Posted in Batanes, Journeys, Travel

5 Things to Do in Batanes!

For most Filipino travelers, Batanes is definitely part of the bucket list. So, I am listing 5 things to Do in Batanes for you. The place is definitely breathtaking, but it seems like an impossible dream for many since most people think that it is costly to go there. Truth be told, the only barrier between you and your Batanes escapade is the cost of transportation which is around 8,000 – 15,000 pesos, but the cost of stay there is as cheap as 7,500 including tours for 3D/2N!

What’s in store for you in Batanes, you may ask? Well, I’ve been there for two times already in 2017 mainly for medical and surgical missions, so for me it was a travel with a definite purpose. We had limited time to see the different areas, and we were just invited by our partners for a quick tour, hat’s why we obliged. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even if it is just a half day fast-paced tour, Batanes was still breathtaking for me. So here’s the 5 things you can do in Batanes!!

  1. Appreciate the AIRPORT

I have been to quite a number of airports in the Philippines, and a few international ones, but for me Basco Airport stands out! It’s interior reflects the culture of the island. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then, there’s a small lagoon in the center.Most flights are in the morning, so you have the chance to capture the morning sun!
The people in the airport are warm and accommodating. Since we went there for a med mission, we were not charged for the fees (environmental/tourists fees), but if you’re there just for tour, you might need to prep the payment upon arrival.

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2. Enjoy the FOOD!

Surprisingly, food is very affordable in Batanes! We ate mostly in Pension Ivatan which is a hotel near the airport. The coordinator there, Mr. Jayson, is very kind to us. He accommodated our whole team last November.ย  Here’s a glimpse of what Batanes has to offer in terms of culinary indulgence.ย If you are lucky enough, you will be able to try their famous coconut crab! yum!

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Platter meal from Pension Ivatan

Basco also has numerous areas where you can dine including a place with Halo-Halo (though I was not able to go). There are also local vendors who sells snacks in areas like Sabtang. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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The Doggo is not the vendor! Haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

3. Visit the LIGHT HOUSES!

Another activity to include in your things to do in Batanes is visit the light houses! There are many light houses to choose from, but I’ve only been in one – the one in Basco. It’s majestic and itย  can give you a scenic view when you reach the top. My dream lighthouse is in Sabtang, but I was only able to catch a glimpse of it on our way to the medical mission venue. Sad, but work comes first before leisure! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some shots of the lighthouse in Basco. So instagrammable!

Here’s the abot-tanaw light house of Sabtang!
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4. Tour around Basco

Basco in itself has so much to offer, and just by walking along its streets, you will be able to appreciate its beauty through the traditional houses and the people. The people of Batanes are one of the warmest people I have known, and they are very friendly too! Here are some of the things you can do in Basco.

The Rolling Hills

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The Boulder Beach

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Have Fun with the Animals

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Shopping for Souvenirs
For Souvenirs, you can visit Tawsen’s Souvenir Shop or the souvenir shop area near the plaza. I find Tawsen’s products cheaper though!

 

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Viewing Deck

We went down the viewing deck, but we later found out that 2 people died there while taking a selfie, so better be not as adventurous like us!

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5. Visit Sabtang
One of the nearest island from Basco is Sabtang. Definitely, visiting this island is in my 5 things to do in Batanes list!!! To be able to go there, you need to go to Ivana Port which is at the bottom-most portion of Batan island. Here, you will be able to see the honesty store where there are no vendors, you just have to pay honestly on your own. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Then, you have to ride a boat going to Sabtang. The waves can be a bit scary so you might want to take Bonamine. ๐Ÿ™‚ The view is absolutely amazing specially in the morning!

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En Route Basco from Sabtang, Early in the morning

When in Sabtang, you can go to Chavayan where the old houses are located! It is where you can wear or even buy their native Vakul. I find this barangay really beautiful!

 

There is also a drop off point which you will pass before arriving at Chavayan. The view there is breathtaking!

