A Travellerspoint blog

Coron Island, Philippines

"Coron Palawan, a dream Come True..."

sunny 27 °C

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Beautiful white sand beaches, amazing gigantic rock formation, the best snorkeling spot ever been, very clean water (literally bluish and greenish water). - my most memorable birthday experience in an enchanting paradise of Coron Palawan.

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Day 1. Reaching the peak of Mt. Tapyas is a must-to-do during your first stay. It's best to hike before the sunset. A 360 degrees view of the Coron Island, relax while watching sunset is worth climbing the 700 steps.
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Spend about an hour chatting with your friend in the peak and take plenty of photos of these wonderful God's creation.
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A little quest for you guys, try looking for the "SLEEPING GIANT" island formation.
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You'll be amazed once you find it! .......................

After the sunset, look for a "tricycle" (a public transportation that carries up to 6 people) to bring you to one of the famous site of Coron only 15 minutes from the city centre - Maquinit Hot Spring. Rate starts from 300-400 pesos and the driver will be waiting until you finish - a good deal indeed.
Maquinit Hot Spring, Coron Island Palawan

Maquinit Hot Spring, Coron Island Palawan


Maquinit is a local term which means "MAINIT" or "HOT" which is literally very hot at around 37 to 40 degrees Celsius. Soak your entire body for approximately 2 hours for a perfect relaxation to a good night sleep. I had a chance to meet some locals who are very friendly and advised me not too stay too long in the water if I have high blood - Good thing I am not.
After more than an hour, we decided to go back to our hotel and find something to eat. I haven't done any research about best restaurants in the area however, I was lucky to find a newly opened restaurant on our way home. The "bahay kubo" on the 2nd floor catches my attention with its local artifacts makes the ambiance so perfect for dinner. I strongly recommend, "Palayok" - food are excellent and prices are really reasonable. (According to the owner, they just opened February 2011). That concludes the 1st day.

Day 2 is Island Hopping and recommended itineraries should include 6 or 7 Destinations which are all truly a "Paradise".
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Hire a bangka for a day tour at 1,500 pesos. Starting with Siete Pecados which means "siete" means seven and "pecados" means sins - I don't know the story behind the name of this island though. It a group of 7 islets which is the closest to the Port of the coron and usually the first stop of the trip. Do not forget to bring plenty of breads. Here you can feed the hungry colorful and friendly fishes. It was so fun watching them so close to you and seems not afraid of frying pan and the cooking oil LOL.
Here are some great photos:
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Reminders: There are packages offered in different websites with accommodations, island hopping and meals included for a cheaper price however, my travel companion suggested to have our trip itineraries on our own and not go with any packages for the ff. reasons:.
1.) You may have limited time to spend in each of the island destinations.
2.) There are several tourist who can join you in the group, you might not get comfortable with it.
3.) Meals served are limited.
4.) Time constraint.
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On the other hand, if you'll choose not to go with any packages, definitely you can manage your own time, anyway the "bangka" will be there just waiting, can prepare your own desired meals, it's more relaxing - all you have to do is ENJOY the scenery and nothing to worry about.

Entrance Fees - thumbs down rating!
I hope this segment will serve as "alarm call" to the local government of Coron. To those who plans to visit Coron and do Island Hopping, make sure you are aware that you have to pay EXCESSIVE Entrance fees in each of the site destinations ranges from 100 to 200 pesos per stop. Meaning, if your itinerary includes 6 or 7 destinations in a day then prepare about 900.00 pesos per head. (e.g. for a family of 6 members, total entrance fee would be around 5,400 for just one day) That's too much for an entrance fee in just approximately 1 hour stay in each stop. I felt that locals are taking advantage of us travelers.

"Bangka", local term for small motor boat has a fixed price of 1,500 per day. The "bangkero" or the driver will also prepare the meal for you.
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I asked one of the locals on how they did the policy for these entrance fees and accordingly, the collected fees serves as salaries of the island keepers. One boatman interrupted and says that these Islands are owned by private sectors/families which they charge their own fees. I' am not against charging entrance fees but hopefully the local government will issue a Mandatory and Aligned policy to lessen the said fees. Approximately, there were about 100 person in each of the destinations which means each island earns 10,000 pesos a day.
Here are the updated entrance fees as of April 2011.
Siete Pecados - 100.00 per head
Banul Beach - 100.00 per head
Barracuda Lake - 100.00 per head
Twin Lagoon - 100.00 per head
Skeleton Ship Wreck - 100.00 per head
Kayangan Lake - 200.00 per head

Philippines is blessed with plenty of beautiful tourist spots but if it's too costly to experience these sites, tourism will definitely affect with all negative reviews. Hope they will fix it!
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Posted by elhombre 22:47 Archived in Philippines Tagged beach lake island palawan mt. pass coron kayangan tapyas baraccuda banul Comments (0)

Panagbenga Festival, Baguio City

The Street Parade

sunny 20 °C

Intercontinental Hotels Group participated in Panagbenga 2011 Street Dancing Parade

It all started when an advertisement appeared within the office bulletin board, tv, and intranet about our company joining the Baguio City Panagbenga Festival street parade competition. They need volunteers which needs to undergo audition for screening purposes. Luckily I was able to make it and became official participants of our company in the said event.

