Tag Archives: roadtrippin

Dustland Fairytale – MuiNe

High Road to Mui Ne

Last Minutes in Hoi An

I  went back to the hostel 30mins before the scheduled bus pick-up time so i can take a shower and share one more round of beer with my swedish triad crew Peter, Jakob and Max. only to find out that the bus was ready to go, ahead of time. i asked if i can pull a 3minute quick shower( its a looong 12-hour bus ride i wanted to be fresh, clean and comfortable the least,ok don’t judge me if my idea of fresh and clean is a 3minute shower). but the driver said NO, we have to go.

so, with sweat from whole day of biking under the sun and some salt particles left on my hair/skin from swimming in the beach, i grabbed my backpack and hopped into the sleeper bus.

its time to leave the swedish triad in Hoi An and head to the Dustland Fairytale that is Mui Ne. at 6pm, we hit the road.
***
High-Fiving with new buds

in the bus i met Maggie & Adrian and Manfred- the german franks and the spanish bread meet pinoy pandesal.

the scenery in the bus window was totally changed. it looked like a different country altogether. from the thick forest mountains of Dalat to the dry deserted dunes of Phan Tiet. from the nippy chill to humid, warm atmosphere.

i am in sheer amazement of how varied Vietnam’s topography. theres just no two place(at least to where I’ve been)similar landscape-wise. Sapa is mountainous and all but not a tad similar to Dalat.

sun was up. mid day. the thousands of pine trees that divides the highway and the beach were motionless. no wind from the sea. tall pine trees were as still as a lampost.

bus was at least faster than the ones i took in Northern Vietnam. but of course it was still slow when it comes to Negros’ Ceres bus lines standards.

***
High-Rolling in Mui Ne

How does Lacoste for Dinner sounds like? high-rolling, eh?
i know its hard to picture that. me and high rolling just can not belong to one sentence. but this is a fairytale.

our accommodation was a PRIVATE room. on the topmost floor, make that a penthouse.
and…
and…
we had Lacoste for late-dinner.
posers wear that….us, it was our entree for dinner that night.
juicy and tender. soft to the bite.
almost-melt-in-your-mouth
so unreptile-ish of it.

maybe, its the wagyu of the crocodile world. now thats high-rolling, right?

after dinner, we headed to this bar to taste its premium offering which happened to be a draft beer; San Miguel. the place was neat, a sports bar by the beach. it was a pleasant surprise to learn that they serve San Miguel. and it was the priciest among their beers. which my latino friend insisted that it is a spanish import. he was so damn sure about it that even me who grew up on this beer made me harbour second-thoughts(thanks to google, i, now, know it is a Philipine brand).

***
High-Balling in Mui Ne

we rented motorcycles to better explore this vast deserted plain.

a hearty serving of Pho was obligatory before we headed out. so a healthy, filling and cheap at 20k dongs was the best way that kickstarted our long day of dustland adventure.

the Fishing Village harbor is along Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street or Ham Dien; which is pretty much the highway where all the happenings in town..errr.. happens. Its a long stretch where the hostels & hotels and bars are located. It is on the northern part of Mui Ne bay.  it was dotted with hundreds of traditional colourful wood vessels which were moored at the bay. it was a splendid view. it reminded me of old quaint european fishing villages( as per Game of Thrones)- very picturesque.

it was a hot-bike-ride(literally) going to the white dunes. its a little far from the town center.  but the roads were well-paved and the view was scenic. the endless sand banks on the left and the infinite sea on the right.


we had so much fun running around and tripping down foolishly in the dunes. we were like hansels and gretel left in the house of sweets, fun. the sweltering heat was only noticed when our skins started to turn as red as the Vietnam flag. the view of the sea from afar was equally stunning.

tumbling down the dunes

we made several stops on our way back to Ham Dien. rock island. fairy stream, red dunes etc.

at night, we capped off the day’s oppressive heat with cool big slices of watermelon, the best watermelon. it was refreshing. nights were usually spent on the sports bar by the beach over beers and billiard games.

***
High-Flying in Mui Ne

Mui Ne is the watersports capital of Vietnam. para-sailing and windsurfing can be a wise alternative when the sun rays get really harsh for biking to the dunes.

there is nothing extra-ordinary about the beach but it does the trick. on a blue-skyed day when roaming around and playing watersports become too hot(literally) to handle; grabbing a good book and a cold beer on the beach can be a delightful option.

