First Kick Of Summer in Carnaza Island

And just like that, summer is here again!

Technically, there is really no summer season in the Philippines. As a tropical country, we only have wet and dry seasons. Some foreigners think it’s summer all year-round here. For us Filipinos, we consider the months of March, April, and May as the summer periods being the hottest months.

btr
Too cheesy for summer, yeah?

Although we could enjoy the beach at any time of the year, we feel a different kind of excitement when March comes. Perhaps, it’s the thought that summer is about to kick off.

dav
Beachy days!

But for busy bees like us, it’s hard to get time off from work to enjoy the season. So we make sure to seize every chance to travel and make our own summer story. Apropos, my good friend Niña and I had a holiday that fell on Friday last week. It was kind of a long weekend for us and luckily, Ace was also able to join.

dav
Wave and sand are happiness on your feet!

Niña and I had been lusting for Carnaza Island in Daanbantayan, Cebu. After our Bantayan Island escapade last year, we were supposed to visit Carnaza before summer 2018 ended, but we never got the chance.

Finally, comes summer 2019! We’ll never let Carnaza get away from us.

btrhdr
Chillin’ like the boat is mine!

So the plan was to go to the North Bus Terminal as early as 1:30am on Friday to catch the first trip to Daanbantayan. However, the handsome husband turned off his alarm (again), and as expected, we overslept. I was awakened around 4 in the morning and realized we’re late. I quickly jumped out of the bed to check my phone. I received a few messages from Niña, I knew she’d been waiting. I called her, and thankfully she was still awake. We wasted no time and headed to the bus terminal.

While we were on the bus, I was a bit worried about not catching the local passenger boat to the island. Based on the information we’ve read online, Carnaza has only one local boat trip per day that leaves Tapilon Port at 7:30 am. If we’re unable to catch it, we have to hire a private boat to take us to the island which would cost us a fortune since we’re not a big group.

Great fervor made us carry on our trip despite the time. We might just stay in the mainland for the night and catch the first trip the next day. Or, whatever! Hahaha!

btr
Isn’t she beautiful?

It was past 9 o’clock when we reached Tapilon Port. As soon as we got off the bus, motorcycle drivers already knew we’re heading to Carnaza. They told us there was no boat bound to the island in Tapilon on that day because of the big waves. They suggested we go to the town’s port instead. We somewhat already expected it because we’re freakin’ late.

We decided to have our breakfast first in the nearby eatery before going to town. After eating, we took a tricycle to the other port. Heaven was so kind to us. A passenger boat from the island had just ported when we arrived. They said it would leave the mainland at 1 pm which meant we had to wait for three hours. So while waiting for the time, we took a nap in the boat.

dav
Ace and Demi in Carnaza Eco Park.

The boat departed as soon as the clock struck one. We noticed the passengers crowded at the center wearing their jackets. We were still a few meters away from the port when big waves started hitting our boat. It was a rough ride all throughout. Scary thoughts came crashing in as our boat maneuvered its way through the harsh waves.

Then I heard one woman said, “Aw, gagmay ra man diayng balud ron.” (Oh, the waves are relatively small today.) I exclaimed, “What? Are these still small, nay?

Normal ra man ni nga balud day,” she replied. (These waves are normal.)

I didn’t know if I should feel at ease or be more worried. Nonetheless, we arrived on the island safe and sound. Then, we rode a motorcycle to Carnaza Eco Park.

sdr
The woodsheds in Carnaza Eco Park.

The Eco Park is the sole resort on the island. The most captivating attraction in the place is the beautifully aligned triangular rooms facing the coast. They call it the woodsheds, which could accommodate 2 persons for only 200 pesos. When we arrived at the resort, there were no other visitors, so we had the place all for ourselves. Oh, good heavens!

btr
Sunkissed Demi.

Since it was already 3 in the afternoon when we arrived, we agreed to stay in the resort and have the island tour the next day.  We also requested the resort’s cooking service for our meals throughout our stay. After choosing our preferred woodsheds, Niña and I roamed around. Later when we got tired, we vegged out in the sand and talked about how we got lucky. We were very amused by the things that happened that day.

