Monday, February 28, 2011

China and France at the 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Last Saturday, we watched the third installment of the 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition featuring delegations from China and France at the SM Mall of Asia. The event debuted last February 12 and will be held every Saturday night until March 12.

We opted to buy Silver tickets so we can comfortably watch the fireworks display without trying to compete with the rest of the crowd for the view. Tickets are sold at the following prices:

Patron (with dinner) - Php1500
VIP – Php500
Gold - Php200
Silver - Php100

You can also dine in one of the restaurants in the seaside area but make sure you have prior reservations.

After waiting for a bit, the show started with a bang in the sky! 

You had me at hello
Good in almost everything, China didn’t disappoint us by showcasing their spectacular fireworks display. After all, the Chinese invented the fireworks as my youngest sister repeatedly said. Their presentation was full of vibrance and life in addition to the loud Chinese music.
Red fireworks dominated the night sky
France came next. And I must say, their exhibition was dramatic and sophisticated. French are known to be romantics and their fireworks attested to that. Where as the Chinese’ presentation was more on the cheerful side, the French’s was elegant and intense. It started modest and ended magnifique!

I heart you!
As expected with events like these, the MOA complex was jam-packed. Heavy traffic greeted the crowds leaving and going to the mall. We didn’t find an empty resto in MOA so we decided to eat at Seaside at Macapagal Blvd. After buying seafoods in the wet market, we had our food cooked (paluto) in one of the restaurants.

At 12 mn, we were just plain happy to experience the brightest show on earth that lighted up Manila skies and of course have our seafood dinner =)


contact information:
Tickets are available at Ticketnet, Ticketworld, SM Ticket Outlets, and MOA
March 12, 2011: 7 PM Fireworx (Australia), 8 PM Platinum Fireworks (Philippines)

Seaside Dampa
Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweet Deal from the Travel Tour Expo 2011!


Erick and I went to SMX yesterday to check the PTAA Travel and Tour Expo. We weren’t really planning to book anything since we already bought our tickets for our Bohol and Bora trips (both promo fares). 

There were lots of booths from different airlines, resorts, travel agencies, cruise liners, real estate companies, and other businesses in the tourism industry. It was the last day of the expo but the crowd was still mad to buy promo fares and book discounted tour and hotel packages. To name a few, there were exhibitors from Macau, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Guam, Hawaii, India, South Africa, and yeah even Kenya! Whew that was a lot and add all the local travel agencies, resorts, and airlines in the Philippines.  


We went around for awhile hoping that we could stumble upon a fancy deal.  And voila! We saw La Carmela de Boracay’s 3D/2N + 1 night free room promo. Just exactly what we’re looking for our Boracay trip in June. The deal is only applicable from June 1 – December 15 which is the low season. 




3D/2N (with breakfast) + 1 night free room only (without breakfast)

Low Season
Quad – Php 420/pax
Triple – Php 560/pax
Twin – Php 840/pax

High Season
Quad – Php 640/pax
Triple – Php 860/pax
Twin – Php 1280/pax

Peak Season
Quad – Php 790/pax
Triple – Php 1050/pax
Twin – Php 1575/pax

*Rate per pax and inclusive of set breakfast.
*Additional Php100 /person for meal upgrade to buffet breakfast.

It was really an unbelievable deal. We will be in Bora for four days. So for our 4D/3N stay, we only paid for 3D/2N since the promo entitles us to 1 night free room without breakfast. Hehe Such a sweet deal! It was selling like hot pancakes. To further make this very unbelievable deal more super unbelievable, the standard room could fit in up to 4 persons and we are four in the group (plus 2 by the way, but the four of us can share the room). Adding it up, the four of us would incur the following expenses:

Php420 * 2 nights = Php840 + 1 night free room :)

Teehee. Boracay: 4D/3N = Php840/person. Where can you find that? Our running expenses for Bora is..*drum roll please*

Php 853 – promo fare from Zest Air (which we booked last month)
Php 840 – 4D/3N accommodation in La Carmela
_______
Php 1693