***
Dustland Fairytale

these famed dunes and harbor are dreamy and stunning. they make striking subjects for photographs. I’m sure even non-photography enthusiasts would admire the lovely landscapes and seascapes.

in this fairytale, there is also a witch. the witch was the girl in Hoi An who sold us bus tickets for HoiAn-NhaTrang & MuiNe-Saigon(HoChiMinh). we paid for sleeper bus rates but she tricked us by issuing ordinary bus tickets as per advised by the booking office in Mui Ne. information on the tickets were in Vietnamese. we were subjected for extra dongs to upgrade for sleeper. witch bitch.

and just like any fairytale, theres a prince -charming and thats me( lol).

sharing the adventure with these nomads made the this trip more fun. as the maxim goes: we all start as strangers. later on the trip, me and the spanish bread travelled south to Saigon then east to ChauDoc etc etc then Bangkok. til he eventually visited Manila. the german franks still keep in touch.
this dustland story and just like all the other fairytales, it ended up with a happily-ever-after.

*dustland fairytale is a song from The Killers. fave band.

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BASILAN: YODO – You Only Die Once

real.deal

there goes the story of the fake ticket, fake ID and THE one real, palpable, so-near-i-can-breath-danger  type of D.A.N.G.E.R.
Prequel of this story here (anong sinabi ng twilight may prequel prequel pa ako nalalaman.hehe)

I arrived in Zamboanga City safe and sound. Flight went smoothly, and none of those  shady-armed-men-terrorists showed up to welcome me in the airport- to my delight. *Though they were very much present in my nightmares for several days prior to the flight; whew!

Zamboanga City is the jump off place for people coming from Manila to Basilan- the main destination of this whole backpacking trip. There are no direct flights from Manila to Basilan Island. i am not sure if theres an airport even.

the plan was to spend two days in Zamboanga before heading to Basilan. just enough time to settle and calm myself down from the whole idea of braving Basilan single-handedly, flying with fake identity and the thought of simply just being in western Mindanao.

since i am not the type of traveller(person in general) who is good with plans, i got stuck in Zamboanga for 7 days not because i was scared of Basilan(ulol) but because i enjoyed getting drunk and looked down to every night with new-found friends.lol

Jeez, chavacanos(not all) are a bunch of condescending bitches. Not a night of drinking passed by without them reiterating their superiority  amongst other pinoys(its the whole Spanish thing they say). in this case, i am the only “other pinoys”, i guess, since i am the lone non-chavacano in the drinking table. i, actually, did get their point the first time they explained it to me. i mean, all three of them took a shot in incessantly explicating the matter. just saying.

one night, while in the middle of a drinking spree, out-of-the-blue, they bursted into a chorus of Zamboanga’s anthem-patriotic much. But, hey, as long as theres free beer, theres no issue with me- i succumbed my lords(*on a game of thrones tone).

finally, after that night of drinking when i tried so hard(argh) to convince them that we are all equal(chavacanos, tagalogs)-which i failed miserably- i decided to stood up and be brave(Kalinga tribe reprezeeent! lol) and pursue that daunting task of travelling solo to Basilan.  YOLO. uhm. YODO. You Only Die Once. yeah, none of them wanted to cross to Basilan.

i woke up at 4:30am. Benj( friend/ host) walked with me to the jeepneys heading to where the port is. He wasn’t allowed by his partner to travel with me.

the jeep brought me down to the street next to the port. it was a looong walk-not sure if its the distance or the scare that started to well inside me.

this, back then, was the most sensitive trip i have gotten myself into. Basilan is pretty much known to all of the Philippines as the island you would not want to bring yourself to. heck, you wouldn’t even want to get near to( of course, unless a rifle is being poked at the back of your head then you should not fight back and just go) lol.

it is believed to be the home of local terrorists(aside from Jolo i think). this is one of those don’t-tell-my-mom’s destinations.

so breaking in to Basilan was like a top secret  agent’s mission-
critical,
sensitive and
insanely stupid.
yeah, what can i get from doing this aside from bragging rights? yeah, none. lol.

i wore worn-out shirt, basketball shorts and slippers. totally the vibe you get from your typical neighbourhood hobo. which happens to be my look even when dressed-up. =)

i arrived at the port 45mins ahead of what Benj told me was the boats scheduled departure time, 6am. yeah, am i excited or what!?

then a man approached me to my surprise horror bearing news that there was a fast craft/vessell thats about to leave and that its only 50pesos more expensive. (well, its very warm of Basilan to come up with these circumstances just to meet me ASAP.)
Aaah the warmth of friendliness… left me froze with terror. lol. i said to the man “uhmmm yeah, sure, why not chocnut”

i told myself,  if theres one time that i shouldn’t be exhibiting fake bravery then this is it. this is it pansit. but, yeah, my mind was already afloat, i said I’m taking it.

with utter carefulness- more like paranoia- couple of rules i made and observed: never make eye contact to anyone. no speaking. if asked, talk only in my broken bisaya, short and sweet in a hushed tone. always stick with group of people. no going to toilet. no camera. no phone. and DO NOT MAKE ANY SCENE(as much as i love attention, this was apparently not the place and time.)

