Friday, December 30

2016

I was at an intersection of my traveling life the past year. Other personal obligations put a limit to my traveling horizon. But I was still able to explore new places nonetheless. Indeed, God will always have something for you even if you began doubting things.

Several escapades were invites I couldn't turn down. I have seen myself give honor to our war heroes in Bataan, explored Marinduque and fell in love with Capiz
Need to revisit Marinduque!
Bataan is more than meets the eye.
And Roxas City beckons omce more.

I also had a number of staycations while Boracay has become a yearly staple that I feel I will never get tired of.

I have fewer travels but my friendships developed into something more deep. Something more meaningful. Something more beautiful. And I couldn't be any more grateful. 

There were months that I literally stayed at home and began counting the days when the year actually ends. I felt sad but serious thinking afterwards made me feel so pathetic towards myself. I realized that success doesn't really come how far you've gone or how often you've wandered. It is how you stay happy and content with what you have achieved. I felt a bit ashamed and quickly asked the heavens for forgiveness.

But nothing but positivity makes me look forward to 2017. A closer relationship with God and family. Securing and nurturing the few true friendships that I have. Loving them wholeheartedly and unselfishly. 
With my closest friends at San Rafael River Adventure

For all those who are able to travel, remember that you are able to influence others in a way you never knew possible. The appreciation may not always be manifested the way you want it to be, but always think, and always strive to have the right impact towards others, the environment and most of all, to yourself.

Happy New Year!

Love,



---
This is my entry to this month's 
hosted by 
Mervs Marasigan of 
PinoyAdventurista.com


Monday, December 26

Endless Lazing at Isla de Boracay

I think I haven't missed visiting Boracay, sans one year, since 2008. I don't know why I keep on going back. I know there are better beaches hidden all over the Philippines but I guess White Beach's allure is the answer or some Boracay mystery I haven't discovered yet.

My friend Chie and I spent three nights in this paradise. Aside from transforming into a mermaid and after my solo, three-day visit to Roxas City and the town of Kalibo, I haven't done much.

I became a pink mermaid this time! :)

Monday, December 19

Pamper Time at San Rafael River Adventure

Who would've known that a place like this exists in nearby San Rafael, Bulacan? Relatively new at two years, San Rafael River Adventure perfectly combines a soothing stay with adventurous activities which I and some of my friends enjoyed to the fullest when we stayed here for two nights one November weekend. 
We were supposed to arrive early Saturday evening. Travel time to the resort is roughly just two hours from Manila but the unexpected travel time (there was some road constructions going on in either the town of Plaridel or Sta. Rita that time) of nearly four hours caused us to arrive at the resort at 12 midnight! We were all so tired and hungry that we just wanted to drop our bags and rest. We thought that we will all sleep with our stomachs empty but the resort was kind enough to have waited for us and still served delicious dinner at twelve...midnight!

Tuesday, December 13

Shop and Save with Groupon Coupons

** This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine **

Ever since I discovered my love for travel, I have found myself slowly choosing to buy adventurous stuff over girly things like rash guards over skirts, goggles over hip sun glasses or trekking pants over sun dresses. When I go shopping I tend to automatically proceed to the sports or travel section instead of checking out the ladies’ section. I would smile at myself and wonder what a total travel junkie I have become! It was just wishful thinking when I was a child.

Since traveling means lots of walking, having a sturdy footwear is on top of my list. Always!  It’s a must for me to invest in quality shoes instead of deciding to scrimp. I learned the hard way when I bought cheaper pair before. My current pair of trekking shoes is nearing retirement so it is a good thing that Groupon Coupons has Skechers 20% Off Coupons. I could definitely use this huge discount for my upcoming trips.

But since it’s already Christmas season, the busiest time of the year, I have some difficulty planning our family getaways when I do it on my own. But it’s Christmas anyway, so I let myself be stress free and use whatever helpful resources I can find. And it’s fun to know that you can buy OneTravel Coupons from Groupon too. Easy finding cheap flights for the vacation my family deserves.