This will be my cheapest travel to date. Luvit...Beat it!

contact information:
La Carmela de Boracay
www.lacarmeladeboracay.com
Station 2, Balabag, Boracay Island
Malay, Aklan
Philippines
Phone: +63.36.288.5423 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +63.36.288.5423      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 288.5921, 288.5921, 36.288.4376, 288.4376     info@lacarmeladeboracay.com

Manila Booking Office
Cellphone: +63.9228166941, 9228166941, 9228166942
Landline: +63.2.8958048, 8958048, 8958049
Fax: +63.2.8979184

Friday, February 18, 2011

Discover Corregidor

Corregidor is a small rocky island approximately 48 kilometers west of Manila by a ferry ride. The island served as a military fortress to American and Filipino troops during World War II. However, the island fell to the Japanese forces when they invaded the Philippines in 1942. 

Although Corregidor is in close proximity to Manila, I never had the opportunity to visit this historical island. This year, we didn’t miss the chance to visit the island of Corregidor when we saw the deal in pakyaw.com.ph, Discover Corregidor: Sun Cruises Historical Day Tour with Malinta Light & Sound Show P2150 value for P998. Thanks to my friend Angel who told me about this deal. Erick booked our day tour tickets and called up Sun Cruises reservations office to schedule our tour. 

We decided to use our tickets last Sunday since it was a day before the Vday =)
Around 9am we were already in the ferry terminal and went around Harbor Square to kill time while waiting for our 11am departure. We finally arrived in Corregidor after more than an hour. We boarded the tranvia bus with an English speaking tour guide.


Touring via the Tranvia adds excitement to the Corregidor experience
First thing on our itinerary is lunch! After all, it was almost 1pm when we arrived in Corregidor. After our buffet lunch, we strolled along the South Dock. It’s been almost six months since I was out again in the beach. It felt good. The sun was bright and the cool breeze was very refreshing.

Such a lovely day to spend outside
There are lots of activities to do while in Corregidor, from hiking, biking, night lateral visit, camping, bird watching, rock balancing (which Erick wanted to try) and more. Of course, we did the easiest - sightseeing! Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Go South
We spent almost half an hour along the South Dock before the proper tour started. We boarded the tranvia once more and went around the island. Too bad, we were only allowed by our tour guide to stay 5-10 minutes per spot because as he always told us we have to catch the Malinta Tunnel Light and Sound and Show at 4pm ;P

Middleside Barracks
The Middleside barracks houses one of the offices of the American and Filipino soldiers.

Rocky Corregidor beach
Corregidor has been called the Island of Rock, thus the rocky shoreline. It's a relatively small island; just three miles long and 1 1/2 miles at its widest.

One of the many batteries
There are 32 batteries in Corregidor but we visited only three. Seeing all the big guns and mortars made me wonder how of all these were transported to the island. The batteries were strategically positioned to defend the island fortress from potential attacks.

                      Pacific War Memorial

For me, the most important site in Corregidor is the Pacific War Memorial. In the complex, you can find the museum, the Eternal Flame Monument, and an altar which has an open circular ceiling. Every anniversary of the fall of Corregidor on May 6, the sun directly hits this open circular and the rays strike the altar. 

Eternal Flame of Freedom
Another spot that I loved is the Eternal Flame of Freedom Monument. It is made of red steel which appears to burn unceasingly when the sun shines on it. From where it stands, Manila Bay, Bataan peninsula, and Cavite coastline can be seen.

Malinta Tunnel
And of course don't miss the Malinta Tunnel Light and Sound Show where the four-year war history of Corregidor is narrated and presented in 30 minutes. There was even a simulated bomb explosion. Interesting!