IMG_20190305_234942_634
Starry night in Carnaza Island.

After dinner, we stayed outside just shooting the breeze while listening to the sound of the waves. Stars blanketed the sky as salty wind touched our faces. Everything could never be more perfect!

The next morning, we took an early stroll on the beach to enjoy the morning air. We were very tempted to swim, but the water was too cold. So we just resolved with the waves hitting our feet. Later, we went to the dining hall for breakfast. After breakfast, we prepared for the island tour.

dav
Postcard worthy scene.

There are motorcycles in the resort that will take guests for an island tour. It cost 150 pesos per person for two hours.

Our first destination was the Twin Beach.  Locals fondly call it Liog-liog Cove. We had to climb the big rock to get a better view of the twin beach. On the right side, was the rugged coastline that reminds us of Jeju Island we see in K-dramas. (Don’t believe me, I haven’t been to Jeju.)

btr
Not your kind of mermaids.

Our next stop was the Skull Cove. There’s a cavern with skulls inside by the seaside, hence the name. It wasn’t creepy, though. On the side, there’s a narrow pathway that leads to a helipad.

Our last stop was Kailina’s Cove. It has a long stretch of white sand similar to that of Paradise Beach in Bantayan Island. The place is also famous for sunset viewing.

btr
Paddle boarding in Carnaza Island.

Since we only have two hours for the tour, we went back to the resort in time for lunch. Guests were starting to arrive, too. Some of them pitched their tents in front of the row woodsheds. We took a quick shower, then we had our lunch in the dining area.

btrhdr
The lagoon.

We agreed to go back to Kailina’s Cove to watch the sunset later that day. So while waiting, we tried paddle boarding in the ecopark’s lagoon. It was my first time to try paddle boarding, imagine my annoying screams. I didn’t know it was painfully straining. In fact, we woke up to sore muscles the next day.

At 4 pm, we went back to Kalina’s to catch the sunset. Thick clouds began to form in the sky. We just crossed our fingers and believed the clouds might disappear. When we arrived at the place, there were already a few people who were waiting for the sun to set. We patiently waited for an hour or so. The sun’s rays slowly beamed through the clouds giving us a positive sign. It painted the sky with an orange hue. Eventually, the sun came out, showing us its full glory. Awe, beautiful! What a perfect view in ending the day!

IMG_20190305_130727-01
Sunset at Kailina’s Cove.

Tired after a day of cove hopping spree, we wanted to hit the lay right after dinner. Since there were other guests, the night wasn’t as tranquil as the other night. Some inconsiderate guests were playing loud music on their speakers. They could have lowered it down because not all people liked it. Personally, I would prefer listening to the sound of the ocean’s persistent kiss to the shore than that head-banging music. I don’t care if they changed it into Juan Karlos’ infamous ‘Buwan’ hit song, because the cloud was too thick and there wasn’t a moon on the first place.

btrhdr
‘Coz it’s summer, baby!

Nevertheless, we had a sound sleep that night. We woke up early the next day to catch the 8 am boat trip back to the mainland.

A piece of me broke when our boat departed the island.

Our two nights on the island wasn’t enough that my heart wanted to stay. When we reached the mainland, I felt floating. I didn’t want to check my phone, in fact, I didn’t turn off the airplane mode until we reached Bogo Bus Terminal. I had no choice but to go back to reality. It was definitely a bittersweet goodbye.

sdr
Carnaza, what kind of sorcery is this? 

But, ’til we meet again, Carnaza!

 

Over to you, how do you kick off your summer this year? Let us hear from you in the comment section below!

 

’til our next summer destination!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

 

 

Summer — The Virgin Island Way | Bantayan Part 2

Our second day in Bantayan Island started before daybreak. A noise coming from the kitchen awakened me. Ace was preparing our breakfast as well as our food for later’s island hopping. I got up to help him, but I accidentally cut my finger while cutting the onions. That left him to do the most of the cooking.

