Saturday, August 31, 2013

rocking Baguio...!

I still remember the first time I visited Baguio. I was still a small 7-year-old kid. My mom tagged me along to visit her cousin, my aunt doctor who just came home from the US. I cannot forget that day because I knew then that summer was over and the day we left for Baguio was my supposedly first day in grade school. The funny thing was, my mom said it was okay to be absent for one week because my teacher was a close friend of hers and will just do a “get to know your classmates game” and will most of the times just play around in the classroom area. She was confident that I can cope with it. Cool Mom. So, off to Baguio we did.  I slept all throughout the travel time. I had a motion sickness then and the only way to prevent me from throwing up was sleep. I was in awe when I finally saw Baguio. Cool, cold place. We met my aunt and her 2 sons. I loved it when I saw my aunt and my mom talking because every time they talk, it was like they were smoking cigar. Like a smoke coming out of their mouths, that’s how cold the weather was. BUT OF COURSE, I know it was vapor going out from  warm lungs to the cold weather outside and it condenses and forms what looks like smoke. They actually had a nice house there. My 2 cousins were so cool.  We clicked right away. We were so hyper. i remembered my cousins just talked about surfing most of the time. It was a thing they loved doing back in the states, which I also enjoyed doing eventually. (I will blog about it soon). My mom and I stayed there for a week. The vivid memories I remember during my stay there was the great food and the perfect weather. We visited so many places. We had photos everywhere (which unfortunately I couldn’t find any more) I wanted to live there forever. ON our way back home, I promised myself. I will be going back there over and over again. 




MEANWHILE, here are my the TOP 5 PICKS FOR FIRST TIMERS IN BAGUIO:

Top 5 Park & Garden: 
1. Burnham Park – famous for its boating lake with beautiful flower garden surrounding it. 

2.Wright Park – awesome horse back riding place. 

 3.Mines View Park -it gives a good top view of the old Gold mines of Baguio. 

4.Botanical Garden –it is a wonderful place for picnic. Have your picture taken with the family of Igorots for a small fee. 

5.Sunshine Park -see flowers and plants that can only  grow in cool climates. There is also a stage found in the middle of the park which is a venue for cultural shows.





Top 5 Must-see Places :
1.Baguio Cathedral -it is unique with its Pink fa├žade, Rose windows and twin Bell Towers. 

2.Lourdes Grotto - you can find the statue of Our lady of Lourdes. To reach the grotto one must climb the 252 steps stairs 

3.The Mansion -the official Summer residents of the Philippine President. The main gates are an exact replica of the gates at Buckingham Palace in London. 

4.Camp John Hay - a really good place to go for a day out. Go shopping at Mile-Hi Centre. Choose among its adventure package: Horse Back Riding, Paint Balling, Camping, Picnicking, Eco- Trail Venturing. 

5.Philippine Military Academy - the premier military institution of the country and is the training ground for future officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Witness the marching precision of the Cadet Corps of the AFP.

              Years passed.. I grew older and I still fulfilled my promised to Baguio. It has been one my favorite places. Our whole family went there when my mom & dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. I went there together with my 2 siblings and 2 cousins. I went there with my college friends. I went there with my office mates. I even went there alone. Last year, my sister came home from  Maine, USA .  I gave her the idea of visiting Baguio once more and we had a blast. Too bad, my brother was in Hongkong that time and he wasn't able to join us. Nevertheless, here are our photos together:











                I really love Baguio. So, watch out for more Baguio experiences on my next blog. I will tell more about  my new discoveries there. 





More exciting places, cool restaurants and chillax spots. .  . and yes... MORE PHOTOS. . . ! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

boracay rocks..!

Boracay is famous for being one of the world's top destinations for relaxation. This is number 1 on my list because the very first time I set foot on this island,  I fell in love with it. Since then,  I always visit the island . . year after year. I actually spent 3 birthdays  and 2 summers there.

Let me share with you the last time I went there. It was only this year and yes,  it was my birthday . May 12 is the exact date of my birthday so I was on vacation  from May 11-14. If  I wanna  have a real good time and celebrate life, this is the place to be. As usual  I will be sharing the TOP 5 EXPERIENCES/PLACES/ACTIVITES  I did   in Boracay. I want you know what  i did last summer.

