Exploring Sibuyan: The Clear Waters of Cantingas River

Hailed as one of the The Cleanest River in the Philippines, Cantingas River is such a sight to behold

Continue reading Exploring Sibuyan: The Clear Waters of Cantingas River

Braving a Super Typhoon for Cebu

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September 19.
Woke up at 2AM from the mad sound of thunder. I have never seen nor heard the heaven wail angrily until that morning. A storm is coming. No not really.. A typhoon is on its way to hit us. Typhoon Mario (also Tropical Storm Fung-wong) is about to make a landfall anytime soon. I woke up, not surprised, that the electricity were cut off too. This is bad. My flight to Cebu is scheduled in 4 hours. There was no notification that it was cancelled nor rescheduled. Scared and disoriented, I hurriedly pack my things under the candle light. All the while cursing myself. I should have prepared my things last night.
But I was determined to go.

I left the house as the rain started pounding. I was able to get a cab right away. I felt hopeful for a bit. But then I saw that some of the main roads are slowly turning into bodies of water. Unpassable. I literally felt like Im about to throw up. I texted my boyfriend and hoped he gets to the airport safe. I am feeling really bad. But I pressed on. Ironically, my taxi driver is cheerful. He was adamant that I get to the airport on time. We shared stories and life lessons such as not giving up on tough times. Ironic, really.  The rain is pouring hard. Mad mad rain. It was unreal! Classes are now suspended and reports of flooding are everywhere.

I got to the airport less than one hour before departure. I waited (impatiently) for my companion. I knew he wouldnt make it on time. Kirby, who got stuck in the middle of this crazy rain, traffic and flooding, arrived 5 mins after the departure time. We headed to the departure area and hope its not too late. I guess this is still a hopeful day for us as we managed to still board the plane.

While tuck inside the plane, the rain worsen. No one really bothered to complain why we are still not flying. We are contented to just wait until everything gets better. After 4 hours, the sky cleared up and we were able to fly to Cebu. The whole ordeal was like a movie scene to me. Thats what makes this trip special, I guess.

At 12Noon, we arrived at the sunny Mactan Airport in Cebu.

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We headed for lunch as we arrived. We went to Ayala Cebu to try CNT Lechon. Suddenly, our misfortunes felt so far away. I was determined to have fun.
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We wanted to just have a walking tour around Cebu, spend a night and head to Bohol the next day. After lunch, we went to Casa Amigo where we book a room that only cost 750/night. We left our bags, took a nap and headed to downtown Cebu.

If its your first time in mainland Cebu, I would like to let you know that you can do the “walking tour” all by yourself. Dont bother getting any guide- you only need Google Maps.

We asked for directions from the kind receptionist in Casa Amigo on how we commute to and from any point in the city. She jot down numbers and letters in a small paper and told us to wait for a jeepney with these codes printed. If theres anything absolutely confusing about Cebu- its their transpo system. Anyhow, we managed to survive using Google maps and directions from sweet Cebuanos.

Here are the tourist spots you can visit during the walking tour.

1. CEBU CATHEDRAL – you will not miss this place because after alighting a jeepney going to downtown Cebu, this is where people will usually point you to.
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2. BASILICA MINORE DEL STO NINO – One thing you should know about Cebu is their devotion to Sto Nino. Unfortunately, the old Basilica was closed down for renovation. As we know, about a year ago, Cebu and Bohol were devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed most of their National treasure (i.e old churches). The Basilica was badly damaged. However, infront of the Basilica was a modern structure where a mass is taking place. The area was full of devotees.

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3. FORT SAN PEDRO – walk straight to an open park and you will see Fort San Pedro standing between the ocean and the entire city. Fort San Pedro was a military defense built by the Spanish around 1700. Today, its a main tourist spot and houses a collection of old things from the Spanish Era.