By 6am, breakfast was served in a military style which we Filipinos call “boodle fight”. Our friends, especially Niña finally got to taste Ace’s bean soup (monggos) and sweet and sour dried fish. We also had hotdogs, scrambled eggs and tocino for the kids. Our host gave us steamed scallops which by the way, abundant in the area.

IMG20180506072329[1]
Boodle-fight breakfast.
After the sumptuous breakfast, everyone readied for the day’s activity. In few minutes, we were already in a small boat heading to our first destination – the Virgin Island.

Ace and I hadn’t been there. The name seemed to promise a stunning, untouched place. Pictures of fine sand, turquoise water, and beautiful beach played in my mind while our boat fought the intimidating waves. A big splash interrupted me from my reverie. I put my eyes forward and saw a long stretch of white sand gleaming against the summer sun from afar. Contrary to the peaceful and untouched place I had imagined earlier, there were many small boats like ours beached in the area.

IMG20180506092752[1]

By the looks of it, Virgin Island is seemingly frequented by visitors. Although there are neighboring islands such as Malapascua and Guintarcan, boats to Virgin Island are relatively cheaper.

IMG20180506121115[1]
The lifeguard is on duty. (Ace)
Whilst I was wrong about the serenity of the place, I exclaimed a big wow the moment my feet touched the sand as I got off the boat. Why not? The place was wonderful. Although it has lost its vestal state because of its popularity among tourists, it’s still fairly worth its name.

IMG20180506100531[1]

The island, by the way, is privately owned. An entrance fee of Php 500 for the first two persons and Php 100 for every additional head. It has a resort and is already developed. Their staffs are available everywhere should you have questions. We suggest you buy your provisions in the mainland if you’re on a tight budget because the goods here are a bit pricey. There are cottages which you can rent or you can opt to lay your beach mat to save money.

IMG20180506095107[1]

Truth be told, there is nothing much to do on the island but snorkeling, fish feeding, and of course swimming. There is a marine sanctuary but it doesn’t have that colorful marine biodiversity you expect to see.

IMG20180506102651[1]

Our brief stay on the island was mostly spent eating our food and exploring the area. Well, swimming, too but not that long. Ace and I are not really beach-people so we easily get enough of it.

IMG20180506114412[1]

A rational thought about Virgin Island:

Virgin Island had denied us the tranquility we sought for, but we had a great time though. We must admit that we came at the wrong time. It was the peak of the summer season in the Philippines. We were wrong to expect peace and quiet in a beautiful place like this. We shouldn’t have expected anything in the first place. Our expectation was such a selfish thought. 

IMG20180506111656[1]

 

Demi’s personal thought about Bantayan Island:

I know some of you will react to this, but I’m saying this anyway.

I don’t concord to that conventional impression about the place. I’ve been to some islands in the Philippines and honestly, Bantayan Island is not one you’ll fall in love on your first step. (There I said it. Don’t bash me, please!) 

No, I didn’t feel the love at first sight like I did with Sipaway Island. Perhaps two days was not enough to know her and it was too early to judge. Perhaps I had huge expectations. Perhaps I was busy comparing her to other islands and missed to see the real her beauty.

One thing is sure though. Bantayan Island gave me that curiosity and desire to know her more. Bantayan sent me home thinking about when to go back. Taking into consideration the stories about how beautiful the island is, I was more perplexed on how I didn’t see it. The more reason why I have to come back.

 

So, we shall see you soon again, Bantayan! Thank you for the summer!

 

Love, Ace and Demi

 

A Photo Diary | How Surigao Swept Off Our Feet.

Don’t listen to what they say. Go see it!!!

Our first week of May was worthily spent in SURIGAO along with new awesome friends. The place was in our bucket list but we did not expect to visit it it soon. Somehow, blessings made our way to the City of Island Adventures. (And this marked our first venture outside the Visayas region.)

