Tag Archives: island hopping

Instagram Travel: Islands of Busuanga and Coron, Palawan

It’s been a while since I last had a long vacation (last ones were in Hong Kong and Macau in January and Baler in April) so when the chance to go to Coron came up, I just couldn’t let it pass. Palawan is known as one of or probably the last frontier here in the Philippines in terms of it’s natural beauty, picturesque landscape and rich marine biodiversity. And, Coron and Busuanga, due to its relatively more difficult (read: tends to be more expensive) accessibility by flights and ferries, remains to be as such.

Unfortunately, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) already ravaged a lot of its magnificent corals and fell trees. There were reportedly 6 casualties and some islands’ structures succumbed and totally collapsed. Nevertheless, Busuanga and Coron remain to be a beauty that everyone needs to see. And like what E and I probably said all the time during the trip, we are in our happy place!

So, through this quick Instagram Travel post of our vacay (Aug 22-27, 2014) let us (the self-proclaimed Cool Kids Club, aka CS Weekend Escapists, aka CouchSurfers and friends) take you to our happy place!

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IG post: The Cool Kids Club on vacation! Lezgo! #Coron #Palawan #itsmorefuninthephilippines #worklifebalance #yolo ——— L-R from Top: aisle to aisle selfie; inside the 80-seater ATR, seatmates E and G; baldy brothers Niklas and Gustaf; Elizabeth looking out the window amazed with Busuanga’s rich green landscape; E, V and Isa upon arrival; the baldies and the crazy K on vacay; and Kapil of the Cool Kids Club.

Continue reading Instagram Travel: Islands of Busuanga and Coron, Palawan

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Instagram Travel: island hopping in Visayas

I haven’t posted a new travel entry for two months now and as I am running out of excuses for it, I’ve decided to have a quick Instagram post of my 4-day trip to Visayas with Leah, my good friend whom I’ve met through CouchSurfing in India.

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At the back of the speeding taxi from Kharghar to the Mumbai International Airport

As she’s only here for 8 days and I have just started on a new job, we made sure that she’d be able to see the Philippines under the urban/metro and rural/nature sense.

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View of the west side of Bonifacio Global City from one of the office windows

Our first stop after she roamed the streets of Taguig, Makati and Manila is the naturally-gifted province of Bohol. While planning her trip, I asked Leah which of the 7107 islands of he Philippines would she be more interested in. I provided her with the top tourist destinations’ main selling points and at the mention of Tarsier, the world’s smallest primate (or so we thought), our itinerary finally had its anchor.

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Up-Down from Left: Nap time while waiting for our 4AM flight via ZestAir, Terminal 4; ferry trip from Cebu to Bohol via 2Go; Bus toploaders galore; Bus topload view of Bohol (Sikatuna area); Loboc River Cruisers; Bell/Time Tower at Loboc Plaza; Loboc Church

Continue reading Instagram Travel: island hopping in Visayas

Backpacking Philippines: Zambales’ Nagsasa Cove for the Curious (First Time Camper Edition!)

Earlier this year, I made a checklist of the places I wanted to visit and Anawangin Cove in Zambales was included in it—until it got bumped by Nagsasa Cove.

Nagsasa - Sand Sea Sky and Mountains

Nagsasa Cove is about 30 minutes farther by boat than Anawangin Cove if you are taking the Pundaquit or San Miguel jump off points in the town of San Antonio, Zambales. We availed the tour package offered by Ate Alice and our jump-off point was Brgy. San Miguel. It’s just 10 minutes from the San Antonio Municipal Hall where most passengers and tourists get dropped by the buses from Manila and picked up by their boatmen or tour operators.

Nagsasa - Jump Off point
Campers with Ate Alice (contact 09294323081 or 09159664953, tolitsway@yahoo.com.ph)

From the jump-off point, it took us about an hour to get to Nagsasa Cove. The boat passed through surprisingly very calm waters, so calm that at some points it’s like a glass mirror reflecting the outriggers of the banca without any disturbance! Plus, since it was just a little past 6am when we started our boat journey, we had awesome views of the sunrise, the mountain, and the horizon! On the way to Nagsasa Cove, I was so happy feeling the subtle warmth of the sun’s rays breaking through the mountain peaks and touching my face. I greeted everyone a very good morning indeed!