i ran to the boat- ran pa talaga- because it was about to board and sail. i went straight to a vacant seat in the corner. there i seated( honestly i wasn’t really sure if i would sit, or jump out of the boat- my brain was confused. but, yeah, my heart on the other hand, was so sure to jump out of my body)

since this was a secret mission, my priority(for my dear life) was not to attract any attention. be discreet, blend in and play it cool.
failed.
hence, i stood out like a sore thumb because i sweated like a pig.

i tried earnestly to composed myself. and i did it by listening to Snoop Dogg’s Young, Wild and Free. i listened to it a couple of times. though i restricted myself from breaking to a Hip Hop swaggin dance( which i am prone to do whenever i hear it blasted on the radio)

“Livin’ young, wild and free” i hummed. it worked like a charm. =)

it was a smooth sail. sea was placid. sky was clear. sun’s soft morning rays felt warmth to the skin. it was a subtle morning(of course that is we discard the case of my then-troubled-heart which almost jumped-out not only from my body but from the boat altogether.)

an hour passed and from afar, the outline of the famed and feared zone started to take shape. it was mostly flat terrains. the sleepy island’s silhouette was accentuated with fine gloomy streaks of fog.  the sight was serene and tranquil. least words one would associate Basilan with. there was a definite calmness in the air.

shady silhouette

i started to contact Basilan’s Tourism officer that was assigned to meet me in the pier. we had a lengthy phone conversation the night before and that actually sealed the deal. it is safe he guaranteed and that he will be inside the pier waiting for me the next day.
i phoned him.
no answer.
the.guy.did.not.answer.my.phone.call.

*my most feared scenario is, actually, to alight from the boat, walk to the arrival area and have no one to fetch me. if this happens in a different place i will not even be bothered but this is Basilan. that would make me feel like im a meat thrown inside a cage of mad dogs with thick saliva drooping from their mouth.

you know how it is the arrival area, all eyes on you. in this case, even terrorist eyes could be on you. even terrorist eyes hunting down for their next victim could be on you. even terrorist eyes hunting down for their next victim wearing dark glasses, sahal, belt of ammo and an ak-67 could be on you. ohboy, my wild imaginations fukced me straight up with a devilish grin.

my then-calm composure brought about by the cool Sulu Sea air, subdued summer sun, and the landscape that has peace written all over it was suddenly unrattled again.  i decided i will not alight the boat unless i received a text or call from the tourism guy. id rather stay in the boat and go back to Zamboanga City and just lie about travelling around Basilan altogether. haha. but the tourism guy, Jason, finally texted.

and it was all good vibes from then on.
*well, except for the lady guide who hinted was expecting a treat because apparently the previous visitors were of affluence. they feasted on thousand worth of seafood  etc. i said, the only seafood she can expect from me is a fancy fried fish(daing na bangus). very fancy, eh? (yes, they are my good friends Nik and Ton. its not their fault that they are rich. and its my fault that im “under-privilege” lol. yes, i know that. demmit)

it was a rollercoaster of feelings this travel experience caused me. the high highs and looow lows were so extremes. from disturbing to delightful.

the beach in Malamawi Island is definitely amongst my top beaches in the Philippines alongside El Nido’s and Babuyan’s Sabang. Though i must say Malamawi has way more “ooomph” and ANGAS(not sure if theres an english translation).  I mean, the lifeguards here don’t carry rescue cans, they carry rescue guns! and by guns… i meant those things that fire.

Basilan(Isabela) is a city marred with terrorism and violence. A place condemned with a long history of bad press which is utterly wrongful/unjust for the friendy people and the stunning island place. Its a shame that Basilan graces frontpages of newspapers wherein its more suited for travel magazine covers.

Come on Mindanao, let’s give peace a chance!
Visit this side of the country if you can. its worth it. and because YOLO – you only live once( and that once can end here. lol)

*this trip was mid 2012
*the Zamboanga peeps are good friends. well, unless they change their minds after reading this. bunch of fun, cool people. hehe
*Nik and Ton are not your typical rich conyo travelers. hehe
*the guy from the Tourism office Jason Arcan is a very cool guy. everyone travelling to this island should look for and get him as guide.
*and you should give generous tip.
because, i did. generously. of course, but thats on  my standards. lol

that ass is me. adjacent is catholic church bombed several times already.
pristine sands
white sandy beaches

before.sunrise


yes, i am a big fan of Ethan Hawke’s “Before” series. and, i guess, i experienced my own version of it. the night i bumped into the sexiest Thai girl i ever met in this City of Angels.

the day before…

the mid-day buzz of this urban jungle that is Bangkok woke me up. and with the sweltering heat of the summer sun, i woke up with sweat-soaked shirt.