How about you? You can definitely try Groupon Coupons. Just be patient so you can find that great deal you are looking for.

Monday, December 12

Philippine Passport Renewal: 9 Easy Steps

A passport is considered as one of the major forms of identification in any country. Every individual must have a passport. And to the most avid travelers, having theirs for the first time is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel for it signals a major step in their wandering history. That is traveling out of the country!

Here in the Philippines, our government has already done the necessary steps in making passport application easy and hassle-free. I had the chance to prove this again when I renewed my passport for the first time. 

Monday, December 5

Microtel by Wyndham South Forbes: Your Home in the South

It was me and my mom's birthday month last October. And I thought that there was no better way to celebrate her natal day than giving her a weekend just to have fun, relax and unwind. There was only one place that came up in my mind when I was planning this getaway. I prayed that we will be able to successfully book a stay in Microtel by Wyndham South Forbes. It was not only near our home but the surroundings where it was located was the major deciding factor. I thank God that my prayer was answered. My parents were also relieved to be staying in a familiar territory.
Microtel by Wyndham South Forbes at night

Monday, November 28

A Birthday Staycation at KL Tower Serviced Residences

With God's humbling grace, I was finally able to spend my birthday outside our home. Choosing the location was not hard at all as I wanted it to be near where my other relatives live so they can attend the mini party I held that weekend. When I found out about KL Tower Serviced Residences, I knew I have made up my mind.
Hotel entrance 
After finalizing my reservation for an overnight stay, I planned the things my family and I could do for just 24 hours. I thought of seeing a movie late at night since the hotel is near some of Makati's shopping malls. But with the limited time we have in properly celebrating my thirty plus years of existence, I decided to just spend it at 'home' with them. 

Monday, November 21

A Gastronomic Feast at Braska Restaurant

There are already many stand-out restaurants in Manila that someone who is wanting to find and try something new must include Braska Restaurant in their Must-Try-New Restaurants-of-Manila in their bucket list.

Braska Restaurant is a year old food establishment located along Bocobo St. in Malate. The restaurant is at the ground floor of Amelie Hotel Manila. While many may deem the restaurant offering the usual table fare, Braska Restaurant goes beyond this and perfectly mixes the modern with the classic in their delectable food choices.
photo by www.budgetbiyahera.com

Tuesday, November 15

Make Travel Planning Easier with Groupon

** This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine **

I love traveling. And having this kind of passion has widened my horizon and literally, my travel bucket list. When you have constantly traveled as I had, travel planning becomes complicated at times. And sometimes, this makes me wonder if I am becoming overly addicted. But the good thing nowadays is that there are many ways to help you in creating and planning your travel itineraries. I am particularly thankful for the likes of downloadable mobile applications or websites like Groupon. The latter is of great help specially when I am looking to plan Groupon Things To Do in my wish to visit the USA.

I remember growing up watching American movies which were filmed in the city of Illinois. And some of these movies were set in winter, complete with snow and all. Now that I am able to travel on my own, this city has now been added in my must-go-to-places in America, followed closely by New York City and the states of Wyoming and Maine. I also like to eat and I know for a fact that there are a multitude of affordable diners and restaurants I can choose from where to dine when I finally visit this remarkable city.

After all, I have a cousin living in nearby Tennessee. Seeing that Illinois is just a short plane ride away from there, I might as well do a side trip and maximize my stay right?

Monday, November 14

The Success that is Bakhawan Eco-Park

I have stepped foot in Kalibo many times before but never as someone who would spend a night and care to explore the town itself. It has always just been a gateway to Boracay for me. 

But my week-long venture to Panay Island has allowed me to finally book one night in one of its hotels and encouraged me to finally plan a short Kalibo exploration. It was also inspired by a friend's recent trip.