Nagsasa - Boat Ride at Sunrise

And then, once we arrived at Nagsasa, we can’t help but admire the beauty that was around us. My travel companions, being foreigners who have lived here for a while now and have already traveled to other places, exclaimed that Nagsasa was indeed so beautiful and they can’t believe that they’re still in the Philippines and not somewhere else!

Nagsasa - Docked Boats and Pinewood Forest

Groggy girls that we were, we found our spot at Mang Ador’s campsite and Kuya Ruben, our boatman, set up our tents. We then brought out our supplies and prepared breakfast. You can start your own fire but we opted to go to Mang Ador’s cottage-slash-sari-sari store coz they have better firewood cooking set-up. And after breakfast of fried eggs and bread, with cheeze spread and peanut butter, plus a good serving of Gatorade, we went for a swim and welcomed the clear and soothing waters!

Nagsasa - Jellyfish

Apart from being the best sand my friends have ever been on, they also appreciated the clearness of the waters at Nagsasa Cove. It’s so clear that you don’t really need goggles or snorkel masks to see through the water. There are also some jellyfish species floating around as well as small fish. The campers here also seem friendly and are conscious of keeping the place clean.

Nagsasa - Campsite

After a good swimming and soaking, we decided to take a nap. It was kind of humid at first but the wind picks up every now and then at Nagsasa Cove. I still don’t know why that is so but it’s amazing how you would “hear” the humming of the wind first before you “feel” it!

Nagsasa - Inside the Tent

It felt like we napped for a long time and then we realized that it was just noon!!! For some reason, we found time to be very slow once we’re at Nagsasa. It’s either the cove is doing it’s job of not making us think of time and how it passes OR our brain’s still exhausted and has not recovered from the lack of proper sleep! In any case, we didn’t really complain coz that meant we have more time to enjoy the coves!

Nagsasa - Crossing the River

Once we’re done with lunch and another swim to play with the jellyfish and find other fishies, we decided to move to the other side of the cove—the one I want to call “mainstream campsites”. If facing the beach, from Mang Ador’s campsite, you would need to walk towards the left and reach some kind of a sandbar due to the drying river that flows through to the ocean.

Nagsasa - Mainstream Campsites

The scenery is quite nice but upon reaching the shoreline of the mainstream campsite, I can’t help but feel disappointed and sad. There were a lot of plastic garbage! Me and Elaine did some cleaning-up but it was just too many!!! Sad smile The sand is also coarse and more painful on the feet than the campsite at Mang Ador’s.

Nagsasa - Sunset at Dusk

So, after taking pictures from the top of rocky cliff-like formation and taking a quick dip, Elaine and I decided to return to our campsite, just in time for the sunset. Nagsasa sunset wasn’t the “setting-in-front-of-you” type of sunset coz it was covered by the mountain but it was spectacular nonetheless. A good mix of red, orange and purple. Ganda!!!

Nagsasa - Mallows on fire

And of course, after sunset comes another round of eating! And then, bonfire! I was really excited for the bonfire coz it will be the first time I was to have smores—a very good bite of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers goodness! I can’t remember how many I had but I still remember how the mallows and Hershey’s melted and the way it felt in my mouth!!! Smile We four girls had some wine (or a lot of it) and just enjoyed feeding the fire with logs…and mallows!

Nagsasa - Breakfast

I woke up really early in the morning (like before 6) and had a good swim (for hangover?) and watched the sun rise again—this time trying to break through the pinewood trees! And once all the girls were awake, we prepared breakfast and decided to stay at Nagsasa a while longer and skip Camara island on the way back.

Nagsasa - Rocks Rock

We spent some time just chilling, swimming, chatting and exploring a bit more of the rocky side of the edge of Mang Ador’s campsite. I think some people from the mainstream campsites also walk over this side to take photos.

Nagsasa - Water Splash

And to cap it off, Elaine “insisted” that I go for the water splash shot! To which I “not so willingly” (as in pakipot kuno) obliged. Hahaha Smile I think it’s a good memory of Nagsasa, di ba?!

FotoFolio: Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, Thailand (The Beach!)

Clear blue waters, impressive stone formations and cliffs, unique long tail boats, fine white sand, amazingly clear skies—yes, it’s the Ko Phi Phi paradise in Phuket, Thailand!

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I decided to include Phuket as part of my 4-week backpacking South East Trip way back in October 2011. I heard somewhere that this is where they shot the film “The Beach” with Leonardo di Caprio, even if the true-to-life inspiration to that came from El Nido in the Philippines! Continue reading FotoFolio: Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, Thailand (The Beach!)