Great Deal at Club Balai Isabel

Deals have popped up here and there and groupons have gained so much popularity nowadays to the delight of many, including yours truly.

One of the recent buys my friends and I had, was an overnight stay in Club Balai Isabel. If you are not familiar with the place, you can visit their website and get more information. But if you are to ask me, my favorite description is that this was the place where Oyo and Kristine (yes, the showbiz couple) tied the knot. And almost always, whenever I say that, I get a wide-eyed expression from the asker. But of course, there’s more to this place than that, and I got to experience it firsthand a couple of months back.

Again, I am not going to bore you with words, so here are some of the pictures I took:

 

There was probably just a couple of disappointments: 1. the lake was full of seaweeds, it was impossible to take a dip. 2. it was just an overnight stay — we didn’t have enough time to do much. But overall, this was a nice experience – a breather away from the hustle and bustle of city life. – RAP

My Birthday Trip to Thailand

In February of this year, my friend Leila contacted me and said there was a seat sale in AirAsia going from Bangkok to Krabi. I didn’t know where Krabi was, but when she said it was a boat ride away from Maya Bay, the shoot location for the movie The Beach, I immediately said yes. I mean, who can say no to that? So she booked us tickets and little did I know, it was going to be the best out-of-the-country trip I would ever have for 2011.

We were there for a week, October 31-November 05. Our first day was such a rush! We took 3 flights, was in 3 countries, and was on 4 international airports. Hah! The beauty of connecting flights. Pfft.

Our hotel was situated at Railey Beach. It was a 15-minute walk to the nicer part of the beach. So yeah, it’s safe to say that I did have some exercise while I was there. We had wanted to take a couple of tours (elephant-riding and the Emerald tour) which we cancelled due to bad customer service. We were left with just a tour of the Phi Phi islands, which was alright for me since that was the main reason I was there in the first place!

I’ve been to a few Asian countries and I never felt like a foreigner anywhere else more than I did when I was in Thailand. Communication was a bit hard because very few people speak English which is kind of exciting for me and it didn’t stop me from ordering food! I love Thai food!

The whole experience was a blast! We snorkeled and swam with the fishes. It was a breathtaking experience, literally! Haha… I am scared of the underwater. It’s a fear greater than any fear I have, but I have to say… it was really beautiful down there!

There are just so much more to say, stories to tell, so little time. So I’m gonna let the pictures speak for themselves.

Tacsiyapo! De-stressing in Tarlac

Last Christmas, I had the pleasure of spending Christmas with my friend’s family. Having no one to spend the holidays with (not that I celebrate Christmas anyways since I’m a Muslim), I grabbed the opportunity to go on a trip with them to Tarlac.

It was Christmas Day when they all decided to go to church at Manaoag in Pampanga. It was my first time there. They heard mass while I loiter around outside taking pictures.

After the mass, we all headed to the Isdaan Floating Restaurant.

Isdaan Floating RestaurantThe restaurant itself is extravagant in design. Aside from the nifty huts floating on the water, you will see lots of huge animals carved on stones scattered all over the place. It was a nice dining experience. Something I will surely repeat some time soon.

One of the many charms of this place is the Tacsiyapo. It became really popular years ago and I remember clearly saying to myself that I’d love to go there someday. (I was still in the call center industry then and had a lot of stress to deal with. LoL). And after several years, I made my first trip, Christmas of last year.

Tacsiyapo!

What is Tacsiyapo? If you have not heard of it, it is a ka-Pampangan equivalent to the Tagalog word bwiset, walanghiya, etc. It is a wall to vent out the stress you get from work, from a good-for-nothing boss, from an ex who left you for another woman, and the list goes on and on. They are effectively written on a big wall and all you have to do is aim that piece of ceramic at it while shouting tacsiyapoooo!!! at the top of your lungs.

The things you throw at the wall is not for free. Depending on what you want to throw, the price can range from P30-P2000. The television set was, I think, P2000 so we settled for a mug each.

Regardless of whether you’d want to go there to relieve stress, or to eat, Isdaan will definitely not disappoint. It’s a great place to dine with your family and friends. HAPPY TRIP!!!

Discovering Playa La Caleta (Now Oyster Island)

About two months back, my friend and I were looking for a great travel deal that could get us to a beautiful place not far from the metro but wasn’t too costly either. We were kind of in a celebratory mood and wanted to give ourselves a treat; to unwind and relax. After a few days of searching, we found Playa La Caleta.

Playa La Caleta is a remote island in Bagac, Bataan. It was pretty easy going there by public transportation. We took a bus going to Bataan, and from there, we took a jeep going to Bagac. Our tour guide Michael Apostol met us in the terminal, and together we rode the banca to get to the island.

If you’re looking for a place to just get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place for you. Cellular signal is close to none in the island, there is no electricity- just the calming sound of the waves and the wonderful scenery. What more could you ask for?

Be prepared to go camping as there are no hotel accommodations available in the island. Bring a tent and a sleeping bag/mat with you. If you don’t have any, one will be provided by the ever-reliable tour guide.

You may be thinking: “what makes this different from any other camping trip?” And I have an answer to that. THE FOOD!!!

Michael’s idea is to have people enjoy the atmosphere of a camping trip without having to worry about preparing your food. It was like having a hotel experience sans the hotel.

There are other activities you can do in the island to while away your time. You can go on a hike or go biking in the mountains, snorkeling or fishing, island hopping, boat cruising, among many others. For photographers, it is also a perfect location for a shoot. In fact, it is also known to be one of the shoot locations for the television series Dyesebel.

Your budget can range anywhere from P1800-P2750 for a 2D1N stay and P3000-4250 for a 3D2N stay. The more people you can tag along, the less money you spend.

If you’re loving the place so far, and you’re thinking of going there with your friends or your family, make sure to do it now as there are news of closing the island to the public soon. HAPPY TRIP!!!

PS

I took a lot of pictures during this trip, but I unfortunately lost all of them (well, except the one on this post) when I moved my blog.

To book a trip, contact:

MICHAEL M. APOSTOL
Tour Organizer/Adventure Consultant/ General Manager
Contact Nos. 0908.6474895 | 0915.4411875 | 0922.7908874
Email: greenpiece.eductours@gmail.com