After my three day stay in Roxas CityCapiz, me and my friend met in La Esperanza hotel in Kalibo. The following morning, we woke up early and headed to 
Bakhawan Eco-Park right after eating breakfast.
My friend served as my tour guide as she visited this park several years ago. She did not hide her surprise when she found out that the entrance fee was already P 150 when it was just about P 20 during her visit. I also felt a little robbed when we were paying but I just thought of where the money will go. And sure enough the beauty of a place like this needed an extra touch of care. And of course that needed continuous funding.
The sky was overcast that day. We were the first visitors which gave us the luxury of spending a long time in the place without being interrupted. We took our time taking nice pictures and appreciating the marvel of nature around us. I noticed in a bulletin board at the entrance that the locals started this project way back in 1990. I read later on that mangroves, just like any other large ecosystems, takes a long time to develop. I observed the larger trees, whose roots are wildly tangled beneath and above the waters. I also smiled as I saw many tiny sprouts, fighting for their right to see the blue skies. 

The walk from the mouth of the mangrove up to the seashore was 1 kilometer. In between the mess of the plant world are small tributaries which lead to the open seas. Some areas of the park have also been utilized to grow tilapias, crabs and other seafood. We spent a short moment feeding the fishes (bangus or milkfish). One fish food bag costs only P 10. 
The world is green and it should stay that way - Pondering Paodaolei
     



We continued on our walk because the skies were threatening to cry. The place's serenity was broken when other tourists started arriving. I still wanted to stay longer but Boracay was beckoning. 
The existence of this eco-park generates jobs for the locals

Mangroves play an essential part of the earth's ecosystem. It harbors both coastal and estuarine fishes, crustaceans and mollusks. In the park's case, it also serves as an eco-tourism destination. Thereby promoting awareness of its importance like protection of shoreline and nursery habitat.

I feel proud behind this project. Bakhawan Eco-park is proof that if people unite for a good cause, the result will be a resounding success. I will come back here when I visit Kalibo again. 


Bakhawan Eco-Park

Brgy. New Buswang in Kalibo, Aklan
Phone numbers: (+63) 262-7696 / 262-8862
Email: bakhawan_ecopark@yahoo.com
Facebook: Bakhawan Eco Park
- Pondering
Isla Panay Tour

Roxas President's Inn 
Coco Veranda Restaurant 
Exploring Roxas City 

Manuel Roxas Ancestral Home 
Bakhawan Eco-Park Kalibo 
White Coral Hotel  
Blue Dawn Boracay  

Monday, October 31

A Lazy Weekend at AurumOne Makati

I invited my favorite travel companion Marx and friend Hazel to celebrate with me. I was looking to spend a couple of days with my friends in a nice place in the metro. Hazel and I share the same birthday month while Marx had his just last September. Our last get together was more than two years ago so we were all excited when our calendars cleared up for a long awaited staycation.

Thursday, October 27

Cagbalete Island's Charm


Summer has always been about going to the beach for me. And being the beach lover that I am, I have always been on the lookout for beautiful beaches to visit. But with the Philippines’ 7107 islands, there are too many places to choose from that narrowing down my search per region made it easier for me. Then I heard about Cagbalete Island. Although there are a few options available, accommodation in Mauban, Quezon are still very comfortable. Upon seeing the island’s beaches and sand ripples during low tide, I knew I had to go there. Scheduling a trip to the island was hassle free as it was in proximity where from I live.

Monday, October 24

Exploring Roxas City

I was excited because it's been a while since I last traveled solo to an uncharted destination. My friend will not be joining me until three days later in Boracay so I planned a little 'me' time and planned a trip to Roxas City. I constantly hear that this is the place for the ultimate seafood lover. After spending three days at an organic farm the prior weekend, I thought I would not want seeing so many food again. But those mouth-watering, fresh seafood changed my mind instantly.