Overall, our Corregidor experience was great and worth every penny!

contact information:

Pakyaw! - It's a Big Deal
www.pakyaw.com.ph

Sun Cruises
CCP Terminal A. CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines
Tel. Nos. (632) 831-8140,(632) 834-6857 to 58
Fax No. (632) 834-1523
suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph
www.corregidorphilippines.com

Day Tour: Daily
Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine, entrance and terminal fees; guided island tour and buffet lunch
A. Day tour with buffet lunch - 1,999.00 Php /person
B. Day tour - Child rate (tour and transfers with kiddie meal) - 1,118.00 Php /person

Overnight
Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine, entrance and terminal fees; Guided island tour, (1) buffet lunch on day 1 and overnight accomodation at Corregidor Inn

Single - 2,880.00 Php /person
Php /person Twin/ Double/ Triple - 1,999.00 Php + /person

Optional: Malinta Tunnel Lights and Sound Show - 150.00 Php

Monday, February 14, 2011

12 Most Romantic Places in the Philippines

Just because it's Valentine's day, let me share this article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I can attest to #8 Camiguin as one of the places in the Philippines to be with your significant other. Going back to White Island is an experience I want to relive this year, hopefully on my birthday.

How about you? Where's the most romantic place for you? :)

12 Most Romantic Places in the Philippines

By Ross Harper-Alonso
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:33:00 02/10/2008

Filed Under: Tourism & Leisure, Travel & Commuting


MANILA, Philippines - “Spend a candlelit evening with violins in the background, roses for the beloved and starlight in her eyes,” so goes most ads for trysting places this Valentine’s Day. But alas, the ads always prove too enticing and you wind up with 10,000 other couples waiting for tables at this “romantic” hideaway, your passion dissipating and the roses wilting with each ticking minute.

With Filipinos famously known for being such suckers for romance (we send the most number of love-related text messages in the world on any given day), one wonders if there remain some undiscovered places in the country where a couple can still bask in equal doses of passion, solitude and creature comforts.

Here are some suggestions from people who, because of their jobs, have explored places off the beaten path:

1. Sonya’s Garden, Tagaytay
“The secret is the way it naturally brings in the outdoors and the subtle blend of English countryside, rustic Asian influence and a touch of old Filipiniana. The privacy and the relaxed warmth due largely to the staff makes this an ideal escape to share quiet moments, while being served an excellent meal on fine English china and pampered with a massage.”—Romy Gacad, Agence France-Presse chief photographer

2. Flower Island, Palawan
“A small private island surrounded by clear blue waters and white sand has to be the most romantic place for people who enjoy being outdoors. Flower Island is an unspoiled haven just minutes away from the nature preserves of Palawan. You can spoil yourself with the resort’s amenities and still feel close to the wilderness and the indigenous culture. Most impressive are the massive schools of fish and the healthy hard corals. Whether I’m diving and taking photos of marine life, just lazing around or watching the sunset as it disappears in a blaze of orange, I’m constantly reminded how special this island is.” —Gutsy Tuason, award-winning underwater photographer

3. Mt. Maculot Rockies, Cuenca, Batangas
“Watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Maculot Rockies can be a big romantic high. It's an easy day hike that begins when the air is still cold and everything around is just beginning to stir from sleep. Standing on a flat rock is the perfect way to watch the sun as it slowly rises and sweeps over Taal Lake, the neighboring towns of Batangas and Balayan Bay like a magic wand. Bring a picnic basket, a chilled bottled of sparkling wine, and toast your years of love and devotion. Now you’re literally on top of the world!”— Banny Hermanos, member, Phil. Everest Expedition Support Team

4. Cape Engaño off the Babuyan Channel
“One of the most romantic spots in the country due to its isolation. It straddles both the Pacific Ocean and the Babuyan Channel and is a very ‘Wuthering Heights’ setting. The lighthouse at the tip of Palaui Island has a spectacular view of both bodies of water. Best time to visit is after a storm when the waves crash on the rocks below. Camping on this windswept island, with the ruins of a century-old lighthouse and with just the bare essentials, makes for a truly romantic escape.”—Manuel Maximo L.C. Noche, author, “Lonely Sentinels”; asst. professor, UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts

5. Siquijor Island
“The island’s reputation for being a center for witchcraft might set some people off, but it could also explain why Siquijor has managed to stay pristine with its virgin forests and turquoise waters. Imaginative tales about love potions appeal to both the romantic and the adventurous, making it an ideal place to spice up any relationship. It doesn’t promise five-star accommodations but sitting on a desolate white beach under a star-filled night surrounded by a calm sea, more than makes up for that.”—VJ Villafranca, photojournalist

6. Hacienda Tabukol in Murcia, Negros Occidental
“This 140-hectare jungle allows for maximum appreciation of nature’s superstructures. The unspoilt wilderness is home to almost every endemic specie of bird, insect and wildlife, including the endangered Visayan Leopard Cat. Sit quietly by the river, feel the fresh water spray on your face, listen to the sounds of the jungle and imagine yourself on a romantic safari, Pinoy style. To enhance that ‘Out of Africa’ experience, rest and dine in a Balinese inspired two-bedroom cottage with an outdoor bathtub. Truly a wildlife haven!”—Cristina de Leon Hinlo, outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist

7. Bee Farm, Bohol
“Great place, great vibes and nice folks running it. It's a bit of a must-visit for anyone traveling through Bohol so there's a steady flow of visitors but you can always find a quiet spot to be alone. Good accommodations and a great place to have a romantic dinner for two. And did I mention the sunset?”—Paolo Abrera, TV host

8. Camiguin Island
“When I think of Camiguin today, I remember a photo of two young people in love, balancing on a fallen tree by the sea with wide smiles on their faces.”—Howie Severino, broadcast journalist

9. Taal Lake, Batangas City
“Deceptively serene and beautiful, Taal Lake has had to face a number of environmental concerns. I think it’s romantic to come to a lady’s rescue and try to protect her from losing all that make her a natural treasure.”—Peter Capotosto, co-founder of Philippine Hobie Challenge

10. Silliman Hall Heritage Building, Dumaguete City
“Silliman Hall by the sea is arguably the most romantic, iconic landmark of Dumaguete City. One of the few remaining architectural masterpieces in the country, it is flanked by local palms and shaded by giant acacia trees. Its American mansion-inspired facade has for 105 years cemented the city's status not only as an educational Mecca, but also as a melting pot of various cultures from around the world. To me, Silliman Hall stands as an ode to the romantic way cultures mingle in this quaint little city.”—Leon Medado, Journalism senior, Silliman University

11. Baluarte San Diego Wall, Intramuros
“The most romantic spot in Manila is atop the Baluarte San Diego at the southwest corner of Intramuros. It overlooks the Manila Hotel, the golf links, and the trees of Luneta Park. It's a bit of a cliche spot but it does get the job done in getting that sweeping romantic feeling. Sunset is an especially enchanting moment to be there. Bring your own bottle of wine or Royal Tru Orange, of course.”—Carlos Celdran, tour guide

12. Ogod River, Donsol, Sorsogon
“I didn’t expect to be so taken by the fireflies at the Ogod River in Donsol. There is an incredible stillness and a sense of isolation when exploring the river. Watching hundreds of fireflies light up the mangroves is romantic in a surreal way. The experience allows one to slip away from everyday life and enjoy nature by night. The rest of the world might be surrounded by static but the Ogod River and its fireflies gave me a welcome respite from all that.”—Johan Espiritu, lawyer-photographer

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Batanes (Day 3)

On our last day, we explored the northern part of Batan Island. We wanted to make the most on our remaining day but the van we rented broke so we hired another one. It took us more than an hour to rent an old van but it was very reliable.

Since it was already close to noon, our tour guide suggested we eat lunch first. We had a hearty lunch which included a local cuisine – coconut crab. It was the first time that I’ve seen such a huge crab. We also had coconut crab soup, fried fish, and veggies. 

Coconut crab - it's a giant crab!
Fountain of Youth
We trekked on the rocky shoreline to get to the fountain. I’m used to hiking/trekking but walking on a rocky surface was quite hard. We let ourselves stop and rest for a while and appreciate the view of the sea. 

