Tag Archives: Philippines

Swimming with Sea Turtles!

February 12 – 14, 2013


Travelling to Apo Island from Cebu is grueling, but it is definitely worth it!

Here’s the 411 on getting there from Cebu City:

1. Take a V-hire from Citilink Terminal in N. Bacalso Avenue to go to Liloan Ferry Terminal in Santander for not more than Php250 and the trip will take about 3 to 4 hours.

2. From the Liloan Port, you’ll be taking the ferry boat to Dumaguete which will set you back about Php65.

3. Once in Dumaguete, if you’re travelling with a large group, you can negotiate for an easy ride (public mode of transportation) to take you to Malatapay, where you will be taking the boats to Apo Island. Malatapay is about 45 minutes from Dumaguete City.

4.  When you get to Malatapay, you need to go through the market and then you’ll see the LGU Station that mans the Boat Rentals towards Apo Island.

5. Welcome to Apo Island!

Swimming with the slow, deliberate and graceful Pawikans of Apo Island

Swimming with the slow, deliberate and graceful Pawikans of Apo Island

The rates as of February 2013, are below:

Boat rental rated going to Apo Island

Boat rental rates going to Apo Island

You’ll probably want to aks what other miscellaneous expenses this trip would entail, so I thought I’d give you a break down of what to expect:

1. Apo Island is a protected area, therefore, frolicking in it’s waters will cost you a minimal environmental fee around the figures of Php100.

2. If you don’t have your own underwater camera, there is one you can loan for a fee of Php1300 for the entire day. For that amount, we had to provide our own memory card though.

3. Life vests, snorkeling gear, beach hut rental and flippers are for rent as well, going for Php200 each item.

4. If you’d like to have a guide to spot the sea turtles for you, that would cost another Php300. In our case, the pawikanwere abound and we didn’t really feel the need to hire a guide since we could spot the turtles ourselves even in shallow waters.

5. If you didn’t pack any lunch, you can ask some of the locals to cook up some lunch for you. What’s available varies though, and cooking fee per person was priced at Php75/pax. Good thing our group packed some lunch with us.

6. You may find it a good idea to spare some budget for souvenirs as well. 🙂

Save the Sea Turtles

Save the Sea Turtles

It was a breath-taking and rare experience, especially with the sea turtles’ steady decline in numbers through the years. If you want to know more about sea turtles and why we should save them, check out an editorial for a local newspaper written by my brother: Why save the sea turtles? (newsinfo.inquirer.net).


Intramuros: Behind the Walls of Old Manila

Clockwise from top right: our calesa driver taking us along one of the calles, The Manila Cathedral, One of the weapons used during the Japanese occupation, Baluarte de San Diego Gardens, our tourguide’s calesa

The historic “walled city” (direct latin translation of Intramuros) is not only an interesting but also, a meaningful way to spend one’s day in Manila. Afterall, Intramuros was Manila in the days of old, founded in 1571–the stronghold of the Spanish Colonial government. As soon as you step into one of Intramuros’ puertas, you could almost hear it’s walls and cobbled streets echo the stories of the Spanish Era and the American Occupation. The structures and old institutions inside Intramuros, also tell of the ravage and destruction that World War II brought about when the Japanese used the fortress as their garrison.

Plaza San Luis Complex right next to the San Agustin Church.

Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica

Also known as Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was closed for renovation as of press time.

Although the walls have mostly been restored from the damage done during WWII, Intramuros still holds that certain wordless charm–the feeling of being transported back in time. Churches such as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral), San Agustín Church and schools such as the University of Santo Tomas and Colegio de San Juan de Letrán are part and parcel of the most significant heritage that the Spaniards have left us with: Catholicism.

San Agustin Church. Originally known as “inglesia de San Pablo”, founded in 1571 is the oldest stone church (built in 1589) in the Philippines.

Recently this landmark has been getting negative press, quoting from Wikipedia:

“In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, the Global Heritage Fund identified Intramuros along with Fort Santiago, as one of 12 worldwide sites “On the Verge” of irreparable loss and destruction, citing insufficient management and development pressures.

I only hope that the Philippine government will act swiftly to save this treasure and preserve pieces of the Filipino identity.

I ♥ Pilipinas

asianTraveler magazine‘s I HEART Pinas Photo Contest winners have just been announced on the magazine’s Facebook account a couple of hours ago. I thought it’d be nice to share the beautiful winning entries and the sentiments behind them:

Family as One |  Bino Caiña

Grandprize Winner

“I heart Pinas for having close family ties. A source of support, respect, harmony and love which give each member an inspirations to succeed and turn their dreams into reality.”

