Demi Went Solo in Coron, Palawan

I’ve gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says:

turn back!

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And just like that, I survived four days in Coron, Palawan alone. What a great way to welcome my 26th year of existence!

And all because of the furnishing support of the people around me, who believed that I could make it on my own, who pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.

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Day 0

The night before my trip, I was very reluctant to pursue it. My clothes were lying on the floor, all scattered around. My bag was empty, and I didn’t know what to put first. I was a mess. Only then I realized how reliant I am towards Ace that even packing my things became a challenge. I had to admit that I tend to overpack, that is why he does all the packing whenever we travel. Nonetheless, I tried my best to pack the lightest as I could, but I still failed.

Ace accompanied me to the airport for my 5 am flight. His uneasiness was very contagious as he kept asking if I had everything I needed. Well, I couldn’t blame him for feeling that way. After five years of being together, it was the first time I’d be away for days. I expected he’d be worried.

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Day 1

I arrived at Busuanga at 7:30 am. A weird feeling crept inside me as I stepped out of the plane. “This is it! There’s no turning back! I can do this!” I whispered to myself. I walked to the exit and saw tour guides holding placards with guest names on it. I stopped and looked for my name, but I didn’t find it. I thought I was doomed.

“What hotel po ma’am?”, a man approached me. He pointed the van that would take me to my hostel.

From Busuanga Airport, the town of Coron is a forty-five-minute drive. The view along the way was spectacular. We passed by a vast grassy field that I later learned was a private ranch. The lush greens along the way reminded me of the Subic Forest in Subic Bay National Park. The positive energy from that ride was enough to put my heart at ease.

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The driver dropped me along with a Chinese girl named Ling in front of our hostel.  The staffs immediately accommodated us and took us to our quarter. I stayed at Happy Camper’s Hostel because of the good reviews I’ve read online. I also have friends who had checked in there before. Our room is a shared one. I chose a bed next to Lings.

After lunch, we agreed to explore the town together. We visited Maquinit Hot Spring, the Cashew Factory, and we also hiked Mt Tapyas.

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Exhausted after a day of strolling the town, we decided to hit the hay right after dinner. Not bad for my first day after all.

Day 2

I was already up at 7 am the next day. I had a cup of coffee and then prepared my things. I booked an island hopping tour package for two days with JY Travel and Tours. Ling happened to book with them, too. Unfortunately, my scheduled tour for the day was different from hers. So, we had no choice but to part ways at the port.

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Since I was a solo guest, the tour operator put me along with another group. At first, it felt really awkward to be alone and not know anyone. I also had a problem with conversing in Filipino, which made it harder for me to fit. I was silent the whole time until we reached our first stop.

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Kayangan View deck

Our first destination was the infamous Kayangan Lake. It is the most visited spot on the island. They said you haven’t been to Coron if you haven’t visited Kayangan. Dubbed as the cleanest lake in the country, I already expected people to flock the area. As I climbed the steep staircase to the view deck, I came to a queue of people waiting for their turn to take a photo. But the beautiful view you see from there was not the lake yet but the azure waters of Coron Bay. To get to the lake, you still had to descend through steep, slippery stairs.

Though because of the swarm of people, the lake wasn’t as magnificent as I thought it would be, it was fairly clean. The water was clear, and you can still see the rock formations underneath. But I didn’t stay there for long because I felt so lonely looking at the people having fun swimming in groups. I went back ahead to our boat.

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We had a reef-hopping spree all throughout the day. We were able to visit Las Islas de Coral, Green Lagoon, Quin Reef, and CYC Beach. Our tour guide also prepared a sumptuous lunch for us. Additionally, I started to be comfortable with the group, which made me feel really better.

My day ended great! Our tour finished at around 5 pm. Ling was already at the hostel when I arrived, also done with her tour. We rested for a few hours and headed out for dinner. Since it was rainy that night, we decided to just go back to the hostel right after eating. Probably tired after a long day of an island tour, she fell asleep early. It didn’t take me a while to do the same.

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Day 3

The next morning, I woke up to a heavy feeling. I still had a hangover from the other days’ activity. My alarm kept ringing. Afraid to wake up other guests, I dragged myself out of bed. I forced myself to prepare for another set of frolic island hopping.

While brushing my teeth, I looked at the mirror and smiled. I suddenly thought of Ace. This was a usual situation every time we travel. He always had to drag my butt out of bed to get ready. Oh, I missed him! But this time, I had to do it myself.

I came back to my senses when I heard a knock on the door. I hurried up and prepared my things. At 8:30, I was already at the port waiting for my new group. Gladly, most of them were from Cebu, specifically Liloan which is very near my hometown. They were accommodating when they learned I was traveling alone. I didn’t feel out of place, at least.

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Our first stop was Luluyuan Lake, also known as the Barracuda Lake. They said there are barracudas sightings in the deeper area of the lake, hence the name. However, only professional divers are allowed to go to that area.

The lake lies behind the limestone cliffs facing the Coron Bay. To get to it, we had to climb the stairs, but unlike Kayangan Lake, there were fewer steps.

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Twin Lagoon

We also visited the Twin Lagoon on that same day. It was probably my favorite stop during my entire stay in Coron. The lagoons are separated by a thin rock wall. The first one serves as the docking area, while the other one can only be accessed through a small hollow on low tides. It was quite a challenge getting through it because we had to lie on our backs so we could watch our head and avoid hitting the sharp cave ceiling.

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Twin Lagoon

We had more stops on that day which were fairly stunning. But the Twin Lagoon paradise made a mark in my memory.

At 4pm, I was already at our hostel. I took a shower and decided to have dinner early. It was my last night in Coron, and I wanted to stroll the town at night. However, Ling already checked out so no one could come with me. The thought of walking on the streets at night alone scared me and made me cancel my plan. So, I decided to just go back to the hostel to pack my things for my flight back to Cebu the next morning.