Beautiful day at the beach
The Fountain of Youth has a small man-made waterfall which flows into an infinity pool. The water was cool and the view from the pool was very refreshing. It was believed that bathing in the fountain would give you a youthful glow.

Quick dip in the pool
Marlboro Country
The Marlboro Country as the name suggests is known for green luscious hills where horses feed on the grass. But nowadays cows grazed on the grass because they’re easier to tend. From where we were standing, the view is simply stunning. Fundacion Pacita can be seen and the blue sea sparkles under the bright sun. The place is perfect for picnics and moments when you want to ponder.

You know it's Marlboro country
Jumpology
Ivana Town
Last stop in our itinerary is Ivana town. While in Ivana, we visited the oldest Ivatan woman. We had a photo op and chatted for a few minutes with Lola.

Photo op with Lola from Ivana
Honesty Coffee Shop
As the name suggests, honesty is valued in this establishment. There are no attendants in the store. The rule is simple. If you’d like to buy something, help yourself out, list the item in the notebook, and place your money in the wooden cash box. Make sure you pay the exact amount since no one will give you a change.  It really pays to be honest. No one looks after the store since it’s expected that everyone is honest.

Honesty is the best policy.
We also biked for a few minutes outside, well at least my friends did. I tried but I can’t. hehe Biking is a mode of transportation in Batanes as well as a famous outdoor activity. 

Mahatao Church
On our way back to Basco, we passed by Mahatao Church and we met the parish priest. Churches in Batanes have some resemblance and their structures are very well-preserved judging on their exterior and interior architectural designs.

Mahatao Church at sundown
I hope it won't be long til I'm back in Batanes.

Dios Mamajes Batanes!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Conduran Run for the Dolphins 2011

Erick and I recently joined the premiere running event sponsored by Condura last Sunday. For this year, Condura will donate part of the run proceeds to the advocacy of dolphin protection. The fund will be given to Siliman University which they will use for their scientific research on dolphin protection programs. It was a fun run, with over a thousand participants from all age groups. This is my second 5k run in over four months; the first one was the La Salle Greenovation Run last November. 

All set to run!
There were a lot of freebies after the event which we took advantage of. hehe To name a few, there were free drinks including beer!, unlimited ice cream, back issues of magazines, vitamins, and a photo booth which we enjoyed. It took awhile before our photos were finally taken and geeesh I blinked on the first click. haha Oh well. 

Running for a good cause \m/
Beer after the run
We had a quick lunch afterwards at Mercato Centrale and ate much to feed our hungry stomachs. We had buffalo wings, liempo-lechon, and a quarter pounder!

Mercato Centrale @ BGC
Burger, burger!
It was a day of run, beer, and burger!  

PS: I finished the race in 35:19 and Erick was ahead of me, finishing in 30:36. Will aim for 10k on my next run :)

contact information:

Mercato Centrale@BGC
Corner of 9th Avenue and 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City (near The Spa)
10pm-3am (Friday) Midnight Mercato
7am-2pm (Saturdays and Sundays), Weekend market

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Batanes (Day 2)

Our second day in Batanes is all about roughing up. We woke up at 4am and hurriedly prepared for our Sabtang Island tour. Sabtang Island is a 30 to 45 minute falowa ride from Mahatao town. Falowa is a boat without an outrigger so it can freely glide along the strong waves of Batanes. Riding the falowa is an adventure itself. I didn’t get seasick but I got a bit scared during the 45-minute boat ride as the strong waves crash against our boat. Falowa would look like paper boat cruising against Batanes’ big waves.  After surviving the grueling boat ride, we finally arrived in Sabtang. Sabtang is known for the heritage towns of Savidug and Chavayan which are famous for its stone and lime houses (bahay na bato).

Arriving safe and sound in Sabtang
We had a stopover at the tourism office to register and recover from the boat ride. Just a few steps from the tourism office is the Sabtang Church. The church was built by the Dominican friars in 1785.

