Spending Summer 2015 in Boracay

Boracay, Aklan
Boracay, Aklan

 

I was lucky enough to have been able to go to the beach twice last summer. Having different sets of friends who all love to travel, and being one who can’t say no to quick and cheap trips, I almost always end up saying yes whenever I get invited. This time, it was in Palawan and Boracay. (I’ll blog about my awesome Palawan trip next time)

Last year, I, together with my friends Kat and Reena, went to Boracay (I didn’t blog about it, but I posted our parasailing video). And after a year, Reena and I went back. It wasn’t a vacation really, because we didn’t take leaves from work. It was a 7-day trip of working from the island (can’t complain). We didn’t do any activities, except the Pub Crawl (which I’m gonna blog about separately).

Here are some of the pictures I took during the trip. There aren’t many as I didn’t bring a camera. All pictures were taken using my iPhone.

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Boracay Airport

 

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Food! I loved the gizzard and this Crispy Bulalo at Smoke.

 

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1. A stray cat. 2. Wanted to buy calamansi muffins, but they ran out!

 

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Boracay Sunset

 

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Restaurant interior

 

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Trying out the panorama trick shot on Reena

 

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Selfie and a sunset picture

 

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And another sunset picture

 

xoxo,

raia-logo

PS
This post is mainly just a photo dump to document my trip. Will update with more meaningful posts soon.

A Short Visit to La Union

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I have been to La Union twice, and on both instances, I never tried surfing. The first time, I was unprepared, and the second time, I was scared. But that is not to say I didn’t enjoy both trips, because I did. Oh boy, I certainly did.

I mentioned before on this post about Manila Ocean Park that I have water anxiety. And anybody who knows me real well or travels with me to beaches would know how much I get really scared when I go swimming in the beach. Somehow, in La Union, that is never the case for me.

Last summer, my friends and I decided to go on a road trip. Mara drove us all the way from Manila to La Union in her Ford Ranger. They were a great bunch, but I was, as always, a sleepy traveler and slept for most part of the drive. Teehee.

It took us about 6 hours to get to Hacienda Peter, where we stayed. We were blessed with cloudy weather, which made swimming so much more fun. I played in the water until my legs and knees hurt from trying to fight the waves.  Unfortunately though, it was a rather short trip. I was tired from all the swimming that I slept early that night. We went back to Manila the next day.

This place warrants another visit. Maybe before the year ends. Yes? Yes.

A Photo Walk in Zamboanga City

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I went to Paseo del Mar the other day to take some pictures. I’ve been holed up in my room ever since I got back and I needed to just get a whiff of fresh Zamboanga City air for once. I took my Fujifilm XF-1 with me and took a few pictures. It was a rather short walk because it was nearing night-time. I just went to Fort Pilar and took a couple of shots along the way. I went back to Paseo del Mar after a few minutes to have dinner with my parents.

I’m thinking of doing more photo walks in the future. I get to travel often but I barely take pictures. Yeah, I’m just lazy like that.

Road Trip to Zamboanga del Norte

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We’ve wanted to go to Zamboanga del Norte for the longest time but we always, always chicken out because of fear. We weren’t familiar with the roads, we had never been there, except for my dad who went there when he was younger, almost 40 years ago. We absolutely had no idea what it was going to be like, save from a few horror stories we read and heard from the news.

When my sister vacationed here a month ago and we were looking for a place to go swim and have fun, we all decided to finally just do it. So, on Eidl Fitr, we packed our bags and headed to Dipolog – no hotel reservations, no idea where to go and what to expect. All we had were ourselves, a bucket of Jollibee Chickenjoy, chichirya, the car, and the long road trip ahead of us.

While we still had our fears, no one really talked about it. We happily listened to one of the CDs I had burnt from months ago with all my favorite Frozen tracks and a bunch of other songs I liked. The CD was on loop the entire time. The whole trip took about 7 hours including a short stopover for a restroom break and to stretch our legs. We were surprised to see how the roads were a whole lot better than we initially thought. There were very few instances of isolation as the roads were always dotted with houses and farms which eased us a little bit and took our minds off our fears. After a few hours on the road, we began to feel comfortable and we started enjoying the ride and just took in the beautiful scenery of lush greens, the sea, and tall mountains. Zamboanga is such a beautiful place.

The initial plan was to share the driving task between dad and myself. But knowing my father, he would not let me drive on unfamiliar roads so he took on the responsibility and drove us all the way to Dipolog — he didn’t even eat, except for a couple of ginger sweets! The least I could do was turn on my phone’s GPS so we could follow Google Maps.

I searched for a hotel in Dipolog and found D’Hotel. We got there by following the GPS voice prompts (I love technology!). We checked-in, settled ourselves, ate, and then slept until the next day.