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I survived Coron alone!

THOUGHT about Coron: 

Coron is a beautiful utopia that didn’t disappoint me. The people are accommodating and friendly. I also have to highlight how safe the place is for solo travelers. In the future, I would love to go back to this astounding paradise with Ace.

THOUGHT about traveling solo: 

I was scared but I did it! I am very proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone. I discovered a lot about myself. Going to Coron alone reminded me how strong and brave I am. It reminded me that I am capable of doing things on my own, managing my time, my money, my things, and even myself. It also made me trust my own judgment and instinct. It made me free.

But I had to admit, I missed my husband’s company the entire time. I wished I did all the island hopping spree with him, I wished he was there to speak Tagalog for me. I just wished to experience Coron with him.

I guess, solo travelling really won’t work for me. But would I want to travel solo again? Definitely! But for now, let me make up to Ace.

Over to you, what are your thoughts about solo traveling? Let me hear your thoughts.

 

’til our next story!

Love, Demi

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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‘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.

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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

 

 

 

 

The Best of 2018 | Ace and Demi Highlights

Yay! Few days before throwing away our 2018 calendars!

It has been 365 fantastic heydays for us. We have lesser trips together this year due to Ace’s work demands, but it wasn’t less of an adventure. It has been a whirlwind of both fun and pain.

We’d like to take this chance to THANK YOU for your never-ending support, for the clicks and views that are never ceasing, and for not getting tired of reading our stories. May you continue to visit this little corner next year, and we’ll try to bring you more adventures and misadventures.

For that, here’s a lookback to some of our unforgettable trips this year.

*Bacalla Woods Campsite (January) 

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Bacalla Woods Campsite

We started 2018 with a getaway to Bacalla Woods Campsite where we were able to disconnect from the mundane life in the city, and reconnect with ourselves. The place was idyllic and indeed a perfect area to find the disconnection that we longed for. As an added bonus, we were joined by some friends from different Asian countries which made our sojourn fun and memorable.

*Bantayan Island (May)

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Ace and Demi at Bantayan Island. 
Another highlight of the year was our summer trip to Bantayan Island. It was one of those spontaneous escapes that turned out to be an unforgettable experience. We only didn’t get to tour the beautiful tourist spots on the island, but we also went on an island hopping on our second day where we visited Virgin Island.

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Ace and Demi at the Virgin Island. 
Truth be told, I didn’t fall in love with Bantayan Island like what I’ve mentioned at the end of my post here. But my curiosity as to why people rave about how beautiful the place is and how I didn’t see it, made me want to go back. And that’s something we have to look forward to next year.  

*Bohol (June)

 

 

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Ace and Demi at the Panoramic Ridges of Alicia, Bohol
Last but definitely not the least was our wedding anniversary trip to Bohol. Instead of the usual countryside tour in the province, we opted for an adventuresome DIY excursion. Our first stop was the jaw-dropping ridges of Binabaje Hills in Alicia, Bohol. Climbing the steep hills while wallowing in the panoramic surrounding was a wonderful adventure.
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Ace and Demi at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol. 
We also got the chance to visit some of the tourist attractions in Candijay. We were mesmerized by the cold water of Canawa Spring and its cryptic stories. We were also able to see Can-umantad Falls up close. And who wouldn’t notice the amazing rice terraces in the area?

Our junket ended with a night in Anda where we woke up to the sight of the sunrise while sitting in the powdery sand.

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Ace and Demi at Anda, Bohol. 

All of our adventures are always enjoyable and memorable when we are together. Because we believe in the cliche that it’s not the destination that makes your journey worthwhile but the person you are journeying with. But above are the highlights of our travel stories this year.

2018 might be fleeting for some of you, or it might be dragging for others, but we hoped you’ll end this year with no regrets and grudges. Let’s embrace the new year with a new heart to love and care, and a new mind to think wise and twice.

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Ace, Demi and Elliot! 

Cheers to the awesome 2018!

And here’s to a prosperous 2019!

 

Love,

Ace, Demi and Elliot.

 

 

 

Our Junket to Candijay’s Pride |Canawa Spring, Can-umantad Falls, Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

After our fleeting stay in Alicia to behold the wonderful panorama of the town’s verdant ridge, we headed to check out the adjacent municipality’s pride. We’re talking about the town of Candijay. This humble town has thriving touristry which centers in eco-tourism. With all the fuss Alicia is making, Candijay consequently became a side-trip destination.

Joining the bandwagon, Ace and I included Candijay in our itinerary. After we parted with Bernard — our Alicia guide, we proceeded to Candijay to visit three of its tourist attractions.

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Demi in Canawa Cold Spring.
Our first stop was Canawa Spring. This cryptic cold spring is pretty popular because of the said unfathomable depth.

At first glance from the entrance, it looked like any normal swimming pool. With its concrete stairs and perimeters, the place looked developed and unnatural. I instantly felt Ace’s disappointment.

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Canawa Cold Spring.
As a cold spring lover myself, I couldn’t say no to it. So I begged Ace to let me dip into the water for few minutes to ease my desire. As we walked down the stairs, we realized that the main lagoon was tucked in the upper part within the canopy of lush foliage. The aquamarine water reminded me of the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao. Even the profound depth was a similar story.

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Canawa Spring main lagoon.
The cold water soothed my tired legs. Five minutes in the water was enough to make me shiver.

We did not stay long in Canawa Spring. We carried on to our next stop — Can-Umantad Falls. It was not too far from the spring but getting there was no joke. The steep and bumpy road gave our driver an arduous work.

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Ace in Can-Umantad Falls.
This waterfall is said to be the tallest waterfall in the province. The narrow drop bellying at the lower part before it hits the basin is incredibly stunning.