Baguio City is 6 hours land travel from Metro Manila.

Photos below are the actual street dancing parade.
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Me in costume! heheh
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Posted by elhombre 22:37 Archived in Philippines Tagged flower city baguio festival panagbenga 2011 Comments (0)

Mimosa Leisure Estate Clark Field, Pampanga Philippines

Weekend escape to Holiday Inn Clark

sunny 28 °C

Me and my partner Jesse decided to have a weekend getaway in Clark Pampanga. (Writing this blog 3 days before the trip) We probably just want to relax in a comfortable bed with good linens, take some lap in the swimming pool, experience the food in the restaurant, try our luck in the Casino Filipino nearby hotel and of course take plenty of photos!

Ill post update once we get to Clark. Thanks for following!

Updating:
A day after the overnight stay at the Mimosa Leisure Estate Park.
Mimosa Clark Philippines

Mimosa Clark Philippines

We took a 1 and a half hour bus ride from Manila to Pampanga.

Before checking in the hotel, we have to get some cash in the ATM in the nearby mall. It was not new to us seeing plenty of foreigners in the area since Mimosa Clark is the home of Joint Force Exercises of both the Philippines and the American Army.

We arrived at the hotel at 12noon, took our lunch and rest for few minutes.
Hotel Room

Hotel Room


Afterwards, we stroll around the area and was amazed by what we saw. It reminds me of suburb where I used to stay in Sydney, NSW Australia. The facade of the photos below is a "dream house" location that I have been dreaming of. Isn't so relaxing to built your dream house in a quiet and peaceful place, with green big trees surrounds your bungalow.
Walk Path

Walk Path


CLark Houses

CLark Houses


CLark Houses

CLark Houses


The houses built along the road where exactly similar, the big trees arranged and aligned, the dried leaves along the pathway (I love to see them, in fact I even took a photo of it as my background),
Dried Leaves

Dried Leaves


Dried Leaves 2

Dried Leaves 2


The peaceful and a quiet ambiance. That was so perfect for a nice and relaxing walk!

I spotted a club which is with foreign theme and a Korean restaurant and massage house. The place looks so dry and surprisingly I have not see any single customer in the area. It maybe just opened at night time, or maybe there was just no customers at all at that time.
London Club

London Club


Korean Massage house

Korean Massage house

Now the highlight of this entry is ---- while still strolling in the area, we found a PERFECT place for a photoshoot. Me and my partner Jess is fond of taking photos of ourselves since we're both starting to study photography on our own. Here are the sample photos Jess took (Me as model hahaaha)
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Photoshoot7


And by the way, the theme is something as "Military look" hahahaah!
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Photoshoot3


Photoshoot2

Photoshoot2

I will post more photos of the Mimosa Leisure Estate in Clark in my next log in.

Posted by elhombre 22:33 Archived in Philippines Tagged philippines clark mimosa Comments (0)

Island of Bohol Trip

A beautiful ambiance, fresh air, a lot of historical scenery, fresh fruits and vegetables, friendly locals and stunning beaches... that's what Bohol can ofer.

all seasons in one day 25 °C

This is my first holiday in 2011 and it was not just FUN but truly an amazing experience, that's how I can describe my experience in Bohol. It was fun full of memories that will always be treasured. This travel made me realize that Philippines is really indeed a beautiful place to live in, rich in nature, with diversity of culture and history.

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Baclayon Church, Bohol Philippines

Baclayon Church, Bohol Philippines

January 22, 2011 - My flight schedule to Tagbilaran City via Airphil Express is at 11:20 AM but due to heavy traffic that Saturday morning, I arrived 5 minutes late and the check in counter was already closed. I immediately asked for assistance, apologized for being late and beg to let me in. Good thing that I don't have to check in any luggage since i was just bringing one (1) hand-carry bag pack. I was alone in this trip since, Jesse Jumonong, my travel companion/housemate had his trip early that morning at 5:15 AM via Phillipine Airlines. (We had separate flights because i bought my airfare ticket only 2 weeks before my travel date and Jesse bought it 3 months ago). I was in a hurry, running all the way to Gate 9 and indeed I was the last passenger to enter the gate before it finally closes.

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12:35 PM, arrived Tagbilaran Airport safely. It was cold and raining and thought that it might that be a good time to visit Bohol in January. As panned, I immediately saw Jesse when I went out of the Airport. (He was with Cathy - cousin aged 25, Bata - cousin aged 30 with his wife and a 7 yr old son and of course the mom of Jesse which we called "Nanay")

Just coming straight from the airport, we all headed to scenic and winding Loboc River - one of the most famous tourist attractions of Bohol wherein lunch could only be on board on one of the town’s native floating restaurants that serves fresh seafood and native dishes and dining while the "bangka" - (local term for boat) is cruising along the river.