The next day was our trip to Dapitan City and our destination was Dakak Beach Resort. We ate breakfast at the hotel, checked out, and then went on the short drive to Dapitan City. If you guys don’t know yet, Dakak was like the Boracay in the late 80’s and early 90’s. No, it wasn’t the party scene that is Boracay today, but it was a popular destination of the rich and the famous, as it was the first 5-star resort in Mindanao. (You can read more about their history here – http://dakakresort.com/about-us/.

We went home the next day, and this time we made a much longer stopover to eat at Jollibee in Ipil. It was cloudy and the weather was great, not too warm.

All in all, I think I’ve enjoyed this trip even though it was a rather short one. At least now I can say I’ve been to Dakak, one Philippine beach scratched off my list. – RA

 

Doing an airport tour of some sorts…

Not really.

Tomorrow, I’m flying over to CDO to attend Rey and KC’s wedding. (I took their engagement pictures in Singapore last year.) I booked a direct flight from Zamboanga City but CebuPacific changed my flight from direct to connecting. So, my trip will be like ZAM – CEB – CDO, and then CDO – MNL – ZAM. I’m kinda scared and intimidated by the number of check-in counters I have to go through. Or is that even how it works? And how about my prepaid baggage allowance? Does it apply to all flights? TT_TT I’ve never had a local connecting flight, ever. Daig ko pa ang maga-abroad! Continue reading

Jessie’s Wedding in Benguet

This is Part 1 of my trip to Benguet / Baguio. Yes, there are more parts to this because it deserves a 3-part blog post, because that place (or places) is just awesome.

So, part 1.

One of my colleagues invited us to attend her wedding in La Trinidad. We stayed at Benguet State University dormitories, thanks to the bride and her uncle for accommodating us there. 🙂

It was a short visit, we hopped on a bus going to Baguio on Friday night and went back to Manila on Monday. Sitting on the bus for several hours was tiring but I’d do it all over again if it was a bus going to Baguio! (The heat in Manila now is just insane!)

The wedding took place in San Jose Parish Church in Poblacion, La Trinidad and the reception followed at the San Jose Gym which was a few steps away.

Here are a few snapshots:

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The bride and the maid of honor.
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Acy, Kat, Kareen, and Reena
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Acy, Kat, Me, and Reena
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Jessie’s gown, Jessie’s daughter, and Jessie getting ready.
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The lunch before the ceremony. Vegetables!!! One of the reasons why I want to move to Baguio / Benguet.
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More pictures from the wedding and the reception.
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The bride, Jessie.

And I’m really sorry that some of these pictures are blurry. Sigh I’m really becoming a lousy, lazy photographer. Especially since I find taking pictures on the phone much more convenient and easier (and lighter!). In my defense, I was allowed to be lazy because I was a guest and not the hired photographer. Teehee.

And I think this concludes the first part of this blog post. I will be posting the second part over the weekend. ‘Til then! -RA

A Memorable Trip to Cagayan de Oro

My mom, dad, younger sister, and I spent 2 days in Cagayan de Oro for New Year’s. It was a very spur-of-the-moment trip. My dad needed to buy a car part, and my younger sister decided that we all tagged along. So she booked us round trip flights, and reserved 2 rooms at a lodge near the airport.

I’ve always wanted to visit CDO. It is well -known for its whitewater rafting and it’s just about an hour away to Bukidnon which houses the Dahilayan Adventure Park. The park is well-known for being Asia’s longest dual zipline at 840m.

I’ve always thought that when I come there, it would be a trip with friends, being their photographer as they take on all the adventures with me just sitting in the sidelines watching them (I know, boring right?). But as it turns out, I had to try all of it because my sister just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m glad I did because it felt great.

This is one memorable trip because I conquered so many fears. My fear of water, my fear of heights, etc etc. I even enjoyed whitewater rafting and would not hesitate to do it all over again!

Our first day was kind of blah. We arrived there at about 7am, checked-in, and slept until lunch time as were sort of still hung over from the mini drinking sesh that happened on New Year’s eve. And then we headed to SM which was near where we stayed, ate lunch and watched a movie. While we were waiting for our movie (as we were two hours early), Dimple (my younger sister) and I decided to go to the arcade and play Dance Revolution, another first for me. We sucked initially, but got the hang of it after a few tries.

We watched One More Try. My dad was against watching at first because they were all showing Tagalog movies, but after watching, he was the one who enjoyed the movie the most while the rest of us were just blah about it. Hahaha..