On a clear Sunday morning, I explored the city and was accompanied by Angie of of Las Islas Travel & Tours. Thank God that the weather was perfect for a walking tour as it had been raining in the northern part of the country. In anticipation, I already did a quick tour of the city proper the day before but it was nicer to have a companion who knows more about the place.

Monday, October 17

A Surprise Lunch at Coco Veranda Bar & Restaurant

After I checked-in at my lodging, I rested for a while, freshened up and mentally scheduled my activities in my first day in Roxas City. It was past one in the afternoon and my stomach is already protesting since my last decent meal was seven in the morning. My mobile phone was just half charged when I hurriedly left my hotel. I proceeded to Baybay or People's Park where I had my first glance of Capiz seas. 
Before leaving, I asked the front desk and Ms. Edna of Roxas President's Inn recommended Coco Veranda Restaurant for my first lunch affair with the seafood capital of the Philippines. I was glad I took her advise for I was in for a delicious surprise.

It was past two when I settled in the restaurant. There were not much diners as it was a sleepy time of the day. I looked around and was assisted by Edmar. He enumerated the dishes they will serve. I am alone and I was thinking of just eating a small meal consisting of one rice with their bestseller viand and perhaps a decent dessert if they do offer it.

However, I was graciously given a full set of dishes which all appeared mouth-watering. I was glad I was hungry because whether you believe it or not, I was able to eat the entire set. Well, almost anyway. :)

Cagaycay
Pantat (catfish)
I appreciated that the restaurant has direct access to the shore and the sides are open. The cool air from the beach quickly dissipates any humid weather gathering in the area. I chose to stay closer to the fence so I could gaze at the gentle waves and watch the little children as they ran back and forth in silence.

I took my time eating and spent an hour in the restaurant. And when I was sure I could walk upright again and gave my thanks to the staff. I was so full that I no longer had dinner that night.
________
Coco Veranda Bar & Restaurant
Bay Bay, Roxas City, Capiz

Thursday, October 13

Biyaheroes.com Makes Holiday Commutes Hassle-Free

The days of worrying about commutes and travels out of town are numbered as Biyaheroes addresses the major pain points of public transport. 

Especially with the holidays just around the corner, enjoy stress-free travels out of town with online reservations that lets passengers choose seats for free, claim a variety of freebies, and earn points. Payment options include credit/debit card via Paypal, 7-Eleven, allmajor banks, and the most common payment centers. 

Monday, October 10

Blue Dawn Boracay

While I relished the quiet and solitude of staying in Boracay Station 1, I have never bothered staying at the other end of White Beach until our latest visit. Our last two nights in the island was spent in the more crowded Station 3.

I wanted to be where the crowd was but I still greatly considered our comfort and privacy in our choice of accommodation. Blue Dawn Boracay was a nice discovery of mine as the price is not just budget-friendly, their rooms are equipped with the necessary comforts of modern living and just a stone's throw away from shops, restaurants and the famous White Beach.

Blue Dawn Boracay looks like a big white ship


Our trike driver whisked us straight to the hotel. At first he was not so familiar with its location but after showing the map, the driver needed no further instructions. Blue Dawn Boracay may be situated in the inner part of Station 3 but it is just a few steps away from White Beach - it is almost a beach front hotel!

Monday, October 3

A Welcoming Stay at White Coral Hotel

After a year and a half, I was back in the loving arms of Boracay Island. I missed it very much that I wanted our choice of lodging to be near the beach. Last year, we stayed in a hotel near the main road which wasn't so bad given that the island is small and White Beach was just a mere five-minute walk away. 

Friday, September 30

Roxas President's Inn

I spent two nights in Roxas City, the seafood capital of the Philippines, and my stay here was made more pleasant when I chose to stay at Roxas President's Inn.

Its main draw is its location. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from some of the city's cultural sights and important edifices like the Roxas City Hall, Roxas City Fountain and the Panubli-on Museum and Capiz Provincial Capitol. It is also just a ten minute ride from People's Park where you can gorge on freshly caught seafood.