There were a lot of people when we arrived but not enough to make the whole place crowded. We noticed that the tourism office is starting to develop the area fronting it. There are cottages and tables for rent few meters away from the falls.

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Can-Umantad Falls.
Once again, the handsome husband refused to swim. (He was being a killjoy, really.)

There were four middle-aged women enjoying the natural massage of the liquid curtain. I neared it so I can try it myself. I did not expect the water to be so warm. It was my first time to feel a warm waterfall. It has a sandy bed and the pool is only my waist deep.

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Demi in Can-umantad Falls.
I’m not really a fan of warm water, so as soon as I realized that it was, I immediately get out of it. I changed to my dry clothes and we went back to the registration area where our driver waited.

Later we found out that the water in the falls streamed from Cadap-dapan River above that supplies irrigation to the rice terraces. That explains the warm feel.

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Ace and Demi in Can-umantad Falls.
It was almost 1 pm when we headed to the rice terraces in Cadap-dapan. There’s an eatery in the area where we planned to eat our lunch.

As for the rice terraces, there was actually nothing much to see. Since it was past the harvest season, the farmers were still in the middle of plowing and preparing the field for planting. So we did not expect much. We were just curious about it and it’s the most similar sight to that of the famous Banaue Rice terraces.

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Cadapdapan Rice Terraces.
Although we came to bare terraces, the place was nothing short of spectacular. I mean, it was amazing!!! I could only imagine the effort our farmers put through to realize such genius farming scheme.

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Cadapdapan Rice Terraces.
After a short breather, we checked out their restaurant’s menu. Ace and I couldn’t decide what food to order, so we agreed to go to a public market nearby instead. Our driver drove us to Lungsod-Daan market, and we bid him goodbye.

After eating our lunch in a small eatery at the back of the public market, we realized that we finished our tour earlier than we expected. I wanted to explore Lungsod-Daan, but Ace was already sleepy and tired. So we decided to proceed to Anda where we were staying for the night.

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Who is MagAnda?
From Lungsod-Daan, we rode a jeepney to the municipality of Guindulman. Upon arrival at the town center, tricycle and motorcycle drivers swarmed around us asking where we were heading. I knew beforehand that there are vans to Anda. But those drivers said that there are no more vans in the afternoon and that we had to hire a tricycle going there. When Ace asked how much the fare was, they said it would cost us Php 150. I was skeptical about it because according to my friend, the fare to Anda from Guindulman is only Php 30.

I told Ace that we will wait for a bit. Five minutes later, the van arrived. It pays to be patient, they said. 🙂

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Sunrise in Anda.
When we arrived in Anda, we immediately looked for a place to stay. Our search wasn’t that hard because there were plenty of hostels around the area. Some households are also open for homestays.

We chose an accommodation near the beach. The moment I opened our room accommodation, my eyes suddenly felt heavy. All I wanted to do at that moment was to sleep. I didn’t even bother to wash up. Ace, on the other hand, went outside to talk to the caretaker of the resort who happened to be from Cebu.

My growling tummy awakened me at around 7 pm, signaling it was time for dinner. I noticed Ace already sleeping soundly beside me. I woke him up and we went out to look for food. After dinner, we stayed in the resort’s lobby to kill time.

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Sunrise in Anda.
The next morning, we woke up early to catch the sunrise. But it was cloudy and the sun was already up when the clouds cleared off. We skipped swimming because we weren’t in the mood. At exactly 10 o’clock, we prepared to go back to Cebu. 🙂

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Ace and Demi in Anda, Bohol.

We had such a wonderful time in Bohol. I was amazed as to how friendly Boholanons are. From the bus drivers to that woman selling mangoes by street, there is no doubt that Boholanons are hospitable people. They made our entire sashay memorable.

Over to you. Have you been to Bohol? What place in Bohol do you recommend us to visit next? Leave us some words. 🙂

’til next time, Bohol!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

 

Solo Travel is Not For Me.

Squad traveling is all over the web nowadays, so is solo traveling. I have few friends who choose to travel alone while some prefer to travel in a group. Solo traveling can be a great way to explore the world at the same time, discover more about oneself. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea. But I hugely respect people who can do it and choose to do it in spite of the daunting cons. I really admire their courage and determination.

Some travelers, especially women pride themselves on doing things on their own. But I don’t like the impression of putting solo travel on a pedestal above all other travels. Common, there is nothing wrong with traveling with someone or in a group. Solo travel may work for some but not for other people like me. After all, we have different choices.

While traveling solo is great and challenging, I don’t like jaunting on my own.

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I’m not totally against solo trips. I am fully aware of the many pros of traveling alone. I’ve had few solo trips before I got married. They were mostly just for proving something to myself that somehow I can survive on my own. They were fun and self-fulfilling but at the end of the day, I wished someone was there to talk about how fun the day was, I wished someone was there to enjoy that beautiful sunset with me. So, when Ace came into my life, I was very glad to find a lifetime travel buddy.

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Here are some reasons why I don’t like traveling alone.

  • I get lonely.

    I get lonely when traveling for long hours on a bus, how much more traveling for a day on a ferry. I hate eating in a restaurant alone, especially while waiting for my food. Imagine people looking at me with pity because I am alone while I pretend to be busy with my phone. That is awkward, you know. Watching the sunset and sunrise alone brings so many realizations and thoughts, at the same time, it makes me feel empty and well, “alone”, especially when surrounded with couples romantically enjoying the moment.

  •  It’s hard to make friends.

    Don’t get me started on “you can always make friends”. I know, but it’s easier said than done. Sometimes, it can be pretty exhausting. Although some circumstances could lead me to make friends – which is great, however, it does not go like that most of the time. Plus it’s hard to make friends especially if you have trust issues. 😀

  • I am reckless.

    I tend to easily forget things. Like one time, I was about to have lunch from a tour and realized I left my wallet in the hotel, so I had to ask my guide to pay for me, please. That’s embarrassing.