Our second day was the more hectic one. My parents went off to Osmena where they looked for car parts, while my sister and I booked a whitewater rafting course in the morning. We were picked up by a jeepney, and we were grouped together with a balikbayan family. It was about a 30-min ride to the site. When we got there, we underwent orientation about basic paddling, and safety precautions should anything untoward happen, like maybe getting thrown out of the boat (which happened to me by the way, FUCKING AWESOME!).

We took the beginners course which included 14 rapids, 3 of which are critical, or so the guide said. The whole ride was approximately 3 hours. The view was magnificent. We were paddling on the Cagayan River which is the river that separates Cagayan from Bukidnon. It was raining as well and all you could hear were birds chirping, water gushing, and our voices.

We stopped for a minute on the still waters for a dip. My sister went for it, while I stayed in the raft as I had already taken an unexpected swim in one of the rapids earlier. Teehee. (Funny thing, before I took that fall, my sister and I switched places because she was complaining that her butt was getting numb. If we hadn’t switch, she would’ve been the one to be thrown into the water, and not me. Pfft.)

In the afternoon, we booked a van to take us to Dahilayan Adventure Park to try the zipline. It was a long, but beautiful drive to Bukidnon. Beautiful because we passed by the Del Monte plantation and we were all in awe– too many corns and pineapples! And it was a foggy cold afternoon too. It was like being in Baguio. Fog everywhere!

When we got to the park, I was having second thoughts. I really didn’t wanna do it anymore because for me, the adventure of whitewater rafting was enough for the day. I didn’t want to go through another heart-stopping activity. But again, my sister talked me into it. I almost backed out of it when we were about to be launched but to no avail. I just sucked it up and went for it. Hahaha..

After that, we didn’t have time to go visit places in the city. So we just went to a pasalubong store to get souvenirs (I didn’t get any because the store had limited options. Meh) and headed back to the lodge to get rest and prepare for our flight early the next morning.

I never imagined that a 2-day trip could be this awesome. But it waaaaaaaaaaaas! I can never say that enough. Here are pictures from the trip (in no particular order):

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Foggy!
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Del Monte Plantation. Long drive to Dahilayan
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Lodge restaurant

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This place merits another trip. Maybe next year again? Teehee – RA

All rafting pics were taken by Timyong from 1st Rafting Adventure and all zipline pictures that had me in it were taken by my mom. 🙂

Celebrated Best Friend’s Birthday in Bohol

This is an overdue post. =_=

Last August, I was lucky enough to tag along with my friend in a family-slash-birthday trip to Bohol. We stayed in Dumaluan Beach Resort and went on a tour.

One of our stops was this place. I forgot what the place was called. But the reason we went there was for a ride that’s called The Plunge. Reena and her brother went for it while I and Tita Offie took pictures.

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The Adventure Menu. We didn’t try any of the other stuff because they weren’t available at the time (and we didn’t have the money anyways!). LOL
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You’re not paying for the ride. You’re paying for the experience.
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Reena after the drop.
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Riz after the drop.
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Drop point
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A view of what’s below.

And then of course we went to the famous Chocolate Hills:

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Pretty
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Reena’s a ninja

And then we went to the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc, Bohol.

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Obligatory tourist post.
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Hello there big-eyed creature you. So cute. (Reminds me of Gollum — My precious!)
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A beetle.
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Sleepyhead

One of the highlights of the tour was a buffet lunch afloat a boat while cruising through the river. It was an awesome experience. I saw a group of dogs fishing:

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Dogs!!!
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Hello fella.
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Goodness. This was stressful.
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Cold-blooded.
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Underwater shot of Reena. I used my DSLR camera here with underwater protection. It didn’t have the best quality. Thankfully the water was crystal clear.

Too bad this was a rather short trip. I would’ve wanted to explore Cebu right after, but time didn’t permit. Maybe Cebu deserves a whole different trip/tour altogether. Hmm, maybe in 2013. –RA

Experiencing Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Out of all the places I’ve ever been to in the Philippines, this one’s my favorite. It is so clean and it makes me proud that such a place exists in my country. It gives me some sort of hope that we can still be as clean as Singapore, if we wanted to.

We went on a tour and met a lot of nice people. It reminded me of when I was in Thailand – foreigners everywhere, accommodating tour guides, smiles, sand, and beach! We stayed at a beachfront resort, though the beach wasn’t really swimmable, the overall service was okay. Their breakfast was a disappointment, and their restaurant didn’t have as much options. The good thing was, Puerto Princesa was a place full of restaurants with good food. And our resort was accommodating enough to drive their guests to the town proper when they want to go out.  We tried Kalui and Balinsasayaw which were both great.

Here are some photos from the tour:

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The bar at the resort restaurant.
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The dog at the resort.
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A flower that our tour van had to stop for so we could take pictures. I don’t know what kind of flower this is but took a picture anyways.

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