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4. YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE – My personal favorite and a must on every Cebu itinerary. Considered to be one of the oldest houses in the Philippines, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. The place is a small compared to most of the ancestral houses Ive been to before but it was unbelievable packed with so many antique things. Dont ever forget to add this special house in your itinerary.

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5. CEBU SIOMAI – Ha! This is not a part of the heritage tour. We were so hungry after walking that we decided to have some snacks. We saw this Siomai House and boy, its so special! Totally different from the usual siomai that we have, this one is a must try!
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6. MAGELLAN’S CROSS – This is the iconic landmark of Cebu and seeing its condition now is almost heartbreaking. Wrecked by the past catastrophes, it now stood with pieces of wood supporting the cross and debris all over the place. It appears to be under construction and I hope they get to fix the entire place soon.

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7. CEBU CITY HALL – Downtown Cebu is beaming with life even after sundown. Infront of Cebu City Hall is a group of people doing Zumba, Arnis and Sepak Takraw. Alot are just sitting around, talking. The City Hall is just infront of the Magellan’s Cross.

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8. COLON STREET – One of the oldest road in the Philippines. It looks like Manila or Quiapo to me.

8. LARSIANS – Where we headed for dinner to cap off our walking adventure in Cebu. This place is not for the faint of heart but well worth your money.

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I dont really remember the exact streets or road we took to get to each tourist spot. We consulted Google Maps and ask directions. At one point, we took a cab from Fort San Pedro to Yap Sandiego House because its getting late and we wanted to see the house before it closes.

Other things to remember:
* The local jeepney system is abit confusing and the traffic is really bad when we were there.
* To go around the city – jeepneys and taxis are the most common.
* Uptown Cebu is where malls and modern buildings are located. Downtown Cebu is where you see old houses and crowded steeets. Both are charming to me in different ways.
* Stay vigilant to avoid pick pockets.

We head back to our hotel content and happy even after alot of misadventures. This is just the start of our vacation and everything looks good so far.

Except after we realized our camera is dying and we didnt bring the charger.

P.S
Belated Happy Birthday Kirby. Here’s to surviving more storms together, love.

Punta De Fabian

So I just turned 27.

Scary? Hell yeah.

To celebrate this dreadful  awesome day, I decided to visit a place that will surely give me a peace of mind. I have been planning to come here but it was only now that I got the chance (I got the reservation at 50% off too!)

This is Punta De Fabian in Baras, Rizal. Punta De Fabian Facade

After getting lost (again), we arrived at around 1PM on a drizzly Sunday Afternoon. And as expected, we are the only people in the resort. Punta De Fabian is ideal for Team Building, family get together or some quiet time (but make sure you come here when its the “less busy season” like June- August) to really enjoy the place on your own.

There is really nothing much to do here but to swim, enjoy the breath taking view of Laguna Bay and sip coffee by the balcony. If this is not your thing – I suggest you consider another place. It is also abit expensive so I don’t suggest you come here if this is not your cup of tea. I got the reservation for 50% less so WHY NOT? I personally enjoyed my stay. I am obsessed with the view – the owners must be really lucky to get this property. I also didn’t know until recently that Rizal Province is such a gem.

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The place is complete with modern amenities, 24-hour security, their own restaurant (closes at 7PM), videoke (really), and unlimited brewed coffee in the morning. We got complimentary breakfast for our reservation.

Directions: The place is less than a 2-hour drive from Manila going to Baras, Rizal. If you are commuting – take a Tanay bound van from Starmall (infront of Megamall) then tell the driver to drop you off at Punta De Fabian, Baras. Fare is P70. 

For reservations, visit their website. complimentary berakfast

As far as I can remember – its always raining during my birthday.  A bit ironic considering my blog name. But hey, storm is inevitable but you can always bring your own sunshine.

Not raining yet so lets take some cheesy photographs of ourselves!