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Going to Batanes might not be as easy, but you can always save up for it or wait for seat sales! Skyjet, PAL and Ceb Pac flies there daily. If you are planning to go, it is better to plan a summer trip because flights in the latter part of the year might be cancelled due to the weather. ๐Ÿ™‚ You might need to bring extra clothes and cash as well if ever your trip back to Manila gets cancelled (due to rain/wind). However, if you are willing to take the risk, going there during the off-peak seasons are cheaper in terms of the airfare and hotels (Pension Ivatan is at 50% off).

For hotels, you can opt for a hotel or hometel, there are various establishments there. We stayed at Tawsen’s Place which is a relatively new hotel with good interior. Also, I recently found out that Tawsen just renovated a traditional home and their opening it so people can rent! It’s gorgeous. To know more about this. You can visit them at Facebook. Ms. Daphne, their manager, is very accommodating, approachable and helpful!

So, there you go. That’s my 5 things to do in Batanes! Definitely worth visiting again, for leisure this time – God willing!

Hence, as they say in Batanes…
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until my next post!

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Posted in Journeys, Travel, Uncategorized

5 things to do in Taipei: For First Time Travelers

Legend says that you can hear the rooster’s crow in Taiwan even when you are in the Philippines. Well, they say that it’s possible when in you’re in the upper most islands of the country – Batanes. Taiwan is not so different if you happen to be a Meteor Garden fan like me, and since they have made travel, visa free, until July 2018, you still have time to explore the beauty Taiwan has to offer.

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Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

My travel was limited to Taipei since Iย  went there for another purpose.
Given this, I willย  share with you 5 Things To Do in Taipeiย when you’re in a tight schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. FOOD TRIP
Taipei has a number of night markets you can go to, and these are the best sites for food trips! ๐Ÿ™‚ For me, the best seller is the pork buns in Raohe Night Market. Raohe is a relatively smaller night market compared to others like Shilin, but the finds there are absolutely amazing. The Pork Buns are located at the entrance of the night market near the temple. You can easily find it since there is usually a line for those buying.

The Raohe pork buns are a bit spicy, so you should bring water just in case. They make the buns on the spot, so you can actually see how they prepare it. What’s unique about it is that they bake it using a special/traditional oven. ๐Ÿ™‚

There are other things you can try out, here are some of the photos:

When In Raohe

Another highlight from Raohe, aside from the pork buns is the one-of-a-kind ice cream where smoke can be blown from your nose. ๐Ÿ™‚ The vendor is so friendly, he even made it a point to speak a little Filipino. He will even take your photo/video. He really makes sure that you will enjoy the experience. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep in mind that you need to follow his orientation first before eating your smoking ice cream! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a few shots of my ice cream experience! ๐Ÿ™‚


When in Shilin
Probably the most famous night market in Taipei is Shilin Night Market. For an introvert like me, there’s just so much people!!! I felt really exhausted after the stay. We agot lost there, but it’s just a small area, so we easily found our way back. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is near 2 train stations so it’s very accessible.

Other Food Trip Opportunities

If you are fond of coffee, tea and milk tea, Taipei is one of the best places to go.ย Actually, my first meal there was in a cafe which offers coffee and meals. There are also various restaurants both Japanese and Korean inspired, and of course authentic Taiwanese. For first time budget travelers, Mcdonald’s can also be a good place to eat. :p

 

2. HISTORICAL TOURS

Taiwan boasts of a rich history and there are many historicalย  areas in the island. One of these is the Chang Kai Shek memorial hall where one of the nation’s leaders was immortalized through a structure/statue.

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Gate / Court of the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall at Night
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The Garden and Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
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Flag Retreat at the Memorial Hall
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Grandiose Ceiling at the Statue of Chang Kai Shek
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Chang Kai Shek’s Monument

Aside from this, there are numerous historical areas in Taipei including their national museum and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, among others. Appreciating a country’s history should definitely be part of one’s top five things to do, since it will give you a glimpse of how the country has become what it is now, even if you are just staying for a few days.

3. CULTURAL TOURS

Aside from its rich historical preservation, Taipei also has a rich culture and there are many ways to be familiar with this. For me, a trip to Maokong (the TEA capital of Taipei), is a must! Maokong is very near the Taipei Zoo so you might want to drop by also, you just need to go there early so you can enjoy both places.