20170519_003230

An old friend invited us to visit her hometown. It so happen that Ace and I had plans to go to Negros and Bantayan Islands but the enticing places in Surigao made us change our minds.

I must say, we had made the BEST decision ever.

Surigao swept us off our feet since the first day and all throughout our sojourn. From the amazing fjord of Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove, the untouched islets of Dinagat Islands, the awe-inspiring sight of Tinuy-an Falls, to the beguiling beauty of Enchanted River — everything went beyond our expectations.

Here’s a photo diary that will show you how the City of Island Adventures made us fall inlove.

How would you like to build your house in an island overlooking other tiny islets and the cerulean sea?

20170519_002840
A stunning vista of the islets from an abandoned rest house in Dinagat Islands.

Or maybe have the island all by yourself?

20170519_002530
Another picturesque spot on the other side of the abandoned rest house.

When you have the fine sand, the calm sea and a wonderful… body? (Excuse me!)

20170519_004330
The fine sandbar in one of the islets of Dinagat Islands. (Duyos Beach)

That Palawan dream… Surigao made it happen. 😀

20170519_002023
A rock formation that serves as home of some Kalaw birds or the Philippine Hornbills in another Dinagat Islands’ islet. (Kabukungan Islet.)

Entered a new world through Bucas Grande and got lost with the confusing inlets. Explored the hidden gems of Sohoton from caves to coves.

20170519_002250
A fjord to Bucas Grande.

Saw amazing rock formations that we’ve never seen before and heard folklores from a local tourist guide.

20170519_001820
Unique rock wall in Sohoton Cove.

Plunged and communed with nature. Or chose to swim with thousands of stingless jellyfish.

DSC_2027
Dipping in the water surrounded by stingless jellyfish.

Ticked off the widest waterfall in the country from our bucket list.

20170519_003532
A fascinating sight of the country’s widest waterfall — Tinuy-an Falls. (The 2nd tier.)

Chased the cascades of this multi-tiered waterfalls. And treated ourselves with a massage from the water curtain.

20170508_190435
The cascades of Tinuy-an’s first tier.

Dabbed a ‘squadgoal pose’ with the gang.

20170508_203235
Squad goals? Yeah, not without this pose. 😀

And stroke more squadgoal poses…. 😀

20170508_235246
Squad pose with Tinuy-an Falls’ stamp.

Admired the mystifying beauty of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River.

20170519_003736
A vibrant scene of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River. Simply enchanting.

Repleted our eyes as we stared at the enchanting river to our hearts’ content. Also enjoyed swimming and going with the river flow.

20170508_202734
Staring at the water to her heart’s content.

Whilst our fleeting stay in Surigao we couldn’t help but  DECLARE to come back for more, soon. The city surely has more gems yet to be discovered.

20170519_004702

Thank you for the wonderful experience Surigao. ’til our next visit on your land.

Cheers!

With love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.

Green Lagoon Park | A Family-Friendly Beach Resort

 

Days are getting hotter, air is getting warmer, everybody’s ready for summer!!! 

Everybody is already hyped up for summer. Have you booked your summer getaway, yet?

20170403_124634
Green Lagoon Park, Compostela, Cebu

For people living solo, for those who prefer traveling or spending their summer 2017 alone, it’s not hard to find a perfect place to go. However, for those who wanted to spend it with their family, finding a “family-friendly” resort is not that easy, especially if you have many kids with you. Two important things you need to consider are the rates and the distance of the place. And a place that spells “inexpensive fun”.

20170403_125913

Worry no more!!!

Here’s Green Lagoon Park, conveniently located in Canamucan, Compostela, Cebu. (The resort has always been the venue for Ipanema’s Summer SunScream for four consecutive years now.) This resort is big and spacious which makes it ideal for family gatherings and reunions. You can let the kids enjoy swimming in the pool while adults enjoy other ammenities that the resort offers.

20170403_130108

Another good thing for this resort, is that they have no corkage fee for food and they have grilling stations that guests can use. In case you don’t bring food with you, they have a restaurant and some concessionaires inside the facility.