On the morning of my birthday, I created a list of 27 goals I would love to accomplish this year. That includes me blogging atleast once a week.  I am smirking now as I think of how Im going to suck in keeping up with this list. But I am going to give it a try! collagepdf7

Oh well, I wish I can say Im prepared for the future, but I’ m not (who is anyway?). And I wish I can atleast convince myself that I have plans – but that will be hypocritical. I have no plans and Im afraid. There. Felt better.

But what I have is hope and that is enough for now.

And I have short term goals (like 27 of them!), if that counts. 

August, welcome back! It is constantly raining now and storms will come soon enough. May we all start “learning to love whatever skies we are under”.

Not another #Laboracay Post.

It was only last week when I found out about #Laboracay (which gave me the realization that I am awfully anti-social and outdated). Apparently, there was a multitude of people that visited the island to celebrate the Philippines’ Labor Day Weekend. Pictures of rave parties and bikinis flooded almost every social media that I have. Where am I that weekend? Im pretty sure I went on overtime at work and slept the entire day. Loser. However, there is nothing quite like Boracay during its most peaceful season. Last year for my birthday, me and Kirby visited the island. It was the month of July – which is more or less the monsoon/typhoon season so we are not expecting a lot of tourists. Upon arriving, we realized that our assumption is wrong. There are still alot of tourists (but definitely way less than the crowd the island attracts during summer.) Hence, this is the closest anyone can get to a quiet Boracay. We stayed in Station 3 (because my primary agenda is to experience peace – away from the busy area of Station 1 and 2). And boy Im glad we stayed there because I was greeted by this secluded section every morning : Because we stayed in the most isolated station (literally), we had to walk by the beach everyday to get to some place where we can eat. Honestly, it was one of the activities I enjoyed during the stay. Walking and eating afterwards 🙂 During our stay, we adapted a routine in the island which honestly is something I will not mind doing for the rest of my life – enjoying life and ditching alarm clocks. Here are some of the things that I love about those peaceful days in Boracay. Everyday,  hundreds of Paraws and Sailboats parade around the island. You can rent them to tour you around or for sunrise/sunset viewing. Plenty of time to contemplate about things. From what I can remember, my musings revolved around quitting work that time. (Which didnt happen by the way). Where “diet” never happened. (SMOKE is one of the best restaurant in Boracay! Super affordable yet very delicious food. You can find the restaurant in Station 2, Inside D-Mall) Afternoons on this island are well spend under the shade of coconut tree or right by the beach with cold beverages in hand. Our home by the island. Will definitely recommend this quaint and cozy hotel to anyone. Check Tripadvisor for some feedback. It feels good to see this everyday and gets you reminded. LIVE MORE – how else can you do it? Most of our time in the island was spent walking. We went back to Manila with sore legs and feet. And yes, that crowd is way less than the usual summer tourists. Everyday, we watch the sun set. And believe me, its always more magnificent than the last. When evening comes, the whole stretch of beach comes to life with parties, fire dancers and flickering lights. There is also an abundance of sand castles with candles. These are made by locals. Since its my birthday – I got some surprises! Kirby asked some local kids to carve this on the sand. Of course he gave them a generous amount of tip. He made me and those kids extremely happy that day. Then we watched the sunset. Holding hands. Feet dangling on the Paraw’s edge. #Selfie-ing and Laughing. Best moments of my life!   There is so much more to Boracay than the usual party and crowd. The island, just like everyone of us, needs some  time to heal and be silent. It needs time away from the usual crowd, the usual routine, the usual hurried steps of strangers.
For me, there is absolute beauty in peace and calmness.  

I hope you all have a great week ahead!

 

Edited.
(Thanks Kirby for checking my spelling and realized I spelled “weak” instead of “week”. Toasted brain!)

Baguio Daydream

Let me tell you a secret.

I have been dreaming of this city lately. Somewhere in my unconsciousness blooms a longing. A longing for a walk on an almost damp street, the chilly air, under the shade of trees, wearing sweaters and boots. You are probably right, I’m dreaming of a city in Europe. But hey, Baguio is not that bad. So I’ll dream of Baguio for now.