  • I’m poor with directions.

    This may sound funny and stupid. I can’t read a map. It’ll probably take me 30 minutes to an hour before I figure it out. Taking a wrong turn alone is so not fun. But getting lost with someone or with your gang is an adventure.

  •  Safety issues.

    One thing I’m concerned about when traveling solo is safety, both myself and my things. When you travel alone, most especially if you are a woman, you are a potential victim of dangerous misfortunes. (I’m not belittling the girl-power, I’m just being true to myself.) It’s not impossible for me to be murdered without anyone else knowing. Solo travel also means dragging all of my bags into the toilet with me when I’m in a public place like airport or terminals.

  • A memory card of “selfie”.

    Who does not love a decent picture of yourself with the beautiful background? I mean, yeah, I can take photos of the place as a remembrance, but I also would love to see myself on it. So either I take awkward selfies or keep asking complete strangers to take a photo of me.

 

I don’t deny the good things my solo travels have done to me. I’m actually enjoying its benefits until now. I’m glad I was able to do it before. It made me grow, made me become independent and made me discover myself more. If I would have to do it again, I will do it the same way.

It’s just that, things have changed now. After traveling with my friends or with Ace, I realized that I have more fun in their company than with myself alone.

Would I travel solo again? 

Yes, probably. I can’t tell. Perhaps, time will ask me to find myself again. Maybe, I will miss my own company in the future. I don’t know. For now, I don’t long for that yet. Not yet.

 

How about you? Do you prefer to travel alone or to travel with someone? Let me hear from you. 🙂

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Came for Casino But Found a Shy Lugsangan Peak | Mountain Diary

Standing at a modest 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is known to be Cebu’s highest point. Everybody is familiar with it because of the wonderful view of Mantalongon mountain range from the top and its easy accessibility to the public.

But last year, another peak that offers a stunning vista of the other side of Mantalongon highland range made a fuss on the web igniting the curiosity of every adventure junky. The mountains around this peak resemble that of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol with their perfect muffin-like hills. But the fuss was not only because of that beautiful view but the name of the peak itself. I’m talking about Casino Peak now called Lugsangan Peak.

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When the said peak started making a break, it went by the name Casino. Everybody became curious about it. What’s with the name? Is gambling going on there? Outdoor enthusiasts flak the place not only for the view but to discover the story behind that infamous name.

Ace and I were not exempted with that curiosity. We were also excited and we even made several plans to check it out. Unfortunately, we were not able to realize any of those together. His schedule didn’t meet with mine so he was unable to come with me when I visited the place with the Team Bang.

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The Team Bang’s plan to trek Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls made my plan to visit Casino Peak possible. Few hours before the trip, I experienced a personal problem and I had to pull off my plan. I felt frustrated as I counted the remaining hours of our supposed departure. I was arguing with my subconscious whether to pursue the plan or stay home instead.

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And yes! My will to taste an adventure won over. An hour before the agreed meet-up time, I found myself riding a cab heading to the terminal with my friend Abby. My friends Louise, Daisy, and Charlotte also tagged along. Oh, I forgot to mention, on that same day the other year (2016) we visited O’peak, so it was sort of an anniversary climb for us.

We arrived at the terminal earlier than expected. It was my friends’ first time to meet the Team Bang. Louise was especially excited to meet the man behind The Bisaya Traveler blog as she’s an avid reader. When everybody was all gathered, we hopped on a bus to Dalaguete. (See a guide to Osmeña Peak here.)

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While we were riding a motorcycle going to Osmeña Peak, the rain started to pour. The road was covered with thick fog and the ride was freezing cold. When we arrived at the registration area, we did not waste any more time and started our hike after paying the necessary fees.

We already expected a foggy sight at the peak because of the weather. We didn’t stay long there because it was starting to get crowded. We had a short prayer at the top led by the Idol Wanderer and started our trek to Casino Peak.

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We took a shortcut from the foot of O’Peak and passed by a cabbage field. Later on, we followed a concrete road that led us to the registration area of Casino Peak.

To my surprise, the sign said it’s Lugsangan Peak and not Casino. The man who was assigned at the registration enlightened us about the change of name. The owner of the land going to the peak is named Ka Seno thus the name Casino, however, the name sounded indecent and gave a bad impression. So they changed the name to Lugsangan Peak. Lugsangan is the barangay where the peak is located.

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That sounds pretty interesting though.

The climb to the peak was not that hard. But the muddy trail made it dangerous and slippery. We also had to be cautious with the sharp rocks on the way.

The view from the top was breathtaking. It was windy and cold and we were standing only on slippery rocks with high cliffs on each side. I was amazed at the same time my legs trembled as I tried walking on a narrow rock. (I’m sure, Ace wouldn’t let me do that if he was there.)

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The fog was thick because of the unfriendly weather. We were all seemed teased with the beautiful scenery as the wind blew and clearing the fog. But the murkiness just wouldn’t go away.

The mounds surrounding the peak was like a shy little girl having second thought whether to show up or not, a little girl wanting to play peekaboo.

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As I sat in one of the sharp rocks, the situation made me ponder some things.

My life is full of failed expectations of myself, my family, and people around me. And sometimes, with me trying so hard not to fail, I forget to live in the moment. I sometimes forget to admire the journey. I have high hopes and all I see are those. I get too excited to see the silver lining that I failed to appreciate the things that made it glitter.

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And I was there. Sitting, hoping and waiting for the sky to clear up. And I realized, I wasn’t there because of the view. I was there because of the journey. I was there because I want some adventure. I was there because I want to make new friends.

In the end, I realized, I was actually there to learn.

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Over to you, what life experiences made you ponder things? What experiences taught you BIG lessons?