20170403_125019

Green Lagoon Park’s huge swimming pool only has a depth of four feet. Not for adults who wanted to do their diving thingy but it’s perfect for the kids. The pool also has two slides which I’m sure every kid and kid-at-heart wants.

20170403_130901
My sister-in-law and me, kids at heart, yeah!! 

If you don’t feel like swimming in pool, you can go enjoy the beach, instead. It’s not as beautiful as the beaches in the northern and southern part of the province. The sand is not powdery white, it’s a bit rocky.

20170403_130641
Green Lagoon Park’s beach front.

Your kids would still enjoy playing on the sand, though. Just please look after them. There are life guards in the area but there’s no harm if we take caution, too.

20170403_131156
The beach front. 

They also have several rooms for those who wish to stay overnight. These rooms are all air-conditioned and are fully equipped with cable tv, mini fridge, and a cabinet. Each room has a king-sized bed with a private bathroom complete with toiletries. (Rate listed below.)

20170403_124813
Green Lagoon Park’s room accommodation.

The resort also has big nipa hut cottages. You can bring your portable music speakers with you because each cottage has its own electrical outlet. (Rate listed below.)

20170403_130249
Nipa hut cottages. 

Green Lagoon Park is also a perfect venue for team building. They have a wide area for team-building activities. Other activities in the resort includes volleyball, zipline, jet-ski, banana boat and many more.

20170403_125642
The resort’s playground. 

How to get there:

  • Green Lagoon Park is only 27 kilometers away from the city. You can take a jeepney bound for Compostela or Danao in SM City, Cebu or even in Mandaue. (Fare 18-25 pesos.) Ask the driver to drop you off in Green Lagoon Resort. This is just along the main road.

Rates:

  • Entrance Fees — Php10 (child) / Php20 (adult)
  • Cottages — Php500
  • Rooms — Php1000
  • No corkage for food except for beverages.

For more information, questions or bookings, you can contact the resort through:

  • Address: Canamucan, Compostela, Cebu  Province, Philippines
    Telephone : (+63) (32) 425-6008; 425-8761/ 406-6753
20170404_115955
Ace and Demi in Green Lagoon Park. 

We hope you found this post helpful. If you find any error or changes with the rates, leave us some words in the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you.

‘Til our next post!

Keep safe and enjoy your summer!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

Coal Mountain Resort | Bringing You Back To Nature

Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak or where there’s no SIGNAL at all. 

While everybody’s planning for a beach getaway, we, on the otherhand, found ourselves in the middle of the woods, surounded  by mountains, hearing the music not everybody can hear. We’re going back to nature!

IMG20170219112423
Ace and Demi Coal Mountain Resort Story

Who would have thought a place which was used as a grazing ground for carabaos could give us a total relaxation away from chaotic life in the city? In the outskirts of Argao, lies this wondrous haven called Coal Mountain Resort, a perfect place for those who wanted retreat from the bustling metropolis.

20170331_170711
Find Demi.

The hubby and I had our post-Valentine celebration (we just need some reason to getaway, you know) in this haven. I was very excited that I booked a room more than a week ahead. Well, I think that was just right because when I called, most rooms were already booked and there were only two deluxe rooms left. The staff whom I talked to said the resort is usually full on weekends especially the family and group rooms. So yah, I suggest to book your rooms ahead.

DSC_0579
Deluxe rooms.

Our one hour  butt-aching motorcycle ride was totally worth it. Admittedly though, when we arrived at the resort, I was kind of “disappointed” as there was no wonderful decoration that would make anybody curious and interested to see what’s inside. The look from the outside was very simple and straightforward.

But, see “never judge a resort by its gate”. 😀

20170331_170233
The resort’s viewing deck.

Yet, when we went inside I felt euphoric as I ran towards their viewing deck. It offers a panoramic view of the lush greeneries of the mountains that surrounds the resorts, some of which are part of Dalaguete mountain range. Not to mention the invigorating mountain air, I felt like we were transported to a different world.

