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CLOSED SEASON: not travelling

I haven't traveled recently and I'm thirsting to feel the rush of travel again. You see, I can only stay put for a few months; let's say 6 weeks. That's the longest period (so far) that I haven't gone anywhere, even short getaways. So yeah, my feet is itching already, my mind is wandering, and I'm deeply longing to see the world again!

But for now, I must stay still.

July is the start of the surf season in La Union which makes it feel even worse..

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paulo Coelho's Tips for Travelling

 The Big Apple at night (photo from Google)

Read Paulo Coelho's tips for travelling and know why a city is like a capricious woman; she takes time to be seduced and to reveal herself completely.

1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little: if you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than of the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that travelling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important, but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what you want to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, except that you can’t remember what they were.

2. Hang out in bars. Bars are the places where life in the city reveals itself, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean nightclubs, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather, and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge the beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

3. Be open. The best tour guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his or her city, but does not work for an agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask them something (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?). If nothing comes of it, try someone else – I guarantee that at the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

4. Try to travel alone or – if you are married – with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be there taking care of you, but only in this way can you truly leave your own country behind. Travelling with a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.

5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not travelling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people – your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

6. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I’ve been in lots of places where I could not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost forever. Just make sure you have the hotel card in your pocket and – if the worst comes to the worst – flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

7. Don’t buy too much. Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the Internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

8. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It is far better to stay in a city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman (or a capricious man, if you are a woman): she/he takes time to be seduced and to reveal him/herself completely.

9. A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear. By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something – quite what you don’t know – but which, if you find it, will – you can be sure – change your life.

As an old hippie, I know what I’m talking about…

- Paulo Coelho, 7/20/2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

where i've been lately

Stopover at Patapat Viaduct which connects Ilocos and Cagayan

ILOCOS. Okay, not very recent but this is where I've been three weekends ago. One word to describe the trip: SULIT! From cultural and historical immersion in Vigan, animal encounters at Baluarte, foodtrip galore, ultimate roadtrip, trekking all the way to the falls, beach bumming in Pagudpud, sightseeing at Cape Bojeador, and finally seeing the Wind Mills. I can truly say WOW Philippines.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bye Albay (for now)

No place like home.  Majestic Mayon, as always.

All good things must come to an end. In a few hours, I'm going back to the hustle and bustle of Manila. 

But it was a good four days :) Sleeping in my old bed, strolling around downtown Legazpi, eating halo-halo at DJC, attending mass at St. Rafael's, celebrating Mother's Day with my fam, and of course casting my vote! 

Starting the week right.. hello Monday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

One Ina Million!

For travel this July 1 to September 30, 2010, you can avail of the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of P999 from Manila to Taipei or Kota Kinabalu.

P1,499 seats are up for grabs for Clark flights to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore or Bangkok, as well as Cebu to Hong Kong and vice versa. Manila flights to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Bangkok are also available for the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of P1,499.

For the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of P2,499, get to travel from Manila to Kuala Lumpur or Ho Chi Minh, and from Manila or Cebu to Singapore. Available also are ‘Go Lite’ P2,999 seats from Manila or Cebu to Incheon, Cebu to Pusan, and Manila to Jakarta or Shanghai.

Those off to Osaka, Japan can avail of the ‘Go Fare’ of P2,999.

Baler Accomodations

When I was planning for our Baler trip, I had a hard time looking for our accommodation. But voila, two days before our trip I learned about this new resort - Aliya Surf Resort. Although it is located at the far end of the beach stretch, I love its location. It's private and quiet and we owned the beachfront. No frills at Aliya's, just cozy rooms, clean bathrooms, and relaxing view of Baler Bay.

Aliya Surf Resort

Beside Amihan Aplaya Resort

While at Baler, I also checked other accommodations and here are what I found.

Bahia de Baler

80 Buton St., Sitio Labasin, Brgy. Sabang,
Baler, Aurora
Rates: Php 1500 - 3000

Bay's Inn

Lodging and Restaurant
80 Sitio Labasin, Brgy. Sabang, Baler, Aurora
Rates: Php 650 (fan room) - Php 1200 (A/C room)

Kahea's Lodge


Little Girls Surfers Lodge


Desiree’s Lodge and Transient House


The Great Escape to Baler

I’ve always wanted to go to Baler but I thought it wasn’t that easy. But hey, I think I can do Baler anytime now. It’s not total convenience but ultimate adventure and fun is guaranteed. I just found another home in the east.

If there’s one thing that Baler is known for, it’s surfing! And yeah more recently the movie ‘Baler’ where the surfer/actor Jericho Rosales played the lead role. Baler boasts its beginner to glassy five feet waves (or higher I suppose). Sabang Beach, a five-minute ride from Baler town proper, is the long stretch of beach where surfing action happens.

From March to June, you can enjoy relatively calm waves where you can surf and swim. But I was just there last Labor day weekend and the waves are kinda overwhelming for someone who’s used to La Union’s waves. Come October to February, larger waves offer a different kind of stoke to surfers both beginners and pros.