San Vicente Ferrer Church
Barrio Savidug
Although some stone and lime houses were not preserved, it was a sight to see the rows of centuries-old bahay na bato still inhabited by local Ivatans. The village is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. We got the chance to enter one of the houses and we saw a little boy watching Cartoon Network (note: they have a satellite dish). It was good knowing that technology has reached even the remote islands of the country. We toured around a few more houses and we boarded the jeep to get to our next destination.

Posing before traditional Ivatan houses
Bahay mo ba'to?
Savidug Idjang
Kuya Roger pointed to us a mountain range as we were passing on an unpaved road. It was Savidug Idjang. During times of tribal conflicts between the Ivatans, the stone fortress served as a shelter to the tribes. I had a hard time concentrating during the tour because of the very bumpy ride. I think only 10% of the roads are paved in Sabtang.

Chamantad-Tinyan Sitio
After the seemingly unending bumpy ride, we arrived at Chamantad. This is my favorite place in Sabtang Island. It has a certain rustic feel and provides a great panoramic view of the Sabtang coast. You have to climb steep mountain slopes to see all the views. Every angle is picturesque; any photo taken looks very natural and could pass for a travel magazine cover. 

Chamantad Arc

View from the top
Happy day ;)
Chavayan Village
In Chavayan, we were welcomed by the sight of stone houses lined up along the narrow streets of the village. We had fresh coconut for refreshments. We also had the chance to wear the traditional vakul, a head-gear worn by Ivatan women to protect them from the rain and heat. We also met the oldest Ivatan who is 103 years old. We asked Lolo what his diet consists and he gladly answered “camote, ube, and togue”. We passed by several more houses until we reached a small chapel at the far end of the village

Lovin' my new do
Quaint Ivatan stone house
With the oldest-living Ivatan man
At the spur of the moment, we decided to ride in the topload of the jeep on the way to Nakabuang Beach. It was such a liberating experience.  Everytime our jeep had to make a curve, my heart skipped a beat. It was like living on the edge.

Spur of the moment ride
Nakabuang Beach and Arc
We had our seafood lunch at Nakabuang Beach. The beach is known for its natural arc formation. After our sumptuous meal, we headed to the beach. Yihee. Beaching in Batanes finally. Batanes doesn’t have white powdery sands like Boracay or Palawan but it sure has character. It was low tide so it was impossible to swim and there were corals. So we just waded in the water and enjoyed our time.

Natural arc formation
Beachin' in Batanes
Going back to Batan Island
Around 3pm we headed to Batan. Unlike our morning boat ride, the waves were cooperative this time. We arrived in Basco in less than an hour and we asked Kuya Roger to dropped us at Café Napoli – the only pizza place in Basco. Batanes has no fastfood restaurants and we were craving for some comfort food. We decided to take home the pizza and eat at the lodge.

"Prime" banca seats
The one and only pizza place in Batanes
Our day was full of adventure, starting from the boat ride, visiting the heritage towns of Savidug and Chavayan, climbing up slopes in Chamantad, beaching in Nakabuang, and our spur of the moment topload jeepney ride. Need I say more? 

Batanes spells a-d-v-e-n-t-u-r-e!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Batanes (Day 1)

I really wanted for long to go to Batanes when I first learned it has four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Who would not be enticed by that fact? Besides, Batanes is the northernmost tip of the Philippines and in close proximity to Taiwan. Given these, it's no surprise that flights to remote Batanes is expensive and limited. But thanks to Seair's promo, we booked to Batanes at Php4800 roundtrip. Normal roundtrip fare costs Php12000++. Teehee. What a great deal! Booking the ticket was not a breeze but it was all worth it.

Fast forward to September 2010. After six months of waiting, it was finally Batanes vacay.

Our flight was actually cancelled due to weather conditions in Batanes but we were still hoping that we’d be able to make it. We texted our guide in Batanes and he told us that it was lightly raining in Basco. Who knows if it was a drizzle based on his standards or he meant a downpour. The supposedly 6am flight was moved to 7am. It was fine as long as we’re going. The Seair flight went smoothly which I didn’t expect. After all, it was a 32-seater Dornier plane and we were seated at the last row. Boo.. Nonetheless, it gave the comfort of an airbus but it’s also capable of short distance landing and take-off. We were hoping for a fine weather in Batanes and we were not disappointed.