 

‘Til our next diary!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Balik Lantaw sa Tuig Dos Mil Dise Syete. (A 2017 Year-End Lookback)

Pagkapas-pas gayud sa paglabay sa panahon. Naghina-ngat na usab ang bag-ong tu-ig. Murag kagahapon lang nato gisugdan kining tuig dos mil dise syete, apan usa ka adlaw na lang ug matapos na usab kini.

Apan bisan pa man sa kapas-pas sa panahon, nagmabungahon gayud kining tuiga. Atong nasaka ang pipila ka bukid dinhi sa atong probinsya, pilila usab ka isla atong nabisita, ug ubay-ubay usab nga maanindot nga talan-awon atong nakita.

(Indeed time goes by swiftly. Another year is coming. It was like yesterday we started the year 2017, but one day from now it’s about to end.

But despite the swiftness of time, this year has been a productive one. We have climbed few mountains, we also have visited some islands, and we have seen many beautiful places, too.) 

Busa sa dili pa maabot ang bag-ong tuig, atong lantawon pagbalik ang atong mga biyahe.

(Hence, before the new year comes, let’s take a lookback at our adventures.)

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Catching the first sunrise of the year. (2017)

Atong mahinumdoman nga gisugdan nato kining tuiga sa pag atang sa unang subang sa adlaw. Uban sa atong pagtagamtam sa unang kainit niini, mao ang panghinaot sa malamboong tuig.

Sayron ta kung kining panghinaot natuman ba.

(As we remembered, we started this year by catching the first sunrise. Along with soaking from the first rays were our hopes of a fruitful year.

Let’s see if our hopes came true.)

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Ace and Demi visited Temple of Leah. (2017)

Kauban ang ubang higala, gibisita nato ang Temple of Leah. Sama sa Taj Mahal sa India, kini giilang simbolo sa tiunay nga gugma sa usa ka bana ngadto sa iyang kapikas sa kinabuhi.

(Together with some friends, we visited Temple of Leah. Just like Taj Mahal of India, this temple is a sign of a husband’s true love to his wife.)

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Ace and Demi visited Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden. (2017)

Gihapit usab nato pagbisita ang Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden. Kini mao ang pinaka unang tanaman dinhi sa Cebu nga giporma ug hagdan. Atong nakita ang nagkada-iyang klase sa tanom nga makuting gitanom sa kada ang-ang sa hagdan para nindot lantawon.

(We also visited Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden. This is the first garden in Cebu that was formed like terraces. We saw different kinds of plants that were meticulously planted in the staircase.)

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Climbed Lanigid Hill. (2017)

Sa wala pa moabot ang adlaw sa gugma, gisaka nato ang bungtod sa Lanigid. Kuyog ang mga higala nga wala pay mga kapikas, didto nila nahibaloan nga ang mahigugma dili lang diay ngadto sa laing binuhat, kun dili pwede sab ngadto sa usa ka lingaw nga buhat sama sa pagkat-kat.

(Before Valentine’s Day, we climbed Lanigid Hill. Together with our friends who don’t have boyfriends yet, there, they realized that falling inlove happens not only towards another person but also to fun activities such as climbing a mountain.)

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Demi visited Mulao River. (2017)

Human sa drama didto sa bungtod, nanga-naog kita sa sapa sa Mulao. Ang tingog sa agas sa tubig nga nibanda ngadto sa mga dagkong bato maoy nisugat kanato. Mura kita ug gidala ngadto sa laing kalibutan tungod sa talagsaong hitsura sa mga bato nga daw gipuy-an ug dili sama kanato.

(After that drama in the hill, we went down to Mulao River. The sound of the flowing water hitting the big rocks was what welcomed us. It seemed like we were transported to a different world because of the surreal form of rocks that looked like a home of mystical creatures.) 

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Ace and Demi visited Coal Mountain Resort. (2017)

Giadto ta ang Coal Mountain Resort sa Argao para saulogon ang Buwan sa Gugma. Duha ka adlaw ta nga layo sa sibilisasyon, walay telepono ni telebisyon. Apan ang atong kadiyot nga pag estar didto, nahimong maanindot nga higayon sa panag estorya ilalom sa mga bitoon ug dinuyugan lamang sa hungihong sa mga gangis ug mga mananap sa kagabhion.

(We visited Coal Mountain Resort in Argao to celebrate the Month of Love. For two days, we were away from the civilization, no telephone nor television. But our short stay there was a great time for a conversation under the stars with the sound of crickets and  other night insects.) 

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Demi visited TIEZA Botanical Garden. (2017)

Sa pagsugod sa panahon sa ting-init, giadto ta ang TIEZA Botanical Garden. Pagka-anindot unta lantawon sa linaw nga gipalibutan sa mga buwak nga may nagka lain-laing kolor. Apan subo palandungon nga ang plano nila nga himuon unta kining suroyanan sa mga turista, wala nadayon tungod sa dili matino nga rason. Karon, ang linaw nagpabilin, apan wala na ang mga tanom nga nagdugang unta sa iyang katahom.

(During the start of the summer season, we visited TIEZA Botanical Garden. The lake looked beautiful because it was surrounded by flowers with different colors. Unfortunately, their plan to make the place as tourist attraction did not happen due to unknown reason. Now, the lake is still there but the flowers that gave beauty to it were already gone.) 

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Demi cycled in Olango Island. (2017)

Bisan pa man sa nagka-init nga panahon, gilabang nato ang dagat sa Mactan ug gibisita ta ang isla sa Olango. Didto atong gilibot ang gamayng isla pinaagi lamang sa bisikleta. Taliwala sa init sa adlaw, nalingaw kita sa pag-suroy-suroy kauban ang atong suod nga barkada.

(Despite the hot weather, we crossed the sea of Mactan to visit Olango Island. We toured the small island with a bicycle. We enjoyed cycling with some close friends under the scorching heat of the sun.)

