Category Archives: Travel Groups and Forums

Copenhagen to Berlin: notes from the road and the sea

Finally, after five days of getting pampered and sheltered in Copenhagen with breakfasts, dinners, afternoon walks, cups of tea, [failed] snowball fight, a Royal Opera performance, and the warmth of Merete’s candlelit sitting room, we are now on the road (and currently almost by the sea) to Berlin, Germany and after a few days, to Prague, Czech Republic.

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At about 630am this morning, Niklas and I boarded the quite comfortable (nice reclining seats, wide legroom, heater) Eurolines Bus leaving Copenhagen and arriving at Berlin by 230pm. Yep, this bus travel is about 730 hours, more or less the same time (not sure about distance) on the bus from Manila to Ilocos Sur, maybe even until Vigan. The difference: we are crossing countries and not provinces or regions. Also, we are boarding a ferry for an almost 2-hour crossing of the Baltic Sea from Denmark to Germany. Continue reading Copenhagen to Berlin: notes from the road and the sea

#100Days Photo 36: Fortune Island, Batangas, Philippines

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Roughly 4-5 hours from Manila lies Fortune Island, a semi-isolated-used-to-be-super-private island off Nasugbu, Batangas. They say this is as close to Greek’s ancient ruins as could be possible, with the clear blue waters as your backdrop! Who would have thought that the typhoon destruction to an uber exclusive island paradise would result to a steadily becoming popular destination for beach bums and island campers? Known for its picturesque rows of Athens-like pillars and half-destroyed half-gorgeous statues, Fortune Island gives each traveler a nice reward for climbing atop the stairway-lined hill that leads to it’s “viewpoint ruins” and, as my friends saw and experienced, cliffs and caves. To reach Fortune Island, take the San Agustin Bus line at Coastal Mall in Pasay, going to Nasugbu (3-4 hours, PhP 200-220 AC (about $5), PhP 130-150 (about $3.5) non-AC). From there, take a 15-minute tricycle ride to Fortune Resort Dive Center (pre-booking necessary with caretakers Mang Dante 09394895292 or Chris 09087225628 is necessary) which is the jump-off point to Fortune Island. The 45-minute 10 pax-max boat ride costs around PhP 6000/$135, plus PhP 400/$9 island entry fee (overnight price, negotiable; day trip is cheaper). With upper limit calculations, that’s about PhP 1250/$28. Add in food, booze and other expenses, a beach camping (yep, no rooms) weekend at Fortune Island would be about PhP 1700/$38 which, I must say, is quite cheap to “experience” Greece and of course, enjoy the Philippines’ endless summer with the company of family and friends under the sun and stars. [Special thanks to Hazelle for organizing this CouchSurfing trip back in May and providing all these info I’ve already forgotten.]

CS Weekend Escape: Surfing at Zambales

In my desperate attempt for a weekend escape from all the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, I turned to newly-found and not-yet-met CouchSurfing friends and folks to go surfing at Zambales!

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Unleashing the surfer babe in me!

But of course, backtrack a little bit: most of us got bottomless on tequilas and hit the dance floor first (Payback Friday mode at Agave and 7th High) before hitting the beach! Special thanks to Jen for organizing, Craig for keeping our bags at his pad, and Abby for the magic password for Guest List at 7th high!

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Bottomless margaritas and mojitos at Agave Cantina, Bonifacio High Street

Continue reading CS Weekend Escape: Surfing at Zambales

Backpacking South East Asia: Onward from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei

Day 3: Kota Kinabalu-Labuan-Brunei via Ferry (the route most traveled)

Room 99 awaits!
Room 99 awaits!

After a great day and evening spent with Zuldee and Sally, I spent some more time chatting with the other guests at Sensi Backpackers. The Shanghai family is scheduled to leave the day after, just like me. We spent some more hours just chatting and me trying to convince them to come here in the Philippines. After that, my eyes and body finally gave in to the strong pull of the comfortable bed.

I woke up at about 6am and readied my stuff. I grabbed some breakfast too, and got myself some baon fruits (an apple and an orange), free! :p Before I left, I bade Sally goodbye (she told me to wake her) and promised that I’d see if I can come back to Kota Kinabalu before she returns to London (December 18). Unfortunately, I did not hold future at my hands and as much as I wanted to return and visit the Kota Kinabalu National Park, I no longer can. (If you are reading this Sally, I’m sorry! Come visit me instead! Hehe)

Anyway, if my camera time tag is correct, I am still having my bread toasted at 6:45am. The ferry that would take me from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei, passing through Labuan Federal Territory of Malaysia, is set to leave at 8am. Meaning, I should have been on my way at that time already instead of having two toasted bread with butter (more of margarine actually), strawberry jam and orange marmalade. So, I had to rely on my long legs and even longer strides to get me there before the departure time. I even made some stops actually, taking snaps here and there (I think I ended up erasing those here and there snaps when I ran out of memory somewhere in Vietnam).

One of the snaps here and there that survived the cut!
One of the snaps here and there that survived the cut!

I think it took me about 20 minutes walking from Sensi to Jesselton. It probably helped that I have been to Jesselton the day before for my Sapi Island Hopping Half-day Tour. I bought my ticket (sorry, I’ll try to juggle my memory to remember from which counter it was purchased) and paid the terminal fee. I asked for the cheapest ticket available (economy ticket), priced at RM53 + RM 3.6 for the terminal fee at Jesselton.

Off to Labuan!
Off to Labuan!

I figured, we’d all get there anyway. Besides, it’s an air-conditioned cabin whether you choose first-class or economy. Perhaps they got a better view though. Or they would be served a meal or something. I really didn’t know and I didn’t care so much. What mattered to me at that time was that I can save some bucks. :p Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Onward from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei

Glampacking to Poorpacking and other lessons from Pinay travelers cum bloggers

Do you know what poorpacking is?! Well, just like you, I still can not grasp the whole context of it but one thing’s for sure–I LOVE IT!

The first time I heard or read about “poorpacking” is while browsing through the Sole Sisters’ blog, a collection of stories and experiences of friends Chi Chi Bacolos and Lois Yasay as they travel in India and South East Asia for six months with P100,000 (give or take). I stumbled upon their blog by, wait. I can’t remember how I did. But yeah, I did.

Pinay travelers for the WIN!
Pinay travelers for the WIN!

Anyway, they are now back in the Philippines and they’re holding a photo exhibit and travel talk with other Filipino travelers and bloggers dubbed “From Glampackers to Poorpackers”. You see, before this epic trip, these two gals are hitting the road with their stilettos on, trolling around their matching luggages. But, as they embarked on this 6-month journey, they learned the true art of being “matipid” at “kuripot” (thrifty and, uhm, miser?!) for the sake of being able to explore South East Asia and all it has to offer. So, yeah, from being Glampackers, they became Poorpackers. And lived to tell the tale! Continue reading Glampacking to Poorpacking and other lessons from Pinay travelers cum bloggers