I spent  my first day at the (1)  "WHITE BEACH" .  It  is what I always dream of whenever I think of summer. It has crystal clear blue water and the softest sand ever. I never get bored in the white beach. During that time I can call myself a certified beach bum. I just spent time lying on the beach side, drinking  jhonas'  fruit shake and  with some glass of beer below zero on my side. I did people watching (bikini babes),  I was a crazy, lazy, sexy guy at the beach with just my boardshort,  carrying an " i don't care what happens next attitude".



Prior to going to Boracay, I already made a plan to visit (2)  "ARIEL'S  POINT". I learned on their website that it is  a breathtaking eco-adventure destination .  It is just 30-45 min boat ride away from Boracay ‘s white beach, a 5-hour daytrip package for only 1,500 pesos per person. It is a  "DO ALL YOU CAN, EAT AND DRINK  KIND OF THING".  It is famous for its five cliff-diving platforms (3 meters to 13 meters). So, that's exactly what I did. After my breakfast, I went straight to the registration area of Ariel's Point. I was with some backpackers from the US whom I met back at the guesthouse where I stayed. (I will blog about that too real soon). To get there we need to ride a galleon boat sort of. It was total fun. We partied right away. Cool music started playing at the boat, cocktail drinks overflowed, we danced, chat, laugh and went crazy. We were overjoyed when we get to the exact point. We did enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. We had unlimited food, BBQ buffet and bottomless beverages!Their promo didn't fail. I was totally satisfied. BUT ,there is one thing I want you to know. I am afraid of heights. I just wanted to take photos and eat and drink. It was my birthday, I don't wanna do dangerous things during this time of year. UNFORTUNATELY, my newfound friends noticed that I was the only one in our group who wasn't diving. They started teasing me and never stopped. I cried . . . NO... HELP... STOP... PLEASE... NOT NOW MAYBE NEXT TIME.  They heard nothing. They insisted. I  got no choice. SO I DID WHAT THEY WANTED. I gathered enough strength and courage and found myself on the edge of the diving board. YES I GAVE IN.. I GAVE UP.. I  DID CLIFF DIVING. (to the bucket list) . We  partied again at the BOAT on  our way back to the White Beach.

I had a headache the morning after my birthday,  however, it was tolerable. I actually ended my birthday ...  drinking the night away.   So, when  I wake up, I decided to go to the (3) "PUKA BEACH".  I wanted to have alone time. I wanted to be away from the crowd. Compared to the White Beach,  it is so serene and so quiet. I even managed to sleep for a few minutes and got tanned real fast.   The  few people on the beachline gives it the sense of exclusivity. I was told by the locals that the sand was crumpled puka shells so that gives a rough and rugged feel on one's feet. With  my lagu beach towel, I laid down, applied armada sports sunblock and went on sun worshipping while listening to reggae music thru my ipod.



Every first timers in Boracay should try the  (4) "LEISURE ACTIVITIES"  which includes sunset sailing, usual swimming, sand castle building, and various water sports rides. Since I already tried them before, i opted not to do it again. I am already satisfied with sunset watching. enough with the sports activities because they're sort of pricey and I only intended to spend more on food (another blog coming) . the only sports i did was early morning run. Barefoot running (5k) on the beachside. I love the feel of the fine sand.





My last night on the island was epic. It was the best night ever. I joined   (5) "BORACAY PUB CRAWL" -The most awesome way to experience the island's famous nightlife! It is the hippest bar-hopping event in Boracay.  I made sure to register before dinnertime. I was asked to get back to meeting area at exactly 8pm. I went there a little late after about 15 minutes on the agreed time. I was given a shooter glass with lanyard so i can wear it like a neck-piece hanging, and an “ iconic yellow pub crawl shirt. The good thing about the shirt was, once you started wearing it”, you get free entrance in various bars , get discounts on drinks. I met all the other pubcrawlers.  The rule was "there are no strangers here" and we need to mingle with all the  exciting people from around the globe and play “getting to know you” games. We went to 5 different bars, I got some random kisses from some girls...Got to wrestle with some guys, got bullied on drinking . . .  all in  the name of fun. I really had great time. But felt bad because it was my last night and I have to get back to Manila the morning after.

So, that's exactly what happened  to me last summer of 2013. A birthday celebration spent so well. On heading back to Manila,there was a smile on my face, an excitement on my eyes (can't wait to share my story to my friends back in the workplace) ... moreover, there was a big question mark. On my mind there was a big question which lingers... the question of..WHEN WILL I  BE BACK TO BORACAY...????