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Ace and Demi trekked the rivers of Catmon and visited Tinub-dan falls. (2017)

Tungod lage kay ting-init, nikuyog ta sa bag-ong mga kaila didto sa Catmon para makita ang Tinubdan Falls ug mohumol sa bugnaw nga tubig gikan sa busay. Nahimamat ta ang mga tawo nga sauna diri sa internet ta lang nakaila, mga tawo nga sama kanato mahilig usab ug bag-ong kasinatian.

(Because the days were getting hotter, we went to Catmon with some new friends to see Tinubdan Falls and to dip into the cold waterfall. We also met some people whom we only met online, people who are also up for adventures like us.)

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Ace and Demi visited Green Lagoon park. (2017)

Gidala nato ang among mga pag umangkon sa Green Lagoon Park. Didto, dili lang ang mga gagmayng bata ang nalingaw ug maayo sa langoyanan kun dili lakip napud ang mga dagko.

(We brought our niece and nephews to Green Lagoon Park. It was not only the kids who had so much fun in the swimming pool but also the adults.)

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Ace and Demi visited Surigao. (2017)

Sa katapusang adlaw sa Abril, nilarga ta sa Surigao. Didto atong gibisita ang tinagoang bahandi niining mapaubsanong syudad.

(On the last day of April, we went to Surigao to visit the hidden treasure of the humble city.)

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Ace and Demi visited Sohoton Cove. (2017)

Unang adlaw sa Surigao, atong giadto ang Sohoton Cove. Gisuroy ta ang gagmay nga mga isla sulod sa Bucas Grande. Nakita ta ang mga isla nga daw sama sa usa ka puto nga naglutaw sa tubig tungod sa ilang porma.

(On our first day in Surigao, we visited Sohoton Cove. We toured the small islets inside Bucas Grande. We saw islets shaped like muffins floating in the water.)

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Ace and Demi visited Tinuy-an Falls. (2017)

Pagka sunod adlaw, nibyahe kita ngadto sa laing parte sa Surigao para bisitahon ang Tinuy-an Falls. Duka pa kita pag-abot nato ngadto apan, nahimata kita sa ka anindot sa agas sa tubig sa maong busay.

(The next day, we traveled to a different part of Surigao to see Tinuy-an Falls. We were still drowsy when we got there but we were awakened by the beautiful sight of the waterfall.) 

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Ace and Demi visited Enchanted River. (2017)

Human sa atong pagtampisaw sa bugnawng tubig sa busay, niadto usab kita sa Enchanted River. Gisugat kita sa usa ka dili katuohang kolor sa tubig sa sapa nga daw sa imahinasyon lang mamugna.

(After soaking in the cold water of the falls, we also went to Enchanted River. We were welcomed by the unbelievable color of the water that we thought could only exist in our imagination.)

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Ace and Demi visited Dinagat Islands. (2017)

Sunod adlaw niana, ang mga isla sa Dinagat na usab ang atong gisuroy. Dili matukib ang atong gibating kahingangha tungod sa kaanindot sa mga isla didtong dapita.

(On the following day, we toured the islands of Dinagat. We couldn’t explain our bewilderment because of the beauty of the islets there.) 

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Ace and Demi went to Sipaway Island.

Mura ug wala ta napul-i ug isla, nilabang na usab kita ngadto sa Negros para bisitahon ang pamilya ni Ace sa Sipaway Island. Gamit ang hinuwaman nga motor, gilibot ta ang gamayng isla ug atong nakita ang simple nga pag panginabuhi sa mga tawo didto.

(As if we did not get enough of islands, we crossed to Negros to visit Ace’s family in Sipaway Island. Using a rented motorbike, we toured the small island and saw the idyllic life of the people there.)

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Ace and Demi visited Mangitngit Falls. (2017)

Sa tunga-tunga sa tuig, giadto ta ang Mangitngit Falls nga karon gihimo nang komersyal nga suroyanan ug ginganlang na’g Middle Earth Spring Resort. Subo man huna-hunaon nga dili na nato maduol ang maong busay apan atong nasabtan ang tumong sa maong patakaran.

(In the middle of this year, we went to Mangitngit Falls which is now a commercialized resort called Middle Earth Spring Resort. It was sad to know that we were no longer allowed to come closer to the falls but we understood the reason for the prohibition.)

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Trekked Mt Mago with a Kid.

Malampuson usab nato nga naadto ang Mt Mago kauban ang dos-anyos nako nga pag umangkon. Makalingaw ang atong kasinatian samtang atong gipangita ang utlanan sa tulo ka lungsod nga mao gayod ang tuyo sa maong pagkat-kat.

(We also have successfully trekked Mt. Mago with my two-year-old niece. Our adventure in finding the boundary of three municipalities was fun because it was really the goal of that climb.)

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Karong tuiga usab atong naadto ang dugay na natong gustong makita nga Budlaan Falls. Didto, daw gianud sa makusog nga bul-og sa tubig gikan sa ibabaw ang atong gibating mga kakapoy.

(It’s also this year, we saw Budlaan Falls that we’ve been wanting to see. It was as if the strong flow of the falls carried away the feeling of tiredness.)

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Ace and Demi visited Mt Kan-irag. (2017)

Gikan didto sa busay, nidiretso kita sa kinabungturan nga bahin sa syudad sa Sugbo. Ang maong bukid gipanganlan ug Sirao Peak. Didto atong nalantaw ang ang syudad nga daw hulmigas na sa kagamay.

(From there, we went straight to the highlands of the city. The mountain was called Sirao Peak. From there, we saw the city below us.)

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Ace and Demi went to Camotes Island with Elliot. (2017)

Pagkasunod adlaw niana, kuyog ang atong bag-ong amigo nga iro nga gipanganlan ug Elliot, nibakasyon kita sa Camotes Island. Gamit gihapon ang hinuwaman nga sakyanan, atong gilibot ang mga lugar-suroyanan didto.