To reach Maokong, just ride the train going to Taipei Zoo Station. You can ride a taxi or -the more fun – cable car from there. ๐Ÿ™‚

The cable car is locatedย  in the top most floor, so you might need to be ready for that climb. Upon reaching the area, you just need to line up. There are 2 lines – one is for the regular cable cars and the other for the glass bottom cable car. If you have the heart for it, ride the glass bottom so you can see a more full view going to Maokong.

Upon reaching Maokong, you can visit different tea shops and food establishments. There is also a nice view there because it is located on top of a mountain. We did not have much time, but you can also try to find shops that have a better view which you might hike. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

4. SHOPPING

There are many things to buy and many places to shop in Taipei. Both Raohe and Shilin have many shopping areas aside from food.

Raohe and Shilin Shopping Stalls

 

Lao Mian Cheng Lantern Shop

Lao Mian Cheng Lantern Shop located atย No. 298, Section 1, Dihua St, Datong District offers a wide range of Lanterns that you can bring home as a souvenir. There are elegant hand-painted lanterns which costs around 1,000 – 2,000 pesos each, but there are also cheap items such as fans and scarves. The shop is located in an alley, so it might be difficult to find. I suggest that you go there in the morning / afternoon since the location is a bit scary at night.

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Eslite 24-hour bookstore

 

As a bookworm, I was looking forward to a trip to a 24-hour bookstore. However, since I had limited budget for this trip, I was not able to fully enjoy the stay here since the items sold are quite pricey. Aside from that, my feet were aching from all the walking in Shilin Night Market, and the bookstore was quite far from the train station. However, if you have the budget, this store offers not only books but stationeries and different cute items like the pop-up Harry Potter book above. They also have a place for you to eat sort of like a food court (not 24 hours though). There’s also Starbucks there, but it’s not 24 hours as well.

LOCAL MARKETS

Local markets offer different items at affordable prices. Going around a local market near Taipei 101 and near our hotel (Charming City Hotel) we were able to find a school / office / stationery supplies store! It has everything in it! PENS! ALL COLORS! Post its! Cute Notebooks! Hooray!

 

5. SIGHT-SEEING

There are many great areas to visit in Taipei. One of them is Taipei 101. Taipei streets at night are also a sight to behold because of all the lights. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are some of my shots.

 

Aside from these things, there are many more areas to explore not only in Taipei, but also in nearby places. For me, Taipei is one of the best cities I have been to because people are warmer and friendlier to tourists than in other Asian countries, the place is relatively safe, and there are many areas to explore!
MANILA – TAIPEI – MANILA can be as cheap as 5,000 – 7,000 round trip when there are promos. You can try to scout around or follow local travel agencies like from friends at Metro Wanderer Services (www.facebook.com/travelpisofare).

So, there’s my #ThankfulTaipeiTrip last November 2017. Hope you can visit and enjoy the place as I did! God bless! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in beginnings, Body, Cebu, Journeys

CEBU for first time travelers (Part 2 DAY)

It has been a long time since I’ve posted my Cebu Adventures. You might have been left hanging.. but here goes PART 2 after months of busyness, I finally found time to write.

If you missed part 1, here’s a link:

https://leviloveslife.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/touring-cebu-day-1/. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

So begins DAY 2!

November 16, 2012

We barely had time to sleep since we arrived almost midnight the night before. Thanks to our delayed flight. Hehe. Sleeping in Cebu for the first time was refreshing. We woke up about 6 AM the following day, watched a little TV from the cable-ready television in our room and took turns taking a bath. The amenities for the hotel was quite good. They even had a sort of laundry/kitchen area.

After preparing for our transfer to our event venue, we decided to eat at the restaurant located at the lobby of the hotel. The restaurant’s name is ZUBUCHON which offers the nation-wide famous Cebu Lechon.

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The hotel is near a busy street, and unlike the night before, the street was filled with the colorful multi-cabs of the island. Zubuchon offers a variety of dishes which is a bit pricy for a frugal traveler. Their food ranges from 90-120 pesos per serving. This is a snap shot of their menu.

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Dek and I ordered Zubuchon, while Rex ordered slow-cooked Adobo. All in all the food was yummy. ๐Ÿ™‚ The staff of this branch was also very accommodating, warm and responded quickly to our request.