Saturday, September 24

Costales Nature Farms

I have always eyed visiting this farm located in the rural town of Majayjay in Laguna. And I was glad that I finally got the chance to do so with my friends. We spent three days here and I must say it was one of highlights in my current traveling year. I have now ticked another Laguna destination off my bucket list. 

Costales Nature Farms is not the usual bed & breakfast. What makes it a standout is its practice of organic farming, thereafter promoting a better and fitter lifestyle. And more importantly, their advocacy of supporting the success of local farmers. 

Monday, September 19

A Taste of Mediterranean Countryside at Estancia Resort Tagaytay

When I think of Mediterranean, a picture of the cliff side villages of Santorini in Greece comes to my mind. But Greece is halfway across the globe and a visit to it is all but a dream for now. Recently, I got to experience how to stay in one of Santorini's all-white villa when I spent a quiet night in Estancia Resort Tagaytay.

Tuesday, September 13

Basílica Menor de San Sebastian

San Sebastian Church is made from steel and the first of its kind in Asia. It was proclaimed as a minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII in June 24, 1890. It was also rumored that the mind behind the Eiffel Tower, French engineer Gustave Eiffel, was also involved in its design and building. However, this claim was never proven. 

Though a superbly strong structure, the church has began succumbing to the tests of time. The group overseeing the church's preservation and conservation has discovered many holes on the roof. Causing water to pour in the steel frames. Over time, rust formed, eating away on the steel itself. 

Friday, September 2

Miss Universe 2016

I was still a very young lady when the last Miss Universe pageant was held here in the Philippines. I had no means to see the contestants live back then. But I fondly remember the sari-sari stores in our area were selling pictures and paper doll versions of the candidates. I never failed to buy my most favorites as it was the closest thing for me to experience the excitement this competition brings to pageant enthusiasts like me.

My favorites then were Miss India, Miss Colombia and of course Miss Philippines.
L-R: Miss Universe Philippines 1994 Charlene Gonzales, Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen of India and Miss Colombia 1994 Carolina Gomez*
*credits to owner of the photos

credits to MUO

So when Pia Wurtzbach was historically crowned as Miss Universe 2015, many Filipino fans' wish of hosting the pageant once more became stronger everyday. And when the MUO president, Miss Paula Shugart, came back and forth from the USA, I knew that the prey has been captured, just waiting for the official announcement from the organization itself. 
The best Miss Universe ever! :D <3
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach*
*credits to owner of the photos

And the day finally came when it was made official by the Department of Tourism. The next Miss Universe will be held on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena. Pre-pageant activities will be held in key Philippine cities while the main event will be held in Manila. 

What a better way to promote Philippine tourism to the world! I remember meeting several European travelers abroad literally having no idea where the Philippines is. 

Rumor has it that the events will lead to the announcement of holidays, particularly on January 30. I do hope so for I will be the first one to go on vacation once the events started happening. Miss Universe pageant could translate to local jobs and a very huge potential of tourist arrivals in the coming years. It is no joke as the Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries there is. 

But of course, let us not forget to support our bet, Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maria Mika Maxine Medina. I pray she will perform well after months of rigorous training. She has been bashed to death but I hope Filipinos will all rally behind her come pageant night.
Miss Universe Philippines 2016
Maxine Medina*
*credits to owner of the photos

The countdown begins! I would not miss this in the world, the universe rather!

Wednesday, August 31

A Sumptuous Lunch Buffet at Cafe Chino

Chinatown in Binondo has always been me and my friends'
go to place whenever we want a quick bite of Chinese culinary. Ask anyone and the one street they could think of synonymous to it is Ongpin. Ongpin St. is like EDSA. It is quite long and has many streets connecting it to the busiest parts of Manila. Along one intersection, I discovered Cafe Chino located at the family-run Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel where one of the cheapest buffet in the area is being offered. 
Chinatown Lai Lai Hotel Reception and Lobby

After touring our Japanese friend Chieka in downtown Manila, we proceeded to the hotel restaurant and had our lunch. Buffet lunch is priced at a cheap Php 299 per person. I was expecting the restaurant to be packed for it was a family day. But I was glad that it wasn't. There was a sizable amount of families and groups coming in and out that the staff replenishes the food trays every now and then.