(The next day, together with our new furry friend named Elliot, we went on a vacation in Camotes Island. We rented a ride again and we toured the whole island.)

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Demi visited the biggest cross in Compostela. (2017)

Niini usab nga tuiga atong na-diskubre ang dakong krus sa Compostela. Daw higante ang kadako ug kataas sa maong krus. Ug sumala pa, mao kini ang kinadak-ang krus sa probinsya.

(It’s also this year when we discovered the big cross in Compostela. The size and the height were gigantic. Many said it was the biggest cross in the province.)

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Ace and Demi survived the Spartan trail. (2017)

Paglabay lang sa usa ka semana, gibaklay ta ang giingon nga pinakalisud nga Spartan Trail. Bisan pa man sa kalisud sa dalan ug sa mga kabalaka kung malampuson ba natong mahumang ang maong hagit, maisugon natong giagwanta ang kakapoy. Ug tuod man, kalipay atong nabati tungod sa atong kalampusan.

(After a week, we trailed the treacherous Spartan Trail. Despite the hard trail and the doubts whether we finish the challenge, we bravely stand the weariness. Indeed, happiness was our reward because of the successful climb.) 

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Ace and Demi glamped in Formosa Camp Resort. (2017)

Ug ang atong katapusan nga hunat, mao ang pag adto sa Formosa Camp Resort. Wala nato baliha ang bagyo nga Urduja. Bisan pa man sa dili maayo nga kahimtang sa panahon, kita nalingaw gihapon sa atong hamubo nga bakasyon.

(And our last leg for this year was our visit to Formosa Camp Resort. We did not mind the typhoon Urduja. Notwithstanding the bad weather, we still enjoyed our short staycation.)

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Happy New Year, everyone!

Makaingon ta nga ang atong tuig dos mil dise syete nag mabulukon gayud. Kini tungod sa bag-ong mga kasinatian, mga bag-ong higala og kaila, mga bag-ong lugar nga atong nabisita,ug labaw sa tanan, ang mga pagsuway nga atong naagian nga maoy mamahimo natong sumbanan sa umaabot nga katuigan.

Ug sa dili pa hingpit nga matapos kining maong tuig, tuguti kami nga pasalamaton kamo, kamong magbasahan ug nagasunod gayud niining among mga salmot. Hinaot nga sa pagbasa sa among mga artikulo, nadala usab kamo namo sa mga lugar nga among giadto.

Hangtud sa sunod tuig!

Mabungahong bag-ong tuig kanatong tanan!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

(We can say that our 2017 has been a remarkable year. This is because of the new experiences, new friends, new places that we visited, and most of all, the hardships and trials that we’ve been through. They are what made us strong and will become our guide for the coming years.

So before this year come to its end, allow us to THANK YOU, our dear readers and followers. We hope that by reading our posts, we were able to take you to the places that we visited.)

‘Til next year!

A prosperous New Year to all of us!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Glamping | Glamorous Backyard Camping in Formosa Camp Resort

Outdoor enthusiasts like us always love the idea of camping and disconnecting from the comforts of home. Sometimes, we also love a glamorous stay in a hotel or resort. But what happens when glamour and camping meet? It would be awesomely called “glamping”.

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The camping ground.

Glamping is a fusion of glamour and camping. It is more like a luxurious camping experience. Glamping comes in different forms — tents, treehouses, cabins, etc.

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Niña and Demi feeling comfy inside the tent.

Glamping is starting to make its name in Cebu especially in the southern part of the province. Just recently, a new resort in the Northern part opened its door for this upgraded camping experience.  It’s no other than Formosa Camp Resort.

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Ace with Mr. Huang, the resort’s owner.

Situated on the coast of Bagsawe, Tuburan, Cebu, Formosa Camp Resort is owned by the very kind and accommodating couple, Mr. and Mrs. Huang.

Mrs. Huang told us that the resort used to be their family’s rest house. Since Tuburan’s tourism is booming because of the attractions nearby, they came up with the idea of turning their once vacation house into a resort that offers glamping.

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Niña and Demi in the villa’s door.

In the height of tropical depression Urduja, Ace and I, together with our good friend, Niña, went to Formosa Camp Resort to try camping glamorously. The night before that, we were filled with doubt whether to pursue or cancel our plan because of the typhoon’s threat. In spite of that, we still carried out our plan.

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The swimming pool.

The bad weather caused a heavy traffic in the city which delayed us. It was already 4 pm when we arrived at the resort. It was raining and the wind was relatively strong. The lady owner welcomed us with a warm smile that instantly warmed us as well. After few introductions, she showed us our tent. It was pitched in front of the villa next to another tent that was good for 4 people.

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Glamping tents.

Our tent was their newest tent that is good for 5 people. It is divided into two compartments, each with a cozy bed. It also has 4 collapsible picnic chairs and there was a picnic table in front. Supposedly, the tent should be placed on their camping ground but because of the strong wind, it was temporarily pitched in the front yard.

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Niña and Ace inside our tent.

We settled our things inside our tent and went to the town proper to eat our dinner. The resort doesn’t have a cafe or restaurant but guests can use the kitchen and grill should they wish to cook or make their own food.

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The pool at night.

When we returned, the resort’s swimming pool was all lit up. It looked very inviting but the air was too cold for a swim. So we decided to stay at the picnic table while shooting the breeze. But we couldn’t resist the idea of going for a night swim thinking we were only staying for a night.

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After few minutes, Niña and I found ourselves dipping into the pool. 😀 Ace didn’t dare to do so because he was feeling cold.

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However, we did not stay in the pool for too long because it started to drizzle again. After washing up, the three of us ate snacks and talked about our future plans of coming back there. Ace played a music on his phone and entertained us with his weird dance steps. As soon as my hair dried up we then called it a night.