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However, one thing to note is you have to wait for your food a bit. So, if you are in a hurry, this might not be the best option to have your meal. see the picture below? Yes, I was so hungry waiting for my food! haha.

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The food was worth the wait though… ๐Ÿ™‚
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YUM! YUM! YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UH-OH.. Besides the length of time, we also noticed an insect in one of the condiments in our table.


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See that guy swimming in a sea of salt at the right side of the bottle?

But we didn’t mind. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 

 

After these adventures as a group, we headed to our event – the 6th anniversary of the Jesus is Lord Church – Young Adult Ministry. I think I will be posting in another section activities pertaining to the event. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 

 

 

TIP# 1: Try something new.

TIP #2: When we traveled from the hotel to our event destination… we realized that we should not act as if ย we are new in the place (though we are), the taxi driver was not very helpful and friendly. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ If we acted as if we were naive, he would have taken an additional 100 bucks from us.

ย 

Posted in Cebu, Journeys

CEBU for first time travelers!

I don’t need to go to London to visit a Queen because I visited the Queen City of the South Last Nov. 15-20! Here’s my adventures in the beautiful province of CEBU!

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So here goes an account on how to go about CEBU for us – first time travelers. This blog aims to give you tips on how to tour CEBU, how to commute in Cebu (hopefully), where to stay in Cebu, what to see in Cebu, where to eat in Cebu, etc.. Let’s take it day by day… ๐Ÿ™‚ Here goes!

NOVEMBER 15

Our flight was scheduled at 9 PM. Originally, we had a flight with AIRPHIL. But eventually, because of a new policy, we moved to Philippine Airlines.. which was great because they had SNACKS! ๐Ÿ™‚ We arrived 2 hours before our scheduled flight. Better late than sorry! But the policy is I guess 45 minutes before the flight. Anyway, just make sure you’re earlier than the 45 minute mark.

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That’s Derek and Chi, checking-in our baggage at NAIA Terminal 2.

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We arrived at the Mactan Airport on Nov. 15 about 11 pm. We had prepared for the trip in advance so we had reservations in a HOTEL. So that’s TIP #1.

TIP #1: Research in Advance. Book hotels in advance. Have a mental picture of the place. Research how to go from point A to point B.ย 

We checked in at Islands Stay Hotels in Mactan.

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We hailed a metered taxi in the Airport. But he was charging us 150 ahead of time. I said that we stick to the meter’s readings, but he still insisted.. Since I was very tired, I said 120. Derek said 100. But I gave him 120 na rin… It’s a pity I didn’t get his plate number… I was extremely tired and was not feeling well.

HOTEL — The people in the hotel were nice. I didn’t feel a 5-star-treatment of course.. pero it was nice and warm naman… Here are some snapshots of Islands Stay hotels – MACTAN.

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There were 2 beds. 2 people can fit in each.

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They had a sink and a sort of kitchen but with no cooking tools.

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They had a TV with Cable.

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They had warm and cold water in the CR! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was clean.

The design of the room was also chic!

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Islands Stay hotel charged 1650 for this LARGE room, but we had to add another 300 for an extra person.. so that’s 1950 for the three of us or 650 for each person.

Check out their website for rooms and rates. Visitย http://www.islandsstay.com/.

The hotel is very near the airport and the bridge connecting Mactan to Cebu City, so its definitely a good place to stay.

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TIP #2: Research for a place to eat at night or eat at the airport.

We were hungry when we arrived, but it was already about 12 am when we went out to eat. I felt a bit scary, good thing 2 guys were with me. We ended up eating at a carinderia near the hotel.. but to get there we had to climb a foot bridge (which was scary at night). We ordered Barbecue at the eatery. I didn’t like the taste that much, but Dek and Chi liked it… It took away our hunger and was reasonably priced.. 12 pesos per stick. there were many people drinking so I felt uncomfortable. But the staff were nice even if I couldn’t speak Cebuano so I felt safe naman.

If we had researched a place where we can eat.. maybe we wouldn’t end up in that eatery. It was okay for us, but if you are not up to it, better eat at the airport though it’s a bit pricey.

So that’s DAY 1 for you. I’ll post DAY 2 when I have time again! Ciao!! ๐Ÿ™‚