CleverBuy: Spend 3 days and 2 nights with 3 of your loved ones for only Php17,900!
- Roundtrip Airfare for 4 Persons
- Roundtrip Land Transfers : Airport – Coron town for 4 Persons
- Daily Breakfast for 4 Persons (beverages on guest account)
- Buffet Picnic Lunch during Island Tour for 4 Persons
- 3D/2N Deluxe Room Accommodation for 4 Persons at the Coron Village Lodge or Darayonan Lodge
- Coron Island Tour Destinations (Kayangan Lake, Twin Peaks Reef, Banol Beach, Hidden Lagoon, CYC Island, Twin Lagoons, Siete Pecados Marine Park, Maquinit Hot Springs)
- All Entrance Fee and Government Taxes included
- Service of Licensed Tour Guide
You have less than one day to get a discounted deal like this. GRAB IT NOW! or look before you book.
**I personally have been to Coron and I highly recommend this destination to all tourists and travelers out there. I’ve yet to publish my Coron travel diary, complete with photos and reviews, so watch out for that!
Day 1 began with our journey to the reatreat house in Brgy. Matalaba in Sta. Cruz where we’d be spending some alone time with God. The overnight retreat was arranged by Lebs’ aunt, who is also the head of this Catholic prayer group in Sta. Cruz. Guided by our facilitator, Sister Dang, the overnight retreat allowed us three to reconnect with God through prayer, meditation, and inner silence.
We left Brgy. Matalaba the morning after. Back in the town proper (where the Rejano ancestral home is located) we spent the day getting to know the town.
First stop: downstairs, Rejano’s Bakery
Lebs and SO helping the panadero (baker) make some bread sticks:
pan de sal fresh from the oven, hopia, and some bread (I forget the name):
Rejano’s Bakery isn’t just your typical neighborhood panaderia (bakery). Not only has it been around for more than 50 years–the bakery has also become famous all over the Philippines for its
star product, the uraro (arrowroot) cookies. Currently operated by Lebs’ aunt, Tita Mita, Rejano’s Bakery sells its products not only in Marinduque: I have personally seen them being sold in Kultura Filipino (SM Megamall) and in NAIA 3.
Here are the uraro cookies before baking:
My SO and I joined our good friend to her home province of Marinduque last March of this year for a weekend retreat away from the city. It was supposed to be just a quick “vacation” but our stay in our friend’s ancestral home was so relaxing (and her tita’s cooking so sumptuous) that we decided to stay for another day!
So for all you travelbugs out there looking for a “new” destination in the PI, let me share to you what we saw, tasted, and experienced in the highly underrated province of Marinduque.
Simply click on the links below for a day-by-day account of our trip. Enjoy!
The Journey Home
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Deal Dozen has done it again! Today, it offers beachcombers a very tempting deal: a 3days/2nights stay for 4 at the luxurious Alta Vista de Boracay’s Loft Suite. The cost? Php 11,990!
According to its own website, a 3days/2nights stay for 4 in the Loft Suite costs a whopping Php 17,598.00. The deal costs Php 11,990. Do the math.
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If you’re the type of tourist who “looks before s/he books,” (like me) log on to Trip Advisor for customer reviews on Alta Vista de Boracay.
…nope, I’m not blogging about the dish. Equally as exciting, though, is that the Bicol Express Train is literally back on track! Inaugurated in 1938, the train had been operating on and off for several years until it completely ceased operation when super typhoon Reming (international name: Durian) struck the Bicol region in 2006.
Here it is now! Newly painted and completely refurbished, I hope. Now I can go to Bicol without having to sit in a bus with very little leg room or wait for discounted plane tickets that come once in a blue moon.
Fare rates are said to cost almost the same as bus fares going to Bicol, so it’s guaranteed not to be expensive. Also, different types of seating are available for passengers to choose from. Unfortunately, online access to detailed info on fares and seats is not possible right now as PNR’s (Philippine National Railways) website is currently under re-construction. I’ll post updates, though, soon as it gets back online.
For those who are interested to know, here’s a summary of our camping trip (c/o Mr. Melvic Brinas) to Calaguas:
- caught the 2100 (Friday night) bus ride from Manila to Daet via Amihan Bus Lines
- arrived in Daet at around 0700-0800 (Saturday); the entire group met with Mr. Brinas in Jollibee (I think there’s only one in Daet)
- 30-minute van ride to the port
- 2-hour boat ride to Calaguas (with a quick side trip to Makulabo Island)
- 1030–arrival at Calaguas campsite
- 1200–buffet lunch for all (this is included in the camping package)
- once done eating, go and enjoy the island!