Thursday, August 25

He Fell In Love

And Sky kissed Seaprincess just as before the sun disappeared over the horizon. At the time when different shades of warm orange blast in all directions. Her wavy hair caught some of the dancing lights. Trapped in their crystal like cage, attempting to escape from her usual swaying.

Enigmatic.

She was hypnotic. As her eyes gazed unto his, his heart stopped for a millisecond. But he was far too slow to catch himself.

And in those fleeting moments, looking briefly but deeply into her eyes, he realized that he has never seen someone as beautiful as her before.

He never dared to look back. He could no longer hold back. He finally let himself free. To finally fall.

Finally in love.

Monday, August 22

A Purply Stay at the Purple Tree Bed & Breakfast

It was another beautiful weekend to just spend at home. So I dragged my friend once more to a quiet bed & breakfast I found out at the heart of Parañaque City.

After the receptionist greeted us warmly, we were quickly given our room key card. For a small hotel, having your own is tantamount to their concern regarding privacy, safety and security. This place is perfect for those seeking solitude without the need to go out of the city. And at a much affordable rate at that.
Panoramic view of hotel grounds

Thursday, August 18

Your Christmas Bucket List Can Come True with ShopBack




In my younger years, I have always taken an interest for girly stuff like dresses, bags and shoes. But since I started traveling, I have taken the road less traveled and traversed the more adventurous path. With traveling comes the need and want to journey with ease. And soon enough I was looking for travel stuff that would help me move with comfort while on the road.

Now Christmas is just a few months away. I have started writing down my wishlist that I am hoping to get this coming holiday season. It is really fun to start window shopping as early as now but I can only do so on my free days. I checked these stuff online and ShopBack has helped me trim down my list. 

Since joining ShopBack's Win A Wish Blogging Contest, I fervently pray that I win even just one of the items I listed below.

1. Backpack

My current backpack is already four years old. And since I have traveled far and wide, it now looked more than its age. Thus me, wanting a new one. Something cool yet feminine. Just like the red Climbing Traveling Shoulder Bag Rucksack I found on Lazada.

2. Hiking Shoes

Travel footwear is definitely one of the most used in a wanderer's life. Mine already developed an ugly hole right by the top. And I am thinking of changing it with Lazada's JustCreat Women's Hiking Shoes.

3. Mirrorless Camera

One of my joys as a traveler is being able to capture magnificent photos which I can look back to whenever I miss visiting a place. I am currently lugging a heavy DSLR camera and I am wanting to purchase a much lighter one like Lazada's Fujifilm X-A2 16.3 MP. Compact but still takes great still shots!

4. Daybag

I prefer carrying smaller bags for shorter travels. I do not have one yet and I am wanting Lazada's Multifunction Casual Bag Backpack. It is rustic and manly. Perfect for the outdoorsy me! 

5. A Gorgeous Beach Dress

Now of course I am still a girl and when in the beach I make sure I look like one. A flowing, colorful dress I found in Zalora, the La Playa Chiffon Long Dress, definitely fits the bill. 

There are more but these five are the ones hogging the top of my list for ShopBack's Win A Wish Blogging Contest. If you are not familiar with ShopBack yet, you may read more about ShopBack here.

ShopBack helps you get the best deals and discounts on 300+ stores, plus Cashback! Cashback is really just "getting cash back" - When you spend online through ShopBack, we give you a portion of your purchase back as Cashback. This means extra, unlimited savings whenever you shop online!

ShopBack has also been featured in PhilStar, GMA Online, SunStar and others.