clock ticked a few minutes after 12. high noon. my head was still buzzed from the alcohol binge at PostBar the night before, my go-to place in Bangkok for hang out. it was quite a fun night. food was flowing and it was free. it sure is true that best things in life are free. lol. it was the birthday of one of the bar’s patrons and he brought in some serious thai dishes. it was free for all. nothing beats spicy food and cold beer. to sum it all up, it was an awesOOOme night.

afternoon was spent contemplating on whether i should go out and see as much of Bangkok as i can since it was my last day in the city or should i just keep it down-low. i opted for the latter and did some writing, just chilled-out and relaxed in the apartment.

all the afternoon heat was gone by night time. i knew i can not pass on the chance of dropping-by PostBar on my last night so i pulled my ass off and headed out. i intended to just dropby and finish 1 beer as i have an early trip, and its a long 13-hour ride. i took the 505 bus to Samsen rd.

the night before…

i approached the bar and ordered a big bottle of Chang. a girl across the bar caught my eyes. she wore casual clothes and a megawatt smile… and with that thai-sun-kissed skin… she glowed.

she had her hair down and was clearly enjoying the lazy sunday evening with her friends which occasionally broke to burst of laughters every so often.

the bar was scarcely filled. i chatted with two of the owners and other regulars. i frequented this watering hole in the last one and a half months so i knew and became friends with a couple of hippies here. *separate post for PostBar.

the sun-kissed girl would occasionally go and sit outside for a smoke.

i was sitted outside with Pul when she went out again. i striked a conversation with her- a quick one- then we headed back inside to our respective tables.

i knew there was something in that first dialogue. so i waited, spotted and joined her next time she went out for a smoke. we talked, and talked. she did not bother going back inside immediately to her peers this time around, to my delight. that was a feat for someone who is torpe.

the night went on spontaneously. i drank with my guards on since i have an early trip to take. i was leaving the city and Thailand in general early the next day.

before midnight

conversation spun around travelling, and islands, and other things. other beautiful things.

it was past midnight when the sexiest thai girl and i decided to leave the people and her friends in Post Bar-coolest bar in Bangkok( i should get Changs for this next time i go there.)

we walked to Khao San rd. strolled in this street of battered backpacks, hippie wanderers, perpetual youth and padthais.

after midnight

she is a nature lover. she spent two weekends in an island in Andaman coast a couple of months back. a remote retreat that is Similan island. the beach is divine, delicate and bewitching. just like her.

it was getting late. 1:30am. morning was nearing and so was my departure.

we walked to Burger King in Khao San rd intersection. she said i can crash her place for my remaining hours in Bangkok if i want to. she hailed a cab and off we went to her place, her apartment in Silom.

i was drawned to her. the way she spoke with her thai accent was endearing. the way she moved, way she flipped her hair, way she smiled, her gaze, her supple sunkissed skin. charming.

moments would go slo-mo but not time. it raced. like my heartbeat.

***

before sunrise…

it was already 4am when i took notice of time. i was still at the sexiest thai girl’s place and we have not slept yet.

i can not bring myself to say my goodbyes for we only have started. it was bittersweet. i was glad to have met her. but sad that i met her on my last night in this city. this city of angels which was my home for 40 days.

it was 5am.

finally, i got up, bade goodbye, and sped off.

took a taxi to bigboy’s apartment in Pratunam, my home in Bangkok. i only have 1 hour to rest, gathered my stuff and got ready to hit the road again, onwards to Malaysia.

that night, i stayed out longer than i intended to. no, i am not complaining. it was beautiful.

aaahh the romance of being on the road. the hellos and goodbyes and those fleeting blissful moments in between. life’s surprises. i live for those =)

Krabi.Kick.Off


hey Malaysia, its not me… its you( and your freakin tricks… i mean the lost wallet, c’mon)… bye. lol.

clock ticked 4:30am and my taxi was waiting downstairs. off to Sungai Nibong terminal, 20rm, to catch the 5am van to cross the border to Hat Yai, the southernmost part of Thailand.

i purchased the 30rm ticket, Penang-Hat Yai, the previous day in the terminal.

i was quite surprised the trip was on time, 5am, more so i was the only passenger at that time. it was like i hired the whole van to accommodate my lone ass. sweet.

the van was fast and the driver was furious. jeeez we werent cruising the hiway, we were flying 123 fukcin knots. nuts! much to my liking though, really. who wants a 5hr trip when you can get it for 3. what safety. hehe

just before 6am, we arrived at the Malaysian border. got my passport stamped. next, Thailand border. stamped. good thing most southeast asian countries dont require filipinos for visa. it makes travelling SEA easy, breezy, fun. lol.