Simple Life | Jerome Baluyut

“I heart Pinas beacuse you can always find a place you can call home, where everything is organic and simple.”

Acuatico | Nathan Lubian

“A great combination of nature, modern touch and luxurious living, another way to live life as a proud Filipino!”

By the Stone Chapel of Hoyohoy | Wendell Glenn DrWends Cagape

“I  ♥ Pilipinas for it enriches my weary soul.”

Scaling the Summit of Mt. Bira-Bira | Renevic Amago

“Thanks to the generosity of my beloved country by offering multiple attractions even in a single journey, the package of mountain and island, beach and forest, wild life and underwater, truly define why I heart Pinas.”



Thanks for sharing the fruits of your talent 🙂

* thank you asiantraveler magazine for having the I Love Pinas photo contest and for showcasing how blessed the Philippines truly is.

Dusk and A Day in Dakak

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Jan 6 – 8, 2011
Happy Birthday Master Beh. Thank you very much to you and Van. Thank you for buying me plane tickets to Dapitan. Although I missed my flight.
Ahem. (Sorry!  That was my bad…).

Should this be the last time we get to spend with each other before you guys leave, let the pictures remind you of someone who would would still brave more than 12 hours of a boat ride by herself to get to you. hahaha 🙂 In other words, don’t forget I will always be there.

I will never forget Van’s facial expressions and reactions inside the Horror House. Neither will I forget Master’s all-too-neurotic jitters as we line up for the roller coaster ride. I’ll miss driving you home Van.

I’m always just just an email away (or FB message–if you can find proxy).

But, until we’re back together  for another adventure,

let the good times roll!

Love Always,


Beh, wala’y ing-ani sa China. Tan-awa pud ang letter “H”…para jud na nimu 🙂 Just sayin’. ;P



Siopao Goes to Bora!

October 17 – 19, 2010

Location: Boracay

No-“JUAN” could stop us from basking in the beauty of this island. And yes, PUN is very much intended. In other parts of the country, the typhoon may have caused much chaos, but for us in Bora the weather was kind enough to cooperate most of the time, although there were some items on the itinerary that had to be cancelled when it didn’t.

Perhaps next time, I could dohorseback- riding on the other side of the island and the ATV tour. But regardless, I had a great time indulging in the whole cliched Boracay tourist experience–from getting my hair braided to having my foot tattooed with henna.

Island hopping and snorkelling was exquisite, dipping in the waters of Crocodile Island and Crystal Cave. It was such a surprise to have schools of fish swimming about you and nibbling on the “pandesal” straight from your hand unabashedly.

Yes, the island may be a little too drowned in the overwhelming commercialism, but I daresay Boracay’s charm could never be repressed by the plethora of establishments sprouting like mushrooms all over the place. It’s charm is just all it’s own. And that’s what will keep you coming back for more, hopefully long after all these establishments could get back their ROI’s (provided that the people would act responsibly to take care of the island too).

Mayhem in the Metro with Mamoo

ITINERARY: November 22- 24, 2009

Day 1

  1. : Church
  2. : Mall of Asia
  3. : Ocean Park

Day 2

  1. : Greenhills
  2. : Tutuban, Divisoria, Adventure Eating 🙂

Day 3

  1. :Rizal Park
  2. : Greenbelt
  3. : Lush!
  4. : Gilak
  5. : Sunset Cruise by Manila Bay

DAY 4:

  1. : Mall of Asia
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S’mores and Safety-Nets

November 15 – 17, 2009

Location: Sugar Beach, Bantayan Is. and an islet (Sniffles Island) 30 minutes away from the shores of Sugar Beach,

S’mores, bonfires, A souped-up banka, rock lobsters, big-ass crabs for lunch and the island to ourselves. Cloud-gazing, lazing by the shore under a multitude of stars that seem to be within your reach against a velvety-black sky, countless shooting stars, theories, conversations, random thoughts, unguarded bursts of laughter, the comfortable silence of reverie and everything else that comes with the safety-net called Friendship. 🙂

Well, I cannot say just how blessed I am to have Sharee and Bart. Thank you for making sure my birthday was the best. I love you both! Mwah!

I still can’t get over how glorious that escape was to Bantayan and “Sniffles Island” [location undisclosed]. 26 raised to the power of “n”. Equals INFINITY. And that’s how grateful I am. This Siopao is way over the moon 🙂