- 1900–buffet dinner for all (included in the camping package); also, we were lucky enough to be provided by Mr. Brinas bottles of The Bar Apple Vodka during our trip–whee!
- 1000 (Sunday)–left the island for some surfing fun at Bagasbas
- 2100–departure from Bagasbas back to Manila
the sand here is blindingly white, i'm not kidding
Here’s a little disclaimer, though. Calaguas is not for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because this island is exclusive, or anything–it’s just that certain types of tourists who have a set of “standards” might not enjoy the island as others do. As a piece of advice from one traveler to another, do not go to Calaguas if you:
- are faint of heart (or in Tagalog, nerbyoso/nerbyosa) — The 2-hour boat ride to and from the mainland can get really bumpy; if you still wish to go, avoid the summer months and postpone your trip until around July when the waves are calmer.
- can’t survive one night of sleeping without air conditioning — camping = no bedrooms = sleeping in tents
- can’t survive one night of sleeping without a comfortable bed — same as #2
- can’t survive at least 2 days of no mobile phone signal
- are not willing to try bathing from a makeshift pump (in Tagalog, poso) outdoors, potentially with strangers — since it’s a remote island, there’s no running power there to light the (ruins of a former decent) bathroom
Bottom line is, Calaguas is an adventure in the most natural sense. It doesn’t offer the thrill that mainstream water sports/activities do; instead, it challenges travelers to let go of their tired old notions of what a weekend beach getaway should be, and to just suck in the experiences that nature has to offer–both the beautiful and the not-so-convenient.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I left Manila that Friday evening March of last year not knowing what to expect from that trip to Camarines Norte. Today, I remember myself sitting in that bus going home just overflowing with awe of what I have seen and experienced there. Actually, until now (as I type) I get chills recalling the most pleasantly surprising place I have ever been my entire life! Calaguas is by far the most exquisite of all the beautiful beaches I have visited here in the Philippines. Forget Boracay–it’s already way past its prime. Hee :p
Behind an excellent camping trip is an excellent organizer/host. Melvic Brinas can be found in Facebook, where his contact numbers are posted: http://www.facebook.com/calaguas4ever
He has other websites, too!
I learned about Calaguas only by chance. Around March last year, my friends and I were already itching to kick-start our summer by going to a beach that we all haven’t been to. After hours of Google-ing beach destinations that are pretty close to the Metro, we came across a blog about a place called “Mahabang Buhangin” (that’s long beach in English) somewhere off Batangas. The blog included a photo of the beach and we couldn’t believe that there can be an island near Batangas that has sand as white as Panglao‘s or Boracay‘s, and so we searched some more and found another blog praising the same beach. Still a bit skeptical as to the real location of this island (no, it just can’t be near Batangas), we searched for more blogs until one of us found the contact number of one Melvic Brinas, a guy who arranges camping packages to these group of islands off Camarines Norte (we were right all along!) called the Calaguas (or Calagua Islands). And so we called him up, reserved our slots for the coming weekend, and come Friday evening we were on a bus going to Daet, Camarines Norte, not knowing what to expect from this little adventure.
Makulabo Island--"just" a side trip :p
here it is--Calaguas
Must I state the obvious? I almost died seeing how beautiful this island is. Aside from the sand being clean and white, the water was also free from any pesky things as sea weed, sea grass, or algae, which made swimming even much more fun. Also, note the lush green hills–perfect view! One can go hiking up those hills in the morning for an excellent view of the sea and sand. 🙂
As you can see in the photos, the stretch of sand from the water up to the campsite (where the vegetation starts) is really wide so a large beach umbrella is a must, as well as tons of sunscreen and other beach essentials.
After riding the Micro Lite, we headed off to our last destination in Bukidnon: Dahilayan Adventure Park, where the “longest zipline in Asia” can be found. Unfortunately, the road going up to the park was wet (the road wasn’t paved yet) due to the rain from the night before, so we had to do a little hiking to get there. It was a helluva long uphill walk but, man, it was also a helluva view! Layers upon layers of mountains, pine trees lining the road, even pretty flowers scattered around… I never imagined Bukidnon to be this picturesque. Pleasant surprise!
I may be called a killjoy for not trying out the famous 840 meter-long zipline, but hey, to each her own, right? Instead, I went for the ATV ride around the park which is an adventure in itself, too. The trail was excellent, complete with uphill and downhill parts, sharp curves, and muddy/rocky ground, so better be ready to get dirty if you wish to try this out! Aside from that, the trail also offers an amazing view of the entire park and the woods and mountains that surround it. I say the Php 500 that this ride cost me was very well worth its value. Find out more about this park in their website.
the ATV trail
view from the trail
stay tuned for my video up in the air on ze MicroLite! some photos and details also 🙂