20170331_161808
Imagine waking up to this view.

I was very excited to roam around to see what other wonders the resort has to offer. So, right after we threw our bags inside the room, I immediately went to explore the place. Look at this wonderful view from our room, don’t you want to wake up everyday for this?

20170331_161303
Morning view from our room.

It’s wonderful how the resort mainted its homey environment. It so much felt like I was having a vacation in my grandparent’s house in the countryside. Oh, I could live like this forever.

20170331_171222
Stairs to the deluxe rooms.

The resort has three swimming pools, all are fed by free-flowing spring water. But you have to go through the woods to reach the third pool which was the deepest, too.

The first pool is 4ft deep. It is mango-shaped, by the way. It also has a slide for kids or for those who are kids at heart.

20170401_203941
Four-feet pool.

Just when you thought you lost your heart, then you realized it’s in the resort. “Buti pa sa Coal Mountain, may heart.” 😛 Behold, the pool with a heart, er, heart shape. The second pool is 7ft deep. There’s a jumping platform if you want to plunk.

20170331_161516
The pool with a heart, seven-feet deep.

The third pool is the deepest. Imagine 16ft deep. I bet one couldn’t swim more than 15 minutes here because it’s just sooooooo cold. The hubby and I are into cold springs but this is the coldest one that we’d been to so far. I did not reach 5 minutes swimming here because my nerves were already freezing. There is also a diving platform on this pool that rises up to 30ft high. Perfect for “buwis-buhay” exhibition.

DSC_0607
The deepest pool, 16ft.

You have to walk through this canopy walkway in the middle of the woods. It’s quite scary because it was slippery and the steps looked weak. But duh, get that fear out of your system and step carefully. I didn’t expect the hanging bridge to be that far, I honestly felt dizzy before we get to the end of it.

20170331_162535
Canopy walk.

The resort also offered a mining demo which includes exploration of a mining tunnel. It was drizzling during our visit, the soil was wet and muddy, so the hubby decided that we go on full gear with the overall, boots and helmet. But you can opt to just have the helmet and boots if you are not comfortable with the overall. We suggest you try this one. Let’s get to work!

DSC_0667
Ace and Demi, off to work!

Now, get ready to explore the tunnel that stretches up to 145 meters long and 70 feet below the ground. I swear I was anxious while we were still at the entrance of the tunnel. Seeing the dark and narrow hole, I felt like it’s going to swallow me anytime. But the hubby and the guide were so assuring that I was persuaded to continue.

20170401_204728
I’m not scared. Really not scared. 😛

I can’t tell how happy I was when we were about to exit the tunnel. It was an achievement. Along with that fullfillment was a realization. A miners’ life is no easy. The danger while staying several feet below the ground is already something to be scared of, not to mention stooping for hours. But yeah, I did it!

IMG20170218112038
Ahhh, I did it!

The one thing I loved during our stay in Coal Mountain Resort was the fact that we were so far from the civilization. Our smartphones were not getting any signals in the area. If not because of the camera, we wouldn’t be using our phones during our entire stay in the resort. It was another perfect moment for the hubby and me to talk about us, our life. At night, we stayed at the balcony and gazed at the stars in the sky while we contemplated about mundane affairs.

And oh, for the first time in a long time I saw fireflies coming near me. It’s rare to see them in the cities.

20170402_220112
Chilling.

It was a healing moment — staying outside the room, breathing fresh air and only hearing the sound of the crickets and the night owls. I felt like I was brought back to nature, to the time when there were only trees, water and air.

Our lungs had their dose of cleansing and our eyes were pampered by the green healthy surrounding. We felt so healthy during our two days stay in the resort.

20170331_160843
Ace and Demi are summer ready!!!

We hope you enjoyed our Coal Mountain Resort story. We’d love to hear yours, too. 😀

Stay tuned for our Coal Mountain Resort travel guide in a later post. 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.