Floating Restaurant - Loboc River Bohol

Floating Restaurant - Loboc River Bohol

You can see beautiful scenery of nature - green big trees, bushy and unexploited mangroves in the riverside. We were all so hungry when we set ourselves ready to sail and all I was thinking was food food food and food (very hungry), the eat-all-you-can for 450 pesos entrance fee is worth it. With variety of local delicacies; sea foods like crabs, fish, squids.... meat, vegetables and local desserts.

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While on the cruise, the "bangka" had a short stop in a place where locals perform very amusing folk dance and singing in their local dialect

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Staying 2 to 3 nights in Bohol would not be enough to visit all the main attractions therefore we had to stop in some of the attractions in the area and take a snapshot/photos. These may just be along the way home depending what route did you take. Some of the attractions that you can pass by are Old Baclayon Church, Loboc Church, the famous Tarsier and the Blood Compact site of Tagbilaran City.

Photo of Tarsier - only found in Bohol

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At night, we went to one of the nicest bar to grab a bottle of beer. It is a beachside hotel that can feel the fresh air. The view of the harbour were spectacular at night time plus to mention, food are not that expensive.
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Few hours later, we headed to a Club called "Lazer". Sounds were good however I noticed that the bar does not have dress code. Some of them wear slippers and "sando". We all had fun and met some of the friendly locals. And the 1st night has ended.

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Second day - It was a little bit cloudy for a 2 hours travel to the famous Chocolate Hills.

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The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction in Bohol. This island treasure is a series of undulating hills over a vast plain sometimes considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, it has been declared as Chocolate Hills National Geological Monument and proposed [chocolate hills] for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage. The hills are considered unusual geological formations that consists of at least 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size, that are scattered throughout the municipalities of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan. A one of a kind geological feature in the world. The hills range from 30 to 150 meters high and are covered in green grass, which turns to brown during dry season, making them look like chocolate mounds. The Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen town, and Sagbayan Peak in the town of Sagbayan are two areas where tourists can view the hills up close.

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We rented a motorcycle which they call "Single". It was not new to me since I drive my own motorcycle but what scares me most is the speed of 80 Kph to 110 kph with a lot of dangerous curves going up to the designated viewing stations of the Chocolate Hills. I even had a chance to take some videos while we were back riding.

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A beautiful scenery of man made forest in the town of Bilar is one of the attractions that you can stop to take some photos on your way to Chocolate Hills.

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We also went to Loboc Ecotourism and Adventure Park for a Zipline and cable car ride. Paying 350 pesos is worth for that 2 way ride crossing over the Loboc River with spectacular views. I want to share the videos I took while we were on the Zipline. It was really so fun and exciting! These are all in one FULL DAY! Tiring but very happy.

Loboc  Ecotourism Adventure Park - Zipline and cable car

Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park - Zipline and cable car

View white in the cable car ride
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So exciting!
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Day 3
Panglao Island is one of the famous attraction in Bohol. With all the internet reviews, friends recommendations and "word of mouth" of the locals, these makes me so excited to go to the said Resort. We again hire a "single" motorbike to take us to the resort and unexpectedly, the driver doesn't know where the resort it. He had to stop from time to time and ask for directions to some locals along the way. I saw a board saying "Hinagdanan Cave - This way". It reminds me of one website I checked few days before the actual trip to Bohol which says that the said cave is one of the attractions to visit for it has a naturally lighted cavern with a deep lagoon with many large stalactites and stalagmites. The cave leads to a large underground cavern, that contains a pond which is a popular swimming spot.
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The cave was not that impressive (my own perception only - sorry). I read some reviews which says that t it has been known to test for high levels of various pollutants, since it is fed by ground runoff. So I decided not to soak myself in the pond however Jesse is having so much fun in the water. It shows in these photos below....

After Hinagdanan Cave, together with the driver, we again start our quest to the Panglao Island. After 30mins of traveling, we stopped at the main gate entrance of Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa. And then we realize that it was not the place we wish to go. We were in a private resort which is still an hour travel to the actual Panglao Island however we decided to stay where we are since its already late in the afternoon and traveling one more hour is no longer good. We were upset while heading from gate towards the resorts main lobby. While approaching the said lobby, Me and Jesse were getting amazed by its artistic facade of the resort.
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Tall big trees, very clean surroundings, friendly staff, fresh air - Very impressive! We even got more excited and happy when we saw the infinity pool and small man-made island in front of the beach.
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The place is so romantic with spectacular views around the resort, simply one of the best resort that I have been.

Restaurant is fabulous! The table set was impressive and the cold breeze at night is so romantic. Or perhaps it was cold because me and Jesse were wearing sleeveless shirts LOL.
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We had a good meal combination for dinner - Mixed fruits and vegetables salad, Pasta in Red meat sauce topped with clams, fruit shake, Special Club house and Langka leche flan.
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After dinner, we had a few lap in the infinity pool - too bad it is not heated!

Finally, we took some photos of the beach, the facade of the hotel and interior before we end the night! Truly an amazing experience at this resort.
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Posted by elhombre 3.2.11 18:05 Archived in Philippines Tagged and restaurant nature river city island floating resort spa bohol panglao jesse loboc tarsier russell picardal jumonong tagbilaran Comments (2)

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