And dream of these:

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Pine Trees

Cafe By The Ruins

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flowers

Goodtaste

Tamawan Village

Mines View(Mines View Park – where every #selfie looks good)

And my favorite anywhere in the world:

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February is a busy month for Baguio. People flock the streets of this small city as they celebrate the Panagbenga (Flower Festival). I am planning to visit the place again, as soon as February ends. I prefer having those secret paths and alleys on my own. So for now, I’ll daydream.

Enjoy the rest of the Love month! 🙂

Luljetta Hanging Gardens and Spa

I went into a pretty long hiatus right there. Im sorry. I’ve been so busy trying to make a brand new start at work and so far, everything has been amazing.
So, I think I owe you guys a blog post about a place that I hope you will consider visiting in the future.

Enter Luljetta Hanging Gardens and Spa.

Luljetta Hanging Gardens

Last September, Me and my friends (Joyce and Dred) realized we badly needed to go somewhere where we can just relax. Somewhere that does not require long travel time. So we stumble upon some amazing blog entries about this newly opened Hanging Gardens and Spa.

(We went there September, so this is one late blog entry that is worth writing nonetheless.)

Why go to Luljetta’s?
There are far too many spas along Manila, but if you are looking for a place that breathes peace and stillness in your veins, that makes you forget youre just an hour away from the city, that makes you wanna forget the rest of your worries back home – then this is the place for you. The entire spa was created as if out of grace. As if the owner had you in mind when she first thought of this place. It speaks of calmness. It also speaks of that undeniable joy whenever you commune with nature. This is definitely not your usual Spa.

The spa is carved along the mountainside, and it offers a gorgeous view of the hillside and a bit of the city skyline. Exceptionally beautiful during sunset too.

Almost every area appears to be well thought of. From the white classy tents, to quaint light installations. We met the owner, Ramon and he was beyond accommodating. Even the staff are all kind and just awesome in what they do. No doubt this place radiates happiness in every corner.

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Some of the areas that I love:

1. The Fish Spa
We are fortunate to be the only guest at that time which makes the place really quiet. The staff kinda freak out when they started hearing screams coming from the Fish Spa area. Soon they realized it was just us shrieking as fishes started to nibble the edges of our feet and toes. Honestly, I didn’t like it. I kept thinking of the movie Piranha.

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2. The Hydro Pool

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3. The Massage Hut and the never ending stairs.
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4. The Zen Room ( I don’t know what the room is called, I just made this up. Ha!)

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5. Infinity Pool.

This is the highlight of the place and if you are planning to visit Luljetta, I strongly suggest you avail of the package that includes the use of this pool. This is where we spent most of our time.  That day was insanely hot so we decided to just leisurely swim and talk and laugh. The view from the pool is so relaxing – all the more reason to just spend most of your time here.

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I love the infinity pool but I would love it even more if the banana trees are not there. Obsessive Compulsive alert.

6. The Quaint Dining Area.
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7. The Altar
Luljetta Hanging Garden is also a great venue for weddings and this area is use for the altar.
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8. Some friendly reminders you can take home with you:
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RESERVATION DETAILS AND TRAVEL DIRECTIONS:

We set up a reservation by texting their number. They do not require any downpayment for the stay. We availed of their 7-hours stay with full access to all their amenities. For the list of packages, check their website here.

How to get there: Take a Van that will take you to Antipolo Church. From there, take a tricycle to Loreland Farm Resort. Luljetta Hanging Gardens is inside the resort. Loreland is quiet famous around Antipolo so can find your way by even asking strangers. I think its even more fun if you do so 🙂

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Yet another long blog post. For those who stick up to this blog no matter how lazy the owner is and no matter how absolutely horrible my words are sometimes, I wanna thank you all. All I wanna do is to share all the beautiful things that I find, and I cant thank you all enough for graciously taking them in. You all are my guiding light.

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