good thing i read from a blog about touts who frequent the terminal in Hat Yai. the van dropped me off right smack at it. and when i was checking the buses and vans someone approached and showed me their office. the van to Krabi(320baht) wasnt leaving not until some 40mins later. so i told the ticket seller i will walk around and grab some breakfast. indeed it was a travel agency.

instead, i went straight to the buses and vans parked in the terminal. i asked the drivers, and their prices were 100bahts cheaper. one bus was about leave, Hat Yai-Phuket, i asked the driver if he knew any buses also leaving at that same time which passes by Krabi. and he said “hop in” because they are going there. and the ticket was cheap at 170baht.

inside the bus, i met a couple of very friendly locals and Ate A( Thai’s version of the famed pinay actress Tiya Pusit =)), from Phuket, was a stand-out, a real character. a very curious woman with so many questions. her with curly hair, dark lipstick and not-so-perfect teeth while munching on peanuts. when she learned that my ticket was only bound to Krabi, she said i better skip Krabi and head straight to Phuket. which she clearly pointed out 998 reasons why Phuket is more beautiful and that i will just waste time and money in Krabi. she was selling Phuket like she owns it. enjoyed the conversation much.

as much as i was convinced that Phuket was the most beautiful place in Thailand, actually on earth, at that time… and that she owns it. =). but i just had to stop by in Krabi since its along the way. pursued the Krabi-PhiPhi-Phuket gameplan instead.

we had our brunch in Trang. around 10am in a small streetside eatery, just to my liking. and you know how i go about in times like this, its point-and-shoot and shoot a lot i did. lunch over some spicy pork dish, some spicy vegetable dish, etc plus rice and milk tea.

the eatery also sells local snack delicacies( parang yon mga bus stop sa Bulacan lang except may sili lang lahat lol)… the peanut brittle though is more like a jawbreaker. too tough to chew.

it was a spicy first meeting with Thailand. sweet.

Thais do know their chillies. and boy, they know well. my meals always ended up with a runny nose and a tear shed. gotta love those spicy shiznits.

we arrived in Krabi a little after lunch, around 1pm. one of the women in the bus had a motorcycle waiting for her and she was kind enough to dropped me off in Pak-Up hostel in Maung Krabi/Krabi Town. nice would be an understatemnt to describe Pak-Up. clean, spanking new, soft beds, neat toilets, wifi, bar on the rooftop… just over-all pakking charming =). best part is its only 180baht/bed/night.

since i still have half of the day, quickly threw down my bag into the locker and bolted out.
its time to brave the paradise that is KRABI.

Of bikes & beaches: El Nido


its one of those August days when the weather is just as erratic as president p-noys lovelife(o ngayon si Iza Calzado naman, asa haha).  past midnight and the raucous rain poured, for a close full hour. then there was complete silence before the break of dawn.

we decided to hit Matinloc and Tapiutan islands in Bacuit bay that day.

while were in the middle of our breakfast, dark clouds swiftly loomed in the horizon. and before we could even consume our tapsilogs in marina resort, the sky turned dark, so dark as dark as my batok(nape).

we had to forego the island hopping plan and opted to go with the biking adventure instead.  come rainshowers and thunderstorms, we will still be able to have our day packed with our adventures. so we headed to pitstop to get our bike. paid 700 pesos for the Honda XRM- rent fee for the whole day. they gave us instructions on how we can go about circling the northern part of El Nido, some tips on nice spots, landmarks and mileage.  grabbed our helmets and off we hit the road.

the first ten kilometers of road northbound of El Nido is paved and cemented. and anywhere farther than that is rough as rough roads can get.

first stop was Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls. it should be less than 20kms away from El Nido town to the jump-off. a small house at the right side of the road with a signage at the gate. we parked our bike then asked some locals for information about trekking to the falls. since we were trying to cut down on expenses, we decided to not get a guide and just trust manang’s tawirin-ang-ilog-lakad-sa-tabi-ng-bukid-at-kaliwa-pagbaba-ng-burol advice. Or in other words, go with our instincts. which is a bad idea. were terrible as we are, much more our instincts.

and just after the first river-crossing(it was quite difficult traversing the waist-deep water because of strong currents since it rained the night before, its only the first river-crossing and there are TEN of them), we decided to backtrack.

along the way we bumped to a farmer and he asked “where we are going”, i answered “we’re quitting the trek as there are several trails and we have the slightest idea which is which”( completely skipped us-had-difficulty-crossing-the-river part, its only waist-deep and were both guys, sabihin niya pa sissy kami, we maybe quitters but we have big egos haha). he said its easy( he’s thin and a lot smaller than us). so i was forced to quickly reply with a “yes it is (ehem) easy, its just that there are several trails… but given a guide we will definitely push through”  and quickly he volunteered his son, patay. so we continued with the trek… it drizzled on most parts

it took us 45mins and 4bruises( joke lang) to reach the waterfalls. it was not that high but its cute enough for photographs. we let-go of the swimming-part since there was already a light rain, and an impending downpour  was definitely seeming on the horizon. the water current was strong to begin with, even a slight rain may worsen it. this is one of those moments where the journey is more fun than the destination.