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It’s REALLY more fun in the Philippines

Top 5 reasons why it's more fun in the Philippines:

1. It has 7,107 islands.
2.The Filipinos are friendly and helpful with a ready smile at all times.
3. Most Filipinos understand and speak English.Maps, buses, and plane routes are all written in English too.
4. Food and accommodation are very affordable. Local restaurant offers meal with a price below 100 pesos. There are numerous cheap hostel and guesthouse to choose from.
5. Public transport is always available. Choose from among the taxis, buses, jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs, habal-habal, etc.

My Top 5 Favorite Places in the Philippines:

1. Boracay
*White-sand beach
*Crystal clear blue water
*Breathtaking sunset *Amazing nightlife (packed with visitors all year round)
*Food haven (over a hundred restaurant to choose from both international and local cuisine)
2. Baguio
*Majestically sitting on top of the mountain
*Beautiful sceneries. (the mountain views and gardens will take your breath away)
*Flower festival (Panagbenga) celebrations
*Fresh fruits and vegetables
3. Bicol
*Mayon Volcano (almost perfect cone)
*Bagasbas Beach in Daet (great place for surfing)
*Calaguas Islands (virgin island,paradise, happy beach)
*Caramoan Island (Survivor and Amazing Race television put them on the world adventure map) *Delicious spicy specialties (laing, bicol express, etc)
4. Vigan
*Calle Crisologo (cobblestone street)
*Kalesa ride (back in time feeling) *Empanada (to die for delicacy)
*Pagburnayan (an old fashion way of pottery making)
*Museums and Mansion (history lesson made fun)
5. Baler 
*One of the best surfing sports in the country
*Home to a number of nature's treasures(falls, beaches, rock formation)
*Baler Catholic Church
*600-year-old balete tree that was designated the official "Millennium Tree" of The Philippines *Historical sites (home and rest house of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon Quezon)
I will definitely write about each of these favorite places of mine in separate blogs and will  include full details stating why they are my favorites. So, watch out.

Monday, August 26, 2013

good things come in five

I have read several travel articles regarding people’s experience and adventure and they come with great tip off. What I always look for are suggestions, word of advice and warnings. I learned a lot from all those text. So I thought of sharing my own exposure and experience.


However I only want to slice them into five. Not the usual top ten.


The reason is so simple. I only use my five senses :
1. touch
2. taste
3. smell
4.  hearing
5.  sight

plus, every time i meet someone whether  old friends and new acquaintances,  i say . . .  "gimme five" or shout . . .  "high five"..! It's a good way of greeting people and making them aware that you are welcoming his/her presence.




So watch out for my next top 5 picks. Favorite places, food, everthing i have tasted, witnessed, experience and explored, will all come in five. Yes, I will give you FIVE.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

me and my shadow

Solo Traveling is a far out adventure and can be a very rewarding experience, although there will also come a time that a snag will come along . But that’s part of the thrill and excitement.

There are boons and drawbacks in solo traveling.

THE DRAWBACKS:
*No one to watch your back and your backpack. You carry it anywhere you go even on short stopovers for pee time.
*You also get much attention from the crowd at all times. Never read maps on the streets.
*Costly. No one to split the bill with. Rooms are mostly the same price be it single or double.
*You may experience a brief period of blahs.
*When the going gets tough, no one is there to let out your emotion and it’s difficult to find someone always ready to listen to you.
THE BOONS:
*You own your time! You can choose to stay short time or longer time in any spots you are in. No hassle. No rush.
*You get to meet the locals and know more about their culture.
*If things wont work out well, you only got yourself to blame . No arguments!
*You’re free to do and eat whatever you want.
*You become independent.



TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER IN SOLO TRAVELING
1.Find a way in. Be acquainted with the place you’re going to. Know the basics of where to go and what to do.



2.Look for a travel-friendly accommodation where you can safely do a few z's, safe and secured.


 3.Pay attention to your instincts. Stay safe. Keep that alert button ever ready.


4.Rise to the occasion. Learn to mix. Make new friends.







5.Chow down the food which can only be found in that place.



Remember. The world was made for us to expore. Never stay in one place. Always have fun. Celebrate. Life is a party . . . !