                                                  Batanes-bound

It was an hour plane ride from Manila to Basco, capital of Batanes. As I looked through the window, the first sights of Batanes were just indescribable. We were greeted by green mountains and cliffsides where the waves constantly meet the shoreline. It makes you wonder if you are really in the Philippines. As soon the as the pilot announced that we are landing in Basco shortly, I couldn’t contain my excitement. My dream of going to Batanes is finally happening.

After meeting our friendly tour guide Kuya Roger, we had breakfast at Hiro’s Café. The food was typical Filipino breakfast of tapa and sinangag and coffee. After eating, Kuya Roger dropped us at Batanes Seaside Lodge where we got the family room at Php1500/night good for 4 pax. After settling in, we rested a bit and our tour guide fetched us at around 12nn for lunch. We ate lunch at Hiro’s again and tried a Batanes dish - slugs cooked in coconut milk. Yep. I’m a bit adventurous when it comes to food. I expected it to taste similar to balot, but hell no. It tasted like it was something dug from the soil. So much for our hearty lunch! 

                                             Ginataang kuhol, anyone?

Our Batanes adventure starts now! 

Chawa View Deck. From where we were standing, we could see how the strong waves hit against the cliffside. It was a windy day and temperature was cool for a Batanes summer. Other Batanes islands can also be seen from our location. We stayed there for around 20 minutes and then we headed to Basco Pag-asa Station.    
                                                   
 
                                     Exhilarating view from Chawa

                                        Sure, it was a windy day

Basco Pagasa Station. Contrary to the notion that Batanes is frequently visited by typhoons; not all of them pass by Batanes. Pagasa has a station in Basco which serves a reference point for identifying the exit of typhoons. So yes, you got it right. Batanes is not always pounded by typhoons. We went inside the weather station and found out that they have antique-old equipment. I wonder if these instruments give accurate weather forecast.

                                      Basco Pagasa weather station
                                         
Fundacion Pacita. It's one of the best boutique hotels in the country. The place looks like an English cottage. How pretty is that. If I had the budget, I would definitely stay here. We were lucky enough to tour around the hotel’s premises which is not allowed for two years already. Kuya Roger repeatedly said that we were so lucky because we got the chance to roam around Fundacion since we were not hotel guests. The owner, a prominent cabinet secretary, was staying there along with other guests. Fundacion boasts the 360-degree view of the other islands of Batanes, Marlboro Country, cliffs, and the surrounding sea. The veranda provides a great morning view of the sea and the mountains. Ah, such a beautiful view to wake up in the morning. Fundacion Pacita is love! I wish I’d never leave this place.

                                       Fundacion Pacita from afar

                                                   Corner room

Valugan Boulder Beach. The boulders found in the beach are rocks spewed by Mt Iraya  . The boulders were smoothed over time by the tides of the Pacific Ocean. Sitting in one of the boulders and waiting for the waves to smash against the rocks is an experience that you shouldn’t miss while there. 

                   Trying to sit still while the waves hit the rocks

Basco Lighthouse. Batanes has a number of lighthouses and the one found in Basco is the most famous and accessible. The top of the lighthouse provides stunning views of the green mountains and sea.

                                                    The Lighthouse

Rolling Hills. The hills reminded me of the movie Sound of Music. It was indeed a view to remember! The view can also pass for New Zealand where cows are sent out to pasture on the green hills.

                                       Lush green hills all around

It took me less than a day to fall in love with Batanes. More lovely days in Batanes coming up!


Contact information
Seair

Batanes Seaside Lodge
63.921.2290-120, 63.915.9404.823 (Mobile numbers)

Fundacion Pacita

Kuya Roger (tour guide)
Contact details available upon request.
Note: We only paid for the van rental since he was family friend of one of my companions. So we saved a lot!