trekked down to get our bike and gave manang 20 pesos as tip for eyeing on the bike, shes not charging any fees for parking( yeah, were cheap =)).

next stop was Nacpan: a close bidder for my most finest beach destination. imagine a deserted beach with 4kilometers of gradually sloped, powdery sands peppered with tall cocos and clear blue waters. It fronts 3 small islands. plus, currently, theres only one concrete bungalow built there, so its pretty much wide-open. this should be less than 10kms away from the falls. this is apparently the roughest of all the rough roads i had ever  passed on to. blog  about Nacpan will be on a separate post =)

it was past noon when we continued our stride to the northern most part of mainland palawan. we went clockwise passing by barutuan, bucana and teneguiban. by this time, were cruising on with half of our bodies covered in mud, slippers covered with inches of mud, and prints on our boardshorts are no longer visible due to mud.

after getting zillions of stares and smiles( more on like  laughs) from the friendliest of locals, we decided to clean-up a little in a beach in San Fernando. swam a little in the serene waters with brother and daracoton islands in the backdrop. both islands boasts white sand beaches. the coast here was calmer and sand a little beige. after cracking down inches of mud and we continued traversing to the west side and hunted down for the lone eatery in all of northern El Nido.

and oh boy, the guy giving instructions in the bike shop wasnt joking when he said theres only one place to eat at. the nondescript babes eatery.  its a little hard to locate it since its not along the road plus the signage is too small and worn down to be distinguished by bikers( moreover to hungry bikers ).

we spotted down babes minutes later, before 3pm. its in sibaltan, northwestern part of el nido. met French couple jacques and marie( just made up that one for easier story-telling as im really bad with names, i even forget my girl’s name sometimes, and she tends to forget to control her hands sometimes, lol) our bike buddies in el nido. both nature-lovers, biologist and nature researcher by profession, fancy camiguin much. both very athletic as they chose to paddle their  way around the islands in el nido.

babes is a unique eatery. its very japanesy( lol), omakase-style dining. as a paying customer you don’t get to choose what food will they serve you. it will all depend on what is available in their kitchen basket on your visit. and I cant complain with the lobster, surgeonfish(labahita), fresh eggs and organic mangoes we feasted on. those were the fresh catch that morning. nothing beats fresh seafoods as they are oh-so-tasty and oh-so-flavorful. we were more than happy( and hungry) to sip the juices of the  lobster head to dry, eat up to the last rice grain, and consumed the fish til no visible meat can be traced on the bones. we were charged 200(foreigners) and 120(pinoy) for the complete meal. this is a destination in itself =)

after the pig-out, the pigs(ako piglet) raced to the next stop which is a beach in villa paz. nothing remarkably different from the other beaches in this area. a glimpse of bubog island in sight. a cute little island with a small tree and an abandoned house. by this time we were passing over the west side of el nido.

the shoreline cruise ended in new ibajay. we then rolled to the inland rough roads of new ibajay, villa libertad and pasadena completing the circumnavigation of the northern el nido (that sounded too explorer-ly haha). passed by scenic ricefields, forests, riversides and limestone mountain rock  formations.

continued the race with the Frenchmen back to el nido town. arrived at 6pm, just in time before pitstop closes. we used up 4 liters of gas(and 1 liter of sweat… it was hot as the sun was out the whole time were out on the road) for the full bike tour.

of course we outbiked the French breads. pandesal pride baby! haha
*Nacpan beach

*ricefields going to Nacpan

*scenery from the New Ibajay-Pasadena road

*approaching Teneguiban

*a kid in Babes eatery

*Jacques and Marie in Villa Paz

*Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls

*lobster & surgeonfish of Babes eatery

*bike route

three fools, a seatsale and a princess

Puerto Prinsesa


after numerous fateful attempts, i blind booked a ticket to palawan to seal the deal. one night, my sister asked me to book tickets to boracay for my birthday, then gave me her credit card. being the obedient brother that i am, i booked her tickets, and without permission i booked palawan tickets as well. with no money at hand, and no signs of money coming(jobless), i was only holding onto one my lifes guiding principles that “Things  got a way of working out in the end”-no relation at all. just felt like sharing it. lol. plan was to tell my sister after boracay trip. ililibre niya ako sa lahat ng gastos sa boracay e, tas yon susunod na week mgppalawan naman pala ako. bka bawiin yon libre. haha. epic fail though. she did know it.