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The next morning, we woke up to a fine weather. We were very happy, Niña couldn’t keep thanking the heavens. After finishing our coffee, Nina and I changed into our swimming clothes. We then strolled the rest of the resort’s vicinity.

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Ace and Demi playing sweet.

Aside from the swimming pool, guests can also go down to the beach area. Although the beach is not really ideal for swimming, its smell was refreshing. There are also swings for those who just wanted to relax and listen to the waves.

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The candidly scripted pose.

Ace really had a great time practicing his phone-photography hobby with me and Niña as his willing victims.

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Ace and Demi.
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Niña and Demi

After we had enough modeling, we decided to go back to the pool and swam. To our surprise, the water was colder than last night. 😀 There were not too many people in the resort. Ace was able to show off his flying skills.

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Ace and his flying skills.

After an hour in the pool, we decided to wash up and pack our things since we were checking out at 12:00. As soon as we’re ready, we went to the villa to settle our fees.

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The villa.

Mrs. Huang was very kind to let us see the rooms of the villa. It has 5 rooms that could accommodate at least 20 people. The villa and the resort can also be rented exclusively. (As of writing, Formosa Camp Resort is on its soft opening so we prefer not to post the rates. Rest assured it is very affordable. For rates and other questions, you may contact the resort directly.)

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Demi and Niña in the villa’s living room.

What can we say?

We just had a GREAT glamping experience. Typhoon Urduja did not hinder us from having a wonderful stay in Formosa Camp Resort. Should we come back for more? DEFINITELY!!!

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Ace and Demi in Formosa Camp Resort.

HOW TO GET THERE: 

  • (Via Transcentral Hi-way)  Take a V-hire from Ayala terminal to Tuburan. (Fare is Php140). Then ride a tricycle from the Tuburan town proper to Formosa Resort. (Fare: Php10) **Travel time: 2 hours
  • (Via Toledo)  Ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal to Toledo/Tuburan. (Fare is around Php100) ** Travel time: 3-4 hours. 
  • (Via Tabuelan)  Ride a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Tuburan via Lugo/Sogod. (Fare is around P100/head). **Travel time 3-4 hours

 

OTHER INFORMATION: 

  • For bookings and other inquiries, you may contact the resort directly through their Facebook page or call 0998-995-5166.
  • They accept walk-ins but subject to availability of the date. You may contact them ahead for your preferred dates to avoid inconvenience.
  • The resort is open for day-use from 8 AM to 4 PM
  • The pool is open until 9 PM for overnight guests.
  • 2 PM check-in; 12NN the next day check-out
  • NO Corkage. 

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Niña, Ace and Demi

Great things never came from comfort zones.

Thank you for the great experience, Formosa. ’til next time.

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A treat before going back to the city! Grilled banana. Yum!

Over to you, have you been glamping? Which do you prefer, camping in the mountains or woods OR a staycation in a hotel or resort?

 

A Hymn of Unfathomable Depth and Mystery| Enchanted River, Hinatuan

The river taught us to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul…

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Ace and Demi visited Enchanted River, Hinatuan

In once a sleepy town of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, there is a mysterious river that continuously enthralls people because of its unfathomable mystery. They said this river is “enchanted”, thus the name Enchanted River.

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Ace and Demi in Enchanted River

The name and the fuss about it made Ace and I curious. We were very fortunate to have visited the place during our fleeting stay in Surigao.

Hidden behind the rocky mountains, covered with lush foliage near the Pacific Ocean, we found the said river in it’s placid state.

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The main pool. 

Enchanted River is a brackish lagoon with indeed, a beguiling appeal. With the pristine and deep blue color, I think there is no better way to describe this mesmerizing body of water other than “enchanting“. 

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Aside from its physical beauty, its depth also remains a mystery to everybody. Many professional divers are said to have attempted to reach the bottom but no one has successfully did.

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I was personally amazed when I first caught sight of the river. Unlike usual rivers that slither through valleys, this one springs from nowhere. No one knows where the water came from — is it a spring? Or does it come from the sea? Many said, there is an underground fissure where the sea water comes in. Well, that’s the most possible explanation but it’s not proven yet.

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Walking to the Enchanted river. 

During our visit, we had to register our names first followed by a short briefing about the do’s and don’t’s in the place. From the registration area, we had to walk for five minutes to go to the river.

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The gang. 

Swimming in the main pool of the river is already prohibited to protect and preserve its beauty. But there is a designated area ten meters away, where tourists are allowed to take a dip.

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The gang. 

That area is not deep, unlike the main lagoon. But you are still required to wear a life vest, regardless of your swimming skills because the pressure of the flowing water is too strong. 

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Demi enjoying the water.

At 3pm, people are asked to get out of the water. A bell rings and a beautiful hymn of an ancient ritual plays in the background. People call it the “hymn of Hinatuan“. It was beautiful! This signals the fish feeding time.

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Visitors watching the fish feeding. 

After few minutes, two men in a canoe came towards the main pool maneuvering it in a circular manner. Not too long after, a school fish popped out from nowhere, following the direction of the canoe. One of the men threw small shrimps and other food scraps to them.

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These fishes came swirling around, dancing and some even jumping as if showing off as they beat each other for the food. People are in awe and speechless, well, I was. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Those fish are dancing to the hymn!!!  That was a magical and enchanting moment, indeed!

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Enchanted River

That supernatural and mesmerizing sight left us speechless and astounded. Ace and I are very grateful to have witness such magical charm. We felt proud that such mystical river exists in our very own country. We hope the government, with the help of the people as well, would be able to preserve its beauty for the next generation to see.

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What more can we say? With this river’s unfathomable depth and mystery… We are enchanted!!!

 

’til our next enchanting adventures!

Keep safe!

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.