Surf lessons and board rentals are offered in most resorts. An hour of surf lesson rates at Php 350 per hour inclusive of board rental and surf instructor. Meanwhile, you can rent a surfboard at Php 400 for half day.

Aside from surfing, Baler has other tourist spots worth visiting. This includes the Baler Catholic Church, Balete Park and Millennium Tree, Pasalubong Center, Aniao Islets, and more. See.. you never run out of things to do in Baler from beach bumming to sightseeing, Baler has it all!

Where to Stay

Bay’s Inn is the most famous accommodation in Baler. The rooms range from Php 650 (non-airconditioned) to Php 1200 (A/C room). Bahia de Baler is another good option.
There are also transient and lodges suitable for pocket-friendly price. Check Kahea’s Lodge, Desiree’s Lodge and Transient House, Aurora Mabuhay Homestay, Little Girls Surfer Lodge, and Amihan Aplaya.

We stayed at Aliya Surf Camp which is a five-minute walk from Bay’s Inn – the center of Sabang Beach. It has really cozy rooms, clean bathrooms, and a nice beachfront all for yourself. Two thumbs up for Aliya Surf Camp!

Good Eats
Unfortunately, Baler isn’t commercialized yet like its other surfing beaches counterparts. There are only two restaurants in Sabang Beach and these are Bay’s Inn and Bahia de Baler Bar and Grill.

I’d recommend Bay’s Inn for its affordable food, good serving, and excellent service. They serve Filipino dishes, pasta, pizza, merienda meals, and breakfasts. On the other hand, Bahia de Baler also offers good food but the service is poor. We waited an hour for our order and when we asked the waiter why it took so long, he was kinda rude to!

But you only got two choices anyway, Bay’s Inn or Bahia de Baler. You can also go to the town proper to dine but don’t expect to see any fastfood.

Getting There
If you will bring a car, it will take around 7-8 hours to reach Baler. But beware of the road conditions en route Baler. The roads in Sierra Madre aren’t all paved and these are winding mountain roads.

If you’d rather commute, Genesis Bus is the only bus company that has direct trips from Cubao to Baler. The bus departs daily from 4:30 AM – 7:30 AM. Expect to arrive in Baler by lunchtime or after. Or you can also take a bus bound to Cabanatuan and then transfer to a van going to Baler. Once in Baler bus terminal, hail a tricycle to Sabang Beach. The fare is Php 13/person.

From Baler to Manila, ride the Genesis bus again and take the last trip at 2:30 PM. Or you can ride the non-airconditioned van from Baler to Cabanatuan and from there take any bus going to Manila.

If you’re not fond of long and bumpy bus rides, thank God for Seair. They have daily flights to Baler which leaves at 8:00 AM then they fly back to Manila at 9:30 AM.

An overnight trip to Baler is not enough, make it a 3D/2N Baler affair.

Contact details
Genesis Bus Company
(02) 709-0803, 709-0545, 551-0842

Bay’s Inn
80 Sitio Labasin, Brgy. Sabang, Baler, Aurora 3200
Mobile no: 0907-700-5734 (Ask for Pia or Weng)

Bahia de Baler
80 Buton St., Sitio Labasin, Brgy. Sabang,
Baler, Aurora

Kahea’s Lodge

Desiree’s Lodge and Transient House

Little Girls Surfers Lodge

Aliya Surf Camp


Friday, April 16, 2010

Singapore: Street Shopping in Bugis

Business as usual. Busy Bugis.
Photo taken from Bugis Street

Something I really miss now is shopping! I told myself I won’t shop until August to save up for my shopping money in Bangkok. I love street shopping and the best so far that I’ve had was in Bugis Street in Singapore. After all, it’s my favorite street shopping destination in Singapore :)

Sunday morning crowd in Bugis.

Bugis is a shopping haven for bargain hunters, knowing that Singapore is an expensive place to shop except of course for gadgets. You will find almost everything..latest fashion, trendy clothes and streetwear, shoes, wallets, accessories, souvenir items, and local delicacies. The cheapest that you can get an item is at SGD 10..that’s almost P300 for shirts, bags, and accessories. It's a good buy since items in Bugis are not found in our local tiangge like DV or Greenhills.

You will find almost everything. From clothes to food and yeah even that!

Bugis is very accessible via train. Take the SMRT green line and alight Bugis station. Cross the street and you will find the largest street shopping location in Singapore. Some shops here are run by young designers who might be the next big thing in Singapore fashion industry. And oh the Sim Lim Square - the largest electronics and IT center in Singapore is just a few blocks away for more gadget shopping..Cool lah? Shop till you drop!

How to get here


By Bus
SBS Transit : 7, 12, 63, 80, 175, 197
SMRT Buses : 190, 61, 851, 960, 980, NR7

By Train
Hop onto the nearest SMRT train station and alight at Bugis Station.