its two months before the trip and its my first time to save money. first move: never did i touch money given to me last christmas. no divisoria shirt or boardshort even. and even in my meals, i became a forced vegetarian. since its half the price cheaper than pork and chicken dishes in karinderyas. fastfood chain was a no no. no taxis on weekend gimiks kahit gumapang sa pagkalasing. at bawal ang extra ulam. ang extra rice gang isa lang din. lol

in the end, i did come up a little more than 5k. good enough to backpack palawan. =)

this is the first beach trip of the woodies. my crew(parang gangsta lang). we used to live in kingwood, thus woodies. ken is from puerto prinsesa and he was there since last holidays.

me and moy took first flights to palawan, me on zest and the fat one on airphils. funny story in the plane. my parents didn’t know i was headed to palawan. i said im just gonna hike in one of the mountains in rizal. cos if they knew, they’l cut less on my allowance since i can still afford such trip. were on a tight budget as of press time cos a big move of me is in the works and il be needing a good amount of money on that. so we need to save as much as we can. =)

in the airport, i noticed a family who is also from our province and a good friend of erpats. so i sitted in a corner far from them. come boarding time, i saw them lining up so i hurried and while they were taking pictures in the tarmac, i settled quickly onto my seat beside the aisle. then pull my cap down a little and pretended to be asleep. the plane probably sits around a hundred pax. guests continued to pour in and  head to their assigned seats. the two seats beside me were still vacant’ then a slight tap on my shoulders. since i was bowed down i first saw the shoes. i already knew it was them so even before they recognized me(habang kunyari gulat ako) i gave my hi’s and my warmest smile to them. then we chitchatted and then they asked the stewardess to take a picture of us pa. wapak na wapak. walang takas. but i was still hopefful. sabi ko papunta pa lang sila bka sakali dahil sa dami ng mapupuntahan nilang tourist spots at makikilalang tao baka makalimutan nilang nakita nila ako paguwi nila sa probinsya. lol. epic fail again.

ken waited long for this trip, we did too, he pretty much planned out the whole 5 days. we just dropped of our bags then headed straight to the beach, honda bay. nothing spectacular. definitely less beautiful than how they showcased it be. good marketing. best part is Luli Island, the jump board. what made it memorable though is in one of my jumps, i landed directly on a sea urchin. at least 4 spikes pierced through my left foot. i peed on it as per mamang bangkero’s advise. it did nothing though aside from leaving my foot with spikes now added with stench. it did hurt im not gonna be pmacho on that hehe. i took it lightly though and just thought of it like a souvenir of my trip. so i was spiked for the rest of the trip.

what i liked most about Puerto prinsesa is the laid-back feel. people are relaxed. single motors and wranglers can be often seen on the tree-adored streets. you will never feel your in a city. on hot afternoons, i would take naps on the hammock under the mango tree in kens backyard  swayed to sleep by the provincial winds of Puerto. some nights we would hit reggae-themed bars and just chill or billiards. we pretty much covered everything there is to see  in Puerto courtesy of kens old orange wrangler with speakers blasted good ‘ol bob Marley songs. nothing beats fooling around with fools. good times. we met lots of interesting characters too. those two chics with babies. nico who gets high because he likes the “light” feeling so light he couldn’t dare lay hands and kill a cockroach. he talks slo-mo with a grin on his face every time. and their house is like the type of hide-outs of villains you see in pinoy action flicks; high fence, low-roof, few screened windows and a rundown bus parked on the backyard and boy he got decent epektos. kens dad is really cool  and chao long of Bona’s is the shiznit. badjao seafront is hands down the best resto in all of palawan. =) (i think i should get a freebie on that). baybay. mitras place. bakers hill. nichies.

one day we went to sabang. woke up early only to get stuck when our wrangler front left tire ran on a sharp stone thus a flat tire. our asses were well covered though since ken’s family has sort-of good “connections” in the city. we didnt need to secure permits for the underground river, and best part is we need not to line-up for the boat. despite the long line that day in the port somebody got us a boat all to oursleves =). sweet. highlight of the sabang trip is the boatman. that fukcin funny boatman jun jun. i was laughing the whole tour.

after  five days of fun, sun and good times, we bade adieu to puerto prinsesa despite numerous attempts of ken to block the el nido trip. after several arguments and cold treatment ken finally gave in and drove us to the bus terminal for el nido. he couldnt join the trip since he got plane ticket back to manila the next day.

puerto prinsesa is alluringly different from other cities. it has the city’s going-ons but with a rural’s fresh vibe. it has a busy thouroughfare; a number of nightspots; good beaches; and mountain rock formations.

it is beautiful. they would have not  named it princess for nothing =)

Siquijor Sojourn

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sabi ko nga ang Siquijor e parang pelikulang pinoy. kumpleto may drama, may horror, may fantasy, may action..kulang lang love scene.. lol

old churches

beaches

cliffs

mountain

and that mystical air of the place. its everything i hope it would be and more.

after psyching up Siquijor its time to explore the island

i woke up early around 6am, headed straight to the pier to catch the sunrise on the mindanao sea. unfortunately clouds loomed above and blocked the sun from peeping on to the island. it was a gloomy morning. i shoot photos of the pier, mangroves and the town streets instead. then i had a cheap breakfast at the public market for less than 100pesos for a fish, pork, veggies and 2 cups of rice.

tapos pumunta na sa paradahan ng mga tricycle para makipagbaratan sa rerentahang motor para maikot ang buong isla sa buong araw. 700pesos. ayos na rin dahil more than 90kms yon circumference ng isla. tas maraming pang sidetrips at may bundok pa.

unang stop namin ni manong sa Das Traum siquijor para mkpagcheck-in. yon malaking kwarto lang ang available that day. di ko na sana kukunin dahil malaki, pero nun sinabing 400 lang, deal na agad. anluwang pwde kang magbasketbol sa loob ng kwarto at sa veranda pwede kang magTennis. haha. tas ikot na.

clockwise. from siquijor-larena-e.villanueva-maria-lazi-sanjuan-siq. Salagdoong beach is really nice. I am crazy about cliff jumpiing  as of lately. and they have it there in Salagdoong. Its fairly high at more than 15ft i guess.

as per jeriks recommendation the best way to travel the island is through a motorcycle and he was right. well-paved roads, fresh air and the scenery, both seascapes and landscapes, were just awesome. some places were eerie, weird but in a cute eccentric way. like the black maria holding a skull or the three crosses on top of the hill.

i love siquijor. i cant pin-point though one exact thing that made me feel that way. im mistified

expenses
cebu – larena siquijor ship = 300
Siquijor State U dorm(1night) = 250
motorcycle rent = 700
das traum inn=400
a meal can cost you around 50pesos(karinderya)
no entrance fees in the beaches, falls, churches…
siquijor-dumaguete ship= 100
dumaguete-cebu bus=280

Daze in Dumaguete

this trip to dumaguete was unplanned. the decision was abrupt.i was suppose to travel not until the next day. but since i was caught up with so many things that time, i decided to escape from it altogether. i snapped out. so me. some say its stupidity.il say its spontaneiety =)

i packed all my 6-month stuff in a heartbeat that afternoon. im leaving cebu for good. im going back to manila. but instead of heading straight to manila i decided to sidetrip in dumaguete. so i dropped my luggages in a freight company before i, don and ken hit the road.

we rushed through the rainy afternoon traffic in downtown cebu that noon. we catched the last trip to dumaguete in the south bus terminal which departed at 5pm.

it was raining and dark clouds loomed above. ken was throwing tantrums. he hated thats its not in the itinerary. he was also worried travelling under bad weather moreso crossing the turbulent sea to reach negros.

despite the bad weather condition, it was a smooth ride. we arrived in dumaguete minutes past 10. fare was 200 including barge.

my good friend markito fetched us in downtown, we took a quick grub, threw our bags in the car then we headed out. it was a friday night.

dumaguete is very much unlike other key cities. its clean and laidback. first stop was hayahay. its reggae-themed. i heard its the top night-out destination in the city. beer is cheap at 35 and dumaguete special which is seafoods in white cocomilk sauce was great. then we hopped to zanzibar. crowd was mostly kolehiyalas. forgot the beer price though. then strolled in the strip of bars along the boulevard.

it was around 2am and bars were closing down. markito decided to buy some booze then just head out to a beach resort. it was a 20-minute drive to eldorado in dauin. we were subjected to rent a room. 2k. eventhough were only interested to stay at the beach and drink til sun-up. but the heavy drinking and the 5-hour bus ride took its toll and by 4am were cramped up in the double bed wasted. don slept on the floor.

don and i woke up early, 8, to shoot around the resort. it is a pretty, small mexican-themed resort. it housed a couple of birds(parrots, lovebirds etc) a pool and a beach that has siquijor and apo island as backdrop.

around 11am we hit the city. markito toured us around. siliman etc. we ate at this karinderya which serves damn good lutong bahay bisaya. paklay, lechon etc. very good and cheap. we then headed out to buglasan festival. we pretty much strolled all the city streets.

we went to the boulevard that noon. secured a table in one of the bars fronting the boulevard were the festival parade passed through. no better way to catch the festivities with a camera in your right and a pint of ice-cold beer in your left. though i disagree with the beer at first since were still nursing our hangovers but markito just cant be stopped. were leavin that same noon for bacolod so markito pulled out that one-for-the-road punchline. with the alcohol in our systems, we then watched the tennis city-meet finals. his nephew was playing. we cheered. nephew won.

around 5pm. markito dropped us at the bus terminal for bacolod.